Today I am bottle conditioning my first 7 litres of meade ale for the first time in 18 years of brewing. (I have previously never carbonated by any method). I find that when I go to my local craft brewpub (where they have a daily cask-conditioned beer), drinking the cask ale leaves me less bloated and gassy and generally happier than if I drink the force-carbonated variety. (One can especially be sensitive to this with advancing middle-age!). Last year I had a glass carboy of Rosemary meade ale explode on me just before I was going to bottle it! The natural carbonation was fantastic (I had already consumed 2 carboys’worth) with smaller bubbles and a great mouth-feel with no ill-effects the next day. I don’t believe in pasteurizing ale, as that destroys the health-giving properties, especially when there is honey involved. I like the yeasty taste and that is added B-Vitamins, but can be reduced by racking and time. Ale is best made the natural way with patience — to me the force-carbonated, pasteurized and mass-produced stuff is just alcoholic soda-pop!

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