Cask Care

How to take perfect care of our beer (and keep it on top form)

We want every pint of Taylor’s beer to be as good as it possibly can be.

At Timothy Taylor’s we know that one of the most important parts played in the enjoyment of our ales is that of the dedicated publicans and distributors who look after our beer after it has left our brewery.

Without these hard-working individuals and their excellent cellarmanship, drinkers would not be able to enjoy our beers in perfect condition. That’s why we are committed to providing ongoing industry-leading support to every one of our stockists, including technical support, cellar training and expertise to help you serve that perfect pint.

It’s important to remember that cask ale is a live product (unfiltered, unpasteurised and containing yeast) and all casks are born different. Ours require some special care and attention, so we want to show you exactly how we recommend you work with our beers.

We know we can’t be on hand every time so we’ve put together this guide as a handy reminder of the steps to follow to ensure your pub can always deliver the perfect pint of Taylor’s for your customers.


The Importance of Cask Conditioning

The secondary fermentation that takes place in your cellar is a vital part of the Taylor’s taste.

Taylor’s beer is brewed in a very traditional way. Although the brewing and initial conditioning (what we call primary fermentation) has taken place at the brewery, our casks still contain lively yeast when they’re delivered to you.

This means that the final conditioning, or secondary fermentation, will take place in the cask in your cellar.

This secondary fermentation is the reason our beer takes longer to settle than some other cask ales, but this also results in a cleaner, clearer, crisper beer.

It is during this conditioning process that the hops, malt, and yeast in the beer mature and develop into the subtle flavours that characterise a perfect pint of Taylor’s.

It means you sometimes have to wait longer for the beer to drop bright, but we think the wait is worth it for the taste, and drinkers seem to agree.

The Three Day Rule

Cask ale is a fresh, living product.

Every time a pint is pulled on the bar a pint of air enters the cask, affecting the smell and taste of the beer.

Therefore any size container must be sold within three days of going on sale, while the beer is in perfect condition*.

*Unless you are using a Cask Breather (also known as an Aspirator). Please speak to your local Timothy Taylor’s Business Development Manager to find out more about Cask Breathers.

Cellar Hygiene

Cask ale is a living product, so please pay special attention to cellar cleanliness.

Before you prepare the beer you need to ensure that the cellar is clean, including walls, ceilings and the floor, so the beer doesn’t get contaminated with any germs or odours.

Please make sure that there are no other foodstuffs, which could also contaminate
the beer, stored in the cellar.

We hold the highest possible BRC (British Retail Consortium) AA rating so you can be sure we are a supplier of safe, consistently brewed beer and take food safety very seriously.

Cellar Temperature

Remember to monitor the temperature of the cellar.

It’s important to keep your cellar at the correct temperature to help preserve the beer and maintain its quality for longer. This also slows down the build-up of bacteria in the beer lines.

To ensure you keep all your beers in perfect condition, the temperature should always remain between 11–13 °C.

You should take this reading with a thermometer, standing away from the cellar cooling and at cask level so you can be sure you have it right.

In a big cellar it’s best to have more than one thermometer so you can be sure that the temperature is consistent.

Also be sure to air your cellar every day by leaving the door open for 10 minutes to allow fresh air in.

Anatomy of a Cask

Before we start the process of getting our beer open and ready to serve, let’s have a quick reminder of the elements of a cask and the equipment and tools we will be using to make this beer perfect.

On the top we have a couple of important things.

Firstly, our brewer’s label. This tells you what beer it is, detail about the batch it came from, its best before date (remember just like any other food product, you always need to serve this beer within its best before date for the best possible quality), and additional instructions.

We also have the keystone which, once cleaned using a scrubbing brush, is where you will use a rubber mallet to drive in a clean tap to extract the beer.

In the middle of the cask, we have what is known as a shive. This is a plastic bung, usually with a separate centre called a tut. This again is cleaned with a scrubbing brush before you then knock it into the cask allowing the release of excess gas, in a process we call venting.

At Taylor’s we have our own shive that is one piece rather than having a separate tut. We do this to remove a potential quality risk as there could be contamination between the shive and the tut.

It also means there is no chance of the cask leaking via the tut during transportation or storage.

Are You Horizontal or Vertical?

Stillaging and extraction of the beer can be done horizontally (our preferred method) or vertically.



No beer coming out of the pump, beer is hazy, beer is flat? Fear not, we've put together a list of the most frequently experienced issues in pubs, with handy tips to help solve any problem.


Download Our Cask Care Brochure

We know we can’t be on hand every time so we’ve put together this guide as a handy reminder of the steps to follow to ensure your pub can always deliver the perfect pint of Taylor’s for your customers.


And Finally

Our support beyond the brewery is second-to-none.

Each of our BDMs (Business Development Managers) around the country is Cask Marque accredited and we offer free cellar training to any pub who stocks our beers to try and guarantee they are always of the highest quality when served to your customers.

If you have any questions or need some further advice, please contact your local Timothy Taylor’s BDM, or call 01535 603 139. They are available Monday–Thursday: 8am–5pm and Friday: 8am–4pm.

For out-of-hours technical advice, please send an email to and somebody will be back in touch as soon as possible.

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