Cask Care - Horizontal

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

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

Here we are going to look at horizontal stillaging of the beer.



Horizontal – Stillaging

Remember it’s likely that this beer has just been bounced around on a waggon before being delivered and then dropped into the cellar. The key steps now are to let it cool and settle down.

If possible, on delivery position the beer on your autotilt with the shive and keystone vertically aligned.

If the beer has to be stored somewhere other than where it will be dispensed, for more than 24 hours, we recommend giving the cask a gentle roll to redistribute the contents before then moving to your autotilt and venting.

If the beer has entered the cellar straight from the delivery vehicle, it takes approximately 1 hour per gallon for beer to cool to cellar temperature (more if the cask was warm on entry).

For our beers, we would recommend that you let them settle and cool down for at least 5 hours, ideally a bit more, but no more than 24.

If you open the cask before 5 hours, you will lose too much of the carbon dioxide which needs to absorb back into the beer to give it that lively carbonation.

Horizontal – Venting

Once the beer is settled and cooled you can vent it.

Venting removes the pressure in the cask allowing the yeast the space to continue its secondary fermentation – conditioning the beer so it’s ready to serve.

Make sure the shive and keystone are completely clean by thoroughly scrubbing with a brush and warm water.

We use a peg to knock the tut area of the shive into the cask which allows the excess carbon dioxide out.

For Taylor’s beers we recommend venting only with a hard peg and manually controlling the initial release of the carbon dioxide.

You may have heard the fizz as the peg went in, now we can slowly wiggle the hard peg out to control the release of the gas.

This is the point where we advise you also tap the cask.

Horizontal – Tapping

Before you leave the beer for those first 24 hours of conditioning, when the hard peg is out and straight after venting the cask, we recommend that you tap it.

Our preference has always been to tap at the same time as you vent which we feel is more beneficial to our ingredients and helps the beer to settle bright.

Remember the tap must be clean and dry before coming into contact with beer, so please use hot water and the relevant detergent – and, of course, rinse well again in hot water after cleaning.

We recommend tapping the beer with a closed tap. It’s best done by giving it a solid first hit and then a second follow up to ensure it is tight. Less hits means less disturbance to the beer.

Remember to safely hold the tap with the flat of your hand.

Horizontal – Conditioning

Once you have released that initial gas, remove the hard peg and leave the hole completely empty.

After the initial venting we leave the hole empty for 24 hours, allowing the excess carbon dioxide and froth to be released. Don’t be worried about oxygen getting into the cask as the lively CO2 and froth stops it entering.

Once the emissions stop, clean the shive again and place a soft peg into the hole for at least another 24 hours (H), this allows conditioning to continue.

Check the beer every 6 hours, if you hear the hiss of gas, or froth is still coming out of the cask, replace the soft peg with a new one and leave it for a little longer until this subsides.

When there is no gas or froth released the beer is conditioned. You can then seal it with a hard peg and store ready for when you want to serve it. Now it is fully conditioned.

Ten Day Rule: Once conditioned, beer can be left sealed for up to 10 days before it needs to go on sale (remember it must always be sold within its best before date).

Pre-Trading Session Sampling & Connection

Now that our beer has been fully conditioned and held until you are happy with it, we are ready to get it on sale.

First we need to do a quick test of the beer at the cask to ensure the clarity, aroma and taste are perfect for our customers to enjoy.

With a horizontal cask you can draw the beer directly from the tap.

If you are happy with the beer, you can now connect it to the ale line.

Check the line is clean and connect it (if you haven’t already got one, we suggest adding a hop filter to ensure no solid particles can enter the line, which can cause bacteria to grow).

During Sale – Horizontal Extraction

These are vital steps for those using horizontal extraction.

With a horizontal cask, we must now replace our hard peg with a breathable soft peg so the beer can be pulled up to the bar.

If you don’t remove the hard peg, you are creating a vacuum and the beer won’t come out at the handpull.

If you are not using an autotilt, at the end of day 1 or when the cask is 2/3rds full, you must tilt the cask to maximise the extraction of all the conditioned beer.

Before & After Every Trading Session

Before the beer goes on sale, we recommend doing a final check to ensure everything is in order.

Remember to test the beer at the cask and at the pump before each trading session.

Your beer lines and glassware should be nice and clean. Pour the beer into a clean glass and sample again. What we are looking for here is the beer at the pump to be exactly the same as the beer we sampled from the cask.

If you encounter any problems at this stage, check the troubleshooting section through the link below, or please get in contact with the brewery and one of our fully trained representatives will be in touch to troubleshoot any issues you are having.

At the end of each trading session remember to replace the soft peg again with the hard peg until the next trading session.


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.


Cask Care Introduction

Learn more about the importance of cask conditioning, cellar hygiene, the Three Day Rule, cellar temperature, and the anatomy of a cask.


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.


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