Common problems with Cask beer dispense


My Cask beer is flat and tastes off?

  • Your beer might be too cold. Check cellar temperature it should be around 11 – 13 degrees centigrade.
  • How long has your beer been on service, it might be past its best?
  • Was your cask vented properly?


My Cask beer tastes of vinegar and has off tastes?

  • Your beer has been on service too long and has gone off. Probably infected

handpulMy Cask Ale is very lively?

  • Have you vented and conditioned the cask properly?
  • Is your beer serving at the correct temperature? Check cellar temperature.
  • Have you cleaned your lines? At least once a week minimum.
  • Check the sparkler has not been over tightened.
  • Don’t try to pull your beer engine too quickly.
  • Check a hop filter is fitted and cask tap nut is tight.

My Real Ale is flat but tastes great?

  • Are you serving it correctly? Swan neck to the bottom of the glass, correct sparkler and a steady even pull.
  • Your beer might be too cold.

My Beer Engine is stiff?handpul

  • Is the cask tap open and gas pump if fitted turned on?
  • Check your hop filter is clean.
  • Is the hard peg still in the barrel?
  • The beer engine might be faulty, call Technical Services
  • The back check valve may be faulty, call Technical Services.


  1. we have problems with our lager bitter and mild we got to pull off at least 3 to 4 pints off just to get a good pint were losing a lot of waste can u help could it be we have a warm cellar many thanks

  2. Without supplying more information it sounds as if your lines need a very thorough clean, the yeast in the lines is infecting the good beer when it is left standing for any length of time. A warm cellar would certainly not help, but can only make the situation worse by speeding up things.

  3. I’m in dire need of help. I have an IMI Cornelius Caskserve beer engine that is not dispensing/pumping properly. Does anyone have a diagram of how the seals in the pump should be installed? Being in the US, its hard to find info on beer engines.

  4. My cellar temperature is 7.5 degrees, measured with a very accurate temperature sensor and at the location where my casks are stored. What effect will this have on my cak ales? I have noticed that sometimes the beer is cloudy especially pale beers

    • Your electricity bill must be horrendous, cellar temp should be somewhere between 11 -13 degree Cent if you go well below that like you have. Secondary fermentation will be very slow, that is if it happens at all. Also If you have gases co2 and mixed stored in that room, they will probably play up as well. So it is no wonder you cask ale is cloudy it isn’t clearing down. If you turn your cellar temp up, not only will you save money your ale will taste better.

      • Thanks for the reply Hoppy. Yes you are right my electricity bill is massive!! Since you reply I have managed to get the cellar system changed from a timed cooled system to a temperature controlled system. I cannot thank you enough for your comment and I am grateful for all your help. Best regards Jason

    • If cellar temp is as low as 7.5 deg C, then most Cask Ales will produce what is called a Protein Haze. (lighter beers only)
      It will dissipate as the beer warms up, as most cask ales are not chill filtered. They are simply fermented out, and placed on chill down to between 6 – 8 Deg C to put the Yeast in suspension while the beer is Racked.
      Once Racked, the beer is then stored at around 12 – 14 Deg C to start secondary fermentation in the cask.
      Solution: either place your real ale casks in a warmer part of your cellar, or opt for darker beers.
      Try to avoid putting the beers through any form of chiller as well.
      Hope this helps.

  5. I have recently returned to the industry after a few years and have always worked in cask marque bars. Until now. Now I work in a very upmarket restaurant/bar and the cellar manager has told me that I am pouring my ales wrong. Has there been a change in the last 5 years in how we pull our beer? I was always taught to ensure the sparkler is touching the bottom of the glass, pull 3 times, leave to settle, then put the sparkler just under the head of the unfinished pint and then top up. I am being told that when topping up that the sparkler should again be touching the bottom of the glass. The reasoning being that it stops the beer ‘bubbling’. I have never had this happen and always get a smooth head the way I pull it.
    Is this just a preference?

  6. I always pull cask ale with the sparkler at the bottom of the glass, 3 pulls, leave to settle, then top up by pulling the beer slowly and placing to just under the head to top up. If you start pulling before you place the glass under the sparkler the bubbling wont happen

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