Spile and tapping


cask ale6Hello,

I am quite new to this game but have a few questions dotted over the site so here goes.

Cask Ales, for an outside mobile bar with an event for e.g. starting 7:00pm on a Saturday Evening,

1. How long should the casks be kept on a stillage before spiling?

2. How long after should you leave it before you tap and then pull your first pint?

3. What should the perfect pint of ale look like after you have pulled through lets say the first half or full pint?



  1. Hi Harticus, Cask ale and outside bars? Firstly I have sold cask beer on an outside bar and had great success.
    1. You need to tap and vent your casks as soon as possible. If your bar is on Saturday then you need to have the casks stillaged, tapped and vented on Friday and they should not be moved. Ideally you should tap and vent at least 24 hours before kick off.Try and keep them reasonably cool. If you have a cooling jacket brilliant,if not then a wet blanket should do.
    2.Now, contrary to popular belief and totally against all Camra edicts you can actually use a flash cooler with cask beer.If you are in a tent or outside and you don’t have access to chilling blankets and cask cooling coils, then putting your cask beer through a flash cooler with thermostats switched off will cool your beer slightly.It worked for me anyway,so sod Camra.
    3.Always check your ale from the cask tap not the beer engine, it will save you waste if it hasn’t dropped. The first half pint of beer you sample will probably be a bit cloudy but that is normal as sediment gathers around the cask tap sometimes. After that if your beer has dropped out then you should have a clear,bright pint in your hands.
    4.Most small micro brewers now sell cask beer that has been bright filtered, thus saving you a lot of hassle. I would inquire with your local brewer.
    I used to do outside bars and enjoyed it a great deal.
    Sorry for the long winded answer, it was turning into a novel, Cheers

  2. Bar Fly thanks for the info there chap much appreciated,

    I dont suppose yourself or anybody else can give me a time on spiling then how long untill i should tap. Apologies for the very direct question, the reason i ask is simply because i dont know and rather be right 😉

    Also recommendations on where to get wooden spiles as we are not tied in with a brewery ect as i know sometimes they do offer them with the casks or you buy directly through them.


  3. Hi harticus
    For outside bars I would go for “bright ale” where all the hops and stuff has been filtered out. You can more or less put this on straight away, most micro brewers will do this for you. This can save you waste and if you dont sell all of it you can take it away and sell it in your pub or wherever, though this will have to be done quickly. Tap and vent as soon as you can it will always taste better if it can settle awhile.
    For cooling the easiest way is to use an ice blanket I have used this quite successfully on a hot day. Though I usually use cask ale jackets with recirculating chilled water. I would shop around but you can get an idea what i mean from this page.


    Hope this helps.


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