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Difference Between Keg and Cask Ale

Keg vs Cask Ale

Keg and cask ale are two different types of beers. Cask ale is the traditional, unfiltered, and unpasteurized beer which is served straight from the cask, and keg ale is filtered, pasteurized beer served chilled from metal kegs.

Cask Ale
Cask ale is also called cask-conditioned beer. It is unpasteurized, unfiltered beer which is served from the same cask in which it was conditioned including secondary fermentation. “Cask” refers to a wooden container held by iron loops. Cask ale does not have any carbon dioxide or nitrogen added to it. It is also called the “real ale” which is a term coined by CAMRA in 1973, Campaign for Real Ale. Real beer or ale is basically made from traditional ingredients and matures by secondary fermentation. If the yeast in the beer is still alive, irrespective of the fact whether the beer is in the cask or bottle, it is called real ale.

Once the cask is tapped, the beer comes into contact with oxygen, and the life of the beer becomes limited. Most ale has a typical three-day life. Cask ale is served cool but not cold. The smell of the cask ale is fresh and wholesome and delicate. The aroma of the cask beer does not have much impact when transferred to the glass as the cask has already been tapped, and the ale has been exposed to air for a few days. The aroma is more pronounced at the bottom of the glass. The flavor on the taste buds is more pronounced due to the lack of carbonation. It usually tastes fruity first, balanced in the middle, and bitter at the end. Also, cask ale is not fizzy. It has already been conditioned so it does not need to be left open for awhile to bring its best taste forth.

Keg ale
A keg is a chilled metal container of stainless steel or aluminum, and the beer served from it is served under pressure. The keg was introduced in the 1960s replacing casks for quality and economic reasons. It could be cleaned easily, and the introduction of oxygen could be reduced thus increasing the life of the beer in the keg.

The keg beer is filtered, pasteurized, and carbonated artificially. The trend of keg ale began due to the dissatisfaction of customers towards beer sediments. Keg beers are dispensed using carbon dioxide which makes it fizzy in taste. Some brewers dispense it with nitrogen and carbon dioxide thus making it less carbonated. It is always served chilled and has more aroma than cask ale and is bubblier.


1.Cask ale is also called cask-conditioned beer. It is unpasteurized, unfiltered beer which is served from the same cask in which it was conditioned including secondary fermentation; the keg beer is filtered, pasteurized, and carbonated artificially while being served under pressure from chilled kegs.
2.Cask ale is not carbonated; keg ale is carbonated.
3.Cask ale is served cool; keg beer is served chilled.
4.Cask ale has less aroma than keg ale and more taste and no fizz.

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