A Burton-based brewing company have recently announced a new innovation in brewing. They are applying immobilised yeast technology to ‘condition’ beer in the cask. Their new system will mean that beer is always bright as the yeast is trapped inside a calcium alginate gel.
Beer can flow across the gel matrix to the yeast and the yeast fermentation products back into the bulk beer. If the beer is bright before the immobilised yeast goes in then I assume that it has been processed in the brewery to remove the yeast of primary fermentation (fining, centrifugation and/or filtration). The question is then, is this cask ale or simply filtered beer with a system to prevent oxygen damage? Having beer which is readily bright will make running a cellar slightly easier. This new system will of course still need the beer to be sold in less than 5 days and require good cellar temperature and hygiene control. I think therefore that it won’t convert very many non-cask pubs to ‘cask’ ale.