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Mini Casks and Mini Kegs – what’s the difference?

By Sarah Groves, also posted in News on

Adnams Ghost Ship mini casksThey look the same and there’s 8-pints of beer in both. So what's the difference?

Mini Casks

Our mini-casks are filled with fresh beer straight from our brewery in Southwold. All are unfiltered - the yeast remaining inside conditions the beer (adds carbonation) which is why we call it a ‘live’ beer. This means that the mini-casks have a shorter shelf-life than our cans, kegs and bottles, but it’s the freshest way possible to enjoy our beers at home. We usually have Adnams Southwold Bitter and Broadside available in mini casks throughout the year, and we also put a selection of limited-edition beers (such as Fat Sprat and Old Ale) into mini casks seasonally.

Mini Kegs

Mini kegs contain ‘bright’ beer – in other words, our brewing team have racked the beer off its residue of yeasts and hops and then it's filtered to remove the yeast and any remaining solids, then it's sterile filtered to remove any bacteria and wild yeasts so that it's completely stable over its shelf-life. The filtration also removes some proteins and polyphenols, which both contribute to flavour but which also produce stale flavours in beer over time. So, unlike a mini cask, a mini keg doesn’t need to settle before opening - you can pour it straight away. As the beer is no longer ‘live’, it has a much longer life than casks (around 9 months) so you can store it away for when you need it! (Good luck with that, it’s like knowing there’s a packet of biscuits in the cupboard…) This also means that you can lay it down in the fridge, or move it around to where the party’s happening. You can find our Blackshore Stout, Ghost Ship, Mosaic and Dry Hopped Lager in mini kegs, and we’ll be adding more to the range soon – watch this space! Our brewer, Dan Gooderham, explains how to open and look after your minis – for our mini cask video click here, and for our mini keg video, click here. You can explore our current range of mini casks and kegs available to buy online here.


Sarah Groves