Thursday, 25 October 2007

Stonch's Survey #2: The Sparkler Debate

My views on sparklers are simple. I detest the demonic little things. Every time I see a small plastic implement fitted to the end of a beer tap, my heart sinks. I then have to go through the rigmarole of asking some puzzled Polish barmaid to unscrew it. You can read all the blog posts in which I've moaned about them here.

For those who don't know, a sparkler is screwed to the end of the nozzle of beer engine, as shown in the photo to the right. It's perforated with small holes like a shower head. The beer is forced through these into the glass, agitates and aerating it, producing a large head. Bittering agents migrate to the bubbles that form this creamy layer, altering the flavour and mouthfeel of the pint. I suppose that's a good thing for those who want a beer with less bite.

It's often said - sometimes by brewers themselves - that Northern beers are supposed to be dispensed through a sparkler. Sorry, but I'm unconvinced. Surely that relies on the baseless assumption that Northern beers are invariably more bitter than those from the South? And if these brewers really do think their beer is too harsh, why don't they tone it down, and spare the hops?

A pint from a fresh cask will have a natural head. If you want proof, check out the photo to the left. It's a pint of Timothy Taylor Landlord - a Yorkshire beer - I enjoyed at The Roebuck in Belsize Park, North London. As you can see, despite having fallen victim to an enthusiastic gulp, the beer is still crowned with a white head of rocky bubbles. When real ale is served completely flat, that usually means it's in poor condition. Applying a sparkler would only serve to deceive the customer's eyes, while dumbing down the already impaired flavour.

I've been criticised by a couple of commenters recently for my hard line on sparklers. Well, they've got me bang to rights. If I had my way I'd melt down every sparkler I could find on huge bonfires across Yorkshire, where the benighted natives have fooled themselves into believing their beers benefit from savage treatment. However, I recognise people have different views on the subject, including some who have been drinking ale a lot longer than me. I want to hear what you think. You know the drill - the poll is on the left hand side of the page, and will be open for the next week.

66 comments:

  1. Well here we go again ... I think I have done my bit to death supporting you on this one so I will endevour to stay out.

    However I will share one little gem , earlyer this year while judging at Nelson we were enjoying pints at the only pub in NZ to serve real ale that doesnt brew it themselves, the Prince Albert. We asked the bar maid for the sparkler to be removed, she had never been asked before but obliged. Once it was explained to her how it would effect the pint , she said "oh you mean you want it without the bling!" priceless.

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  2. I voted "Don't know, don't care" I've never really got that irked by sparklers to be honest.

    To be fair after a shitty day at work the pint is lucky if it touches the sides let alone registers on the "sparklerometer"! I'd like to run an objective blind tasting with impartial volunteers to see if this actually affects the taste as much as you say as I'm sceptical. This whole debate conjures up pictures of men with beards and berets which is hardly good for the cause ;o)

    It could be the way I have always seen/had pints served but, provided no ones trying to do me out of beer with the head, a pint without a head just don't look right. Surely the foamy head meeting your lips prior to the beer arriving in your mouth only serves to heighten the anticipation and pleasure? A pint without a head just doesn't float my boat.

    I suppose I could have negated the previous three paragraphs by simply saying that in my opinion decent publicans should offer the punter a choice and not be offended if the paying public ask for them to be removed. In essence it's not a case of whether sparklers are right or wrong, as indicated by your first sentence of this post, but more a case of us casketeers having the freedom to choose without publicans getting upset.

    Just my two penneth

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  3. Its so hard to stay out , I have run a comparitive tasting to impartial beer judges who have no experiance with cask ale, the verdict was they couldnt believe they were drinking the same beer. The difference is significant.

    As has been stressed already, a pint without a sparkler should still have a head, this isnt a head on your pint vs no head on your pint argument.

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  4. John, I don't like pints without a head either. As I said, a beer in good condition will have a head even if you pour it direct from the cask via gravity.

    I've been served a few sparklerised pints before and the difference was startling. I did once do a side by side comparison - with Theakston's Bitter - and again, big difference.

    Pleased to see the use of the word "casketeers", but sad that none of you have used "mayhap" in a comment to date. We need to roll that bad boy out.

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  5. I was dragged into a conversation on this topic a couple of years ago at the GBBF (back when it was still held at Olympia). We were propping up the bar at the Tetley's stand at the time (no, I don't know why, either), and asked the volunteer working behind the bar to bring us two glasses of his best stuff, one served through the sparkler, the other without. The difference (in appearance, mouthfeel, and flavour) was striking, but I don't think I could honestly have said that the beer served straight from the barrel (i.e., without the sparkler) was the better beer, although it definitely tasted less like Tetley's (insert your own jokes here). I think what the question oils down to is that while certain beers (those that have "traditionally" been served through a sparkler: when did sparklers first come into pubs anyway?) may perhaps benefit from the treatment, others do not. Certainly South-of-England beers should not be served through a sparkler. But in what serious pub is this a problem?

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  6. On a side note, I guess this means you are knecking a pint of pedigree sometime soon Stonch?

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  7. No-one doubts that mouthfeel, flavour and other variables taste different with or without a sparkler. The issue is whether they can be proved to be better or worse by a particular method. My assertion is that all things being otherwise equal, it comes down to preference. I prefer sparkled beer but it must have the condition and not be served too warm. Too warm a serving temperature and too little condition are the enemy of cask beer.

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  8. a funny thing about the debate so far is that the one thing that more concerns me has yet to be mentioned. The beers we're talking about have hopefully been *cask-conditioned* - i.e. brewers & cellar-staff have conspired to ensure that there is a decent amount of natural co2 in solution to add that lovely sparkle, yet the bar-staff then cram the subtle & sensitive stuff through a wee shower-head & IMO knock the majority of it out of solution, giving a creamy topped 'bling'-ful beer, which under the topping is a bit of a dull, flat shame of a beer.

    (the other thing is that I want another option on the poll "do you generally dislike sparklers, but have an odd need for a good bit of head on a mild or cask stout?" - I'd vote for that one!)

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  9. Paul - "Certainly South-of-England beers should not be served through a sparkler"

    This is what baffles me. Why should the part of the country a beer comes from make a difference? You really can't generalise about what Northern and Southern beers are like, especially not these days.

    Furthermore, if a beer does need to be forced through a sparkler to make it drinkable, surely the brewer should alter the recipe to produce a more palatable beer in the first place?

    I don't know how long sparklers have been in use, but I find it difficult to believe that they've been around more than, say, half a century. If so, that's hardly a tradition, and therefore shouldn't have shaped the way Northern brewers craft their beers.

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  10. Paul - "Certainly South-of-England beers should not be served through a sparkler"

    This is what baffles me. Why should the part of the country a beer comes from make a difference? You really can't generalise about what Northern and Southern beers are like, especially not these days.

    Furthermore, if a beer does need to be forced through a sparkler to make it drinkable, surely the brewer should alter the recipe to produce a more palatable beer in the first place?

    I don't know how long sparklers have been in use, but I find it difficult to believe that they've been around more than, say, half a century. If so, that's hardly a tradition, and therefore shouldn't have shaped the way Northern brewers craft their beers.

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  11. Maybe then this post is about publicans trying to cover up bad or out of condition beer by using a sparkler then yes I'm against them 100%

    However this still leaves the debate of whether an in condition beer served through a sparkler tastes any different to when it isn't served through one.

    I doubt I'll be able to add any closure to this debate as the only beer I can vouch for the quality of is my own which is either bottle conditioned or is served via CO2 (shock horror) through a corni and I don't own a beer engine or any form of sparkler!

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  12. "However this still leaves the debate of whether an in condition beer served through a sparkler tastes any different to when it isn't served through one."

    I really dont think this is the debate John, if you go and try it out you will see that the beer is drastically changed , some prefer it one way some the other but I think if try it out no one would argue there is no difference.

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  13. Micmac

    If you believe the statement "The beers we're talking about have hopefully been *cask-conditioned* - i.e. brewers & cellar-staff have conspired to ensure that there is a decent amount of natural co2 in solution to add that lovely sparkle" then presumably you think there are fairies at the bottom of your garden. Where beer is fully conditioned the sparkler may well displace some of the dissolved CP2, but it will not come near displacing the majority of it. It's all about conditioning boys! Then it is prefernce.

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  14. All I meant by saying that "South-of-England beers should not be served through a sparkler" was that that I would be surprised and disappointed to see a sparkler used inappropriately (imo) on beers "traditionally" served without one (let's say Adnams, Fuller's, and Harvey's, to narrow our terms). I think it is true to day that sparklers do tend to be used more in the North of England than in the South (though you're undoubtedly right to say that this "tradition" cannot be particularly old). My hazy memories of the discussion I had with the Tetley's man at the beer festival a few years ago was that the brewery preferred their beer to be served with the extra head that a sparkler provides. My own experience of drinking that same beer both ways was enough to convince me that the difference a sparkler made, while substantial, nevertheless fell within the "personal preference" bracket, rather than the "better/worse" one. And if you don't like the sparkler, you can always ask for it not to be used.

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  15. Now to take things a notch deeper how about a swan neck vs short spout argument? .. hehe

    I have a bank of 3 beer engines in my lounge, 2 angrams 1 bass ( not sure of make) all have swan necks. OH for a short spout engine that wouldnt 'shoot' the beer into the pint.

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  16. My take is that the sparkler is there for cosmetic reasons. Apparently folk up north like the head that looks like it was painted on the glass. I've drank some fabulous beers with a sparkler and some without a sparkler. I don't think it's a debate that one should get emotional over. That is why I only rate Stonch at 95%. The other 5% is for his bad behavior regarding the sparkler issue. Drink on young man!

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  17. Ooh someones sparked something of a debate ha ha ha!

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  18. I'm floating somewhere between options 3 and 5 on the poll. As previously mentioned (somewhere) I have found at least one example of a very bitter beer that tasted better (to me) when served through a sparkler. However, I wouldn't say that ALL very bitter beers should be served through a sparkler.

    Each to his own. Which I guess is where I disagree with the Stonchmeister.

    M

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  19. Dunno where to go with this one. I know some Sam Smith's pubs down here don't use a sparkler on OBB - however, they use cask breathers, and an ex-pat Yorkshireman of my acquaintance on a trip to London picked it up on first sip in the Olde Cheshire Cheese last year. That can affect texture and mouthfeel.

    Had some Holts up in MCR last month which was served through one, and while I enjoyed my pints, I guess I'm a bit discomfited by the fact that I know the texture is changed by it.

    I suppose I'm not too bovvered though...

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  20. One man's pint is another mans piss Stonch. Now come on old chap, get down from your soapbox and stop being an opinionated twat.

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  21. ...and there was me thinking people wanted a bit more opinion! Surely I wouldn't be a proper real ale drinker if I didn't get bolshy about things like this?

    As a few people above have said, really the whole thing is down to personal preference. Some people like the way a sparkler changes the flavour and texture of a beer.

    That's fine, but what puzzles me is the attempt to divide beer by geographical region, and argue Northern beers are somehow supposed to be served with a sparkler.

    The truth seems to be that up North sparklers have been in use extensively over the last few decades, so people have got used to them.

    It's got nothing to do with the attritubes of Northern beers v. Southern beers as you can't generalise about them.

    All I know is that when sparklers are deployed here in London, it's usually just a way to mask poor condition and serve a short measure. A manager working for a very large pubco admitted as much to me recently.

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  22. basically unpasteurised, unfiltered and no sparklers. that's literally all you need to know.

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  23. oh, and good with food.

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  24. Does CAMRA have an "official" opinion on the use of sparklers?

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  25. I think they just stick to the line that they are only appropriate for "Northern beers" (a view I find nonsensical for the reasons stated above). Also, they think pubs should remove them on request. Thankfully, most do - but you have to be savvy enough to spot the offending article and confident enough to ask. Many drinkers fail on both counts, and end up with a bland pint.

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  26. i work in a pub. i will happily remove the sparkler if it really makes that much difference to you, even though it is a hassle for me. personally, though, i think the alternative option is much worse - because i'll probably dip my cock in your pint if you ask for no sparkler

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  27. ha ha yeah, a real "beer from the wood"

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  28. average barman - are you one of those that tries to pour bottled beer over ice, then acts like the customer is utterly insane when they rush to stop you?

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  29. In the case of Tetley's, I always thought that the sparkler was meant to recreate the effect of an economiser.

    An economiser is a system whereby beer from the drip tray was automatically mixed with the fresh beer coming from the barrel. It sounds disgusting and unhygienic, but Tetley's doesn't taste right, in my opinion, served any other way.

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  30. no stonch. but i'd give you a little bit of extra foam in your pint when you weren't looking if you ventured into my pub

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  31. dumbledore is gayOctober 25, 2007 2:38 pm

    can i just say Stonch that photographic evidence doesn't really work on a website. It's a bit like those blokes on internet dating sites who post pictures of Justin Timberlake as themselves

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  32. I hate the blessed things with a passion as well. Unfortunately they crept into East Anglia some years ago, thankfully not everywhere. Beer North of the Wash does tend to be more bitter in my experience. Plus Northerners seem to have been hoodwinked into thinking that beer has to have a large head (I often wonder how they cope at beer festivals). I'm not really in favour of Capital punishment but I think the use of the sparkler should be a hanging offence !

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  33. Perhaps we should form 'ALF': the Ale Liberation Front - a pressure group to rid the world of this gadget of the devil !

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  34. You would have to say that when nearly a fifth of people who read this site (who let's be honest are probably the most ale-engaged audience you are going to find) say they couldn't give a shit, it's hardly a pressing concern

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  35. passata, around 35-40% of readers are from outside of the UK, from places where cask ale is very rare or non-existent. I expect the "don't knows" come from them.

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  36. Right then, this is all well and good but the comments from some of you here suggest that most of your beer knowledge comes from instruction manuals and textbooks, not from actual proper DRINKING.

    I've been drinking ale now for nigh on 50 years and let me tell you sparklers have their place. I am not from Yorkshire but in my time have lived there (as I have most of the UK during my 60 odd years on the planet) and let me tell you that many of the beers from that neck of the woods require a sparkler to make them palatable. Telling Yorkshire brewers to change their brew to account for a sparkler-less tap is like asking a Scotsman to buy you a pint - it's not going to happen.

    And all this natural carbonation, now, I'll grant you, I have visited some of the great and the good of the German beer towns and the old cask on the bar trick works a treat to put a head on your pint. But in this country, you'll as like drop the jackpot on the fruitie as find a good, foamy head without a sparkler.

    What I am saying to you lads is that in the ideal world you read about in the textbooks, there'd be no need for sparklers. But in the real world I've drunk in for 50 years they're a blessing in disguise - maybe you'll feel the same once you've sunk a few thousand more scoops of the brown stuff.

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  37. With 35 comments and climbing, all over a miniature shower attachment that can be easily removed before purchase. Guys, Guys, we really need to stay at home more.

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  38. @ Stonch re passata: yep, I'm one of them. All our draught stout went nitro some decades ago, so even microbrewed stout now has to be served nitrogenated since that's what the market demands. I'll swap you that for a sparkler any day.

    I appreciate where Stonch is coming from, as sparklers look like the thin end of a nasty wedge to me, but it's an end thin enough to make no difference to those of us down at the thick bit.

    It seems to me that it's not about Northern beers; it's about Northern drinkers.

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  39. I don't remember them much before the late 80s - I don't know when they originated, but they can't be that traditional.
    The idea of Yorkshire beers traditionally being hoppier than those in the south is questionable too, when you remember that the hop growing regions have historically been Herefordshire & Kent.

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  40. To anonymous (I should say I've never trusted a man with a beard and i'll never trust a man who won't give me his name) - I can say with absolute certainty that sparklers have been around since the 70s. They may not be all that traditional but neither's my gas central heating and I wouldn't want to get rid of that either.

    As for hops growing here or there, I couldn't give two hoots where they're grown. It's what the brewers do with them that counts and the Yorkshire beer is hoppier than any other region of the UK. Two score years and ten have drinking tell me that much, no question.

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  41. You can always tell a Northerner because you can never tell him nothing.

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  42. One thing I am surprised no one has mentioned is that a sparkler will make a beer much easier to drink by reducing the amount of dissolved CO2 - good news when you're on a bit of a session

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  43. That's a bit of non- point, me old sparrow. the dissolved C02 in even the liveliest pint of real ale is hardly an impediment to session drinking.

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  44. Matt(RutgersBeerGuy)October 25, 2007 4:55 pm

    I have an amusing story to relate concerning sparklers, from the US no less.

    There is a brewpub in NJ (The Ship Inn) that is owned by British ex-pats and serves a good deal of cask ale, although not exclusively. It also, in my experience caters to quite a few Britons in NJ, who happen to be here for whatever reason. One time, I overheard a British patron complain loudly that no sparkler was used. Now, there is a complaint I never expected to get the chance to hear at a pub in the US.

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  45. Some of this sparklers issue seems to be about not being told how to do something by the dirty southerners.

    Customers should have to ask to put a sparkler on if they want to ruin their pint.

    Totally on Stonch's soapbox on this issue.

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  46. Ron, I have never heard the system you describe called an economiser, but know it as an autovac . I have heard the pints created were outstanding , even tho the hygiene reprocussion are dodgy.

    However rather than a sparkler being a 'recreation' of an autovac I thought a tight sparkler was an important part of the autovac system.

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  47. tierneyjones@btinternet.comOctober 25, 2007 8:24 pm

    What about the brewers who want their beers to be served through a sparkler — they created them. That said, I’ll be having a couple of pints of St Austell’s Proper Job tonight and maybe one of Otter Head and they will be straight from the barrel — I am not sure I would like half a pint of shaving cream on top. However, the whole debate does seem to be taking on a surreal, navel-gazing, Talibanish how-many-virgins-in-paradise-if-I-top-myself character.

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  48. However, the whole debate does seem to be taking on a surreal, navel-gazing, Talibanish how-many-virgins-in-paradise-if-I-top-myself character

    Adrian, I don't agree. Forcing beer through those little holes makes such a difference to what you end up drinking. It's strange that a little piece of moulded plastic should make such a difference to how a pint turns out - but the fact is that it does.

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  49. Adrian made me giggle, perhaps we've got enough new members to start a Real Ale fundamentalist group, we could all have matching waistcoats!

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets riled by the little things so I can sympathise to some extent with the folks getting worked up by this. Sure war, politics and taxes piss me off no end but my real pet hate is people who don't indicate on roundabouts, words fail to convey the incandescent level of scorn I reserve for you people!

    I'm going to ask the landlord of my local if I can have a sparklered and unsparklered pint side by side just to settle this once and for all in my own mind.

    On a lighter note can I suggest "Cask breathers - common sense or work of the devil?" as the next survey title?

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  50. "...when nearly a fifth of people who read this site ... say they couldn't give a shit it's hardly a pressing concern."

    That is some of the strangest uses of math in an argument I have ever seen. If only 20% don't give a shit, 80% clearly give a shit to one degree or another, making it well worth discussing.

    Alan - AGBB

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  51. For me one of the biggest issues is the quality of the pint at the sharp end. Out here in the west country I keep seeing pubs being taken over by jokers who ‘retire’ to run one and ‘know’ about “real ale’. You end up with beer I wouldn’t have a bath in — not that I would bath in beer normally (matching waistcoat excluded). BTW have you heard about GK’s launch today of a beer: served at 6-7˚C and you can have it either northern or southern. The world’s gone mad!

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  52. Kieran - the first pub I worked in used autovacs for the Tetley. And indeed it was a good pint. God knows why though!

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  53. John - "can I suggest "Cask breathers - common sense or work of the devil?" as the next survey title?"

    Good idea. I'll save that for a rainy day.

    For those that don't know, a cask breather is a device that introduces carbon dioxide at blanket pressure into a part-empty cask. CAMRA says that if a breather is used, the beer served isn't real ale. That's because the additional CO2 is absorbed into the beer, meaning it's no longer naturally carbonated. On the other hand, cask breathers allow pubs to sell slow moving beers. The policy has been controversial to say the least.

    Let's go back to the last post and the discussion about prospects for cask ale in the USA. Although I can see why CAMRA opposes cask breathers here in Britain, I suspect they may be an essential compromise elsewhere. I expect it's an uphill struggle persuading bar owners to sell cask in any event.

    If anyone else has ideas for polls or discussions, let me know.

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  54. Me? I like to drink the beer as the locals drink it. As a Yorkshireman, I'm not going to carry a sparkler around with me next time I visit Suffolk or Kent, just for the barmaid to add to the tap. When in Rome, etc. Back home, I prefer my pints to have been through a traditional and practically unique Yorkshire 'swan neck' pump, terminating in a sparkler - and I want to see the person behind the bar physically struggle to get the beer out. I want that big zinc bath under the tap full of surplus foam.

    I suspect Peter Eels, Timothy Taylor's head brewer, advises the use of sparklers on the beer he devotedly produces. But It's not as if Taylor's peerless brews have anything to prove - they taste brilliant with or without a sparkler. A well kept pint of Landlord without sparkler - as served at the Harp in London - is excellent, as is a pint with sparkler at the Brown Cow, Keighley, less that a mile from the brewery. They both taste good, but different. The unsparkled version tastes a lot like the bottled version - though I can just imagine the reaction if a pub in Keighley were to serve an unsparkled pint to a local.

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  55. Yeah yeah , we all drink from text books, yeah yeah its all sureal navel gasing... yeah yeah there is no difference between keg and cask.

    hhhmmm? nah I dont agree with any of that.

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  56. Sadly the real ale stereotype of beard and jumper exists and a lot of them are very anal and talk a lot of bollocks about ale. I go to pubs and festivals to enjoy beer, and also have a life outside of that so I don't have much time for text books. I'm not too interested in the minutiae of beer or brewing, I just know what I like. I have experienced fuck-awful beer passed through sparklers and I don't like it. What next ? Forced through a Sumo wrestlers jock-strap for that 'extra body' ?

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  57. Neil from HarpendenOctober 26, 2007 4:13 pm

    I'm no fan of sparklers or a foaming head on a beer.However I tried a bog standard house bitter from Verulam Brewery when they brewed out the back of The Red Cow in Harpenden.One straight from the barrel on the bar and one from the sparkler, to see if there was any difference.Suprisingly the one from the sparkler tasted better. They were both from the same mash.

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  58. Northern drinkers are big girls blouses if they need a sparkler to drink beer.

    Sparklers are dire and are creeping southwards, like those nasty Nazi arrows across France in Dad's Army.

    They must be stopped!

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  59. Is it because it seems easier to sell if it has a sparkled head on it and is that why breweries advise using them? After all guinness has a big head on it and that is the acceptable face of 'other' beers to the average rubbish lager drinker!

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  60. Mistah Stonsche-

    I know you're in Prague at the moment, but I've got an idea for you. When you get back to the UK, get into a pub with an Angram beer engine and sample the sparkled and unsparkled pint of your choice. For one, I'd really like to have tasted that pint of Landlord you tasted without the sparkler. I would have also tasted it with the sparkler. Let's really see what changes in the flavor profile, and if it's backed by the laws of physics, or just bullshit. I will do the same on my end. My beer line is too short, so I've go too much line pressure. But I'm going to add an eight foot line, which will enable me to pull pints with the sparkler. Previous pints have fobbed up do to line pressure.

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  61. If we are having a sparkler melting party do all the swan necks get tossed in as well? There are hardly any "standard" spouts left. Surely the antisparklers are equally anti-swan?

    Also isn't the point of the swan neck to get the nozzle at the bottom of the glass as opposed to the accompanying picture?

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  62. Ale drinkers in this part of the world routinely drink with their eyes and the idea of supping any beer that hasn't had the sparkler treatment is anathema to them. My local The Rat & Ratchet in Huddersfield is one of the few locally to display a board showing whether or not a sparkler is used for any given beer, but those that don't read it are frequently seen complaining about the quality without even so much as a taste would you believe! This often results in longer waiting time at the bar whilst sparklers are fitted and causes no end of confusion for the younger staff. However the pub sticks to it's guns and that's one of the many reasons we love it!

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  63. Tandle Man - thanks for the patronising sentiments (I'll pass them on to the fairies) - you wouldn't by any chance be a certain Scot living in the Rochdale area? Anyway, maybe I'm just unlucky, but in my experience *something* happens to mean that almost without fail, whenever I'm served a sparklered pint there is very little remaining condition in my glass. I've been to countless good ale pubs, GBG-listed places, brewpubs, brewery taps, etc, etc, all of whom *should* know how to keep & serve their beer to ensure some nice amount of co2 is in the glass. However, very often, in my experience those that use sparklers don't manage this. I know where I strongly believe the cause to lie & it ain't at the bottom of the garden.

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  64. What a great idea for a debate spoilt by people completely missing the point. yes the pints look different but if you close your eyes and taste the beer it also tastes different. all this crap about 'bling' comes from jerks who know no better and should probably stick to bacardi and coke

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  65. This is so perculiar. I have drunk cask ales all my life and have only recently come into contact with this arguement. I have made it a mission of my own to drink ales with a sparkler on as I prefered the taste. The shot of concentrated bittering agents in the head hitting your tongue giving you a rush of taste in your mouth remaining with you as you drink the ale. This is everything to drinking ales compared to drinking ales pulled through a sparkler free method. (whether is be bottled/sparkler free tap/ gravity straight from the barrell.)

    People say you are less of man if you drink an ale that has first passed through a sparkler. I day those of you who drink without a sparkler are the weaker. Unable to handle the first flavourful sip of the pint.

    Admittedly though, you find a bartender who cannot pour a pint through a sparkler then you will end up with no head and therefore no taste. But to me a properly poured pint through a sparkler looks better, feels better and tastes... Well better is a bit of an understatement.

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