Ballards beer at home

Before you buy our beers there are a few thing to consider.

Size, type & whether to have bright or sedimented beer.

We have three types of container at Ballard’s which you can take our draft beer home in, maybe for a party, a few friends popping around or just to relax with after a busy day. If you are thinking of having a party and are not sure how much to buy, a good rule of thumb is 1 pint per person as some people will drink more and some will drink less.

2 pint plastic container; these containers are suitable for bright beer only. They are similar to the milk cartons in supermarkets.

36 pint Polypins, 18 pint Polypiggins & 9 pint Minipins; these “bag in a box” containers are a nice size for a small gathering or just for general use, and will keep for a week to 10 days. The container has its own tap to dispense the beer. Ideally, find a nice home for your beer, not too hot, i.e. garage, shed or somewhere cool in the house. These containers are suitable for bright or sedimented beers.

72 pint Firkins; if you were having a wedding or similar party, a firkin or two would probably suit your needs. To set up these casks you will need a sturdy table to sit them on, a mallet to spile and tap them, and two wooden wedges to keep them in place. The first job is to tap and spile; first knock in the spile, a small wooden peg that fits into the bung in the top of the cask for venting purposes, then hammer the tap into the bung at the side of the cask. If sedimented leave for 24 hours to settle. At the beginning of the session remove the spile to vent; draw off 1/4 pint to clear any yeast that may have settled in the tap. Your beer is now ready for serving. If you are having more than 1 session with your cask replace the spile at the end of each session to keep your beer in good condition.

We provide spiles and taps.

You can buy beer in three different states.

Bright, Beer that has no yeast sediment; you can drink this beer as soon as you wish, with no settling time but shelf life will be reduced.

Sedimented, once in the place you wish to serve from you have to give the yeast in the beer about 24 hours to settle. Ideally the container should not be moved until all the beer inside has been consumed.

Bottled conditioned beers, these beers have a shelf life of about 9 months, they have a small amount of yeast sediment so store upright at 10 – 12 C. Pour in one careful movement leaving the yeast in the bottle.

Looking after your Beer in a pub cellar

As with all food products, our cask beer has a natural shelf life. You should sell your stock within this period, to give your customer the quality of beer he/she expects. To help ensure that this is the case there are several easy procedures to follow.

1. Upon Delivery

The casks should be located on stillage as soon as space becomes available, To prevent cask movement and allow venting and settling. The front of the cask must be level with the front of the stillage, the chocks placed under the front rim of cask and the back block under the back of cask to hold cask steady.

(Syphon) The casks should be located on a nice flat spot on the cellar floor, think about the position of keystones, they may be stacked two deep, or hiding valves. As your bar staff will want to have good access to any valves, casks or beer lines behind your stock, they may have to turn on during busy bar sessions.

2. Tap & Spile

24 hours before cask goes on sale. Scrub top of the shive, To prevent beer being spoilt by beer spoiling organisms, then Knock in spile.

Scrub Keystone, if it has any mould, pour about 1/2 a pint of boiling water on it, this will kill most beer spoilage organisms. Ensure Keystone is flush with rim of bush. Knock tap firmly into position, ½ an hour after tapping Run off ¼ of a pint into clean ½ pint glass and discard.

(Syphon) Knock lance body in to the keystone.

3. Prior to Dispense

Just before dispense Run off ¼ of a pint into clean ½ pint glass and discard. Run off another and check for clarity. If cloudy try another if still unsatisfactory call brewery.

Check beer in plenty of time before going on dispense.

(Syphon) The lance may now be Gently inserted into the syphon body & lowered about 1/2 way down into the cask, draw threw to bar and check for clarity.

4. The Bar Session

At the start of a bar session, remove spile and turn on dispense tap.

(Syphon) Open cask vent on the lance & turn on the dispense tap.

At the end of the session, replace spile and turn off dispense tap.

(Syphon) Close cask vent on the lance & turn off the dispense tap.

5. Stooping

When cask is ½ to two thirds full, Gently raise back of cask until front of cask rests on stillage. Slide back block forward until underneath cask.

To allow the maximum amount of beer to be drawn from cask.

Stooping must be done gently. Do not jerk cask.

(Syphon) When cask is ½ to two thirds full, Gently lower the lance so it is about 1 1/2 inches from the bottom. If to low you will drag yeast & finings up into the despence line.

If dregs have been pulled threw the dispense line, it “must” be purged with fresh water to remove all traces of yeast & finings.

6. When the cask is empty

Remove cask to stop contents of cask becoming sour & To allow the stillage to be cleaned.

You must

  1. Push cork into keystone and drive hard peg into shive.
  2. Remove from stillage and store in secure place.


  • To allow beer time to settle and condition, ensure room on stillage for new delivery.
  • Ensure beer on sale is not aged and therefore poor quality.
  • Maintain Cask Ale stocks so that immediately before delivery there are three days sales.
  • Order cask sizes to ensure individual casks are not on sale longer than 3 days.
  • To prevent infection of new cask. After container is emptied.
  • Dismantle tap and rinse under cold tap and clean all internal passages with tap brush rinse under cold tap again. Store in bleach solution and thoroughly rinse under cold tap before using. (Bleach solution strength to be 1 fluid oz per gallon.)
  • To prevent mould growth and slippery services and beer infection, Scrub cellar Floor, Ceiling, Walls & stlige with bleach solution then hose down, Weekly and as spillage’s occur.
  • To ensure all lines are clean and sterile, Flush through dispense lines with cold water. Clean system as per line cleaner Manufacturer’s recommendations. Rinse system by drawing 3 gallons of cold water through each dispense point.
  • Cask ale lines should be cleaned at least every 5 days.
  • Any thing that touches the floor, should never touch the beer unless sterilised first, even the best seller floors will have beer spoilage organisms on them.
  • Observe Health and Safety and C.O.S.H.E. regulations.
  • Sample your stock frequently, a small wine glass full would be enough to look at clarity, Smell for aroma, Sip for flavour.

“Your” customers will-be as passionate about there beer, as you are about their custom.

Information from various sources

2 thoughts on “Ballards beer at home

  1. My husband has wanted some of your beer and a t-shirt. I was wondering if you ship to the us. We are Ballards and we are very proud of our name. So, it was very cool to find a beer with our last name on it. My husband has wanted to try some ever since he saw your website.
    Jaime Ballard

  2. I’m looking for bright Piggin for this weekend (Rugby 7’s). Not too fussed what it is as I like all your brews but would lean towards Ballard’s Best.
    Do you have any available, what price is it and can I pick it up on Saturday?

Ballards Brewery

The Old Sawmill, Nyewood, Hampshire GU31 5HA
Telephone: 01730 821362 or 01730 821301

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