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Ale pythons and how to look after them

Recent research by Cask Marque shows that 39% of Ale Pythons are not working effectively thus leading to warm beer and increased call out charges.  The cause is invariably low water levels or poor water circulation problems.

The industry over the last 10 years spent over £1m in tackling the issues relating to cask ale temperature by installing Ale Python Controllers (APC).  The ‘Python’ looks like a big snake but is actually insulation with beer lines running inside it. A flow and return line within the python contain cold water to maintain the beer at cellar temperature of 11-13°C.  As with any equipment though, regular checks by the licensee are required to ensure the APC is working effectively.

Cask beer should be dispensed at 10-14°C and this equipment when looked after will ensure that every pint hits the temperature specification.  Each week licensees should check the temperature of beer in the glass and secondly check the water levels in the Ale Python Controller in the cellar and top up if required.  The equipment works on a similar principle to a car radiator by circulating water to control the temperature – if the water runs out, the car breaks down.

To help remind and highlight the equipment Cask Marque has produced a sticker to fix on the side of the APC.  These stickers will be made available to all Cask Marque corporate members and licensees.

The hope is that more pints will be served in temperature spec and there will be fewer cellar service calls to fix burnt out motors thus saving the industry a considerable sum of money.

Click here to see Cask Marque’s Ale Python Charter