Pin – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Beer Serving Glossary

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What is a pin?

A pin is a small cask or keg used for serving beer. It is typically smaller than a firkin, holding about 4.5 gallons of beer. Pins are commonly used in traditional British pubs and breweries for serving real ale. The term “pin” comes from the fact that it is one-fourth the size of a standard barrel, also known as a kilderkin.

How is a pin used in beer serving?

Pins are filled with beer directly from the conditioning tank or cask, and then a spile is inserted into the hole on top to allow for the release of excess gas. The beer is then tapped using a hand pump or gravity tap, and served directly from the pin. The beer in a pin is typically served at cellar temperature, which is slightly cooler than room temperature.

What is the history of using pins in beer serving?

The use of pins in beer serving dates back to the 19th century in England. Before the advent of modern kegging and refrigeration systems, beer was traditionally served from wooden casks or barrels. Pins were commonly used in smaller pubs and taverns where space was limited, and they allowed for the serving of fresh, unfiltered beer directly from the cask.

What are the different types of pins used in beer serving?

There are several different types of pins used in beer serving, including wooden pins, metal pins, and plastic pins. Wooden pins are the most traditional and are often made from oak or other hardwoods. Metal pins are more durable and easier to clean, while plastic pins are lightweight and portable. Some pins also come with built-in taps for easy dispensing.

How is a pin maintained and cleaned?

To maintain a pin in good condition, it should be cleaned and sanitized regularly. After each use, the pin should be rinsed with hot water and a mild detergent to remove any leftover beer or sediment. It should then be sanitized with a food-safe sanitizer to prevent the growth of bacteria or mold. The spile hole should also be cleaned and checked for any blockages.

What are some tips for serving beer using a pin?

– Store the pin in a cool, dark place to maintain the quality of the beer.
– Allow the beer to settle before tapping to ensure a clear pour.
– Serve the beer at cellar temperature for the best flavor and aroma.
– Use a clean and properly maintained hand pump or gravity tap for dispensing.
– Rotate the pin regularly to prevent the beer from becoming stale.
– Keep track of the beer level in the pin and refill as needed to avoid running out during service.