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I know that stout faucets were devised as a means for emulating the cask ale experience but how close are they? Can I skip getting a beer engine at home and just get a stout faucet and beer gas?

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I think the 'cask ale experience' from stout comes from the nitrogen in the beer rather than the faucet. The stout faucets that I have seen pour the beer very smooth and slowly, to compensate for the long lasting foam that would otherwise a proper pour impossible.

Beer engines, on the other hand, can have a sparkler to maximize foam from the small amount of CO2 & N2 in the beer. This would be overkill if your beer is carbonated much.

Furthermore, you don't need a beer engine to serve cask ale, it's common to just use gravity. The beer engine is only used when the cask is far from or below the bar.

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    The stout faucet is necessary too as it has a special restrictor plate that pushes the beer through tiny little holes, breaking up the co2 into tinier bubbles thus giving you a nice creamy head. That's what I've read anyways. And yeah, that is true you don't need a beer engine. But I believe it is the pump action that gives cask ale that nice texture. I've had cask ale with a gravity feed and it's nothing special. It's just like any other home brew at that point. – fthinker Mar 1 '15 at 0:43
  • Tiny bubbles come from using nitrogen in the beer instead of CO2. You can get the same tiny bubbles from a can of Guinness, no faucet needed. I think the unique things about a cask are from the aeration that happens in the cask and when forced through a sparkler. You can buy a 'creamer' faucet to enhance foam on the beer, but it's not going to turn normal draft beer into cask. – Pepi Mar 1 '15 at 2:25
  • Yeah, I can't say whether the cask ale I have had always used a sparkler or not. I wonder what a hand pumped cask ale without a sparkler would task like. It is that fine head with tiny bubbles that I am looking for. It sounds like a stout faucet would do the same thing but I am still looking for a definitive 'yes!'. – fthinker Mar 2 '15 at 17:28

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