Draft Vs Draught Beer: What Are The Major Differences?

Most people think draft beer and draught beer are the same and that those terms are interchangeable. But that’s not usually the case. Draft beer is usually found on off-the-counter brands, while draught is a label that tends to be found on imported beers. The ‘draught’ way of producing beer can be traced back to European monks of the Middle Ages who would store extra beer in wooden barrels. If you’ve seen modern wooden casks in bars or gastropubs or witnessed how tap beer is served, you’d be surprised to know that that’s an old way of serving beer as well. 

In the Middle Ages, this beer would be taken out of the cask by tap. But the terms draft and draught often refer to indicate beers that have not been pasteurized. Draft beer is served straight from a keg or cask, and the dispensing process is majorly impacted by carbonation and pressure control. Here are some of the major differences between draught and draft beer.

Production Methods and Conditioning

Draught beer undergoes a specialized conditioning process that differs from the production of bottled or canned beer. After fermentation and maturation, the beer is transferred to kegs or casks for secondary conditioning.

During this conditioning phase, the beer continues to mature and develop flavours, aided by natural carbonation processes. This results in a smoother and more nuanced taste compared to beer served from bottles or cans.

Like draught beer, draft beer undergoes secondary conditioning in kegs or casks after fermentation and maturation. However, the term "draft" beer specifically refers to the method of serving the beer, rather than the production process itself.

Draft beer is dispensed directly from kegs or casks using specialized taps or pumps, ensuring a continuous flow of fresh beer to patrons. This method allows for precise control over factors such as temperature and carbonation levels.

Serving Techniques

Draught beer is typically served from kegs or casks using specialized equipment such as hand pumps or pressurized gas systems. It is commonly enjoyed at bars, pubs, and breweries, where patrons can order pints or pitchers of their favourite brews.

The serving temperature and carbonation levels of draught beer are carefully regulated to enhance flavour and aroma. Bartenders and cellar managers play a crucial role in maintaining quality and consistency, ensuring that each pour meets high standards.

Draft beer is served using the same techniques and equipment as draught beer, with the term "draft" often used interchangeably with "draught" in this context. 

Flavour Profiles 

Draught beer is renowned for its fresh and flavorful taste, attributed to the unique serving method and secondary conditioning process. It often boasts a smooth and creamy texture, with a balanced combination of malt sweetness, hop bitterness, and subtle yeast esters.

The extended maturation period in kegs or casks allows flavours to meld and mellow, resulting in a more nuanced and complex profile compared to beer served from bottles or cans.

Draft beer shares many of the same flavour traits as draught beer, owing to similar production methods and conditioning processes. It is celebrated for its freshness, richness, and drinkability, making it a favourite among beer enthusiasts and casual drinkers alike. The natural carbonation achieved through tank conditioning imparts a lively effervescence to draft beer, enhancing its overall mouthfeel and sensory experience.