Racking is a term that refers to the transfer of beer from one vessel to another. Although it is used most often to describe the kegging and casking of beer, brewers often refer to “racking” oak-aged beers from barrels into other vessels. In homebrewing, racking may refer to the transferring of beer to a secondary vessel or to bottles. In essence, racking is a simple process but one that can easily ruin a good beer and all the hard work that went into its production. Successful racking involves transferring the beer efficiently, in the shortest time, without causing it damage. Although it is a simple process of fluid flow, racking is more than just pouring or pumping liquid. Ideally it should be pumped quietly and carefully, using sterile hoses or pipes and with no exposure to air or contaminated surfaces. Three major problems may arise during racking: contamination by microorganisms, oxidation, and loss of foam potential. The beer can become contaminated if it comes into contact with microorganisms that may have infested pipework or hoses. Oxidation from contact with air is also a constant danger during transfers. Oxygen pick-up by beer during transfer is one of the major causes of premature staling in finished beer and a contributor to unwanted haze formation. Turbulence is also bad for beer—if the racking of a beer is too vigorous or conducted at too high a speed, the transferred beer may lose its ability to develop a good head of foam. Loss of carbonation is an attendant danger. Racking is a gentle art that, done correctly, can help ensure that the quality put into the beer in the brewery stays intact until the beer reaches its destination in the glass.