1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Keg of un-carbonated beer?

Discussion in 'Home Bar' started by Riggspsk, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. Riggspsk

    Riggspsk Initiate (15) Jan 29, 2013

    A local brewery, Flying Dog, has a beer that I really want to have on tap in my kegerator, Kujo. Its a Nitro stout. I have all the equipment for a nitro setup, (kegerator, tank filled with 25/75 mix, stout faucet, etc). So I contact Flying Dog to ask them how to get a keg of Kujo, and if they have any other beers they recommend with a nitro setup.... heres there response:

    What does this mean? I have never heard of a "un-carbonated" keg of beer before! Is there a way to serve this beer without dumping $800 into something I would then only use for that beer? What the heck is this thing????

    I can use any and all input on this... oh and just so that this thread doesn't go off onto any tangents, I got the nitro setup to handle Guinness and any beers that are made specifically to use with a nitro setup.
     
  2. cubbyswans

    cubbyswans Savant (370) Missouri Jun 10, 2008

    I would call them, and ask to speak to a brewer. Seriously. I've never heard of such a unit and I've been moderating the forums at MicroMatic for nearly 5 years. Every nitrogenated product I've come across just uses a beer gas mix with a stout faucet as you currently have. And the beer is not flat, just carbonated to a very low level, which is why beer gas mix is needed.
     
  3. leedorham

    leedorham Champion (835) Washington Apr 27, 2006

    When they say 'un-carbonated' they probably mean 'no additional carbonation added.'
     
  4. cubbyswans

    cubbyswans Savant (370) Missouri Jun 10, 2008

    We fill kegs with un-carbonated beer

    Flat means no carbonation. They don't say anything about not adding additional carbonation. Not to mention a Sure Flo Beer Ace is just a beer pump. I can't find any model that injects nitrogen into beer in a line. In any event, what they are saying above would certainly be odd, in my opinion. It would be so easy to pick up a phone and call the brewer and ask them rather than guess what they probably meant.
     
  5. leedorham

    leedorham Champion (835) Washington Apr 27, 2006

    Totally flat would mean they have to make an effort to totally de-gas the beer after fermentation. That seems unlikely to me.

    You're right about just calling the brewery though. Or just buy the keg and carbonate it yourself. I'm not really fond of nitro so that's what I'd do.
     
  6. cubbyswans

    cubbyswans Savant (370) Missouri Jun 10, 2008

    After fermentation the co2 in the beer is negligible. There's a blow off tube, so almost no co2 remains in the finished product. co2 would only remain in solution if the beer was kept under pressure with co2 while fermenting. Have you ever drank a beer after fermentation and before carbonation? It's about as flat as can be. You could shake it up and see no bubbles breaking out at all.
     
  7. billandsuz

    billandsuz Savant (450) New York Sep 1, 2004

    the pump does not add gas to the beer. the pump is designed for carbonated soft drinks but has been mistakenly adopted by some chain establishments. from eveything i have seen and heard (which is limited but not without any value in this instance) sureflo pumps have little or no value in a proper beer dispense system.

    anything that is placed in the loop of a beer dispense system, at any point, becomes a part of the entire system. you can't introduce gas at a point after the keg and also maintain a different level of gas within the keg. the gas does not show up in the glass but stay out of the keg. injecting gas into the beer line is no different than adding gas to the keg. if you begin with no gas in the keg you will eventually reach equilibrium. that's just physics. i don't know what the brewery is believing.

    the person who replied to your question is uninformed. unfortunately this is not suprising and would not be the first time a brewer did not understand how beer dispense with N or mixed gas actually works. or how to balance a system for that matter.

    further, the brewery is mistaken if it is under the impression that this beer is only being dispensed as they describe. beer pumps are not liked very much liked by the pros who are trying to maintain professional systems.

    wait a while and then ask to speak to someone specific at the brewery. it is not their job to provide consumer education, but they may be willing to speak to you about this.
     
  8. cubbyswans

    cubbyswans Savant (370) Missouri Jun 10, 2008

    the problem i have found with many breweries is that the person answering the 'contact us' e-mails is, as billandsudz says, uninformed. I completely agree with his assessment regarding the person who replied to your question. I have e-mailed many a brewery asking them questions regarding dispensing their products and have received terrible responses from whomever might be responding to that e-mail. This is why I say to ask to speak to one of the brewers. These people are the ones who have the most knowledge regarding each specific beer they produce.
     
  9. leedorham

    leedorham Champion (835) Washington Apr 27, 2006

    Yeah you're just plain wrong there. Depending on the temp and if/when a brewer caps their fermenter, there can be as much as 1.5 volumes of CO2 in the beer prior to it hitting the bright tank or packaging line. That's why carbonation calculators figure in temperature.

    And yes, I have tasted some of the 120+ batches I've brewed after fermentation and prior to carbonation.
     
  10. dap325

    dap325 Aficionado (190) New York Apr 2, 2009

    This makes no sense. There are logical issues with the statement the brewery gave you. From my understanding, the purpose of the nitro tap is to knock the carbonation out of the liquid using a restrictor plate in the tap, which gives the beer that creamy head and mouthfeel. To force the beer through the restrictor plate it has to be served at a much higher psi than normal. If straight co2 were used to do this it would over carbonate the beer. Nitrogen is used at these higher pressures since it does not dissolve in liquid as co2 does. A flat beer served through a 100% nitrogen pushed line would come out as flat as it went in and I don't understand the logic behind the dispense flat>carbonate using a machine>push through stout faucet method that they roughly outlined. As I mentioned earlier, there is no such thing as "nitrogenating" per se since nitrogen does nothing more than to push the beer, it does not dissolve into the liquid. I've heard of homebrewers using other inert gasses such as argon to achieve the same thing, so its not some magic that happens from using the nitrogen, its all in the restrictor plate in the faucet.