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Nitrogen-ized Draft Beer

Discussion in 'Home Bar' started by Cody, Apr 17, 2012.

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  1. Cody

    Cody Initiate (0) Mar 8, 2012 Colorado

    I'm pretty sure everyone here has tried a beer that's been infused with nitrogen at one point or another (Guiness, Old Speckled Hen, NC Old Rasputin, etc.) I was wondering besides beers that are specifically designed to be run with nitrogen is it possible to just hook anything up to a nitrogen tap? If so has anyone done this? and what beers worked well?

    I was thinking about trying to experiment with nitro tapping a Imperial IPA but don't want to waste my time or beer if it is not going to work.
  2. fartmaster

    fartmaster Initiate (0) Dec 27, 2011 California

    i think i heard someone say Flying Dog Double dog but im not sure
  3. Prospero

    Prospero Savant (949) Jul 27, 2010 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    I've particularly liked Nitro Pale Ales I've had on tap before.

    It will work on any beer, just be forewarned, it changes the flavor profile, particularly for hoppy beers.
  4. dbmernin83

    dbmernin83 Initiate (0) Jun 13, 2010 California

    Just had Epic Hopulent on Nitrogen. It drank like a cask IPA. Hops still bright and delicious. Nitrogen made it incredibly drinkable. I think the keg needs to be conditioned for nitrogen, but don't quote me. I'd research it before trying any keg.
  5. Kinsman

    Kinsman Champion (873) Aug 26, 2009 California

    Nitro-taps are a disgrace to beer everywhere
  6. marquis

    marquis Crusader (741) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    That is to flatter it.
    Bobator likes this.
  7. billandsuz

    billandsuz Disciple (310) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    any beer can be dispensed with nitro aka beer gas. though you do need to have a good understanding of system balancing. and you do need to have the special faucet.

    beer gas, blend gas, nitro is used quite alot and will result in a flawless pour if done right. if you want the creamy head you need the right faucet, you need the right blend of gas and you need to have the system balanced. you are asking for a headache if you simply switch out kegs. it will result in a flat keg quick and the texture is likely to be screwy.

    by using blended gas you are actually decreasing the CO2 content. CO2 has flavor, bite. nitro is inert. you will gain the creamy texture with the correct set up, but you will also give up alot of flavor and sharpness the brewer intended to be in the beer. hop flavor and aroma are enhanced with CO2, beer gas on a stout faucet kills hops. basically.

    pay no attention to those that know cask ale is the only "real" beer and are going to tell you about it. it's old and sad. if you like a creamy guinness and are willing to try to get that effect with different beers, that is what matters.

  8. marquis

    marquis Crusader (741) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    There are those who remember Guinness on cask .It remained so in Ireland long after it was phased out elsewhere and probably is the source of the myth that "Guinness tastes better in Ireland" because once it was true.It was a blend of beer from old and new casks and blew the socks off what's available now.The legendary mouthfeel was there but without the flavour suppression of nitro which was introduced in an attempt to emulate it.Point is that casks allowed the beer to develop whereas in the keg it was inert.
  9. clearbrew

    clearbrew Initiate (0) Nov 3, 2009 Louisiana

    If you already have the equipment, go for it. But, if not, there is a bit of an investment (tank, regulator, faucet etc...). This might not be worth it for an experiment.
  10. LiquidTable

    LiquidTable Initiate (0) May 3, 2011 Michigan

    It's important to note that hooking up a diffuser faucet to a beer that is being pushed with standard CO2 will do nothing but cause ridiculous overfoaming in the glass and make a mess. Furthermore, if you push a beer with a "Guinness" mix that is intended to be a CO2 push, it will flatten and degrade the beer. Kegs are pressurized with CO2. Nitro beers, such as Guinness, Murphys, etc. are pressurized with a blend of CO2 and Nitrogen in the keg prior to dispense...they are intended to be served a certain way. Be mindful of all these variables...
  11. billandsuz

    billandsuz Disciple (310) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    if you have balanced your system properly, then yes you can absolutley dispense ordinary CO2 beer with blend gas. it is done all the time, and the beer will pour just fine. beer gas can be used successfully with a standard faucet and a regular old keg of beer, it is happening in bars everywhere at this moment.

    blend gas solves a problem that 99% of home bars do not have however, and creates a headache for no good reason in this instance. but that is not the same as stating that blend gas can not be used with a standard faucet. it can and it is. the system must be balanced accordingly.
    if a home bar owner wants to pour a pint of Guinness as well as a pint of Coors it can be done with one gas blend, just like it is done in a commercial setting.

    edit; Guinness likes 75/25 mix, whereas "typical" beers balance a bit better with ~60/40 (or 100% CO2) but you can get quite good results with either blend and any beer if done correctly.
    Dylsey and IceAce like this.
  12. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Initiate (0) Jul 16, 2005 Connecticut

    What is old and sad is that people still do not know what Real Ale is and why it is what it is. What IS old and sad is anyone throwing carbonated shit in a cask and calling it cask ale. Fucking bullshit...
  13. billandsuz

    billandsuz Disciple (310) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    i don't see your point gp. this is tired to some in the s=community i am sure but it is my opinion and it is worth stating, again.:slight_smile:

    anyone who serves beer with nitro and claims it is the same as cask is a liar. but i don't ever see that happening, not within the BA community and not in commercial settings either, it's not 1975.

    the problem is more that some people insist that there is only one "real" ale, and it must be from a cask. that is bullshit. we have a problem, imo, with some BA's who are against anything other than cask conditioned ale. there is a line between opinion and fact. nobody is claiming that cask and nitro are the same. some BA's don't even enjoy cask all that much, strange as it is to others. some BA's really do enjoy a beer on stout faucet. and why not?

    we can have an honest discussion about the merits of cask and the beauty of nitro. it does not have to be one or the other.
    Dylsey likes this.
  14. marquis

    marquis Crusader (741) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    I think that some clarification would help. The expression "real ale" was coined at a particular time in a particular place to fit a suitable set of circumstances.It arose from the situation in which big brewers were turning their backs on traditional beer and introducing pretty awful stuff to repace it.Strong men even today wake up in a sweat if they have been dreaming about Red Barrel, Tavern or Trophy.The result was the setting up of a beer pressure group which wanted a return to the proper stuff or what eventually they termed "Real Ale" as opposed to the over processed, chilled and overcarbonated stuff coming onto the market. And the name stuck to the effect that it's defined in the Oxford Dictionary. Of course all ale is "real" but "Real Ale" is a compound noun like "baseball cap" as opposed to two separate words. On the definition bottle conditioned beer as well as cask can be described as Real Ale . Yes, of course all things are matters of taste and some people even enjoyed Red Barrel! I'm not against other forms of dispense because of course there are places and occasions which are unsuited.I do occasionally have bottled beer and some of it's very good.But not good enough to prevent me from spending twice as much when the cask version is available.
  15. billandsuz

    billandsuz Disciple (310) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    fair enough.
  16. psuKinger

    psuKinger Devotee (487) Feb 2, 2005 Pennsylvania

    There seems to be some confusion in this thread about what it really means to add Nitrogen to the keg, so I thought I'd post this link, as I found it to be helpful: http://www.draft-beer-made-easy.com/draftbeergas.html

    To summarize, the "blend" of gases has a certain percentage of CO2 and a certain percentage of Nitrogen. As others have mentioned, Guinness uses a ratio of 25%/75%, while I think a lot of the American brewers who have experimented with this prefer something closer to 40%/60%. The CO2 does the "carbonating", as it dissolves well into the liquid. The Nitrogen is there to allow you to apply a greater "force" on the fluid from the keg, propelling it down the beer line. That's where the special "Nitro Faucet" comes in. It acts as a big "flow resistance", to help maintain proper fluid velocity at the elevated pressure caused by the Nitrogen.

    If you're using 25/75 CO2-to-Nitrogen, and you want to carbonate to about 12 psi, you'd want the total pressure to be 48 psi. In this example, 1/4 of the gas is CO2, so the resulting level of carbonation would be equal to one fourth of 48 psi, or 12 psi. The additional 36 psi of Nitrogen doesn't dissolve in, but does add a great deal of "driving force" for the fluid, which then pushes the fluid through the restrictive Nitro Faucet, which maintains a good velocity but *stirs* the beer up into that frothy goodness that was likely the reason why you wanted to try *nitro* in the first place.

    I've been thinking about adding a Nitrogen tank and draft line to my chest freezer kegerator myself. Anyone here done this? Any challenges you'd like to warn a fellow BA about ahead of time? Is it difficult to find "beer gas", or is the place I buy my CO2 from likely to have it? Can you try it with *any keg* you feel like experimenting with, or does the keg need to be rated for the elevated pressures (and therefore designed for Nitro)?
    Dylsey likes this.
  17. HollerHops

    HollerHops Initiate (0) Jun 7, 2012

    My reps say any beer can be tapped on a nitrogen blend, but that it comes down to how fast you will go through the beer in a bar, because the mixture will cause a keg to go flat quicker, therefore I guess at home it would be how fast do you plan on blowing that 1/6th barrel... I am looking forward to trying to use my extra nitrous tap with Boulder Hazed & Infused, or a Black IPA as soon as my 1/2 barrel of Cummberland Nitro blows. Good drinking to you all!
  18. Blargimus

    Blargimus Initiate (0) Jan 6, 2012 Colorado

    A brew pub here in Colorado had PBR on nitro for April Fool's Day this year. I gotta say, it was not bad. Basically like drinking a pint glass full of creamed corn.

    ...I just kind grossed myself out there for a second. Trust me, it was better than make it sound.
  19. biking4beer

    biking4beer Disciple (343) Oct 5, 2006 Colorado

    I think your question has kind of been answered, but it seemed to be lost in the real ale debate. As said before, you can push normally carbonated beer with beer blend gas 75% nitrogen/25% CO2. You, however, can't take a normally carbonated beer and make it a nitrogen infused beer just by hooking it up and pushing it with beer blend. And also as mentioned earlier, don't put a carbonated beer through a creamer faucet.

    If you're really interested in make a carbonated beer a nitrogen infused beer, you could decarbonate the beer and and pressurize it with the beer blend. It will eventually absorb the nitrogen and CO2.
  20. cubbyswans

    cubbyswans Aspirant (238) Jun 10, 2008 Missouri
    Beer Trader

    Your rep has about 10 percent of the answer. As billandsudz noted earlier, it can be done if the system is balanced properly. It has nothing to do with how fast you go through beer if you balance the system properly. The mixture will only cause a keg to go flat quicker if the system is not properly balanced. i.e. if you just put a gas blend on and do not elevate the pressure, then yes, the beer will lose carbonation over time.

    However, a lower percentage of co2 in the blend can be compensated for by raising the pressure applied accordingly. It would depend on blend ratio, beer temp, elevation, etc, to determine how much to adjust the pressure. And then you must adjust the line length/restriction in order to achieve a proper flow with the elevated pressure.

    So you can use nitro on anything you want and you don't have to blow through a keg by chugging pitchers.
    Dylsey and billandsuz like this.
  21. cheers55

    cheers55 Aspirant (270) Oct 25, 2005 Connecticut

    I've recently addeed a beer gas line to my kegerator. I'm using beer gas at 30 psi through 4' of beer line and through a stout tap.It's dispensing BBC Russian Imperial Stout. If I open the tap all the way I get a glass of foam that takes about 15 minutes to settle. If I open the tap only a crack it pours correctly but slowly. Any suggestions?
  22. billandsuz

    billandsuz Disciple (310) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    greetings to Chesire. i have done my share of supporting your local package store for certain.

    we are going to need temperature of beer, ID of beer line, beer line material and beer line length at a minimum. for the temperature of beer in the glass, pour one then pour another and measure. this needs to be accurate, not a guess. what blend of beer gas are you using? beer line length needs to be measured accurately, ideally to within a few inches.
    can we assume that all of your other beers on 100% CO2 pour fine without adjustment? i do not know if your RIS is indeed a beer gas keg; if not someone will chime in.

    this is a new thread item so you should consider posting this as a question within the forum.
  23. evilc

    evilc Initiate (0) Jan 27, 2012 California

    Sculpin on Nitro - awesome.
  24. biking4beer

    biking4beer Disciple (343) Oct 5, 2006 Colorado

    Is it a nitrogenated beer or carbonated beer?
  25. cheers55

    cheers55 Aspirant (270) Oct 25, 2005 Connecticut

    Thankds for your thorough response! Beer gas is a 75% - 25% mix. Tubing from keg to tap is 3/16 ID 5/15 OD PVC. It is exactly 5 ffeet long. Second pour was 50 degrees. Line going from gas to keg is 1/4" ID and 4 1/2 feet long. I have had no problems with CO2 dispensing with eoither home brews or commercial beers. I'm not certain if the RIS is indeed meant for beer gas. I had made a home brewed milk stout previously that I had the same over foaming problem with the Nitrogen.
  26. biking4beer

    biking4beer Disciple (343) Oct 5, 2006 Colorado

    If those beers are carbonated and you're pouring them with a stout faucet, you're going to get a glass full of foam. Those faucets are meant to be used with nitrogen infused beers.
  27. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Aspirant (297) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    FWIW, I installed a stout faucet on my 100% CO2 system some time ago just to see what it would do. Surprisingly, I poured a pint of a Dry Stout with the most beautiful, fluffy, pillowy head imaginable, despite warnings from the experts that only nitrogen can build those creamy microscopic bubbles (evidently, my experience defied the laws of Physics). Unfortunately (predictably), that's all it poured. Fifteen minutes later, I was able to drink the half glass of beer that had finally broken down from that lovely head. I now routinely serve my Stouts through that faucet, though I remove the restrictor disc so that it pours pretty much like a standard faucet. It just looks nice for a Stout.
  28. biking4beer

    biking4beer Disciple (343) Oct 5, 2006 Colorado

    Yeah, that little disc is what causes all the agitation, and problems.
  29. billandsuz

    billandsuz Disciple (310) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    yep. nitrogen and beer are like oil and water. if you add the two together nothing much will happen. if you mechanically force the gas into the beer it will mix. but because N is 100 times less soluble than CO2 the gas will quickly fall out of suspension. if you mix oil and water and then shake the hell out of the mixture you will get a milky oil and water fluid. but it wont last very long.

    that btw is what you see in a pint of Guinness. that cascade of bubbles, going up, going down, is N coming out of solution.

    when you create microubbles with CO2 through a plate, sure it looks similar. but the CO2 is relatiively stable in liquid and it will require forever and a day for thie microbubbles to settle out.

    anyone know if this RIS is kegged with nitro?
  30. biking4beer

    biking4beer Disciple (343) Oct 5, 2006 Colorado

    That's what I've been wondering. :wink:
  31. cheers55

    cheers55 Aspirant (270) Oct 25, 2005 Connecticut

    What are some examples of commercial nitrogen infused beers? For home brews should I force carbonate with beer gas?
  32. biking4beer

    biking4beer Disciple (343) Oct 5, 2006 Colorado

    Guiness. Murphy's. Although if you're force "carbonating" with beer gas, you should be picking up nitrogen. That should work ok with the stout faucet.

    I bet the Imperial Stout you mentioned is carbonated. Not sure though. As mentioned in some previous posts, carbonated beers don't agree with stout faucets. Either use a different faucet or take the little disc out of the stout faucet.
  33. MacCummins

    MacCummins Initiate (0) Aug 11, 2012

    This is a fascinating forum! I just subscribed to beer advocate and looked up some info, and here it was! almost...

    I read in one of the threads that the PSI recommended for a 25/75 mix is 48, which is logical. I've just recently purchased the nitro system with the stout faucet, the regulator and gas tank and got it filled with the mix. I regularly drink Left Hand's milk stout nitro so I ran up there and bought a keg of it. They recommend 33-36 psi; so I set it at that, and got a fair amount of head on the beer (They also told me with home keg dispensing setups, I'd need to "play with it" to get the correct pressure"). Just wondering what everyone's thoughts are on the correct pressure and temp to store this kind of beer? Should I jack up the psi a bit?


  34. Lordemil

    Lordemil Initiate (0) May 13, 2013 Florida

    You do not need beer gas or nitrogen to get a great pour from a nitro tap.
    But, if you use straight CO2 you need some way to keep the beer CO2 level down.

    Here is the conundrum:
    · Nitro beers should have low levels of dissolved CO2: about 1.5 Vol CO2
    · This means in a kegerator set to say 36-38 deg F you should only have about 5PSI CO2 in the keg
    · Most beers need about 12 PSI in the keg to keep the beer at the correct volumes CO2 (2.5) and to dispense at the correct pressure at the tap.
    · The Nitro tap requires the beer to hit the tap at around 25 to 35 PSI
    That is the dilemma; if you keep the beer at 30 PSI to push it thru the nitro tap you will have way over carbonated beer in just a few hours.

    What is needed is a way to keep the keg at 5 PSI when you are not dispensing beer and only put 30 PSI in the Keg when dispensing.

    · Use a three way gas valve with a 5PSI cracking pressure check valve on the exhaust:
    · The way it works is like this (I have been using this for a while now and it works great)
    · Three way valve switches your keg between a 30 PSI CO2 source and the 5PSI check valve.
    · When at rest the valve has the keg switched to the check valve so any pressure over 5 PSI is vented out of the keg. When you want to dispense simply flip the valve to the 30 PSI source and let ‘er pour. After the pour flip the valve back to vent the excess pressure thru the check valve.
    · The major drawback is you lose gas after a pour when you vent the keg. So I do not recommend this for a commercial setup where you may be pouring beers all afternoon/evening. But for the home keg setup it is very little gas lost.

    Here is what I use in my setup:
    Gas Valve:
    Check valve:

    All you need is a 12v power source and you are good to go
  35. HighHopped

    HighHopped Initiate (0) Jul 11, 2013

    MacCummins, Could you please tell us which nitro system you purchased? Also, how is it working since last year? I am ready to convert my Summit system to nitro and need some help. Thank You.
  36. rancher0

    rancher0 Initiate (0) Nov 22, 2013

    Would you recommend tapping a keg of Guiness with a standard out of the box Danby keggerator using co2? or is that wrong?
  37. billandsuz

    billandsuz Disciple (310) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    no, I would not recommend dispensing Guinness without the proper gas and faucet.

    however, you can hook up the keg to straight CO2 with a traditional faucet. it will not be Guinness like you suspect though. the keg will become more and more saturated with CO2 until the flavor and texture have been changed. this will occur rather quickly.

    talk to your supplier. you may as well serve a stout that is intended to use 100% CO2.
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