Serving nitro beer using 100% CO2 gas.

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by howtoservebeer, Jun 4, 2018.

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  1. howtoservebeer

    howtoservebeer Initiate (37) May 24, 2018 Spain

    Sorry old topic. the previous thread closed.

    What do you think about taproom serving nitro beer with 100% CO2, and not with the right blend ratio and pressure?

    Had an encounter at a taproom. Happily ordered a nitro beer and watched them pour through those stout tap.
    Then I asked, "wow didn't know you guys had nitrogen gas blend!"
    to which the barman replied, no we don't. we just use CO2 to push it out.
    So i observed that the cascading effect stopped withing few mins after it was poured.

    So few questions came to mind:
    would the cascading effect of the beer would have lasted a lot longer if it was pushed using proper N2/CO2 blend?

    How difficult would it be to balance the pressure and gas blend ratio for the nitro beer keg?

    Is it worth the investment for a bar to invest in a gas blend mixer and have a N2 tank just to serve nitro beers to its best quality? I'm quite sure some bars only used CO2 to push Guinness out.

    What other benefits to have a gas blend mixer and having N2 around?

  2. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (11,360) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    If the keg turns quickly it shouldn't be an issue. If not it may pick up some additional carbonation, as well as not run so nicely through the sparkler, meaning a less creamy head. It shouldn't be hard to balance at all though, they just run it as if it were a regular keg unless they need to throttle it back a little because of the sparkler.

    Blenders are not cheap, but at the same time given what bars and restaurants are paying for everything else... they're basically cheap. If they do any volume with nitro beers they should spend the money.
    dcotom likes this.
  3. honkey

    honkey Zealot (579) Aug 28, 2010 Arizona
    Society Industry

    I highly doubt distributors for Guiness would allow a bar to serve their beer without the proper nitrogen system. Most of them probably illegally give bars a stout tap and a nitro system to ensure that it is served properly.
    jakecattleco, SFACRKnight and dcotom like this.
  4. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (886) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    As long as it's not ABI or MillerCoors, it's OK. :wink:
    jakecattleco and honkey like this.
  5. marquis

    marquis Crusader (795) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    Nitro pour is the work of the devil.
  6. IceAce

    IceAce Champion (884) Jan 8, 2004 California

    What makes you think it was Guinness? That’s one hechuva leap in logic here.
  7. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (4,006) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    I'd guess he's responding to the part of the OP where the OP says,

    "I'm quite sure some bars only used CO2 to push Guinness out."
  8. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,825) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    A friend of mine, brewer and he also cleans lines at numerous places in Casper and Glen Rock, told me that very few serve Guinness properly regarding the proper mix in carbonation.
  9. IceAce

    IceAce Champion (884) Jan 8, 2004 California

    Doh! Missed that somehow.

    I can’t imagine any wholesaler worth their salt allowing Guinness to be poured on straight CO2. The technician installing the keg coupler would’ve (or should’ve) raised several red flags.

    If it was in fact Guinness, something smells awfully fishy.
  10. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,825) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    Well it's not any isinglass. They stopped using that fairly recently.

    Right, you all?
    PapaGoose03, jesskidden and raynmoon like this.
  11. BKBassist

    BKBassist Disciple (390) Jan 24, 2013 New York

    Gmix is the answer. But it also poses many more questions.
  12. Lahey

    Lahey Devotee (401) Nov 12, 2016 Michigan

    I kind of feel like guinness is the only appropriate beer to put on nitro. I've had a lot of nitro stouts that just would have been better without the nitro in my opinion.
  13. howtoservebeer

    howtoservebeer Initiate (37) May 24, 2018 Spain

    Well you can sort of say I assumed when I asked if the guinness was pushed using nitrogen. The answer was no, hence I concluded it was pushed using CO2. My bad for assuming a few bars when i only spotted 1 or 2.

    @NeroFiddled whats your take? Say if a quarter barrel typically takes about 3~5 days to turn, would you invest in a blender to cater for nitro beers? or lets just go with using the CO2.
    On top of the blender, we probably talking about getting an extra gas line for the blend gas, extra inventory for N2 tanks,

    What about the rest? Nitro beers, yay, nay or meh?
  14. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (11,360) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    A quarter barrel in 3-5 days? Absolutely not! The blender would be a waste of time and money. Even for a half barrel that's nothing at all. It would take 3 to 5 weeks to start picking up CO2 unless the cold box was really cold. I think we should rule out the quarter barrel though as no one uses them anymore. Sixtels, now that's a different story.

    As for the last part I'm not sure what you're asking. Am I a fan of nitro beers? Not particularly, but I'm not against them either. I think they have their use, and I think it definitely changes the beer quite a bit. The only thing I don't like is when it's done willy-nilly where bars run beers that weren't intended as nitro beers through the sparkler - in my mind if the brewer didn't intend it that way you shouldn't take it upon yourself to change it unless it's very clear that you've done that and quite often that's not the case. I've even seen versions of beers that have been put through a Randall the Enamel Animal with fruit and spices or cocoa nibs, whatever, and that wasn't noted on the beer menu, therefor leading me to believe that the brewery has put out a new beer.
  15. howtoservebeer

    howtoservebeer Initiate (37) May 24, 2018 Spain

    care to elaborate more? quarter barrel is about 8gal. so its not worth the investment if it takes more than 3 days to finish an 8gal.
    Sixtel is about 5gal, so the story is.....?

    the second part is just a poll for the forum. can't seem to get a sensing if people are for/against/indifferent to nitro beers. (i'm referring to beers that are already nitroed at the brewery)

    you're referring to those infusion mambo jambo which they run beers thru?
    Guess its another thread for another day...
  16. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (11,360) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    I was referring mainly to time. For a short period of 3 to 5 days, AND in a small keg, there should be very little CO2 pick-up in the beer, which means very little change to the flavor/feel or appearance. Running with a nitrogen blend would be nice, but totally unnecessary - thus buying a blender, etc. would be a waste. However, I know that there are many bars that will sit on one keg of Guinness for a month or so which is entirely different. In that case I'd definitely suggest a nitro/CO2 blending box.
  17. Uniobrew31

    Uniobrew31 Zealot (525) Jan 16, 2012 Pennsylvania

    Am I the only one who thinks that if your going to run nitro beers you should buy the proper system? I know guys who do it at home and run a proper system. It isn’t that expensive really and once you buy it your going to have it for years as long as it is properly cared for.
    Bitterbill and IceAce like this.
  18. marquis

    marquis Crusader (795) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    Guinness hasn't been served properly for a long time.
    It is often said that it tastes better in Ireland. It did once when the Guinness there was live in cask:the pouring would begin before the pub opened and the pints would be topped up ready for opening time.There would be a mixture of aged and fresh Stout.
    Nitro was an attempt to replicate this and failed dismally, all it does is give it a creamy head but losing out in all other qualities.
    So people drinking Guinness outside of Ireland would have heard about and perhaps have enjoyed the drinking experience to be found there.
    Lahey likes this.
  19. howtoservebeer

    howtoservebeer Initiate (37) May 24, 2018 Spain

    Just struck me that there's this option of buying gas cylinders that are pre-blended ie 75% N2 / 25% CO2 mix.

    should be more cost efficient than a gas blender?
  20. teal

    teal Initiate (92) May 3, 2012 Wisconsin

    My local bar - proper nitro pour of the Guinness. They do about 1/2 a barrel a week.

    Busiest I've ever seen it there - 100 people or so for a fishing tournament.
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