Thoughts on Nitro.

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Reidrover, Nov 27, 2022.

  1. Reidrover

    Reidrover Jan 14, 2003 Oregon

    I am interested on members thoughts on nitro?
    Generally, I tend to avoid it because many brewers tend to use unsuitable beers.
    But i took a gamble Thanksgiving night with a pint of Double Mountain ESB on nitro at my local British style pub. Took a while but it was a really nice relaxing pint and despite the nitro had good flavours. Was actually akin to a cask beer.
    Others in the past have been terrible, been better drinking water.
  2. alucard6679

    alucard6679 Jul 29, 2012 Arizona

    The feel of nitro generally doesn’t appeal to me, if anything it tends to detract from whatever style it’s being utilized for. But that’s just me.
    I do like a Guinness pint on tap once in a while though, it’s like comfort food.
  3. Reidrover

    Reidrover Jan 14, 2003 Oregon

    Me also. But on occasion, like last night they get it spot on.
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  4. Resistance88

    Resistance88 Apr 9, 2015 California

    I had ABT 12 on Nitro once.

    My favorite is Fremont Dark Star on Nitro.
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  5. hikanteki

    hikanteki Oct 11, 2013 California

    I love nitro and I wish was more common for other styles of beer besides weak stouts. I’ve had a couple of DIPAs on nitro. They were interesting. The most interesting beer I’ve had on nitro (this was years back) was Tahoe Mountain Auld Bitch BBA Barleywine. It was absolutely sublime.
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  6. Blogjackets

    Blogjackets Nov 22, 2017 Ohio
    Society Trader

    My favorite beer by local brewer R. Shea is Polymer, an espresso stout, and it is great on nitro. Gives that heavy, sweet beer just the right smoothness for a sublime mouthfeel.
  7. BigIronH

    BigIronH Oct 31, 2019 Michigan
    Society Trader

    A very memorable beer experience for me was nitro Rubæus. I think the issue for me is typically judging if the beer was better with or without the nitro. In this case, I found the beer on nitro to be much more enjoyable than the many regular versions of the beer I’ve had whether it was a can, bottle, or regular draft.
  8. Providence

    Providence Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    I'm not a big fan of nitro. It's not that it's bad. It's fine. It's just not as good as the beer when it's not on nitro.

    But I love a good ESB and would probably order one if I saw it on nitro just out of curiosity.
  9. Urk1127

    Urk1127 Jul 2, 2014 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    I like it. I even liked the nitro that Budweiser did
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  10. Ronmarley1

    Ronmarley1 Jan 20, 2014 Ohio

    In general, I rarely go for beers on nitro. Although, I had a Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald porter on nitro at the BBA Blackout Stout release last Wednesday and it was very good.
  11. MistaRyte

    MistaRyte Jan 14, 2008 Virginia

    I avoid nitro beers, they come off as very watery to me. If I get a nitro beer its usually on accident.
  12. champ103

    champ103 Sep 3, 2007 Texas

    I hate Nitro, I just seem to taste...GAS if that makes sense ha (honestly, I have never been able to figure out what it is, just that it is almost flavorless and gassy to me, and I have never found them "creamy" or whatever other people tend to say about it). I have always found it odd that brewers would intentionally add an additional gas to their product that isn't a real by product of fermentation. The only good quality is the cascading kind of look it provides. I tend to avoid it at all costs now, but thats just me and nobody else should listen ha. Though, give me a proper cask any day, which can be argued that is what Nitro is trying to replicate (at least the look of it). I'll also say, and this is just my own personal opinion. If Guinness wasn't the brewery to introduce Nitro, and it was Anheuser or some other mega brewery not so fondly "romanticized" by the craft beer community, it wouldn't be near as popular.
  13. bubseymour

    bubseymour Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
    Society Trader

    It's fun to look at.

    I like the creaminess it provides in the body of the beer, but doesn't always equate to better tasting beer (sometimes).

    That's all the thoughts I have on nitro.
  14. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    My thoughts on nitro are similar to what @bubseymour expressed above.

    Nitro is impactful to the mouthfeel/texture of the beer which may be a positive for certain beer styles (e.g., stouts). But it comes with the downside that is impacts the flavor profile of the beer, it tends to ‘dumb down’ the beers flavor. CO2 does a much better job carrying the aroma/flavor aspects of the beer to the palate.

    I have enjoyed a handful of nitro poured beer brands but for the majority of the time it just negatively impacts the flavor profile too much.

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  15. JimKal

    JimKal Jul 31, 2011 North Carolina

    I do like a beer on nitro. They remind me of cask ales. On our last visit to the UK I think I had cask ales every day. For me, I love the way they look and the mouthfeel works for me. But here I don't see many cask ales nor many nitro beers. This thread reminds me that I need to go get some Guiness.
  16. MrOH

    MrOH Jul 5, 2010 Malta

    I like nitro beers for the most part. While I'd rather have a well-cared for cask version of any particular beer I've had on nitro, the "cheater" version ain't bad.
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  17. Giantspace

    Giantspace Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Enjoy the Guinness coffee but overall not a nitro fan. On tap many beers feel thin and watery and the flavors are muted. By the end of the glass I feel like it’s a watery mess. I had a Founders pale ale on nitro once and it really seemed to lose the hops and was one of the worst beers I’ve had on tap. Felt like the nitro just ruined the beer.

  18. champ103

    champ103 Sep 3, 2007 Texas

    While, I'll agree that the look of nitro and cask are similar, and they are both generally associated with UK and Irish "pub" beers, and I have also made that association before.

    Though when I think about it, they are almost polar opposites. Cask beer has a ton of wide ranging flavors that varies on how old the cask is, how it is stored etc, which are easily detected within a day or two. Cask is as naturally conditioned as you can get (or at least trying to be). Unfiltered, carbonated in the vessel it is served in, without anything extra added (not getting into breathers here ha). At best it lasts about 4 or 5 days until its basically not something you want to drink. There has to be plenty of knowledge on how to care and serve it. It can be the best beer you have ever had, or the worst beer, depending on how old and how it was conditioned ha.

    Nitro, at least to me, seems muted in every way. Though, even if you like it, It will never really change and is more similar to keg beer in that way. Also, it is an extra gas added that is not part of fermentation. Though it is easier to care for and serve, and has a much longer shelf life of coarse. A bartender doesn't really have to have any foreknowledge on nitro, just that it has to go on a specific line.

    Anyway, just some more thoughts I had.
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  19. Domingo

    Domingo Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    I like the texture, but it mutes the flavor and (especially) the nose. I don't know if I prefer anything on nitro vs. other dispensing methods, but it can occasionally be fun. Worth noting, I find that it makes almost anything excessively drinkable. That includes crazy strong beers that have no business going down that easy.
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  20. micada

    micada Jul 13, 2015 New York
    Society Trader

    ABT 12 seems like a weird choice for nitro, no? Maybe not. I always equate nitrogen use with stouts or quads to amp up a “creamy” mouthful and mellow flatten hoppiness. In the end, the result always seems like a “flat” beer.

    If nothing else, if done right, it’s a cool look in a clear glass for a minute.
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  21. micada

    micada Jul 13, 2015 New York
    Society Trader

    Now I have to find some non-nitro Tahoe Mountain Auld Bitch BBA Barleywine…
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  22. Tsar_Riga

    Tsar_Riga Sep 9, 2013 Indiana

    Nitro? When I see that, typically, I move on to the next option. I suppose it might work well somewhere, but in my experience it tends to deaden the taste. Mouthfeel might be slightly softer and lush, but I am not generally driven by texture when picking my brew. Once in a while I get turned off by something odd in the feel, but mostly it is a baseline expectation, nothing more. I'm all about flavor, and nitro tends to be a net loser for me.
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  23. JimKal

    JimKal Jul 31, 2011 North Carolina

    I understand what you're saying. In Edinburgh I had a cask ale that was absolutely delicious and the next day it was sour and almost undrinkable (well, for me, it was undrinkable). But, for me, I have to take what I can get. The look and feel of nitro reminds me of cask ales
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  24. crazyspicychef

    crazyspicychef Sep 27, 2012 Pennsylvania

    Totally depends on the beer & the style.
    I would never order or buy a nitro Belgian.
    To me, that would be like drinking a nitro champagne, just wrong.
    A Brit style pale ale, bitter or ESB, yes.
    Stout, definitely.
    Scottish ale might work as well.
  25. billandsuz

    billandsuz Sep 1, 2004 New York

    Carbon dioxide is the not mentioned fifth beer ingredient. Nitro dispense beer has much less CO2. Nitrogen otoh is inert, it brings nothing to the table. The missing carbonic acid is of course quite noticeable, and usually kills the hop brightness, mutes hop bitterness and increases perception of malt sweetness.

    For me, if it's not a decent Stout, nitro dispense is a mistake. Turns out I'm not alone. Nitro IPA's time in the spotlight lasted a bit less than a week.

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  26. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I have consumed a lot of cask ale in the UK (including Edinburgh) and on a handful of occasions they were 'off' due to oxidation.

    I am curious to learn more about your soured beer experience. Did you mention to the server that the beer went 'bad'? If so, how did they respond.

    FWIW I personally attribute my beer drinking experiences in the UK of infrequently tasting 'off' cask beers as a testament to the care they were given when the cask got too old; the pub owner would stop serving the beer went it went 'off'. Needless to say this costs the pub owner money since there is unsold beer but in the long run it is a benefit since the regulars will continue coming back to drink beers there.


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  27. beerjerk666

    beerjerk666 Aug 22, 2010 Florida
    Society Trader

    Are we talking more about draft Nitro or bottled/canned beers?

    I like beers on Nitro, but I find it more enjoyable if I know the beer NOT on Nitro first.
    I think it's more enjoyable that way.

    I really enjoyed the Left Hand Nitro series beers. The Wake Up Dead RIS Nitro was really good, imo.
    That Guinness blonde was a total miss.
  28. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 May 30, 2005 Michigan

    I keep some Guinness 0.0 in my fridge and have one maybe once per week. The nitro helps to minimize the watery character, but doesn't come close to overcoming it.

    Other than the Guinness I drink only 1-2 regular beers per year that are on nitro. I never see any taste enhancement ('unique' mouthfeel is no big deal to me), so I'll probably start avoiding them in the future.
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  29. champ103

    champ103 Sep 3, 2007 Texas

    I have been to many pubs around Aberdeen and Edinburgh. I ran into a couple of CAMRA members at a pub in Aberdeen and had a conversation. They had mentioned they could tell how old an cask was when they could detect a bit of cherry, which is slight oxidation. In their conversations with pub owners, they figured it was usually around three days. While, for them, it wasn't the main flavor characteristic at that point, it just gave another little layer. If the oxidation was more noticeable, they would stop drinking that particular beer, but wasn't normal to get large amounts of oxidation in the better pubs as they would either be gone or the owner would take it off. After that, maybe cause of power of persuasion, I began to notice a little cherry flavor in some casks as well.

    I did come across some "sour" casks, and didn't frequent those pubs after. I specifically went out of my way once to a pub to try Bass on cask. That was pretty bad and sour, it was the only place I found to serve it, so I don't know if that is how it normally tastes now on cask, or if it was old. I ran into those same CAMRA guys later and mentioned that, they laughed and said that particular pub is known for the worst cask in Aberdeen ha.
  30. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    IMO the main 'benefit' of a nitro serving is the creaminess it can provide to the beer's mouthfeel so if mouthfeel is unimportant than drinking regular CO2 beers is your best choice.

    There is also the consideration that @billandsuz mentioned above that nitro can for some beers enhance "malt sweetness". For example, I have in the past had North Coast Old Rasputin (a RIS) served via nitro and that beer was quite tasty so there is that.

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  31. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Yeah, a conscientious and attentive pub owner is needed when drinking quality cask beer.

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  32. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 May 30, 2005 Michigan

    Yeah, that's the main reason that I haven't gone exclusively to NA beers. In my effort to cut back on alcohol I've found 4 NA beers that I like and I rotate them every other day with regular beers. So the Guinness is in my rotation because it's palatable and similar to the real beer. I'm stuck with it, nitro included.
  33. md3kcn

    md3kcn Feb 4, 2021 North Carolina

    wait till i use helium to pour my beers
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  34. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    FWIW while visiting over the holidays the host had some NA beers from Athletic Brewing (a regular IPA and a Hazy IPA) and I had some small sample pours of those beers and given the context I thought they were pretty good. Maybe give them a try (if you haven't already).

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  35. John_M

    John_M Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    This is pretty much me as well. Some stouts (not all) and certain Scottish ales (Belhaven, obviously) are enjoyable on nitro. Beers that I can recall that really stood out include the Abyss, Founders Breakfast stout, Belhaven, Guinesss, and a few others. When I lived back East, it was popular (for a short while), to put things like nugget nectar, hopslam, and several other IPAs on nitro. Made no sense to me. Just as you stated, the nitro treatment dumbed down the flavor and gave the beer a soft, creamy mouthfeel that I didn't need or want.
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  36. 4DAloveofSTOUT

    4DAloveofSTOUT Nov 28, 2008 Illinois
    Society Trader

    Half Acre has done some incredible Nitro draft pours with barrel aged beers. I am a huge fan!
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  37. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 May 30, 2005 Michigan

    Except for their Oktoberfest beer all of Athletic's regular rotation beers have been around 8 months old when I tried them and they were terrible. Others in the NA thread have said the beers that you mention are good, so freshness appears to be especially important with NA beers and I'll continue to look for fresh versions.
  38. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I didn't think to check the dates on the cans. The story is that the person who brought the beer (her name is Colleen) is from Connecticut and is very good friends with a person who is an Ambassador for Athletic Brewing so I would presume those six-packs were fresh.

    Hopefully someday you might luck out and find these beers fresh.

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  39. dcotom

    dcotom Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Society Trader

    I've had a few nitro beers. Count me among those who don't get it. I haven't detected a noticably silky mouthfeel from any I've tried; on the contrary, they've seemed rather watery. That was my only knock on Nitro Merlin, which was otherwise very good.
    That Nitro IPA was so bad I didn't even review it. I just dumped it and cut the can open to take the widget out.
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  40. Blueribbon666

    Blueribbon666 Jul 4, 2008 Ohio

    I think Left Hand really nailed it as far as nitro in the can goes. Guinness draught has always been akin to muddy water for me and I'd prefer the draft or the export version.
    As far as style keep it dark, any other nitro's I've had that aren't dark, IPA, etc just have no business in that state as it just takes away from the style.
    Speaking of Left Hand's milk stout I hope the OG bottle version never gets retired as it's fantastic before the nitro. The nitro is probably my favorite nitro that's easily accessible.
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