Author Topic: Kegging with Nitrogen  (Read 2990 times)

Offline pmallory

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Kegging with Nitrogen
« on: November 25, 2010, 10:34:29 AM »
I am curious if anyone has force carbonated a homebrew with nitrogen.
If so, how was it different than CO2? DId it take longer? I am guessing it is more expensive. Does it pour well out of a corny keg?

I know which commercial beers are nitrogenated. They are usually darker stouts, but I have seen some others. Even an IPA, and the thoughts were that it was too smooth. I guess it hasn't caught on. Any ideas on other styles that work well being nitrogenated? It's interesting to imagine all of the styles that I've never tried nitrogenated. Sour beer nitrogenated, wouldn't that be interesting?

Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: Kegging with Nitrogen
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2010, 11:15:07 AM »
I have a beergas tap on my kegerator (75% nitro, 25% CO2) and it works well for a variety of styles.  Stouts and porters obviously lend themselves to being on beergas.  But I've had success with various English/Scottish styles (bitters, brown ales, 80/-, etc.) as well as some American styles (Amber comes to mind).  The trick with serving beer on beergas is to pour it through a stout faucet.
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Offline pmallory

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Re: Kegging with Nitrogen
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2010, 12:07:42 PM »
I'm not sure I understand: is the beer force carbonated with CO2, and then the nitrogen mix is only used to push the beer through the keg, or is the nitrogen mix also dissolved in the beer?

Offline cheba420

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Re: Kegging with Nitrogen
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2010, 12:25:43 PM »
I had the IPA on nitrogen at Odell Brewing in Ft. Collins, CO. last year and it is the most memorable beer I've ever had! I had never thought of having an IPA on nitro before and now, its all I can think about!!!! Effing Amazing!
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Offline kerneldustjacket

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Re: Kegging with Nitrogen
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2010, 12:39:46 PM »
I'm not sure I understand: is the beer force carbonated with CO2, and then the nitrogen mix is only used to push the beer through the keg, or is the nitrogen mix also dissolved in the beer?

You're first guess is correct...the nitrogen is used to push the beer out of the keg...it does not go into solution into the beer...at least at any noticeable level and especially at the pressures normally employed.
It's often used as a mix to push beer out of kegs over long lines in commercial situations. If one were to use just CO2, the beer would overcarbonate at the pressures required to move the beer through the long beer lines.
When used for stouts, the bonus is that you can push a low carbonation beer out of a stout tap and cause it to foam up...with no worry that the stout will take on extra carbonation.
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Re: Kegging with Nitrogen
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2010, 12:44:22 PM »
You can't "carbonate" with pure Nitrogen. Beer gas is usually 75% Nitrogen 25% C02. When you have the regulator set for 30PSI the beer is actually absorbing the 25% so, it's like having you beer hooked up to a C02 tank at ~7.5 PSI. That is where your beer is getting "carbonated" The Nitro pushes the beer at high pressure knocking the C02 out of solution with a "nitro" faucet which gives you the cascading effect and leaves you with a creamy Nitrogen head on the beer. The fact that the atmosphere(of earth) is ~ 70+ % nitrogen is the reason why the head does not dissipate as much.

Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Kegging with Nitrogen
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2010, 08:44:05 PM »
The problem I have with nitro taps is the same as with aggressive use of sparklers. They make the beer look nice but they knock all the condition out of it in the process. I don't really like to drink a flat beer, no matter how creamy the head is.
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Offline denny

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Re: Kegging with Nitrogen
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2010, 09:30:05 AM »
The problem I have with nitro taps is the same as with aggressive use of sparklers. They make the beer look nice but they knock all the condition out of it in the process. I don't really like to drink a flat beer, no matter how creamy the head is.

My objection, exactly.  AFAIAC, nitro pours ruin a beer. 
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Re: Kegging with Nitrogen
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2010, 04:18:24 AM »
I like it with stouts on the nitro faucets. I leave the beer gas on the other kegs of "regular" beers with regular faucets and it gives it a nice smooth creaminess without being flat. I set the regulators at ~ 15PSI for the regular faucets after I force carbonate with C02 only. Of course as the volume of the keg goes down I do lose some carbonation so, I elevate the PSI to ~ 18-20 to compensate for that.

Offline richardt

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Re: Kegging with Nitrogen
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2010, 07:00:00 AM »
It seems to me that there are two points being made here, both of which could be valid. 
Yet, I'm a noob when it comes to draft systems, beer gas, and nitro taps.

Point # 1:   "Nitro Taps basically degas the beer."
What about the 25% of CO2 gas (if using beer gas)--does all of the CO2 gas come out of solution right away, as well?
Is a nitro tap the same thing as a "sparkler" for a cask ale?

Point # 2:  "Using Beer Gas with regular taps allows lower, or regular, carbonation levels (but not flat), yet still has enough pressure (from the nitrogen gas) to serve through longer draft lines."

Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: Kegging with Nitrogen
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2010, 10:21:27 AM »
The problem I have with nitro taps is the same as with aggressive use of sparklers. They make the beer look nice but they knock all the condition out of it in the process. I don't really like to drink a flat beer, no matter how creamy the head is.

My objection, exactly.  AFAIAC, nitro pours ruin a beer.  

I should have invited you guys over when you were in town for the 2010 NHC. I think my Oatmeal Stout on nitro may have changed your minds!  ;)

Seriously though, i don't think my nitro fed beers taste flat. They're definitely not as carbonated as my CO2 fed brews, but that's kind of the point.  If the goal with nitro is to simulate the mouthfeel of cask beer (as it is for me), it's a pretty good substitute, IMO.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2010, 10:23:05 AM by Pawtucket Patriot »
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Offline micsager

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Re: Kegging with Nitrogen
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2010, 11:39:09 AM »
I have a beergas tap on my kegerator (75% nitro, 25% CO2) and it works well for a variety of styles.  Stouts and porters obviously lend themselves to being on beergas.  But I've had success with various English/Scottish styles (bitters, brown ales, 80/-, etc.) as well as some American styles (Amber comes to mind).  The trick with serving beer on beergas is to pour it through a stout faucet.

I always carbonate with CO2, and push with beergas.  Although here it's 70/30.  The beergas just keeps the flow under better control, and is just plain "better."  whatever that means.

Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: Kegging with Nitrogen
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2010, 11:51:04 AM »
FYI, I also initially carbonate with CO2 and then use beergas to dispense. You don't lose any CO2  when you switch to beergas so long as the psi contribution of the beergas CO2 remains the same. E.g., if at first I carbonate to 8 psi with just CO2, I won't lose any CO2 when I switch to beergas so long as the beergas psi is set to 32 psi and it's a 75/25 mix (32 * .25 = 8 ).  You don't have to use that exact formula, of course. It's just an example.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2010, 11:56:50 AM by Pawtucket Patriot »
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Kegging with Nitrogen
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2010, 11:57:25 AM »
Are you guys pushing over very long runs?  Because when I do a nitro beer I end up with a coil of beer line to take out the pressure.
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Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: Kegging with Nitrogen
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2010, 12:03:59 PM »
Are you guys pushing over very long runs?  Because when I do a nitro beer I end up with a coil of beer line to take out the pressure.

I use 5' of 3/16" ID tubing and my beergas regulator is set at 25 psi. Beer temp is always 40f.

Edit: I meant 5', not 10'. I use 10' of line for my CO2-dispensed beers.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2010, 12:30:03 PM by Pawtucket Patriot »
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