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Old 01-02-2008, 12:00 AM   #1
jesse
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Just wondering if using nitrogen to carb will change the flavor of beer vs using co2 to carb. I went to a local bar last weekend that serves a beer called thumpers that i have had before and loved.I had the same beer this weekend(1 week later) and couldn't put down a pint.It didn't taste like the same brew at all..So i asked the bartender what was wrong with it..he said that they had mixed up lines and had been running nitrogen through it instead of co2....and that now it was fixed and running on the co2...I call bull****.I guess my qustion is simple... Can nitrogen change the flavor of beer fom love to hate??? I thought both gasses were tasteless???

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Old 01-02-2008, 12:20 AM   #2
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sorry..Meant to post in kegging... If someone could move me..

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Old 01-02-2008, 01:11 AM   #3
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I'm pretty sure it only gives it a smoother carbonation. Changing flavor some, but not enough that you would love it one way and hate it the other I wouldn't think. I had a Guinness at a bar one time and I know they were probably using straight co2 instead of the mix they are supposed to to dispense it. The difference was noticeable, but it still tasted like Guinness for the most part.

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Old 01-02-2008, 02:51 AM   #4
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I am a big fan of Belhaven scottish ale in bottles, but when I tried it in the draught cans with the nitrogen widget I hated it. So far every beer I've had in draught cans has a discernable flavor that I haven't picked up in non-nitrogen beers - I like it just fine in stouts (Murphy's, Guinness) but can't stand it in other styles (Scottish, Bitter). Based on my sampling, I have assumed this flavor is due to the nitrogen. I realize that nitro widgets and nitro draft systems aren't the same though, so this may not apply to draft beer.

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Old 01-02-2008, 03:27 AM   #5
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Nitrogen will make the beer seem "flatter" because when nitrogen reaches equilibrium with the atmosphere 70% of it is out of your beer (not that there was too much to begin with). By the way when someone says "nitrogen" they mean beer gas, which is around 70%N 30%CO2 because nitrogen alone cannot really carbonate beer, it doesn't dissolve easily in liquids. Nitrogen can make a beer seem maltier and smoother, and will create a creamier head but doesn't really change the flavor, so to speak. However I think it does change perception, when I carbonated my dry stout it seemed thin and harsh, but then I used the "double pour" method and the beer came to life. The double pour is essentially pouring the beer a couple of times to knock the CO2 out and it mimics a nitro draft pour, makes the beer flatter. So nitrogen can change perception, which is important.

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Old 01-02-2008, 02:18 PM   #6
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I suppose that it would make the beer seem smoother and creamier... with the smaller bubbles. I have made tons of brews carbed with straight C02 that have massive frothy heads Simpsons style so depending on the beer I don't know if there is a difference. Like Iordz mentioned, nitrogen can change the perception making it more desirable (Guiness for example). For homebrew, I think its an unnecessary expense and effort. I think there are other avenues you can explore that will improve your brew without playing with nitrogen. If you don't mind the expense of a second tank, regulator, lines, and taps, go for it! It looks cool!

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Old 01-02-2008, 03:11 PM   #7
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It could be that you are confusing "taste" described here

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taste

and (what some call) mouth feel of a beer with less CO2 aganist a beer with more CO2.

Then again it could be that different batches of brew taste different even though they are supposedly the same style because of variations in the brewing process.

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Old 01-02-2008, 03:37 PM   #8
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Here's how I justified using 100% N2 for kegging my stouts, (and stouts only)

Caveats: Most of us bottle/keg at ~1ATM (atmospheric pressure at sea level)
Many of us still have viable yeasts that naturally carbonate with CO2

I prime my Kegs like I prime my bottles (with DME) so I get natural CO2 carbonation.
I also add 15psi N2. As CO2 production increases, the pressure of the closed system ie. Keg, increases, increasing the solubility of the N2 in the beer. The effective carbonation is similar to a 70/30 mix. When dispensed, you don't get any head overflow, and the visual is more impressive - wait until the beer clarifies ( 15 sec or so) as the N2 rushes out of solution back to equilibrium with the air.

FWIW- CO2@ at Room Temp and 1 ATM solubility is 1.5g/kg liquid - N2 is 0.02g/kg
Serving Temp - CO2 = 2.5g/kg and N2 is 0.025 g/kg


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Old 01-02-2008, 05:48 PM   #9
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Randy,

What additional expenses are required for this? Just a seperate N2 tank, regulator, and tap? So you prime with DME, close up the keg, and leave the keg connected to a N2 tank while the yeast create CO2? If you put in 15psi into the headspace on a keg and pulled the tap... thats not all that much volume for 5 gallons. If you left the tap on, wouldn't the yeast push N2 back into the tank as they created CO2? N2 is lighter than CO2, correct so it will settle to the top of the keg?

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Old 01-03-2008, 12:40 AM   #10
jesse
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iordz
Nitrogen will make the beer seem "flatter" because when nitrogen reaches equilibrium with the atmosphere 70% of it is out of your beer (not that there was too much to begin with). By the way when someone says "nitrogen" they mean beer gas, which is around 70%N 30%CO2 because nitrogen alone cannot really carbonate beer, it doesn't dissolve easily in liquids. Nitrogen can make a beer seem maltier and smoother, and will create a creamier head but doesn't really change the flavor, so to speak. However I think it does change perception, when I carbonated my dry stout it seemed thin and harsh, but then I used the "double pour" method and the beer came to life. The double pour is essentially pouring the beer a couple of times to knock the CO2 out and it mimics a nitro draft pour, makes the beer flatter. So nitrogen can change perception, which is important.
you hit the nail on the head..It seemed way smoother with a dryer way maltier finish. thanks...
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