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Old 03-04-2013, 08:14 PM   #11
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The way i understand it, the head would be almost entirely CO2 unless the nitrogen was introduced at the faucet. This is the only scenario i can see that would introduce N2 by turbulence. This is not the case though, instead N2 is used as propulsion, pushing the beer through the line. I would assume, from personal experience, that a beer with lower volumes of CO2 would naturally produce a more stable head.

In order to maintain a low carbonated beverage and still be able to push it through a 10ft plus long line, at a reasonable rate, a gas that is less soluble must be used.
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Old 03-04-2013, 08:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuri_Rage
Perhaps someone could design an experiment wherein beer carbonated to about 1.2 volumes is physically forced through a restrictor plate with no introduction of gas, be it nitrogen or otherwise. I'm suggesting a mechanical serving system for the purpose of showing that CO2 based foam is indeed stable. That pour could become the control in an experiment utilizing pure nitrogen, pure CO2, and beer gas for storage and serving. Pour each beer several times over the course of about 2 weeks, with the temperature and pressure of each keg kept stable throughout (except the CO2 keg, which would have to be dialed back for storage, lest it become overcarbonated). Note any differences.
I think your observations with argon accomplish effectively the same thing as a purely mechanical system: it clearly can't be nitrogen in the foam and there can't be a diffusion gradient effect contributing to foam stability. I say case closed.
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by choosybeggar View Post
I think your observations with argon accomplish effectively the same thing as a purely mechanical system: it clearly can't be nitrogen in the foam and there can't be a diffusion gradient effect contributing to foam stability. I say case closed.
I'd like to agree, but SO many texts cite nitrogen as a key player in foam stability. I would like to refute them outright with a well designed and executed experiment. I currently lack the means to do so, and I do not foresee buying the requisite equipment to do a side-by-side comparison.
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:33 PM   #14
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It was explained to me by a brewer I highly respect (though who is not a scientist) that the purpose of beer gas is to allow higher faucet pressures without excessive carbonation for the style. He stated that a negligible amount of nitrogen was ever dissolved in solution regardless of serving time. Therefore, by his description, the purpose of the nitrogen is entirely functional, and is actually intended not to interface with the finished beverage.

This makes perfect sense to me, and I believe the bubbles in a beer poured through a stout tap and pushed with beer gas are just full of CO2.
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:51 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuri_Rage View Post
I'd like to agree, but SO many texts cite nitrogen as a key player in foam stability. I would like to refute them outright with a well designed and executed experiment. I currently lack the means to do so, and I do not foresee buying the requisite equipment to do a side-by-side comparison.
What about the standard method of cranking up the CO2 to 30 PSI on a stout tap during the pour then purging back to carb pressure (for those that don't have beer gas).
My one concern about the argon experiment/argument is that it could be argued that the argon is replacing the nitrogen (I would bet you would get that, with no reasoning for it, from the the-bubbles-are-nitrogen crowd).

Also why is anyone believing someone who uses the term "bubblizing ingredient" when trying to "scientifically" explain the reason.
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:12 PM   #16
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If you scooped some foam into a bottle to fill it completely to the top, introducing a bit of degassed water into the bottom, sealed it, waited, and checked the pH of the water, maybe you could get an idea of the composition of the gas?
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:23 PM   #17
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If Nitrogen is ONLY used as a pushing "umph", then why does nitro-tapped guiness and the like have that famously creamy, smooth head as opposed to just spitting out flat beer?
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:26 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Die_Yankees_Die
If Nitrogen is ONLY used as a pushing "umph", then why does nitro-tapped guiness and the like have that famously creamy, smooth head as opposed to just spitting out flat beer?
Explained in the thread. Small bubble foam consisting of CO2 =creamy smooth head
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:29 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuri_Rage
I'd like to agree, but SO many texts cite nitrogen as a key player in foam stability. I would like to refute them outright with a well designed and executed experiment. I currently lack the means to do so, and I do not foresee buying the requisite equipment to do a side-by-side comparison.
I'm scientific but not engineering minded. If someone could design plans for a piston device to push beer through a stout tap, I be interested in making one, performing experiments and publishing. Fun!
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:49 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Die_Yankees_Die View Post
If Nitrogen is ONLY used as a pushing "umph", then why does nitro-tapped guiness and the like have that famously creamy, smooth head as opposed to just spitting out flat beer?
Because it is not hooked up to nitrogen - it is a 25:75 blend (usually) of CO2 Nitrogen. The beer is still carbonated with CO2 but the blend gas allows for the head pressure to be higher without overcarbing the beer.
Quote:
Originally Posted by choosybeggar View Post
I'm scientific but not engineering minded. If someone could design plans for a piston device to push beer through a stout tap, I be interested in making one, performing experiments and publishing. Fun!
Beer engine with a hose attached... now you just got to drop the $100-$200 on a beer engine
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