Beer combines in a single beverage yeast, barley and hops. This brew has been enjoyed by different cultures around our planet for close to 8,000 years. In certain eras, it has been the drink people chose to have twice daily or more. British soldiers received as part of their “pay” a few pints of beet daily. Today, beer has evolved to suit diverse tastes and different needs. While carbonators provide the right level of CO2 today, newer systems, provide the chance for brewers to make their beer have a heavier mouth. These brewers employ a nitro beer system.
What is Nitro Beer?
Nitro refers to nitrogen gas (N2). This is not the gas used frequently in the production of most beers. The more commonly employed gas is carbon dioxide (CO2). While nitro beer still contains a percentage of CO2, nitrogen has been added during the process. If producers want nitro beer, they have to add it. While CO2 occurs naturally during the fermentation process, nitrogen does not. This does not mean that brewers do not also add more CO2. This is an essential component in the brewing process of many home, craft and commercial beers
The result of the nitro beer system is typically a beer that is 70 percent nitrogen and 30 percent carbon dioxide. If neither bottled nor canned, but left in a cask, the beer will require a specific delivery system to ensure it remains nitrogenated. Bars and other venues utilize special pumps to ensure the quality of nitro beer remains high. In both cases, producers and delivery systems must keep nitro beer at the correct level of carbonation or its unique qualities are lost.
Why Use Nitrogen?
Nitro beer is the use of nitrogen to create a beer that tastes and reacts with your palette differently than those beers that are prepared using the more traditional method. Those who enjoy nitro beer speak of its:
* Creamy taste
* Perfect head
* Thick mouth feel
This clearly differentiates it from its CO2 counterparts. Those beers are somewhat sharper on the tongue and palette.
Yet, nitrogen beer is not for everyone. It is, however, different from the vast array of beers on display at retail outlets. It also does require close attention be paid to the production system.
The Nitro Beer System of Brewing
Nitro brewing has been around for more than half a century. Guinness is notable for its nitro beers, including a new IPA. However, the technology they currently use is changing as other finds ways to alter the current nitro beer system into something more flexible and capable of injecting nitrogen into the beers on line.
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