Category Archives: Nitro

Nitro Breakfast Stout

I finally got around to fixing my nitro tap, so I brewed a low-gravity stout and plan to add some coffee for a rich breakfast-y delicious beer!

  • 6.5 lb UK Pale malt
  • 1 lb flaked oats
  • 1 lb flaked barley
  • 0.8 lb roasted barley (UK)
  • 0.4 lb chocolate malt (UK)
  • 1.5 oz Kent Goldings (60 min)
  • 0.5 oz Kent Goldings (9 min)
  • 1L Starter WLP Irish Ale

// Mash-in at 152F w/ 4 gal water. 1 tsp CaCl2 to mash. First stuck sparge on the new system! Wasn’t able to recirculate the wort, so the temp probably dropped way down. Sparged to get 6.6 gallons 1040 wort. Boil 60 minutes, collected around 5.5 gallons of 1042 wort. Chill, oxygenate 60s w/ regulator on low, pitch whole starter. Brewed 3/18/17. //

3/20/17  Airlock activity slowed, gravity at 1011. Somewhat thin, but decent roast flavor. Bitterness is a little aggressive. Added 1.25 oz course ground Columbian coffee (Giant brand) loose to carboy, set it fridge to crash cool.

3/21/17  Racked to keg. Coffee flavor is ok but somewhat burnt. Probably should have stuck with the Ethiopian. Bitterness has smoothed over. Still fairly watery, but I’m imagining this will feel great on nitro. Set pressure at 15psi, will leave there for one day before switch to beer gas.

4/2/17  Bitterness and body is appropriate (nitro always helps!), but tastes a little burnt in terms of malt flavors. Tasting notes soon.

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Filed under Balanced, Nitro, Stout / Porter

Best Bitter

My nitro tap has be vacant for a while, partly due to a leak in my gas line that depleted the tank on my last batch and my unwillingness to go get the damn thing refilled. This should be a nice pick-me-up for the tap; a fairly standard English Bitter with a full bill of English ingredients.

  • 9 lb Muntons Maris Otter
  • 0.8 lb Muntons Medium Crystal 60L
  • 0.1 lb Muntons Extra Dark Crystal malt
  • 3 oz UK First Gold (60 min) (3.5%aa)
  • 1 oz UK First Gold (10 min) (3.5%aa)
  • 1 oz UK First Gold (0 min) (3.5%aa)
  • Wyeast London ESB

// Mash-in 2 qt/lb at 154 for 40 minutes. Sparge w/ 3.7 gal 170F water. Collect 7 gallons 1040 wort. Boil 40 minutes. Collect around 4.5 gallons 1.048 wort. Pitch 1L starter. Could only get the temp down to 85F with the hot weather and water temp. Moved to basement to ferment at 65F. Brewed 8/26/16. //

The yeast was dated April, so I made a 1L starter to get it going again. It had no problem fermenting out the starter, and tasted fine before pitching.

Water: 2 tsp gypsum, 1/2 tsp CaCl2 to mash. Nothing to sparge.

8/27/16:  Lots of activity, slight blow-off into the airlock.

8/29/16: gravity at 1020. Nice esters and malt flavor, but the hops are sharp and, well, bitter. Hoping this mellows.

9/1/16:  Gravity still at 1020, but much better flavor. Hops are less sharp and just tastes like a great English ale. Slightly sweet. Much clearer, too. Kegged and put on the nitro tap at 30 psi. Tasting notes!

 

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Filed under All-grain, Amber, English, Hoppy, Nitro

Nitro Coffee

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Nitrogen-infused coffee is a thing. And it’s wonderful. The nitrogen adds that creamy body that makes it resemble a Guinness, while still having the smooth refreshing flavor of cold-brewed coffee. I’ve come across a few coffee shops / breakfast places that serve it; not sure if it will take off and wind up at Starbucks, but I sure as hell like it.

  • (4) 10 oz packs of ground Columbia coffee
  • 5 gallons cold tap water

// Pour grounds into bucket. Pour water into bucket. Stir well, wait 10 minutes. Stir well, wait 10 more minutes. Stir well, cover surface //

The reason for all the stirring and waiting is because the grounds will float up and form a giant layer of sludge on the water surface. Stirring will mix it back it, but you’ll need to repeat a few times to make sure the grounds have good contact with the water.

Typically cold-brewed coffee is brewed, well, cold. I didn’t have enough fridge space to fit a 5 gallon carboy at the time so I just let mine steep at room temperature. I did some looking around online about cold-brew methods for coffee. It seems like the general consensus is that room temperature is fine, but it won’t be as “smooth” as if it were done cold. Some say the coldness helps to slow the rate of oxidation, which ultimately makes the coffee taste stale. I laid a few sheets of plastic wrap down on the surface to keep out as much air as possible, so hopefully that will suffice. Let it sit for 24 hours.

Separating the coffee from the grounds and transferring to the keg was interesting. There was a large share of grounds still on the surface, as well as at the bottom. I could have siphoned, but I was a little afraid of too much grit getting through and clogging. In a perfect world, it would be awesome to have a giant french-press to push all the grounds to the bottom. Instead I wound up pouring the coffee through a funnel lined with a fine mesh nylon filter, straight into the keg. It was quick, effective, and easy, but I definitely splashed the coffee around in the process. I vented the keg several times with nitrogen to hopefully purge any oxygen from the solution.

Nitrogen-ating took about a week to really infuse and pour with a solid head. The final product was very enjoyable. Incredibly easy to make (almost as easy as cider!). Unfortunately the biggest barrier to entry is the nitrogen system in case you’re thinking about trying this. Beware – there are posts/articles about “shortcuts” to make nitro coffee like this one – this just seems like a dangerous idea so I would advise doing it for real and setting up a nitro system. It’s a little pricey, but hey, now you can put beer AND coffee on tap!

Appearance:  A bit paler than I expected – a lightish brown / ruby red highlights, certainly not as dark as a standard cup of coffee. Fantastic creamy nitro head that lasts forever.

Aroma:  The nitro tap really aerates and brings out the aromas. This was no exception. The coffee aroma really jumps out of the glass.

Flavor: Smooth, silky, delicious roast. I’m not a coffee connoisseur, but Columbian coffee is a little more “fruity” to me than other more bolder, smokier roasts.

Mouthfeel: Suuuuuper creamy.

Overall: A fun experiment that I genuinely enjoyed drinking! I think upping the amount of grounds by 25% would be a good thing. I yielded about 4 gallons, which was honestly a lot of damn coffee. It lasted a long time (~2 months) on tap, because it’s not something you can really drink in pints. I had a small (6 to 8oz) glass each morning and that was enough for me. Any more and I was bouncing off the walls from the caffeine.  It might also be cool to try blending other ingredients like spices and fruit to make a fall spiced coffee or spritzy summer version.

 

 

Pour it in

 

 

Seal the top with plastic wrap

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Filed under Coffee, Experimental, Nitro

Quick Bitter on Nitro

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A quick 3 gallon English bitter for the nitro tap. Brewed 12/7/15.

  • 6 lb English Pale
  • 0.7 lb Victory (Briess)
  • 0.2 lb Chocolate (Briess)
  • 1/3 oz Nugget @ 60, 10, 0 min
  • WYeast 1318 London Ale 3

// Mash-in 1.45 qt/gal (2.5 gal) at 152 for 45 min, sparge to collect around 3.25 gal. Boil 60 min, 0.25 tsp yeast nutrient and 1/2 whirlflock tablet at 15 min, whirlpool at flameout for 20 minutes. Add ice to get down to 100F. Let sit in fridge for 2.5 hrs to get down to around 85F. Collected around 2.5 gal 1052 wort. Added 1 quart filtered water, which should bring it down to 1047.  30s pure O2,  pitch yeast. //

// Water: 1 tsp Gypsum, 0.25 tsp CaCl2 in mash //

Quick fermentation – done in about 4 days with a healthy layer of yeast waiting on top. Crash cooled for 36 hours and it sunk to the bottom. Gravity at 1017. Threw it on the nitro tap and it tastes a little sweet off the bat, but finishes with a pleasant toasted bread character and slight bitterness.

THE VERDICT

This was probably as close as it gets to having a classic English bitter cask ale at the ready without a hand pump. It was a pleasure drinking this beer on nitro rather than CO2. Without the nitro, there wouldn’t be that creamy head, smooth body, and the toasted malt flavors wouldn’t be as delicate. My first time using London Ale 3, and I’m a fan. It’s cleaner than the ESB strain (which is my go-to for English ales), but it still has wonderful character – it left a very malty, slightly sweet beer with great flavor. I can see how this would be a versatile strain for pale ales, stouts, ambers, or even an interesting IPA. The malts were at the forefront, with only a hint of hops peaking through every so often.

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Filed under All-grain, Amber, English, Malty, Nitro

Nitro Irish Stout

IMG_0030I threw together this recipe sometime in early October 2015 and never really documented it; unfortunately it, like a few other beers, got lost in the mix amongst wedding beers and sour experiments. Here’s a quick recap and some tasting notes. 4 gallon batch, which was around 1040 OG.

  • 4.5 lb English Pale
  • 1 lb Flaked barley
  • 0.7 oz roasted barley (Briess)
  • 0.2 oz chocolate malt (muntons)
  • 0.2 oz crystal 40
  • 0.6 oz cascade 60 min
  • 0.3 oz cascade 45 min
  • WYeast Irish Ale

THE VERDICT

Overall I was extremely happy with this fairly close rendition of a Guinness.  It was easy to make, quick to ferment, and a really sessionable beer to have a pint of just about whenever. The nitro tap really works wonders for bringing out the smooth creamy body. The roast flavor was appropriate for a dry Irish stout – certainly not a coffee-forward aroma or flavor, but it got the point across. I would have liked a little more chocolate and burnt character to come through so I might try a different brand of roasted barley next time and/or up the chocolate malt at bit. The visual cascading nitro effect was there (see below), but more so when I used a thinner pilsner glass, less when I used a regular pint glass. Regardless, a really enjoyable beer that, in my opinion, tastes better than the 6-month-old Guinness keg that every bar has on tap 🙂

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Filed under All-grain, Malty, Nitro, Small Batch, Stout / Porter