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Adding nitro to my current keg set up

I’m interested in getting information on what it would involve, and especially cost, to add a nitro set up to my current keg system.

Right now I have a 3 and 5 gallon ball lock kegs in a full size basement fridge with a regulator that has 3 outlets, with 2 being used. Everything is contained within the fridge (so no openings in the door for taps).

Any suggestions/ideas? Thanks!

You would need a seperate tank and regulator for the beer gas. You can buy them specifically made as nitrogen tanks, but my gas guy has no problem filling a standard CO2 canister for a standard CO2 regulator with nitrogen.

You would also need a stout faucet. There would be no point in nitrogen without one. Not cheep - $100 range. So if you are just using a picnic tap right now, you likely would need to arrange some sort of fixed tap set up.

That is about it. Somewhere between $300-$400 all in?

I’ve been contemplating adding a nitro tap setup to my kegerator, but the price tag of the system is holding me back…it’d be at least $250.

The upside is that you can get all the pieces seperately and put it together gradually. Of course that is just theory. Once the idea is in your head you have to get it all together as quicky as possible!

Once you have it ready to go the payoff is pretty sweet. Velvety smooth pints of black irish goodness. And all sorts of other colors too.

I added nitro to my keezer configuration earlier this year. I think I paid around $60 to a fire extinguisher shop to build a 10 cu ft tank. Paid ~$50 for the Taprite regulator on an obscure site that I can’t remember.

I picked up two different stout faucets. I highly recommend the stainless faucet from Micromatic: http://www.micromatic.com/draft-keg-bee … ESF-4.html. It performs better than the other one. The only downside is that it’s not easy to remove the restrictor plate for cleaning.

It was awesome to be able to pour dry stout on nitro at my St Patricks Day party. But otherwise, it’s honestly not that magical. If I could go back, I probably wouldn’t do it again.

The upside is that you can get all the pieces seperately and put it together gradually. Of course that is just theory. Once the idea is in your head you have to get it all together as quicky as possible!

Once you have it ready to go the payoff is pretty sweet. Velvety smooth pints of black irish goodness. And all sorts of other colors too.[/quote]
Yeah, I know what you mean. It just sucks that I can’t get nitrogen filled in my town, have to drive 30 miles to get it. Not into that. Be super awesome to have my black IPA on nitro, though. For now, I’m going to add a third tap to my kegerator.

I have to drive pretty far to get my tanks filled too. And the downside of nitro is they need to be filled more often.

I’d say investing in a stout system is not worth it as a passing whim. If one of your favorite beers to make and drink is stout - especially irish stout - then it is very worth while to serve it up proper.

Thanks for the information/ideas. I have to say though that I love all sorts of beers on nitro, in addition to an Irish Stout. I recently had Odell’s 5 barrel pale ale on nitro and it was incredible.

I really like the creaminess and low carbonation of a nitro system (and I usually have fairly low carbonation on both of my kegs), so I’m wondering if there is a way to get close to a nitro taste/experience with a regular keg system - thoughts?? Or maybe this is how I will continue to support my neighborhood bars/pubs - going there to get a nitro pour!

Thanks again!

An oral syringe costs a couple bucks at any drug store. I’ve tried it and it works. Not sure I’d agree that it is ‘elegant’, but it does work…

http://byo.com/stories/item/743-head-games

[quote]By far the simplest, cheapest, and possibly most elegant way to get nitrogen in your beer and set a creamy head was inspired, again, by Guinness. …

Each six-pack came with a disposable initiator. The device was a small pump, like a medical syringe without a needle. The beer poured from the bottle with almost no head. The consumer was directed to use the initiator to suck up a little beer, then shoot it back into the glass at high velocity. This brought in some nitrogen-rich room air and seeded a bed of tiny nitrogen bubbles, creating an instant, creamy, Dublin-style head.

Upon discovering the concept, BYO researchers immediately tried to duplicate the technique. In other words, one night either too much beer or too much curiosity encouraged me to zap a glass of homebrew with a child’s medicine syringe.

Dosing Your Beer
The technique is exceedingly simple. Pour your homebrew into a glass, leaving an inch or two of headroom. Use the syringe to suck up some beer. Lift the syringe out of the beer and draw the plunger up a little more, until you have drawn an equal amount of air over the beer inside the syringe. You want a 50-50 beer-to-air ratio, but remember this is not rocket science.

Now, keeping the syringe above the surface of the beer, shoot it all back into the glass in one quick motion. Sit back and watch the bubble show. You will see that all-familiar dance, waves of bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass, forming a creamy, dense, nitrogen-seeded head. … [/quote]

Sounds like a nitro system would be a good investment for you then.

I tried the syringe method to no success - but it is supposed to work so I must not have done it correctly. Worth trying yourself to see if it works for you, because as mentioned it would be very cheep.

Otherwise, a beer gas setup is worth it as long as you use it a lot. I put lots of different beers through the stout faucet with great results. Though Guiness clones are my favorite. Just can’t beat a real guiness pour on you own brew.

An oral syringe costs a couple bucks at any drug store. I’ve tried it and it works. Not sure I’d agree that it is ‘elegant’, but it does work…

http://byo.com/stories/item/743-head-games[/quote][/quote]

The referenced BYO article was written in 1996.

From the article:
"Blending nitrogen and CO2, the way Guinness does, is not worth the trouble, Tanner says. “Mixed gas is more expensive and difficult to control for carbonation. The preferred method is to ‘carbonate’ the beer with nitrogen — obviously a misnomer here — and dispense as usual with low-pressure CO2.”

I believe, at least it’s my experience, that you DO carbonate at a low PSI with CO2, and then push the beer with beer gas (nitrogen and CO2).

As far as not worth the trouble, well, I just go down to my welding supply guy and order up a canister of beer gas. More expensive? Not that much more, if at all.

Cheers

The cost to fill a tank with beer gas tends to be the exact same as for CO2. However, since the nitrogen can not be compressed into liquid form as CO2 can, you just don’t get as much beer gas for the same amount of money.

Still worth it regardless.

[quote=“My1stPony”]Thanks for the information/ideas. I have to say though that I love all sorts of beers on nitro, in addition to an Irish Stout. I recently had Odell’s 5 barrel pale ale on nitro and it was incredible.

I really like the creaminess and low carbonation of a nitro system (and I usually have fairly low carbonation on both of my kegs), so I’m wondering if there is a way to get close to a nitro taste/experience with a regular keg system - thoughts?? Or maybe this is how I will continue to support my neighborhood bars/pubs - going there to get a nitro pour!

Thanks again![/quote]

You could buy the stout tap and wait on the other equipment. You could carb low, and dispense at high presure with CO2 to see if you like the effect. You’d have to monitor the time that the beer was exposed to the high pressure so it didn’t get too fizzy. I’ve done this. It’s ok. It’s better for a stout than just normal CO2 methods. It’s not as good as the real thing though. But it might give you a way to dip your toe in the process before going all in.

Personally, I really enjoy my Nitro set up. I got an old 5lb nitro tank and regulator from my employer and was able to swap it out locally for a beer gas cylinder. I got a used nitro faucet on ebay for $35…
I have something on nitro almost year round. Currently a double IPA. next up is Denny’s BVIP. A black IPA after that and a dry stout in time for St. Paddy’s.

Pervious posts have told you what you need… the gas cylinder, the regulator and the faucet. If you like the the style or idea. I say go for it. It trully gives a beer that you’re used to a new “depth”

Also, I charge my kegs to approx. 1.2 vols of co2 and push with 26-32psi beer gas 70/30 blend with 7’ of it think 3/16" beer line.

Thanks for all of the ideas. I am leaning toward doing this. And I have gotten some great ideas on how to make it more cost effective. I think I just need to get over the fear of the nitrogen tank becoming a “guided missile” - from Northern Brewer’s nitro set up information page!

Thanks again!

Has anyone tried the syringe method? Curious about this…

I’d like a stout faucet, but I’m not crazy about driving 30 miles every time I need to get a fill.

[quote]Has anyone tried the syringe method? Curious about this…

I’d like a stout faucet, but I’m not crazy about driving 30 miles every time I need to get a fill.
[/quote]

Sorry about the late reply.

I’ve never used that method but here are my thoughts…
You charge with co2 and push with nitro. I’ve yet to need to refill my nitro cyl and I’ve pushed 12 kegs. If it does kick on you. Toss it on co2 and serve it that way instead…at least until you can refill the cyl on your schedule. Just remember that if you hook it up to co2 you may carbonate it past what you’d want to push with nitro. Also, if you take off the stout faucet nozzel with the restrictor disk, you can use it as a normal faucet respectively.

[quote=“kcbeersnob”]
It was awesome to be able to pour dry stout on nitro at my St Patricks Day party. But otherwise, it’s honestly not that magical. If I could go back, I probably wouldn’t do it again.[/quote]
Having just returned from a business trip to England where I consumed my fair share of hand pulled beer, I will now recant my statement above. Since cask beer is completely impractical for me to try at home, I think I may put my nitro equipment back into service.

[quote=“My1stPony”]Thanks for all of the ideas. I am leaning toward doing this. And I have gotten some great ideas on how to make it more cost effective. I think I just need to get over the fear of the nitrogen tank becoming a “guided missile” - from Northern Brewer’s nitro set up information page!

Thanks again![/quote]

I got one this past Christmas and have had a Milk Stout and two English Bitters on it and have really enjoyed it. I wouldn’t want it as my only tap but it adds a dimension that is very unique when trying to have a variety of beers on tap.

I want a nitro tap on my keezer! You all have inspired me… Now, where to find the money?!

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