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Troubleshooting Nitro Pour

It’s been a while since I asked for help with something. Here it goes…

I just put an Irish Stout on nitro for this Saturday. I’m getting a creamy head, but not the cascading effect. Is it under-carbonated or do I need to turn the nitro up?

Last year was my first time playing with nitro. I accidently over-carbonated to start (CO2), degassed it and put it on nitro. I found that 20 PSI was the sweet spot last year.

This year (being worried about over-carbing) I put it on 10 PSI for a couple days then reduced to 5 PSI for a day (CO2), then switched to nitro at 20 PSI. This is a 3 gal batch BTW.

Tastes good either way. But there’s IMO no point to nitro if you can’t wow people with the pour.

Why not just turn up the nitro? Try 25 or 30 psi.

Have you cleaned out your tap recently? Could be clogged/dirty.

Everything is freshly cleaned. I turned up to 30 and poured another a few min ago. Cascading now, but too much foam. Gonna back down to 25 later. Will probably get the job done.

I suspect it is a little undercarbed. Pumping up the nitro feels a little like cheating.

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I have had a lot of the same issues. In reality you should be able to have the preasure up as high as 30.

My suspicion now is that I would have had better results with a much longer liquid line length. I have not used my nitro system for a while now, but this is what I plan to adjust when I do get back into it.

I only use nitro for dry stout on St Patrick’s day. Otherwise I prefer CO2. So I have to re-learn every year. This is where I should stop typing on NB and start taking notes for next year. :wink:

I think for this batch the sweet spot is somewhere between 25-30. I prefer a little more cascade than I got at 25 today and a little less foam than I got last night.

How long is your beer line?

How are you carbonating the beer?

I’ve had best luck carbonating to 1.2-1.4 vols of straight co2 the serving with 16’ of 3/16’s beer line pushed with 28-32psi beer gas.

There is some room for play depending on the style of beer.
12’ of beer line would be my minimum. 16’ gives me room for error. I never carbonate with beer gas. It can be done but not worth the effort.

[quote=“eichen323”]I’ve had best luck carbonating to 1.2-1.4 vols of straight co2 the serving with 16’ of 3/16’s beer line pushed with 28-32psi beer gas.

There is some room for play depending on the style of beer.
12’ of beer line would be my minimum. 16’ gives me room for error. I never carbonate with beer gas. It can be done but not worth the effort.[/quote]

Just curious, what temperatures are you generally using for your nitro beers?

My plan when I get back into beer gas was to play with the line length. Mine has definately been too short. Thanks for the info.

[quote=“eichen323”]How long is your beer line?

How are you carbonating the beer?

I’ve had best luck carbonating to 1.2-1.4 vols of straight co2 the serving with 16’ of 3/16’s beer line pushed with 28-32psi beer gas.

There is some room for play depending on the style of beer.
12’ of beer line would be my minimum. 16’ gives me room for error. I never carbonate with beer gas. It can be done but not worth the effort.[/quote]
I think my issue is that the beer is under-carbonated (as noted in my original post, I carbed with CO2 before going on beer gas) and I’m having to compensate with higher nitro output in order to get a good pour.

Given the higher pressure, I really should be using a longer line, but I’m not into the idea of switching out a line for one 3 gal. keg. Last year I got a perfect pour on my standard 5ft line at 20psi. Next year I’ll be sure to carbonate it properly. I brewed this year’s batch later than I should have and forced myself to rush the kegging process.

[quote=“kcbeersnob”] think my issue is that the beer is under-carbonated (as noted in my original post, I carbed with CO2 before going on beer gas) and I’m having to compensate with higher nitro output in order to get a good pour.

Given the higher pressure, I really should be using a longer line, but I’m not into the idea of switching out a line for one 3 gal. keg. Last year I got a perfect pour on my standard 5ft line at 20psi. Next year I’ll be sure to carbonate it properly. I brewed this year’s batch later than I should have and forced myself to rush the kegging process.[/quote]

I still think the issue is with your line length. I am able to get a perfect pour off my 6ft length as well, but only under very specific conditions (slight undercarbonnation). And the cascade is not exactly what you see at a pub - though not bad.

Eventually when the beer carbonnates out propperly, it pours as if is way overcarbonnated.

If you want to make sure the system is in balance for the duration of the keg, switching lines may be the easiest course.

[quote=“Brew Meister Smith”]
I still think the issue is with your line length. I am able to get a perfect pour off my 6ft length as well, but only under very specific conditions (slight undercarbonnation). And the cascade is not exactly what you see at a pub - though not bad.

Eventually when the beer carbonnates out propperly, it pours as if is way overcarbonnated.

If you want to make sure the system is in balance for the duration of the keg, switching lines may be the easiest course.[/quote]
I’ve got a St Patricks Day party on Saturday with 20 people coming over (the main reason I rushed this one). That keg should pretty much be finished by the time it ends. If I had five gallons and expected it to last my normal keg duration (3-4 months), I’d consider changing the line. I am open to this idea for next year, though. I just installed new lines recently.

In your situation you should be OK. My suggestion is starting slightly under the carbonnation you want, and it should even out as you go, under the high preassure. As long as pints are being served regualily (which I assume they will be) you should be able to empty the keg without overly heady beers. If you notice the heads getting a little larger, you can adjust the preasure down as you go.

Good luck. Wish I had my nitro going for this year’s festivities.

[quote=Just curious, what temperatures are you generally using for your nitro beers?

My plan when I get back into beer gas was to play with the line length. Mine has definately been too short. Thanks for the info.[/quote]

My keezer is set to 38F That’s where I like my beers served.

Best of luck. It’s a little tricky to dial in but worth it when you have it figured out.
I try to keep something on nitro year round. Russian Imperial, stout, baltic porter, Denny’s BVIP, Imerial IPA

Very successful party. While the pour was admittedly not perfect, I think it was good enough. Honestly, after the first couple pours, the novelty wears off anyway. Next year I might brew a slightly larger batch and do it sooner, so I have some time to tweak the system.

Most importantly everyone loved the beer. One guy even said it reminded him of how good Guinness is in Dublin. I think last year’s batch was closer, though. The thing that really surprised me was how good my Irish ale turned out (served on CO2, though). That was a first time brew. It even drew praise from snobs who proclaim to not like the style.

Good Job.

I love making stout. Always turns out great. All you have to do is get it in the ballpark of a pub pour and it is pretty satisfying.

Happy St Patty’s

:cheers:

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