In a way, nitrogen brewing of beer was in use long before nitrogen was even recognized as an element. Traditional English ales – stouts, porters, milds, and bitters – were developed long before refrigeration and forced carbonation. Wooden casks could not hold much CO2 pressure from fermentation, so they are naturally very low in carbonation.
Adding carbonation to the beer made the ales richer and creamier, with an attractive head. Pubs began to use “beer engines”, hand pumps that could pressurize the casks in the cellar to about 2 bars with air and deliver the beer to taps at the bar. Since air is 78% nitrogen, this was mostly a “nitrogenated” process. The problem is that the remaining 21% of air is oxygen. Unless the cask is consumed in about a day, it will begin to oxidize the beer and spoil the flavour. Pubs now use a 70%-30% blend of nitrogen and CO2 to pump low-carbonation ales.
The nitrogen bubbles produce a substantial and long-lasting head and create a smoother and creamier mouth-feel than CO2, especially in stouts and porters. The small bubbles in nitro beer fall downwards as the head forms because the small bubbles are more easily pushed around by currents in the beer, especially in a traditional pint glass.
Oxysystems will not just greatly reduce your reliance on CO2 and 3rd party supply, but our vortex technology ensures the purest nitrogen for your brewery. With our advanced sensors and monitoring features, carbonation becomes much more efficient. The nitrogen can also be used for tank purging and bottling giving you a tool for the entire process. Find out more about our Nitrogen Generator system.