Are some beers less carbonated?

Answered by Christopher Steppe

Some beers can indeed be less carbonated, and one such example is nitro brews. Nitro brews, also known as nitrogenated beers, are brewed and served with the use of nitrogen instead of carbon dioxide for carbonation. This technique gives these beers a unique and distinct mouthfeel and appearance.

Typically, a nitro brew has a ratio of around 70% nitrogen to 30% carbon dioxide. This higher proportion of nitrogen creates smaller bubbles compared to carbonation with carbon dioxide, resulting in a smoother and creamier texture. When poured, nitro beers often have a cascading effect, with the nitrogen bubbles slowly rising to the top, creating a beautiful and mesmerizing visual display.

The lower carbonation levels in nitro brews can be quite appealing to drinkers who prefer a softer and less fizzy experience. The smooth and creamy finish of these beers can be particularly enjoyable, especially in styles like stouts and porters, where the rich and velvety mouthfeel complements the flavors of roasted malts and chocolate notes.

I have personally experienced the difference in carbonation levels between nitro brews and traditionally carbonated beers. When tasting a nitro for the first time, I was pleasantly surprised by its velvety texture and the way the flavors seemed to glide over my palate. It was a unique and enjoyable experience, and I could understand why some beer enthusiasts are drawn to this style.

It is important to note that not all beers are suitable for nitro carbonation. The nitro tap system requires specific equipment and techniques to properly serve these beers. Additionally, certain beer styles may not lend themselves well to the nitro carbonation process. Beers that rely on a crisp and lively carbonation, such as lagers or highly hopped IPAs, may not be as well-suited for nitro treatment.

Nitro brews offer an alternative to traditional carbonated beers by using nitrogen instead of carbon dioxide for carbonation. The result is a smooth and creamy texture that appeals to many beer drinkers. While not all beer styles are suitable for nitro carbonation, those that are can provide a unique and enjoyable drinking experience.