“Pop and Pour, Enjoy From A Glass” is what greats you when you’re about open one of the new Samuel AdamsNitro Project canned beers. Taking the technology that Guinness Draught Stout made famous when it was introduced in 1988. However this can that Sam Adams is using is a bit different as the widget, aka the nitrogenator, is not a floating ball as it is with Guinness, this one is mounted to the bottom of the can, but what pours is the same, a beautiful velvety beer.
After many months in the nanobrewery at the Sam Adams Boston Brewery, Sam Adams is now set to launch Nitro White Ale, Nitro IPA, and Nitro Coffee Stout in 15 oz. nitrogen enhanced cans. When adding this fifth ingredient of nitrogen it wasn’t all that easy to replicate an existing recipe with success.
“We started experimenting with nitro beers in the mid 1990’s when we brewed a Boston Cream Ale and over the years, I’d estimate we brewed more than 50 beer styles and worked with 200 recipes to ultimately create these three unique beers. We quickly discovered that you can’t just put any beer on nitro. We needed to develop recipes where nitrogen was the unexpected fifth ingredient and brought out the desired flavor profile of the brew. For example, with the IPA, the lack of carbonation reduces the perceived bitterness by cutting the acidity (carbonation produces carbonic acid on the tongue, nitrogen doesn’t) so without the carbonation we really had to amp up the amount of hops we used. We’re excited for drinkers to finally get a chance to try our Nitro beers and experience the cascade – which is like a science experiment in a glass,” Sam Adams founder and brewer Jim Koch stated in a release.
For those not familiar nitro beers are different than normal beers as nitro beers contain a mixture of nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Most beers rely solely on carbon dioxide (CO₂) to deliver the beer. Nitro beers typically use a mixture of about 75% nitrogen and 25% CO₂. Since nitrogen is pretty much insoluble in beer, this results in much smaller bubbles that create a rich, creamy head. Comparing this to beers that use CO₂, they generally have larger bubbles and a more pronounced acidity and carbonated texture.
Now Sam Adams is readying the national roll out of the Samuel Adams Nitro Project with Nitro White Ale, Nitro IPA, and Nitro Coffee Stout. These are said the be just the first three nitro beers with more to come from Sam Adams.
Nitro White Ale is the lightest of the three offerings and will most likely be popular where these offerings will be sold, especially at its lower 5.5% ABV. This medium bodied beer is very smooth and easy drinking and uses an ingredient that Jim Koch made popular many years ago on his TV commercials, Grains of Paradise. Now this spice is used by many craft brewers and is one the can make a beer just a bit more intriguing.
Nitro Coffee Stout is the most enjoyable of the three releases. This one pours a very dark, jet-black color that uses Sumatran Mandheling and Indian Monsoon Malabar coffee that adds a nice roastiness to this 5.8% ABV stout. We here in the Pacific Northwest are a bit spoiled as many of our regions breweries already set aside kegs of its nitrogenated coffee stouts. The only thing holding the Sam Adams Nitro Coffee Stout back is that its just a bit thin on its body. That being said having an nice coffee stout on nitro in a convenient can is something to behold.
Nitro IPA is also reminiscent of our regions IPAs that are on nitro. Just as with the recent offering of Guinness Nitro IPA, the Sam Adams Nitro IPA when initially poured has many of the hop nuances a bit muted. However this one is much more hop forward that the Guinness counterpart. The hops used in Nitro IPA are Amarillo, Centennial, Galaxy, Polaris, Simcoe, and Zeus. Once this beer warms just a tad more citrus, pine and floral notes become more evident in the 7.5% ABV IPA.
Sam Adams Nitro Project beers will be available in 4-pack 15 oz. cans beginning in February. Suggested retail price will be $8.99-$10.99 per 4-pack (all prices vary by market).
D.J. is a Portland, Oregon based writer that spent his formative years in the Midwest. With over 25 years under his belt of drinking beer at festivals across America and the world, he has developed a strong appreciation and understanding of craft beer and the industry that surrounds it. He can be found in any of the great breweries or beer bars that make Portland the best beer city in the world. His writing can also be found in the archives of Northwest Brewing News and can be followed on Twitter and Instagram at @hopapalooza.