Fresh off a limited Old Chub Scotch Ale Nitro launch at the Craft Brewers Conference in April, Oskar Blues Brewery will begin distributing the first American craft nitro beer in a can nationally. The nitro version of Old Chub has been modified from 8 percent ABV to 6.9 percent ABV to ensure full pint pours rather than 8-ounce or 10-ounce “tulip” or “rocks” glass pours as a result of the high ABV.
The original brobdingnagian Old Chub Scotch Ale 12-ounce cans will remain at 8 percent ABV. When you combine the drinkability of the nitro pour and the increased serving size of the over-pint 16.4 ounce nitro can, 6.9-percent ABV allows beer drinkers a chance to enjoy more cans. The new nitro cans will begin shipping next week to all 35 states that Oskar Blues distributes to, alongside the original 12-ounce Old Chub cans.
“The nitro style allows beer lovers to go deeper into the chocolaty, smoky, smooth mouth-feel and complex, rich malty flavors of the Old Chub Scotch Ale,” said Jeremy Rudolf, Oskar Blues Beer Traffic Control Freak. “Retailers and beer drinkers alike are looking for full pint pours. Moving the ABV from 8 to 6.9 percent will let bars and restaurants pour full pints of Old Chub Nitro, and we’re stoked for more people to have their mind blown with the uber-silky smooth oral experience when they try one of our best-selling brews in a new way. Why 16.4 ounces? Because that’s all the Old Chub we could cram in there.”
After years of experimenting with putting fresh draft beers on nitro, Oskar Blues Brewery decided to take the next step and insert the robustly complex Old Chub into a Nitro’ d can. Both internal and taproom trials were part of the new formulation process, and the 6.9-percent version measured up in taste to the 8 percent version while many liked the ability to have more than one.
“This wasn’t an easy undertaking, but in the end, we were able to craft the most appropriate incarnation of Old Chub for the nitro style,” said Brewer Juice Drapeau, who was a driving force in the project.
Nitro refers to the addition of nitrogen (N2) gas to the carbonation process. Nitrogen bubbles are smaller than CO2 bubbles and they don’t get along, so they react with and displace each other, creating the signature “cascade” when allowed to agitate, which contributes to the thick, creamy mouth feel of nitro brews. In the can, the special nitro widget releases nitrogen gas into the beer when it’s opened, causing the beer to cascade. On draft, a special piece of tap equipment called a restrictor plate forces the nitrogenated beer through tiny holes to help provide that necessary friction to create the Nitro cascade.
The self-dubbed “Chub Thrust” pushed the innovation of a quality nitro experience in a canwith the help of The Ball Corp. Old Chub Nitro utilizes an existing widget technology developed by Ball. The Nitro widget is attached to the bottom of the can and is charged with nitrogen during the filling process. The widget releases the nitrogen when the can is opened, liberating the cascading creamy smooth nitro pour.
Old Chub Nitro will continue to be available in 16.4-ounce 4-pack cans priced in line with Dale’s Pale Ale, Mama’s Little Yella Pils and Old Chub 12-ounce 6-packs.