One of my favorite stouts, Left Hand's "Nitro Milk Stout," is supposed to be poured "hard" (rapidly dumping the whole bottle in the cup by holding it completely upside down)

Typical pouring was covered in a previous question: How do you pour the perfect beer

In another question Guinness (a 'nitro' beer) was brought up as a special case: Why does Guinness have a special pouring process / bottle, while other stouts do not?

Are all nitros poured differently than carbonated beers?

And are all nitros poured the same (or very similar) way?

(i.e. all carbonated are "soft" poured and all nitros are "hard" poured)

  • I seem to recall hearing (although I can't find evidence at the moment) that hefeweizens may be poured harder to ensure that the yeast is evenly mixed. I could be wrong about that though (and the more typical method of rolling the bottle is probably better, IMO).
    – user505255
    Jan 30, 2014 at 0:51
  • When you can do it without exceeding the glass...it's the right beer for it! I used to hard pour Boddingtons (and enjoy it a lot) . May 19, 2019 at 7:56

1 Answer 1


Beers served on nitro have only about 25-40% of the dissolved carbon dioxide compared to regular beers served only on CO2. For stouts, the figure is usually closer to 25% - 40% is for lagers served on nitro.

With only 25% of the carbon dioxide, there is less concern of creating too large a foam. Plus the nitrogen causes the foam to be made of very very small bubbles, which readily turn back into beer. You can see this as the cascade (video) after the beer has been poured hard into the glass.

If the beer served on nitro has more than 35% CO2 then it's a good idea to reduce how hard you pour - as the percentage of CO2 increases, so does the size of the foam with a hard pour.

  • Good info. I do love the cascade effect, though I do occasionally get annoyed at having to wait. I assume (or at least like to think) that they are designed to actually require pouring like that to taste their best, as opposed to it being a bit of [albeit very cool] hand-waving.
    – darwhen
    Jan 28, 2014 at 17:53
  • Oh! So that's where the cascade comes from! Nice!
    – Ryan Kinal
    Jan 29, 2014 at 18:50

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