Firestone Walker Nitro Merlin Milk Stout has been canned for the first time this month.
Two years ago, Nitro Merlin Milk Stout debuted on draft. Since then, Firestone Walker’s brewmaster Matt Brynildson has been researching options to make it work in cans. Ultimately, the brewery accomplishes this without a nitrogen widget.
“We looked at widgets, but couldn’t find a way to use them without exceeding our specs for total dissolved oxygen in the beer, which ultimately affects freshness and shelf life, so we had to look elsewhere.” -Matt Brynildson
The brewery retrofitted the brewery’s canning line with a liquid nitrogen drip machine. A drop of liquid nitrogen is dropped into the can, which immediately turns into nitrogen gas. The can is filled and sealed, mixing the gas in both the liquid and trapped in the headspace. For best effect, use what Firestone Walker calls the “surge pour” by inverting the can three times and pouring hard.
Flavor. Nitro Merlin has been an incredible beer since its inception. Brynildson and his team ported the beer over to cans beautifully. The beer is smooth and creamy, with just a touch of lactose sweetness and hints of milk chocolate. If you’re into beer pairings, drop a few dollars and order Brown Butter Cookie Company’s “Original” cookies . The pairing is as heavenly as it is addictive. They compliment each other so well, you actually want to dip the cookies in the beer. (And fight your friend/lover/spouse for the last bite and sip.)
Firestone Walker Nitro Merlin Milk Stout is the brewery’s first packaged nitro beer, hitting shelves nationally in January 2018.
Image: Beer Street Journal