What is Up With Nitro Vanilla Pepsi?

My review of Vanilla Nitro Pepsi

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What does Nitro Vanilla Pepsi taste like?

My one dietary weakness is Pepsi, but I usually stick to the classic cane sugar variety, but when I saw Nitro Vanilla Pepsi on the shelf, I knew I had to give it a shot. Pepsi is billing this as the first ever nitrogen-infused soda. Should it be the last?

Obviously, I had to do a review of Nitro Vanilla Pepsi, even if no one wanted to jump in and do a video with me because they were that dubious of it.

What Is Nitro Pepsi?

If you aren’t familiar with the term ‘nitro’ it simply means that whatever drink you are talking about has been pressurized with nitrogen instead of carbon dioxide. The result is a drink with much finer bubbles than traditional ones. This has almost exclusively been a thing for beers, but I did run into some Rise Nitro Brewing London Fog Milk Tea a while back. That was odd stuff.

To fully describe Nito Pepsi, I’ll fall back to the statement made in the press release for it:

“While soda has been a beverage of choice for so many consumers over the past century, some people still cite heavy carbonation as a barrier to enjoying an ice-cold cola.  With this in mind, we wanted to come up with a new way for people to enjoy delicious Pepsi cola, but with a new experience around the bubbles,” said Todd Kaplan, VP of Marketing – Pepsi. “Nitro Pepsi is a first-of-its-kind innovation that creates a smooth, creamy, delicious taste experience for fans everywhere. Much like how nitrogen has transformed the beer and coffee categories, we believe Nitro Pepsi is a huge leap forward for the cola category and will redefine cola for years to come.”

Personally, that heavy carbonation is 90% of why I drink Pepsi. I’m not sure what level of ultra-snowflake hipster you have to be to have regular carbonation be too much for you.

How to Pour Nitro Pepsi

Nitros have a whole cult built up around them, including how you pour them. Much like you would with a nitro beer, you don’t sip Nitro Pepsi from a can, but dump the whole thing “hard style” into a glass. This is the only thing hard about this soda. This releases all those little nitrogen bubbles at once and gives you that creamy Guinness-looking foam head.

So to properly pour Nitro Pepsi, pop the top and dump the whole thing into a glass as fast as possible. Get that can fully vertical and evacuate that Pepsi from the can as quickly as possible. I will say that it does make for a visually appealing presentation.

Pouring Nitro Pepsi into a glass
Pouring some Nitro Vanilla Pepsi into a pint glass

Nitro Vanilla Pepsi Review

Nitro Vanilla Pepsi is definitely a whole different creature from standard Pepsi. I came into this test fully expecting this to be just another gimmick. After I bought my can of soda, it sat in my fridge for a good while getting nice and cold until I worked up the will powers (and desire) to pop it open.

First Impressions Of Nitro Pepsi

The pop you get from opening the can is fun since the nitrogen come out of solution faster than CO2, and give a nice ‘pop’ instead of a slow fizzing sound. Pouring, it looks very pretty and if poured correctly really does look a lot like a think Guinness Stout beer.

Nitro Pepsi Taste Test

At first getting through the foam head is a bit weird. My brain was expecting a beer flavor when it saw that creamy foam. Once I got to the soda itself, it was an interesting experience.

The whole point of a nitro soda, at least according to Pepsi was to have a softer, smoother drink. That they achieved. Nitrogen makes very small bubbles, so there was none of the familiar popping/fizzing sensation that one is used to when drinking a traditional soda. Soft and smooth they definitely achieved.

Giving nitro vanilla Pepsi a try for the first time.
My first sip of Nitro Vanilla Pepsi

As for flavor, I’m still torn on what mixed drink Nitro Vanilla Pepsi reminds me of. Maybe cream soda and dark rum? On its own, the flavor isn’t bad and if it was carbonated the traditional way, I might actually like it. The vanilla came through nicely and the overall flavor was good.

An interesting fact is that because it was canned with nitrogen, the drink actually is less acidic and tastes sweeter than its traditionally carbonated counterparts. That makes it all the more surprising that this Pepsi variant has about half again as much sugar as traditional Pepsi, making it all the sweeter.

The vanilla variety tasted about one granule of sugar away from being a straight-up milkshake

Ross Yoder – BuzzFeed

Final Thoughts

After drinking a whole can of Nitro Vanilla Pepsi, my fear that this was all just a marketing gimmick feel very founded.

While the nitrogen bubbles make for a visually appealing glass of soda, the fact that the bubbles are tiny, makes the whole can feel like it had been sitting open overnight in the fridge. The flatness combined with the lower acidity just left it devoid of the brightness that I want from my sodas.

Overall, the sweetness of this drink was right at the edge of being what I would describe as cloying. The combination of these two factors makes me give a big thumbs down to Nitro Pepsi. Too sweet, feels flat in my mouth and just not anything I’d ever want to drink again.

Where to Buy Nitro Pepsi

If for some reason you like flat, overly sweet vanilla cola, you can likely find some at your local grocery store in the cooler case. If for some reason you can’t find it, Pepsi has a product locator that you can use to find a local store that is stocking this stuff.

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