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Thread: Carbonation techniques

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    13

    Carbonation techniques

    Folks--

    What methods of carbonation do you use? I have experience using a carb stone but my current tanks are not configured with carb stone attach points. I have been advised to cap the tank prior to full attenuation to capture some carb. At what point prior to full attenuation do you cap the tank? Also, I have been advised to place a 25 lb head pressure on the tank for 24 hours to achieve carb. In the past I have carbed the keg beer to 2.3 and the bottled beer to 2.6. What do you all do?

    Thanks,
    Damien

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Durango
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    83
    Can your tanks handle 25psi head pressure? How about having your stainless welder install sanitary 1.5 inch TC ports to each tank? Then you could just buy a few pre-fab carb stones and be on your way.
    Bottoms Up!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Redmond (Seattle), Wa
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    362
    Be careful, unless your tanks are rated for higher pressure, you should not go above 15psi. I agree with the prior post, have the TC port welding in and use a stone. What size system are you working with? Using top pressure might not lead to a consistent level of CO2 throughout the tank. Do you have PRV's fitted (maybe disabled) on your tank? If not, this sounds like a dangerous practice.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Eugene Oregon
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    125

    carbonation

    We have stones that we could use and ports in the servers, but don't use them. We carbonate fully in the fermentors. Here's our procedure for most beers:
    4-7 days fermenting
    2-3 to cool and start dropping yeast
    5-10 days (depending on beer and CO2 level needed) to carbonate by adding head pressure. 16.5-17 psi every day. CO2 dissolves into beer and I just keep adding until desired level is reached. I test using Zahm and of course by tasting.

    we do this for a couple of reasons. One, the stones have been removed by the brewer before me and I would have to find, clean, sanitize, inspect them all.(It worked for him, it works for me, don't fix what ain't broke). Two, we don't own a filter and the head pressure helps floc our highly flocculent house yeast. And Three, we have enough time in the FV to get this done. Those brewers who need to turn beers in 10-14 days won't have this luxury.
    It works for us though.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Colchester, Vermont
    Posts
    12

    force carbonating

    We have a set up at a brew pub that uses a 1/2" x 4" scintered stone with a 1.5" t/c ftg. with a welded on 1/4" hose barb. This fits into a short 1.5" diam. t/c pipe connected to a 1.5" t/c elbow and a quick ftg. that attaches to the bottom outlet of the brite tank. We force co2 through the stone up through the bb tank, through the p/r valve and then through a pump and return the closed loop to the co2 stone. 3Hrs. co2 and 24 hrs. nitrogen works for us. All this depends on your tank pressure rating, line run, etc. May not be perfect, but works fine. Little loss, especially since it occurs in a closed room! What this does allow, is one stone to carbonate several tanks since it is only tied up for 24 hrs at a time and no special ports on your brite tanks. At the end, attach head pressure and let it settle for a day...if possible...
    Good luck

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Mukilteo, WA
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    304
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M.
    We have a set up at a brew pub that uses a 1/2" x 4" scintered stone with a 1.5" t/c ftg. with a welded on 1/4" hose barb. This fits into a short 1.5" diam. t/c pipe connected to a 1.5" t/c elbow and a quick ftg. that attaches to the bottom outlet of the brite tank. We force co2 through the stone up through the bb tank, through the p/r valve and then through a pump and return the closed loop to the co2 stone. 3Hrs. co2 and 24 hrs. nitrogen works for us. All this depends on your tank pressure rating, line run, etc. May not be perfect, but works fine. Little loss, especially since it occurs in a closed room! What this does allow, is one stone to carbonate several tanks since it is only tied up for 24 hrs at a time and no special ports on your brite tanks. At the end, attach head pressure and let it settle for a day...if possible...
    Good luck
    Sooooooo.........Steve. Thanks for sharing that with us. If I may ask, what pump make and type are you using to recirculate the CO2 through the tank? Also, somewhere in there you must a tee that allows additional CO2 to come into the recirculating circuit.......right? What head pressure are you maintaining at the top of the tank head space?

    Thanx!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Colchester, Vermont
    Posts
    12

    technique

    O.K., here it goes but it requires some imagination...We call this system the Rubenator. The pump is the grey area. We were unable to find a pump that fit our needs, what we settled on is a ShurFlo pump used in carpet cleaners, Grainger p/n 4un55, +- $84. We run through 2-3 of these a year, not really meant for gas movement. But they are rebuilable atleast once and I always keep a spare on hand. However, figuring that for over 1/2 the year it runs almost continuously, rarely getting a night off, it works O.K. Also is small and lite so fits the app well. The set up is as follows: a pressure reg. connecting at the top of the tank; 3:00 is gas inlet, 6:00 is tank connection to prv valve, 9:00 gas outlet to pump, 12:00 is pressure guage. Gas outlet goes to pump resting on top of tank secured by wire. Outlet side of pump has a flow control "valve" that allows one to regulate the rate of flow to carb stone thereby controlling the foaming/action inside the tank. CO2 and/or nitrogen gets "pushed" through the stone and is recaptured at the pressure reg. and recycled to carb stone. The gas supply line, always connected, makes up any used gas. We vary CO2 pressure anywhere from 12psi to 20 psi depending on beer style, and depends on beer temp as well. We add nitrogen to all of our beers at 24 psi, which is also the head pressure required to reach our tap tower(s). The head pressure is mixed gas set to duplicate the respective gassing volumes to maintain correct mix. This set up also allows for relatively simple cip of pump and connecting tubing off a pump manifold. This is alot to describe without showing the actual set up. Hope it helps, if you find a better pump let me know. Steve
    Last edited by Steve M.; 11-28-2005 at 12:58 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Ben Lomond, CA
    Posts
    1

    brewer

    What temp do you force carbinate at? what's the warmest you can do it at?

    thanks!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Eugene Oregon
    Posts
    125

    carbonation temp

    SInce CO2 dissolves in liquid easier at colder temps, it is best to get it as cold as possible. As noted earlier in this thread, we force carbonate with head pressure rather than with stones and I do that after it is fully crashed. Due to our cooling inefficiencies, my beer gets down to 34ish in the winter and 36-37ish in the summer. Lighter beers take on CO2 faster than heavier (more alcohol and/or more body/dextrins)-maybe somebody can explain the science (density of liqiud??). Anyway, colder beer will carbonate faster.
    As an example, I have a barleywine (maybe 10 bbls in a 15 bbl FV) and I took 2 bbl out to age in whiskey bbls. THe barleywine in the FV is only in the mid 40's due to the cooling jackets not able to fully chill the beer. It is rather hard to get the CO2 to dissolve quickly. MAybe it is partly do to the "bigger beer" thing that I have noticed in my other beers, but I'm sure it has to do with it being a warmer beer.
    I have a feeling that this all holds with CO2 stones as well. Someone please correct me if I am wrong.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Colchester, Vermont
    Posts
    12

    chadbrew carb question:

    In our system, we carbonate in the brite beer rm., which is 46 degrees, in our brewpub. 'Technically' you could carbonate at almost any temp, the thing to keep in mind, besides obvious extremes (spoilage etc.), is that liquid absords differing volumes of gas at differing temps; i.e.:12 psi @ 40 degrees is different than 12 psi @ 50 degrees. I believe George Fix's book: PRICIPLES OF BREWING SCIENCE and Greg Noonan's book: NEW BREWING LAGER BEER, to name a couple of references, both address co2 levels at varying temperatures. Fairly easy to adjust to most specific situations depending on carb-ing method used.
    Good Luck, Steve

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Lincoln, Ne
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    20
    What do you guys make of this...

    Carbing kegs with stones, with a unit that pushes CO2 in for 6 minutes with a purge every few seconds? - Does too much purging remove hop aroma?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    St.Louis->Tacoma
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    633
    I have always carbonated in a sealed tank, and never vented unless i am over-carbonated. I just started at a new brewery and their process confuses me. Once in the SV we blast through the carb stone and vent just a little bit via the CIP. Since we use a nitrogen Co2 blend it seems to me that the nitrogen is striping out the Co2 and the Co2 is stripping the hops as gas leaves the CIP.
    Is there somthing i am missing, or is venting while carbonating wasteful and redundant?
    Thanks
    Jeff

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Redmond (Seattle), Wa
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    362
    Well the reason they are doing this is because it evenly carbonates the tank. Cracking the valve to allow a very small amount of co2 out while still keeping the headspace pressure high (at or above the psi for your equalibrium) will not strip out co2. Seems like a waste of N since the solubility of that gas at that temp and low pressure (assuming you are using non-ASME tanks with a legal limit of 14.5 psig) most likely is not really getting into solution. We use direct co2 for gassing to volume and then use mixed for pushing to taps.

    Hope this helps,
    -Beaux

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Abingdon, VA.
    Posts
    190

    what about micro-only/non brewpub carbonating

    Are distribution only breweries using brite tanks to carbonate and the transferring to kegs under pressure, carbing each keg via a manifold, or some other technique for carbonating? Seems like a brite tank doubles as a serving vessel and a carbing vessel. What am I missing (on this point, anyway).

    Chris
    _______________________
    Chris Burcher, Wolf Hills
    Abingdon, VA

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Palau
    Posts
    1,568

    Wait a minute here.

    I do not know why anyone would recirculate CO2 through beer to carbonate it. For any reason. Doesn't recarbonated beer have a taint to it? Isn't any gas scrubbing detrimental to delicate aromas? Doesn't foaming destroy foam-positive proteins? Beauxman has a point in even carbonation--but I counter that a proper BBT will roll the contents via cooling currents set up by proper placement of jackets. In My Humble Opinion, beer should be naturally carbonated to the extent possible by the ratings on your tanks, and use of spunding valves set appropriately at the end of fermentation. But even at 15 psi terminal pressure, once you crash your temperature, your CO2 saturation decreases and ever-judicious use of fine-bubble carbonation stones is prudent. Head pressure on a BBT might work to some extent, but it does not "roll" the beer through the same carbonation route as a properly placed stone (or fermentation if you're foolish enough to waste CO2!). I think use of quick head pressure alone to carbonate beer would certainly lead to stratification. (OK, I don't know that). I don't like the idea in a production brewery. I have heard of stratification of CO2 saturation in large tanks, but mainly due to static head pressure. The bottom of the tank will have higher CO2 content than the top of the tank. I have only read this and have not experienced this. For small breweries I don't see a reason why carbonation can't be done naturally to the extent possible. Better tiny bubbles, head formation, retention, and lacing--with less cost. I am totally not familiar with other techniques. Venting? why?
    Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--
    Worldwide Brewery Installations
    www.GitcheGumeeBreweryServices.com

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