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Thread: Equipment for measuring carbonation in already bottled beer

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Norcia, Italy
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    Equipment for measuring carbonation in already bottled beer

    QC Lab equipment question:
    Since we do refermentation in the bottle, I find it useful to know the amount of carbonation (grams of CO2 per liter) in the finished product.
    My main questions are:
    What is the name of the instrument that can test the amount of CO2 in an already capped bottle?
    Where can I get one (or who makes them)?
    And about how much do they cost?

    I'm sure they are expensive for a good one, but I think in the long run it would be cheaper than using an expensive lab.
    Br. Francis
    Birra Nursia
    Norcia, Italy

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    7

    Zahm & Nagel

    Hi Brother Francis,

    Products from Zahm and Nagel seem well respected. We are opening later this year, and even though money is tight, one of these is on the "necessary list".

    Here is the link to their product page.

    http://zahmnagel.com/Products/tabid/57/Default.aspx


    Also, here is a link of a Probrewer discussion with several sources and alternatives.

    http://discussions.probrewer.com/sho...ght=co2+tester

    Hope this helps


    Shawn

    Shawn Monnie
    French Creek Brewing
    Meadville, PA


    Busy doing renovations.
    Opening 2015

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    74
    You may also consider something like this
    Name:  Druckmesstechnik.jpg
Views: 1161
Size:  14.2 KB

    Available from http://www.barby-kuehner.de/en/produ...asurement.html

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Enterprise, Oregon
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    1,607
    You need both temperature of the fluid in the bottle and the pressure of the gasses present to determine carb levels, so I don't see the deviice above working very well at all.

    The Zahm & Nagel Series 6000 D.T. Piercing Device is pretty standard equipment. Not cheap, probably a long wait to get one new from Z&N, but worth it. Easy to use, and a great forearm workout!
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    74
    Quote Originally Posted by TGTimm View Post
    You need both temperature of the fluid in the bottle and the pressure of the gasses present to determine carb levels, so I don't see the deviice above working very well at all.

    The Zahm & Nagel Series 6000 D.T. Piercing Device is pretty standard equipment. Not cheap, probably a long wait to get one new from Z&N, but worth it. Easy to use, and a great forearm workout!
    Correct. The temperature of the beer will be the temperature of the room it's in.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Enterprise, Oregon
    Posts
    1,607
    OK. I'm used to pulling bottles directly from the line and checking carb levels at bottling temps (~0C). I also wonder how, if at all, the loss of the head pressure when uncapping the bottle would affect the carb reading compared to the piercing device, which measures the head pressure as well as the CO2 released by agitation. Be interesting to compare....

    It also just occurred to me that that thing could become a pretty fast projectile with the pressures at room temp (~ 32 psi @ 70F for our beer) if not tightened enough!
    Last edited by TGTimm; 03-04-2015 at 11:54 AM.
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Florence, Alabama
    Posts
    582
    +1 on the Zahm 6000 DT. Not cheap, but probably the best option for 99% of brewers

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Norcia, Italy
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    Quote Originally Posted by dberg View Post
    You may also consider something like this
    Name:  Druckmesstechnik.jpg
Views: 1161
Size:  14.2 KB

    Available from http://www.barby-kuehner.de/en/produ...asurement.html
    We do use those so we can tell when our refermentation is done. Unfortunately we can only have one per bottling. And I haven't been able to correlate the pressure reading with the amount of CO2 from our lab results (eg once the bottle read 4.38 bar and on another batch it read 3.52 but with both the lab results were 6.8 gCO2/L, even though the bottle sizes and shapes were the same, and I'm pretty sure the temperatures were the same.

    I think something to measure the volume of CO2 would help, especially to do multiple bottles across a bottling.
    Br. Francis
    Birra Nursia
    Norcia, Italy

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Norcia, Italy
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    Quote Originally Posted by dberg View Post
    You may also consider something like this
    Name:  Druckmesstechnik.jpg
Views: 1161
Size:  14.2 KB

    Available from http://www.barby-kuehner.de/en/produ...asurement.html
    Or are you saying there is an easy way to get the gCO2/L (or volume of CO2) just using a manmometer?
    Br. Francis
    Birra Nursia
    Norcia, Italy

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    74
    Quote Originally Posted by norciabrewmonk View Post
    Or are you saying there is an easy way to get the gCO2/L (or volume of CO2) just using a manmometer?
    No, you're basically doing the same thing that the Zahm 6000 will do. Knowing the pressure and the temperature, you can look up on the CO2 table to determine your CO2 volume.

    The difference you encountered before with the lab results I can't explain if the temperatures were the same. CO2 solubility is also dependent on the gravity of the beer (if you look at the chart, they tell you what the chart is for-it's also why there is a chart for water and beer).

    If you want to do multiple tests on a run and don't want to buy more gauges, then the Zahm is definitely the way to go. I was simply trying to give an alternative that is perhaps a less expensive way to go.

    Also, keep in mind we're all recommending Zahm because it's what we are familiar with in the US. Perhaps some of our European members can recommend a similar device that may have less of a lead time to acquire.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    UK
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    495
    As an alternative the the products mentioned above, you might like to consider a package piercing unit. This can then be used with a CO2 meter (eg. Orbisphere, Paar, etc.) but can also be used with a dissolved oxygen meter for measuring in-pack DO2 levels.

    The latter is very useful to monitor your bottling process, to ensure low headspace O2.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Enterprise, Oregon
    Posts
    1,607
    Once you have the Z6000 piercing unit, you can add the Z7000 New Style Air Tester to get a grasp on your headspace gasses (note that these units will not be correct if you have nitrogenated beer). While the Z7000 only measures non-CO2 gasses, it's pretty accurate to assume ~23% of the headspace gasses after the CO2 is removed are O2.

    We're very happy to get <0.5 cc of non-CO2 gasses in a 12 oz bottle, and being able to quickly test and confirm this results in great peace of mind.
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Fremantle, WA, Australia
    Posts
    7

    Calculating CO2 vs temperature in bottles using excel spreadsheet

    Hi from Bali, We measure our CO2 in the bottle (pre-pasteurised) and need to combine temperature reading for a more accurate calculation, therefore does anyone have an excel spreadsheet they are willing to forward that reveals actual CO2 pressure once the initial CO2 and temperature readings have been typed into a linked cell in the spreadsheet?

    Terima Kasi

    Mr Robbie

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    St. Louis, mo
    Posts
    72
    Mr. Robbie,

    There are many carbonation charts available on line that can provide just what you are looking for. They are far easier to use than trying to get a carbonation calculation into a spreadsheet. The calculations are not all that smooth.

    They are similar to this.Name:  CARBONATION_CHART_DRINKTANKS.jpg
Views: 476
Size:  104.9 KB

    Cheers,
    Matthew

    Quote Originally Posted by Roco View Post
    Hi from Bali, We measure our CO2 in the bottle (pre-pasteurised) and need to combine temperature reading for a more accurate calculation, therefore does anyone have an excel spreadsheet they are willing to forward that reveals actual CO2 pressure once the initial CO2 and temperature readings have been typed into a linked cell in the spreadsheet?

    Terima Kasi

    Mr Robbie

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Luton, UK
    Posts
    1
    Anton-Paar also have a carbonation measuring module as part of their Generation M measuring systems: https://www.anton-paar.com/uk-en/pro...le-carboqc-me/

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