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Carbonation of Hard cider help.

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  • Carbonation of Hard cider help.

    We are a small craft cidery based in BC , Canada. Looking for some timely advice on carbonation of our cider. We have 2 x 2000 Liter brite tanks. Glycol cooled to 3 Degrees Celsius. We have 20 Percent head space on each tank and they have been on 10 PSI of C02 for a few days. We are not seeing the carb levels we expected. Wondering if anyone has pointers or a basic time line for when we should expect it to be ready to can? We are suppose to have mobile canners in in 4 days time and everything ive read online has said it should not take more than a few days to carb. Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    You would have to leave it standing for a very long time to carbonate like that. You really need to carbonate in-line on transfer to the tanks, or perhaps more commonly, carbonate in-tank using a carb stone. Since it sounds as though you don't have a carb stone in the tanks, then probably the best option will be to trickle, and I mean trickle, CO2 through the bottom in/out valve. The gas bubbles need to be as fine as possible to maximise the chance of dissolving some, hence only slowly trickling it in slowly. The trickle will also circulate the cider, so you get more consistent carbonation. I would also be tempted to increase the top pressure to say one bar / 15 psi, again to increase the rate of gas solution.

    There are loads of discussions on this site about carbonation, none I think particularly recent, but stick to gitchegumee's methodology This thread might help -


    • #3
      As Dick mentions above, although in principle applying head pressure should get the product carbonated, it will take an agonizingly long time to get there.

      You can speed it up quite a bit by sparging gas through one of those ‘carbonation stones’ but even that may not be fast enough for production demands. Worse, there is a lot of gas wastage and stripping of flavors that occurs with these methods.

      For future batches, consider an inline carbonation system- There are options to carbonate directly as you fill your tank (single pass), or recirculate the product through the carbonation system after a tank is filled. For For example, you can carbonate the 2000L batch in less than 15 minutes! There are also systems that you can feed flat product, carbonate on-the fly and send product directly to the packaging lines:
      Mechanical Engineer, QuantiPerm


      • #4
        Use a carbonation stone. There's a reason that it's the universal answer to carbonation in small breweries. There is zero wastage as long as you don't purge your tank simultaneously for some reason. Using a stone may also be done in-line as you pump cider from side port through bottom port. You should be able to go from post-fermentation low carbonation to 2.6 volumes in a 4-6 hours with a bit of practice. Carbonation stones are not expensive, and are fairly easy to use. Just be sure to clean them properly--with an ultrasonic cleaner. For your current situation; reschedule, but a quality carbonation stone, and set up a loop with a sight glass to see what you're doing as you carbonate. Best of luck!
        Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--