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  • Moving Co2 around the brewery

    New brewer/brewery and trying to figure out the best way to move Co2 for carbonation and head space. We will be getting a HP tank from Airgas and probably will have a gas manifold for use of multiple fermenters. Specifically for carb stones- Is it best to use quick disconnects? We had a carb stone that came with our 20bbl tank (fully assembled with check valve, ball valve, and a hose barb on the end of the ball valve). Would it be lame to just attach Co2 line with a hose clamp directly to the end of the hose barb on the carb stone? Or should I add a small amount of Co2 line to the barbs of each stone with a QD attached and have QD's on all my lines from the manifold? Does it even matter? Any good QD's and/or process would be helpful.

  • #2
    quick disconnects

    Don't know about other breweries, but we have multiple bright tanks, some with multiple carb stones, and we hook up directly to the ball valve barb on the carb stones to our CO2 manifold with QD hoses. Go from source to destination, spray out the disconnects with sani and push CO2 through the hose before connecting fully. Same thing with head pressure QD lines as well.

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    • #3
      Any preference between SS or plastic QD's?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Alpha3000 View Post
        New brewer/brewery and trying to figure out the best way to move Co2 for carbonation and head space. We will be getting a HP tank from Airgas and probably will have a gas manifold for use of multiple fermenters. Specifically for carb stones- Is it best to use quick disconnects? We had a carb stone that came with our 20bbl tank (fully assembled with check valve, ball valve, and a hose barb on the end of the ball valve). Would it be lame to just attach Co2 line with a hose clamp directly to the end of the hose barb on the carb stone? Or should I add a small amount of Co2 line to the barbs of each stone with a QD attached and have QD's on all my lines from the manifold? Does it even matter? Any good QD's and/or process would be helpful.
        We tried this a couple of ways. Lately, we've been using tri-clamp to hose barb adapters on beer gas tubing. This is nice because it is easy to sanitize the lines, and it is really easy to change the gas line from the carb stone to head pressure for filling. We have a nitro/co2 blend tank that also goes to a tri-clamp fitting. It's incredibly convenient, and we haven't had any issue with leakage. It also makes it really easy to purge the sanitizer foam out of the fermenters by hooking up co2 to one of the top ports. Not sure what is common practice with other brewers, but this works well for us.

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        • #5
          I like the 1/2" fittings from Mcmaster Carr.

          Anyone ever have problems with using PEX pipe for Co2? I'm going to try it as an (>1/2") economical alternative to copper or iron.
          Brewmaster, Minocqua Brewing Company
          tbriggs@minocquabrewingcompany.com
          "Your results may vary"

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Ted Briggs View Post
            I like the 1/2" fittings from Mcmaster Carr.

            Anyone ever have problems with using PEX pipe for Co2? I'm going to try it as an (>1/2") economical alternative to copper or iron.
            We've recently started using PEX, specifically O2-barrier PEX meant for hydronic heating systems, for our CO2 lines. Much faster, easier, and cheaper than copper, which was our standard for years. PEX comes in many different configurations and forms. We chose the O2 barrier to eliminate any chances of O2 diffusing into the CO2 lines when not in use--maybe not a valid concern, but in bulk, it's not much more expensive than regular PEX.

            Generally, PEX is more difficult to get nice, clean-looking runs than copper. Using rigid PEX instead of the roll stuff would probably help here. The option of several different colors makes it very easy to identify different lines--uncolored for CO2, blue for cold H2O, red for hot, etc. I just wish more colors were easily available!

            Be sure to take the pressure limitations of PEX into consideration. We run our primary regulator at ~125 psi, well below the 175 psi limit of the particular PEX we're using. Be aware that the pressure limits of PEX drop rapidly with increasing temperatures--especially those over 100 F. PEX-Al-PEX is a PEX product with an aluminum layer between two PEX layers--it's impervious to O2, has a little higher pressure rating, and is somewhat less affected by temperature. It's also a bit harder to run, as it's rather rigid and ours, anyway, comes in a roll. With some tools--a tubing bender in particular--it can be formed to whatever bends you want, and retains its shape after bending. We use this for our new compressed air mains.

            PEX has a high coefficient of expansion, compared to copper. Be sure sure to use swing-joints where called for, and don't trap rigid PEX between inside corners. Following best practices for PVC should do the job.

            If possible, make your main lines larger than 1/2"--3/4" or 1". This allows higher gas flows, acts as added reservoir storage and buffers short-period-high-flow demands (keg washer, bottling line, etc). If this isn't practical, use "surge tanks" at high-periodic-use points-of-use.
            Last edited by TGTimm; 11-27-2015, 02:59 PM.
            Timm Turrentine

            Brewerywright,
            Terminal Gravity Brewing,
            Enterprise. Oregon.

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            • #7
              Really thankful for the timing of your post Timm as we were just about to completely re-do our CO2 distribution and I've been leaning towards Aquatherm; however, the idea of using Pex from a cost/installation perspective seems pretty awesome. We're already using it for our compressed air, so not sure how it slipped my mind.

              My only question for the Pex-Al-Pex is what fittings did yall use as it appears like it isn't compatible w/ just any old standard pex fitting? Also, I was looking into either stainless or plastic fittings so we could run caustic, sani, etc through the system if/when needed. Any thoughts here?

              Finally how big of a concern do you really think O2 ingress is as we already have a ton of regular pex still lying around and the variety of fitting options seems really attractive as well.

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              • #8
                Howdy, Carlos.

                As far as O2 diffusion into the PEX lines is concerned, I have no idea if this is a real concern or not. Since there is no partial pressure of O2 in the lines, it seems to me to be an effective vacuum as far as O2 is concerned, and I'd rather be safe than sorry. We use auto-closing QDs on our CO2 drops, so the lines don't get flushed before use.

                The PEX-Al-PEX lines we use are 3/4" RapidAire Maxline, and we use their fittings. Not terribly expensive, lots of options, and no special tools required. Lines can be easily removed from the fittings and replaced without re-cutting, which is sometimes handy. I'd like to replace all our 1/2" copper mainlines with this in the near future, for the reasons I gave above.

                Hmmm... interesting what alternatives my spell-checker comes up with for PEX-Al-PEX--I wonder what SEX-Al-SEX is? Probably don't really want to know--see "rule 34".
                Last edited by TGTimm; 11-28-2015, 04:05 PM.
                Timm Turrentine

                Brewerywright,
                Terminal Gravity Brewing,
                Enterprise. Oregon.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by claponsie View Post
                  We tried this a couple of ways. Lately, we've been using tri-clamp to hose barb adapters on beer gas tubing. This is nice because it is easy to sanitize the lines, and it is really easy to change the gas line from the carb stone to head pressure for filling. We have a nitro/co2 blend tank that also goes to a tri-clamp fitting. It's incredibly convenient, and we haven't had any issue with leakage. It also makes it really easy to purge the sanitizer foam out of the fermenters by hooking up co2 to one of the top ports. Not sure what is common practice with other brewers, but this works well for us.
                  So do you just attach a gas line directly to the ball valve on a carb stone with a hose clamp? Then when necessary attach a TC hose barb adapter to the gas line with a hose clamp for head pressure on the CIP arm?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Alpha3000 View Post
                    So do you just attach a gas line directly to the ball valve on a carb stone with a hose clamp? Then when necessary attach a TC hose barb adapter to the gas line with a hose clamp for head pressure on the CIP arm?
                    I favor having stainless QD's on all my CO2 lines. I have 5 CO2 manifolds (copper 1/2" copper lines coming in from the bulk tank) scattered through the cellar and packaging hall with four 1/4" braided hoses that have stainless 1/4" QD's on each end. This way I can take a CO2 line anywhere in the cellar depending on where I need it. I also rarely ever need all 5 hoses running at once so I didn't need a hose for every reel. I can also daisy chain these lines if I need to run CO2 somewhere far away.

                    I had good luck finding stainless QD's on eBay through a carpet cleaner vendor, oddly enough. They are fully 304SS and both male and female ends have shutoffs similar to these on McMaster: http://www.mcmaster.com/#standard-qu...n3le83ihm6gpj8

                    The QD's are much cheaper on eBay than McMaster and I find them to be very good quality. I'm not sure what the forum rules are for posting other classifieds so shoot me a message and I'll send you a link to the seller on eBay. Or if any mods see this, let me know if it's ok and I'll post the eBay link.

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                    • #11
                      Hmmm... interesting what alternatives my spell-checker comes up with for PEX-Al-PEX--I wonder what SEX-Al-SEX is? Probably don't really want to know--see "rule 34".
                      Considering the sandwich construction of PEX-AL-PEX, not sure I want to know either!

                      I'm glad you brought up the O2 ingress because I (stupidly) hadn't even considered it. Been a long time since learning about gas law! I did do some research yesterday and it appears that w/ regular PEX it definitely could become an issue; however, there are a couple non-AL O2 barrier products as well that wouldn't be as good, but should be a significant improvement.

                      The AL looks like the obvious choice given all the other benefits as well, but my only concern is the lack of non-brass material options for the connectors. Maybe my concern is misplaced, but given the chemical resistance of brass, how do yall approach cleaning/sanitation? I know a lot of people barely do much at all so it might not be a big deal, but just wanted to cover all my bases before pulling the trigger and maybe yall have some genius solution that I'm not even considering (which is half the fun of brewing in general to me!).

                      And thanks again for all the feedback!
                      Last edited by CharlosCarlies; 11-30-2015, 10:56 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Exactly what other people are saying. From our tank we have hard-lined copper to various station in the cellar. Those hard lined stations end with a regulator and ball valve. On the other side of the ball valve, there is a barb which we attach braided hose to. That stays there, but has a SS QD attached which can go on anything in our brewery from carb stone to keg to coffee-making apparatus. It is really great and the regulator allows you to change pressure depending on your needs. Hope this helps!
                        Peter Cronin
                        Senior Quality Analyst
                        AleSmith Brewing Company

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                        • #13
                          thanks for the responses!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by CharlosCarlies View Post
                            The AL looks like the obvious choice given all the other benefits as well, but my only concern is the lack of non-brass material options for the connectors. Maybe my concern is misplaced, but given the chemical resistance of brass, how do yall approach cleaning/sanitation? I know a lot of people barely do much at all so it might not be a big deal, but just wanted to cover all my bases before pulling the trigger and maybe yall have some genius solution that I'm not even considering (which is half the fun of brewing in general to me!).
                            Carlos--that's a good point. I haven't started replacing our CO2 mains yet, but I see I need to look into this. For our compressed air, there are no fittings on the main line within a damp/wet area, so it wasn't a problem.
                            Timm Turrentine

                            Brewerywright,
                            Terminal Gravity Brewing,
                            Enterprise. Oregon.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Maxline M7500 Master Kit, 3/4-Inch x 100-Feet

                              Best thing I've come across since sliced bread. You simply can not find an easier sanitary setup. I use it with a compressor with a built in dryer for regular compressed air but when the distillery is setup, I will use larger rolls to setup air lines. Its highly flexible to use unistrut to attach it, its lined with plastic to keep it sanitary, its got reinforced aluminum to hold shape. I love it for the quick install I did for some garage stuff. The air drops have a drain too if you don't run dry compressed inert gas. Its a compression ring install so its really easy to make new drops. I love it. You can find it on amazon.com and ebay, etc for 100-200, or a dollar a foot roughly plus fittings for drops.

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