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CO2 Setup for brewpub

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  • CO2 Setup for brewpub

    I'm wondering how I need to setup the CO2 for the serving tanks.
    I'm thinking a large tank feeding a manifold with regulators for each tank mounted to a wall close to the tanks, for keeping regulated pressure for serving lines/beer pumps. And then a cart mounted tank for carbonation duties, etc..

    And what is the industry standard for the CO2 lines in the brewery, I keep seeing where PVC is a no no, I currently run a business with compressed air @ 100psi, run all over a 5000 sq ft facility with sch 40 PVC and have never had an issue in 25 years, but I'm open to new ideas.

    In lieu of PVC what should I look into? 3/8-1/2" air hose from bulk tank to manifold/regulators, and then to Brites/FV's?

    Thsnks Gents,


  • #2
    You really don't need a mobile tank for carbonation duties, just have some drops with CO2 regulators around the brewery (or carb in the serving tanks with the lines in the fridge)

    From what I know of PVC the issue is that when it breaks it sends shrapnel out that can do major damage. also PVC tends to get more brittle as it gets colder, and when you're running a lot of CO2 at once lines tend to ice up.

    Sizing the lines is tricky without knowing more about the brewery - I'd personally say you want a bare minimum of 1/2" probably more like 3/4" for the main lines. I've never known anyone in the beer industry to run PVC. PEX and copper are both common for the larger lines, braided vinyl works well too, although the larger diameter hoses can be a pain and have a habit of developing a leak around the barbs.. Usually the main lines run at 100 - 120 psi with regulators on the drops to adjust pressure as needed. Once you're off the secondary regulators 3/8" line is plenty for most applications.
    Make sure that every tank has a shut off valve for the CO2, and put quick disconnect fittings on every tank and line. It makes a big difference.


    • #3
      For our draught delivery system, feeding 24 taps from 19 1/2bbl kegs using beer pumps, we ran a hundred feet of oxygen-barrier 1/2" PEX line from our primary CO2 line @ 120psi. This feeds three secondary regulators, so one 2ndary reg feeds four kegs @ 15psi. This works very well--our previous system (if it could be called that) had one 2ndary reg feeding 10 kegs, and would not keep up during heavy-draw times, resulting in breaking in the delivery lines and lots of foam.

      PVC is a non-no in high pressure gas systems because it can explode into sharp shards, vs copper or PEX, which just rupture. PVC embrittles with age and cold. I've had the wonderful experience of bumping a 30-year-old PVC water line while crawling in a very tight crawlspace--I barely brushed against it, and it burst. By the time I got out and shut the main down, I was half-drowned, hypothermic, and coated in mud. If that line had been carrying a gas at 100+psi instead of water, I don't think I would have gotten off as easily.

      PEX is cheap and very easy to run--far fewer fittings to deal with, far fewer potential leaks to chase down. It's taking over the brewery when I add/replace lines, which were previously all copper.

      If you are using beer pumps, it's much more economical to use compressed air to drive them, and much safer. Having CO2 venting into an enclosed cooler is a very, very bad idea. Our 12 beer pumps are driven from one secondary reg, again fed air by 1/2" PEX @ 120 psi.
      Timm Turrentine

      Terminal Gravity Brewing,
      Enterprise. Oregon.


      • #4
        Thanks for the input. We will be running pumps, the guy helping setup the expansion part of the draft system seems to complicating the system. we will be serving from jacketed vessels and he is recommending running glycol down to the beer outlet and needing the beer pumps in a cooler or refrigerated space. The tanks are about 50 ft. from the cooler where they'll end up. Any advice on setting up jacketed tanks as serving vessels?