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Thread: Oh no, what did I do - Carbonation stone

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Åland Islands, Finland

    Oh no, what did I do - Carbonation stone


    I used to push co2 from the top of my pressure tank and got a fairly good result. I have a 1000 liter pressure tank and I pushed co2 in from the top of the tank with about 0.9 bars for 3 weeks. The beer gets saturated within maybe 2 weeks.
    So we wanted to try the carbonation stone and shorten the process a bit and I used the stone for the first time last week, and got some strange results and now I wonder if you have an idea of what has happened and maybe can explain it to me.

    So, to make it as short as possible:
    I started with measuring how much co2 (kilograms) was used earlier when we pushed co2 into the beer from the top of the tank. We have been pushing with 0.9 bars from the head space for 3 weeks and that took around 3 kg co2 for approx. 900 liter of beer. At the moment I don’t have anything to measure the co2 level in the beer, we simply taste it…
    So I installed my stone, set the head pressure at 0.9 Bars. At this point I didn't have any flow meter (got that yesterday) and just opened the regulator to 1.4 bars. Some co2 was forced in, but got saturated fairly quickly... so I boosted it up 0.1 bar to 1.6 Bar and some more co2 was forced in. At the same time I kept measuring the co2 tube so I knew how much co2 was used (kilograms).
    I kept going like this until I had used up about 3 kg of co2, but at that point I need to have the regulator at 2.1 bars to force in the last of the co2. This process took maybe 10 hours. We also tested the beer every now and then so it wouldn't be too much co2 in the beer for some reason.
    Now to the problem. I wanted to abort as soon as I knew we had pushed 3 kgs of co2 into the beer, but the beer had way too little co2 in it when we tasted it, so we went for 0.3kgs extra, still too little co2 in the beer. At this point I aborted the process.
    The head pressure was now at 2.0 Bar. My first thought was that we pushed the co2 too fast into the stone and that it ended up in the head space (I think this is still the case), not letting the beer soak up the co2 (now I'm just guessing), so I let the tank be for 3 days and was hoping that the 2 Bar in the head space would be reduced and go into the beer. Didn't happen, still at 2 bars after 3 days which made me think the beer actually had too much co2 in it, since we also used more co2 than we had calculate that we would need. Next I slowly let out some of the head pressure so we got 0.9 bars in head space instead. If there in fact was 2 bars in the beer I figured that the co2 would "escape" from the beer and build up a higher pressure in the head space again. Didn't happen
    So now I'm not really sure of what has happened. I have used more co2 than expected, got too little co2 in the beer and at some point I had 2 bars in the head space that didn't want to go into the beer.
    So my plan was then to keep forcing co2 from the top (the old way that has been working) with 0.9 Bar, since I know what usually gives us a good result and that it gets saturated at this pressure (or close to it, it doesn’t take up more co2 at least). Now this didn’t work either... no more co2 going into the tank?!

    Ideas, thoughts, comments?
    Also, the beer was a bit warm as I used the stone, almost at 3 degrees, usually have the beer at 0 Celsius. The bubbles/foam also got very "fine" using this technique and I get VERY MUCH foam when I pour beer from the "test tube” (sorry for my bad english)" compared to when we have forced from the top of the tank.
    Last edited by Plask; 06-17-2017 at 02:55 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Mobile, Alabama, USA
    Be careful to not over pressurize your conditioning tank like that. Your could (likely) blow it up and kill yourself.

    1. Make sure you have a PRV (Pressure Relief Valve) installed. It can be set a little above the working pressure of your tank. Usually 2.0 bar at the absolute most.
    2. Get the beer as close to temperature as possible. 0-3 c is fine
    3. There is no need to first apply 0.9 bar head pressure. Just purge air from the tank as much as possible with CO2 from the bottom of the tank several times to minimize oxidation. See other threads to minimize airs.
    4. CO2 flowmeter is useful to measure volume. Check valve on the CO2 stone is mandatory to prevent beer from fouling CO2 hose; contamination point. Accurate CO2 gauge and regulator is a must; check calibration.
    4. See several other threads about carbonation. See other threads about carbonation through a stone.
    5. Apply "wetting" pressure through the stone to the still beer. 0.9 bar is probably fine. A flow meter will be useful here. It shouldn't just blow through the solution and rise to the head. IT is alright to vent a little bit of the head space to blow off air to minimize oxidation. You do not want to vent off during forced carbonation with a stone because it will scrub the beer of aroma and flavor will seem dull.
    6. When head pressure is equalized, raise CO2 pressure to regulator to 1.2 bar or slightly more to continue. Again, the flow meter will give you a good indication. You can vent just a little bit to help purge the stone of beer and get it flowing again. Let the pressure raise slowly.
    7. Test carbonation by taste. Even better, get a Zahm CO2 tester. Make sure you have a Perlick style sample fitting on the tank.
    8. This should take no longer than 12-24 hours. Overnight is a good time frame.
    Todd G Hicks
    BeerDenizen Brewing Services
    Serda Brewing Company
    OPEN - Finally!!!

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