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Thread: Trouble Carbonating 15BBL Unitank Via Racking Port

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    SYDNEY, NSW, AUSTRALIA
    Posts
    1

    Trouble Carbonating 15BBL Unitank Via Racking Port

    Hi Guys,

    I'm having a little trouble carbonating a 15BBL unitank, I'm ending up with under-carbed beer every time. I'm currently using a 1/2" x 4" pico carbonator inside an 8"piece of tube connected to a ball valve connected to the racking port of the tank (as below). The tank doesn't have a racking arm.

    Name:  Carb1.png
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    I've done quite a bit of reading on ProBrewer and have a few questions:

    1. Is the stone large enough to properly carbonate a 15BBL tank?

    2. Based on what I've been reading on ProBrewer, I should be carbonating the head space to 1psi below the desired saturation via the CIP arm before setting the stone to the pressure required for the desired volumes of co2 and leaving it, is this correct? Or should I simply slowly step increase gas through the stone until the head space reaches the correct pressure for the desired volumes of co2 and leave it?

    3. If I were to get a larger stone with assembly and put it through a T piece into the tank via the racking port with a ball valve on the short side of the T, can I rack from the short side of the T (as below). As I'd prefer not to be kegging from the base port.

    Name:  Carb2.png
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    Any advice greatly appreciated!

    Cheers,

    Kieran
    Last edited by KieranAllen; 09-29-2015 at 08:56 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Dutton, MI, United States
    Posts
    3
    I've tried exactly what you are with a site glass and noticed that if the stone is to short to fit into the tank then you create an air pocket in the site glass or in your case the pipe. This does not allow the co3 to dissolve properly. The only reason I tried this was our stone had an issue and I tried a different stone via the drain port. I think the stone needs to contact the beer inside the tank directly. I have heard of people using a t with a long stone and the sample/racking port of that but you will not be able to use a racking arm obviously and will leave some bee behind. Is there only the one port available on your bright? They usually have at least 2.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Panama City Florida
    Posts
    414
    Part of good carbonation is micro small CO2 bubbles I would bet that by the time your CO2 touches your beer the bubbles are much to large to effectively carb your beer. It would with time however it would waste quite a bit CO2. I used to Nitro Stout by inserting a stone in a SS tube and gently circulating the beer over it. You might try that
    Mike Eme
    Brewmaster

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    BEMIDJI, MN
    Posts
    139
    That stone is really too small to be effective in a 15bbl vessel, especially if it isn't allowed to cascade vertically and must first pass through a section of tubing plus a butterfly valve. Is there no other port that you can place this stone (or a larger one) into that is a direct shot into the tank? You could always crash the tank, drop all the yeast (or as much as possible), and set up a recirculation loop with the carb stone inline. At least you would get some decent contact that way but it certainly is a lot more messy than a properly sized stone. Or get a brite tank Hope it works out!

    Cheers,
    Tom

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Conroe , TX
    Posts
    285
    Your second drawing should work much better assuming the stone actually makes it all the way into the tank.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Cazenovia, NY
    Posts
    166
    I have carbonated this way for four years, and it works fine. Perhaps, with no racking arm, there is sediment impeding the valve. Are you taking into account the wetting pressure on the stone?
    I have a five inch stone in a six inch tube attached to the racking arm, which is angled ever so slightly above horizontal, and have the co2 set at 14 psi to reach 10 psi in the tank (4 psi wetting pressure). I set it, and hook it up to the tank with an initial head pressure of zero. It takes a bit to get up to pressure, and then about a day to fully carbonate. If I am in a hurry, I will let off the head pressure once or twice to allow more co2 flow, however this will lower the aromatics in an ipa, so I try not to do this unless absolutely necessary.
    This is a seven bbl tank, and I did the same on my ten bbl tanks at the last job. With no racking arm, the co2 can only go up (from the angle of the cone), so it travels through the beer on the way to the head space allowing time to absorb into the beer.
    That being said, with 15 bbl, your stone is small. It will work, but maybe not as quick as you would like. I would perhaps get an 8 inch stone from gw kent, and also get a racking arm. Kegging off from the tee will work, but will leave a lot of beer in a 15 bbl tank, I assume. My 10 bbl tanks had almost 20 gallons at the racking port level, and left only four under the racking arm - a whole keg of beer there.
    Cheers.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    West Guilford, ON, Canada
    Posts
    151
    Reviving an old thread here but I need to ask if there is any concern over having the carb stone in the cone of the tank at the angle perpendicular to the cone (ie. not level). Will CO2 just push to the highest point in the carb stone or will it still curtain to some extent. In our case we would be removing our curved racking arm and inserting an 18-20" carb stone.

    Would it be better to add ports on the manway door for the carb stone?

    Do to production increases, we need to use 2 of our 30Bbl uni-tanks as brites but they don't have extra ports on the straight sides of the tank that we can use for carb stones.

    Going to need to have some stainless work done and trying to figure out what will be easiest vs. most effective.
    Last edited by mswebb; 04-25-2019 at 10:20 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Stuart, FL
    Posts
    487
    Quote Originally Posted by mswebb View Post
    Reviving an old thread here but I need to ask if there is any concern over having the carb stone in the cone of the tank at the angle perpendicular to the cone (ie. not level). Will CO2 just push to the highest point in the carb stone or will it still curtain to some extent. In our case we would be removing our curved racking arm and inserting an 18-20" carb stone.

    Would it be better to add ports on the manway door for the carb stone?

    Do to production increases, we need to use 2 of our 30Bbl uni-tanks as brites but they don't have extra ports on the straight sides of the tank that we can use for carb stones.

    Going to need to have some stainless work done and trying to figure out what will be easiest vs. most effective.
    If you have the carb stone at an angle, you will certainly loose some surface area contact time when the bubbles reconnect as they rise through the beer. The less the degree of angle the better. The longer the stone the better. As to if it is better than a manway height stone that is placed level, that is questionable. The lower (deeper in beer) the gas enters the tank, the more it is likely to dissolve into the liquid. So basically you are trading surface area exposure for contact time in my mind. From a practical standpoint I have done both methods in different circumstances with similar results. I have also attached block and bleed tees with carb stones at the bottom of BBTs when moving barreled beer that didn't quite reach the carb port. I wouldn't worry about it IMHO, all the methods worked with slight variations. Zahm/Taprite is your friend.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by KieranAllen View Post
    Hi Guys,

    I'm having a little trouble carbonating a 15BBL unitank, I'm ending up with under-carbed beer every time. I'm currently using a 1/2" x 4" pico carbonator inside an 8"piece of tube connected to a ball valve connected to the racking port of the tank (as below). The tank doesn't have a racking arm.

    Name:  Carb1.png
Views: 1600
Size:  7.7 KB

    I've done quite a bit of reading on ProBrewer and have a few questions:

    1. Is the stone large enough to properly carbonate a 15BBL tank?

    2. Based on what I've been reading on ProBrewer, I should be carbonating the head space to 1psi below the desired saturation via the CIP arm before setting the stone to the pressure required for the desired volumes of co2 and leaving it, is this correct? Or should I simply slowly step increase gas through the stone until the head space reaches the correct pressure for the desired volumes of co2 and leave it?

    3. If I were to get a larger stone with assembly and put it through a T piece into the tank via the racking port with a ball valve on the short side of the T, can I rack from the short side of the T (as below). As I'd prefer not to be kegging from the base port.

    Name:  Carb2.png
Views: 1336
Size:  4.2 KB

    Any advice greatly appreciated!

    Cheers,

    Kieran
    Hi. I have done exactly that with a sight glass and got a result as described by person soon after this comment - bubble in the tee and as a result all you get is the same as doing it without a stone, just bubbling CO2 through bottom valve which works to some extent but scrubs aromas out.
    I have also tried it with a 90 bend pointing up but bubble was still there. Might try point it down instead? Welding a port in manway seems like a good idea (apart from height). Would be good to read more about this. Thanks.

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