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Old 08-20-2012, 06:56 PM   #1
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Default Keeping kegs cool with dry ice?

My friend throws a party every year for Labor Day weekend. He gets 10 commercial kegs which are stored in a 6x10 concrete block "cooler" which is about 3 ft high and insulated with some 4 inch rigid foam insulation. We pull them out one at a time and put them into barrels filled with ice for serving.

We use a lot of ice keeping the kegs cool all weekend and were wondering if we could save money using dry ice.

Any estimates as to how much it would take to keep the "cooler" cold for 3 nights without freezing the beer solid?

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Old 08-20-2012, 08:11 PM   #2
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Well, I believe that dry ice is about -110* F... so you would probably freeze your beer.

But if it helps in your calcs, dry ice has a sublimation rate of five to ten pounds every 24 hours in a regular cooler. I don't know the rate for your "cooler" though, so YMMV.

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Old 08-20-2012, 10:33 PM   #3
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Water ice to liquid 334 kJ/kg
Dry ice to gas 571 kJ/kg

So, you'll need about 2/3rds as much dry ice and probably freeze your beer.

Might be cheaper to use a portable air conditioner.

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Old 08-22-2012, 06:28 AM   #4
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The AC idea is out because we don't have electricity.... Next year we will have free gas hooked up and I've been on the prowl for a gas refrigerator/freezer and have dreams of engineering a natural gas ice machine! We do have a couple of generators but we only run them when necessary and I'd have to wager that buying ice is cheaper than buying gasoline.

My ideas so far have been:

1. Fill a cooler with dry ice, put it in the concrete block "cooler" next to the kegs with the lid cracked open.

2. Put dry ice on the bottom of the "cooler", put pallets on top of the dry ice. Put the kegs on the pallets and add ice as normal hoping that the dry ice will make the wet ice last longer.

3. Screw the dry ice, bite the bullet and spend the 200+ dollars we spend on regular ice.

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Old 08-22-2012, 03:28 PM   #5
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Idk if this'll help,but I remember some of the home milk delivery trucks when I was a kid using a few inches of dry ice to keep the dairy products cool while on their routes. So a rack seperating the dy ice from the kegs might work.
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Old 08-22-2012, 03:28 PM   #6
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I would suggest using block ice if you are using cubes. Large chunks of ice last longer IME. If cost is the issue, I doubt dry ice will save any money.

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Old 08-22-2012, 03:52 PM   #7
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Where are you buying your ice that you spend $200+ bucks?

I also second getting block ice instead of pellet ice, if you don't already. Also try to buy directly from an ice house of you can. I used to work at an ice house, and we sold 300lb blocks of ice off the dock for about $60, I think? 20lb blocks were about $5 dollars each, whereas a 20lb bag of pellets was like $10-12. (Granted, this was about 14 years ago, so prices may have gone up just slightly since then ).

A bed of dry ice covered with pallets, then regular ice spread throughout the cooler would probably work pretty good and last a good while, but you risk freezing the bottoms of the kegs, IMO. (I work with dry ice every day at work, btw).

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