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Old 12-13-2011, 04:24 AM   #1
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Default Carbonating w/ 16g co2 cartridges.

New to kegging and very low on funds. I just got a 3 gallon ball lock keg with no co2 tank or any hoses. I was wondering If i could use MoreBeer's 16 gram co2 injector kit (link attached) to carbonate my beer in the keg. The website advises against it because of how many cartridges you would have to use but I have a ton of left over cartridges anyway. My questions are: Would this even be possible if I had enough co2? And How many 16 gram cartridges would I need to use?.... I'm lost on the whole process being my first time using a keg anyway. It would be greatly appreciated if someone had a step by step process i might be able to follow. HELP!

CO2 Injector Ball Lock | MoreBeer

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Old 12-13-2011, 01:00 PM   #2
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The problem is that those things provide unregulated pressure. You'll have a really hard time dialing in the desired carb level. It's theoretically possible to carb if you had enough carts, but you'd need to figure out how many carts you'd need to reach your goal.

Considering the 16g carts are usually over a dollar apiece, I think it would be much more cost effective to try to find a deal on craigslist. Sometimes, you can find a cheap regulator and 5lb co2 tank.

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Old 12-13-2011, 01:31 PM   #3
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Why not just prime and carb with corn sugar just like bottling? Add 1/2 of what you would normally do for bottling (less total head space in keg). Sure you have to wait 2-3 weeks, and you will have some sediment in the first 2-3 pints. But overall it'll be much more cost effective and easier to dial in a specific carbonation.

It'll take between 3 or 4 of those cartridges just to dispense one 3 gallon kegs worth , so I would save them for that. Can't imagine how many would be needed to provide carbonation.

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Old 12-13-2011, 01:56 PM   #4
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I could be really out with my maths here, but...

Using pV = nRT
Temperature around 50F = 283K
Volume 3 US gal = 0.01136 cubic metres
R = 8.3145

Gives...

0.74 volumes per cartridge
So 2 cartridges would give you a medium carb (1.5 volumes) and 3 cartridges would give you a higher carb (2.2 volumes).

Don't hold me to it though...!

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Old 12-13-2011, 01:57 PM   #5
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...and I haven't dared think about headspace

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Old 12-13-2011, 02:18 PM   #6
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I'm going to take a different approach to try and approximate how many cartridges. They are 16 grams right, so that's .035 pounds. Most people estimate that you can carbonate 7-10 five gallon corny kegs using the gas from one 5 lb CO2 cylinder. So at best you're looking at 0.5 lbs to carbonate a 5 gallon keg. I suppose dispensing uses some additional CO2, but lets keep it simple.

That would be 14.2 cartridges (16 g) to carbonate a 5 gallon keg. It would take 8.5 cartridges to carbonate a 3 gallon keg. About $8.50 for 3 gallons of beer. Pretty expensive CO2 there. Sugar is the way to go I think (or a 5 or 10 lb tank).

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Old 12-13-2011, 02:35 PM   #7
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Cool.
7-10 kegs also accounts for dispense (similar volume again) and possible purging/cleaning etc (say another half again).
Divide your 8.5 cartridges by 2.5 and we're in the same ballpark.

So around 3 cartridges to carbonate and another 3 or 4 to dispense and purge/clean etc

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Old 12-13-2011, 03:05 PM   #8
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At first I thought the idea of 3-4 of those cartridges for a 3 gal keg was crazy, but it might be about right based on personal experience -- I have used the Miller/Coors homedraft thing for homebrew, closing them up and naturally carbing and using the cartridges for serving. I had one of them that didn't seal right somehow with the natural carbing; when I cooled it in the fridge the bottle caved in and got all floppy (seems like it was sealed fine at THAT point, and contracted with no/little pressure in the headspace). It took about 1.5 cartridges over a day or so to fill the bottle back out and finish carbing the beer. Seeing as those things hold a little over a gallon, I could actually see ~3 gallons or so taking 3-4 cartridges to carbonate. As has been mentioned, it's all unregulated so you'll just be guessing, etc., but it seems like it could be done.

That said, burning through all those cartridges just seems like a waste -- I'd stick with priming the keg and using the injector to dispense.

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Old 12-14-2011, 02:46 AM   #9
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Major props to Mark curling for whippin out the high school chemistry. I've decided to just add some sugar to the keg for natural carb. Seems like the easy way out. Thanks for all the info. Ill keep it in mind for later cuz id still like to see if this is possible.

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Old 07-10-2012, 02:54 AM   #10
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Hey gang, has anyone come up with a solution to this question? I have a 5 gallon keg of pilsen light lager that I want to carb with cartridges??

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