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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Bottling/Kegging > Difference in co2 from paintball supplier and beverage co?
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:20 PM   #1
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Default Difference in co2 from paintball supplier and beverage co?

Ok, I've searched for and read just about every thread I could find on this topic and I came up with about 50% say that "co2 is co2" and the other 50% say to use only "beverage" grade co2. There seems to be a lot of conjecture about oil, silicone and the possibility of benzene being in non-beverage grade co2, but I can find nothing to support that.

Here is my dilemma. I don't have a full keg setup, I'm using a Tap-a-Draft with fittings so I can use a regulator and standard co2 tank. However, I don't have room for a 5lb co2 tank and so I'm looking at a 20oz tank. Dick's Sporting Goods will refill the latter for about $4. Or, a local beverage company, CR Frank, will charge $13 to fill any co2 tank up to 20lbs (not bad if I had a large tank). The latter is supposed to be filtered and "beverage" grade.

Does anyone have experience using a sporting good store or paintball supplier to charge their tanks? I'm looking for firsthand experience, preferably with a sporting goods store like Dick's or Sports Authority. Obviously I want to avoid ruining my beer with oil or other pollutants, but I also don't want to poison myself either.

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Old 06-13-2012, 09:56 PM   #2
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I used a pawn shop that refilled CO2 bottles for paintball for a while b/c they were the only place close to me that refilled. Never had an issue with it. Now I swap my bottle at a local propane and propane accessory seller that started swapping bottles for welding. I do not know what grade of the paintball stuff, but I know I'm getting welding grade from my new place. Welding grade is clean stuff that I don't worry about.

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Old 06-13-2012, 10:06 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bensiff
Now I swap my bottle at a local propane and propane accessory
I read that in Hank Hills voice...
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Old 06-13-2012, 10:16 PM   #4
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I read that in Hank Hills voice...
As was hoped for
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:17 PM   #5
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Hi

We use bulk CO2 at work. They pull up with a truck every couple weeks and fill up the tank out back with it. According to the guys who haul it in, you should not use it for food. I can certainly tell you that at times there *is* crud in it. Funny white powder is the most common. Strange smells seem to come and go with the stuff.

The gotcha is that it *may* be food grade in any given load. The difference is the source the stuff comes from. If you are in an area where *all* the bulk CO2 comes from a brewery, you likely are fine no matter where you get it. If there's a paint factory one way up the road and a nerve gas plant the other way ... watch out. I know of no easy way to check the stuff after the fact, so it's a "trust me" sort of thing.

Bob

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Old 06-13-2012, 11:18 PM   #6
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I've always purchased my CO2 from welding shops. It has probably contributed to my aging 10 years in the last decade.

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Old 06-13-2012, 11:26 PM   #7
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I've always purchased my CO2 from welding shops. It has probably contributed to my aging 10 years in the last decade.
Hi

I hear the ethanol in beer may have an impact on your health ....

Bob
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Old 06-14-2012, 03:47 PM   #8
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Yeah, I'm sure in most instances it's probably fine to use bulk co2. I just hesitated because of the threads where people would chime in and mention a terrible experience.

I called my LHBS and they said that most of the co2 in St. Louis, no matter the application (welding, beverage, paintball, etc.) comes from AB. Makes sense considering they probably generate tons of co2. I think maybe I'll fill a paintball tank and carbonate some water first to see if it changes the taste or smell at all.

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Old 06-14-2012, 07:10 PM   #9
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I use both paintball tanks and a 20lb bulk tank. I have not noticed any difference in my beers no matter which tank is used. I typically get my paintball tanks filled for free at events I go to. My bulk tank I get exchanged at the Airgas distributor down the road from my house.

Side note, when I got my 20lb tank from a friend it still had co2 in it from 1982. I used it to carb 5 kegs before it ran out. They all tasted fine as well.

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Old 06-15-2012, 04:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goodsuds View Post
Yeah, I'm sure in most instances it's probably fine to use bulk co2. I just hesitated because of the threads where people would chime in and mention a terrible experience.

I called my LHBS and they said that most of the co2 in St. Louis, no matter the application (welding, beverage, paintball, etc.) comes from AB. Makes sense considering they probably generate tons of co2. I think maybe I'll fill a paintball tank and carbonate some water first to see if it changes the taste or smell at all.
Hi

If indeed you know the source of the CO2, you are fine regardless of the label.

Bob
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