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Old 10-04-2013, 07:53 PM   #1
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Default Help! This sounds crazy, but can you get "dirty" CO2?

OK. So I've been kegging since 12/11. I got a new bottle of gas right before Memorial Day 2013. I brewed 2 beers for Memorial weekend, a Blue Moon clone that I've made 4 or 5 times already, and a Two Hearted clone that I've made before as well.

I kegged the 2 beers (that is all I had kegged) and put them on the new gas to be ready in time for Memorial Weekend. On Memorial weekend I pulled a glass from each and discarded like usual, then tried the next glass.

Both kegs had a bitter taste to them. Even overpowering the 2 Hearted hops. I basically got depressed and left the beers in the kegs until a month or so ago when I got time to brew again. I dumped everything and cleaned my kegs with 180 water and unscented Oxy just like I've been doing all along. I also pulled the dip tubes, and unhooked the hoses and picnic taps for a Oxy soak. I did the smell test afterwards, and everything was good to go.

I kegged my 2 new brews last week, OctoberfAst and a brown ale. I tasted the gravity samples of both of them to make sure I wasn't screwing something up before kegging, and they both were spot on.

I just pulled a pint of each, and the horrid taste is back.

So, do you think the CO2 I got could be contaminated some how? Could there be oil in it, or something weird? How can I check it?

I am thinking about kegging 5 gallons of distilled water and putting it on gas for a week to see. I have a 4 keg system, and I have 2 brand new lines and taps that I can use to eliminate the possibility of contamination.

It just pisses me off that I essentially wasted another 10-12 gallons of beer.

Edit: I carbed this over a week at 12psi or so, and that is how I carb everything. I read about carbonic acid from force carbing, so I don't think I have that. Also, I did NOT taste the old beer to see if the taste had dissipated before I dumped it, in case it was in fact carbonic acid, stupid me I know.



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Old 10-05-2013, 12:41 AM   #2
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I'd say no. CO2 is CO2. But then I've read on HBT about others with similar problems that you've described. So I'd say yeah, it is possible. I don't know how or why, but others have complained about the same issue.

I've also heard about beer or something getting into your CO2 tank, that could ruin the tank.

Does the place you go to refill your tank serve bars and restaurants too? Or is it a welding supply?



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Old 10-05-2013, 03:47 AM   #3
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I get my CO2 from my local Auto Parts store. But he just swaps it with a tank on the Airgas(?) truck that runs once a week.

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Old 10-05-2013, 11:29 AM   #4
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Yes it is entirely possible to get a tank of CO2 that is contaminated with just about any gas that is not a fuel. Fuel fittings are different and cannot be interchanged with inert, but Inert can include Nitrogen, Argon, O2, Helium and mixtures of all the above. If you have a doubt about the purity of your gas you can do two things to prevent the issue. Buy only USP or medical gasses or be prepared to exchange a bottle if you have the slightest idea that it is a mix. I get my bottles filled at a Fire extinguisher service center and the only gas they have on site id CO2, so I have eliminated possibly contaminated gasses from my program. I do however use the CO2 as a welding gas also, so I do manage to use a good bit and that keeps my bottles rotating pretty regularly too.

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Old 10-05-2013, 11:58 AM   #5
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There are a few threads here where people experienced the same problems, as in perpetual infections in their kegs, no matter how well they cleaned and sanitized them. No-one ever suggested tainted gas. That is until someone took his gas back to his supplier. The supplier opened the valve, smelled it and said it was bad gas and swapped it out. The origin of it has remained unknown, but proves it can happen.

Suggestions have been pointing toward beer or other spoilables flowing back into the cylinder. Those are getting swapped out, refilled, and there you have it. I don't know how well the cylinders are cleaned after hydrotesting, so there could be another possible source of contamination.

Purity of gas maybe spot on, but how about infected cylinders?

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Old 10-05-2013, 12:23 PM   #6
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You could always try to force carb some distilled water. Then taste it to see if it has the same off-flavors.

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Old 10-05-2013, 12:27 PM   #7
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Split a batch in half, naturally carb one and CO2 carb the other. See if there is a difference.

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Old 10-05-2013, 12:34 PM   #8
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Well, crap. I guess I'm going to keg some water and see whats up.
If it is the gas, I'm going to order a new aluminum cylinder and go get it filled at a fire ext. company.

This sucks, $150 worth of ingredients gone, and to top it off the last cylinder I just traded was a brand new aluminum one...I wish I still had that bad boy to go get refilled.

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Old 10-05-2013, 01:00 PM   #9
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Kegged water will have some sort of "taste" and carbonic acid adds slight bitterness. Do not be over hyped looking for some "off flavor".

I get my CO2 at a BIG welding place. They probably have 100 Co2 tanks visible in their "pick up area".

I seriously doubt if they need to swap out tanks very often if ever between different gases.

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Old 10-05-2013, 03:38 PM   #10
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You could do this quickly in a plastic coke bottle with a carbonator cap, and it should taste like soda water tastes. (well, that's what soda water is) http://www.amazon.com/LiquidBread-The-Carbonater/dp/B0064OKADS/



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