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Old 12-27-2012, 03:53 AM   #681
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Do I want to have a separate CO2 tank if I want to force carbonate? I'm thinking of trying that.
Or is that the same thing...


And do some guys have an extra sitting in there just in case they run out?

Thanks PassedPawn
One tank will do. Force carbonate just means you are carbonating with CO2 from a tank - so I guess same thing.

You really don't need an extra. The regulator will show you when the gas is getting low. When you run out, you can still serve beer for a while since there will be lots of compressed gas in the cornies. Just takes a quick trip to exchange for a full one.
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Old 12-27-2012, 07:48 AM   #682
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I have a quick question for you, On the spec sheet it says that the collars minimum height should be 9 inches... But below that on the picture you have 7 3/4 (or something along those lines)? Is that just the overall height of the kegs inside? Should I go with 7 3/4 or 9"?
I just stared at the 5.0 CF model for a few minutes trying to figure out what you were talking about, until I noticed you said 7.0 CF. Hehe.

In the drawings, the min collar height is how tall of a collar you'd need to have 1" clearance above the top of the tallest object. With a corny, that's a tight, but doable fit. With a sanke, you'd probably need a bit more. That's where the 7¾" min collar figure comes from.

On the spec sheet, entries that are italicized are copied straight from the drawings. The 9" entry you're referring to has a username in the far right column, kmat123, which means that that particular user has personally confirm that the layout is possible with that size collar on their build.

Could you go 7¾"? Maybe. It's going to be tight. I'd go 9¼" (1x10 or 2x10 nominal width) just in case you ever decide to throw a 1/6 bbl or 1/4 slim bbl in there for a party. Plus, the extra height might just be enough to give you a place to store chilled mugs in the collar.
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:05 AM   #683
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BadgerBrigade View Post
Do I want to have a separate CO2 tank if I want to force carbonate? I'm thinking of trying that.
Or is that the same thing...


And do some guys have an extra sitting in there just in case they run out?

Thanks PassedPawn
Here comes a long response. The short answer is you can do it however you want.

You do not need a separate tank to force carbonate (speed up the natural carbonation process). It's just a pain in the ass, unless you make some concessions. Force carbing requires you to up the target keg to 30 psi, then ramp it down. To do this, you need some way to prevent from giving the serving kegs 30 psi.

The cheapest way to force carb on the same tank as serving kegs is to disconnect them. You can still get some pours off before the pressure drops in the serving keg, at which point you could disconnect the force carb keg and reconnect the serving keg to goose their pressure. Repeat as needed. Personally, that's the type of inconvenience I wanted to avoid by building a keezer.

Stepping up in price, if you have a manifold or distributor with shutoff valves, you can just shut off the valves instead of disconnecting kegs. This is easier, but still, not ideal. If you have a party, you'd have to man the CO2 tank.

Continuing up, the next option would be a dual-body primary. This is a primary on the CO2 tank that has two separate pressures and out ports. I went with this setup. I'm going to run the 1st primary to my force carbing keg at 30 PSI. The 2nd primary will be set to much lower serving pressures and connected to a distributor that feeds the serving kegs.

Another step up is to buy a secondary for each keg so you can dial in exactly what pressure they should get. This is probably the most expensive option, but gives the most flexibility. A 4-port secondary array will set you back $200, about the same price as the freezer.

The last option is to run two tanks, one for the serving kegs and one for the force carbing keg. If bought at the right price, a 2nd tank and 2nd primary isn't all that expensive. And it allows you to screw up and empty your CO2 tank while having a spare leftover. Note that this option takes up a bit more real estate in the keezer; you won't be able to fit 5 kegs in the GE 7.0 CF if you put a 2nd CO2 tank inside.

I bought a spare 5# tank because I live 45 minutes from the preferred tank filler, but it's on the way to work. I don't want to have to make an extra trip that far if I don't have to. Indeed, if I avoid 3 unnecessary trips, that pays for the spare tank in fuel savings. Mine won't be stored in the keezer.
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:11 AM   #684
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The regulator will show you when the gas is getting low.
It will show 100% full until you're running on fumes, then drops quickly.

Imagine a car where the fuel gauge only had two possible values:

"You have some indeterminate amount of fuel left..."

and

"Fuel light is on"
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Old 12-27-2012, 02:28 PM   #685
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It will show 100% full until you're running on fumes, then drops quickly.

Imagine a car where the fuel gauge only had two possible values:

"You have some indeterminate amount of fuel left..."

and

"Fuel light is on"
Hmmm, maybe mine are different. I think my needle slowly goes down. I'll keep a better eye on it and see if it is really moving or if it's my imagination.

I've got a micromatic regulator on a 20# and a taprite on a 10#. I've only once filled the 20#, but that was after a leak and I lost it all overnight.
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Old 12-27-2012, 02:33 PM   #686
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The last option is to run two tanks, one for the serving kegs and one for the force carbing keg. If bought at the right price, a 2nd tank and 2nd primary isn't all that expensive. And it allows you to screw up and empty your CO2 tank while having a spare leftover. Note that this option takes up a bit more real estate in the keezer; you won't be able to fit 5 kegs in the GE 7.0 CF if you put a 2nd CO2 tank inside.
This is what I do. I've got a big (15cu.ft.) freezer for keg storage / force carbing. It has a 20# tank and a single body regulator and a 2-port manifold.

My serving freezer has a 10# tank, a dual-body regulator (I serve soda, too, at higher PSI) and a 4-port manifold to distribute the gas.

It takes appreciable time, space, and money to get here. I think it's far better for someone new to this to get their feet wet with a simple system, and add to it once they understand the options better.

BTW, great comprehensive post.
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Old 12-27-2012, 02:50 PM   #687
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The last option is to run two tanks, one for the serving kegs and one for the force carbing keg. If bought at the right price, a 2nd tank and 2nd primary isn't all that expensive. And it allows you to screw up and empty your CO2 tank while having a spare leftover. Note that this option takes up a bit more real estate in the keezer; you won't be able to fit 5 kegs in the GE 7.0 CF if you put a 2nd CO2 tank inside.

I think I like this option the best. I like to have separate independent systems for things...

And I'm guessing I should have some pretty decent room, Because I plan to only operate three kegs.... I was going to have one sitting in there as a spare but maybe the CO2 tank is a better option?

If I fill a fourth keg and don't pressurize it can sit with still cider in it outside the Keezer? Like in my closet.... And when I run out of one, just pull it out of the closet, put it into the keezer, pressurize it for 36hr and drink?
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Old 12-27-2012, 03:06 PM   #688
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you won't be able to fit 5 kegs in the GE 7.0 CF if you put a 2nd CO2 tank inside.
.
2 co2 tanks, and 4 kegs: (Sounds like just what I've been hoping to get out of this!)

So this will fit....

One CO2 tank to power the two serving kegs
One CO2 tank to carb..
A forth Keg for back up....

Now, after my one CO2 tank force carbonates a keg, Can I then disconnect that keg from that CO2 tank and connect it into the CO2 tank that I'm using to serve the beer or cider? So then the kegs are all three hooked up to the serving CO2 tank, Then I can use my force carbonating CO2 tank to carbonate the fourth spare keg?
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Old 12-27-2012, 03:44 PM   #689
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It takes appreciable time, space, and money to get here. I think it's far better for someone new to this to get their feet wet with a simple system, and add to it once they understand the options better.
Perhaps. However, some options are mutually exclusive, requiring you to upgrade existing gear if done at a later point. For example, going from a manifold/distributor to a secondary, or single primary to dual primary. I'm going fully upgraded to start so I'm not re-purchasing parts to upgrade.

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I think I like this option the best. I like to have separate independent systems for things...

And I'm guessing I should have some pretty decent room, Because I plan to only operate three kegs.... I was going to have one sitting in there as a spare but maybe the CO2 tank is a better option?
If you're only putting in 4 ball lock kegs, you can fit two 5# CO2 on the hump without needing a collar.

If you want a larger CO2 tank, you can move a ball lock to the hump then move the CO2 to the floor and add a 9" collar.

If you want 5 ball lock kegs and one 5# CO2, you'll need a 9" collar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BadgerBrigade View Post
If I fill a fourth keg and don't pressurize it can sit with still cider in it outside the Keezer? Like in my closet.... And when I run out of one, just pull it out of the closet, put it into the keezer, pressurize it for 36hr and drink?
Sure. You could do that. Everything ages faster when not kept cold and topped off with CO2. I'd recommend keeping it in the keezer, hooked up to the serving gas, if you can.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BadgerBrigade View Post
2 co2 tanks, and 4 kegs: (Sounds like just what I've been hoping to get out of this!)

So this will fit....

One CO2 tank to power the two serving kegs
One CO2 tank to carb..
A forth Keg for back up....
Yes, this fits with ball lock kegs (not pin lock kegs). With this setup you don't even need to build a collar, so long as you keep the CO2 tanks down to the 5# size.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BadgerBrigade View Post
Now, after my one CO2 tank force carbonates a keg, Can I then disconnect that keg from that CO2 tank and connect it into the CO2 tank that I'm using to serve the beer or cider? So then the kegs are all three hooked up to the serving CO2 tank, Then I can use my force carbonating CO2 tank to carbonate the fourth spare keg?
Sure, you could do that.

Realize that force carbonating isn't the goal. Kegs will naturally carbonate themselves over a week or two, just like bottles do. Force carbing is for when you need to serve it sooner. You could also serve soda off the force carb keg instead without changing the setup any... you'd just need a $4 picnic faucet.
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Old 12-27-2012, 04:24 PM   #690
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I don't think I want to use picnic type tap's.... Even though I do not need it for my configuration I think I'm going to build the 9 inch collar anyway so I can mount my tap handles, a nice digital gauge and drill the hole for the probe.

This way if I ever want to change the configuration or put a keg on the hump I can do that...

(I have a new question about force carbonation, But I don't want to change the topic of this thread.... So I'm going to put it under the kegging section. Maybe some of you guys can go and check it out and tell me what you think? It seems this thread has a very knowledgeable kegging crew)

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