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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Bottling/Kegging > What's the diff between CO2 and beer gas?
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Old 04-15-2013, 03:16 PM   #11
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I am told that many commercial beer pubs such as world of beer, use beer mix for ALL their products, and that when they switched to this, that their sales increased, presumably because of improved flavor?
I've no idea.
I have experimented with doing the same thing at home. I must use regular CO2 to carbonate the beer, because with a lower partial pressure of CO2 in the mixed gas, it takes forever to get it force carbonated. I did notice that toward the end of the keg, that I've had on the mix so far, that the non-stout, with lower pressure applied, that lost some carbonation compared to fresh keg (these are commerical kegs I'm talking about).
The Guinness keg was just fine however, think I had it at 32 psi.
I am now thinking that I should go BACK to serving my beer with CO2, and just dispense the Nitro beers with mix, such as stouts.
It might be that at the large beer pubs like WOB, that their sales and consumption rates are so much higher than at home, that the kegs are empty long before there is a noticeable loss of carbonation for the lower pressure dispense beer. I'd bet if you ran ALL your beer at high pressure, like a nitro/guinness beer, and poured them all through the restrictor stout faucet, that they'd have preserved carbonation levels because the partial pressure of CO2 would be correct, or at least closer to what it should be.

TD

Oh, and yes the mixed gas cylinders are more expensive to refill. I can usually finagle a freebie CO2 exchange on the other hand, so another reason to go back to CO2.

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Old 04-15-2013, 05:42 PM   #12
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Bars use beergas so that they can apply enough pressure to rapidly (by our standards) push beer from basement cold storage up to a bar on a 1st or 2nd floor. If they applied all that pressure with CO2, the beer would be overcarbonated. Some people claim that this changes the flavor (and frown upon the practice) but I don't see how that's possible. The nitrogen is just to push the beer.

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Old 04-15-2013, 06:32 PM   #13
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I used nitrogen once with a keg of Heineken I got for free from a closed restaurant. What a mess. all foam no beer. You had to let the beer sit for a few minutes and add more until you could get a glass full. We switched to c02 and problem was solved.

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Old 04-15-2013, 06:39 PM   #14
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If you don't keep some CO2 pressure on the beer, CO2 will break out of solution to try and re-equilibrate the system. This means you'll get foam.

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Old 04-15-2013, 08:04 PM   #15
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Beer gas is sold in many different Blend%. Stout gas is usually25/75%. But beer gas has higher CO2% in the blend, like 60%CO2/40%N2 or 70%CO2/30%N2. It is used for pushing beer when the resistance is greater than the 17psi you can get away with using straight CO2, without over-carbing the beer.
Most long draw draft systems are set-up with a gas blender and usually set-up with around 22 psi of resistance in the lines, and run with a gas blend % of around 60%/40%.
Micro-matic's blenders have pre-set balance percentages, but with McDantim blenders, you can adjust the blend% to whatever you want. This way you have to buy a straight CO2 bottle & a straight N2 bottle, plus the blender, and the high pressure regulator hoses. I Know!! Kind of overkill for a homebrewer!!! Cheers!!!

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Old 04-15-2013, 11:13 PM   #16
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My setup bears some scrutiny.

I have a bar style counter height fridge with 3 doors. The secondary regulators x6 are inside mounted with shutoff valves and (soon) complete flare nut swap out ability for sanke or corny kegs. All 6 regulators connected to single external gas line. There is a Y connection on the external line that connects to a beer mix tank and a co2 tank which share the common feed line.

The original plan was, if I am carbonating homebrew, shut off the beer mix, and turn on the co2 with the individual secondary regs opened on the kegs being pressurized, as well as any other serving kegs.
When I want to pour, switch off the co2 tank and also the carbonating keg (though probably doesn't really matter) and pour. In this scenario, I have noticed that when kegs are running low, the carbonation falls off, likely due to insufficient co2 partial pressure in my stout blend 25/75 beer mix over time.

Solutions at this point I think are:
1. Use CO2 for everything, and close the secondary reg shutoff on any nitro beers. When I want a nitro beer, turn off the co2 main reg valve, flip open the main beer mix reg and the nitro beer secondary reg. just leave it like this for the rest of the evening or however long that session, and revert back when I am done.
I think this is the simplest approach, and the brief contact periods of diminished co2 partial pressure likely will be inconsequential.

2. Install a dedicated nitro-only secondary regulator connected to the beer mix, separate from the manifold and use that exclusively for the nitro beer (I usually only have one on to at a time anyway). This would cost money however.

3. Drink more beer so as to avoid the carbonation level running low towards end of keg since it is being consumed at a faster rate. This is not going to happen unless I start throwing regular beer parties. This in turn would result in having less beer on hand since all my friends will be over at all hours begging for free beer. Not gonna be this option.

Why did I let Gary talk me into this ridiculous setup I have now....

TD

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Old 04-16-2013, 07:33 AM   #17
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Option 2 is the only viable long term solution IMHO. Option one would work until you get sick of having to mess with it, and save up the money for option 2. Extremely odd that it wasn't set up that way to begin with. Then again, the 5/16" ID beer lines with a choker for a short run is really odd, and an "experienced" installer who insists that liquid CO2 defies the laws of physics is odd too.

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Old 04-16-2013, 04:51 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JuanMoore View Post
Option 2 is the only viable long term solution IMHO. Option one would work until you get sick of having to mess with it, and save up the money for option 2. Extremely odd that it wasn't set up that way to begin with. Then again, the 5/16" ID beer lines with a choker for a short run is really odd, and an "experienced" installer who insists that liquid CO2 defies the laws of physics is odd too.
I agree totally, and it has taken me a while to accept the reality of my dilemma. As they say if you want something done right....

the gas is 5/16, the beer is 3/8 line.

Thanks

TD
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Old 05-16-2013, 02:33 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JuanMoore View Post
The other time beer gas is used is for really long runs, where the line resistance would be greater than the serving pressure. Not really common amongst homebrewers, but used a lot in long draw set-ups in bars and restaurants.
In my research for setting up my keezer, this is what I understood it was used for. When a bar has the cooler several dozen feet away from the bar, it obviously requires a very long run of beer line to the taps. To push the beer that whole distance, there is a lot of head loss through the line, so they have to increase the pressure to force the beer that far. With regular CO2, this will significantly increase the carbonation levels to an unacceptable level. So they mix the gas with something that is significantly less dissolvable, like Nitrogen. So now, you can crank up the pressure without carbonating the ever living crap out of the beer.

For homebrewers, this is pretty much useless. Unless you store it downstairs and serve it across the house upstairs.

As for stouts, I had never heard that. Not saying it isn't true, just never heard it.
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Old 06-20-2013, 05:08 AM   #20
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If your set up is allready running on CO2 leave it that way.
Beergas should be stored in a nitrogen tank with its own nitro-regulator.
As previosly mentioned nitro is most commonly used for stouts.
Therefore a stout faucet with the restrictor plate is needed.
Non stout beers can be run on nitro and i personally plan on doing so.
As to which styles that works well for and what it doesn't i couldn't tell you at this moment.After i run my MO-FUGGLE SMASH keg through the nitro i'll make a post about it but that will be a while off (MO-FUG is in primary atm)
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