Dry Ice Carbonation (video)

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Messages
14,262
Reaction score
777
Location
Southwest
The subject of carbonating beer with dry ice comes up pretty often, and I got a shipment of food today with a BIG block of the stuff, so I decided to experiment a little.

On the bright side, it worked!

Unfortunately, it's probably a very dangerous way to carbonate beer (either in bottles or kegs). As many have pointed out, dry ice sublimates rapidly in liquid, creating large bubbles that do not readily dissolve into solution. This causes a pressure buildup in the head space that could VERY likely lead to bottle (or keg) bombs. The pressure buildup is so rapid that a Corny keg's pressure relief valve would probably be overwhelmed. The only way to decrease the pressure is to violently shake the vessel, causing the gas to be absorbed into solution. I doubt you could successfully achieve that with a 5 gallon keg, and it's impractical to shake every bottle of beer you fill.

Here's the video I made that shows a successful trial with a plastic soda bottle. Note that ALL of the dry ice that I put into the bottle was used up, but if I hadn't shaken the bottle, it likely would've exploded.


I'm sure the ensuing discussion will debate more ways of doing this successfully, but my official stance is:
DON'T USE DRY ICE FOR CARBONATION!!!
Priming sugar and gas cylinder refills are cheap. Using dry ice in closed containers is always a bad idea.

Oh, and if you're wondering why the instructions in the video are so explicit...it's because I know a few of you are going to try this at home even though I said not to. I'd rather give you enough info not to hurt yourself than leave things unexplained.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

gnef

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2005
Messages
1,432
Reaction score
216
haha. nice.

i'm glad you give these warnings, as i hope no one will be stupid enough to just let it sit in their hands to explode, or put too much dry ice and explode in their hands. hopefully your warnings will be enough.

i'm also glad there weren't any mishaps on your end with this.
 
OP
Yuri_Rage
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Messages
14,262
Reaction score
777
Location
Southwest
The plastic bottle allowed me to use the "squeeze test" to see if I was actually managing the pressure by shaking. If the bottle got hard to the touch, I could unscrew the cap and avoid a bottle bomb. You wouldn't be afforded that "sanity check" with a glass bottle or with a keg.

The video was actually my second attempt. Against my better judgment, I used room temperature liquid during the first try along with a larger chunk of dry ice. I wound up having to open the cap to relieve the pressure.
 

Alamo_Beer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2006
Messages
2,436
Reaction score
14
Location
Manor, Tx
In high school we made rootbeer in our "IPC" or Integrated Physics and Chemistry class.

Our teacher used a 5 gallon GOTT cooler to carbonate with. He put the flat rootbeer in the cooler then a big block of dry ice. He sat on the cooler lid and every once in a while let it burp to releive the pressure.

It came out with good carbonation.

Besides explosions carbing with dryice probubly isn't very sanitary...
 

dblvsn

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2006
Messages
736
Reaction score
1
Location
Polk City, IA
Yuri, you have put together some really sweet ass videos lately! Kudos! And keep 'em coming. :mug:
 

Lil' Sparky

Cowboys EAC
Joined
Feb 6, 2006
Messages
3,952
Reaction score
94
Location
Honolulu, HI
Did you see some of the related videos of some 'tards trying to blow their hands off?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

ski36t

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2007
Messages
87
Reaction score
0
I have tried this also. I used two modified 3-L mini kegs to achieve the carbonation. I had pressure tested my mini kegs before so I knew how much pressure they could take and had a pressure relieve valve in the form of a tap. (which gives way around 60psi to let the excess co2 out). When ready I would use the co2 mini keg and attached it to the mini keg with beer and open the taps.

It worked ok. I wouldn't recommend doing it though cause it just isn't worth it doing it that way. But I had all the stuff I needed on hand so I thought I'd give it a try.
 

Speranza

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 11, 2007
Messages
86
Reaction score
1
Location
Nashville, TN
Kudos Yuri_Rage! I'll be sure to hide this from my father. I am sure he would try this! He used to make Helium in his garage just to make fireballs out of trash bags. One day he made a bomb! His mom was pissed :D
 

antoniost

Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2007
Messages
20
Reaction score
0
Yuri_Rage said:
Not much lives at temperatures that cause cells to rupture...
Heat kills microorganisms, cold does not. That's why many specimens are stored in deep freezers or liquid nitrogen. E.g., frozen embryos for implantation.
 
OP
Yuri_Rage
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Messages
14,262
Reaction score
777
Location
Southwest
antoniost said:
Heat kills microorganisms, cold does not. That's why many specimens are stored in deep freezers or liquid nitrogen. E.g., frozen embryos for implantation.
Actually cold can kill micro-organisms. Try freezing your yeast in plain water. The cell walls will rupture from puncturing by sharp water crystals. Glycerine and other anti-freeze compounds must be used in order to preserve most living organisms in extreme cold.

There are some natural anti-freeze compounds. For example, the frogs you can find in Alaska can freeze for months at a time without dying due to the chemical composition of their body fluids. They go into a state of suspended animation until the Spring thaw.

http://www.gi.alaska.edu/ScienceForum/ASF12/1236.html
 

RadicalEd

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2007
Messages
741
Reaction score
15
It's not so much cold that kills, it's the water inside of an organism freezing and expanding enough to rupture the cell membrane that kills :D.

Interesting experiment, Yuri. Glad to see it done in such a carefully thought out manner.
 

antoniost

Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2007
Messages
20
Reaction score
0
RadicalEd said:
It's not so much cold that kills, it's the water inside of an organism freezing and expanding enough to rupture the cell membrane that kills :D.

Interesting experiment, Yuri. Glad to see it done in such a carefully thought out manner.
The following is from the USDA website:

Does Freezing Destroy Bacteria & Parasites?
Freezing to 0 °F inactivates any microbes -- bacteria, yeasts and molds - - present in food. Once thawed, however, these microbes can again become active, multiplying under the right conditions to levels that can lead to foodborne illness. Since they will then grow at about the same rate as microorganisms on fresh food, you must handle thawed items as you would any perishable food.

Trichina and other parasites can be destroyed by sub-zero freezing temperatures. However, very strict government-supervised conditions must be met. It is not recommended to rely on home freezing to destroy trichina. Thorough cooking will destroy all parasites.
 
OP
Yuri_Rage
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Messages
14,262
Reaction score
777
Location
Southwest
antoniost said:
The following is from the USDA website:
Blah blah blah...
For the love of God, dude...

Sure, under some conditions, micro-organisms can live through freezing temps. There, I admitted it.

Now, if you have a question that pertains to carbonation, ask it. Otherwise, get off your high horse about bacteria.
 

eriktlupus

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2007
Messages
2,616
Reaction score
17
Location
Cereal City, USA
antoniost said:
The following is from the USDA website:

Does Freezing Destroy Bacteria & Parasites?
Freezing to 0 °F inactivates any microbes -- bacteria, yeasts and molds - - present in food. Once thawed, however, these microbes can again become active, multiplying under the right conditions to levels that can lead to foodborne illness. Since they will then grow at about the same rate as microorganisms on fresh food, you must handle thawed items as you would any perishable food.

Trichina and other parasites can be destroyed by sub-zero freezing temperatures. However, very strict government-supervised conditions must be met. It is not recommended to rely on home freezing to destroy trichina. Thorough cooking will destroy all parasites.
problem is dry ice is like 150 below 0 f. as yuri says off the horse:ban:
 

coyotlgw

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2007
Messages
127
Reaction score
2
Location
Scottsdale, AZ
I was trying to think about how to get that initial few PSI to keep the lid shut when kegging in my new 3-gallon Cornelius... would that be stupid as well?

The plan was to add 5 grams of priming sugar to the 5 gallon batch and drop three gallons in the mini-keg to prime over a couple weeks, but I wanted a boost in pressure at the beginning to help hold the lid shut.

Consensus is bad idea then?
 
OP
Yuri_Rage
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Messages
14,262
Reaction score
777
Location
Southwest
coyotlgw said:
Consensus is bad idea then?
Not to be harsh (again)...but it's a terrible idea.

You'd have to be very precise with the amount of dry ice to add, and the amount would vary with the volume of beer in the keg (i.e., you'd have to add more dry ice if there were only 2.5 gallons). I think you could overshoot easily, making your yeast work a bit too hard under pressure (literally), and potentially hurting yourself. Remember, a little dry ice goes a LONG way.

You should just dial your regulator down to about 3 psi and hook up some gas. Or do what I do - dial it up to 20 psi to force the lid to seal, then disconnect the gas and use the pressure relief to relieve most (if not all) of the pressure.
 

Steve-H

Active Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2007
Messages
28
Reaction score
8
HAHA - Nice video. What shocked me was that you did it inside...
 

coyotlgw

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2007
Messages
127
Reaction score
2
Location
Scottsdale, AZ
Yuri_Rage said:
Not to be harsh (again)...but it's a terrible idea.
LOL, yeah, kind of figured. I have the Midwest Mini-keg system, so I have the little cartridges for tapping but no real bottle-and-regulator carbonation system.

no worries though :)
 

frenchs

New Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2007
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
Hey folks... first post around here, but I thought I would share some info I wrote up on dry ice a while back. Some of which everybody already knows if they have gotten this far :)

-steve

-----

Universal Gas Law:
PV = nRT
Pressure × Volume = No. of moles × Universal Gas Constant × Absolute Temperature

Dry Ice is a solid form of Carbon Dioxide, and when it is in a system with water, it undergoes sublimation (solid to gas, no liquid phase). And that it's gaseous volume is 800 times that of the solid volume.

Given your trying to fill a empty 2 liter bottle with gas (no pressurization.)
2 liters = (approx) 2000 cubic centimeters
2000cc/800 = 2.5cc of dry ice needed to fill the system with gas.
 

knipknup

Bloody John Roberts
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 20, 2006
Messages
873
Reaction score
10
Location
Behind the Zion Curtain
This is a nice video Yuri. However, I was expecting a mess or something to support the warnings. Please do it again (inside and with raspberry) and this time demonstrate the warning so we behave and do not repeat. )B

By the way, a friend of mine put a calculator together in excel using the ideal gas law to figure the amount of dry ice it takes to carbonate a 5gal corny of root beer. It calculates .3 lbs when the liquid is at 45F. He did it and it was a mess. Unfortunately, no video.

Also, room temp liquid would build up waaaaaaay too much pressure to add enough dry ice to get to the volumes carbonation you wanted. You HAVE to chill the liquid first.

The long and the short of it is... better to use a different method that is safe. There is a reason the word bomb is naturally heard along with dry and ice...
 

Chester

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2009
Messages
214
Reaction score
2
Location
Walla Walla
I've been wondering about this since I noticed that many of my local supermarkets started carrying dry ice.

BTW Yuri, what faucet is that on the left of your tower?
 

bendavanza

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2008
Messages
2,184
Reaction score
22
Location
Oak CLiff, TX
A friend of mine said has has carbonated a watermelon by having it in the same cooler as a block of dry ice. I was a surprise, but he has repeated it.
 

Andri

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2008
Messages
50
Reaction score
2
Location
Reykjavík, Iceland
A friend of mine blew his thumb off playing with dry ice.. literally blew it off..
Doctors were able to sow it back on.. but you may not be so lucky
 
Top