Experimenting with CO2

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rickpbush

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Hi, I am a new member here and fairly new to home brew. I am just about to rack my fermenter into bottles, this is the third kit I have done.

Already I am tired of sanitizing 30 odd bottles and have been having issues with some of my bottles not sealing and resulting in flat beer, I have no interest in solving this issue as I'd preferer to move onto kegging.

I brew IPA, I like to drink it at room temperature and I like a light carbonation if any (just not totally flat).

Having tired of bottling, I have bought 2 19L corny kegs. I have yet to buy the gas regulator and am having a devil of a job finding a supply of CO2 (Devon UK).

So, having a fairly inquisitive and problem solving sort of mind I have an idea I'd love to get your experienced feedback on.

The basic idea is that:

1. I cold crash my fermenter.
2. I dispense the beer into keg #1 with some priming sugar.
3. I place water, sugar and beer yeast into keg #2.
4. I attach the gas in of keg #2 to the gas in of keg #1

My theory is that the priming sugar carbonates the beer in keg #1. The CO2 generated in keg #2 is enough to allow me to dispense beer from keg #1.

What are peoples thoughts, has this been done before ?

I have provided an illustration to further explain my plan.

I would greatly appreciate any and all feedback. Regards, Rick.
 

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kiwipen

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Can you get Soda Stream co2 containers localy?

On to your question.
One problem I see is that the carbonation level might be inconsistent. The co2 keg might produce more co2 than you desire, and over carbonate the beer.
If you get it carbonated to your liking, it'll likely change as you keep drinking and use co2 to push the beer out. Unless you drink at the same rate that the co2 keg makes more co2.

You could install a Duotight in line regulator on the gas hose going from the co2 keg to the beer keg. That should give you a consistent amount of co2. Note that I don't use them myself so I don't know how well they work.

Or maybe I'm overthinking this.
 
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rickpbush

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Can you get Soda Stream co2 containers localy?

On to your question.
One problem I see is that the carbonation level might be inconsistent. The co2 keg might produce more co2 than you desire, and over carbonate the beer.
If you get it carbonated to your liking, it'll likely change as you keep drinking and use co2 to push the beer out. Unless you drink at the same rate that the co2 keg makes more co2.

You could install a Duotight in line regulator on the gas hose going from the co2 keg to the beer keg. That should give you a consistent amount of co2. Note that I don't use them myself so I don't know how well they work.

Or maybe I'm overthinking this.
Hi Kiwipen, thanks for the reply. Yes, I think a regulator between the two tanks sounds like a great idea. On the soda stream front, they seem like a really expensive way of doing CO2 to me but maybe I'm just a cheap scate, also, would't a soda stream bottle run out quickly on a 19L system?
 

marc1

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Hi Kiwipen, thanks for the reply. Yes, I think a regulator between the two tanks sounds like a great idea. On the soda stream front, they seem like a really expensive way of doing CO2 to me but maybe I'm just a cheap scate, also, would't a soda stream bottle run out quickly on a 19L system?

Interesting idea. I like the in-line regulator between the kegs.

If you are doing this, you might want a spunding valve on the "gas" keg as well, because you don't want the pressure to get so high that the PRV blows. Maybe set the spunding valve around 60PSI or so if you're doing all this at room temp.

This leads to the problem of not enough gas posts on the gas keg, so you'd also want to swap out the liquid dip tube with a short gas one. You could either replace the liquid post with another gas one, or use a liquid disconnect for it to connect to either the spunding valve or the other keg.
 
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rickpbush

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Hi Marc, yes, a pressure relief valve set to 60 or even 90 psi would seemingly ensure the pressure in the gas tank never exceeds that. I am going to hazard a guess that such a blow off valve could be placed inline to the regulator thus negating the need for extra ports on the keg itself.
 
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Broken Crow

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When your fermenting sugar takes off, the pressure will be at its highest but then quickly taper down. You've said nothing about temperatures which have a major impact on carbonation over time, plus; most kegs max out around 65 psi so after venting initial excess pressure, you may not produce enough post-primary pressure from the sugar keg to keep a consistant pressure in the serving keg, and as well, you may well not like the carbonation level that results. It's an interesting idea, but best probably best pursued if you don't mind the potential loss of however many batches of beer it takes to document and get usable data on the experiment. My well-meant suggestion is to keep looking for a supplier of CO2, get a proper standard setup and gain the experience that would inform the experiment, unless someone on here has the time and inclination to try it out on your (and us interested readers) behalf.
 

Broken Crow

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Oh.. I forgot: Even when you move on to kegging, you may want to still occasionally bottle, wether to share, store, or just free up a keg. There's several threads on here about capping issues, and just as a well-meant suggestion; Try and solve your capping issue first so that if you, in future, wish to share, store, or just free up a keg by bottling, you can cap from keg without issues. : )
 

kiwipen

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It would be easy to put the spunding valve on a push fit tee before the regulator.
 

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rickpbush

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When your fermenting sugar takes off, the pressure will be at its highest but then quickly taper down. You've said nothing about temperatures which have a major impact on carbonation over time, plus; most kegs max out around 65 psi so after venting initial excess pressure, you may not produce enough post-primary pressure from the sugar keg to keep a consistant pressure in the serving keg, and as well, you may well not like the carbonation level that results. It's an interesting idea, but best probably best pursued if you don't mind the potential loss of however many batches of beer it takes to document and get usable data on the experiment. My well-meant suggestion is to keep looking for a supplier of CO2, get a proper standard setup and gain the experience that would inform the experiment, unless someone on here has the time and inclination to try it out on your (and us interested readers) behalf.
Hi Broken Crow,

Firstly, I'd like to thank you for your input, I absolutely accept I have very little experience in fermenting and especially kegging as I've never once kegged. I agree that to pursue such an experiment as this I would gain greatly from being able to draw from experience doing it the tried and tested way first thus gaining a first hand understanding of what I'm dealing with, the variables, pitfalls etc.

I actually will source some CO2, currently I can only find soda stream bottles which I understand will allow me to do two runs with my 19L corney. At £20 a pop that's prohibitively expensive in the long run especially seeing as I went down the home brew route as an inflation busting exercise. However, in time (and maybe from a suggestion here) I should be able to find a local supplier in Devon of decent sized CO2 bottles/refills.

So, to conclude, this experiment is really a just a thought, an idea. I mean no offence and am not trying to undermine the accepted process or wisdom but I am the kind of person who likes to question conventional wisdom. My motivations in this instance are my dislike of waste, cost and inconvenience.

I wanted to post this as a means to see if the idea (or me) is completely crazy. I just can't help coming up with ideas when I try something new, even if it's trying to solve a problem that does not exist. As I gain experience I may look back on this and laugh at myself.

Thanks again to all who have read/commented here, it's great to meet the community and if anyone should try this out, please let us know how it went. I will one day and I'll be sure to update this thread when I do :)
 

marc1

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When your fermenting sugar takes off, the pressure will be at its highest but then quickly taper down. You've said nothing about temperatures which have a major impact on carbonation over time, plus; most kegs max out around 65 psi so after venting initial excess pressure, you may not produce enough post-primary pressure from the sugar keg to keep a consistant pressure in the serving keg, and as well, you may well not like the carbonation level that results. It's an interesting idea, but best probably best pursued if you don't mind the potential loss of however many batches of beer it takes to document and get usable data on the experiment. My well-meant suggestion is to keep looking for a supplier of CO2, get a proper standard setup and gain the experience that would inform the experiment, unless someone on here has the time and inclination to try it out on your (and us interested readers) behalf.
OP has already stated that they like the beer room temp with low carbonation.

Thinking about it more, under these circumstances it might work well.

I just looked at 2 kegs, they state 130PSI max.

standard PRVs seem to go to 100PSI:

Dry runs with sugar water and nutrients should be pretty cheap. You'd want to test to have minimum liquid volume in the keg for necessary gas produced. You want to make sure you make plenty of CO2 to clear out O2 in the headspace. I would run it to completion before hooking up to my serving keg to purge the O2 out the spunding valve. With everything at room temperature, you could keep the CO2 keg at fairly high pressure, and then regulate to relatively low pressure to serve.

You might need longer serving lines if you are serving room temp, because you need higher pressure per volume of CO2 in solution the warmer it is. But you like low carbonation, so that's not as much of an issue. Just buy long lines, you can cut them down if you need to.
 

bracconiere

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I brew IPA, I like to drink it at room temperature and I like a light carbonation if any (just not totally flat).


might be interesting reads for you...all about stuff to serve sorta warm, not completely flat beer! :mug:

i don't know how the breathing it will work for an IPA though?
 

monkeydan

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Here's a couple of links that may be of use...




I'm not in Devon but found it hard to find CO2 suppliers locally as well. I ended up going through Adams Gas, who have a network of local suppliers for 'pub gas' (CO2 and nitro/CO2 mixes) all over the UK.

My local supplier delivered for a £5 fee. The gas was not cheap but should (hopefully) last a while.

A quick search shows a number of suppliers in Devon. You place an order through the main Adams Gas website and the local supplier fulfills it... Very easy 👍🏻

 

McMullan

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The problem really isn't that complicated. Corny kegs are designed to seal under pressure. Which isn't a bad way to store beer, btw. It means fizzy beer generally. The solution is very simple. Transfer some fizzy beer to a mini keg then vent it until your desired level of condition/CO2 is reached. Rather than risk oxidising all of the beer.

Moving forward, you might want to consider a keg that doesn't require pressure to seal, e.g., a sankey keg. Plus a cask breather or LPG regulator and a beer engine. The key is that a beer engine  pulls beer out of the keg therefore sufficient CO2 pressure to push beer out (and carbonate the beer) isn't required. It does mean a little initial outlay, but it's the most cost effective way over time, to serve lightly carbonated beer from a keg.
 

DuncB

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Or beer in a bag, condition in the bag and serve with the beer engine. You could then just use your kegs for CO2 production or for fermenting in.
@doug293cz did a very good explanation of the physics of CO2 production and using the ferment gas to serve with.
There are other pointers in this thread with @doug293cz explanation.

 

superiorsat

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There appears to be a number of welding shops In Devon. I've never seen one where you couldn't purchase CO2. The extra work of cleaning, sanitizing and new CO2 starter in keg 2 every time you want to put a new beer on tap would be enough to stop me from trying. You are already considering a in line regulator, spunding valve, gas ball lock or pin lock connectors. You already own 2 kegs that require pressure to seal. I would suggest getting a 20 pound CO2 bottle ( it is close to the same cost to fill or swap a 20lb as it is a 5lb if you are concerned about savings) and a dual regulator so you could hook both kegs up at once with 2 beers on tap. Just a thought.🍻
 
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thomer

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Just did a quick Google search.
Some may no longer be in business.

Not sure why that link shows in a different language??
M&D Drinks Roborough, Plymouth
Austen Knapmann on the Yalberton industrial estate
 
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rickpbush

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This is all great stuff guys. Few links there I will read through, thanks so much for the CO2 links and leads. I'll keep you posted on how I get on.
 
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rickpbush

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Here's a couple of links that may be of use...




I'm not in Devon but found it hard to find CO2 suppliers locally as well. I ended up going through Adams Gas, who have a network of local suppliers for 'pub gas' (CO2 and nitro/CO2 mixes) all over the UK.

My local supplier delivered for a £5 fee. The gas was not cheap but should (hopefully) last a while.

A quick search shows a number of suppliers in Devon. You place an order through the main Adams Gas website and the local supplier fulfills it... Very easy 👍🏻


Hi guys, quick update on my situation. Firstly, many thanks monkeydan, I ordered 3.15kg co2 from Adams gas and picked it up from a firm 12 miles away so I'm happy to say I'm going the normal co2 route, got one carbing up in my new homemade kegarator now. I read I should seat the lid with 30 psi which I did but then I need to carb at 12psi, well the keg is at 30 from the seating so I closed the reg->keg valve, purged the reg, set it to 12 then opened the reg to keg valve. It's now sitting at 20, obv the keg is higher than the reg output, I'm hoping that as the pressure in the keg drops(due to co2 absorption) the reg will not fall below 12. Not sure if I should have vented the keg after 30psi sealing. In any case, I ensured that I filled the keg below the gas tube inside the keg so if any pressure travels from keg to reg them it's just gas not beer.
 

DuncB

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Get a non return valve on that regulator gas line or a non return ball lock. You won't regret it, oneday the liquid will go up the gas line. Keg falls over, connect to the wrong post etc.
 

superiorsat

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I believe you should always purge the head space after seating the lid. Even if you did a full closed transfer I would still purge the head space.
 

thomer

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Hi guys, quick update on my situation. Firstly, many thanks monkeydan, I ordered 3.15kg co2 from Adams gas and picked it up from a firm 12 miles away so I'm happy to say I'm going the normal co2 route, got one carbing up in my new homemade kegarator now. I read I should seat the lid with 30 psi which I did but then I need to carb at 12psi, well the keg is at 30 from the seating so I closed the reg->keg valve, purged the reg, set it to 12 then opened the reg to keg valve. It's now sitting at 20, obv the keg is higher than the reg output, I'm hoping that as the pressure in the keg drops(due to co2 absorption) the reg will not fall below 12. Not sure if I should have vented the keg after 30psi sealing. In any case, I ensured that I filled the keg below the gas tube inside the keg so if any pressure travels from keg to reg them it's just gas not beer.

Read about forced carbonation. It will get your beer fully carbonated in about a day or two. If you pressurised the keg to 30psi to seal, you are already halfway there.
 
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