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Hmm... Which kegging gas to use?

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Driftwood

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Hey all,

My homebrew shop here doesn't supply gases, so I gotta go elsewhere to get it. They suggested a beverage gas company here and they offer two things for beer: regular CO2 and something they call Aligal. This aligal stuff is supposed to give the best taste for beer.

I didn't think to ask the differences between the two or the purity of the gases. I'll be calling back to check.

But has anyone heard of this stuff before?

And what sorts of gases does everyone use for their kegging? Is there a particular purity I should make sure I have? Any particular badies not to have in there, other than oxygen?


As I side note, I heard an interesting piece of info. I'd thought all bars and restaurant use gas cylinders for serving their beer, but apparently some cheap out and use air compressors! Sometimes exclusively and sometimes in combination with air cylinders... I was shocked... the guy who told me was a restaurant owner and has been in the industry for 40 years, but I'm not sure he knows the technical stuff behind the beverage system. So has anyone else heard of this before, or is he blowin smoke up my ass?
 

vtfan99

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Never heard of Aligal. I use simple CO2 but a friend of mine has a "beer gas" setup, which is a mix of nitro and CO2. Its mainly associated with Guinness and its what gives it that creamy head and fascinating swirling action when poured. For all I know, this could be what Aligal is. I would sugesst finding out what actualy gas is in Aligal. Once you figure that out and determine the "normal" beers you will have on tap, you should be able to make your decision.
 

cbotrice

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As to where to get gasses, I have used a liquor store who fills bottles, a fire extinguisher company and a medical gas supply house. Last was cheapest and fastest, they would also sell me a used 20lb tank for 50 bucks but I haven't looked to see if that is an ok price. Nitrogen takes a different regulator, or so I thought I read somewhere. Let us know what the aligal is, sounds interesting. MP Wall
 

El Pistolero

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ALIGAL™ is Air Liquide's trademark for food quality gases; these gases meet standards for approved food packaging uses and come in a range of specially blended atmospheres appropriate to specific foods and beverages.
Sounds from their site like it's either CO2 or Nitrogen or a blend.
 

tnlandsailor

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Driftwood said:
My homebrew shop here doesn't supply gases, so I gotta go elsewhere to get it. They suggested a beverage gas company here and they offer two things for beer: regular CO2 and something they call Aligal. This aligal stuff is supposed to give the best taste for beer.
According to Air Liquide who makes Aligal, Aligal is a line of pure gasses or mixtures of gasses (including O2!). It doesn't actually specifiy which, so I would imagine that you would have to specify when ordering. The ONLY gas you should use for beer is CO2 (except Guinness and the like). Regardless of trade name, the gas needs to be pure CO2. I get mine from a welding shop, but I've gotten it from a fire extinguisher place as well.

The lone exception to using pure CO2 is for restaurants with extremely long lines. The long lines require pressures above the equilibrium pressure for the correct carbonation of the beer which results in over-carbonation of the beer and foaming. In this case, they use "beer gas" which contains Nitrogen. Since Nitrogen does not dissolve in beer (to any great degree), it does not contribute to carbonation. If a 20 psi serving pressure is required and the CO2 pressure needs to be 12 psi for correct carbonation, then the "beer gas" should contain about 40% Nitrogen (8 psi partial pressure) to balance things out.

Driftwood said:
As I side note, I heard an interesting piece of info. I'd thought all bars and restaurant use gas cylinders for serving their beer, but apparently some cheap out and use air compressors! Sometimes exclusively and sometimes in combination with air cylinders... I was shocked... the guy who told me was a restaurant owner and has been in the industry for 40 years, but I'm not sure he knows the technical stuff behind the beverage system. So has anyone else heard of this before, or is he blowin smoke up my ass?
Unfortunately, this is true. I've actually seen this in action. It's done to save money, but hey, if you've ever been to a back yard kegger and used the hand pump on the tap to draw a beer, you're doing the same thing. The only saving grace for places that do this is that the beer turnover is so fast (at least on the big 3 brands) that oxidation doesn't really have time to develop. In the craft beers, where the kegs take longer to empty, the results are predictable - oxidation. This practice is not common, especially where specialty/craft beer is served, but it does happen.
 

Gilbey

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Just an add-on.....I get my CO2 from a local sporting good store that sells paint ball supplies. It saves me a 2 hour trip to my HBS if I just need gas. I think it's $16 to fill my 5 pound tank. Also, I have one of those little portable units that uses those little 4" CO2 cannisters (like ones they use for pellet and BB guns). In a pinch it will push beer and save the day or night as it may be.

Gilbey
 
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