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How long does a 5lb co2 bottle last for kegs?

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surfingpl

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How long does a 5lb co2 bottle last for kegs? Thinking about making a kegerator soon. I'm just wondering if I should be looking at something bigger thank 5lb? Thanks.
 
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surfingpl

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Sweet 14 kegs seems like plenty. I think force carbonating sounds like a good idea, so I will probably be trying that.

Also, is there a difference between steel and aluminum bottles?
 

Sloppy Sam

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surfingpl said:
Also, is there a difference between steel and aluminum bottles?
The aluminum ones are supposed to be better for keeping in the fridge. However the only real difference I have found is that the aluminum ones look pretty and cost more.

Unless you have someone filling your tanks, and you want to pay to hydro test the tank, the steel ones are easier because the welding shop just swaps the out. No waiting, just a swap and who cares if it looks ugly. It is in the fridge anyways.
 

5 Is Not Enough

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My local gas dealer said 5lbs is good for 8 - 1/2 barrels, so I'd say maybe 3x that for cornies?
 
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surfingpl

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Yeah, I think I am going to go for 5lb for now. And as far as steel vs aluminum, I'll probably just get whatever costs less. I can always get 2 tanks in case one runs out I guess. I would like to try my hand at making a kegerator from a small fridge like the sanyo I have seen posted here. Thanks :)
 

kinison_fan

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My first 5lb bottle only lasted 3 months.
But then again, I had a bunch (10) of people over and was showing them my set up. I opened one of the lines that was not connected to a keg and did not have a QD. So the thing just open vented for 15-20 minutes before I realized what I had done. It didn't hiss that loud, because I couldn't hear it over "the crowd".
This happened on Thanksgiving, and by Chirstmas the cylinder was running down-it was in the "red" on the dial. I got another few days before Chistmas-I didn't want to run out over the holidays. I also traded up to a 10lb'er.
 

Poindexter

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For EMS people, Aluminum is lighter to carry up flights of stairs.

For the techs that fill the bottles, steel will sort of rip open (no shrapnel) if it fails, Aluminum will shatter (plenty o shrapnel) if it fails while being filled.

For SCUBA divers the swing weight will be the same, in general Al will be less negatively buoyant when full and more positively buoyant than steel when near empty.

For home brewers Al is a little lighter to drag around from the truck to the kegerator, maybe a little prettier to look at, but more expensive.

HTH,
P

PS: I force carbed two kegs with my first 5# tank, but I ferment in cornies and push stuff around with CO2, so I don't fit the middle of the bell curve on this question.
 

moger777

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Make sure you check in your area if theres even a place to fill up the tank. In my area they only have places that will swap tanks. No point in buying a shiny new tank if your just going to lose it the second you get to the welding shop.
 

tentacles

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Also check fire extinguisher places, in some areas even the fire marshal will refill extinguishers (sometimes for free!). These places are usually the cheapest to refill tanks.
 

APendejo

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10 kegs on a good 5lb fill is about right. Also make sure you are getting a good liquid fill. When I first started kegging I got one fill (short) that was just gas. It lasted exactly one keg. The next fill was free.
AP
 

sirsloop

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I get 6 months out of a 5# bottle. I force carb most of my beers... figure 10ish per tank. The most important part is triple checking for leaks.
 
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surfingpl

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I scored a sanyo fridge this weekend from craigslist - $65.00 - sweet. Now I am going to shop for some equipment to make myself a kegerator. Thanks for the answers all!
 

akpingel

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I just hooked my system up yesterday, and force carbed one keg last night at 30psi. I have a tapright gauge on mine, and when I first turned the co2 on, it showed full, about 80 pounds. Now it shows full, but down to 40 pounds... Do I have a leak, or is this normal?

Thanks:mug:
 

akpingel

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You know what, I bet its the temperature difference. It was about 90 degrees yesterday, then the tank cooled to 40 degrees over night. Any thoughts?
 

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I would imagine that this is a bit of an anomaly and I hope that it does not happen anywhere else but:

I've gotten my aluminum tank filled twice at the local beer distributor and both times I had to refill within 2-3 kegs (all 1/4's of commercial). I chalked it up to a leak in my system but after inspection I didnt see any bubbles using the soapy water method. So I went back and talked to the guys to see what they use to refill (these guys are a little shady, but the only place that "fills" CO2 around me.

Turns out they dont fill the tanks correctly. I weighed my tank when I got home from the third fill and it was less than 1 lb more than the tare weight. So I asked them, 'how do you fill your tanks, do you weigh them to make sure its 5 lbs?'.

"No, we have a 100 lb tank that we hook it up to. Since your tank only holds 5 lbs, it will pressurize until its full."

"Ok, that makes sense, is your 100 lb tank's output on the bottom, so that it is filling liquid"

"No, it doesnt need to be. CO2 is CO2."

I tried to explain to him that if you are only pressing gas into the the smaller tank, CO2 will stop when the pressure equalizes, not guaranteeing that the 5 lb tank will be full. But they didnt want to hear it, they told me that that's how theyve always done it and have never had a problem.

So I put down the case of yuengling I was going to buy and walked out. I will not be patronizing this distributor anytime soon.

I called around and talked to another distributor that has always been a go to for some of the harder to find craft beers (about 25 minutes away from my work). They said that they fill tanks and ensure that they will be full. I'm gonna check them out when my current 1 lb of CO2 runs out.
 

ThreeDogsNE

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I have had mine filled at a local welding supply place. The counter man keeps saying "we usually just swap tanks", as predicted. I found that when I told them I really preferred to keep my own (shiny new aluminum) tank, and not swap it out, and that I was not in a big hurry and would wait while they filled it, they went ahead and filled my tanks without further protest. I keep thinking about putting some stickers on it, just to drive home the point that this is my tank. Maybe an "I brew the beer I drink" bumper sticker. So far it has not been needed.
 

alcibiades

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what?! I've had to replace mine twice and I haven't even gone through five kegs (i force carb, at 40 psi for a day or two while shaking periodically)
 

kpr121

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what?! I've had to replace mine twice and I haven't even gone through five kegs (i force carb, at 40 psi for a day or two while shaking periodically)
Have you double checked that you actually receive 5 lbs? (See my post above) The only other real explanation is that you have a small leak somewhere.
 

shelly_belly

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I would imagine that this is a bit of an anomaly and I hope that it does not happen anywhere else but:

I've gotten my aluminum tank filled twice at the local beer distributor and both times I had to refill within 2-3 kegs (all 1/4's of commercial). I chalked it up to a leak in my system but after inspection I didnt see any bubbles using the soapy water method. So I went back and talked to the guys to see what they use to refill (these guys are a little shady, but the only place that "fills" CO2 around me.

Turns out they dont fill the tanks correctly. I weighed my tank when I got home from the third fill and it was less than 1 lb more than the tare weight. So I asked them, 'how do you fill your tanks, do you weigh them to make sure its 5 lbs?'.

"No, we have a 100 lb tank that we hook it up to. Since your tank only holds 5 lbs, it will pressurize until its full."

"Ok, that makes sense, is your 100 lb tank's output on the bottom, so that it is filling liquid"

"No, it doesnt need to be. CO2 is CO2."

I tried to explain to him that if you are only pressing gas into the the smaller tank, CO2 will stop when the pressure equalizes, not guaranteeing that the 5 lb tank will be full. But they didnt want to hear it, they told me that that's how theyve always done it and have never had a problem.

So I put down the case of yuengling I was going to buy and walked out. I will not be patronizing this distributor anytime soon.

I called around and talked to another distributor that has always been a go to for some of the harder to find craft beers (about 25 minutes away from my work). They said that they fill tanks and ensure that they will be full. I'm gonna check them out when my current 1 lb of CO2 runs out.

Wow! These crooks will easily make $5000 or more off of that 100 pound bottle doing what they are doing. I hope everyone who buys from them figures out what's going on.
 

BungBrewing

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I haven't been to a lot of gas shops to refill my tanks, but the last one I went to charges about $16 to refill 5lbs or $19 for 10lbs... If this is typical, (I got the idea that is it) those of you who go through a lot of 5lb tanks may want to consider going to a bigger tank, it wouldn't take too long to pay for itself. I suppose they have to make so much in labor to fill each tank and the cost of the gas is small by comparison.

And make sure you go to a reputable shop to do it. I found (what I believe is) a good one in Long Beach, near my work to refill mine - they do medical, welding, etc. (I found that a lot of places won't refill, they only exchange. - Yes, I have a "pretty" aluminum tank.)
 

camiller

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Yeah, I think I am going to go for 5lb for now. And as far as steel vs aluminum, I'll probably just get whatever costs less. I can always get 2 tanks in case one runs out I guess. I would like to try my hand at making a kegerator from a small fridge like the sanyo I have seen posted here. Thanks :)
emphasis added

You should get a second tank. As a general rule your tank will run out 5 min before kick-off/guests arrive/event starts which the coalition of sports leagues and event planners have agreed will be 15 min after your local gas supplier closes. ;)
 

DKershner

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You know what, I bet its the temperature difference. It was about 90 degrees yesterday, then the tank cooled to 40 degrees over night. Any thoughts?
Yes, this is the reason. The high pressure gauge means very, very little. Basically a you do/don't have CO2 gauge.
 

mattldm

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I haven't been to a lot of gas shops to refill my tanks, but the last one I went to charges about $16 to refill 5lbs or $19 for 10lbs... If this is typical, (I got the idea that is it) those of you who go through a lot of 5lb tanks may want to consider going to a bigger tank, it wouldn't take too long to pay for itself. I suppose they have to make so much in labor to fill each tank and the cost of the gas is small by comparison.

And make sure you go to a reputable shop to do it. I found (what I believe is) a good one in Long Beach, near my work to refill mine - they do medical, welding, etc. (I found that a lot of places won't refill, they only exchange. - Yes, I have a "pretty" aluminum tank.)
I paid $8 to fill my 5lb tank at a local welding supply shop.
 

JadeMonkeyStang

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If your local gas supplier doesn't swap your cylinders out and just refills them, then hydro testing of your cylinders will come into play. I believe a a steel cylinder is good for 10 years before it needs to be re-hydro tested while an aluminum cylinder is only good for 5 years. Hydro testing is really cheap though (normally $10-$25 depending on who does it) so it's not really a big deal.
 

sdcharger

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So far I have found that Keg-n-Bottle near SDSU is the best place to refill in San Diego. It was $15. Plus the are open until 2am.
 

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Had A 5lbr last 3 kegs one hose that leaked at 13lbs psi and wasted a 2 pints and a ton of gas. all in all force carbed 3 kegs had a fast pour (which I liked) restricted with epoxy mixer but just too much for 2 types of hose clamp. running back up 20 oz paint ball until I can fill / exchange 5lb this week. always nice to have the 20oz and adapter in reserve!!!! I drained pressure before I checked tank! I wanted to drop to 7lb but my gas was 0000. $13 to exchange. nice to still have paint ball to get me by
 

NebraskaBrewer

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At my local welding supply it's $20 to fill a 5,10 or 20 lb tank, I guess they see it as a service. I have 2 kegerators each with a 5 lb tank, I just fill those off my 20 pounder by freezing the small tank, hooking up the transfer fittings, invert the 20 and open the valves. I also have a small 16 oz cylinder that is handy for purging head space or pushing cleaner or sanitizer when cleaning up. It's nice to be able to fill your own small tanks.
 

JackSmith

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I would imagine that this is a bit of an anomaly and I hope that it does not happen anywhere else but:

...

I called around and talked to another distributor that has always been a go to for some of the harder to find craft beers (about 25 minutes away from my work). They said that they fill tanks and ensure that they will be full. I'm gonna check them out when my current 1 lb of CO2 runs out.
I realize I'm replying to an old post, but I'm new to kegging and am also in Pgh. Is it typical for beer distributors around here to refill CO2?
 

kpr121

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I realize I'm replying to an old post, but I'm new to kegging and am also in Pgh. Is it typical for beer distributors around here to refill CO2?
Sure, I know of at least two places (I'm SE of the 'burgh) that do fill CO2. Save-mor and Green Valley Distributors. Just dont expect to get 5 lbs of it. I would take it to an actual gas place. I've heard good things about Valley Gas, although I think they are a little expensive.
 

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