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New to kegging. What size CO2 cylinder should I get?

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khannon

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I would go with "Whatever is easiest to fill/swap" Around here 20lb tanks are swappable at several "Grow stores" for ~$23, the 5lb are a hassle to get refilled. So for me, I went with 20lb, I picked up a few cheap and swapped them out. Where my daughter lives, there is a LHBS that fills/swaps 5lb tanks, so when I built a system for her, I did a 5lb tank(she and her fiance drink less and get pre-carbed stuff).
MJ became legal in MA some time ago, so all the stores carry CO2 tanks for indoor growing(bigger yields?). depending on where you are, maybe take a look.
Kevin
 
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ILovePils

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Onwards is the hunt for a used 20 lb. cylinder! Thank you all for your invaluable information, anecdotes, and advice!
 

jseyfert3

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Not to beat a dead horse too much longer, but get what you can get filled or swap later. I went with a 20 lb, cause Airgas is half a mile from my house and a 20 lb tank plus half price first fill with taxes was $220. After this it's an exchange, 20 lb is $30, 10 lb was $28, and 5 lb was $20-$22. I think a new 5 lb tank was $100 or $120. So I just went with the larger tank for economy of scale.

I don't think Airgas fills tanks, just the exchange. So don't BUY an empty tank unless you have a supplier you know will refill and not just exchange.

(and to everyone saying two tanks are better then one, a scale is cheaper! and when the high pressure gauge starts to drop, it's time to swap! but you still have two three days left....)
I was thinking this too. I've been meaning to get a scale for a while. Got a link or model name/number for the one you use?
 
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ILovePils

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I found someone nearby selling 3-20 lb'rs for $200 so I'm seeing if I can snag one for $60-$70! As long as they've been recently hydro tested.
 

IslandLizard

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I'm seeing if I can snag one for $60-$70! As long as they've been recently hydro tested.
That would be a good deal!
If out of date, maybe knock another $20 off?
Hydro tests run around $25-35, but again, some places try to charge a small fortune.

Most of the time swap stations don't even check the hydro date. And they shouldn't charge you for testing an out of date tank.
But call around first, to make sure. Swap prices may vary too. My 2 Praxair suppliers here had the best rate, as of last August.
 

bracconiere

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Not to beat a dead horse too much longer, but get what you can get filled or swap later. I went with a 20 lb, cause Airgas is half a mile from my house and a 20 lb tank plus half price first fill with taxes was $220. After this it's an exchange, 20 lb is $30, 10 lb was $28, and 5 lb was $20-$22. I think a new 5 lb tank was $100 or $120. So I just went with the larger tank for economy of scale.

I don't think Airgas fills tanks, just the exchange. So don't BUY an empty tank unless you have a supplier you know will refill and not just exchange.


I was thinking this too. I've been meaning to get a scale for a while. Got a link or model name/number for the one you use?

yeah i think when i "upgraded my 5lb tank they charged me something around $200 for it.....that was 15 years ago when i thought a 5lb tank only lasted a week, because i had mad leaks...

and this is the scale someone else showed told me about, i've been a fan boy of it ever since...acurate to 0.1oz's and only $27...stays on 24/7 when plugged into the wall....LOVE THIS THING! i'm hoping, i'll never lose more then an ounce or two to a leak again.....!!!


(i don't know why but co2 leaks really make me feel like an ameature! ;))
 
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I just recently purchased a backup cylinder (2x5#). While I refill my propane at the Uhaul (saves me $5 per fillup vs. tank swap at Home Depot or somewhere else), the LHBS is only 1/2 mile away, so I pay a premium price of $20 for a 5# swap. They don't carry bigger tanks at my LHBS. I'm not complaining, though, as I don't want to spend an hour on the freeway to the 2nd closest Homebrew Store if he doesn't get enough business to stay open.
 

bracconiere

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I just recently purchased a backup cylinder (2x5#). While I refill my propane at the Uhaul (saves me $5 per fillup vs. tank swap at Home Depot or somewhere else), the LHBS is only 1/2 mile away, so I pay a premium price of $20 for a 5# swap. They don't carry bigger tanks at my LHBS. I'm not complaining, though, as I don't want to spend an hour on the freeway to the 2nd closest Homebrew Store if he doesn't get enough business to stay open.

out of curiosity how many kegs does your 5#'r carb and push? i'm still wondering myself? everyone else in this thread says they get 10-15 out of 10lb's, someone said 8-10 out of a 5lb tank....and my under filled 20lb'rs go for over 75? and i have a ghetto system that i just TRY and keep from leaking?

(and as far as tank size, the only reason i don't have a 50lb tank is because i wouldn't be able to lift it ;))

edit: my math puts a tweleve ounce pour at .65 grams....and with carbing only take ~1.5oz....i'm thinking everyone else has leakyr systems then me!
 

Nick&Worty

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out of curiosity how many kegs does your 5#'r carb and push? i'm still wondering myself? everyone else in this thread says they get 10-15 out of 10lb's, someone said 8-10 out of a 5lb tank....and my under filled 20lb'rs go for over 75? and i have a ghetto system that i just TRY and keep from leaking?

(and as far as tank size, the only reason i don't have a 50lb tank is because i wouldn't be able to lift it ;))
For me it's one of those "totally depends" things. If I'm just putting serving pressure on already-carbonated kegs and swapping them out I'd say at least 10 or more out of a 5LB tank. If I'm force carbing at 30psi and blowing off headspace several times it changes things. I'll also be lazy and use the CO2 pressure to push cleaner and sanitizer through the lines. It all counts :)

Totally agree with the idea that in this case bigger is better. I've never had leak problems myself. Tighten like hell, use good washers and fittings, and spray/submerge test everything under pressure and you should be good!
 

Dland

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To original question, I's say a 20#er unless you're volume is quite low or there are space or portability considerations. It will last a long time before refill, that is a good thing.
 
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out of curiosity how many kegs does your 5#'r carb and push? i'm still wondering myself? everyone else in this thread says they get 10-15 out of 10lb's, someone said 8-10 out of a 5lb tank....and my under filled 20lb'rs go for over 75? and i have a ghetto system that i just TRY and keep from leaking?

(and as far as tank size, the only reason i don't have a 50lb tank is because i wouldn't be able to lift it ;))

edit: my math puts a tweleve ounce pour at .65 grams....and with carbing only take ~1.5oz....i'm thinking everyone else has leakyr systems then me!
Honestly, I don't pay attention to it. I check the regulator to see that it is at the carb/serving pressure I want and if I have a leak (which has happened a couple times lately). Otherwise, I figure it's a consumable cost that I must endure in order to drink my homemade fresh beer. The last two kegs I filled were purged with CO2, then I pushed the beer out of the Anvil into the keg with CO2, so I know I am going through CO2 faster than I used to. But it's all in pursuit of better beer, yeah?
 

bracconiere

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If I'm force carbing at 30psi and blowing off headspace several times it changes things.

that's why i thanked doug for the chart with 50psi included.....doing that with the tank on a scale is painful to watch.....wasn't quite sure how much i needed to blow out, now i know just two or three times at 50psi will be good enough for me.....which is only like 0.1-0.2 ounces....

and as far as pushing cleaner/sanitizer through the lines, a whole keg should only take 1.23oz's? or am i doing my math wrong? i just recently learned about these things so trying to see if i'm stupid? :)
 

Nick&Worty

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that's why i thanked doug for the chart with 50psi included.....doing that with the tank on a scale is painful to watch.....wasn't quite sure how much i needed to blow out, now i know just two or three times at 50psi will be good enough for me.....which is only like 0.1-0.2 ounces....

and as far as pushing cleaner/sanitizer through the lines, a whole keg should only take 1.23oz's? or am i doing my math wrong? i just recently learned about these things so trying to see if i'm stupid? :)
Yeah that part should be pretty negligible. It's still a treat for me, compared to my pre-corny-conversion days when I was manually hand-pumping this stupid plastic reservoir full of air pressure to get cleaner through the kegerator lines! :)
 

Jim R

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If you are ever going to travel with beer (parties, family gatherings, solo trips, game day tailgating, etc.), you need a 5# tank for convenience. The best set up for me is a 5# and a 20# tank.
 

bracconiere

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That’s arguable. The handheld charges are nice for a mobile solution.
View attachment 700001

you know man i was thinking of making something like that and calling it the perfect burst! for burst carbing! just right for a 5 gallon corny, just realease it into it shake a bit, and then chill and let mix!......
 

Beermeister32

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There can be some space limitations depending on where you are carbonating. I have one 4.4 cubic inch refrigerator I keep at 34F for carbing. It holds two kegs, and I can also fit a 5 lb CO2 bottle in the door area with a Velcro strap and a reversed regulator that I reassembled. It is tight but it fits.
 
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I started with just one five pounder for my kegerator. Over the years (8+) I’ve gradually accumulated a total of four plus two 20# cylinders that were give to me.
I use the 5# for kegerator plus CO2 transfers and jockey box and always a spare.
I put the 20# in my freezer/ lager/ carbing chamber. Plus a backup.
 

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As the title states, I am just buying up ball lock corny kegs in my area. I've got two of them and all the gaskets are fantastic and they hold pressure. I bought a set of gaskets to replace them if they didn't.

I have a 5 gal. fermenter on deck that'll be ready to keg in a couple of days and I'm wondering: What is everyone's go-to cylinder size for CO2? I've heard people say that 10 lbs. is sufficient, and others have said definitely go for 20 lb. cylinders because "the last thing you want to do is run out".

I don't have a kegerator, keezer or anything like that yet, and I plan on, at most, having one pressurized keg and one conditioning until I blow out the first keg, then I'll swap them out, and make another batch.

Is a 10 lb. cylinder enough for what I've got going on and will it support 2 full-time kegs in a kegerator when I get there? I'm not moving fast by any means, I won't have a kegerator for about another year.

Thanks!
I have a 20 lb and a 5 lb cylinders. The 20 lb stays hooked up to my kegerator and the 5 lb is a back up and also used for taking a keg to a friends for a party with picnic taps. Lol
 

jcav

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I have a 5 pound cylinder inside my kegerator. So I have two 5 pound cylinders, as one is a back up in case one goes empty. I also have two 10 pound cylinders as this tank is what I use to transfer beer and purge oxygen, and also force carb in my tall refridgerator. One of them is also a back-up when the first one goes empty. Lastly I have a 20 pound nitro cylinder that I use to serve my nitro beers. No back-up for that one yet. So I have 5 cylinders total.

John
 

seatazzz

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I have two 20lb tanks and one 5lb; that one came with my first kegerator. I bought the first 20lb from a friend of a friend that was selling some kegs for $10. The 2nd 20lb tank came with the new kegerator we got earlier this year. I keep the 5lb tank full for field trips and also as a backup. When it was the only tank I had I got 3 months out of it, both force carbing and pushing beer. The 20lb tank lasts me about 7 months if I don't have any leaks.

For someone just starting out kegging I would recommend finding a 20lb; as said above, the original outlay in $$ is higher, but it will pay for itself in the long run in terms of how long it lasts compared to a 5lb tank. I pay $22 for a 5lb exchange at my local welding shop, and $28 for the 20lb. HUGE savings in having the 20lb. Hell on my back though when I go to exchange it.

Also noted above, some kegerators don't have the option of running a line outside it for the co2; as long as you are careful, and know where the coils are in your kegerator, drilling a hole for the co2 line is easy. Rubber grommet (or duct tape if you're cheap and lazy, like me) will keep the cold air from escaping. Co2 tank outside the kegerator=more room for kegs inside the kegerator. Win! Also easier to keep an eye on the gauges.
 

LokiM4

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I keep a keg full of sanitizer. When I am ready to keg I just push the sanitizer into the next keg (or 2 in my case) in line with co2. You then have a fully purged keg (s), in one pass, and save a lot of gas.
I do this as well-but I use naturally produced CO2 from fermentation. I have a ball lock port on my Anvil7.5 (added it) and a ball lock jumper hose (DIY) that I use for this.
Fermentation of a batch produces something like 40x the volume of CO2 of the batch (200 gal+/-) so at high krausen I swap the air lock for a stopper and put on the jumper and purge a Star San filled keg with the fermenter. Use the free CO2 you’re already making!
 
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bracconiere

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The 20lb tank lasts me about 7 months if I don't have any leaks.

now i'm pretty sure i drink more then you....i get 10 months out of my 20lb tanks only filled with 18lb co2.......? i'm starting wonder, do you double check your tank on a scale when you get it home against the TW stamp? i know my last swap only had 13lb's in it, and plan on bringing a scale with me next swap to at least get the tank with the most in it!
 
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ILovePils

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I found a 20 lb'r for $80 with a good hydro test that's got 10 lbs in it still. Picking it up this Friday! I'm excited! Thank you all for your help around this subject. I really do enjoy and love this community, and having been helped directly from it makes it mean so much more to me. Thank you!
 

bracconiere

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I found a 20 lb'r for $80 with a good hydro test that's got 10 lbs in it still. Picking it up this Friday! I'm excited! Thank you all for your help around this subject. I really do enjoy and love this community, and having been helped directly from it makes it mean so much more to me. Thank you!

good score! :mug: if you thought a 5lb'r pushing 28 kegs was a lot, that thing will last you years between swaps! (as long as you don't get any leaks! ;))
 

seatazzz

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now i'm pretty sure i drink more then you....i get 10 months out of my 20lb tanks only filled with 18lb co2.......? i'm starting wonder, do you double check your tank on a scale when you get it home against the TW stamp? i know my last swap only had 13lb's in it, and plan on bringing a scale with me next swap to at least get the tank with the most in it!
I'm too lazy when it comes to maintaining my kegs. About every 5 I get a leaky o-ring, and lose more co2 than I should. And I tend to skimp on the keg lube because I HATE trying to get that pernicious substance off my hands. Also sometimes I can't find where I left it last....

Also can't remember, do you force carb? I do, and tend to overcarb my kegs on occasion. I've thought about going the "natural" carb method, but I like having drinkable beer within 48 hours of kegging....
 

william_shakes_beer

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i started kegging about 5 years ago. I bought a 10# tank because it was the biggest that would fit in my keezer. No idea how long it lasts because I have not yet refilled it :)
 

jseyfert3

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i started kegging about 5 years ago. I bought a 10# tank because it was the biggest that would fit in my keezer. No idea how long it lasts because I have not yet refilled it :)
This reminds me of my planted aquarium. I was planning on doing two 20 gallon planted aquariums with CO2 injection. Got a 20 lb CO2 tank. Only ever got one tank set up, but the CO2 ran that tank for 2-3 years before I took the tank down, and it STILL had over 10 lbs of CO2 left.

I eventually convinced myself after another 5 years I'd never set back up my tanks, and sold my tank and reg and some filters and other supplies for $100 to a coworker. Then I kicked myself HARD for doing that when I got into kegging this spring and had to buy a new tank and regs.

Still went with a 20 lb tank for keghing though! :D
 
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ILovePils

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Alrighty! I finally got my new 20 lb'r home, and the guy threw in an industrial counter-flow refrigerant condenser... What the hell am I going to do with this thing? It's a Standard Refrigeration Company SCH-12... Should I start building a kegerator with it?

Edit: I think it's actually a counter-flow heat exchanger.
 

mattdee1

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I have a pair of 10lb tanks. IMO, having at least 2 tanks is almost essential. If not essential, then extremely damn convenient.

First of all, the obvious: it gives you some redundancy. If a tank gets unexpectedly drained by a leak, you can still pour beer until you get a chance to head out for more CO2.

Equally important - for me, at least - is to have a dedicated "serving tank" of CO2 where my active serving kegs are kept, and then have another as a general-purpose "utility" CO2 tank to use for whatever else. For this one I built a small/simple cart with casters and a manifold with 3 lines, and it just kind of hangs out in the brewery area of my basement. Some examples of things it gets used for:

- to facilitate the liquid purging process during packaging
- to seat keg lids during packaging
- to feed CO2 into fermenter headspace while dry-hopping or inserting racking cane
- to "pre-carbonate" kegs separately from the serving setup so they're ready to go when a tap opens up

If I had to go fiddle around with my serving CO2 tank every time I was doing any of these tasks, that would be a monumental PITA, especially since my serving kegs are in a different area of the basement.
 
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