Some questions about kegging

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worlddivides

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So I've only ever bottled up until now, but I plan to fully switch to kegging... probably in July. On the one hand, it seems way easier because I just transfer the beer from the fermenter to the keg instead of transferring it to a bottling buckle, adding the priming sugar, transferring to a massive number of bottles, and capping each one individually. But I do wonder about some things. I watched a ton of YouTube videos and looked online, but I didn't find some of these questions addressed in the videos I saw.

1. I'm planning on doing 3.4 gallon batches (a reduction from the 5-5.5 gallon batches I've done up until now) and transferring them to a 3 gallon keg. As far as my calculations go, loss from trub, dry hopping, and so on should give me around 2.9 to 3.0 gallons just like a 5.5 gallon batch typically gave me around 4.9 or 5.0 gallons of beer. I know I need some headspace, but how much. Can I put 2.95 gallons into a 3 gallon keg? Or do I need more headspace than that? With bottles, I never really ever considered how much empty space to leave at the top, but it was usually about the same as commercial breweries. I've never had a keg before, so I can't even begin to guess how much headspace commercial kegs have. I did consider that even with a 3-3.4 gallon batch, I could still put it into a 5 gallon keg and purge the headspace of O2 and have a fresh beer with no oxidization, but I'm mainly thinking of this for space in the fridge.

2. I've found how and where to buy a CO2 tank, but I have no idea how I would go about refilling it. I did find one rather expensive place online where they would pick up your CO2 tank and replace it with another one, but the ideal would just be refilling the CO2 locally. I know beer and soda aren't the only uses people have for CO2 tanks, so I'd think it'd be easier to find

3. With the last one, I've thought if it ends up being difficult or expensive to refill CO2 tanks, it might just be better to use priming sugar to carbonate each beer, with the CO2 tank used to purge O2 from the headspace and for distribution (since I assume even if you have a keg carbed to 2.5 or 2.7 CO2 volumes, you still need the CO2 tank to push the beer out the line).

4. One reason I'm planning to go with 3 gallon kegs is so I can fit more than 1 in a refrigerator. If you have more than one keg, do you just keep connecting and disconnecting the CO2 tank from one keg to another? Most I've seen always have the CO2 tank constantly attached to a keg. I assume the regulator prevents the beer from being any further carbonated than it already is, but that got me thinking about how a keg seems like it would maintain pressure and be even more of an enclosed system than glass bottles, so the CO2 tank would only really be needed for distribution at that point.

5. While some styles of beers such as highly hopped ones are best fresh, some need a decent amount of time before they get to their ideal flavor. High ABV beers, dark beers such as stouts in general, traditional sour beers, and so on all need time to mature. My impression has always been that beers at refrigerator temperature mature insanely slowly, so if I kegged, say, a barleywine or an imperial stout, wouldn't its flavor just stay the same at refrigerator temperature? How do keggers handle this? Do they age the keg at room temperature? Do they leave it in secondary a long time before kegging? Or is my conception overblown and they mature at fridge temps faster than I'm thinking?

6. It seems to me like people carbing with a CO2 tank are kind of winging it. Priming sugar calculations seem a lot more precise, whereas all the videos I saw just have people connecting the CO2 tank and setting it to something like 20psi, leaving it for a while, and just kind of winging it. Is there something I'm missing?

I'm sure I have other questions I haven't considered, but this is getting super long. Appreciate any info and help people can provide.
 
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So, wow? :oops:

1 - just as a 5 gallon cornelius keg can hold an honest 5 gallons, a 3 gallon keg holds 3 gallons, and a 2.5 holds 2.5. In all cases the beer level at a legit max fill will still provide for a full gas/beer interface area as defined by the keg diameter.

2 - I have no insight into Japan so I'll leave that one for others.

3- You can also use the actual fermentation gas produced by a batch to purge a keg. I do this preferably all the time, only resorting to using CO2 for a "Star San" liquid purge if I have no available kegs during a fermentation.

4 - You can obtain an "n-way" splitter or even a small valved manifold to keep multiple kegs on CO2.

5 - There is definitely truth to "cold slows aging" and we often rely on that :) I confess I no longer brew styles that enjoy aging but when I did I bottled them by the case and parked them in my basement rather than tie up a keg. But kegging is an option, of course.

6 - Actually, there is a deterministic way to carbonate beer. You are missing our favorite carbonation table!

carbonation_table.jpg


Start with your desired beer temperature on the y-axis, scan across that row to find your desired level of carbonation, expressed in "volumes of CO2", with 2.4~2.5 being typical for many common styles (pale ales, IPAs, etc), then run up that column to find the proper CO2 pressure to achieve that carbonation level at that temperature.

Cheers!
 
Thanks for the table. I've copied that to my local drive for future reference.

1 - So there wouldn't be an issue to fill a 3 gallon keg to 2.99 gallons or so? I've always heard you need some degree of headspace, but I never heard why.

3 - Interesting. So maybe it's more common than I thought, then.

4 - Thanks. I might want to look into that, then.

5 - I also don't plan to brew any beers above 6.5% ABV or any traditional sours or other beers that need a really long period of aging. But I've noticed that even with lower ABV stouts, a month in the bottle really helped get them where I needed them to be. But honestly, the stuff that really needed aging was mainly higher alcohol or fermented with wild yeast, bacteria, or something like that.

That table's really gonna come in handy. Appreciate it!
 
Again, at least with cornelius type kegs, their rated volume is to a line below the "shoulder" of the keg where it turns inward to form the top. Two reasons that's important: it maximizes the head space area so the rate of carbonation is maximized; and it keeps beer from backing out through the gas dip tube.

I brew an American Imperial Chocolate stout that is the one recipe I actually "age". Part of that is I dispense it using high pressure beer gas through a stout faucet, which means the stout's carbonation level has to be kept rather low - typically 1.2 to 1.4 volumes - otherwise blasting it through the tiny holes in the faucet's restrictor plate results in a complete foamy mess.

But if you look at that carbonation table you'll see it's not easy to carbonate something in a fridge to 1.2 volumes. Even a 1 psi regulator setting would take the beer to almost 1.5 volumes at a typical fridge temperature, and I know from experience anything above 1.4 volumes is going to be trouble with my nitro set up. So I carbonate the stout outside of my fridges and set the CO2 pressure according to the ambient temperature in my cellar, which is always closer to 60°F than fridge temp...

Cheers!
 
2. I've found how and where to buy a CO2 tank, but I have no idea how I would go about refilling it. I did find one rather expensive place online where they would pick up your CO2 tank and replace it with another one, but the ideal would just be refilling the CO2 locally.
I don't know what's common in Japan, ask or call around.
Ask other brewers, or brew clubs, if there are any. Beverage distributors (who handle kegs) may be a good resource, or perhaps (smaller) breweries.

Here in the U.S. swapping an empty gas tank for a full one at a bottled gas dealer has become the preferred way.
Some outfits may still fill on the spot while you wait, or have you return a few days later to pick up the filled one.

Welding suppliers are the most common dealers for CO2 (and most other commonly used gasses) here.
Other possible sources of CO2 are:
Beverage distributors,
Fire protection outfits, and
Medical gas suppliers, but may be pricey.
 
I don't know what's common in Japan, ask or call around.
Ask other brewers, or brew clubs, if there are any. Beverage distributors (who handle kegs) may be a good resource, or perhaps (smaller) breweries.

Here in the U.S. swapping an empty gas tank for a full one at a bottled gas dealer has become the preferred way.
Some outfits may still fill on the spot while you wait, or have you return a few days later to pick up the filled one.

Welding suppliers are the most common dealers for CO2 (and most other commonly used gasses) here.
Other possible sources of CO2 are:
Beverage distributors,
Fire protection outfits, and
Medical gas suppliers, but may be pricey.
I've looked into this a lot over the past few weeks, and I had noticed that none of the homebrewing stores online sold CO2 tanks. Just kegs, regulators, and so on. But after finding tons of places talking about the most common way to get CO2 tanks, I found a website that summed it all up.

Liquor stores - only some liquor stores do this, and they only rent out CO2 tanks. It's the cheapest method and the easiest to get refills, but most of them only provide CO2 tanks to restaurants, bars and grills, and so on. The only exception they make to renting to individuals is if you have a beer server at home (which in Japan are unique to each individual brewery since homebrewing is technically illegal in Japan and the macrobreweries have insane power. I recently saw a craft beer beer server released, but it's also interesting because it covers ALL craft beers, whereas normally you have an Asahi beer server, a Kirin beer server, a Sapporo beer server, and so on). Technically, the CO2 tanks belong to the breweries, and they only rent them to you, but it is the fastest and easiest way to get them refilled. The problem I saw is that online people complained about certain liquor stores refusing to sell to them unless they went to their house and confirmed that they had a beer server there, which the Japanese person posting about it was pretty annoyed at and just told them "forget it."

Amazon and other online stores - They sell CO2 tanks to own, but it's a bit more expensive. You can get a tank for around $100. To get refills, you then need to use a gas company that comes to pick up the tank, refills, and gives it back to you, which typically takes about 7 days or so. A lot of the places selling them on Amazon and other such sites do seem to be welding or welding-related companies.

Gas companies - This is the best way to get refills if you own the CO2, but the tank costs more than either of the above options. About $300 for an aluminum tank and about $200 for a steel one.

Medical gas suppliers - This is the most expensive by far. A single CO2 tank is around $400 to 500.

The irony is that the liquor stores/brewery rentals are the cheapest, the fastest, and in some ways the easiest, but they are the most paranoid and almost like a granny state. The gas companies themselves, though, say you don't need anything special to buy or own them and just give them and refill them without any questions (though they do warn you about how to handle and store them, of course).

Honestly, this is way more of a hassle than I imagined, but I've learned a lot.


EDIT: Doing some more searching and investigating. I'm thinking buying a 5kg (11 pound) CO2 tank off Rakuten (kinda like an eBay/Amazon hybrid) for around $100 and then exchanging it for a new full one for $40 when it's empty is probably my best option. One website said that a full 5kg CO2 tank can carbonate between 500 and 700 liters of soda, and considering soda is typically more carbonated than beer and I only plan to keg 3 gallons (11 liters) a month, that means I'll probably only keg a max of maybe 130 or 140 liters a year, which means a single 5kg CO2 tank should, assuming I make sure there are no leaks, last me more than a year. When I think on that scale, $40-50 for a refill isn't bad at all (though I know it's way cheaper than that in the US).
 
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You could buy/rent a larger 20lb size tank and a smaller 5lb size tank and then refill the 5lb tank yourself. That way if you have to wait for the 20lb tank to return, you still have the smaller tank for dispensing.

3. Yes you can prime a keg with priming sugar. It will create sediment, but simple settling of the beer also creates sediment. The majority of sediment will flush out tge first couple of pours or you can get a floating diptube.

4. Another option is to use secondary regulators. This allows you to set the pressure individually using the handy carbonation chart. For two taps, the cost isn't a lot more. The cost will widen as the n-way manifolds don't increase as much when adding another line vs. the increasing cost of each additional secondary regulator. A secondary regulator system will be somewhat bulkier than a manifold. A Y-splitter (Wye, the English letter) is smaller than a manifold although the angle it sits at can also eat up space. A tee works better actually but wyes seem to be prevalent in brass. Use Evabarrier for your lines as these are compact. Honestly before you buy, post your planned purchases here and people will be able to give the pros and cons.
 
You could buy/rent a larger 20lb size tank and a smaller 5lb size tank and then refill the 5lb tank yourself. That way if you have to wait for the 20lb tank to return, you still have the smaller tank for dispensing.
That would definitely be a pretty good idea if I was worried about running out of CO2 when serving beer to friends coming over, for example. I don't think it'll be necessary, but it's something to keep in mind. I used to give away a lot of bottles of my beers to friends and family, but bottling is such a hassle and I don't live near family right now and have fewer friends who live nearby, so it would probably be my girlfriend's friends who would drink any of it, and that's assuming they're into the same things she's into (since I've already made a few recipes that specifically match the kinds of beers she's into, such as a chocolate stout, a smoked stout, and a refreshing pale ale, etc.).

One of the places online literally had a thing where you had to select "I run a restaurant/bar" to buy the CO2 tank. But the one I'm thinking of buying from does not and a lot of the comments in the reviews mentioned this kind of thing as a positive. It was interesting seeing the different kinds of things people buy CO2 tanks for in the comments such as aquariums and home soda creation.

I've also noticed that regulators are pretty expensive, but the beer lines, quick connects, and other CO2 tank and keg accessories are relatively inexpensive.

And yeah, I will say that the passion and knowledge of the people on this site has always been really appreciated. They've really helped me improve the way I do things and direct me in the right direction much faster than I would have gotten there on my own without the awesome advice and info.
 
Over here it's cheaper to do your own refills vs swapping tanks as the cost of the 20 lb tank swap is nowhere near 4x the cost of the 5lb swap. It may make you uncomfortable the first time you do a refill...

Regulators are the pricier part and so are new kegs if you can't find used ones. The 2.5-3.0 gallon size aren't half the price of a 5 gallon either. In fact that smaller size commands a small premium on the used market here.
 
Regulators are the pricier part and so are new kegs if you can't find used ones. The 2.5-3.0 gallon size aren't half the price of a 5 gallon either. In fact that smaller size commands a small premium on the used market here.
Yeah, that's actually something that surprised me. Here a 5 gallon keg is $140, while a 3 gallon keg is $135, and a 1 gallon keg is $130. It honestly kind of shocked me when I first saw it since I expected them to be priced proportional to how big they were, but with only a 1 gallon keg being 7% cheaper than a 5 gallon keg, despite being 80% smaller, my American spirit was kind of like "then why wouldn't I just buy the 5 gallon keg?"

To be honest, though, years of bottling has taught me that 5 gallons takes a long time to drink and I prefer to have more variety of beers available at one time.

That said, I'm thinking of maybe getting two 3-gallon kegs and then maybe later one 5-gallon keg. It mainly has to do with fitting them in the fridge. I currently have 1 large fridge (which I will not put kegs in) and one medium-sized fridge (which I'm planning to put kegs in). It seems silly to me to buy a third fridge, but hell, it's not out of the realm of possibility. If I wanted to brew lagers (which I've never been particularly interested in doing), I probably already would have both a fridge just for brewing lagers.
 
I'm thinking buying a 5kg (11 pound) CO2 tank off Rakuten (kinda like an eBay/Amazon hybrid) for around $100 and then exchanging it for a new full one for $40 when it's empty is probably my best option.
Make sure your "mobile swapping service," the one you have in mind giving your business to, what size tanks they actually can replace. Maybe they do swap 5 kg (10-11 pound) or even 10 kg (20-22 pound) tanks.

I mention this, as 5kg (10-11 pound) tanks are not the most common here in the U.S.
2.5kg (~5 pounds) and 10kg (22 pounds) are the most common here for tank exchanges.

The other positive part of swapping tanks is that you probably won't have to worry about (hydro) testing dates. The exchange company may/should take care of that before refiling.
 
Fill level on kegs is largely irrelevant. It's probably best to have a full or mostly full keg to cut down on headspace and thus lower the amount of CO2 you have to purge with, as well as mitigate the effect of any impurities in the CO2. But this is largely theoretical, and in practice putting one gallon into a five-gallon keg isn't a problem for the beer.

One of the (big) advantages of kegs is that you can leave them cold and undisturbed for long periods of time, which really helps get you clear beer. If you're planning on shuffling kegs around inside of (or in and out of) a refrigerator, you'll lose that, to some degree.

I let beers age in kegs at room temperature, no problem. Need to have the keg to spare, of course.
 
Make sure your "mobile swapping service," the one you have in mind giving your business to, what size tanks they actually can replace. Maybe they do swap 5 kg (10-11 pound) or even 10 kg (20-22 pound) tanks.

I mention this, as 5kg (10-11 pound) tanks are not the most common here in the U.S.
2.5kg (~5 pounds) and 10kg (22 pounds) are the most common here for tank exchanges.

The other positive part of swapping tanks is that you probably won't have to worry about (hydro) testing dates. The exchange company may/should take care of that before refiling.
The swapping ones on those websites are each unique to a specific size and weight (for example, they don't have a drop-down menu to select the size. It's only for, say, 5kg or 7kg, for example). The one that seems the best price and the most convenient only sells and swaps 5kg CO2 containers. I looked throughout everything else they sell to see if they sell any other sizes, and it seems it's just the 5kg. On one site, I searched for 2.5kg and it came up with a rather long list of CO2 tanks being sold, but it was 11 5kg tanks, 1 2.5kg tank, and none of any other size.

When it comes to some of the other categories such as welder's, gas companies, and medical services, much bigger sizes such as 7kg and 10kg and 30kg become available, but they're also far more expensive (and not because they're bigger. The 5kg one from a medical service can be around $500 after all).

Honestly, 2.5kg sounds like the size I would want, but when I actually look at them online, they were very tall and very thin, so a much less convenient size for fitting in a refrigerator.

CO2 tanks here are all in metric, but Corny kegs all come from the US, so they tend to be in Imperial, which can be problematic since that means I need to find inch-based wrenches as opposed to millimeter-based.
 
Fill level on kegs is largely irrelevant. It's probably best to have a full or mostly full keg to cut down on headspace and thus lower the amount of CO2 you have to purge with, as well as mitigate the effect of any impurities in the CO2. But this is largely theoretical, and in practice putting one gallon into a five-gallon keg isn't a problem for the beer.

One of the (big) advantages of kegs is that you can leave them cold and undisturbed for long periods of time, which really helps get you clear beer. If you're planning on shuffling kegs around inside of (or in and out of) a refrigerator, you'll lose that, to some degree.

I let beers age in kegs at room temperature, no problem. Need to have the keg to spare, of course.
Super useful info to have. Really appreciate it.
 
As for #2, The Shank Tank.

If you have a spare keg add some sugar water to it, then pitch some cheap champagne yeast, put a spunding valve on it, and you're off making your own CO2. More info here:

 
Yeah, that's actually something that surprised me. Here a 5 gallon keg is $140, while a 3 gallon keg is $135, and a 1 gallon keg is $130. It honestly kind of shocked me when I first saw it since I expected them to be priced proportional to how big they were,...

One point of consideration is the cost to make them isn't directly proportional to their size. In terms of labor and overhead there is little, if any, difference and only a relatively small cost in material difference.
 
Welding supply stores have the lowest prices near me, about 25% less than beer/liquor store outlets.
Curiously, in my town there's a wide range, with homebrew supply shops at the low end - ~$22 for a 5lb. CO2 refill re exchange - and Airgas (mostly welding supply I think) at the high end, about double.
 
Curiously, in my town there's a wide range, with homebrew supply shops at the low end - ~$22 for a 5lb. CO2 refill re exchange - and Airgas (mostly welding supply I think) at the high end, about double.
$24 from Arc 3, $38 from beer place (not a homebrew store, more of a professional beer installation store)
 
One point of consideration is the cost to make them isn't directly proportional to their size. In terms of labor and overhead there is little, if any, difference and only a relatively small cost in material difference.
That's a good point.

I bought a 3 gallon corny keg and a regulator, and am waiting for them to arrive. I haven't bought a CO2 tank yet because I'm honestly kind of paranoid. I know those things are made to be safe, but the idea of all the pressure inside there makes me a bit nervous. Makes me want to put it right in the fridge after I order one and it arrives.

While I have a lot of brewing and bottling experience, this will be my first foray into kegging, so I really have no idea how to purge a keg of oxygen, how to do a closed transfer from a fermenter to a keg (since I see that as one of the biggest advantages of kegs), or how exactly carbonation is maintained at a steady amount.
 
$24 from Arc 3, $38 from beer place (not a homebrew store, more of a professional beer installation store)
Try Robert’s Oxygen. I have been using the one in Rock Hill, down the road from you, and been well pleased. I can get a 20# CO2 swapped out for $27. I think the 5# sized tank of beer gas was $21.40, and straight nitrogen was $15.
 
There is real danger. Main thing: store in a way it can't fall over, break off the top, and become a projectile. Also be aware that a truly major leak can make breathing in the same space dangerous. Minor leaks, not really.
Bottle bombs can be scary too, but they're nowhere near as potentially dangerous as a CO2 tank.

I've only once had a bottle explode. I remember waking up around 4am to what sounded like a bottle being dropped onto a concrete floor, went to investigate, and found a 500ml bottle had exploded. I cleaned it up, then immediately put all the other bottles from that batch in the fridge (I think it was a double IPA) and went back to sleep. Of the remaining bottles, only 2 of them were overcarbonated, which means that some kind of bug must have gotten into 2 of those bottles and not into the entire batch, but it reminded me of stories about people getting seriously injured from a bottle exploding near their face.

I'm currently thinking of just storing the CO2 tank in the fridge from the point I first get it. Since CO2 contracts in the cold and expands in the heat, it'd arguably be safer at colder temperatures (fridge, not freezer temps). People say that as long as you keep a CO2 tank under 125F/52C, it should be fine, but honestly anything about 90F would have me worried, even though I often see welders and other industrial jobs leaving huge CO2 tanks outdoors in the summer sweltering heat.
 
I just use party taps,(on eva barrier beerline) or Trong’s Tapit in an inkbird controlled freezer that’s in a utility room off my carport. Temperatures are ranging from 70°-95° in there currently. I have considered adding a collar and taps, but with the humidity here, they would be sweating all the time unless I use winter spigot covers on them.

I don’t keep my tank in the freezer. After I draw a couple pints for the day, I just connect the gas line and repressurize keg. It really doesn’t drop much with just a couple pours for myself (and the wife occasionally). I shut the tank valve off completely after each use and don’t worry too much about it. Their is a pressure relief valve on the tank valve body that I have to trust will do its job.
I will say that I do have plans to build stands to secure the tanks from tipping. I have not knocked one over yet, and I don’t want to either.

I know of no one injured by a tank failure, and my dad and his work buddies all used welding gases. I do know a guy who lost an eye to a bottle bomb. I am way more scared of the bottles than the kegs/tanks; there’s no pressure relief on the bottles. 🤷🏻‍♂️
 
I just use party taps,(on eva barrier beerline) or Trong’s Tapit in an inkbird controlled freezer that’s in a utility room off my carport. Temperatures are ranging from 70°-95° in there currently. I have considered adding a collar and taps, but with the humidity here, they would be sweating all the time unless I use winter spigot covers on them.

I don’t keep my tank in the freezer. After I draw a couple pints for the day, I just connect the gas line and repressurize keg. It really doesn’t drop much with just a couple pours for myself (and the wife occasionally). I shut the tank valve off completely after each use and don’t worry too much about it. Their is a pressure relief valve on the tank valve body that I have to trust will do its job.
I will say that I do have plans to build stands to secure the tanks from tipping. I have not knocked one over yet, and I don’t want to either.

I know of no one injured by a tank failure, and my dad and his work buddies all used welding gases. I do know a guy who lost an eye to a bottle bomb. I am way more scared of the bottles than the kegs/tanks; there’s no pressure relief on the bottles. 🤷🏻‍♂️
In my head, I know 100% of everything you've said is true and I've known it for a long time. I guess you could say this is an irrational worry of mine, but just the knowledge of how much pressure is inside a CO2 tank makes me very anxious. Knowing how many homebrewers, soda folks, aquarium owners, and so on have CO2 tanks in their homes or at their places of work, even in super hot conditions, and are perfectly safe does put my mind at ease.

I really do think it's an irrational fear/worry. Kind of like the fear I get from intense turbulence in an airplane, even knowing that there's nothing really to worry about.
 
In my head, I know 100% of everything you've said is true and I've known it for a long time. I guess you could say this is an irrational worry of mine, but just the knowledge of how much pressure is inside a CO2 tank makes me very anxious. Knowing how many homebrewers, soda folks, aquarium owners, and so on have CO2 tanks in their homes or at their places of work, even in super hot conditions, and are perfectly safe does put my mind at ease.

I really do think it's an irrational fear/worry. Kind of like the fear I get from intense turbulence in an airplane, even knowing that there's nothing really to worry about.
It is not irrational, but since you sound like a reasonably intelligent person you are probably worrying a bit too much. Here's some personal experience with tank mishaps:
In my dads shop, there was an idiot. This idiot had no business touching the torches, but had done so anyway and taken it upon himself to swap out the approx. 5' tall O2 tank for the torches. He dropped the new full tank, the valve of which struck the tire-machine while falling and broke off. The tank took off like a rocket out the bay door, across the street and into a mason-block wall which it fractured and spent a moment finishing venting. So yeah, there is a danger BUT: A couple years earlier, I was hanging with a friend and we thought it would be fun to shoot at 3 small 5lb tanks we had. (I don't remember what gas was in them.. I think it was nitrogen). We emptied the mags of a Browning 9mm and a Colt 45 GI and noting happened. We decided to lay them on their sides and try shooting at the valves; I got the first hit which fractured the valve but all it did was release a very brief cloud of vapour and spin around a few times. What I'm trying to get across to put your mind a bit at ease, is that while there is a danger owing to stupidity or true accidents, that danger is dramatically lessened exponentially with smaller tanks. From what I've seen myself; If the worst happened and your tank with regulator attached did tip over and break the valve, it's unlikely to have enough force to do youtube-worthy damage....at worse; it might go far enough to put a small dent in drywall without even going through. You really do need a large tank to do that. The actual consequential damage is financial because you need to replace the broken gear (and maybe use a bit of drywall compound :p )
Just make sure to secure it upright with a chain or velcro strap as it's only top-heavy when the regulator is attached.
:mug:
 
Thanks for the story, Broken Crow. I plan to get a 5kg tank (slightly over 11 pounds) and am currently thinking of storing it in my backup fridge with 1 or 2 kegs in there. If it ends up being a bit much, I'll just keep the CO2 tank outside of the fridge and 2 or more kegs inside the fridge.

I do tend to think of these things from a rational point of view, but at the same time I can get a bit paranoid about risks that can have significant consequences.
 
We emptied the mags of a Browning 9mm and a Colt 45 GI and noting happened. We decided to lay them on their sides and try shooting at the valves; I got the first hit which fractured the valve but all it did was release a very brief cloud of vapour and spin around a few times.
As crazy as that sounds, at least there was some distance between y’all the tanks. I used to hang out with a US Navy vet who claimed that he and his buddies used to sneak full tanks down to the water and strike the valves off with a sledgehammer. The sport in this was to see who could get their tank to skim the furthest out across the bay!
He claimed that they would go skipping across the water like some kind of torpedo!
You have to wonder how many pints they had consumed before this “sport”.
 
Thanks for the story, Broken Crow. I plan to get a 5kg tank (slightly over 11 pounds) and am currently thinking of storing it in my backup fridge with 1 or 2 kegs in there. If it ends up being a bit much, I'll just keep the CO2 tank outside of the fridge and 2 or more kegs inside the fridge.

I do tend to think of these things from a rational point of view, but at the same time I can get a bit paranoid about risks that can have significant consequences.
It's always good practice to secure a pressurized tank, so it can't tip over and risk getting damaged with possibly disastrous results.

In the lab we had strict safety rules for handling, storing, and using tanks. A chain attached to the fume chamber, a heavy (lab) table, or a wall, or using a stable cradle, are most common.
Heck, some (bottled) chemicals could not be transported without being placed in a steel transport bucket, with a 2nd person present, using stairways, never allowed in an elevator. Thionyl Chloride comes to mind.

Heatwise, we have had a few posts over the years where people reported having the burst disc rupture while transporting tanks in their car in super hot weather, without air conditioning. Overfilled tanks (not enough headspace) may have played a role.
 
It's always good practice to secure a pressurized tank, so it can't tip over and risk getting damaged with possibly disastrous results.
How do most people at home do this? Most of the videos I've seen online really don't seem to have anything securing the tanks, but as you say, they probably should be secured since them falling over could be pretty dangerous. In factories and warehouses, I have seen them usually secured by metal chains, but I've never seen that at home or in a brewery or tap room/craft beer restaurant.
 
My @KegLand Series-X kegerator came with a shelf that hangs on the back and holds a 5lb tank with a velcro strap (I've jammed a 10lb tank into it snug, but just fine):
IMG_1639.jpg

My Utility CO2 rig is another 10lb tank in a milk-crate, wired to the corner with simple mechanics wire:
IMG_1640.jpg

(The wire is actually higher up around the middle of tank than it appears...dunno why it looks so low in the pic.)

For my previous commercial kegerator I had welded a rack and bolted it to the back to hold it in a similar fasion to the series-x, but I re-sewed a nylon 'freight-strap' with adjustable buckle to it.
:mug:
 
How do most people at home do this? Most of the videos I've seen online really don't seem to have anything securing the tanks, but as you say, they probably should be secured since them falling over could be pretty dangerous.
At home, or at events, I don't have my tanks secured to anything. The bottom of the aluminum 20# CO2 tank is absolutely flat and wide enough to stand on its own. It's also fairly heavy while at least half full. I've never felt it being in danger of getting knocked or pulled over.

Your 10# tank will probably be a bit narrower than a 20#, and not quite as tall, with a somewhat higher risk of tipping when accidentally pulled, yanked, jarred or pushed.

I take my 20# tank to events, where it's usually standing next to my kegs (each placed inside a 5 gallon gott with ice) on a concrete slab, or next to the table with the jockey box. I've actually never seen anyone's tank strapped to anything...
 
There are all sorts of tank straps and stands on Amazon and other online retailers. Not sure about Tokyo. Milk crate or similar is the way to go for a small tank that you want to be able to move to different locations without risk of tipping.
 
I slapped some "tank nests" together from scrap soft pine and mdf. The triple serves my keezer plus holds my O2 cylinder, the second serves two of my fridges side-by-side, and the last the third fridge across the aisle - plus I use that one for closed transfers. All but the O2 tank use standard CMB ball lock gas QDs to gas posts on 1/4" MFL-MFL bulkheads so they can be easily serviced or swapped...

tank_nests_4.jpg



tank_nests_5.jpg
tank_nests_3.jpg


Cheers!
 
The mechanical danger from a CO2 tank failure is much less than from a compressed gas cylinder that does not have liquid as well as gas present (O2, N2, etc.) First the pressure in a CO2 cylinder is about 1/2 what other (full) gas cylinders have at 100°F (38°C), and is even lower at lower temperatures. Then when the tank fails, the falling pressure causes significant amounts of CO2 to vaporize from the liquid, cooling the cylinder very quickly, and causing the pressure to drop rapidly. The expanding gas from other gas cylinders does cause a little bit of cooling, but nothing like the cooling caused by evaporating liquid. The biggest risk is too much CO2 in an enclosed space.

Brew on :mug:
 
So my 3 gallon keg arrived today, and it ended up being wider than I imagined. As far as I'm aware, you cannot/should not put kegs on their side when they're in use (I imagine it's fine to put them on their side when they're empty and you're just storing them, though I personally would have no reason to do that), so it seems like my backup fridge (which is the one I was planning on putting 2 kegs and 1 CO2 tank in) is not big enough to fit more than 1 keg. I think I can probably fit 1 keg (the 3 gallon one I bought) and 1 CO2 tank (an 11 pound/5kg CO2 tank) in it, but unfortunately, my plan to have 2 kegs with 2 different beers in it probably won't materialize. That does make me glad that I bought a 3 gallon keg instead of a 5 gallon keg, even though they both cost almost the same, but it does seem like I won't be able to brew another batch of beer until the keg is either empty or near empty -- unless, of course, I decide that I want to buy bottles and using bottling for batches that might benefit from conditioning at room temperature (stouts, high ABV beers, etc.).

This kind of threw a wrench in my plan, but this was a fridge my girlfriend was thinking of throwing away before we moved in together and I thought I could use it for kegging. Seems like I still can, but instead of 2-3 kegs (I knew 3 kegs wouldn't fit in it, but I thought 2 would), I guess only 1 at a time is the way I'll have to go.
 
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