Spoiled CO2 Tank - Unsafe or just Unsavory

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My CO2 tank spoiled and my main question is, can I safely drink the beer I carbonated with it? For background, I recently moved to India and when I packed my belongings the moving company said the only way to ship a compressed air tank was if it was empty and the valve was left open (which I surmise is the problem, but I’m open for other suggestions). The two tanks were open for 4 months. When I arrived I procured a different co2 tank locally and began brewing and kegging with no issue. Emptied the first tank and refilled it. No problems. When my shipment arrived 4 months after me, I filled my two tanks (that had the open valves) and kept brewing and kegging. And then I noticed my sparkling water was suddenly not good. It was gross. Like sweet sulfur. It took some deduction before I realized the smell was coming from the co2 tank. But my second tank was charging my spare kegs in the cold room and has the same problem. So I have 8 kegs that I need to dump for safety or keep with a possible off taste. I have been drinking the beer for 3 weeks and did not notice any off flavors and did not feel sick. I also didn’t drink the sparkling water often because my IPAs are really good. This led to a delay in noticing the bad gas. So, unsavory or unsafe? I would love a science answer.
 
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OP
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My CO2 tank spoiled and my main question is, can I safely drink the beer I carbonated with it? For background, I recently moved to India and when I packed my belongings the moving company said the only way to ship a compressed air tank was if it was empty and the valve was left open (which I surmise is the problem, but I’m open for other suggestions). The two tanks were open for 4 months. When I arrived I procured a different co2 tank locally and began brewing and kegging with no issue. Emptied the first tank and refilled it. No problems. When my shipment arrived 4 months after me, I filled my two tanks (that had the open valves) and kept brewing and kegging. And then I noticed my sparkling water was suddenly not good. It was gross. Like sweet sulfur. It took some deduction before I realized the smell was coming from the co2 tank. But my second tank was charging my spare kegs in the cold room and has the same problem. So I have 8 kegs that I need to dump for safety or keep with a possible off taste. I have been drinking the beer for 3 weeks and did not notice any off flavors and did not feel sick. I also didn’t drink the sparkling water often because my IPAs are really good. This led to a delay in noticing the bad gas. So, unsavory or unsafe? I would love a science answer.
Here’s a pic of my co2 expert filling my good tank. He diagnosed the bad tank as spoiled. We had great debate about the word poison. Lots of translation issues which would be hilarious if this was The Hangover but alas, this is my life.
61E7B07D-F5CC-433F-B386-AA6E4B3D15EF.jpeg
 

McMullan

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More likely has something to do with the CO2 being contaminated. The new or old source. Unless the CO2 is certified food/beverage grade there is always a risk of some cross contamination occuring. With a little imagination you could produce your own CO2 assisted by yeast 😉
 

lumpher

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I wouldn't drink it. It's quite possible there's rust in the tank, and you could be risking lead poisoning. If you can find somebody that does hydrostatic testing, they can probably clean the tank, too. You might also be able to swap the tank at a distributor. Another possibility is that being open and empty, mold developed; again, possibly not safe. Just my thoughts and the route I'd go. I know it's not cheap and effortless to make beer, bur is it worth the risk? That's your decision when it comes down to it, but I wouldn't.
 

Dr_Jeff

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Once the tank is full of CO2, nothing can live in there. !

If you have a way to draw a vacuum on the tank prior to filling, I'd try that. (people that work with refrigeration equipment usually have vacuum pumps)

If that is your tank, it looks to be in good condition.

The hi-tech method being used, is that the normal way there?

I don't feel that there is any such thing as a "spoiled tank".

Often times with a tank that has been left open, the procedure is to put in a pound or so, vent most of that out, then fill the tank. If it is vented fast, this also causes the tank to chill, allowing for a "better/more complete fill".
 

Dr_Jeff

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I wouldn't drink it. It's quite possible there's rust in the tank, and you could be risking lead poisoning. If you can find somebody that does hydrostatic testing, they can probably clean the tank, too. You might also be able to swap the tank at a distributor. Another possibility is that being open and empty, mold developed; again, possibly not safe. Just my thoughts and the route I'd go. I know it's not cheap and effortless to make beer, bur is it worth the risk? That's your decision when it comes down to it, but I wouldn't.


Look at his newish tank, now look at the supply tanks.

Which tank would be most likely to have a problem, consider Occams Razor.
 

lumpher

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An OMC that old, heck I'd refuse to touch a bolt unless whole thing had been soaking in a barrel of penetrating oil for a month...haha.

I'm likley practically a luddite compared to you, tech wise, yet I've inversted over $8K on battery powered yard care implements, even though I've still got good 2 cycle versions of same tools.. Yet vehicle fleet averages over 30 years, cause I actually willing to work on those. I sometimes have to work on the 2C motors, but will only do it if absolutley necessary. Life is just too short for that.

Look at his newish tank, now look at the supply tanks.

Which tank would be most likely to have a problem, consider Occams Razor.
Did you look at the body of that tank? Looks like it lost an 18 round fight with an industrial grinder.
 

PberBob

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Four months in a shipping container does nothing good, but I think you would have noticed moldy/musty smells when you had the open cylinder in your hands.

Industrial CO2 is made from natural gas combustion, which is dried, compressed, liquified, and distilled for purity. Sulfur dioxide contamination is a possibility, if the gas is industrial grade, rather than beverage grade.
 
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