Remote community with no CO2 Refill

You can't leave your homebrew in primary forever! Let's talk about storage.
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XXXXX
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Re: Remote community with no CO2 Refill

Post by XXXXX » 5 years ago

Venari,

CO2 really is the way to go.

If you absolutely cannot get CO2, here are some other options you can consider. Some are less desirable than others.

All these solutions require you to keg carbonate in advance. Once the beer is carbonated via fermentation, it will remain carbonated as long as it remains pressurized.

Once your beer is carbonated, there's nothing stopping you from using a different compressed gas to propel the beer. Immediately coming to mind are most of the so-called noble gases, more specifically Argon, Helium, and Nitrogen.

Consider that nitrogen is largely inert and commonly used in the food industry to to displace air with the intent of preserving food. Also consider that commercial "draught beer gas" is a blend of nitrogen and carbon dioxide.

Argon and Helium are is 100% inert noble gases which will not react with your beer. They are colorless, odorless, tasteless, and non-toxic.

These three gases are likely readily available to you from a flower/gift shop (helium balloons), welding shop (argon is used as an inert flood for welding), and an automotive shop (nitrogen is used to fill automotive/aircraft tires).

As a last resort (which you shouldn't have to resort to), you can use compressed air. At very low serving temperatures, and providing you drink the beer quickly enough, compressed air will have little effect on your beer. Consider the hand pumps for commercial kegs use room air.

Two things about using compressed air:
- Although air is mostly nitrogen, oxidation is a risk because the remainder is largely oxygen gas.
- You would want to use breathing air as it is filtered during compression... you don't want to use grandpa's old black&decker.

I'd recommend breathing air from the SCBAs at the fire station, as it is filtered (usually for the following at minimum: Carbon Monoxide, Odor, Taste, Oils, Hydrocarbons, particles) before being stored in cylinders.

If you go the compressed air route, keep in mind when choosing a regulator and lines that that you're now dealing with an initial pressure of either 2216 PSI or 4500 PSI, depending on the cylinders your fire station uses.

If you're going to use air, I'd recommend against using it on an entire 5gal corny at a time. Maybe pressurize a keg with only as much beer as you anticipate drinking, similar to using a keg hand pump.

Anyhow, these are just some ideas to chew on. I'd try nitrogen first as it's likely the most affordable and available, followed by argon and helium. Air I'd use if I couldn't get anything else...it is still a viable option.

I invite you to do your own research on each of these gases. They're all very, very safe. The biggest risk of these gases (compressed breathing air notwithstanding) is one that CO2 also poses: displacing room air resulting in asphyxiation.

Cheers.
Mmmm... Beer... *drool*

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XXXXX
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Re: Remote community with no CO2 Refill

Post by XXXXX » 5 years ago

Venari wrote:Also: without having a CO2 tank on hand, how could I check to see if the locally used kegs are in good condition for brewing? Is a pressure test required, or are there are ways to tell if they're good to go?
If you can't hook up a CO2 cylinder to pressure test it, you can use two "hacks" to see if it holds pressure:
- Vinegar & baking soda in the keg, slosh it around.
- 2 Litres of pop in the keg, slosh it around.

Either one should build sufficient pressure to know if the keg seals or not. Use a mixture of dishsoap and water around the seals and fittings. If you see bubbles coming up, it's leaking.

Cheers.
Mmmm... Beer... *drool*

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Re: Remote community with no CO2 Refill

Post by Dave » 5 years ago

Make an adapter. Gas inlet disconnect on one end of hose,
schrader valve on other end. Use bicycle pump to pressurize.
Starsan in spray bottle to check for leaks.

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