Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => Kegging and Bottling => Topic started by: etbrew on February 12, 2014, 12:49:28 AM

Title: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: etbrew on February 12, 2014, 12:49:28 AM
I have almost completed a two year remodeling project that included a bar with 6 taps and moving my brewing operation from the kitchen to the garage.  I'm getting ready to build my keezer and I am certain the 5lb CO2 tank I have is not going to work with 6 kegs.  What size CO2 tank would you recommend for 6 kegs? 
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: Stevie on February 12, 2014, 12:51:23 AM
I recommend as big as you can fit in the space you have. Larger tanks are cheaper per lb to fill or swamp and don't cost much more than a 5 lb. I have a 20 and a 10.
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: tbmcdonough@suffolk.edu on February 12, 2014, 12:53:28 AM
I would still keep your 5 lb tank so you can use that carbonate your beer separately but a 20 lb is plenty and still fits inside your keezer!
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on February 12, 2014, 02:08:09 AM
I now have a 5, a 10 and two 20s. They all have advantages on size, where you can put them, and $/Fill.

If I had to do it over, I would have 2 tens and the two 20s.
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: beersk on February 12, 2014, 02:15:37 AM
I have a 5 and a 20. If you have the space, definitely get a 20lb tank.
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: Slowbrew on February 12, 2014, 01:28:34 PM
I have a 2.5 and 2 20 pounders.  The small one works great for parties and the 20s mean I never run out of gas.

Paul
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: Jimmy K on February 12, 2014, 01:35:31 PM
5 can work but you'll refill often and spend more per pound on gas. 20 is great if you have room. Since you're building the kegerator, just plan to run the gas line out so you can keep the tank on the outside.
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: restlesnativ on February 12, 2014, 01:52:23 PM
I started with the standard 5 pounder when i first got my kegging system about 3 years ago. I just bought a 20 pounder this week after i found out the cost difference in fill-ups. I figure I'll keep the big bottle for everything I do around the brewery and the small bottle for bringing to parties and such. I have absolutely no regrets getting the bigger bottle.
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: beersk on February 12, 2014, 02:57:03 PM
I have a 2.5 and 2 20 pounders.  The small one works great for parties and the 20s mean I never run out of gas.

Paul
Wow, you must not drink/brew much. I'm going through a 20 pounder in around a year. I brewed 38 four gallon batches last year, which is more than I plan to do this year, actually.
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: Pinski on February 12, 2014, 03:17:06 PM
I run a 20# on the kegerator and have two 5#, one is my utility for carbing and travel the other is the backup.
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: Slowbrew on February 12, 2014, 05:55:20 PM
I have a 2.5 and 2 20 pounders.  The small one works great for parties and the 20s mean I never run out of gas.

Paul
Wow, you must not drink/brew much. I'm going through a 20 pounder in around a year. I brewed 38 four gallon batches last year, which is more than I plan to do this year, actually.

I really meant that I have plenty of time to get tanks refilled without interrupting the flow but I don't brew as much as I used to.  It is a bit tough to consume all you "can" brew when the only consistent drinker in the house is me.  I'm trying to brew less and drink fresher as well as drop a little weight.

Paul
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: Scot (one T) on February 12, 2014, 08:22:13 PM
  If you have the space go with the 20#.  I f you need it to be mobile go with the 5#.  I have a 20# hooked up to the keg fridge and use the 5# for events and bottling.
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: Joe Sr. on February 13, 2014, 12:27:52 AM
I now have a 5, a 10 and two 20s. They all have advantages on size, where you can put them, and $/Fill.

Same here.  But it might be 3 20s and I think the 10 might be a 15.  So not really the same.  But it's nice to have a couple back ups.  I've got three empties right now, but no worries.  One of the ones that's not empty is a beer gas mix, which is nice to have but completely unnecessary.

I like having the 5. It's perfect for parties.  It's a real pain when I have to lug out a big tank for parties, which I've done twice last year.  I fill the five more often though.  I've been thinking of trying to exchange one of the 20s for a tank with a pick-up tube in it, but I'm not sure I want to take the risk of filling at home.
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: etbrew on February 13, 2014, 10:17:26 AM
Thanks fo the advice.  I have plenty of room so a 20lb tank it is.  Time to go shopping.
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: klickitat jim on February 13, 2014, 11:39:30 AM
I'd check with your gas supplier. I made the mistake of buying tanks online then found out the gas shop would have been cheaper and they took my shiny new ones in trade. Bye bye money and coolness
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: philm63 on February 13, 2014, 03:03:53 PM
Jim - I know; too late now, but check your area for beverage service companies that can fill your tanks - lets you keep your nice new shiny bottles, takes minutes in most cases.
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: S. cerevisiae on February 19, 2014, 06:30:30 PM
I am lucky in that I pay the same price per pound of CO2 regardless of cylinder size. 
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: morticaixavier on February 19, 2014, 08:21:03 PM
I am lucky in that I pay the same price per pound of CO2 regardless of cylinder size.

I am lucky in that I pay the same price per fill regardless of tank size. I have no idea why but the place I fill my Co2 charge ~19 bucks to exchange a 5 lb or a 10 lb tank.
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: S. cerevisiae on February 19, 2014, 09:48:29 PM
I believe that I paid $9.00 for my last 5lb cylinder fill.  I would not pay $19.00 to fill a 5lb cylinder.  I would buy a 10lb tank. 

I am fairly frugal with CO2, so 5lbs lasts a long time. I have always had a simple setup in which the kegs are stored in a refrigerator with picnic taps (this refrigerator/freezer holds my yeast bank, blank plating and slanting media, autoclaved starter media, and my hops).  I only open the valve on the cylinder during force carbonation and when the pressure drops to the point where I can no longer coax beer from a tap.  I used a 10lb tank with the kegging setup that I had before I took my extended hiatus from the hobby.  I could easily serve beer for two years between fills.   I am not a fan of "gassy" beer.
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: klickitat jim on February 19, 2014, 10:20:49 PM
Just exchanged my conditioning tank for a full one. $8.75
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: Joe Sr. on February 19, 2014, 10:33:20 PM
5 lb refills cost me $20.  20 lbs cost about $25, maybe $30.

Definitely some economies of scale.
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: corkybstewart on February 19, 2014, 11:13:47 PM
I run a 50 pound tank for my primary kegerator, and a 20 on my lagering/carbonating fridge.  Go big or go home.  It costs $12 to fill the 20#, but the 50# only costs $20 and has so far lasted 3 years, maybe 4 and pushed about 600-800 gallons of beer.  Yes I drink too much beer.
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on February 20, 2014, 01:12:39 AM
I get fills for $2/lb at the LHBS. That is slightly cheaper than the fire safety place. Last time i got the 20 filled it was about $18 at the fire safety place. Paper work and time is the cost, the CO2 not so much. The 5 goes to the LHBS. The 10 goes to the LHBS if the fire safety store is not open - more limited hours.   You can figure where the 20 goes.
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: sdevries42 on April 02, 2014, 02:41:07 AM
Would a 5 pound CO2 tank run 4 5 gallon kegs? I am working on a 4 draft kegerator system and plan on getting a bigger CO2 tank at some point down the road. Wondering if a 5 pound CO2 tank would get me by for now.
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: a10t2 on April 02, 2014, 02:49:40 AM
Would a 5 pound CO2 tank run 4 5 gallon kegs?

If you're only using it to carb and serve (no purging, etc.) you should get about four kegs per *pound* of CO2.
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: dkfick on April 02, 2014, 12:05:24 PM
I have a 50, 20, and 4 5's.  I would say 20 is probably the best of both worlds as far as being able to move it around and still get a decent price on a refill.  The 50.... ugh... It's pretty cheap to get filled but man can it be a chore to get back into my second floor condo when filled :D  The tare weight on the tanks can run between 100-150lbs. So you're looking at a rusty tube that weights 150-200lbs when you bring it back from being filled or swapped...
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: sambates on April 23, 2014, 11:56:08 AM
Larger the better. 10# an 20# only cost slightly more than a 5# to fill. A worker told me that the most expensive part is hooking the tank up and the co2 is cheap. Also, you can buy cheap tanks online at Craigslist, but they must have the ID tags. If they don't, places won't swap or fill. I use a 10 and fill every 3 months or so and a 5 I fill if, I have "extra" money, to force carb separately.
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: dkfick on April 23, 2014, 12:37:09 PM
Larger the better. 10# an 20# only cost slightly more than a 5# to fill. A worker told me that the most expensive part is hooking the tank up and the co2 is cheap. Also, you can buy cheap tanks online at Craigslist, but they must have the ID tags. If they don't, places won't swap or fill. I use a 10 and fill every 3 months or so and a 5 I fill if, I have "extra" money, to force carb separately.
Any co2 tank should work.  They will look at the last hydro test date stamped into the tank though if you want it filled.  You need to have it hydro tested within 5 years or you shouldn't be able to get it filled.  They hydro test is usually about $20.
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: Stevie on April 23, 2014, 12:58:54 PM
One benefit of swapping, at least in my experience, is longer times between needing to pay for hydro tests. The airgas I swap at is sure to give me a tank with the same or earlier date.
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: dkfick on April 23, 2014, 01:05:10 PM
Yeah I tend to swap out my 50lb tank, but once you get a 'good' one I usually stop swapping.  The 50lb tanks seem to vary considerably.  My first tank had a tare weight of 100# and this last one I swapped it for has one of 150#.  Made a significant difference when I went to carry it from my car to my 2nd floor condo....
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: Jimmy K on April 23, 2014, 01:10:39 PM
One benefit of swapping, at least in my experience, is longer times between needing to pay for hydro tests. The airgas I swap at is sure to give me a tank with the same or earlier date.
Earlier?
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: Stevie on April 23, 2014, 01:26:13 PM
One benefit of swapping, at least in my experience, is longer times between needing to pay for hydro tests. The airgas I swap at is sure to give me a tank with the same or earlier date.
Earlier?

Oops, I mean later. :) Example: I give them a tank due August 2015 and I get a tank due January 2016. I don't think they dig through all of their tanks, most likely find the best tank on the outside edge of the pallet.
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: Joe Sr. on April 23, 2014, 02:23:37 PM
One benefit of swapping, at least in my experience, is longer times between needing to pay for hydro tests. The airgas I swap at is sure to give me a tank with the same or earlier date.

You swap at every fill?  I only swap when I need a retest.  Otherwise, they fill the tanks I bring in.

They were out of steel 20s last year or so when I went in and I got the bonus of swapping to an aluminum tank.  Which is nice with the larger tanks.
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: Stevie on April 23, 2014, 02:31:38 PM
You swap at every fill?

Yep. I find it's faster and basically the same price. I'm normally in and out in 5 minutes. I have 2 10lb tanks, but may upgrade one to a 20lb next time around.
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: etk29321 on May 20, 2014, 08:17:10 PM
Just an fyi.  Check your local suppliers before getting a 10lbs tank.  Fills are never an issue, but when mine came up recertification, I could not find anyone actually willing to do the testing local.  The best I got was an Airgas guy who definitely did not want my business ("you can bring it in and we'll ship it off to our testing center 100miles away and you *may* get it back if you're lucky").
Everyone and their brother would do an on-site swap for a 5 or 20lbs tank.  The 10lbs just seemed to be an uncommon size around here and no one other than Airgas even said they might recertify it.  No one I found did swaps.
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: Stevie on May 20, 2014, 08:28:02 PM
I'm hoping the "May or may not get it back" comment meant your tank versus a comparable.
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: Slowbrew on May 20, 2014, 09:03:10 PM
Just an fyi.  Check your local suppliers before getting a 10lbs tank.  Fills are never an issue, but when mine came up recertification, I could not find anyone actually willing to do the testing local.  The best I got was an Airgas guy who definitely did not want my business ("you can bring it in and we'll ship it off to our testing center 100miles away and you *may* get it back if you're lucky").
Everyone and their brother would do an on-site swap for a 5 or 20lbs tank.  The 10lbs just seemed to be an uncommon size around here and no one other than Airgas even said they might recertify it.  No one I found did swaps.

I found a guy here in Des Moines who only does CO2, mostly industrial and bulk beverage type work, who certified, stamped (Tar weight and full) and labeled a 2.5lb tank for me.  He thought it was "stupid" (according to his office lady) but when I picked it up and explained what I was using it for for he decided it was a pretty good idea. 

The swap only shops can be expected to limit your options but the small, hole in the wall, places can be very helpful.

Paul
Title: Re: What size CO2 tank is appropriate?
Post by: etk29321 on May 21, 2014, 07:38:22 PM
I'm hoping the "May or may not get it back" comment meant your tank versus a comparable.

That's what I thought at first, but he didn't really reassure me anything would come back.  Either way, I've moved to a smaller 5lbs tank now just so I can do easy swaps and not have to worry about it.  I'm happy to pay a few bucks extra for the convenience of being able to do it at my LHBS.