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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: dano14041 on May 03, 2011, 02:36:36 PM

Title: Blowing CO2 into bottles and carboys
Post by: dano14041 on May 03, 2011, 02:36:36 PM
What set up do you use to blow CO2 into bottles and carboys?

I was thinking of using a cobra tap on a pressurized keg, which should work since CO2 is heavier than air.


Thanks!
Dano
Title: Re: Blowing CO2 into bottles and carboys
Post by: gmac on May 03, 2011, 02:55:46 PM
I'm curious too. 
For kegs, I've just been hooking up the CO2 to the inlet and turning it on slowly to fill the bottom of the keg.  Like the OP, I'm thinking it's heavier than air so it should just stay down there right?  As long as my siphon is on the bottom, the gas should just rise up with the beer until it's full shouldn't it?  Or am I working under false assumptions?
Title: Re: Blowing CO2 into bottles and carboys
Post by: morticaixavier on May 03, 2011, 03:00:19 PM
I think with kegs the standard practice is to fill the keg with sanitizer and then push the sanitizer out with CO2. Air and CO2 will mix to some extent even though the CO2 is heavier. Currents and mixing will occur. By filling the keg with liquid you remove most of the air to start with. WIth carboys it would e different cause you can't safely pressurize them. bottles? no idea
Title: Re: Blowing CO2 into bottles and carboys
Post by: JKL on May 03, 2011, 03:02:24 PM
I think with kegs the standard practice is to fill the keg with sanitizer and then push the sanitizer out with CO2. Air and CO2 will mix to some extent even though the CO2 is heavier. Currents and mixing will occur. By filling the keg with liquid you remove most of the air to start with. WIth carboys it would e different cause you can't safely pressurize them. bottles? no idea

+1

But if you still want to for bottles/carboys this is an option:


http://www.winning-homebrew.com/CO2-Blow-Gun.html

-J.K.L.
Title: Re: Blowing CO2 into bottles and carboys
Post by: hamiltont on May 03, 2011, 03:16:22 PM
For kegs I connect the CO2 Disconnect to the Out Post & shoot some CO2 to the bottom of the keg. For Bottles & Carboys I unscrew the Disconnect & insert the hose. Cheers!!!
Title: Re: Blowing CO2 into bottles and carboys
Post by: HydraulicSammich on May 03, 2011, 03:33:35 PM
This is what I use.  However, use the food grade cartridges only. 

www.cornykeg.com/catalog.asp?prodid=668627
Title: Re: Blowing CO2 into bottles and carboys
Post by: The Professor on May 03, 2011, 05:25:51 PM
A cobra tap works great for bottles & carboys. 
About 21 years ago I hit on the idea of simply jamming a bottle sized drilled rubber stopper onto the spout on the cobra tap;  the hose for the cobra is attached to a manifold on my tank gauge which is set at 5-8 psi or less;  I insert the stopper, give it a quick shot, and then release it to let the co2 push the air out of the bottle, leaving enough co2 to settle in the bottle prior to filling.

For a carboy, I insert a drilled stopper into the top of the carboy, and then simply place the cobra with the bottle stopper on it flush against the hole in the carboy stopper.  A couple of quick shots and releases, and there's a nice blanket of co2 settling to the bottom of the carboy.  I noticed a big improvement in my long bulk aged brews when I started doing this, as well as in my stronger ales that I bottled out of the keg (even years after bottling).

There's no real danger form over-pressurizing  when you purge the vessels this way since if you have too much pressure,  the stopper would simply pop out before any glass could break. 

It's really simple, but it has worked well for me--I've done it this way since 1990 and have never had any excessive problems with oxidation in long secondaries or long bottle storage.
Title: Re: Blowing CO2 into bottles and carboys
Post by: tom on May 03, 2011, 05:29:12 PM
I think with kegs the standard practice is to fill the keg with sanitizer and then push the sanitizer out with CO2. Air and CO2 will mix to some extent even though the CO2 is heavier. Currents and mixing will occur. By filling the keg with liquid you remove most of the air to start with. WIth carboys it would e different cause you can't safely pressurize them. bottles? no idea
+100, for bottle I use a counterpressure bottle filler
Title: Re: Blowing CO2 into bottles and carboys
Post by: homebrewgamecock on May 03, 2011, 10:17:01 PM
Are you talking about using a sanitizer like Star-San in the keg, pushing that out and then filling the keg with beer?
Title: Re: Blowing CO2 into bottles and carboys
Post by: tom on May 03, 2011, 11:44:51 PM
Are you talking about using a sanitizer like Star-San in the keg, pushing that out and then filling the keg with beer?
Yep.  I fill the keg with StarSan.  Then I transfer it to another keg with CO2.  This leaves the keg clean, sanitized and full of pressurized CO2.  No oxygen in sight.
Cheers
Title: Re: Blowing CO2 into bottles and carboys
Post by: tomsawyer on May 04, 2011, 12:18:42 AM
How terribly important is it to worry so much about a little air in a keg when you're filling it?  nd won't that little air in the 1" of head space in a bottle get used up by the yeast?
Title: Re: Blowing CO2 into bottles and carboys
Post by: The Professor on May 04, 2011, 01:03:10 AM
How terribly important is it to worry so much about a little air in a keg when you're filling it?  nd won't that little air in the 1" of head space in a bottle get used up by the yeast?

Probably right, at least about the bottles if you're bottle conditioning.  I'm always careful to purge bottles however  because I only bottle bright  and already conditioned beer, usually quite a few months after most of the yeast has surely dropped out.

Still, I wouldn't think of transferring even into the keg without purging it out first since it's absolutely no trouble to do so.  It literally takes  little more than a minute.   That way, I also minimize any worry about my kegs full of barleywine or 18th century porter sitting at cellar temperature for more than half  a year. 
Necessary?  Who knows.  But it's a quick, cheap insurance policy.

But, of course, everyone has their own individual procedures.  I've been following mine for 2 decades, so while I've tried and adopted a number of new things since I've been a member of the boards, I'm pretty set in my ways as far as the co2 purge goes.  It takes virtually no time, does no harm, and probably does some good...so why not!
Title: Re: Blowing CO2 into bottles and carboys
Post by: homebrewgamecock on May 04, 2011, 01:51:15 PM
How long can Star San sit in keg?  I know you don't want to keep it around too long or it's cloudy and not as useful.  Is prolonged contact to the keg OK?
Title: Re: Blowing CO2 into bottles and carboys
Post by: tomsawyer on May 04, 2011, 01:56:56 PM
Seems inconsistent to worry about oxidation of an 18th century porter that is aged for six months at cellar temps.  The 18th century brewers didn't.  Or maybe they would have if they'd had the apparatus.

I understand this hobby is all about rituals and feeling confident in your process.  I'm just wondering how important the avoidance of all oxygen is when brewing.  This is a discussion I've been having with a friend recently, so this thread was timely and seemed like a place to broach the question.
Title: Re: Blowing CO2 into bottles and carboys
Post by: The Professor on May 04, 2011, 03:51:42 PM
Seems inconsistent to worry about oxidation of an 18th century porter that is aged for six months at cellar temps.  The 18th century brewers didn't.  Or maybe they would have if they'd had the apparatus.

I understand this hobby is all about rituals and feeling confident in your process.  I'm just wondering how important the avoidance of all oxygen is when brewing.  This is a discussion I've been having with a friend recently, so this thread was timely and seemed like a place to broach the question.

 I agree that it probably wasn't a concern in the 1800's.   But it's more about personal taste and on the homebrew level, perhaps it is also about how much of that particular flavor one can live with. 

I like the changes that long aging contributes to the beers I brew for myself.  But I like to avoid those excessive sherry notes if I can.  That's just me.   So I should have added the popular "your mileage may vary" to the end of my post.   ;)

Brewing (and especially homebrewing) is all about interpretation;  so  the way I see it, the avoidance of oxygen in brewing (especially post fermentation) is very important indeed.  To me.    How important it would be to anyone else depends on one's individual taste  threshold  or if one simply don'y like the flavors that oxidation brings.   Commercial brewers generally consider it the enemy.

To myself (and most other brewers I know), post fermentation oxidation is a defect.
So who knows...perhaps a truly authentic 1800 porter (whatever that is) wouldn't even pass muster for me.    ;D
Title: Re: Blowing CO2 into bottles and carboys
Post by: morticaixavier on May 04, 2011, 04:11:59 PM
How long can Star San sit in keg?  I know you don't want to keep it around too long or it's cloudy and not as useful.  Is prolonged contact to the keg OK?

as far as I know, as long as the starsan isn't cloudy it's all good. I don't think it's a problem to store it in a keg long term. but I don't know for sure, I know alot of folks keep a bucket full of starsan already mixed and keep using it till it gets cloudy, which if you use RO or even distilled water takes a long time to happen
Title: Re: Blowing CO2 into bottles and carboys
Post by: SoPHiSTo on May 04, 2011, 06:20:56 PM
So then how do you fill your keg full of beer if you have it sealed and full of co2?  I usually rack using an auto-siphon and up to this point have inserted the tubing into the top of the keg with the lid off of course.

Title: Re: Blowing CO2 into bottles and carboys
Post by: morticaixavier on May 04, 2011, 06:24:59 PM
So then how do you fill your keg full of beer if you have it sealed and full of co2?  I usually rack using an auto-siphon and up to this point have inserted the tubing into the top of the keg with the lid off of course.



after hooking the syphon tube to the beer out tube (Check me on this someone, I am new to kegging) you give the carboy a little pressure (Really little we don't want exploding carboys) and then release the presure from the keg slowly so the beer is forced into the keg as the gas is expelled.
Title: Re: Blowing CO2 into bottles and carboys
Post by: SoPHiSTo on May 04, 2011, 06:33:53 PM
So then how do you fill your keg full of beer if you have it sealed and full of co2?  I usually rack using an auto-siphon and up to this point have inserted the tubing into the top of the keg with the lid off of course.



after hooking the syphon tube to the beer out tube (Check me on this someone, I am new to kegging) you give the carboy a little pressure (Really little we don't want exploding carboys) and then release the presure from the keg slowly so the beer is forced into the keg as the gas is expelled.

So your saying you would need to pressurize your carboy with more pressure than in the keg?  That seems dangerous to me and I mostly use plastic buckets so I cannot pressurize a plastic bucket.  Your also assuming that I connect to the beer out line and I do not do that either I insert an open end of the plastic tubing into the bottom on the keg.



Title: Re: Blowing CO2 into bottles and carboys
Post by: dano14041 on May 04, 2011, 06:40:25 PM
another way to do it is to release the pressure off the keg, open it and rack to the keg as you do now. The only difference is that the keg is full of CO2 instead of air. Since CO2 is heavier than air it remains in the keg and is pushed out by the liquid as it is transferred in.

My original question was supposed to be an inquiry into what equipment people were using to purge bottles and growlers prior to filling from a keg/tap, or to purge a carboy when racking to a secondary and blanket the beer once it is in a secondary.

Thanks!
Dano
Title: Re: Blowing CO2 into bottles and carboys
Post by: tom on May 04, 2011, 06:57:12 PM
So you're saying you would need to pressurize your carboy with more pressure than in the keg?  That seems dangerous to me and I mostly use plastic buckets so I cannot pressurize a plastic bucket.  Your also assuming that I connect to the beer out line and I do not do that either I insert an open end of the plastic tubing into the bottom on the keg.
I release the keg pressure valve before transferring so it doesn't take much pressure to transfer.
I would consider filling the keg through the beer-out tube. Less splashing.
With a bucket you could easily siphon it into the keg.

I think oxidation is a big thing in homebrewing because our surface to volume ratio is so high.  But if you drink the beer within a few weeks it shouldn't matter.
Title: Re: Blowing CO2 into bottles and carboys
Post by: morticaixavier on May 04, 2011, 08:39:12 PM
So you're saying you would need to pressurize your carboy with more pressure than in the keg?  That seems dangerous to me and I mostly use plastic buckets so I cannot pressurize a plastic bucket.  Your also assuming that I connect to the beer out line and I do not do that either I insert an open end of the plastic tubing into the bottom on the keg.
I release the keg pressure valve before transferring so it doesn't take much pressure to transfer.
I would consider filling the keg through the beer-out tube. Less splashing.
With a bucket you could easily siphon it into the keg.

I think oxidation is a big thing in homebrewing because our surface to volume ratio is so high.  But if you drink the beer within a few weeks it shouldn't matter.

No don't pressurize the carboy more than the keg. as he said yo urelease the pressure from the keg before transfering from the carboy. but if your using buckets that wouldn't work it's true. your still reducing your o2 contact if you depressurize the keg and rack in as normal.

to the OP I have not worried about purging carboys, bottles. Probably I should but when I am bottleing I am doing a secondary ferm in teh bottle so I figure the yeast will eat up any o2 in the headspace.
Title: Re: Blowing CO2 into bottles and carboys
Post by: jlap on May 05, 2011, 09:35:13 PM
I'm not sure that it's true that CO2 will sink to the bottom or form a blanket above the beer in a carboy.  Aren't atoms/molecules of gas randomly distributed?  My understanding is that when you purge with CO2 you are gradually decreasing the percentage of O2 but that the O2 will never be zero.  It will never be 100% pushed out because of the greater molecular mass of the CO2.
Title: Re: Blowing CO2 into bottles and carboys
Post by: morticaixavier on May 05, 2011, 09:41:57 PM
I'm not sure that it's true that CO2 will sink to the bottom or form a blanket above the beer in a carboy.  Aren't atoms/molecules of gas randomly distributed?  My understanding is that when you purge with CO2 you are gradually decreasing the percentage of O2 but that the O2 will never be zero.  It will never be 100% pushed out because of the greater molecular mass of the CO2.

you are correct
that is why with kegs you should purge all air with santizer and then replace with CO2. but with a carboy you can't purge all the O2 safely as you would have to fill the keg with sanitizer and then push it out with CO2, I suppose you could do that at low presure and then as long as you are carefull to not stir the 'air' in the empty carboy to much while racking to it...