Keg Needing CO2
The purpose of carbon dioxide (CO2) is to dispense beer. CO2 is also the gas source that is best to use in a keg. In most cases, CO2 causes the beer to carbonate.
The level of CO2 pressure applied to the beer depends on the temperature of the beer.
Will a keg go bad without CO2? Your keg will not go bad without CO2, but it can affect how the beer tastes. Yet, you can still open the vent and siphon the rest as long as the tap spout is below the dip tube.
The first aspect of a successful keg operation is choosing the best gas source. Read this article and understand the gas source and why CO2 is crucial to your keg kit.
The Role of Carbon Dioxide in Beer
Not only does CO2 give your beverage a distinct flavor, but it also adds to the overall mouthfeel of the craft beer.
A carbonated beverage is a liquid that retains carbon dioxide in a pressure device.
That’s why you hear that rewarding pop when you open a can of beer. If the beer is fully fermented, you should use force carbonation to inject CO2 back into the drink.
Why? Because your beer can be fizzy in nature due to the fermentation of the yeast.
If you apply CO2 to the keg, you will be better able to check the volume of CO2 in the beer.
Your nearest petrol and gear dealer should be able to do the job if you don’t have the right equipment.
This is an advantage of kegs or other large barrels.
Carbon dioxide gives the beer a delicate acidic flavor due to the acidic properties of the existing molecule.
It may also help produce a lighter texture and add a touch of tartness and enhance the dryness.
The discomfort of the carbonation popping will stimulate more receptors in your mouth and allow you to get even more flavor!
Without the correct amount of carbonation in a beer, a drink may be too salty or too sweet.
Be sure to drink your beer shortly after opening it. If you want the best taste, the carbonation will reduce over time.
Importance of CO2 in a Keg
CO2 is the best gas source for the dispensing of any beer. It is important to note that compressed gas is not a good source.
The brewing industry spends millions of dollars in keeping O (oxygen) out of the keg. Oxygen adds pressure to the kegging kit, thus causing harm to the consistency of the beer.
Air compressors sometimes get dirty, which creates a problem. Oil from the dirty compressor is combined with the air and affects the beer’s scent and taste.
CO2 as a Gas Source
The CO2 gas cylinder and the pressure regulator are the key components in the beer distribution process.
The filled CO2 tank supplies gas, which the regulator controls, regulating the flow of alcohol.
It is used in direct drawing schemes for low-volume dispensing.
CO2 cylinders are available in many weights. The CO2 cylinders are chosen based on the weekly keg capacity.
For example, a 20 lb cylinder is required if there are four or more kegs in the kegerator.
You can use a single keg in a 5 lb cylinder where draft beer is sold in a small volume.
The full gas cylinder has about 800 PSI, which is much too high for dispensing purposes.
The regulator steps in when the PSI is high. The regulator regulates the amount of pressure (PSI) used to produce the beer, so you still get an optimal pour.
CO2 displaces beer at constant pressure, replacing the spilled beer by filling the vacuum that would otherwise be vacant in the keg.
CO2 occupies the headspace or free space and holds the pressure inside the keg.
This pressure is set by a pressure gauge that uses PSI to release the right volume of gas into the keg.
Maintaining a steady PSI prevents the beer from being fully carbonated by keeping the CO2 dissolved in the beer from escaping out of the keg.
Filling CO2 Tank
You can fill the aluminum gas tanks in the nearest welding or fire extinguisher supplies shop.
The draft beer CO2 tank is filled with pressurized steam, which is the pumping power to the machine.
The Department of Transportation requires that a CO2 tank be accredited and recertified after five years.
Therefore, make sure to get a qualified air tank and get it re-certified at the same place every five years.
The best pressure is about 10-15 PSI, and the perfect pouring temperature is 38°F. Temperature can also influence the necessary PSI.
Yet, differences are depending on the beer style, carbonation level, temperature, and altitude. Temperature can also influence the required PSI.
If the temperature of your keg increases a few degrees, you should increase the PSI level accordingly.
Set the dispensing pressure to 1 PSI for every 2 degrees. If the beer is well poured at 11 PSI at a temperature of 38°F, raise it to 12 PSI at 40°F.
You may also need to lower it to 10 PSI at 36°F.
Elevation also plays a part, as it decreases the PSI value seen on the low-pressure gauge.
Increase the dispensing pressure by 1 PSI above normal for every 2,000 feet above sea level.
Knowing When a Co2 Tank Is About to Run Out
The dual gauge regulator takes the guesswork out of this. If the CO2 pressure scale begins to dip below its original reading, the CO2 within it is almost gone, and it’s time to refill.
Otherwise, when the CO2 air tank is low, it would be slightly lighter than when it is full. You may use a calculator to measure it after it has been loaded and track it over time.
You may also use observational evidence. If the tank is easy to lift with one hand, it may be time to refill it.
The CO2 relation is crucial for the proper installation of your keg. It creates a balanced craft beer system.
While your keg can function without CO2, it will give you problems, such as a sour taste and low pressure when pouring.