The short answer is that carbon dioxide gives drinks their fizz factor. Beverages, especially cold ones, have a certain amount of carbon dioxide gas dissolved in them. When the gaseous carbon dioxide mixes with water, it undergoes a chemical reaction to produce aqueous carbonic acid.
It is the carbonic acid that imparts the acidic flavor and a sweet sensation in your mouth. Without it, almost every soft drink tastes too bland – or ‘flat’ – as many call it. Have you ever gotten a soft drink from a restaurant that doesn’t have its beverage dispensing system balanced correctly? The taste of the resulting beverage is off putting to say the least.
However, what is so special about carbon dioxide that it is used in these cold drinks? Why don’t manufacturers use some other gas?
There are many reasons why carbon dioxide is the top choice as an additive in cold beverages. Let’s take a look at a few of them:
Perhaps the most important factor when it comes to mixing any gas with a liquid. Carbon dioxide is highly soluble in water; in fact, it is the most soluble of the common, non-toxic gases. Consider this… around 1.5 liters of carbon dioxide can be dissolved in 1 liter of water at normal atmospheric pressure.
Other common gases either don’t mix as well with water (e.g., helium, hydrogen), and if they do, they are usually toxic (e.g., hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, sulfur dioxide). Other gases are used in certain beverages, such as nitrogen, which gives beers such as Guinness its velvety mouth feel and dense foam head.
The reason carbon dioxide dissolves so well in water is that it reacts and forms carbonic acid, which is the primary cause behind the ‘fizz’. This fizz doesn’t just look cool, but also tastes good and has an oddly pleasant sound.
Carbon dioxide has no color and is flavorless. On its own, it is nothing much to write home about. On the other hand, the carbonic acid created during the carbonation process is what creates the fun fizz you love – and that tingly sensation. The colder the beverage and the tighter it is sealed, the fizzier your drink will be. So, when there is excess carbon dioxide, it will stay in the water until the pressure is released, the carbon dioxide escapes, and the beverage goes flat.
Carbonation also occurs naturally. This is true of naturally carbonated mineral water that absorbs the carbon dioxide from the ground. Carbonation can also be man-made, created during a process in which yeast and sugar combined to create alcohol as in homemade beer.
As mentioned earlier, there are a few of other gases that could serve as an alternative to carbon dioxide gas, but they are usually a bit too expensive for a casual drinker. Furthermore, carbon dioxide is readily available, so that also helps to bring down the cost.
You could oxygen instead of carbon dioxide, provided you are okay with all your drinks becoming undrinkable. Oxygen causes food and beverages to go bad, so you cannot use oxygen as an additive for preservation. Whereas, carbon dioxide does a great job preserving drinks for a long, long time.
Reference: Science ABC, (2019, December 4) Carbon Dioxide in Drinks: Why Is Carbon Dioxide Mixed in Cold Drinks & Beverages (https://www.scienceabc.com/eyeopeners/why-is-carbon-dioxide-mixed-in-cold-drinks-and-beverages.html)
You have a choice Connecticut! Make the switch to TCSCO2 like Westbrook Lobster today!
Providing high quality beverage CO2 to virtually all of Connecticut, Tri-State Carbonation Service is always happy to add another local institution to our family. Sales ace, Kate Smedes, recently signed up the 57 year old Westbrook Lobster Restaurant & Bar in Wallingford, CT.
Operated by the second generation of Lariviere’s, the restaurant has two locations and claims it the best seafood restaurant in Connecticut. The Westbrook offers a new spin on traditional seafood classics a long with a fine selection of locally brewed beers and crafted cocktails. Visit their website at westbrooklobster.com
If you’re in Connecticut looking to buy the highest quality CO2 for your business, reach out to Kate and the rest of the TCSCO2 team. We are a provider of restaurant CO2, soda fountain CO2, brewery CO2 and bulk CO2. Plus nitro blenders, gas blenders and much more. Give us a call at 866-763-2427 or complete the form below for a no obligation quote.
There are so many benefits to a low pressure bulk CO2 system, we don’t know why anyone would use high pressure canisters!
Tri-State Carbonation Service specializes in low-pressure Bulk CO2 Systems. These CO2 systems are ideal for restaurants, bars, fast food, breweries, stadiums, arenas, and swimming pools. Establishments serving beer and carbonated beverages will experience significant cost savings by utilizing bulk CO2. Bulk CO2 will provide consistent carbonation without having to constantly change out high-pressure CO2 tanks and CO2 cylinders.
We offer Bulk CO2 in a variety of size tanks and cylinders. TCS evaluates each customer’s CO2 usage and refill the Bulk CO2 tank BEFORE it is empty. This allows managers and employees to focus on running their businesses instead of monitoring CO2.
Take a look at just a few of the differences between bulk low pressure carbon dioxide and high pressure canister CO2:
The Material and Weight
CO2 bulk tanks and cylinders tend to come in different sizes depending on their application. The 2 most common material used are aluminum and steel. The weight varies based on its material and whether or not it’s empty or filled.
Bulk tanks are stationary tanks made out of 100% stainless steel. These tanks come in many sizes to meet your needs. Their size and capacity lead toward greater distribution flexibility and lower delivery frequency. CO2 canisters or cylinders are high pressure tanks that are exchangeable. They can weigh upwards of 100 lb empty and 200 lb full. Your staff is expected to move these canister to change tanks when they empty. Risk of injury to staff and facilities tends to be greater with this option. Imagine your 125 lb bartender trying to successfully switch out a cylinder during peak business hours on a Friday night. You’re getting the picture.
Grades – what the cylinder is specialized for and the purity of the gas. Most CO2 cylinders are usually meant for either medical, research or industrial purposes. CO2 cylinders should be used specifically for what it’s designed. The reason for this is the gases purity. The types and amount of impurities in the CO2 determine not only its grade, but how it’s transported, stored, and handled.
There’s a common misnomer that there is no difference between beverage-grade and industrial-grade cylinders. If you expect your end products to taste the way you intended, then you will make sure that both your gas and tanks are beverage grade. There are 9 recognized grades of carbon dioxide. The highest is research and the lowest is industrial. We’ll save this for another blog post. Suffice it to say that beverage grade CO2 is 99.9% pure. After reading about the differences in just these few aspects, why would you continue to use a high pressure tank system? If you are interested in make the switch, reach out to us at 866-763-2427 or complete the form below. We look forward to helping you simplify your beverage delivery system.
Carbon Dioxide + Nitrogen = Beer Gas
There are only two types of gas that are used in beverage systems – carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen (N2). Some might argue that there is a third called beer gas – a blend of carbon dioxide and nitrogen.
The most used gas – carbon dioxide. From carbonating soda to sparkling water to pushing beer for draught systems, CO2 does it all and it’s always used in beer systems when serving draught beer
All beer is carbonated. CO2 provides two purposes:
- it helps push the beer out of the keg and,
- in the headspace of the keg or the serving tank, it helps maintain proper carbonation levels.
Just keep in mind that carbon dioxide is very soluble in liquid. That whatever beverage you serve under carbon dioxide pressure, it will eventually carbonate and you will get a sparkling water, soda, tea, coffee. The purity level of the carbon dioxide is also very important. Tri-State Carbonation Service only sells beverage grade CO2. This ensures that with properly balanced equipment, the beverage you serve is how it was intended.
Now for Nitrogen (N2). Nitrogen is a gas that is very insoluble compared to carbon dioxide. That means it is hard to get a liquid to absorb the Nitrogen. Typically, you use nitrogen for one of three purposes:
- to allow high pressure when dispensing the beverage through something that’s restricted like a beer tap;
- to allow enough gas pressure or a high pressure to push the liquid over a very long length of beer line; or
- to serve nitrogenated beverages like Guinness.
Sometimes beer lines run up to 120 feet from the keg room to the bar. This is where nitrogen would be used in combination with carbon dioxide to push the beer. To do that without losing carbonation or over carbonating the beer, nitrogen is generally mixed or blended with carbon dioxide. This is considered beer gas, you’re third gas. The carbon dioxide-nitrogen blend or mix is what allows the beer to travel over great lengths. This “beer gas” also allows kegs to be connected to a draught system under higher pressure without over carbonating.
The correct blend (or mix) keeps the beer at the correct carbonation level throughout the whole keg, no matter how long it is on tap.
Blended or Mixed Gas will:
- Keep a “nitro” beer properly carbonated and nitrogenated
- Keep beers properly carbonated, no matter how long they are on tap
- Prevent beers from going flat
- Reduce foaming problems due to temperature fluctuations.
Blended or Mixed Gas will not:
- Give your beer the creamy head of a “Guinness”
- Fix Beer that is already over-carbonated
- Eliminate all foaming in poorly designed, balanced or maintained dispense systems
Nitrogenated beers like Guinness require 25% CO2 / 75% Nitrogen whereas all other regularly carbonated beers will require 60% CO2 / 40% Nitrogen and in some cases 70/30 CO2 to nitrogen. These last 2 blends cannot be achieved stable over any period of time pre-mixed in a cylinder which is why blending the gases on-site as they are delivered to the keg is more effective and reduces waste.
You can also get more out of your nitrogen with a nitrogen generator. Nitrogen generators basically just take the ambient air and produce highly purified Nitrogen. They can also be used for your draught system but also a nitro-coffee station.
All beers have CO2 dissolved into them. Nitrogenated beer has N2 dissolved into it also. To properly serve nitrogenated (nitro) beers mixed gas must be used.
Want more information or to speak with one of our experienced sales team members? Complete the form below and we’ll reach out.
Controlling your pool’s pH with Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
There’s nothing quite like having a swimming pool in your back yard on a hot summer day. Kids laughing and splashing the afternoon away. Kicking back after work on a float letting your cares disappear.
That is until you decide to test the water! Sometimes it’s like being a mad scientist trying to balance your pool water. pH is too high, chlorine is too low, total alkalinity out of whack – where does it end? Water balance is the relationship of the different pool chemical measurements combined in the water.
The causes for out of balance pool water are varied: too much rain, pollen, too many swimmers and the list goes on. One of the toughest measures to balance correctly is pH because the ideal range is so small 7.4 – 7.6.
What difference does pH make? Well, the pH scale runs from 0 – 14, 7 being considered neutral. Anything under 7 and the water is acidic. This means the water irritates your eyes and nose as well as leaving your skin dry and itchy.
High pH levels – anything above 7.8 creates an alkaline level. This means the chlorine your putting in your pool for sanitation is less effective. You typically notice cloudy water when pH rises. The most common way to lower pH is with liquid muriatic acid, also know as hydrochloric acid. You may also use powdered sodium bisulfate (dry acid).
If you’d rather not mess with acids, then the easy way to keep your pool’s pH where it should be is with a CO2 injector. Hayward makes a model for both commercial and residential use. This system complements your automatic control system by providing hands-free operation and eliminates the need for acid feed pumps. These systems can also be combined with a liquid chlorine application from Wechsler Pool.
Learn more about the use of CO2 to balance your pool by visiting our website or reaching out to our team by completing the form below.