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)
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.
Sharing with permission a blog post from Michigan Hemp Solutions on the use of CO2 in cannabis extraction. If your company is in the developing industry, this article provides great information on the process. Feel free to reach out to Michigan Hemp Solutions at 866-758-5487 or visit their website at https://michiganhempsolutions.com/ For all your carbon dioxide needs contact TCSCO2 at 866-763-2427.
Michigan Hemp Solutions is here to provide our clients with a variety of products based on the needs that you present us with. We want to provide you with clean cannabis extracts with consistency. Using CO2 Extraction allows for us to provide an array of products. We pride ourselves on being able to meet the demands of our clients and being a sustainable business conscience to our earth. Concentrate sales are now higher than the sale of dry flower because the plant profile is preserved, and the dosage is more suitable to the consumer’s needs.
Our CO2 extraction process allows us to select specific cannabinoids to deliver to our clients based on their needs. Our CO2 system can adapt to client needs by adjusting perameters for different cannabis extracted products. System changes include adjusting pressure, temperature, and flow rate to manipulate the super critical fluid within the system. As our client’s needs shift so can our production, CO2 allows us to be precise on the compounds we select to extract, and this is a key benefit to our business. There are many other extraction methods available to the industry that are great at making one product. We pride ourselves on being a company that produces full spectrum cannabis oils.
CO2 readily evaporates from the oil leaving no residue once the oil reaches atmospheric conditions. CO2’s evaporation and terpene preservation leads to a natural tasting product and a golden color oil. Running supercritical or liquid CO2 (subcritical) through raw material also kills most microbial contaminants. Ultimately CO2’s ability to be fluid and ever changing allows us to stay ahead of the markets needs by meeting your need for broad-spectrum, green and clean oil!
CO2 extraction is ideal for cannabis as well as food, pharmaceutical, and fragrance industries due to its ability to process in a delicate manor. Settings such as temperature, and pressure ensures that we will not damage frail trichomes when performed correctly. Cannabis concentrates are targeted for an assortment of cannabinoids, terpenes and other components of the dried cannabis plant. Our goal at MHS is to be consistent and efficent in achieving therapeutic results. Current studies have suggested that extracting terpenes can enhance the medicinal effects of CBD along with other cannabinoids. The proper extraction of terpenes from specific strains allows us to satisfy medicinal market demands. If you cultivated a variety based on the medicinal value of that plant we are able to preserve and prevent those terpenes from getting lost in the extraction method. Consumers will be able to measure the quality based on effects upon consumption.
Cannabis can be extracted using several different methods aside from CO2 extraction. Butane and Ethanol are the two mentioned and are of the most popular. They have a commonplace in the cannabis industry for multiple reasons, one being the strength of the solution. Ethanol and Butane are powerful solvents that have an all or nothing personality. They pull out wax, chlorophyll, fat, terpenes and cannabinoids. This leaves no room for control on what is targeted for extraction.
Cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are two of the main compounds extracted from the cannabis plant. Aren’t these the most important two? But what about terpenes? How do terpenes play a role in extraction and why are they so crucial? Terpenes are responsible for most of the plants profile. Another way to look at terpenes is considering them like the plant’s personality traits. Before I mentioned that you may cultivate certain strains because of their medicinal profile, this profile comes from the terpenes housed in the flowers trichomes. These same trichomes house CBD and THC as well.
We deliver a ‘full-spectrum’ extract meaning the complete profile of the plants medicinal value which includes both terpenes and cannabinoids. Through extraction the cannabinoids are preserved but as well as the delicate terpenes that are volatile through the extraction process. With CO2 extraction the delicacy of the process allows for the consumer to receive that full-spectrum oil they may be in search of.
By changing the pressure and temperature of the CO2 you can create Supercritical CO2 or CO2 in its liquid state (subcritical). Due to CO2’s properties it can be described as a “green” solvent because it is both non-toxic and non-flammable. This alleviates the concern for residue in the final product and the chance of explosion during processing. Carbon Dioxide is generally recognized as safe by the FDA. The legislation around health and safety places heavy restrictions around solvent that are acceptable. CO2 is most acceptable because it is natural. Extracts made from CO2 are closest to the natural starting material which is our goal in extraction.
The liquid CO2 is pumped through the plant material dissolving the terpenes and oils. After this process is complete the CO2 returns to its natural state as a gas allowing the terpenes and oils to flow out for collection. Once the terpenes are collected, we can run the process again this time at a higher temperature and pressure specifically targeting cannabinoids. Once the cannabinoids have been extracted, they can be winterized to remove fats, then the terpenes from the first extraction can be added back into the product creating a full-spectrum oil.
CO2 extraction is both customizable and clean. CO2 extraction allows for us to extract any desired compound(s) to create therapeutic CBD-based medicine that is valuable in terpenes, aroma, and quality. We truly believe that with our CO2 extraction system we can meet a limitless variety of products for you and the consumer you are targeting.
Terpenes are a large part of the full-spectrum oil that we are trying to achieve but you may be asking why terpenes are so crucial to the medicinal user of cannabis products. Terpenes are essential oils that work with cannabinoids to create the entourage effect. The entourage effect is simply the way the whole cannabis plant including cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes and other substances naturally found in cannabis work together to create homeostasis in your body. Terpenes also have a large number of medicinal benefits!
Studies have been conducted over the years and it has been found that any terpene concentration above 0.5% is considered to effectively change behavior and bring out physiological changes. Patients who showed symptoms of depression were exposed to terpenes and nine out of the twelve patients reported that their depression subsided. There are over 200 terpenes in the cannabis plant resulting in a different aromatic flavor for each plant profile. Terpenes are also found in a grand host of other plants such as hops, lemongrass, thyme and citrus fruits just to name a few. There is a terpene wheel that displays where certain terpenes are found and the aroma and flavor profile! Although the cannabis plant has 200 terpenes there are more than 30,000 known terpenes. If you are curious, check out the wheel. Terpenes health benefits also deserve a mention. Studies conducted in the last five to ten years have proved that the terpene Limonene stunt cancer cell growth, prevents the cells from spreading and often causes the cancerous cells to die. The terpene Linalool or a dominant terpene found in lavender is known for its anticonvulsant properties, or in other terms has been found to stop seizure activity in the brain. There is so much more and beyond to talk about terpenes!
We hope that after this rather lengthy article you have a better understanding of CO2 extraction and its importance and the benefits of a full-spectrum oil.
Being able to diagnose your draft beer system is important to your business’s profitability. Staying on top of the quality of your pours can mean the difference between making money on each pour or sending it down the drain. Kegworks offers this article on troubleshooting your draft beer system.
If you own or work at a bar or restaurant, you understand that keeping your draft beer dispensing system in proper working condition is an integral part of maintaining your bottom line. When your commercial draft beer system isn’t working properly, you run the risk of creating unhappy customers who may leave your establishment with a less than satisfactory experience to look back on.
Luckily, most common issues with your draft beer system, including foamy, flat, or cloudy beer, are easy to diagnose and troubleshoot. As a rule of thumb, keep in mind that the vast majority of issues can be traced back to one of three things: improper temperature, improper pressure, or general cleanliness.
The following quick guide will arm you with information to help you make the necessary adjustments to ensure that your beer flows freely and your customers remain happy.
Instead of being mostly liquid with just the right amount of creamy head on top, the glass is filled with wasteful foam. Here’s what might be wrong:
The temperature is too warm. Lower the temperature in the refrigeration unit that holds your kegs (ideally, to between 36º and 40ºF). If using glycol to dispense, ensure that your glycol bath is set to dispense at that range as well.
The CO2 pressure is too high. Adjust your regulator to lower the CO2 pressure.
The faucet is dirty or broken. Inspect faucet and washers and replace both as needed. Every few weeks, remove and disassemble your faucet, then clean it with hot water and a brush.
The beer hose has kinks or obstructions. Inspect your hose and make corrections, if necessary.
The beer was poured improperly.
Serving flat beer, or beer that doesn’t have the right level of carbonation, will quickly drive away customers. Beer at its best has a certain effervescence that helps enhance the drinking experience. In many ways, flat beer is the exact inverse problem of beer that is too foamy (or over-carbonated). If your beer is coming out flat, here are some potential problems to address:
The temperature is too cold. Raise the temperature in the refrigeration unit that holds your kegs (ideally, to between 36º and 40ºF). If using glycol to dispense, ensure that your glycol bath is set to dispense at that range as well.
The CO2 pressure is too low. Adjust your regulator to raise the CO2 pressure.
The glass is dirty. Grease is the enemy of carbonation. Ensure your glasses are clean, and rinse with cold water just before pouring.
Cloudy or hazy beer is unattractive and offputting to say the least. If you wouldn’t want to drink a glass of cloudy beer, why would your customers be any different? If you’re experiencing this problem, try this:
The temperature is not remaining steady. Check your refrigeration unit to ensure that your keg isn’t being exposed to alternating warm and cool temperatures. Never let your keg get above 45ºF.
The beer lines are dirty. For best results, you should clean your beer lines between every new keg, or approximately every 2-3 weeks.
The beer is old. Beer doesn’t stay good forever. Check the expiration date on the keg and/or institute an inventory management system that helps you keep track of your kegs.
The PERFECT Pour
Using the proper gas mixture is one of the most important factors that influence pouring a great pint of beer. All draft beers are brewed with a certain amount of carbon dioxide dissolved into the beer and it is important to maintain that level of CO2. A 75% nitrogen and 25% CO2 for “nitrogenated” beers like Guinness, Kilkenny, Caffrey’s, etc. which have a relatively low carbonation content (1.2 volumes) and a 50% N2 and 50% CO2 for domestic and craft beers which have a higher CO2 content (approx 2.5 volumes). Maintaining the carbonation content in beer allows you to pour the proper “2 finger” head on every beer from the top to the bottom of each keg resulting in increased yields and profits for your establishment.
Contact TCSCO2 at 866-SODA-GAS or fill out the form below. We’ll be happy to get you set up correctly.