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  1. #1

    Question Food Grade vs. Industrial Grade CO2

    Sorry post is in wrong category (I don't know how to delete).

    Hi, all I am new to the forum and this is my first post. Glad to see there is a great resource for dedicated beer lovers. Sorry for the long post in advance.

    I have been searching the forum and the net to find the answer to the question of what type of C02 do I need to put in my tank "Food Grade vs. Industrial Grade" and how does it affect my beer and my health. The answers I have found have run the gamut. So I don't know what to believe here is a sample:

    1. Some say CO2 is CO2, it's all the same thing so get the cheapest stuff you can get your hands on and start drinking instead of worrying.

    2. Some say Food Grade CO2 is more pure than Industrial Grade and even go so far as to say that the Industrial Grade CO2 is so contaminated that it can cause serious irreversible heath problems like cancer and respiratory failure.

    3. Some say the CO2 is the same purity but the only difference is that Food Grade has a different tank lined with glass. (Sounds logical but then why do most of the Kegerators come with Aluminum Tanks w/ no glass lining vs steel ones welders tend to use. All Kegerators would need food grade stuff right?)

    4. Some say the CO2 is the same but the Food Grade CO2 must be refilled with extra steps that include cleaning and sterilizing the inside of the tank so most of the time you can only get it with a swap out instead of a fill-up and it cost more.

    5. Some say Industrial Grade is more pure and thus costs more.

    I finally just when out to the first place I could find (AirGas near LA, CA) and had my 5 LB Aluminum Tank Filled with CO2. The receipt says Carbon Dioxide, 2.2 UN1013, (Carbon Dioxide 5LBS CGA 320 - Item Number CD 5). I though I was all good but when I got home I was browsing the net and found my item number on their web site and noticed under the heading Caution it said "Caution: For industrial use only. Not for human consumption or for use in foods or beverages" see link http://www.airgas.com/browse/product...&WT.svl=117316 they also had this http://www.airgas.com/browse/product...&WT.svl=117464 which is the real food grade stuff but it only comes in 50 LB tanks enough to dispense a boat load of beer.

    I quickly called them and they said the CO2 they fill with is great for everything from Kegerators to Welders to Fire Extinguishers and their customers use it for everything. That made me feel a little better but maybe he was just telling me what I wanted to hear. Anyway, I want to start the beer flowing but does anybody have a definitive answer on what to use (I love beer but would prefer to avoid lung cancer and/or respiratory failure.) Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by mdskizot; 08-14-2008 at 11:18 PM. Reason: Posted is Wrong Category Need to Delete

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    260

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    Just spoke with my CO2 supplier. He said that there are only a few national CO2 suppliers that provide the gas to local retailers. All of his CO2 sells, either "commercial" or "food grade" come from the same supply and that in his opinion the sell of "food grade" CO2 is a gimmick to up charge.

    I have been using his CO2 for over 5 years and his company is one of the largest in the central Virginia area, and have never heard of any health hazards.

    I say hook up and enjoy!

    Dennis

  3. #3

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    DCullender,

    Thanks for your input. My understanding is that AirGas, a specialty gas company, (the second largest CO2 provider in the USA) is one of the big national suppliers. The stuff I got was straight from the source. When I walked in the store with my brand new Aluminum 5LB Tank, and asked for CO2 fill-up the rep didn't ask me anything; he just said OK. Seems as if there were different options available he would have asked me which grade I wanted. Anyway I will give it a try.

    For those in Southern, CA or AirGas territory, I paid about $20 to fill it up and the guy did it in less than five minutes. Keep in mind not all AirGas stores do fill-ups some do the swap thing but there were like 30 in SoCal.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    88

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    Quote Originally Posted by DCullender View Post
    Just spoke with my CO2 supplier. He said that there are only a few national CO2 suppliers that provide the gas to local retailers. All of his CO2 sells, either "commercial" or "food grade" come from the same supply and that in his opinion the sell of "food grade" CO2 is a gimmick to up charge.

    I have been using his CO2 for over 5 years and his company is one of the largest in the central Virginia area, and have never heard of any health hazards.

    I say hook up and enjoy!

    Dennis
    I had the same outcome when i got my nitrogen tank, for food grade Nitrogen tanks in Ontario (Canada) all of the companies want to rent the tank for $70 to $100 per year plus the cost of the gas. Fortunately, the guy behind the counter said he wouldn't waste his money, the gas all comes from the same pot and the cylinders are only used for Nitrogen.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    2,794

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    All I've found on this subject is that there is no 'food grade' co2. There are food grade co2 tanks that are glass lined, and have to be washed prior to each fill. There is a small possibilitly of the beverage backing up into the co2 tank if the tank runs out, and then an even smaller chance of the tank rusting and that rust being introduced back into the beverage. The co2 provided by all the national suppliers is the same, 99.97% or 99.98% co2 or something along that lines. I've seen medical grade, which is 99.99%, but I doubt your going to find anyone supplying it at a retail level.

    Bottom line, don't bother looking for food grade co2. Anyone charging extra for it is simply making a few extra bucks. There are tens of thousands of kegerator owners getting their co2 from industrial welding suppliers and paintball stores for 20+ years. If it were a health issue, the FDA would have been all over it long ago.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    24

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    I went to get my Tank filled this morning, and I asked the guy about those Food grade stuff, he told me there was 3 kind of CO2, Normal Co2, Food Grad Co2, and 99.9% CO2 that is more expensive and not needed for our usage.

    Normal Co2 is co2, food grade co2 is normal co2, but they clean/Aseptic the tank they use to store it (transport, etc) so that Co2 and Food Grade Co2 was exact the same gas, the difference was in the manipulation/cleaning of the tank, but he also told me that Co2 was so cold that nothing could live in there anyway! :P

  7. #7

    Smile Some CO2 "Chargers" do Contain oil

    There are the little co2 "charger" cartridges for use in life rafts, BB guns, whip-cream chargers, etc.
    there is definitely a difference in food grade and regular with these little co2 tanks. The cheap ones (Non-"food-grade" - you can get at any walmart) for use with bb guns, contains oil to inhibit rust in the little tanks... the food grade chargers do not contain oil.
    There are some kits for charging a cornelius keg with these little chargers, and they insist that you use "food-grade" co2, which I guess means oil free co2.
    Anyway, I think there may actually be a difference in CO2 grades, but not when having your tank filled - no shop is gonna add oil to their co2...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1

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    Hi... first post here.
    Not that I don't care about my health, but I'm looking into this same question regarding the time my beer lasts after it's tapped.
    I'm getting half kegs of Blue Moon. They will go sour after about 4 weeks. I was told about the "Food Grade CO2" by a friend that used to own a restaurant. He insisted I need this to keep my beer fresh. His logic sounded believable, that any contaminated CO2, Oxygen in particular, would allow the beer to go flat, or spoil. He said if you have pure CO2 against your beer, it couldn't go bad. This is the second bad keg on the same CO2 bottle from my local welding supply co. Keen Gas in Delaware. Any ideas?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Posts
    90

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    Quote Originally Posted by bjnkm View Post
    Hi... first post here.
    I'm getting half kegs of Blue Moon. They will go sour after about 4 weeks.
    I would say the odds of of it being your CO2 is very low. If your temperature and pressure is not exactly right, Your CO2 will release out of the beer causing flat beer. This usually happens if your pressure is too low. I believe blue moon is around 14 to 16 PSI at 38 degrees.
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