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July 3, 2021

Co2 Tank Sizes Choosing The Right Sized Cylinder

Co2 is a critical component of beer, and so are the right co2 tank sizes. Co2 gives beer its lively taste and figures greatly in head retention and overall character. It's also important to understand the co2 levels you use when dispensing your draft beer. As a result, co2 gas will have a significant impact on the aroma of your beer. To say co2 is important to the art of dispensing beer is an understatement.

In this post, we will talk about the different sizes of co2 cylinders. What to know regarding the co2 tank size you should have for your draft beer system, and how to pick the best size.

Co2 Adds to The Beer Profile

There are more reasons why co2 is important for dispensing beer than just carbonating your beer. You may not realize that co2 has a significant impact on flavor as well. Each brewery will vary its co2 levels and amounts based on the style of beer being made. Beer quality testing companies use this knowledge to test beers against known standards. Using co2 levels as part of tests done on certain aspects of the beer itself.

What Size Co2 tank Should I Get?

Now that you understand co2 is very important to the quality of your beer, it's time to start talking about co2 tank sizes.

The first thing to discuss when looking for a co2 tank is the co2 tank size, which should be based on how many kegs you intend to dispense from your beer system.

The most common co2 tanks used for home beer dispensing are 1 lb co2 tanks and 5 lb co2 tanks. It's important to realize that co2 tank sizes and co2 cylinder volumes are not the same things, though co2 gas is calculated in pounds.

A 5 lb co2 tank has a volume equivalent of 300 liters of co2. Which means it can be used for dispensing at least 3-4 full-size kegs worth of beer (depending on how much co2 you like in your draft beer).

A good rule of thumb is to assume 1 lb of Co2 to dispense a 1/2 barrel of beer according to Micro Matic.

I also like using this chart below to help determine what size cylinder to get depending on how many kegs an establishment expects to pour.

Picture of C02 cylinder size chart

co2 cylinder size chart

What are Co2 Tanks Made Out Of?

What material the co2 tank is made out of will have an impact on co2 tank cost.   In general, co2 tanks are made from either steel or aluminum. Most aluminum tanks are for home brewers in the 2 lb to 5lb sized cylinders.

For the commercial side of things, larger cylinders are made of steel. This allows the cylinders to be used over and over in a commercial setting when they are being rented.

Since the steel cylinders are usually for the larger sized cylinders you rent from your local airgas company. They are usually found from the 20lb to 50lb size.

What Size co2 Tanks Are Available?

co2 tank sizes available now range from 2 lbs co2 tanks, up to 50 lb co2 tanks. co2 cylinders are determined by the co2 cylinder size and your needs for co2 storage. It doesn't hurt to get a few extra pounds of co2 on hand since it can be reused later if you have space in your co2 tank. co2 tanks can be stored for long periods of time without any danger to your co2 gas inside the co2 tank cylinders. Also, it's important when ordering cylinders to always have a back up co2 cylinder. This is a great idea because during a peak time running out of co2 would be detrimental. Having a reserved lets you change over without skipping a beat during operations.

Differnt C02 Cylinder sizes for dispensing beer

Different sized co2 cylinder tanks


Bulk Co2 Options

You can also buy co2 in bulk form if you have a large beer dispensing need, or simply want co2 on hand. co2 tank sizes available for co2 tanks range from 2lb co2 cylinders all the way up to 50 lb co2 gas containers. For a larger establishment, Brewery or Casino the Bulk Option is cost-effective instead of purchasing Co2 Tanks.

Where to get Beverage Grade Co2 Cylinders?

co2 tanks can be purchased from co2 gas suppliers. co2 gas suppliers will mainly sell co2 tanks for commercial and industrial use but most of them are able to supply smaller quantities that can be used by home brewers or beer dispensing systems for commercial properties.

You will need a co2 primary regulator and co2 tank gauge depending on what co2 gas product you get. co2 regulators, co2 tanks, and co2 cylinder backups are sold separately but can be purchased together as a set should always be stored in upright positions when not in use.

Summary

So now you know the main points about co2 Tank sizes for beer dispensing. Hopefully, this blog post has given you some new insights into how to figure out what size cylinder is just right for your property and why it's important that you use CO2 for dispensing beer.

If there are any other questions or concerns feel free to contact us. For more information about Draft Beer Dispense topics check out our blog for more resources and recommend products page.

Cheers!

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About the author

I've been a draft beer technician for 9 years  building, designing, and installing large commercial beer systems. Through the years I've worked on breweries, tap houses, casinos and stadiums around the country.

I enjoy sharing my passion for draft beer dispensing by talking about it, recommending dispensing equipment I've used in commercial installs, or private settings. 

Cheers!

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