A carb stone, also known as a carbonating stone, is a tool used to forcefully carbonate kegs. Some people appreciate its benefits, while others are not as impressed. The preference for this tool largely depends on the type of system you plan to use for your beer making. Therefore, it is advisable to carefully consider the pros and cons of using a carbonating stone for kegs.
What is a carb stone or a carbonating stone?
The best way to describe it is to visualize an aerating stone that is commonly used for fish tanks or aquariums. Basically, it's a porous stone that allows gas to be pumped out of it. As the gas comes out in fine bubbles, it maximizes the surface area between the gas and the liquid being aerated. For this reason, a carb stone or carbonating stone is used to expedite the carbonating process of beers.
Many brewers add a carbonation stone to their brite tank, which needs to be set up properly. It is important to regularly and thoroughly clean your carbonation stones to prevent any contamination that could ruin your future beers. Additionally, you can gradually increase the pressure of your CO2 gas to achieve the desired serving pressure.
Also, make sure that the top part of your keg is unscrewed to avoid overcarbonating your tank while adding the CO2. There are many different types of valves you can also use that will provide the same effect of simply releasing the excess CO2 without allowing any oxygen to enter.
Some people argue that using a carbonating stone for kegs isn't truly worth it, as it only shaves off a day or two of the carbonation process, which may not seem like much to some. However, if you view saving 1 or 2 days during carbonation as a significant advantage, then investing in a carb stone would be the right choice for you.
Cleaning the carb stone involves using a caustic solution, which should be utilized each time the keg is emptied. However, this should not be the sole method employed for cleaning. Every few months, it is necessary to remove the carb stone and thoroughly clean it. Please note that this process may take some time.
Also, make sure that your carb stone is still functioning correctly. If it isn't, it would be advisable to discard it and purchase a new one. It is crucial to maximize the carbonation process using this particular kind of stone. Hence, it should effectively introduce CO2 into your keg by producing minuscule bubbles.
How much does a carb stone cost?
It depends, but it is typically priced within the range of $20 to $30. It's a worthwhile investment, particularly if you frequently engage in bulk carbonation. However, if you prefer the traditional approach, it's advisable to stick to the natural carbonation method. Exercise patience and wait for the opportune moment to savor your beer.
Controlling carbonation is crucial because the addition of CO2 significantly impacts the outcome of your beer. Carbonation plays a significant role in determining the taste and aroma, and beer enthusiasts undoubtedly value the experience of effervescence. Conversely, excessive carbonation will result in nothing but foam in your beer mugs.