The Carbonation Stone
A carbonation stone, also known as a diffusion stone, is an essential tool in the brewing industry. It’s used to efficiently dissolve carbon dioxide (CO2) into the beer, creating the desired level of carbonation.
A carbonation stone is typically made of porous materials like sintered stainless steel or ceramic. It has a multitude of tiny holes or pores that allow CO2 gas to escape from the inside and disperse into the beer.
The carbonation stone is connected to a source of pressurized CO2 gas via a hose or pipe. The pressure of the CO2 gas is regulated to the desired level, measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). The carbonation stone is placed on the lower straight side of the Bright tank in the dedicated port. The bright tank is the vessel where the finished beer is stored and clarified before packaging or serving.
The stone is positioned so that it is submerged in the beer, ensuring efficient carbonation. The depth at which it’s submerged can affect the carbonation process, as deeper placement allows for more even distribution of CO2 throughout the beer. When the pressurized CO2 is released into the beer through the tiny pores in the carbonation stone, it forms numerous small bubbles. These bubbles rise through the beer, and as they ascend, they come into contact with the liquid. At this point, the CO2 gas is absorbed into the beer, dissolving to create carbonation.
Through the use of pressure gauges, flow meters, and taste tests, brewers carefully control the pressure, time, and temperature to achieve the desired level of carbonation. Carbonating too quickly can lead to foaming and over-carbonation, while carbonating too slowly may result in under-carbonated beer.
The carbonation stone provides a highly controlled and efficient way to carbonate beer, ensuring consistent carbonation levels across batches. It’s a crucial tool for achieving the desired taste and mouthfeel in the final product.