Beverage Carbonation

General FAQs

Are any City or State permits necessary for the Volunteer Beverage Carbonation System?
Required permits vary from city to city and state to state. Your Volunteer Beverage Carbonation Specialists can give details on any possible pressure vessel permits required for your specific location. VBC will perform all necessary paperwork for you and keep the process of obtaining permits hassle free for your business.

How long does an average installation of a Volunteer Beverage Carbonation system take?
Depending on specific installation conditions and exact Volunteer System configuration, the average installation time can vary from 2-4 hours with no down time of any beverage service.

Can I request to be billed via electronic transaction?
Definitely! Volunteer Systems offers many payment and billing options. Please contact our accounting office at 615-256-5658 with your requests. Credit Card Authorization Form >

Is Volunteer Beverage Carbonation an established and local supplier of beverage gases?
We are proud to be one of the oldest and most established Beverage Gas suppliers in the Southeast. We are also family owned and operated. Volunteer Beverage Carbonation has serviced bulk CO2 systems for beverage dispense since the mid 1980′s and has been a gas supplier for decades before that. Our office is based locally and our staff and their families are patrons at many of the restaurants and pubs we service. Unlike the out-of-state competitors, with Volunteer Beverage Carbonation, your money stays in the area and is reinvested back into our local economy.

What if I currently have beverage gas from another CO2 provider but I would like to instead enjoy the Volunteer Beverage Carbonation advantage of service, price and product knowledge?
No problem! One of our Beverage Specialists can assist you in the transition process. Depending on what type of agreement you currently have, the process is fast and easy. Please contact one of our specialists to assist you in the steps to transitioning to a better beverage gas supplier today.

What do I do if I think there is a Volunteer Beverage Carbonation equipment problem?
Do not worry. We’re there when you need us! Simply call our 24/7 emergency service number at 615-394-4998 for immediate support. Our after-hours support staff is not a call center in another state. Most often they are Volunteer Beverage Carbonation personnel that are familiar with the details of your establishment. The person you speak with is often the support person who will be helping you with your call and possible call out. You can also try using the Trouble Shooting page to narrow down any possible issues you are experiencing.

What is bulk carbon dioxide?
Bulk carbon dioxide is liquefied CO2, a safer, low-pressure alternative to dangerous high-pressure compressed gas cylinders. Beverage Grade Bulk CO2 is delivered and stored on-site in your Volunteer Beverage Carbonation bulk CO2 vessel. The stainless steel bulk CO2 storage tank is automatically refilled on a regular route based schedule, based on your business’s CO2 pattern.

The Bulk CO2 we deliver is converted into gaseous CO2 inside of our storage tank and sent downstream to various beverage gas systems including beer and soda systems. CO2 gas is a main ingredient in any brewer’s recipe and a major flavor contributor in all sodas. CO2 adds an effervescent and slightly bitter taste to beverages and is responsible for the bubbles we all love!

Soda FAQs

What is a brix calibration?
A brix calibration is a procedure provided by your soda supplier to fine tune the taste of your sodas and juices. This calibration procedure adjusts the ratio of water-to-syrup for each of your soda flavors. Establishments in need of a brix calibration usually suffer from “too watery” or “too sweet” taste complaints. Brix problems can affect one or all of your soda flavors.

What is a carbonator?
A soda carbonator is supplied by your soda supplier as a part of supplier’s soda system. Carbonators are where the water from your back flow preventer and CO2 from the syrup rack regulators are combined to become soda water. 

Does Volunteer Beverage Carbonation install back flow preventers?
We do not install back flow preventers. Back flow preventers are required in all soda systems and are usually installed by a company that specializes in that service or a local plumber. As your beverage gas partner we are happy to assist you in locating a local back flow preventer installation company.

Beer FAQs

What should the proper size head on my finished beer pour be for best customer satisfaction and maximum profits?
To maximize your kegged beer profits and to provide the best customer satisfaction a 16 oz pint glass should have a 3/4″ head. The head on a pint of beer increases aroma and provides a nice mouth feel for greater customer satisfaction. The head on a pint also saves approximately 1.5 oz of beer on each pint poured. A perfect pint equals maximum profit!

What temperature should my keg cooler ideally be?
As a general rule of thumb, beer kegs should be stored at a consistent 38F. If warmer or colder beer dispense is desired, please contact one of our Beverage Dispense experts to advise you in how to accomplish this without causing flat or foamy beer. In most cases, mixed gas from Nitrogen Separators can help compensate for temperatures outside the normal range.

How often should my draught beer lines be cleaned and why should I clean them?
All recognized beer institutions agree that draught beer lines should be cleaned every two weeks. Proper beer line cleaning is essential for maintaining fresh and correct tasting draught beer. Improper cleaning frequency and/or cleaning methods can increase beer foam and will make it difficult to achieve the Perfect Pour. As your beverage gas supply partner, Volunteer Beverage Carbonation can assist you in finding reputable beer line cleaning companies in your local area.

Does it really matter what gas and pressure I use on my beer kegs?
Absolutely! The correct gas mix and gas pressures will dictate the profitability of your draught beer system. Improper gas types or mixes and incorrect gas pressures will cause undesirable outcomes including over-carbonation, foamy beer, flat beer and general customer dissatisfaction. Contact one of our Beverage Gas Experts to find out what gas and pressure is perfect for your establishment.

Is the mix of 25% CO2/75% nitrogen right for my non-stout beers?
While 25% CO2 is perfect for your stout creamed beers it is absolutely not acceptable for any normal ale or lager type of beer. The result will be under carbonated or flat beer.

The perfect ratio of CO2/ nitrogen is customized for your exact draught beer system. Typically 60-80% CO2 will be the range for most long draw beer keg systems. Each beer system has its own ideal mix ratio to deliver the perfect pint. Our Gas Experts can calculate your ideal gas mix and assist you in how to increase your draught beer system profits.

Why should I use a nitrogen separator over changing, ordering and storing cylinders?
Simple! Nitrogen Separators provide perfectly carbonated beer and wine for greater beverage profits. Separators also offer a much less carbon intensive means to deliver nitrogen for beer and wine dispense systems. Separators provide hands-free operation and customized gas blends for all types of keg dispense systems. Perfect Pints equal maximum profit!

Wine FAQs

What is kegged wine?
Kegged wine or draught wine is an environmentally friendly way to serve economically priced quality wines. Wine can be served out of a keg through beverage lines and out of a dispense faucet similar to draught beer systems.

Where can I find kegged wine options in my area?
Contact one of our Beverage Gas Experts and they will assist you in finding kegged wine options in your area. As your Beverage Gas supply partner Volunteer Beverage Carbonation is familiar with the ever increasing list of kegged wine options available.

Can my kegged wines be served out of my kegged beer cooler?
That depends on the type of wine (red or white), the keg cooler temperature and the type of gas and dispense pressure being applied to the wine keg. In most cases, a white wine can be dispensed from a kegged beer cooler when attention is paid to the parameters above. Red wines should be dispensed at a warmer temperature than kegged beer coolers will allow. Ideally a 50-58F cooler temperature is desired but often red wine kegs are stored at room temperature.

Is wine really carbonated?
Yes! There is a measurable amount of CO2 dissolved in red and white wines. White wines contain more CO2 than red wines. Obviously, wine contains much less dissolved CO2 than carbonated soda or beer but the small amount of CO2 dissolved in wine plays an equally important roll in wine flavor and shelf life. Maintaining the naturally occurring dissolved CO2 levels in wine can extend the flavor profile of kegged wine significantly.

What is the right kind of gas to use on my kegged wines?
The important role of any gas on top of wine in a keg is to be oxygen free and secondly to act as a propellant in dispensing the wine through the draught wine system. Oxygen-free nitrogen is the oldest used gas for this purpose. Nitrogen is inert and difficult to dissolve into wine. Nitrogen is the most widely used gas for kegged wine.

Why would I want to use nitrogen and CO2 on my kegged wine?
Recently using nitrogen in conjunction with CO2 on kegged wine has become the preferred method. The advantage of using a nitrogen/ CO2 blend is to preserve the wine quality even further than using nitrogen alone. When a nitrogen/ CO2 blend is applied, given the keg pressure and cooler temperature, kegged wine will maintain its natural CO2 content and thus keeping the same flavor profile from full keg to empty keg.

What about argon gas?
Another less favorable gas option for kegged wine dispense is using argon gas. Argon gas is actually easier to dissolve into a liquid than nitrogen and may be less economical when compared to nitrogen. Nitrogen or more recently mixed-gas (blended Nitrogen & CO2) have become preferred due to the fact that many beer retailers already have nitrogen on site.

Safety Related FAQs

What types of leak detection tools are available?
CO2 alarms are a great tool to warn of high CO2 accumulations in a confined space. The typical CO2 alarm installation includes a CO2 sensing probe (installed in the confined space) and a control unit which displays the current CO2 level (installed just outside of the confined space being monitored). An audible alarm and visual indicator will warn of high CO2 levels from a safe place before entry into the confined space.

Other leak detection tools are available including over-run alarms on Green Air Supply Nitrogen Separators and in-line flow meters for beverage gas monitoring. As always, the active monitoring in CO2 level alarms are far superior to the passive leak detection of balls floating inside of flow meters. If you have this type of leak detection currently (tiny floating ball inside of a plastic tube) be aware that this type of leak detection is ineffective during a busy service times. We recommend active monitoring of CO2 levels over passive leak detection to our customers. We can advise you on the cost and supply of every leak detection option available.

What do I do if I think there is a beverage gas leak inside of my business location?
First, be aware of any possible confined spaces that may be accumulating high concentrations of CO2 or nitrogen. CO2 and nitrogen displace oxygen and do not support life. Keg coolers, closets, basements and enclosed rooms should be aired out thoroughly before entry. If you suspect there is any chance of an accumulation of any type of compressed gas do not enter that area ever! If you can, shut off the gas supply that feeds the leak without placing a person at risk of entering a confined space. If you can not safely shut off the gas supply to the leak and you think there is a safety concern, contact your local fire department for assistance. You should also call our support staff for further assistance and instructions: 615-394-4998.

I may have a serious safety situation involving a carbon dioxide (CO2) leak. Who should I call first?
If you think you have a serious safety situation call 911 and request your local fire department’s assistance. You may then call our 24/ hour service number 615-394-4998 to inform us of the situation.

I may want to obtain a CO2 alarm for safety concerns. Where can I get one at?
We will gladly assist you in purchasing a CO2 alarm. Whether you’re planning on installing the alarm yourself or you would like our certified beverage technicians to perform the work, Volunteer Systems is your partner in providing your employees with a safer work environment.

I need to get copies of Material Safety and Data Sheets. Where can I get them?
You can download a PDF version here or you can request a hard copy be mailed out to you by calling (615) 481-2231.