Author Topic: Propane Burners and tanks  (Read 20423 times)

Offline SkyFlyer

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Propane Burners and tanks
« on: June 08, 2009, 06:13:31 PM »
Hello all!
Hope life is treating you good!
So, I did my first 10 gallon AG this past weekend.  I had been doing 5 gallon AG batches and the 7 gallon kettle was just getting too small!
So, I finished my Keggle and got my equipment updated to do bigger batches.
All that went well.
However, my propane burner is woefully inadequate.  It appears to be the standard turkey cooker burner.  Nothing fancy, probably less than 100K BTU's.  It took forever to heat up water and the wort.  Way too long.
So, I need to look for a better burner.
What are some brands and BTU's that you guys are using?
Any issues or 'stay away from that one', that I should be aware off?
I see that the King Kooker is around 110K BTU's.
Any others?
I have found one on Ebay that puts out 185K BTU's.  Now that is a jet engine!
It is the Bayou Classic SP10 for under $60 + Shipping.
Was wondering if anyone had tried that one?
I might give that a try.  I've found some larger propane tanks on Craigslist.  Then I'll be in business!
Have a good one...
Thanks, Bob

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Re: Propane Burners and tanks
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2009, 07:14:33 PM »
http://morebeer.com/view_product/17250/102341/Burner_-_92000_BTU_for_Low_Pressure_Propane <-- Check that out.

I use the same one but for natural gas. It really kicks out some serious heat. I can heat 15 gallons of water to a boil in 30 minutes with my natural gas setup. You will have to get a low pressure regulator for your propane tank, but if you want some serious heat, that's the way to go.

Darin

Offline Wildrover

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Re: Propane Burners and tanks
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2009, 07:30:48 PM »
I use the Bayou Classic which is very nice.  I'm still doing smaller batches but I have a friend who makes ten gallon batches and uses the same burner.  He usually has something between 11-12.5 gallons when he starts boiling and it generally takes about 20-25 minutes to bring it to a boil. 

My next burner will probably be another one of these.  I don't have any interest (yet) in going up to bigger batches and this burner brings my 7.5 gallons up to a boil in around 15 minutes

Offline MaltLicker

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Re: Propane Burners and tanks
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2009, 06:25:32 AM »
http://www.northernbrewer.com/burners.html

I have the Hurricane, which looks identical to the Bayou burner, but 10 inches instead of 16 inches.  So less power, but very quiet and very fuel efficient.  My 50L (13.5 gal) keggle sits just inside the ring so it's fairly close to the burner. 

I personally think there is something to this design that distributes heat across the entire bottom of the pot.  Every friend that has seen it wants one.  The Bayou may suit 10 gallon batches better.

Offline UselessBrewing

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Re: Propane Burners and tanks
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2009, 07:17:06 AM »
You should factor in the cost of the gas if you are going to go more BTU. I'm quite happy with my 55,000 BTU burner. I boil both 5.5 and 11 gallon batches in my keggle. It usually only takes 40 min to bring it to a boil but I can boil 3 batches on a tank of gas! I have a friend that purchased a Bayou Classic. He goes through a tank of gas per batch. That's $20 added to the cost of your beer compared to $6.60 for my 3 batches. I was reading about some of the higher BTU units out there, they were talking about a 110BTU unit going through 2 lb of gas to bring 10G to a boil in 45 min. That's not a 10 G batch (or 13+Galons) thats 10 gallons. That's almost half a tank of gas. Sure that would be cut down for a 5G batch, but not by much since you are boiling 7+ gallons for a 5G batch.

If you are going to upgrade and have the capability, go Natural Gas! If I had it available, that's the way I would go.

Cheers
Preston
The woodpecker pecks, Not to annoy, But to survive!

Offline SkyFlyer

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Re: Propane Burners and tanks
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2009, 08:06:33 AM »
Thanks for the comments!
I knew that it would take more propane to run the bigger units, but ...
I stood around for an extra hour or two just to watch water and wort heat up.
I know, this is supposed to be a relaxing time, and it is!
But what I figured to be a 6-7 hour brew session took almost 9 hours.  Maybe that is normal.  This was my first 10 gallon AG batch.
I had a little extra wort to be added to the keggle and when I did, it took another 30 to get back to boil.
Plus, my unit gets the wort up to a boil, but not a vigorous boil, and it it turned all the way up.
I don't know what size it is, but I am guessing that is similar to the one that Preston mentioned.
I'd like to find some of that material that you were reading, Preston, if I could.  Do you have a link or two?
I wish I could do Natural Gas, but don't have that option.
So, in the end, I might just stay with what I have (until I have a few more batches under the belt).
It works, but slow, but also cheaper than going out and buying new(er) equipment.
Later ...
Bob
Thanks, Bob

Offline Wildrover

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Re: Propane Burners and tanks
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2009, 09:11:20 AM »
I have a friend that purchased a Bayou Classic. He goes through a tank of gas per batch.

That is ridiculous, I get between 4-5 batches a tank with my Bayou burner.  Maybe he has a leak or something?  
« Last Edit: June 09, 2009, 10:25:22 AM by Wildrover »

Offline SkyFlyer

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Re: Propane Burners and tanks
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2009, 10:07:16 AM »
Wildeover, can I ask what size tank you are using? I have the standard 4+gallon BBQ size. I'm looking to go to 10-15 gallon size.  And maybe the Bayou burner   
Thanks, Bob

Offline Wildrover

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Re: Propane Burners and tanks
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2009, 10:32:16 AM »
I've been using the standard 15lb propane tank that you exchange at hardware and grocery stores etc.  Blue Rhino and Ameri Gas I think?  Just the basic tank.  My Bayou Burner is the 185k BTU version too I believe. 

Of course I'm not doing 10 gallon batches, I usually start at 7.5 gallons (there or abouts) and boil down to around 6 gallons.

My friend uses the same set up for his 10 gallon batches and it does take him an extra 10-15 minutes to get his boil going so it makes sense that he won't get as much out of one tank as I do but I know he gets at least 3-4 batches a tank. 

Offline UselessBrewing

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Re: Propane Burners and tanks
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2009, 12:05:54 PM »
The most obvious one is from the Northern Brewer burners page. http://www.northernbrewer.com/burners.html Look at the Bayou Classic description. It says it right there 2# in 45 min. I was however mistaken about the size, the size I have is a 20# like Wildrover mentioned. We brewed this weekend and he did go through a tank of gas. He said it was full before he started, Not my tank so I can not confirm that. You should note that Blue Rhino does not fill up their tanks all the way because of the cost of gas. here is a little bit about that: http://www.whtm.com/news/stories/0509/626366.html

If you get that many batches out of a bottle, More BTU same gas usage. I may switch to a bayou classic also.

Cheers
Preston
« Last Edit: June 09, 2009, 12:07:56 PM by UselessBrewing »
The woodpecker pecks, Not to annoy, But to survive!

Offline Wildrover

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Re: Propane Burners and tanks
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2009, 12:22:17 PM »
I should say that I don't use my burner to heat strike and sparge water.  I only use it to boil.  The same can be said of my brewing buddy who only uses his to boil. 

I also don't leave it open all the way for the entire boil.  I leave it open why it comes up to a boil but after that I turn it way down.  For my 6 gallon batches its not open very much at all after the hot break.  I don't boil as vigorously as I can get away with.  I have a different attitude toward that actually.  I boil just as vigorously as I feel I need.  In other words, I like a little violence in the boil but thats it.  I bring it up I'd say to just over a rolling boil.  I think anything more than that is overkill. 

It's my understanding that propane is a pretty efficient gas (could be wrong, this was told to me so I ran with it) and the longer you boil the more efficient it comes.  I do find myself turning it down ever so slightly as the boil progresses to maintain the same level of violence in the boil which supports the notion of it becoming more efficient.  Of course I'm not expert on gas so all that might be wrong? 

Having said all that, I really believe your friend is doing something wrong or perhaps wasting some gas somewhere if he is only getting one batch out of a tank.  How big is his tank, is it the 15 pounder?  That just seems like way too much gas for one brew session

Offline SkyFlyer

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Re: Propane Burners and tanks
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2009, 01:12:03 PM »
Hey, thanks for the great discussion.
Man, I like the looks of the Bayou Classic Cast iron burner on Northern Brewer for under $80.
That is a real jet engine!  Thanks for that link ...
It looks like a much sturdier frame/stand than the Bayou Classic a little farther down on the page for $50.
I'll have to think on what to do ...
Thanks, Bob

Offline MaltLicker

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Re: Propane Burners and tanks
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2009, 01:18:17 PM »
The Bayou and Hurricane burners looked identical to me, in diff stands with diff regulators, so diff BTUs.  So I asked NB about that and got this explanation:

"Our understanding is that the burners are very similar (if not the same), but they come to us from their respective Companies. The difference in BTU output comes from the regulators that are included with the setups. Hurricane began producing a natural gas valve, and Bayou has not, so that is why the Hurricane has the conversion piece available. I have received no information on whether the parts are in fact compatible with the Bayou. If you have any other questions, please let us know. Otherwise, happy brewing!"  Cheers, Dan
Northern Brewer, Ltd.

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Propane Burners and tanks
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2009, 05:56:50 PM »
The shape of the brewpot can have an effect.  Mine is more tall than squat, so I have less surface area in contact with the flame and less surface area for evaporation.  I also don't have a couple hundred dollars hanging out to buy the ideal pot so I just shut up and deal with it.  The burner is from a Walmart turkey fryer and takes most of an hour to bring anything to a boil.  As far as the gas goes, I use Blue Rhino tanks but I fill them at the hardware store instead of using the exchange.  It's slightly cheaper that way.  I only exchange when the tank gets all rusty and beat to hell by the elements.
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Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Propane Burners and tanks
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2009, 05:59:19 PM »
As far as how many batches per tank, I'm not quite sure.  My brewtank is the backup for the grill, so I rarely use the whole thing for beer.  I think I get at least three batches per tank if not more.
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson