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MrWhy

Propane burner and Wort Chiller questions

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Hello all!

 

WhyBrewingCo might be making a move from my kitchen to outside! A few quick questions...and as always please understand that while I have many great qualities, practical intelligence is not one of them.

 

Outside I will have a hose connection. I will have an electric outlet. I can get a folding table and maybe even a pop up or something for shade. But......I am a bit concerned about a propane burner.

 

Regarding propane burners......I have never had a propane BBQ. I've never camped. I've never owned a propane tank. Hooked a propane tank up to anything. Am I crazy to think I can do this? I am assuming that if I buy a propane burner, I need a propane tank. Am I supposed to buy something else? A fitting or something? Does the propane burner come with everything I need except the tank? How much propane does a usual session need? I am considering the edelmetal burner, or maybe the blichman one. Am I risking certain death due to my ignorance?

 

Regarding wort chiller - is all I need a hose? Does it connect to the hose itself or the thing the hose connects to...that water pipe thing.....does the water cycle in and around or does it flow out of another hose?

 

I am slightly exaggerating my ignorance. It is true I've not used propane burners or bbqs before, but I am pretty handy with the things I need to be and I learn quick. 

 

 

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Propane burners have everything you need. All you have to do is screw it into a tank and turn it on. Some burners may require a lighter to get it going, while others have a sparking element.

 

There are 2 basic kinds of wort chillers. Immersion and counterflow. You really only need to start with an immersion chiller. Basically, you hook it up up a hose or faucet and run water through it. One end attaches to the faucet, the other end goes into a drain, or bucket, or whatever. You place the body of the chiller inside the beer. The flowing water exchanges the heat and rapidly cools the beer.

 

It's not as fast as a counterflow chiller, though. This is a chiller with another length of copper tubing inside the larger length of tubing. Water flows through the outer layer while beer flows through the inner layer. These are more expensive, but way faster. Plate chillers are another option, but also cost a bit of cash and are really better for use in jockey boxes rather than chilling wort.

 

Any of these chillers can be upgraded with wort pumps so you can use already chilled water (instead of room temp tap water) and simply pump it through the chillers for even faster cooling.

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@MRB Josh R

 

Thank you very much good sir!

 

Anyone else with any thoughts/wisdom/knowledge to share about moving the brewing outside? Anything I should be thinking about that I'm not?

 

Here is my thought process so far.....

1. Currently in the kitchen I HAVE to transfer from my mash/boil kettle to a smaller "chill" kettle. If I move outside, I won't need to do this. I can use my 8 gallon to mash, then remove grains, boil, then use the immersion chiller to chill......transfer to fermenter. It all seems to work really easily.

2. I will have my 5 gallon kettle available to to a "dunk" sparge or whatever it is called if needed. I am not sure if I stick to 2.5 BIAB batches if I will need to go that route....only if the grain bill starts to exceed 20 lbs....and that seems to be rare...(unless I decide to brew up a half batch @TacTicToe 's  Arctic Devil!!!!) If I do decide to do 5 gallon batches at some point, I think the 8 gallon pot and using my 5 to dunk and sparge should still be fine.

3. I will avoid having my wife and daughter hate me because of the brewing smell.

 

 

 

 

 

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Just keep it as simple as possible for now. Stick with batch sparging and upgrade as needed. Before you know it, you will be doing triple decoction step mashes with a fly sparge. ;)

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22 minutes ago, MRB Josh R said:

Just keep it as simple as possible for now. Stick with batch sparging and upgrade as needed. Before you know it, you will be doing triple decoction step mashes with a fly sparge. ;)

 

Speaking of simple...since I have you the chat........

 

BIAB - if I am doing a full volume boil...is sparging of ANY sort really necessary? Other than just letting it drip and rinsing the rest of the water out of the grains....especially if (and I know it is not kosher) if I am willing to give a nice little squeeze to the grains?

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Sparging really isn't that necessary with a full boil, but I do it with every batch anyway. If you choose not to sparge, use a bit more grains to compensate for the lack of efficiency. I highly recommend the Beersmith software to help you with this.

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11 minutes ago, MRB Josh R said:

Sparging really isn't that necessary with a full boil, but I do it with every batch anyway. If you choose not to sparge, use a bit more grains to compensate for the lack of efficiency. I highly recommend the Beersmith software to help you with this.

 

Many thanks!

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Propane Burners....continued:

 

Anyone have any feedback on models, etc.?

 

Here is I am looking at:

*Edelmetal 159 free shipping - https://www.amazon.com/Edelmetall-Brü-Burner-Designed-Specifically/dp/B00W3PVM8O/ref=pd_sbs_79_2?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B00W3PVM8O&pd_rd_r=2Z35SEHXHMQ6E1GD2K68&pd_rd_w=JtkAt&pd_rd_wg=DrJKE&psc=1&refRID=2Z35SEHXHMQ6E1GD2K68

 

* Blichmann 150 free shipping - https://www.morebeer.com/products/blichmann-hellfire-floor-standing-burner.html

 

* Concord Banjo 90 free shipping - https://www.amazon.com/Concord-Single-Burner-Brewing-Equipment/dp/B01AH5M8M0/ref=pd_sbs_79_4?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B01AH5M8M0&pd_rd_r=EEDMGH12G6DGGNCFHZMR&pd_rd_w=NFQ40&pd_rd_wg=Q5duA&psc=1&refRID=EEDMGH12G6DGGNCFHZMR

 

* Gas One 100 free shipping - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LTBH2UO/ref=nav_timeline_asin?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

---

 

I do not mind paying more for things like the edelmetal or the blichmann if it means higher quality, etc. Blichmann seems more common, meaning at more vendors. The Banjo one is cheaper, with higher BTUs I think.....Gas One is cheaper as well with the highest BTUs....

 

I am leaning towards Banjo or Gas One.......

 

 

 

 

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More to

consider

 

http://www.homebrewing.org/14-Propane-Burner--220000-BTU_p_1190.html

 

dark star is what i have. Love it.

http://www.northernbrewer.com/dark-star-burner-2-0

 

Lots of people I see posting their set ups use bayou classics burners and even kettles

 

Bayou Classic SP10 High-Pressure Outdoor Gas Cooker, Propane https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000291GBQ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_8g8gzbRAM45RP

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Creeps McLane said:

More to

consider

 

http://www.homebrewing.org/14-Propane-Burner--220000-BTU_p_1190.html

 

dark star is what i have. Love it.

http://www.northernbrewer.com/dark-star-burner-2-0

 

Lots of people I see posting their set ups use bayou classics burners and even kettles

 

Bayou Classic SP10 High-Pressure Outdoor Gas Cooker, Propane https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000291GBQ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_8g8gzbRAM45RP

 

 

 

@Creeps McLane ....

 

How important are BTUs.....what makes you love the darkstar? 

 

Man. I cannot believe it......I am like turning into a brewer.....

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i was once like you are now... considering propane but deathly afraid of blowing up. lol.  propane burners are safe if you use them correctly, and precheck for leaks correctly before use... and don't drink while using them.  ;)

 

I use a blichman.  I opted for the additional natural gas fitting because I have a nat gas line outside , but have yet to use anything but the liquid propane tanks.

 

you can use a soapy water solution to check for leaks before use. to do this you would hook everything up.  turn the propane tank nozzle all the way on, while keeping the knob that allows flow to the burner closed.  you then spray everything.. the knob... under the knob... the top of the knob.. the emergency pressure release valve... the line up to the burner... and observe.  if you either smell propane (eggy smell like sulfur)  or if you see soap bubbles... your line or tank leaks. shut it down immediately and return to place of purchase. mark on it in magic marker LEAKS.  I found out that using this method works BUT if you fail to carefully wipe up all your soapy residue off everything you might get rust on the tank fittings ... and leaks develop.  these blue rhino type lpg tanks tend to be really old because they reservice them over and over and over.

 

a better check method is to invest about 20 bucks in a propane leak detector from a hardware store.   hook up the propane tank, turn on the flow nozzle from tank to regulator...turn off regulator to burner.    turn on leak detector and allow it to zero out.... then slowly pass it all around the fittings, the hose, etc.  green is good. yellow is minor leak... red is omg shut that thing down now!

 

the hardest thing about lpg is learning where to set your flow and your oxygen port on your burner.  too low of a flow and it will take 45 minutes to come to a boil. to high a flow and you will burn through lpg like mad.  there is a fine balance.  read the instructions that come with your burner.

 

using lpg burner outside you want to ensure that you are out in the open... and don't brew when then wind gusts over about 5 mph.  (check your weather page before brew day).  my blichman can handle gusts from 5-10 mph but higher and it goes out with a very alarming WHOOSH!!!!!! noise that will scare the hell out of you.  do not use propane in a garage... especially with a gas water heater in it.  don't use in an enclosed room or porch unless very well ventilated.  use common sense and you will be fine. I love my blichman. it beats the hell out of indoor electric stoves.

 

I have an immersion chiller... hook one line up to garden hose... the other goes off to a bucket or the lawn. I give it a quick dunk in a bucket of starsan.. then put it in my boiling wort at the last 10 minutes of the boil.   the heat will sanitize it.  at flame out you turn on the water on a slow flow. fast is bad. the longer the water takes to go through the system the more time it spends cooling.  outdoor hose water tends to run a little warm so you might find the temperature will only get down to about 78f or so.  no worries. when you take the wort inside you can top it off with water from the freezer to chill it the rest of the way.

 

I use the water exiting the system in a bucket to wash my equipment when done.

 

if you live in florida you will want to hook up some kind of shade overhead for yourself.   or wear a big ole hat.  oh and smoking while propane burning is generally a bad idea too.

 

I think once you get comfortable and figure out which nozzle settings for flow work best, you will never go back.

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more btus means more heat...which means you reach boil quicker.

 

more btus also means you use more gas more quickly.  the trick is to discover what flow works best for both economy and heating things up without boil overs.

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<deep breath> I can do this..... <deep breath> I am a capable human being..... <deep breath> I will not die....... <deep breath> I am a HIGHLY capable human being......

 

I am SLIGHTLY leaning toward the concord banjo for the sole reason it looks like they are a local company. Which, why not?

 

Thank you everyone for jumping in. I am quite excited about this. I think it is going to open up a lot of possibilities.

 

And while at the moment, I am still committed to 2.5 gallon batches, part of me is wondering what the next step is? 5 gallon? A mash thing? But my heart is whispering, "Keg. Keg your beer young man. Keg."

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if youre comfy with the cost, follow your heart.  kegs = more money.   the benefit is that you can drink it faster because you carb with co2 directly into the corny keg... I think. I never have used them.  no sugar to prime and waiting weeks.  plus kegs are super cool especially if you have a keezer. beer on tap!  no bottling!

 

re concord... that's not bad for starters too but some ppl complain about the durability.  for a little more money you can get a blichman which is built like a tank... some assembly required. 

 

with the blichman you get adjustable arms for varying pot diameters. set it just slightly bigger than your pot diameter. wrench them down firmly before use each time.  I find mine easy to use. my only complaint would be that my patio isn't perfectly level so I have to soak some cardboard in water and use it as a shim to level it.  I could use wood or something else to shim but I'm cheap and it was handy at the time.  the blichman has some wind screening built in around the jets... but a strong gust will still blow it out.

 

re 5 gallon batches... more volume, longer time to get wort to boil usually.  same principles as 2.5 just more volume and more stuff.  you can get some 5 gallon kits off many of the online vendors, with steeping grains. read up on all grain brewing. study it before you plunk down money. decide if you want the extra work.  on the plus you get more beer for less money with all grain. on the minus, more work... water chemistry to worry about...  more equipment.

 

you can go super cheap all grain. go brew in a bag.  or convert a beverage cooler into a mash tun. I use a round 5 gallon igloo with a brew in the bag lining.. and the  original spigot.  it works. my all grain batches are always 3 gallons or less so I can make this work.  for more grain you would use a bigger cooler.

 

go at your own pace.  do your homework first. the moment you find yourself cursing all the extra work you might want to go back to doing smaller extract batches. small is good. the trick is to balance the work required with the attitude of 'its not work. I'm having fun!'.  for me brewing is zen. lots of work.. lots of math... lots of science... but all balanced with a sense of calm and wonder.  I turn my brewing session into almost a form of religion and it helps me focus... clear my head...  balance... when I brew outside I sit and watch the wort churn.. or the turtles and mosquito fish in the pond out back. I watch the clouds...  and it helps having a wife who doesn't mind doing the cleaning up for me.

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I have two pieces of advice.

 

1) Slow down.

 

2) Utilize Google.

 

In the world of professional breweries, if you ask people that opened a brewery what one of their top regrets is, the answer often given is "We should have gone bigger to begin with".  Yes, they regret putting in a size X brewery when they quickly needed a size Y brewery.  #2 on the list would be they regret not properly sizing the building to fit their size Y brewery that they now need...

 

In the world of homebrewing, you'll find time and time again where people buy X, then soon after realize they should have bought Y.  Many then buy Y, and X sits in the basement or is sold at a big loss.  I know a professional brewer that has an entire storeroom at home full of homebrewing equipment demonstrating his impetuous nature.   

 

While it's fun to race forward, unless you're made of money you should slow down and read more.  There is a ton of information out there.  Then, when you know what you want to buy, research prices, and possibly wait for a great sale.

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9 hours ago, MrWhy said:

And while at the moment, I am still committed to 2.5 gallon batches, part of me is wondering what the next step is? 5 gallon? A mash thing? But my heart is whispering, "Keg. Keg your beer young man. Keg."

 

First of all, What @RickBeer said above.

 

There is no reason to go away from 2.5 gallon batches.  I do All Grain brewing with a propane burner and still 90 percent of my batches are 2.5 gallon.  If I find something that I really like and I am totally satisfied with the recipe, then I will make 5 gallons of it the second time.  Incidentally, I have 1 beer that I have reached that point.  I hear lots of brewers say "2.5 gallons is a waste, it takes just as long to brew as 5 gallons.  This is true but if the recipe isn't right you only have 1 case of bad beer to choke down or give away.

 

Also, your heart may be whispering "Keg, Keg your beer young man" but I'll bet your wallet is still screaming "bottle".  Also, some things to consider with Kegging.  Unless you invest a small fortune in a 6 or 8 tap kegerator. You will be stuck drinking one or two beers until gone and then you can put something else on tap.  I also, still bottle and will for as long as I still want to go to the fridge and choose from 10 to 12 beers at any given time.

 

Just my $.02.

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1 hour ago, BDawg62 said:

There is no reason to go away from 2.5 gallon batches

Oh, I wouldn't fully say that... I mean, the beers that I make that I know I love, I hated how fast they would with a 5 gal batches, let alone a 2.5 gal batch.  There is something really nice about having the ability to do much bigger batches of the ones you want, while still being able to do smaller batches if you chose. :)

 

1 hour ago, BDawg62 said:

Also, your heart may be whispering "Keg, Keg your beer young man" but I'll bet your wallet is still screaming "bottle". 

True that!  However, I like to think my time is worth something as well and it is MUCH faster to keg than it is to bottle...

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14 hours ago, MrWhy said:

Propane Burners....continued:

 

Anyone have any feedback on models, etc.?

 

Here is I am looking at:

*Edelmetal 159 free shipping - https://www.amazon.com/Edelmetall-Brü-Burner-Designed-Specifically/dp/B00W3PVM8O/ref=pd_sbs_79_2?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B00W3PVM8O&pd_rd_r=2Z35SEHXHMQ6E1GD2K68&pd_rd_w=JtkAt&pd_rd_wg=DrJKE&psc=1&refRID=2Z35SEHXHMQ6E1GD2K68

 

* Blichmann 150 free shipping - https://www.morebeer.com/products/blichmann-hellfire-floor-standing-burner.html

 

* Concord Banjo 90 free shipping - https://www.amazon.com/Concord-Single-Burner-Brewing-Equipment/dp/B01AH5M8M0/ref=pd_sbs_79_4?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B01AH5M8M0&pd_rd_r=EEDMGH12G6DGGNCFHZMR&pd_rd_w=NFQ40&pd_rd_wg=Q5duA&psc=1&refRID=EEDMGH12G6DGGNCFHZMR

 

* Gas One 100 free shipping - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LTBH2UO/ref=nav_timeline_asin?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

---

 

I do not mind paying more for things like the edelmetal or the blichmann if it means higher quality, etc. Blichmann seems more common, meaning at more vendors. The Banjo one is cheaper, with higher BTUs I think.....Gas One is cheaper as well with the highest BTUs....

 

I am leaning towards Banjo or Gas One.......

 

 

 

 

 

There's a reason Blichmann is more common at retailers. Because it's the best. That's what I would choose out of the list. The rest are perfectly fine burners, but Blichmann Engineering makes some of the best brewing gear around. They also have great customer service and all of their products are made in the US by brewers for brewers. Also, their burner has 4 legs instead of 3 for better stability than the others (you can also get extensions for it).

 

 

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blichman construction is some of the best ive ever seen out there.  like i mentioned , they are built solid like tanks. they are laregely stable, have some degree of built in windscreening..   and in my experience do not guzzle propane.    they are customizable for height, type of gas, pot size.  the pot shelf has raised fingers that you set just slightly wider than your pot size which ensures your pot wont accidentally get knocked off the burner.

 

their customer support is tops... as you mentioned josh.   i peed a little when i saw how much i was spending on it but after 2 years it is still going strong and i love it. 

 

the one additional nice feature about a propane burner...  when I lose power due to a hurricane I can cook all the food in the fridge in a stew pot on my blichman... as long as I have propane.

 

if I had the money I would also like to go induction cooktop for small batches. I could then cook in my garage without fear of bOOM from the gas water heater. I could also do step mashes easier.  perhaps ninkasi will one day put in the good word for me with one of the gods of lottery wins?

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