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how fast do you burn propane?

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Post Wed Aug 23, 2006 9:37 pm

how fast do you burn propane?

I just started using a Bayou classic outdoor gas burner (20 psi regulator) to do full volume boils as well as heating mash and sparge water. I do 5 gallon batches. I had a full 20 lb. tank of propane and during my first brew, it was really cooking. the burner sounded like a jet. On my second brew the flame was not nearly as jet-like no matter how much I opened the regulator. The wort still boiled, but it did not seem as vigorous. Could it be that i went through a whole tank of propane in 2 brews? How long does your propane generally last you?
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Post Thu Aug 24, 2006 4:44 am

When you hook up the burner to the tank, make sure the regulator is all the way closed. Then turn the tank on slowly. Then turn the regulator on slowly. New propane tanks have a built in shut off valve, and if you don't do things in the right order, it could get partially stuck on and limit the amount of propane that flows out.

Also, your tank should have a number stamped on the cage around the valve, usually around 18. It should be prefixed with "TW". This is the empty weight of your tank. If you go weigh your tank, and subtract the empty weight, you will know how much propane you have left.


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Post Thu Aug 24, 2006 5:39 am

Azeeb hit it on the bullseye! He has the correct answer. (both times) Next time you have that tank filled, weigh it on YOUR home scale & record that number. When you are finished using the fuel on the next batch of beer, weigh it again & see how much has been consumed. Devide that by 18 & you will have an idea of how many batches you can expect on 1 tank of fuel. it aint rocket fuel - but it sure feels like rocket science to me :lol:
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Post Thu Aug 24, 2006 6:11 am

I always hated the feeling of running out of propane during a brew session. Some people say to check the sweat line on the side of the tank. This will tell you how much is left. Which I don't trust and also scales are un trustworthy too. So, I just bought another propane tank and filled it and keep as a reserve. So just keep an extra filled tank on hand at all times.


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Post Thu Aug 24, 2006 6:23 am

To figure out your efficiency, you need to know a few things;

LP puts out 21,591 BTUs per pound
It takes one BTU to raise the temp of one pound of water one degree F
Water weighs 8.3 lbs per gallon at 68F

Therefore, if you have 5.5 gallons or wort, it weighs about 46 lbs.

If you raise the temp from 68 to 212, that's 144 degrees.

46 times 144 equals 6624. So, at 100% efficiency, it only takes 1/3 pound of LP to bring the batch to a boil.

I use about 3 lbs of LP to boil 5.5 gallons for an hour. I figured out it's about 40%~50% efficiency, which is fairly normal.

Burning 10 lbs per 5.5 gallon batch has to be less than 15% efficiency. The main reason you'd get so low an efficiency is that the flame is mostly exhausting past the bottom of the kettle... in other words turn the burner down and you'll actually get a boil faster with a lot less fuel. Also, check to see how far the flame is from the bottom of the kettle. If the flame is climbing the sides, that's your problem. If the flame is too far away, that's another problem. The tips of the flame should dance across the bottom of the kettle. Lastly, look to see of you have blue flames or yellow flames. If you see yellow, adjust the air mixture just until you get pure blue flames.
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Post Thu Aug 24, 2006 6:53 am

My experience so far.. (w/ 5 G batches)

One tank: 2 extract partial boil brews and 2 AG full volume brews..

Tank then died while heating the mash water for the next AG batch.

I have two back-up tanks so it does not bother me too much when a tank dies during the brew day.

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Post Thu Aug 24, 2006 7:57 am

i got about 5-6 extract batches on a used propane tank (don't know how much was in it) + a few times of heating up water to 'season' the pot (aluminium)

Key to getting better efficiency is to adjust your flame as geronimo said above.


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Post Thu Aug 24, 2006 9:34 am

I get about 5 batches AG, heating my mash sparge water and boiling for 60-70 min per batch

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Post Thu Aug 24, 2006 9:52 am



Post Thu Aug 24, 2006 10:30 am

I was getting maybe three 5 gal. all-grain brews per tank. I then started heating my mash and sparge water on the stove and just used propane for the boil. I've done maybe 5 or 6 batches so far and still have a fair amount of propane left. IMO heating the water on the stove is less of a hassle and less expensive than having the tank refilled. If I wanted to do more than a 5 gal. batch I'd have to go all propane, but right now I'm happy with the hybrid method.

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