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Banjo Burner - what am I doing wrong?

I bought the ‘low profile’ banjo burner and stand from NB. I love the stand. It’s perfect for a keggle.

I just HATE the burner. I must be doing something wrong.

First thing I noticed is the regulator I got is not like the one in the picture. Its got this dial w/ a + - and you can never tell if its off or not. The dial is a piece of crap in that you can turn it 20 full revolutions vs. a very simple on/off type valve which I’ve had on other burners. Have other people had problems with this style of regulator vs. the one pictured?

I can’t figure out how to get this thing to light on a consistent basis. I’ve been brewing with propane for close to 10 years on low btu burners so I have a good idea how you need to build a little pressure in the line, etc. I can’t find the combination of actions (close regulator, open tank, open regulartor, etc) that gets me a light 90% of the time. It seems to light 10% of the time.

The amount of propane this thing uses is insane. If I do a 10G batch with a 90 minute boil, I’m looking at using 2/3s of a tank of propane. Thats probably $15+ per batch. I would guess my old burners used 1/2 that doing the same job. This seems insanely inefficient.

I can’t use the full amount of propane in the tanks. Not only do I have to worry about the amount of propane but to make sure I have enough propane in the tank to have enough ‘pressure(?)’. So, to brew, I might need 2 full tanks so I can use 1/2 in one then it freezes and 1/2 in the other. The result is a line of tanks 1/3 full that I need to grill with but dont have for brewing.

Sorry for the rant. I’m curious if others have had such a poor experience with this burner and what you did to resolve them. Could I go down to a lower btu regulator?

I have this burner in fact I had 4 of them in total but sold 3 when I reduced my brewing equipment.
First your going to love this but I would recomend getting 40 lb propane tanks, here they are cheaper to fill since they charge by the gallon not by the lb.
They won’t freeze up as fast and you should have no problem boiling for 90 min.

Second you can order this regulator which I had on my old ones but I have no problem with the one that is like in this pic.

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/brew ... stand.html http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/brew ... urner.html

Just for your info a 20lb tank contains around 430,000 btu’s of propane that means if your running that burner wide open, which they say is at least 200,000 btu’s or more per hour you will use a tank in 2 hours or 2 batches.

However once your up to boil you should be able to cut way back on the gas or you will boil over but yes they do love propane.

Yikes. I am looking at burners right now and this totally makes me not want to use one of these. I’m not in the hobby to make beer drinking cheap, but I also don’t want to make it expensive either.

Since I now only do 3 or 5 gallon batches I use this one it burns a lot less propane.

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/sto ... reNum=2843

If you have a big kettle you need this burner it’s sort of like comparing gas mileage on a SUV to a prius there are times you need the SUV power.

[quote=“chuck”]Since I now only do 3 or 5 gallon batches I use this one it burns a lot less propane.

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/sto ... reNum=2843[/quote]

That’s the burner I have. It boils 7 gallons very nicely too!

Something seems off. Don’t have that exact burner but I had a cheap bayou torch style propane burner and I’d get 7-8 batches of extract brews per propane tank. I’ve now got a couple of Blichmann burners and I get at least 3-4 all grain batches out of a 20 lbs tank of propane. Sorry I’m not much help other than to say something doesn’t sound right.

I agree there is something wrong. I use two of the banjo 10" face burners with a 0-30 psi adjustable regulator I found on ebay. They light great and I can get three to 4 all grain batches out of a 20 pound tank. It sounds like you ought to look into a different regulator.

So you never have an issue with a tank freezing?

It definitely freezes up, usually once the tank level drops to around one-third full. For this reason I have to have a spare tank ready or a container or water for the tank to sit in. I think I am going to have to get a bigger tank one of these days to help with the icing problem.

[quote=“paultuttle”][quote=“chuck”]Since I now only do 3 or 5 gallon batches I use this one it burns a lot less propane.

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/sto ... reNum=2843[/quote]

That’s the burner I have. It boils 7 gallons very nicely too![/quote]

I used an SQ-14 for a few years, and it works fine even for 10-gallon batches in a keggle. I used two similar burners from Ag Supply when I built my brew cart and they work fine for 10-gallon batches, too (13-gallon pre-boil).

[quote=“yugamrap”][quote=“paultuttle”][quote=“chuck”]Since I now only do 3 or 5 gallon batches I use this one it burns a lot less propane.

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/sto ... reNum=2843[/quote]

That’s the burner I have. It boils 7 gallons very nicely too![/quote]

I used an SQ-14 for a few years, and it works fine even for 10-gallon batches in a keggle. I used two similar burners from Ag Supply when I built my brew cart and they work fine for 10-gallon batches, too (13-gallon pre-boil).[/quote]

That’s good news, if I ever go to 10 Gallon batches. I figured eventually, I’d get the Blichmann burner, as soon as my Higher Power allows the purchase.

Keep in mind that the Blichmann burner and all the other burners that are the larger “banjo” style use the exact same casting and the variables are mainly the regulator, and the air inlet plates. Most people run these things much too high at first and waste a lot of gas for nothing.

I’ve run three of these for years now (currently 3 Bayou Classics of different types) and although they can use a lot of gas, they are very efficient when run at reasonable levels without flames shooting around the sides of the kettle.

I’ve also run all the other styles as well as the smaller SQ-14 from Bayou Classic, but for 10 gallon all grain batches (14.5 gallon boils) the bigger burners are a lot more capable.

Thanks Dean. I will definitely keep that in mind.

Paul

I was frustrated when I purchased my KAB4 a couple years ago as well. I was expecting more. The problem is the distance between the pot and the flame. In my opinion, that distance is way, way too much. I had mine modified for $20 from a local welding shop. Take a look at the discussion here that I started: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=88514&hilit=KAB4&start=15

I posted pictures of the mod on page 2.

Don’t give up on the burner. Modify it. I find that mine uses no more propane than my old turkey fryer. I can maintain a nice boil with flames turned almost off (< 3/8").

I’ve never had a tank freeze up. Just yesterday I ran out of propane and the burner carried on until I noticed that the flame was virtually out (and my boil was going to hell).

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