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Wort 1 Stove 0. (Stove buying advice)

Good Morning, Let me start by staying I have been lurking for several months and have thoroughly enjoyed the forums. My wife and I started brewing about 6 months ago and have about 15 extract batches under our belts. Yesterday after we finished brewing the NB Chinook IPA our Ceramic Stove top cracked! So to make a long story short I am looking for advice on buying a stove from a brewers perspective. What works? What problems have you encountered? Our short term goals are to move up to a full 5 gallon boil and experiment with partial mash.

New stove will be gas.

I am looking at a stove similar this one http://www.whirlpoolappliances.ca/en/Pr … 81LVS.html.

It has a 15500 BTU “Power Burner” Does anyone have a sense of how many BTU’s is reasonable for a full 5-6 gallon boil? If I buy a 10 gallon pot can it handle that?

I’ve noticed that most ovens only go down to 170 degrees above the 164 recommended for a partial mash. (our old stove had the same limitation) is this pretty much universal? It seemed to be the case in the units we played with at our local appliance store

Oh yeah, we are not made of money. We are willing to pay for some upgrades but a grand is absolutely the most we are willing to spend. Unfortunately this is going to cut into our brewing equipment budget so whatever we end up with will more than likely be brewing on what ever we end up with for awhile

Thanks in advance!

I’m not sure if this is the tact that you had in mind, but heres my thoughts.

As you get more and more into brewing, the natural feeling for many is to improve on what methods you can most easily. One of the first steps new brewers take to improve their beer is to move to a full boil. This requires a big pot (7.5+ gal) and a burner that outclasses anything you’re going to get on a reasonable model stove (the burner I use can go 200,000+ BTU’s).

My suggestion is to go out and get a big turkey fryer style burner for your brewing. This will save tons of wear and tear on your new stove, give you many more options for your new stove, and allow you to start to build your brewing equipment/brewing quality, all in one fell swoop.

I purchased my turkey fryer from our host here and am very happy with it. :slight_smile:
These burners run about $80-$100, though if you watch the warehouse stores you can sometimes get em as low as $50.

I second the Turkey style burner.

Glasstop is way better for food!

Pros -

You get to brew outdoors/in the garage which is awsome!

I see you live in St. Paul so in the winter you don’t fog up every window in the house/summer you are not fighting the A/C.

Propane is way cheaper that natural gas, at least if you have WE Energies; I can fill a 20 pound tank for $15.

Cons-

I see none, I bought the Bayou burner for NB and i havent been back to the kitchen since.

I’d agree with Trimack, get a propane burner and do the boil outdoors, far cheaper and a lot less concern about making a mess. When I didn’t feel like bending over I just clamped my burner to a mobile work bench I have so the kettle was at standing height.

On the stove, often they’ll have a ‘warm’ function which will allow you to go much lower than the ‘bake’ setting. Not sure how low mine goes but I just set it to 160 degrees when I did a partial mash, it never moved the mash temp up at all over the hour mash.

I’ll take exception to the idea that a glass top range is better for cooking though, I don’t know a single person who is in to cooking that doesn’t have a strong preference for gas. One friend actually sold the new range in their new house so they could put a gas one in.

I haven’t seen any ovens that go below 170. Just turn off the oven after it hits 150-170 and I’m sure your mash will stay about the right temperature.
Whether or not ceramic is better for cooking food (It’s what I use), I do know gas can be a real pain to clean up after a boil over. Boiling on a burner outside saves tons of time cleaning up after accidents. I don’t know how easy it is to clean burnt malt from the flat top stoves.

1+ for gas range for cooking. Much more precise temperature control. Not to mention how much faster you can get your food up to temperature. Professional chefs insist on gas. Don’t believe it? Watch the Food Network and see how many glass top stoves you see.

+1 for the turkey fryer & garage brewing for all the reasons mentioned above. Add a cheap batch sparge set up like this one
http://hbd.org/cascade/dennybrew/
and you will never do stove top or brew in a bag again. I think between the turkey fryer, propane tanks (2) and the mash tun I have about $200 invested

As far as your original stove question, I looked at that when I started brewing and came to the conclusion that to effectively brew 5 gallons batches inside I really needed a commercial quality gas stove top (way more powerful than any standard kitchen range I could find) and commercial quality vent hood. That was going to cost me several thousand dollars in equipment and a kitchen remodel to fit it all in. Not worth it in my book. BTW, there are several members who brew all grain on a standard stove top but most say they only make 2-3 gallon batches that way.

I brew 3 - 5 gallon batches on a stove very similar to what the OP is looking at. I don’t have any problems getting the wort up to a boil, obviously it takes a bit longer than using a more powerful turkey fryer burner but not a big deal. As for boilovers, I don’t find that to be much of a problem indoors, just keep an eye on it just as it’s getting to a boil, after that you’re good, the problem a lot of outdoor brewers have is their burners are set a bit too high, no need to have your wort jumping right out of the kettle, a solid rolling boil works just fine if you want to avoid boilovers.
All that being said, brewing outdoors is great also, I do both depending on the weather and what I feel like. Just wanted to point out that brewing 5 gallon(full boil) batches indoors is a viable option if that’s what you’re looking to do.

Thanks everyone for the quick responses. I guess what I’m learning is that we should buy the stove based on the reasons that you would normally buy a stove and worry about the beer later. Which means we might have to stick with partial boils for now until we are ready to move outside with a turkey fryer style burner. - If nothing else a gas stove will be nicer for brewing than the old smooth top and I can boil my starters in the beaker that came with the NB starter kit.

That being said: BRPco, Can I pick your brain for a minute? How big of a pot are you using for a 5 gallon boil on the stove and how long typically does it take? Do you use 2 burners at once? Gas? Thanks!

I really want my next upgrade to be a kegging apparatus (before the stove died I got a black Friday deal on a freezer and just installed a temp controller to try my hand at lagering) so I think the turkey Fryer might have to wait a few months. I know from reading here that some guys brew outside in Minnesota in the winter but I don’t mind staying in the warm kitchen for now.

Just to give you some numbers to compare, my propane burner is rated at 220,000 BTUs. I never have to run it full out, but its nice that I have it if I step up to ten gallons. I bought mine from my local brew shop, the turkey fryer type burners have built in shut off timers and lower BTUs. (At least the ones I have seen)

[quote=“skolvikes”]That being said: BRPco, Can I pick your brain for a minute? How big of a pot are you using for a 5 gallon boil on the stove and how long typically does it take? Do you use 2 burners at once? Gas? Thanks!
[/quote]

I have a whirlpool gas range, and boil over 1 14k btu burner in a 7.5 gallon pot(came with the turkey fryer burner). It probably takes me 45-60 minutes to get the 5 gallon batches up to a boil(5.5 gallons of wort).

you can usually find turkey retreat cheap on Craigslist

http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/ram/h ... 98180.html

[quote=“vanwagmj”]I second the Turkey style burner.

Propane is way cheaper that natural gas, at least if you have WE Energies; I can fill a 20 pound tank for $15.

[/quote]
Portable but not cheaper. I have been considering running a natural gas pipe outside to use with brewing so I don’t have keep swapping tanks and by my calculation (if what I find on the internet is correct :slight_smile: ) show I will save considerable money at the expense of possibly time.

Using my November WE Energies bill:
76 Therms of natural gas for $68 = 7.6 million BTUs at a cost of $.09 per 10,000 BTU

Propane 20# for $15
430,000 BTUs at a cost of $.34 per 10,000 BTU

**EDIT: Sorry, kind of hijacked the thread.

[quote=“BPBCo”][quote=“skolvikes”]That being said: BRPco, Can I pick your brain for a minute? How big of a pot are you using for a 5 gallon boil on the stove and how long typically does it take? Do you use 2 burners at once? Gas? Thanks!
[/quote]

I have a whirlpool gas range, and boil over 1 14k btu burner in a 7.5 gallon pot(came with the turkey fryer burner). It probably takes me 45-60 minutes to get the 5 gallon batches up to a boil(5.5 gallons of wort).[/quote]
I have a GE stove that’s similar. I boil in a 10 gallon aluminum pot and it takes about that amount of time to come to a boil. It works well enough that I haven’t considered a turkey fryer setup. What I do dream of is going electric in my basement. I’ve got a 220 line right where I need it, but everything else would require work :wink:

I’m going to take a guess and assume you don’t have a garage or other suitable (i.e. safe) place for running a propane burner that is at least covered and somewhat shielded from the cold.

If you did, I’d think that buying a less expensive stove for your everyday kitchen needs and a propane burner/turkey fryer for your beer would probably be the more economical way to go.

I’m sure MN in the dead of winter is a whole other level of pain, but I have brewed in my attached garage with the door completely open on some very cold days (<20F, for sure) and been OK.

http://theelectricbrewery.com/

the route that i am going; although i have what it takes already to brew outside, the rest of my equipment is inside and so therefore, i will brew inside…not cheap, not simple, but there it is.

i figure that going electric will cost me around a thousand dollars…venting, kettle, heater element set up…etc.

cheers!

um…clarification…my electric system will cost around a grand; the link’s system is probably 15 grand

I just got a new GE profile gas stove, with a power burner, 15,000 btus.
the main reason I bought this stove is that I love to cook!

but the bonus is, that I can use the power burner and my new 7.5 gallon pot to do full boils.

it works great, for now, and it’s so dry here that the moisture is good for the house.

eventually I’ll get an outdoor burner, but for now, I like being in the kitchen in the winter here in MN,

Thanks everyone for all the great info. We went with a gas Whirlpool Gold model with the “power-burner” We did our first batch on New Years day and it is quite an improvement over the electric smooth-top model. Given that it was 25 degrees with a layer of frozen slush everywhere I was glad to be indoors.

We have a decent amount of room in the yard and have a garage but I’m not ready to move the hobby outside yet. I’m sure this will come sooner rather than later plus we wanted a nice model stove for everyday use. So my goals for the new year in order are

  1. Do a Full Boil (on the stove) - need bigger boil kettle which is our next purchase.
  2. Do our first Lager successfully. (allready have the freezer and control)
  3. Try a partial mash kit
  4. Start Kegging
  5. First all-grain batch (outside!) probably in the fall

Happy New Year Everyone

Congrats, I’m jealous. When I put in a geothermal unit a couple fo years ago I had the gas turned off and went all-electric. The coil burner stove worked OK for 3gal batches but when the oven bit the duts we went with a smooth top and its not cutting it so I’m forced to use propane now. I’m shopping for a single burner hotplate that will crank out the needed heat, so far only thing I’ve found costs something like $1600. Not in the budget.

I opt’ed to get a propane burner (got a nice NB setup) for the following reasons:

-I have &^@#!$*& electric stove, glass top…no temp control
-The wife is much happier that I do it outside
-I am much happier because I am outside
-Better temp control

You’ll make up the cost if you save $ and get a ‘normal’ stove for making food and get the burner for beer…win/win!

:mrgreen:

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