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Old 01-08-2009, 02:35 PM   #1
ChefMichael01
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Default Apartment Brew Pot Question

I know there have been many threads about this already, but I'll use this as my one free pass of a question that has already been addressed....

I live in an apartment in NYC and am not allowed to have propane tanks on my balcony. Currently, I am using a 3 gallon brew pot on my gas kitchen stove (not one of the fancy viking-high-BTU ranges, a normal gas stove). I've read DeathBrewer's stovetop AG thread and will likely end up using that method however I do have a couple of questions:

1. What do you think the largest pot I should get to use on my stove would be? Ideally, I would like 7-8 gallons but wondering if my stove can handle this?
2. I think an aluminum pot would be best for me as it conducts heat better (although does not store heat as well, but with a larger volume of liquid, I don't foresee a problem maintaining mash/steeping temps).
3. Is there a way to increase the BTUs coming out of one burner on a gas range, a la Captain Planet, harness the energy from 4 burners into one (other than straddling the pot over multiple burners).
4. Any ideas on the level of fine I would receive from sneaking a propane turkey fryer on my patio?

I realize with a larger pot I'll need an IC or CFC.

Thanks and any other thoughts or solutions would be appreciated.

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Old 01-08-2009, 03:23 PM   #2
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My gas stove is about 5 years old low-end GE and my experience with using it was also with a 3 gallon stainless steel stock pot. I once borrowed a friends 8 gallon stainless steel kettle and tried to do an extract 5 gallon full boil. It eventually reached a boil, but it took forever and it seemed that the closer it got to five gallons (through evaporation), the less vigorous the boil. The other thing to consider is how much weight your burner can support. If you're starting with a heavy pot and 6-7 gallons of wort, that's a pretty good load for a low-end range.

I ended up solving the problem by moving the brewing outside and using Bayou Classic Burners.

What are some things that are allowed on the balconies? Grills? Furniture? Planters? If you feel like you could spend four hours on the balcony brewing without it being a problem, maybe you could disguise the burner and tank to look like something else. Buy a couple large planters and some fake plants to put on top. Hide the propane in one and the burner in the other. Some of the banjo style burners aren't too big.

Also, if it specifically states that only propane tanks can't be on the balcony, then leave the tank inside and run an extended line to the burner outside.

If you can figure out a way to brew outside and get it out of your kitchen, you won't regret it. Good luck!

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Old 01-08-2009, 03:29 PM   #3
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For brewing in tight quarters, I would convert a small cooler, the 28 qt. coleman, cheap and easy w/ a braid and no valve.

I would aslo look into building a heatstick. The stick can be used to heat strike water, mash water and also supplement the stove for boiling.

A 7-8 gallon aluminum pot sounds good.

Propane and a city apartment sounds like a bad idea to me.

I like deathbrewers stovetop all grain, but for me, it doesnt really seam any easier than making a small mash tun out of a cooler w/ braid.

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Old 01-08-2009, 03:38 PM   #4
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Deathbrewer's tutorial is really not relevant to being able to get 8 gallons of wort boiled down to 5 on stovetop...this is the thread you need to take a look at...

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/impr...tovetop-53683/

I haven't modded a larger pot so on my stove I limit myself to doing either partial mashes, Extract w/grains and I do a lot of 2.5 gallon AllGrain recipes using either my standard cooler with an ss braid, OR an unmodified 2 gallon cooler with folding steamer and grain bag....(I wrote a tutorial on that in the mr beer thread)

On my crappy electric stove I can get about 4 (maybe a tad less) gallons boiled down to 2.5 gallons in ABOUT a 90 minute boil....I use a 5 ss gallon pot I got at dollar general for 9.99 for indoor brewing (with fermcap foam control droops to prevent boilovers) and do the rest of my all grain and full boils on my turkey fryer...BUT like you I don't have a place on my property (I live in a downtown loft with no access for any type of grill)...so I reserve those for group brews and special occasions...

But I still get plenty of brewing in...

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Old 01-08-2009, 03:50 PM   #5
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I also am a NYC apartment all-grain brewer, and I am able to do five gallon batches without too much trouble. I think it depends heavily on how much heat you can crank out of your stove. I have a wide, short 32 qt SS pot with an aluminum sandwich base, and I am able to get 7 gallons to a good rolling boil in about an hour. The pot is wide enough that I can set it over two burners at once. I'd recommend looking for a pot that allows you to do this and see how much you can get to boil.

By the way, check out the restaurant supply stores on Bowery just south of Houston for big cheap aluminum pots, among other things you might find useful for brewing! There are like 20 of them within a few blocks.

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Old 01-08-2009, 03:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevmoron View Post
I also am a NYC apartment all-grain brewer, and I am able to do five gallon batches without too much trouble. I think it depends heavily on how much heat you can crank out of your stove. I have a wide, short 32 qt SS pot with an aluminum sandwich base, and I am able to get 7 gallons to a good rolling boil in about an hour. The pot is wide enough that I can set it over two burners at once. I'd recommend looking for a pot that allows you to do this and see how much you can get to boil.
You got pictures, and brand name info and price on your pot? I think we apartment brewers would love to know.

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Old 01-08-2009, 07:47 PM   #7
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Here is the pot I am using


Again, my stove cranks out a pretty good amount of heat, and my pot is wide enough that I can use two burners. For an electric stove, the pot would probably have to be insulated. A supplementary heat stick might also prove useful if you can't quite get that rolling boil.

The pot is pretty expensive but it helps a lot. First, of course, the width lets me use two burners. The steel on the sides is thick enough that heat is not lost as quickly as a cheap aluminum pot would dissipate. The base, with the aluminum in the middle, disperses the heat really well, which is great because I also use it as my mash tun, and it doesn't scorch the grains when I have to direct heat for mash out (or step up to diastatic rest if I am doing multi-step)
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