Natural gas brew stand - 23 tip burner to 10 tip conversion build.
This is my version of a natural gas burner that I made. The main reason I went this route is the ease and convenience of using the unlimited supply of natural gas. In the long run it will be cheaper also as the cost of propone vs natural gas is factored in, but that will have to be a long term price recovery.
There was a decent amount of information out there from what others have done but at the same time, every time I came across a thread it seemed there was incomplete information so this is the documentation of what I did.
From what others had said, all I would need is the 10 tip burner and even that would be overkill for a 10 gallon boil. I wanted to go the most economical route so as others have done, I bought the 23 tip nozzle burner or wok burner for $23, it was like $30 after shipping, instead of buying the actual 10 tip burner which is around $60 from morebeer.com. I took out some of the jets and plugged them with 8mm x 1.0 bolts as I found in this thread. Plugging with the bolts using plenty of Teflon tape worked very well to seal them.
The first configuration I tried was very similar to what was shown in the previous referenced thread, I took out the middle four burners and then left only the ones in the outer ring that were pointing in one direction and a four that were pointing inward (sorry no picture). My thought was that this would give the most even heat without any big hot spots. But this does not work very well. I had to light each and every tip; they would not light each other. And when this happened, I understood what others were saying about these burners being temperamental with individual nozzles self extinguishing, especially when they were not at full blast. This also confirmed what others had said about these types of burners only being an on/off without really any heat control even though there were some that said they could control it just using a ball valve as a regulator (and I didnít understand why some could get it to work but others couldnít).
After this failed attempt, it occurred to me that these burners (whether it be the 10, 23, or 32 tip) with all of the tips in place, the tips are pointing at each other and with all of the tips in they would light each other with no problem. So thatís how I cam up with my configuration, I still decided to try only using 10 tips but have them all together where they would be pointing at each other so they could light each other so if one would self extinguish it wouldnít matter as it would just get re-lit instantaneously by another tip. I tried the configuration below with just 10 tips all in one area and this works perfectly. The tips will light each other and it is very controllable just using the ball valve.
I used 1”x1”x1/4” angles (my dad had some of this laying around so it was free) that I cut to 12” long and welded them together (I used a cheep wire feed welder so anyone that has any welder will work). I also used the 1”x1”x1/4” cut to 12” for the legs and welded them to the inside of the box. The cross member that supports the burner and the four tabs to keep my keggle from falling off are all made from 1”x1/4” bar stock. Originally I just clamped the burner support to the frame so that I could adjust it to the flame height that I thought would work well, I ended up with the top of the tips 4 1/2” away from top of the stand. I used an 8” piece of 1/2" black iron pipe out to the ball valve. To clamp the burner to the cross member and to one leg, I actually made my own U-clamps but they could be bought.
My main gas line was 3/4" black pipe, there was already a “T” that was capped where the line turned to go to my furnace and water heater, so I uncapped that and added another 10’ piece of pipe before I reduced it to 1/2" and added a ball valve and a 1/2” x 1/2” adapter to attach the hose to. I wanted to keep the larger diameter pipe as far as possible to prevent any possible supply issues if the furnace and or water heater would kick on during a brew session. The black iron pipe runs approximately 30’ within my basement and then I have 25’ of the 1/2" I.D. “utility hose” that I bought from Lowes before it connects to the burner.
This is the view from the inside of the hose running from my basement to the outside.
From the outside I bought an exterior electrical outlet cover and just drilled a hole through the bottom spot for the hole to go through, this makes for a clean appearance on the outside of the house.
Flame test before I added my wind screen, this is about as low as I would comfortably go without worrying of the flames going out (they will definitely go lower though). There was no wind on this day. This is the reason I also added a wind screen (see below) so that I could adjust the flow low without any worries after I have the boil going.
This is the flame full blast.(only 10 tips).
Burner on low with keggle on top.
Burner on medium with keggle on top.
Burner on high with keggle on top.
I did a wind shield out of some sheet metal I found at Lowes and just cut it to fit (it is 8” tall and I left about 1/2” gap at the top) and bolted it in place with 1/4” bolts. I added a tee and another ball valve to supply a 1/4” I.D. copper tubing that would act as a pilot light so that I could turn the burner off and not have to re-light it (not that relighting it is any issue, it was more so that I saw someone else that had done so and it sounded like a good idea.)
Parts list and estimated costs:
23 tip burner: $23 +$10 shipping
13- 8mm x 1.0 bolts $10
1/2"x 8” black iron pipe $3
2- 1/2" ball valves, 2x $6.93 = $13.86
2- 1/2"x 1/2” MIP Nipple, $5
25’- 1/2" I.D. utility hose, 25x $1.17 = $29.25
8 - Angle 1”x 1” x 1/4" – 12” long (free for me), approx $30 if bought from Lowes, probably about $10 if bought form a welder or other steel supply.
1- 1”x 1/4" bar stock – 15” long (free for me), approx $10 if bought from Lowes, $3 if bought from others
16”x 36” flat sheet metal, I cut to 8” tall, $5
Optional pilot light:
1- 1/2" ball valve $6.93
1- 1/2" pipe “T”, $1.43
2- 1/2" x 2 1/2" black iron pipe, 2 x $0.78 = $1.56
1- 1/2" MIP to 1/4" O.D. compression fitting, $4.12
1- 1/4" O.D. x 5’ soft copper pipe - $5
After the fact, I’ve saved the extra tips that I took out and thought about making a second burner, even though I haven’t, I thought I’d share my thoughts. Basically out of 1/2” pipe just make two parallel pieces as shown below, and with a 8mm x 1.0 tap place the burners at 45 deg angles so that each side is pointing at each other, and if you offset each side slightly, then one tip would light two on the other side. I wouldn’t place them two far apart as I stated above, they need to be pointing at each other so that they will light each other and not self extinguish.
I haven't actually brewed with this yet but I don't forsee any problems. Any questions or comments?
Thanks for all the info. I've been thinking about switching to natural gas.
Looks good to me!
So you blasphem my design by Xing out my picture. I can live with that.
The pro to my plug pattern is a more even flame across the entire vessel but the con is that you have to light the tips in a few places and cannot use a pilot.
I also thought about making up additional burners with the spare tips because that's really the part that would be more difficult to make. I just haven't gotten around to it because I didn't want to buy such an odd tap size just for that purpose.
Looks VERY nice. I hve been thinking about switching to natural gas but have to move all my brewstuff from the garage to the porch where the natural gas line is.
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