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Old 11-07-2008, 01:56 PM   #1
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Default Now you are cooking with gas........

In going all grain a few years ago, I bought the least expensive yet functional propane system I could find. What I found was an Outdoor Gourmet (available through Academy Sports) Hurricane type burner casting fitted with a typical 10psi adjustable regulator. This was a stand alone burner kit, basic flat iron stand included with breeze baffle, for $19.99 at the time and has served me very well over the years.

However, I have always suspected that what the kit advertised for heat tranfer was not in fact what it was providing. The kit claimed up to 160kbtu/hr which should have been able to heat my typical 12-13 Gallon wortl volume to a boil in record time. Well, in reality I can listen to a record before I get to a boil. Average times range from 30 minutes to 80 minutes dependent on volume, liquid temp, and ambient air. My HLT can take much longer. So, I have been trying to get as much info as I can to step up my game and upgrade my system. Here is what I have;



For those not familiar, this system consists of 3 kegs coverted to use specific tuns. Each is fitted with it's own burner (all 3 identical). The first (and highest) is the liquor tank which gravity feeds to the Mash tun (Middle) which is recirculated and currently fit with a Sabco false bottom. The boil kettle (closest to garage door) is pump fed from the MLT. Each vessle is free standing and is supported with unistrut bolted directly to the vessle. I used the blue, high temp Locktite to ensure that everything stays toghether ovber time. The cross braces at bottom serve to keep the legs spaced evenly and also allow for leveling bolts.

At cooling, I recirculate the hot wort to below 140*F through a Shirron plate chiller and from there allow a single pass through the chiller to te fermenter. By that time, the wort is equal in temp to the available water temp and is usually in the fermenter within 10 to 15 minutes max.

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Old 11-07-2008, 01:58 PM   #2
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In my endeavors to upgrade I came across this website;

BBQ Pits by Tejas | Barbecue Pit Smoker | Barbecue Grill | Houston Texas tradition

And have found it to be the most eductaional site yet regarding propane systems and options. They aren't the least expensive but....

Here is what I have found. Hopefully, it will help others when deciding what to get, why, and what to expect.

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Old 11-07-2008, 02:27 PM   #3
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Regarding Burners;

When connecting directly to the propane tank and operating at 10psi or greater these are considered to be High Pressure Burners.

Basically there are these options;

Hurricane casting:



Very common and touted to be the simplest yet most efficient. This is typically what you find on 70% (or more) of the kitted Turkey Fryer setups. Capable of up to 160,000 btu/hr (dependent on gas flow) but typically setup and restricted to about 80,000btu/hr due to the 10psi regulator provided.

To achieve the rated 160,000btu/hr max it is recommended that this burner be driven with at least a 20psi regulator.

Typical head diameter is 4" and the recommended distance to the heating surface is 4" to 5".

Banjo Casting:



Another common style casting. Btu output ranges from 40,000 but/hr from a 6" up to 100,000 btu/hr for a 10" diamater. Both fitted with a 20psi regulator.

Heat output is relative to head diameter and the working recommended distance to heating surface is 4" to 5".

Jet Burner:



Similar to the Banjo style casting, the heat output is realative to the diameter of the casting plus the number of jets.

Starting with a 6" ring having 10 jets at 20psi this is capable of 100,000btu/hr where a 8" ring with 20 jets at 20psi is capable of 200,00btu/hr.

At 30psi things step up to 10" with 32 jets and 320,000btu/hr.

At 60psi we get 14"/44 jets/ 440,000 btu/hr and 19"/88 jets/ 880,000btu/hr.

Hmmmm. See any more patterns here? (1 jet per 10,000btu/hr).

Edit: Thanks to Revvy for providing re-sized images thus making this, somehwat easier to read.

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Old 11-07-2008, 02:32 PM   #4
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they like there stuff don't they... this place has much better pricing on the jet burners like 1/2 the price

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Old 11-07-2008, 02:35 PM   #5
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So in summary.

The Hurricane is the least expensive work horse of the bunch but, is usually choked down to 10psi essentially halving it throughput of gas and it's output of heat.

It appears that the simplest of upgrades involves a change to a 20psi regulator to double output. However, it is possible that a replacement orifice will be necessay to achieve this. If the regulator is bought through Tejas (no affiliation) it appears a replacement orifice is not needed.

With both the Banjo and Jet style burners, output is relative to diameter and pressure. Cost follows suite. Except for the 10" to 19" diamater a minimum of 20psi is need to achieve the maximum output.

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Old 11-07-2008, 02:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by springer View Post
they like there stuff don't they... this place has much better pricing on the jet burners like 1/2 the price
Just using this site as a reference as it is the most informative I have found covering a range of options.
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Old 11-07-2008, 02:44 PM   #7
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Regarding regulators:

Available from a typical 10psi (and lower) ranging up to 60psi. These are the simplest of upgrades to a propane system and can essentially double an existing burners output without breaking the bank.

However, it is not a linear logic system. That is, if you triple your throughput you won't actually triple your heat output. Most likely, you'll just blow out your burner because the gas will move too fast to burn off plus it won;t mix with enough air to get proper combustion UNLESS the casting is designed for the throughput.

A 20psi regulator is the maximum recommended for the typical hurricane burner. While some use a 30psi with good result you will find that usually the regulator is not wide open and, when guaged, is usually sitting around the 20psi mark +/- 5psi.

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Old 11-07-2008, 02:51 PM   #8
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My final caveat regarding these heating systems.

Consider the strength of the stand versus the weight of the vessel you are heating (filled with water). While a 880,000btu/hr burner may satisfy some Tim the Toolman machismo it is more likely that it will heat the typical flat iron burner stand to a point of failure and possibly send any bystanders to the hospital. So, if you find you just HAVE to get the 19" Jet burner for the bling, Please oh Please build or buy a substantial frame to hold it and the 160 possible pounds of 20 gallons of water (8 pounds per Gallon typ.).

The standard Hurricane style casting upgraded with a 20psi regulator should be more than adequate for even the largest of batch boils. In all actuality, at max btu/hr output it is possible, even likely, you will scorch your wort before you reach a boil.

Hope this helps. Additions and or corrections are welcome.

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Old 11-07-2008, 05:05 PM   #9
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Very informative. Thank you, Gila, great reference. I've been woe-ing over my burners, and I think I'll try the 20psi reg before I go buying any more/new/different burners to fix a problem that might not exist. Cheers!

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Old 11-07-2008, 05:33 PM   #10
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Thanks for doing this GILA....I vote for stickiness!

And a Prost!


So howzabout doing a post on regulator upgrades for dummies. I'm a noob to all this propane turkey fryer stuff...

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