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Old 02-27-2013, 03:45 AM   #1
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Default Saving propane/time while winter brewing

Figured I would pass on some info I came across that helped me reduce the amount of propane and time it takes to brew outside during winter. It always seemed to take forever for my wort to boil. I ended up building an insulated pot skirt out of some $12 aluminum flashing, rivets and a cheap fiberglass welding blanket. I actually got a few ideas from threads here and then stumbled upon this link below that has lots of info.

http://www.vrac.iastate.edu/ethos/fi..._Andreatta.pdf

When I built and tested the skirt it was a windy 32 degree day. With 6 gallons of 130 degree wort it took 16minutes to bring it to a rolling boil. I did open the lid to take a temp reading at 10 minutes and it was already at 200 degrees. I was surprised the first time I used it when it started boiling from the sides instead of from the bottom.

Normally Exhaust gasses come out from under the keggle and dissipate on the wind. The skirt captures these gases and forces them up the sides of the keggle adding heat. Additionally since the environment is cooler than the pot, it also loses heat from the sides. Adding insulation to the skirt keeps most of the heat in the pot.

The aluminum is very flimsy and requires some rebending of the bottom to keep it symmetrical and to reduce the crumpled areas that occur between brew days. I did rivet some bent aluminum standoffs to the base of skirt in an effort to maintain an equal gap all the way around. One thing I do not like about this is that I cannot see the flames on my burner.



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Old 02-27-2013, 04:07 AM   #2
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Whatever it takes

It sure looks like that aluminum shroud has become a chimney - because looking at its base it doesn't look like there's any other way for the burner exhaust to escape (other than around the frame). I guess the boiling from the sides really points to some serious heating going on inside that aluminum!

Cheers!

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Old 02-28-2013, 04:43 PM   #3
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Default chimney

Day-trippr now that you mention it it does look like a chimney.

Having the "chimney" sitting on the brew stand platform does two things. Being that it sits lower that the keggle it does trap most of the exhaust but it also prevents cooler air from being draw in from the sides and up the chimney.

One issue I have encountered is with hop additions. You know when you add hops to the boiling wort and it foams up? The hop debris that stick to the side of the keggle will start to toast so you need to stir them back into the wort. Once they are mixed back into the wort and the foaming subsides you no longer have to stir.

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Old 02-28-2013, 04:51 PM   #4
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I have to say this is a great idea. I had seen your chimney in another post and built one for my pot. Adding it made a huge difference in the time to get to boil and the strength of the boil. Very easy to make and cheap too.

I made mine removable by adding some 1/2" SS bolts with wingnuts.

The only down side is the flaps at the top are sharp. As a result, you do need to be careful when moving it. I call mine "The finger slicer 5000."

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Old 02-28-2013, 07:12 PM   #5
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Default flaps

I agree the flaps at the top are very sharp but are not necessary. I made it that way to help keep the gap between the skirt and keggle the same. You could just as easily use some screws with nuts to keep this distance the same. I did make one out of SS that is somewhat adjustable and I used screws around the bottom.







I would not recommend making a SS one. I does look purty but the price and difficulty of construction go way up.

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Old 07-23-2014, 09:03 PM   #6
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That's a really good idea. I will make one for myself when i will build my rig.
Can you tell me what distante do you have from the burner to the bottom of the keggle?
I plan to make a windshield for the burner, that will stay under the rig, and on the rig place the keggle with the skirt. Do i need something else to capture the gases?

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Old 07-24-2014, 06:22 PM   #7
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Default kettle

Its been a while since I posted keep that in mind in case I repeat what I have already posted.

The distance between my burner and keggle is around 2 3/8". The closest I can get my burners to the bottom of the keggle is 2". When I added the SS bolts to the base of the keggle, the distance increased to 2 3/8". Others have tested distances and they posted better boil times with the distance of 2". That is without a shroud but I think it still applies.

Make sure the gap between the pot and shroud is no more than 1/2" (slightly less is OK)and consistent all the way around the pot.

You definitely need to insulate the outside, I use a cheap fiberglass welding blanket loosely wrapped round the shroud. Even during hot weather there is a noticeable difference in how vigorous the boil is after removing the blanket.

My keggle is lifted by the SS bolts so that the shroud actually sits on my brew rig capturing all of the hot gasses.

With a shroud the boil can be more vigorous so I always have to lower the heat once the wort comes to a boil. It also boils from the sides more than the from the middle so be careful. Here is a quick video of a 10 gallon batch boiling.

http://s94.photobucket.com/user/purp...64033.mp4.html

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Old 07-25-2014, 07:54 PM   #8
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Great boil, i never had such a powerful boil. I like how you cut your keg, i will do this to mine to bring the weight a little down.
Cheers!

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Old 12-15-2014, 07:28 PM   #9
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I did a cheap version of this on my last indoor brewday. My gas stove will get 6 1/2 gallons of wort to a boil but it takes a while and it's not a strong boil when it gets there.

Last brewday I wrapped a long piece of heavy duty aluminum foil around my BK. I used a slight cone shape to completely cover the burners. It was kind of a spur-of-the-moment decision and there was nothing fancy or even about what I did. Just a loose tent of foil around the BK. Still, I got up to boiling faster than normal and got a better boil than normal for my stove - not as good as my propane burner but it was at least a rolling boil.

I think I'm going to have to experiment some more with this.

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Old 12-16-2014, 04:54 PM   #10
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Default foil

It's been a while since I've brewed in doors but I'm glad this worked out for you. I've used the tin foil myself when deep frying a turkey outside in the cold. It definitely helps direct the heat to the sides of the kettle speeding up the whole process.

If you want to experiment take a look at the link I posted in post #1 it's got some good info.

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