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Old 10-04-2010, 10:29 PM   #1
tunoffun
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Default How long will tank of propane last?

I know there are PLENTY of variables to consider, but on average, how many hours would you expect a 20lb propane tank to last before it starts getting low?

For reference, I have a Bayou Classic KAB4 burner w/ advertised BTUs of 210,000. I use this single burner alone to heat mash sparge water & conduct the boil for up to 10 gallon batches.

I plan on getting a gauge in the near future, but just getting my all-grain setup built has pretty much aced my wife-allowable budget. I just want to make sure that before I do, I don't find myself in the middle of a batch when I run dry.

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Old 10-04-2010, 10:33 PM   #2
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I have the KAB5...what a beast. It does eat propane quickly. At 10 gallon brews, I wouldn't bank on more than 2-3 brew days tops before running low.
You REALLY want a second backup tank.

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Old 10-04-2010, 10:47 PM   #3
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Holy crap! 2-3 days? That sucks. I suppose that's a good tradeoff for not having to wait long periods of time for water to boil.

I have three banjo burners and I get about 5-6 brew days out of each tank.

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Old 10-04-2010, 10:48 PM   #4
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Thank you Malkore. That's what I was looking for.
I'll write a back-up tank into my Christmas wish-list

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Old 10-05-2010, 01:00 AM   #5
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I can get about 2 brew sessions (2x5 gallons, average strength) out of 1 20#. I completely agree with malkore; you need a second for sure!

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Old 10-05-2010, 01:35 AM   #6
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I always have two. No sense spending money on a gauge. As soon as one runs out, just make sure you get it filled.

I get about 5 batches (5 gallons) out of a tank.

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Old 10-05-2010, 01:42 AM   #7
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ten gallon batches, if you use insulated containers you can get three batches out of a properly filled propane tank. make sure you have two tanks just in case. you can also save on propane by using a hot plate or equivalent to heat your mash and sparge water.

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Old 10-05-2010, 01:44 AM   #8
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I was getting about 2 and a half batches out of a tank (I heat my mash liquor on the stove) until I listened to a couple episodes of the BrewStrong podcast. I realized I was boiling a lot harder than I needed to, and since I've backed off to a proper boil (and not the violent frothing monstrosity I'd been used to) I can get at least 5 and have a lot less boiloff. I'd recommend you check how strong your boil is and figure out if you're boiling too hard - it can save you a few bucks per brew in propane.

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Old 10-05-2010, 01:58 AM   #9
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I highly recommend buying some aluminum flashing for your burner. I have the KAB4 and recently bought some and it makes a huge difference on how high you need to turn the burner up. I bought a 10'X14" roll for pretty cheap, you can find it in the roofing section at your Lowes or HD. cut it to run around your burner and you will double or triple your tank life. My flame at full boil if 1/2 what it once was with better results and control. Another huge thing you can do is not do the trade in at the local circle k for the tank. Find a place that refills them and you won't get screwed on the amount.

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Old 10-05-2010, 02:05 AM   #10
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Got it. 2nd tank on list instead of a gauge.

And crazy.. I like the alum flashing idea. I actually had alot of problems w/ the wind (a storm came in while I was brewing). So I had planned to do something like this, just didn't know what yet

Do you wrap it tight around the burner, or create a cylinder that stands off from the burner a bit?

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