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Old 01-02-2013, 04:39 PM   #1
Jayfro21
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Default Unable to achieve rolling boil

Hi guys, real quick question...my last brew day everything was going well, but as I was starting to boil the wort, I could never achieve a boil. I've been using my same turkey fryer burner, which is a little rusted but has worked fine in the past. The temperature of the wort was 212 degrees F, and the beer went on to ferment and was great. I just don't understand why I could never get it to boil.

The conditions were a little windy that day so that might have affected it. I am just trying to see if I need to buy a new burner or if I could stick with the one I have?

Any thoughts or opinions?

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Old 01-02-2013, 04:45 PM   #2
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Wind could have had something to do with it, as could the rust. Try building a wind shield of some sort to block the wind from the flame. If that doesn't work, then your burner needs a good clean out or replacement. You say it's worked in the past - was it significantly colder outside than previous brew attempts, as that could also be the culprit.

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Old 01-02-2013, 05:06 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by BadNewsBrewery View Post
Wind could have had something to do with it, as could the rust. Try building a wind shield of some sort to block the wind from the flame. If that doesn't work, then your burner needs a good clean out or replacement. You say it's worked in the past - was it significantly colder outside than previous brew attempts, as that could also be the culprit.
It wasn't any colder than normal...it is San Diego, haha! I guess my question is can your turkey burner become less efficient over time? And a side question, how to people adjust their flames to make them most efficient? Thanks for the help!
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Old 01-02-2013, 05:22 PM   #4
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you want to adjust the air intake on the burner closed just a tad until the tips of the flame are just barely orange/yellow. Dirty burners with burn bright yellow and smoke a lot because of incomplete combustion of your fuel. Also, higher gravity wort will require more energy to achieve a proper boil.

Next, if you start your brew day with the propane tank only half full this could also be a problem. I have noticed when propane tanks get down to the last 2 gallons or so they start to lose some of their grunt. Not sure what it is that causes this but for best results start your session with full propane tanks. Even if you only need 2 gallons to fill it up it is still worth it for the performance and piece of mind. Limiting the factors of possible problems should be a priority.

Finally, yes-- the wind will screw things up. A standard turkey burner doesn't have much of a fire-box so there isn't much to baffle wind gusts. You might think about building a wind break, moving your brew station, building a better fire-box for the burner etc...

I have brewed outdoors in the snow many times and I find when it's really cold out, it helps to pre-heat the kettle a bit before adding the wort back in. I would bring boiling water (or really hot water from the water heater) out from the kitchen and dump it in the kettle, slosh it around to bring the steel up from below freezing and then add the wort.... every little advantage you can think of will have an effect

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Old 01-02-2013, 05:27 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Squ1rrel75 View Post
you want to adjust the air intake on the burner closed just a tad until the tips of the flame are just barely orange/yellow. Dirty burners with burn bright yellow and smoke a lot because of incomplete combustion of your fuel. Also, higher gravity wort will require more energy to achieve a proper boil.

Next, if you start your brew day with the propane tank only half full this could also be a problem. I have noticed when propane tanks get down to the last 2 gallons or so they start to lose some of their grunt. Not sure what it is that causes this but for best results start your session with full propane tanks. Even if you only need 2 gallons to fill it up it is still worth it for the performance and piece of mind. Limiting the factors of possible problems should be a priority.

Finally, yes-- the wind will screw things up. A standard turkey burner doesn't have much of a fire-box so there isn't much to baffle wind gusts. You might think about building a wind break, moving your brew station, building a better fire-box for the burner etc...

I have brewed outdoors in the snow many times and I find when it's really cold out, it helps to pre-heat the kettle a bit before adding the wort back in. I would bring boiling water (or really hot water from the water heater) out from the kitchen and dump it in the kettle, slosh it around to bring the steel up from below freezing and then add the wort.... every little advantage you can think of will have an effect
Ok, thanks, these all make sense! I will try one more brew day with the current fryer before thinking about buying a new one. Of note, the propane tank was lo, it actually went empty, so I had to go get it re-filled mid brewday. The wort obviously cooled and I had to start re-heating again. However, it still never came to a full boil. Als, it was an English bitter with a regular gravity. So we'll see!
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Old 01-02-2013, 05:31 PM   #6
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I've noticed that as the tank starts to empty, the flame goes down. I always have a spare on hand just in case.. learned that the hard way.

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Old 01-02-2013, 05:55 PM   #7
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Don't bother waiting until your next brew day and possibly ruining a brew day. Check out the flame today - if you can adjust the fuel / air mix to get a nice blue flame with little yellow tips, you're golden. If not, then there's a problem with the burner or the tank is running low, and you may as well get it fixed now, before you brew.

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15gal American Pale Ale
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Keg 2: Belgian Wit (Failure)
Keg 3: American Pale Ale
Fermenting: Belgian Wit (Take 2)
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Old 01-02-2013, 06:38 PM   #8
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Just my 2 cents but if your sparging off 160 + degrees, getting hot water from the kitchen to warm up the kettle seems like a waste of time.... I fire up after I have some wort in and good to go. Definitely a wind break if your outside though IMO

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Old 01-03-2013, 06:18 PM   #9
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if you brew in sub-freezing temps outdoors, every little mechanical advantage helps. pre-heating the kettle may be overkill, dry heating grain to 100F before mashing. But if it floats your boat...

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Old 01-03-2013, 07:15 PM   #10
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If it is an adjustable regulator, make sure it is in the off position before opening the propane valve. If the regulator is on/open when you crack the propane valve it can mess with the flow. You will have a very low flame that is difficult to adjust. I've run into this a time or two with turkey fryers and bbq grills.

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