First keggle run yesterday
Got the wife and kid to go to Grandama's house and I stayed home. Got the keggle all put together and I adhered to what Cheesefood said Friday. Went to a hardware store and a step bit was 44 dollars. Screw that. Got a bit that was guaranteed to cut stainless. With Cheese's concerns in the back of my head, I found a similar size washer and duct taped it on the spot I had already started on for making the required 7/8ths hole. Got it all nice and smoothed out and bulkhead fit tight, but it did fit. Funny, for grins I tried to put the original 7/8ths hole saw through the hole, but it was still too big. Maybe, in a cosmic sort of way, it was good I didn't drill it out with that hole saw as it would have been too big and I would have had some leaks.
Filled it with water, no leaks!!! Decided to make a Weizenbeir because of lack of grains and this being my first run and all. Have learned this:
1. Banjo burner takes some playing to get the flames all blue. Looked at some other keggle pictures here and I'm not the only one with burned looking bottom. That thing will definently throw out some heat. One thing I would recommend and probably save some money is to fill your keggle with hot tap water, if you use tap, instead of cold tap water. Heats up quicker....duh...you'd think I'd thought of that before firing it up, but I was too impatient.
2. If you do have a lid and you keep it closed while making wort, you WILL have a boilover. Didn't think that would happen because of all that extra space, but it did.
3. If you looking into the keggle to assure boiling or anything, get a flashlight. There is so much steam that I couldn't tell. Flashlight helped a lot.
4. I used a IC, make sure that where the water meets the IC that all connections are really tight. If not, some of the cooling water will dip into the keggle and potential contamination problems arise.
5. Since the banjo burner sits low to the ground and the shut off valve isn't much higher, you'll have to either raise the apparatus so that it drains above your primary bucket or do what I did, got a piece of 3 foot plastic tubing, connected it to the shutoff valve then start draining the wort. When it gets about 1/2 empty and a lot lighter, put the keggle higher than the primary bucket. If you don't have a good down drain, the wort will not completely empty out of the keggle. I figured this out later and now know why they call that inside tube the "siphon tube."
6. I started off with 6 gallons and dropped my bittering hops by half. When I got it all drained into the primary, it was exactly 5 gallons of wort. I use a lid for about 13 minutes into the boil then took it off because of boil over. Put the lid back on when chilling.
7. Fine mesh nylon bags for hopping will still release some particles, not a lot, but still does. Make sure you put a death knot on the bag or they will find a way to untie themselves.
8. I guess I had too much heat, but I had scorching on the bottom of the keggle. But, could have been my technique. When the water is really hot and with all that steam coming out, it's not as easy to stir and pour like it was on stove top. You'll at least need a longer brew spoon.
9. Best thing, easier to clean up, less mess and no wort smell in the house.
10. There had been some questions on efficiency last week. I used about a 1/3 tank of propane from a full 20 pounder. If I'd started out with hot tap water and had the burner adjusted already, I think I could have used a little less. But, for the size of that thing, I was amazed that 1/3 tank was all I used. Once boiling, it doesn't take much gas to maintain. Works better if no wind is present.