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Old 02-08-2008, 11:11 PM   #21
Jul 2007
Portland, ME
Posts: 72

Is forced air really required? I've heard of it being used for small forges, as in melting down metal and casting. Even those setups use smaller squirrel cage blowers that put out less air than a shop-vac. I'm thinking you'd have too much heat which would lead to scorching and premature failure of kettle and burner. I do like the idea of using scrap wood as fuel though.

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Old 02-09-2008, 03:12 AM   #22
Feb 2007
Aurora, IL
Posts: 69
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

Yeah, maybe the forced air is overkill. Plus the extra electricity used for the fan might negate the free source of fuel.

All I know is that my current burner is drastically under-powered. It was a turkey cooker on clearance at Lowe's (probably for good reason, the pot developed a pinhole leak after about four uses). It took me more than an hour today to get 6 gallons of wort to boil... only after adding some supplementary heat from my propane torch. Not to mention the freezing rain and wind. God... one heck of a day.

Regulating the temperature cannot be that hard, I'd have to control the amount of air or fuel somehow. Most likely with a butterfly valve on the intake side, or maybe a simple piece of steel plate on the top to control how far it is open. (a throttle of sorts)

This will be my project for next week. I'll keep you all posted on the results.
Beer me.

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Old 02-09-2008, 03:20 AM   #23
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May 2007
Jersey Shore, New Jersey
Posts: 9,694
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If you could manage to brew a batch of beer and smoke a rack of ribs or pork shoulder all simultaneously than I would be truly impressed!!!

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Old 02-09-2008, 03:49 AM   #24
Alamo_Beer's Avatar
Aug 2006
Manor, Tx
Posts: 2,439
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Originally Posted by wilserbrewer
If you could manage to brew a batch of beer and smoke a rack of ribs or pork shoulder all simultaneously than I would be truly impressed!!!
Now THAT'S what I'm talkin about!!!
except make it a brisket

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Old 02-09-2008, 05:34 AM   #25
Dec 2006
West TN
Posts: 12

Do not use a milk can. It will not withstand the amount of heat generated.

Instead, use a scrap water tank. A pressure tank for a well will work fine. Do a Google search for waste oil heaters and fine the Mother Earth News plans for a waste oil heater made from a scrap water tank. You should be able to modify this principal to wood and have a stout enough burner housing to handle the heat.

I built a waste oil heater from an old well tank, probably a 150 gal tank or so. I've had the sides bright cherry red without any problems other than too much heat! These old well pressure tanks are built heavy and can withstand lots of heat and a heavy top load.

Scrap the "turbo charger" vacuum motor except for start up. A small computer muffin fan will supply more than enough air, probably too much. Use a variable air throttle and build the assembly as airtight as possible for the best results on controlability. If your brew kettle is to sit down into the fire chamber, build that mount tight as well.

Make an exhaust stack to carry away the fumes and to provide positive airflow characteristics. It should also keep your beer cleaner.

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Old 02-09-2008, 05:59 AM   #26
Aug 2007
Posts: 86

You will get a little smoke flavor in the brew (think aromatic cigar type effect).

My second batch was a Nut Brown extract kit brewed on a firepit on a whim. I had been sitting out enjoying the fire and some beer when I started thinking about that extract kit. I knew the fire was hot enough to boil water so I gave it a damn brew night as of yet (12 batches now).

Good Luck

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Old 02-09-2008, 10:56 AM   #27
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Sep 2007
Cincinnati OH
Posts: 1,579
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your brewpot will need a hat to keep ash and embers out of it. Like a lid on stilts to let the steam out. a blower would be great for the initial heating of the wort. You could get it boiling mighty fast. Still I agree with the others in that you'll need to be able to dampen the fire more than add extra air. Your first couple of runs may very well be complete boil over disasters, but I'm sure you can figure it out.
A great man knows that he knows NOTHING

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Old 02-11-2008, 04:18 PM   #28
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Jul 2006
State College, Pennsylvania
Posts: 3,379
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I'd be tempted to go with a "turbo" stove design There are lots of other pages out there if you search

I read up on these a while ago when I was looking to make my pig cooker. What I liked was turbo stoves are VERY efficient and clean and thorough burning. Efficient enough to boil a pot of water with the heat from a single sheet of newspaper! I ended up going another route. I still may build one of these to fire my cooker though. I'd save a lot in charcoal and could spend less time tending the cooker and more time drinking beer
On Tap: Doppelbock O'fest, Pale Ale, cider
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Brewing soon: Pale lager, Amer. wheat
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Old 02-11-2008, 04:37 PM   #29
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Nov 2006
Edmond, OK, Oklahoma
Posts: 3,119
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I think you could build something that burns clean enough. Gasification is good enough to get the complete/clean burn of anything you put in it. Then you could just heat a "flat top" of a lid to your burner and that would in turn heat your kettle. then the only thing open to air would be your fire box door with your fan inlet and your exhaust stack outside. The draft should keep any smoke out of your beer even when opening your firebox door, and the gasification of materials is clean for the environment and more efficient for you. Just an idea. I may think up something like this for my permanent setup one day.
"Beer... Nutritious and Delicious!"

"It's like a 15.5 gallon Mr. Beer!"

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Old 05-12-2010, 12:35 AM   #30
Feb 2010
Posts: 10

Just came across this thread and I'm thinking of doing the same thing, and it also give me a chance to sing the praises of the rocket stoves!!

If you haven't heard, it's an incredibly efficient wood burning stove! Search for institutional rocket stove--used to cook/boil large volumes for communities.

If you use a skirt around your pot, and a properly drafted chimney, you'll have no problem boiling wort and use minimal fuel. Some say it burns really hot, but not for very long, I disagree. If you do some searches, some folks use these to heat their houses by burning them for hours to heat up brick/concrete/cob masses in their house. With this being said, those designs offer ways to stock the stove for long periods and if you need to reduce the flame, simply pull some wood out, or adjust the airflow.

I want to building some slim models that I can build into a single tier/multi-keggle system to heat the HLT and Boil pot. Once I figure out how to adjust the flames and heat with these two vessels I'll probably try to make one for the Mash tun.

Research will show you that these can burn up to 1200 degrees in some well made instances!


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