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Old 05-12-2008, 05:41 AM   #1
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Default How much propane gets used in 1 batch of beer?

After I get my wort chiller, I will have everything necessary to go all grain. I was just curious about how much propane gets burned in a typical batch of beer. I can probably heat the strike and sparge water on my stove (although it may take forever), so I guess I'm just asking how much gets burned in the hour-long boil process.


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Old 05-12-2008, 06:18 AM   #2
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I'm not quite sure, but the vigor of the boil is definately a big factor. I got a turkey fryer from Bass Pro Shops and i have it full throttle to get the boil going, then i have it at a little less than 1/4 open to maintain the boil.


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Old 05-12-2008, 06:53 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brew Dude View Post
After I get my wort chiller, I will have everything necessary to go all grain. I was just curious about how much propane gets burned in a typical batch of beer. I can probably heat the strike and sparge water on my stove (although it may take forever), so I guess I'm just asking how much gets burned in the hour-long boil process.
I've only been at this for a few months now, but I needed to get a refill on my BBQ propane tank right before my first brew. I've done 3 extract batches at probably 100 minutes; 40 for bringing to boil, 60 of boil time. I've also done 2 all grain batches. I've also cooked a tri-tip, hamburgers, bbq chicken, and some hot dogs/hot links using the same tank. I still have enough for one more batch...maybe two more. If I were to guesstimate per batch: I'd say 1/8th of a tank if you're doing extract, 1/6th for all grain. I'll have a better idea once I've got a dedicated propane tank for brewing .
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Old 05-12-2008, 11:03 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brew Dude View Post
After I get my wort chiller, I will have everything necessary to go all grain. I was just curious about how much propane gets burned in a typical batch of beer. I can probably heat the strike and sparge water on my stove (although it may take forever), so I guess I'm just asking how much gets burned in the hour-long boil process.
The amount you use can vary quite a bit. If you turn up the cooker full bore you'll waste a lot of propane. My cooker isn't as effiecent when opened up the whole way. I usually don't mind it taking a little longer to heat up if it means saving propane. Open the valve to get a full blue flame but not to the point where it is roaring so much that you can actually see some holes that are not lit on the cooker.
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Old 05-12-2008, 01:27 PM   #5
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It depends to a certain extent on the weather - cold and wind will cause you to burn more gas. Generally, I'll do four 5 gallon batches with my turkey fryer before starting to worry about it - five out of tank is not unheard of at all.

You just don't want to run out in the middle of the boil, so invest in a spare tank or two and always keep a full one around.
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Old 05-12-2008, 01:42 PM   #6
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The difficulty of coming up with an exact amount is with knowing how open your regulator is when you are maintaining your boil. This will of course be different for burners with different BTU ratings. I believe most standard turkey fryers are 55,000 BTU/hr. at max.

To get a true number you could weigh your propane tank before & after the brew session.

I once did a SWAG estimate with the following assumptions:
- 55,000 BTU/hr rated burner
- Burner on full 100% for 30 min. to heat sparge water (27,500 BTU)
- Burner on full 100% for 30 min. to bring wort up to a boil (27,500 BTU)
- Burner on 30% for 60 min. to maintain the boil (16,500 BTU)

Total BTU for one brew session = 27,500 + 27,500 + 16,500 = 71,500 BTU

A full 20# propane tank will hold 4.7gallons of propane. Each gallon provides 91,690 BTUs.

Therefore, a full tank is 430,943 BTUs and at 71,500 BTU per brew session, you should be able to complete 6 full brewing sessions before your tank runs empty. (If all above assumptions are valid)

Of course if you heat sparge water separately on the stove you'll use less propane per session. Another consideration is that maybe the burner isn't quite running at 100% when you're heating up to a boil. Maybe it's 90% or even a little less. Weather conditions will affect how long it takes to heat the water too.

Like I stated earlier, a true number would come from weighing the tank before & after, then using those numbers to figure an average brew day.

** see "Propane Tank Remainder Measurement" section of the wiki link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propane
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Old 05-12-2008, 01:43 PM   #7
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I can usually get 4 batches out of one tank with a bit left over. That's 5.5 gallon batches, heating strike water, sparge water, and the boil.
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Old 05-12-2008, 01:49 PM   #8
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Might be a good experiment if a group of us weighs their tanks before and after a brew day and posts the results here along with a list of what they did and the type of burner used.

Going away next weekend, so it’ll be a couple of weeks before I brew again, but I’ll post my results.
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Old 05-12-2008, 01:57 PM   #9
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Another assumption I accidentally left out is how full the propane dealer fills the tanks. 4.7gallons would be max. I believe some dealers only fill the tanks to about an 80% level. So you'd only have 3.8 gallons of propane after a fill up in this case. You could find out from your dealer when they fill the tank what constitutes "full".
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Old 05-12-2008, 01:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soperbrew View Post
The difficulty of coming up with an exact amount is with knowing how open your regulator is when you are maintaining your boil. This will of course be different for burners with different BTU ratings. I believe most standard turkey fryers are 55,000 BTU/hr. at max.

To get a true number you could weigh your propane tank before & after the brew session.

I once did a SWAG estimate with the following assumptions:
- 55,000 BTU/hr rated burner
- Burner on full 100% for 30 min. to heat sparge water (27,500 BTU)
- Burner on full 100% for 30 min. to bring wort up to a boil (27,500 BTU)
- Burner on 30% for 60 min. to maintain the boil (16,500 BTU)

Total BTU for one brew session = 27,500 + 27,500 + 16,500 = 71,500 BTU

A full 20# propane tank will hold 4.7gallons of propane. Each gallon provides 91,690 BTUs.

Therefore, a full tank is 430,943 BTUs and at 71,500 BTU per brew session, you should be able to complete 6 full brewing sessions before your tank runs empty. (If all above assumptions are valid)

Of course if you heat sparge water separately on the stove you'll use less propane per session. Another consideration is that maybe the burner isn't quite running at 100% when you're heating up to a boil. Maybe it's 90% or even a little less. Weather conditions will affect how long it takes to heat the water too.

Like I stated earlier, a true number would come from weighing the tank before & after, then using those numbers to figure an average brew day.

** see "Propane Tank Remainder Measurement" section of the wiki link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propane
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