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Propane Burners

Propane burners are commonly used for boiling wort. They have extremely high heat output, and can be used for boils much larger than a typical stove can obtain. For safety, they must be used outside or in a garage, which typically means the entire brewday is performed outdoors.

The power, and thus heat output, is controlled by a gas pressure regulator near the propane cylinder. The “low pressure” models are generally equipped with 10-psi regulators, and “high pressure” regulators are commonly 20- and 30-psi. Using a higher output gives more heat, but consumes propane more rapidly. The gains curve is not linear, and many brewers recommend using lower pressure to get more efficient propane usage.

Heat output is measured in BTU, but highest BTU is not necessarily the best. Efficiency of transfer from the burner to the pot is critical, and some of the very high BTU burners have bad heat shields or other limitations. A 55,000 BTU cast iron burner is more appropriate for a 5-gallon boil than a 210,000 BTU jet burner.

Types of Burner

Jet Burner - These are single high-heat jets of flame. They can have extremely high heat output, but they are so localized that they are prone to burn your wort. Jet burners are not advised for brewing.

Cast Iron - These are the basic brewing work-horse. Similar to a grill burner, they distribute the flame around a circle with 5-10“ diameter. They tend to be inexpensive and powerful enough to boil 10 gallons.

Hurricane - These are the highest end; a sold round burner with spokes and hundreds of small flame holes. They distribute heat extremely evenly, and tend to be larger and have much higher heat output than the cast iron burners. They tend to use more propane as a result, and are not always appropriate for 5-gallon batches.

Personal Experience

Bayou SP50 (BG10 burner, M5HPR 10-psi regulator)

  • Brought ~12 gallons 70F water to boil in 48 minutes in 29F ambient temperature.
  • Required full pressure to maintain rolling boil of 12 gallons in 29F ambient
  • Its leg height makes it perfect for racking straight into a fermenter without moving the pot.
  • It ships with a 10-psi regulator, but is compatible with Bayou's 30-psi replacement.
  • Boil-off measured in Personal_Experience
equipment/propane_burners.txt · Last modified: 2017/09/11 12:10 (external edit)