Monday, March 14, 2011

Propane used during recent #Homebrew Session

@platypotamus asked how much propane and propane accessories (ok, sans the accessories) are used for brewing a batch of #Homebrew outdoors. I replied $1 to $2 which was based on the current price of propane where I live ($.4975/pound) and a gut-feel for how long a 20 pound tank lasted this winter.

Thinking about it some more, and how lacking in data or context my response, I decided to take some simple measurements during my last brew session on Saturday.

The methodology I used here, was to heat the entire volume of water (strike and sparge) to strike temperature, then drain off the amount needed for mashing. The sparge water remained in the HLT and then was heated to sparge temperature about 15 minutes before the end of mashing. The flame was adjusted to what I would call medium-high--not rocket strength mind you, but not simmering either. (I suppose I should have timed how long it took to raise the temperature at the various points to give an idea of how high the flame was.)

BurnerBlichmann Toptier Floor Standing
WeatherTemperature: 42 degrees
Winds: light
Starting Propane Weight37.25 pounds (including cylinder)
Starting Water Volume8.5 gallons
Strike Water Temperature Profile (starting/ending)52/164 degrees Fahrenheit
Sparge Water Volume4.25 gallons
Sparge Water Temperature Profile140/185 degrees Fahrenheit
Wort Volume6.85 gallons
Boil Water Temperature Profile140/212 degrees Fahrenheit
Boil60 minutes
Ending Propane Weight33 pounds (including cylinder)
Propane Used4.25 pounds

N.B. I overshot my strike water temperature target by two degrees, wasting some energy. The starting temperature for the boil may be off a little from stated 140.

I think the cost can be decreased easily by continuing to heat the strike water through to sparge temperature, then shutting off the burner and storing the water in an insulated HLT. Another easy area for improvement would be to keep the initial water at indoor temperatures for as long as possible before moving outside for heating.

Still, two bucks is not much!

Any other easy improvements?

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