Using propane

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by tngolfer, Feb 20, 2013.

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  1. tngolfer

    tngolfer Initiate (75) Feb 16, 2012 Tennessee

    Unless I get a natural gas line hooked up, my only means of brewing is by using propane. Is there a good way to limit the amount if black ash that accumulates on the bottom of my kettle? Is it in my air/fuel mix or just a side effect of using propane?
  2. Eriktheipaman

    Eriktheipaman Savant (979) Sep 4, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    I'm gonna talk out of my ass here but could it be oxidation of the metal?
  3. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Poo-Bah (2,077) May 21, 2010 Texas

    my kettle stays pretty clean. you will have a blue flame that won't leave much soot if you have your burner adjusted right.
    bgjohnston, MMAJYK and NiceFly like this.
  4. Naugled

    Naugled Crusader (737) Sep 25, 2007 New York

    If your fuel/air mix is correct you will get little to no black ash on your kettles. Play around with the air vent until you see little to no orange flames, flame should be all blue.
    bgjohnston likes this.
  5. carteravebrew

    carteravebrew Zealot (509) Jan 21, 2010 Colorado

    FYI, brewing with natural gas doesn't prevent the black soot. I have a natural gas hookup, and if I'm getting orange flame, the kettle will turn black.
    bgjohnston likes this.
  6. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Disciple (304) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    Open the air intake until the flame turns mostly blue. That will minimize the formation of soot on the bottom of the kettle. There'll be some yellow flecks due to impurities in the gas and dust in the air. Open it too far and the flame will begin to lift off the burner, at which point, it will blow out very easily. 'carteravebrew' is correct in that natural gas has the same problem (and the same fix). FWIW, any soot that forms washes off pretty easily with a garden hose.
    bgjohnston likes this.
  7. hopdog09

    hopdog09 Initiate (0) Sep 6, 2012 Michigan

  8. tngolfer

    tngolfer Initiate (75) Feb 16, 2012 Tennessee

    I must have a cheapo burner because the air is open all the way and I still get some orange flames. I tried playing with that first. Add a good burner to my 'want' list.
  9. Derekg

    Derekg Initiate (0) Sep 23, 2012 New Hampshire

    black ash means that the mixture is too rich. back down the air flow in increase the gas.
  10. teal

    teal Initiate (77) May 3, 2012 Wisconsin

    Get a Blichmann and don't look back. I screwed around with multiple turkey fryers before I invested in the B. Best bit of kit I bought and it would have been cheaper had I done that FIRST.
  11. Hotmetal1

    Hotmetal1 Aspirant (286) Feb 28, 2012 Mississippi
    Beer Trader

    You can rub soap on the bottom of the kettle before you brew and the soot will clean off easier afterwards.
    mathematizer likes this.
  12. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Disciple (304) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    There's a Boy Scout among us! :wink:
    Hands22, warchez and Hotmetal1 like this.
  13. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,318) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    You have that backwards. If the mixture is rich it needs more air or less gas.
  14. Hotmetal1

    Hotmetal1 Aspirant (286) Feb 28, 2012 Mississippi
    Beer Trader

    You are excalty right, learned this about 38 years ago.
  15. billandsuz

    billandsuz Disciple (315) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    E-Z Off oven cleaner.
    but some black staining on the outside of the kettle doesn't matter much. unless you plan to brew on Martha Stewart or some shit.

    propane is very clean burning. i think it is hard to get a "dirty" flame even if its a rich mix. a little orange maybe but still really clean. might be paint or oil on the burner stand that is charring. could be gunk in the orifice getting blown through the flame. nothing really to worry about.
  16. beerjay

    beerjay Initiate (0) Apr 12, 2006 California

    I have this same problem about once a year. It tells me it's time to clean out the jets. I use a wooden skewer to clean out each hole in the jet, and problem is solved.
  17. BumpkinBrewer

    BumpkinBrewer Disciple (353) Jan 6, 2010 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    I have used propane with a SS kettle for over 3 years now and never experienced ash or soot on the bottom. Crank that air intake up
  18. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Disciple (304) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    On my 23 jet NG wok burner, each jet has its own non-adjustable air intake. I'm not an expert in fluid dynamics (nor do I play one on TV) but intuition and observation tell me that these are optimized for a specific flow rate. As I lower the flame (the valve needs to be nearly closed to prevent boil overs), the flame turns yellow, and the bottom of my kettle gets covered with soot. As I said earlier, this washes off easily with a garden hose, so I don't sweat it. I plan to lower the burner one of these days so I can better control the heat and the soot.
  19. Hands22

    Hands22 Initiate (0) Oct 14, 2011 Florida
    Beer Trader

    Make sure you get unscented soap... One time all we had was old spice and that made for quite a camping trip.
    Hotmetal1 likes this.
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