I do not know about you, but I am not the biggest fan of having to store and maintain propane tanks. They take up space, run out of gas in the middle of a boil, the pressure changes when the tank gets too low and they are expensive to refill; and all the while I have natural gas available 10 feet away from my home brewery. So I decided that I would try converting my banjo burners from propane to natural gas. Let me start off by saying that I am not a professional plumber, a mechanical engineer, or a scientist that specialized in flammable gasses; so you should consult a professional. PLEASE CONSULT A LICENSED HEATING PROFESSIONAL FOR INFORMATION ON CONNECTING YOUR OUTDOOR BURNER TO YOUR HOUSE NATURAL GAS.
My home brewing setup uses 3 banjo burners and a 120v electric RIMS system to generate heat. So my first step was purchasing the natural gas valve to replace my existing propane valve. Since natural gas is pushed with a lower pressure than compressed liquid propane, you can not simply use the same valve. The good news is that the replacement valve is not that expensive.
Banjo Burner Natural Gas Valve
Williams brewing sells the valve for $9.99 and this Banjo Burner natural gas conversion valve is compatible with the Bayou Classic KAB4, KAB6, and BG14 Banjo burner. To use this valve, you will need a gas connection hose with a 3/8″ female flare end to attach to this valve to your natural gas source. This valve has an orifice diameter of approximately 1/8″, and features 1/4″ male npt threads to attach to your gas burner. These home brewing burner natural gas conversion valves also fit the Blichmann Top Tier Burners and Blichmann Floor standing burners. You can see the difference in the two burner valves in the following photo.
Converting Bayou Home Brewing Burners to Natural Gas
The natural gas replacement valve is on the left. You can see the gas outlet diameter is much larger than the propane on the right.
The process was pretty painless and I was able to replace all three burner valves and test for leaks in about 60 minutes. I used natural gas safe teflon sealant on all of the valves. One important factor to keep in mind is that natural gas is lower pressure than propane and you are going to put out less BTUs than you would with a propane tank. So if you were already struggling to achieve a boil with a propane tank, converting to natural gas is probably going to be a bad idea. I have yet to test how long it takes to reach a boil, but the flame tests all look great so far!
Converting A Home Brewery From Propane to Natural Gas
Once I have the test in, I will let you know how it work out!
Blichmann HellFire Stainless Steel Home Brewing Burners
Product Description: The Blichmann Hellfire home brewing burner is the first innovation that I have seen in homebrew gas burners in several years. The Blichmann Hellfire burner is efficient, fast, versatile, dependable and beautiful! This is Blichmann’s newest burner is appropriately named HellFire because of the massive BTU’s that this home brewing burner is capable of putting out. Perhaps what I like best about this new Blichmann Hell Fire burner is its dual mode burner design that give a home brewer the option of running in an efficiency mode at 80,000 BTUs to maintain a rolling boil up to 20 gallons or in a high heat mode that will run at 140,000 BTUs which is perfect for getting that boil going in no time. Anything that will save me time in a brew session is valuable and there is a great deal of time wasted waiting for water to reach mash and boil temperature.
The Blichmann HellFire burner also includes a heat shield to prevent the massive amount of heat from scorching your valve, thermometer and sight glass while directing it to your wort. The HellFire stand burner bolts right up to our TopTier Modular Brewing Stand if you want to integrate it with your other Blichmann home brewing equipment or can be used independently. Lastly, the stainless steel construction of this burner is a big plus. Stainless steel is the ultimate home brewing material, especially when it comes to burners and kettles. Metals like aluminum, tin and galvanized steel can put out toxic fumes, but stainless steel is fume free and will last a lifetime if cared for!
Here are some of the features on this new Blichmann Hellfire Home Brewing burner.
Dual mode capability; high power mode and high efficiency mode
140,000 BTU high power mode and 80,000 BTU efficiency mode
Patent pending clip-on heat shield keeps that massive amount of heat off your valve and thermometer and directs it to your wort
Infinitely adjustable kettle retaining bars accommodated kettles up to 19.75″ in diameter
Non-rusting, fume free heavy gauge stainless frame
Blichmann HellFire burners are now available and you will receive free shipping on your order:
How to build a Home Brewery \ Beer Brewing Stand \ Brewing Rack \ Single Tier Brewing Sculpture
I can not speak for everyone, but for me, once I had made the change from extract to all grain home brewing I began having visions of what I wanted my home brewery to look like. In a way, a big part of the allure of home beer brewing for me was making the best beer possible. For me that included building my own home brewing rack, doing my best to perfect the process and being as efficient as possible. I am not going to lie, there were a few times along the way that I questioned what the hell I was thinking and why I did not just buy a home brewing stand, but now that all is said and done I am a bit proud of what I was able to accomplish with my own hands. In hopes of helping some of my fellow home brewers out I am going to supply some general information on how I put mine together. If you need any specifics on something I do not list here, please feel free to drop me a line with what details you are looking for.
Home Beer Brewery
The dimensions of my brewery are 61″ Wide, 20.5″ Deep and 20.5″ tall excluding the wheels. The following is a list of parts that I used to create my home brewing sculpture, but many of the items such as the kettles, sparge arm and pumps can be traded out for other items of your preference. I am assuming that you have some basic welding experience (it is not that hard) and the required tools including a welder, cut saw, drill and grinder.
For the frame of my single tier home brewing stand I used 2″ x 2″ steel fence post that I cut into the appropriate sizes. I made two large 61″ x 20.5″ rectangles for the top and the bottom, with a supporting vertical bar on each corner of the brewing stand. In between each of the 3 burners, I placed 2 bars for spacing and support. Even with all 3 kettles full of liquid, the beer rack is incredibly stable. Here is a link to the fence post available at home depot:
The burners are really an item of personal preference. I started with 54,000 BTU burners, but then later upgraded to a 210,000 BTU Bayou Cooker Burners. The smaller burners were more efficient as far as propane usage goes, but the larger bayou cooker burners certainly get the job done much quicker. I welded brackets onto the bottom of the top level of my home brewing stand to hold the burners in place. Initially I had a flexible line with a regulator running from each burner to a master regulator that was hooked up to the propane tank, but then later ran pipe with separate valves for each burner. The bayou cooker banjo burners are available here:
For the home brewing kettles I opted for the Blichmann 20 gallon kettles. They include a site gauge so you can easily see the volume in your kettle, a 3 piece stainless steel ball valve and adjustable thermometer. These stainless steel brewing kettles are one of the best buys that I have ever made and have no regrets about them. They have a variety of options including a false bottom for your mash tun, hop blocker for your boil kettle, and sparge arm. I opted for the false bottom and hop blocker and have been very happy with them. I do mostly 10 gallon batches, but could go as high as 15 gallons with these 20 gallon kettles. You will want to buy kettles that are appropriate for the batch size that you intend to brew. Blichmann currently offers 10 gallon, 15 gallon, 20 gallon, 30 gallon and 55 gallon kettles. You can find the kettles and optional items available here:
You will need to get 2 high temperature food grade pumps for your single tier home brewing rack. I placed my pumps in between the hot liquor tank \ mash tun and the other between the mash tun and boil kettle. With two pumps you will be able to conduct your sparge while also transferring wort from your mash tun to your boil kettle. I use high temperature rated march pumps with stainless steel quick disconnects. The pumps and disconnects can be found here:
As far as sparge arms go I have tried several. The best one that I have ever come across is the morebeer ultimate sparge arm. It is made of stainless steel, has a ball valve built into it to easily control the flow rate and can be used to recirculate or lauter your wort in addition to sparging. The ultimate sparge arm can be purchased here:
Lastly for my wort chiller I use a convoluted counter flow chiller. Much like the sparge arm, I have tried just about every chiller from immersion chillers to plate chillers and I have found the convoluted counter flow chiller to be the best. What I like most about it is that it is just about impossible to clog, it is compact, it cools wort incredibly quickly and it is easy to clean and sanitize. These convoluted counter flow chillers are also sometimes referred to as chillzillas. They can be found here:
Those are the basics on my home brewing stand \ single tier brewing sculpture. If you have any specific questions or comments, please leave a comment or shoot me an email and I will do my best to assist you. Best of luck to you on building your own all grain home beer brewing stand. If it seems like a little more work then you are up for, there are also some really fantastic pre-manufactured stainless steel home brewing racks and brewing sculptures available here: