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Converting a Home Brewery Banjo Burner To Natural Gas

Converting A Banjo Burner To Natural Gas

Converting A Home Brewery To Natural Gas

 

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.

Converting a banjo burner over to natural gas

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

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

Converting A Home Brewery From Propane to Natural Gas

Once I have the test in, I will let you know how it work out!

Saccharification

Saccharification in very basic terms is the conversion of starches to sugars. When it comes to all grain brewing, saccharification is a critical conversion process that occurs during mashing. As the mash tun’s temperature is increased to a range of 120° F to 158° F, the diastatic enzymes of the malted grains begin to activate and break the starches of the grains and adjuncts into sugars. The alpha amylase enzymes break apart complex starches into sugars that the beta amylase enzymes break apart even further into easy-to-ferment maltose sugar.

 

Precision is critical when it comes to the temperature of a mash and 10 degrees makes a massive difference. Beta amylase is more temperature dependent than alpha amylase, and when the temperature in the mash begins to rise above 158° F, the beta amylase is no longer capable of breaking apart the more complex sugar chains into maltose. So if your target mash temp is 152° F and you instead conduct your mash at 162° F, you will be left with a massive amount of unfermentable sugars in your finished beer, and it will have a fuller body and overly sweet finish.

Beta amylase thrives in a temperature range of 140° F to 150° F, so if your target mash temp was 152° F and you conducted your mash at 142° F, you would end up with a beer with a very thin body and dry finish due to a deficiency of unfermentable sugars. This is the reason why the typical mash saccharification rest temperature is in a range of 152° F to 154° F; it provides a good temperature compromise for both alpha amylase and beta amylase to carry out their required starch and sugar conversion processes.

Alcohol by Weight ABW

Alcohol by weight (ABW) is the measurement of the alcohol content of a solution in terms of the percentage weight of the alcohol in the solution.

 

Since most of us are accustomed to thinking of beer in terms of alcohol by volume, you may find it beneficial to convert the two. To convert ABW to ABV, multiply the ABW by 1.25. For instance, an ABW of 5 equals an ABV of 6.25%. To convert ABV to ABW, you would multiply the ABV by .8.

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