A few weeks ago I bought a Bayou Classic KAB6
and used it for my first outdoor brew session. Having never used it before I adjusted the flame to what I thought was a good mix between flame height and jet-engine sound but I'm interested in hearing how others set their flame height/power, because I don't think mine was set correctly.
There were a ton of variables that day, one of which was intermittent wind gusts. Several times during both the run-up to the boil and during the boil that the flame would get knocked around and was even blown out once. I was steeping specialty grains and found it difficult to hold temp without having to constantly adjust the gas valve and/or the air-intake. I also noticed that the temp was varying a little too much during the boil and while it kept rolling, there were a few times where the temp dropped and the boil was reduced to a simmer before coming back up to temp.
After the whole session was complete, I did notice that there wasn't a lot of boil-off like there should've been, obviously. I started with 6 gal, added 6lb of extract and ended up with over 5.5 gal of wort after cooling. I put all 5.5 gal into the fermenter and pitched.
The fermentation went perfectly and after 3 days of the same FG I bottled as I normally do. The beer is ok but its definitely thin/watery and a little sweet for my tastes (both my wife and 2 other people really like it, go figure). I'm chalking this up to the inconsistent boil and the extra wort volume. Please correct me if I'm wrong about that.
After bottling, but before it was finished carbonating, we found out that our water treatment system was failing and needed to be serviced. We have well water (which i haven't had a water report done yet), a neutralizer and a salt tank. The neutralizer hadn't been serviced in a long time (long story...) and we ran the tank out of salt, both big problems. Needless to say the Ph was waaaaay off and actually caused our pipes to spring leaks 3 times over the last year or so. Obviously this Ph is also affecting the beer that we brewed with the untreated water, but I'm not exactly sure how.
Our water system is now fully repaired and serviced and I can definitely tell a difference in the taste, and now our soap makes suds. yay!
I plan on brewing this beer again (a northern english brown) now that the water is so much better and I also want to make sure that I'm setting up my burner correctly so that I get a full consistent boil throughout the session. As a test, I put the burner in an area outside that was protected by the wind on 3 sides and brought 6 gal of water to a boil. It took roughly 35-40 minutes to hit 100C (212F) and I let it boil for 60 minutes. After it cooled (i just left it sit outside with the lid on for a few hours to cool) I poured it into a fermentation bucket and it measured a tad under 4 gal (less than a finger thickness under the 4 gal mark).
To setup the burner I lit the flame and turned the gas valve until the flames leapt off the nozzle holes, then dialed it back slowly so the flames were actually resting on the nozzle holes. Then I adjusted the air-intake until the flame was a bright blue color with no orange/red at all. Is this a correct setting or do you guys go full balls to the wall with the flames shooting out of the sides of the kettle?
Sorry for the book-length post but i wanted everyone to have as much data as possible to come to a conclusion. I know there are a ton of variables and you should only change one at a time but I think so many of them were wrong that I need to try to get a new base-line.
Thanks for any info/tips you can give.