Poll

If you had to use a direct-fire system for a living (nanos included), would you rather use:

Propane
Natural Gas

Author Topic: Pros (or wannabes) - Propane or NG  (Read 1487 times)

Offline In The Sand

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Pros (or wannabes) - Propane or NG
« on: February 05, 2014, 01:42:40 PM »
This may get moved by the forum police*, but I thought I'd put it here anyway.  If you had to use direct-fire rather than steam, and say your system is no bigger than 2-3 bbls, which would you rather use: propane or natural gas?  I suppose it depends on what is available and what the rates are, but I would think they're generally consistent throughout the US.

*EDIT:  Forum "pruner"  ;D
« Last Edit: February 05, 2014, 01:55:23 PM by In The Sand »
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Pros (or wannabes) - Propane or NG
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2014, 01:52:05 PM »
I can't imagine anyone with a 3 bbl brewhouse being able to afford to go steam, and I imagine you would go with city gas, which I would think would be nat gas.

When I ran the 3 bbls set up I actually used electric.

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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Pros (or wannabes) - Propane or NG
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2014, 01:55:53 PM »
Natural gas. Doesn't run out.

The brewpub We did a couple of 7 barrel batches of at had a direct fired NG kettle.
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Offline Jeff M

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Re: Pros (or wannabes) - Propane or NG
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2014, 02:01:00 PM »
IF i remember my reading correctly, Propane has serious efficiency issues.  The only real reasons i can think of to use propane at the homebrew level are low startup costs and easy access.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Pros (or wannabes) - Propane or NG
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2014, 02:08:14 PM »
There is significant variance in the price of natural gas from region to region and month to month all over the US. The northeast is experiencing huge price spikes right now because so many people changed over to NG over the last few years and now with the bitter cold they can't get the gas there fast enough. So many of the pipelines are busy moving shale oil from Canada south for processing.

I am half seriously looking at building a 1-3 bbl wood fired brewhouse although I suspect I'll end up going electric. I've heard 15 bbl is sort of the entry point for steam. not to say you can't have a smaller steam system but as major says the price:output ratio is bad at those levels.

Offline Alewyfe

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Re: Pros (or wannabes) - Propane or NG
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2014, 03:38:13 PM »
Where I am I have no choice but to use propane, so it's a moot point. However, NG provides just over 1m btu's per cu. ft for approx. $.01 and propane around 2500 btu at around $.03 cents. Prices vary a lot by time of year
and region of country.  Both sort of track up and down with crude prices. NG is lot cleaner burning than propane.

Propane pricing is not controlled. Propane cos like to lease you a tank, you are then a captive customer and they bind you to a contract or price gouge you. We made the mistake of leasing a tank when we first moved rural, but quickly learned the game, purchased our own tank, convinced the neighbors to do likewise and now collectively bargain for the best rates. We actually get better rates by having an independent Eugene distributor (who is 60 miles away) supply us than large companies in our own town. And I'm talking dollars per gallon cost differential, not pennies. We were mad as hell when we first discovered this.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Pros (or wannabes) - Propane or NG
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2014, 04:06:54 PM »
There is significant variance in the price of natural gas from region to region and month to month all over the US. The northeast is experiencing huge price spikes right now because so many people changed over to NG over the last few years and now with the bitter cold they can't get the gas there fast enough. So many of the pipelines are busy moving shale oil from Canada south for processing.

I am half seriously looking at building a 1-3 bbl wood fired brewhouse although I suspect I'll end up going electric. I've heard 15 bbl is sort of the entry point for steam. not to say you can't have a smaller steam system but as major says the price:output ratio is bad at those levels.
Jonathan, different companies and pipelines are used for NG and crude oil. Stations that pump liquids, or compress gas require different equipment.

The tar sand oil comes through a pipeline to Detroit and Sarnia, Ontario around here. They managed to spill 1 Million gallons a couple years back into the Kalamazoo river. The Canadian company is fighting the cleanup costs with the EPA.
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Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Pros (or wannabes) - Propane or NG
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2014, 04:10:08 PM »
There is significant variance in the price of natural gas from region to region and month to month all over the US. The northeast is experiencing huge price spikes right now because so many people changed over to NG over the last few years and now with the bitter cold they can't get the gas there fast enough. So many of the pipelines are busy moving shale oil from Canada south for processing.

I am half seriously looking at building a 1-3 bbl wood fired brewhouse although I suspect I'll end up going electric. I've heard 15 bbl is sort of the entry point for steam. not to say you can't have a smaller steam system but as major says the price:output ratio is bad at those levels.
You go man with the wood burning BK.

Well I actually saw it in Europe and they did decoction with it. You just need to have a fair amount of wood.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Pros (or wannabes) - Propane or NG
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2014, 04:51:59 PM »
There is significant variance in the price of natural gas from region to region and month to month all over the US. The northeast is experiencing huge price spikes right now because so many people changed over to NG over the last few years and now with the bitter cold they can't get the gas there fast enough. So many of the pipelines are busy moving shale oil from Canada south for processing.

I am half seriously looking at building a 1-3 bbl wood fired brewhouse although I suspect I'll end up going electric. I've heard 15 bbl is sort of the entry point for steam. not to say you can't have a smaller steam system but as major says the price:output ratio is bad at those levels.
Jonathan, different companies and pipelines are used for NG and crude oil. Stations that pump liquids, or compress gas require different equipment.

The tar sand oil comes through a pipeline to Detroit and Sarnia, Ontario around here. They managed to spill 1 Million gallons a couple years back into the Kalamazoo river. The Canadian company is fighting the cleanup costs with the EPA.

that's interesting. they've been talking on NPR about it a lot and that is what they have been saying is the cause. Perhaps I misunderstood and they were talking about a simple lack of pipes heading to the Northeast and no focus on building new ones. The end result is that in order to get NG to parts of the northeast it has to go by train or truck which is not super efficient.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Pros (or wannabes) - Propane or NG
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2014, 05:02:59 PM »
There is significant variance in the price of natural gas from region to region and month to month all over the US. The northeast is experiencing huge price spikes right now because so many people changed over to NG over the last few years and now with the bitter cold they can't get the gas there fast enough. So many of the pipelines are busy moving shale oil from Canada south for processing.

I am half seriously looking at building a 1-3 bbl wood fired brewhouse although I suspect I'll end up going electric. I've heard 15 bbl is sort of the entry point for steam. not to say you can't have a smaller steam system but as major says the price:output ratio is bad at those levels.
Jonathan, different companies and pipelines are used for NG and crude oil. Stations that pump liquids, or compress gas require different equipment.

The tar sand oil comes through a pipeline to Detroit and Sarnia, Ontario around here. They managed to spill 1 Million gallons a couple years back into the Kalamazoo river. The Canadian company is fighting the cleanup costs with the EPA.

that's interesting. they've been talking on NPR about it a lot and that is what they have been saying is the cause. Perhaps I misunderstood and they were talking about a simple lack of pipes heading to the Northeast and no focus on building new ones. The end result is that in order to get NG to parts of the northeast it has to go by train or truck which is not super efficient.

There are not many gas or oil pipelines that go to the NE. They do get some from overseas via ship.
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Offline In The Sand

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Re: Pros (or wannabes) - Propane or NG
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2014, 05:28:28 PM »
So. Survey says..........electric!
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Pros (or wannabes) - Propane or NG
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2014, 05:49:02 PM »
For a system that small, and up to 7 bbls, electric is probably the best way to go. Just be sure to keep that element clean, and clean it before every brew. I had some smoky beers in my electrical brewing days that weren't supposed to be smoky and tasted smoky like an ashtray.
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Offline gmac

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Re: Pros (or wannabes) - Propane or NG
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2014, 07:16:17 PM »
Go nuclear.
At over a buck a liger right now for propane, I'm actually wondering if I can even afford to home brew on propane right now.

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Re: Pros (or wannabes) - Propane or NG
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2014, 07:31:06 PM »

Go nuclear.
At over a buck a liger right now for propane...

Liter?
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Offline Jeff M

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Re: Pros (or wannabes) - Propane or NG
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2014, 07:51:16 PM »

Go nuclear.
At over a buck a liger right now for propane...

Liter?
Lion-Tiger, Duh;)
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