Brew Dudes

Homebrewing blog and resource

Beer Brewing and Propane Safety

Not to long ago I went to the garage to fire up the kettles.  I screwed in my propane burner to the tank and heard a mild hissing sound, but didn’t think much of it at first because I was moving fast to get started.  I lit the burner but it wasn’t burning as strongly as normal.  Sometimes, I need to reseat the connection at the propane tank.  I shut it all down, unscrewed and rescrewed in the burner hose to the propane tank and opened the regulator to refire the burner.  But this time I again heard hissing and I could feel gas escaping from the regulator control valve itself.  I clearly had a leak in the regulator.

Now maybe I am crazy, or maybe I am just plain stupid.  Regardless, but I sparked my lighter at the valve to see if there was really that much gas leaking.  Sure enough I now had about an 8 inch flame shooting out of the regulator.  I couldn’t turn off the regulator because it was engulfed in flames, and I couldn’t shut it off at the tank, because it was also engulfed in flames.  (OK, so maybe I am stupid.)  But it didn’t rattle me, I just thought well I need to either let the tank burn out so I should get some marshmallows or I need to put the flames out.

Luckily, a couple good swipes with my heavy leather work gloves and the flames went out.  Anyway, my brew day usually goes pretty smoothly using two burner set ups.  I finished the brew session on one burner.  Being down to one burner though in the cold winter months has slowed the brewing process down for now.  However, it has made me invest in some parts to build a brew stand.  That progress is where much of my brewing time is now spent.  Hopefully, I’ll complete it over the christmas break I have from work, and I can fire up a new system on new years.

One thing I have learned from this is I need to add one of the following to my christmas wish list:
1.  New leather gloves  or 2. A Fire Extinguisher.

BREW ON!

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2 Comments

  1. Michael Bernier

    I was brewing one time and I moved the propane tank and the regulator connection ended up getting unhooked a little and had a flamethrower like you did. I luckily picked up my tank and then immediately dropped it since I was starting to burn myself. Luckily in the drop the connection tightened up and all I ended up with were some singed eyebrows.

  2. I have read that natural gas is safer than propane for a couple of reasons:

    1) nat gas is piped at lower pressure than propane
    2) nat gas, unlike propane is not heavier than air, so it should disperse more easily
    3) you need a much higher concentration of nat gas than propane to cause an explosion

    I mention this just bought a natural gas burner for brewing, you can see it at my blog:

    http://noblesquarebrewing.blogspot.com/2010/11/now-were-cooking-with-gas.html

    Although after reading your post, I’m going to make sure that it is hooked up properly and I’ll keep a fire extinguisher on hand while brewing.

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