There are all sorts of different ways to start homebrewing – various setups, recipes and equipment to use.
When I first began brewing extract kits at home, I used my stovetop and a soup pot for my batches, but have since upgraded to brewing outside with a gas burner and a proper, five-gallon pot. Moving outside also helps mitigate any potential mess – a boil over looks much less daunting on a concrete slab in the backyard than all over a stove and kitchen floor.
I haven’t brewed on my stovetop since my first batches years ago, mostly to avoid any mess, but also because I figured using my 55,000 BTU gas cooker made my brew day shorter and more efficient.
It wasn’t until now that I wanted to (unscientifically) put that to the test.
Using only water, I wanted to see how quickly I could reach brew-day temperature thresholds using my electric range stovetop and a Bayou Classic propane burner. My goal was specific to extract brewing, so I wanted to see how quickly I could reach 155 degrees when I’d normally steep grains for 25 minutes, then how long it would take to boil the water.
I decided to only use water since it offered an easy control – no matter where you’re brewing, water will still heat at the same rate. It’s just a matter of what the heat source is providing. I decided to also use the same three-gallon soup pot I previously used for my extract batches before investing in a five-gallon pot to accommodate occasional partial mash brew days.
First, I went outside to test my propane cooker with two gallons of 81-degree (F) water. I wanted to track how fast the water would hit 100 degrees for the sake of posterity, then mark at 155 degrees and hold the temperature for 25 minutes before raising it to a boiling temperature of 212 degrees.
I figured it would be a quick experience and here’s how it broke down:
Propane Burner Boil Time
Seems reasonable enough. Then I took another two gallons of 81 degree (F) water and set up the cooled soup pot on my General Electric stovetop. Here’s the time breakdown for this portion:
Electric Stove Boil Time
If you’re thinking of making the plunge into a gas cooker, check out these two options and don’t forget a big enough pot, too.
Bryan Roth is a beer nerd and homebrewer living in Durham, North Carolina. You can read his thoughts on beer and the beer industry on his blog, This Is Why I’m Drunk, and send him suggestions on how to get his wife to drink craft beer via Twitter at @bryandroth.