Home » Equipment, The Doghouse » The Doghouse Brew Rig Build – Part Two “The Gas System”

The Doghouse Brew Rig Build – Part Two “The Gas System”

Ok, in part 2 of The Doghouse Brew Rig Build we are going to discuss the different components of the gas system and how it all goes together. The first thing you should know is ALWAYS BE SAFE! Putting the gas system together is not difficult but if you are not completely comfortable tinkering with gas lines you may want to get some assistance. This posts assumes that the main frame and the burner mount frame has already been assembled. If not, refer to back to part one of The Doghouse Brew Rig Build here.

The gas system is made up of components that will transfer the gas from the tank to the burner. Sounds simple right? Well, not exactly but, if you keep that thought in mind it helps you visualize how things need to go together.

 

Now that you have decided to tackle the gas system you need to decide whether you are going to use a combination of High pressure and Low pressure OR just use all Low pressure. This system utilizes furnace valves to regulate the burners and these furnace valves only operate under low pressure.  I used both high pressure and low pressure (high pressure for the boil pot and low pressure for the others) on my system. I wanted high pressure on the boil pot so I could get it to a boil faster. If you use an all low pressure system some of the components listed below are not needed. I could get into the differences between high and low pressure systems but I’ll save that for another post. You just need to decide which one you want to use.

Components

There are many variations in the components that you can use. For this post I’m only going to discuss what I used on the Doghouse which is a combination high and low pressure system.

Gas System:

Assembly

The first step is to assemble the gas manifold (I’m sure I probably don’t need to point this out but I’m going to anyway, USE RECTORSEAL OR TEFLON TAPE AT ALL OF YOUR CONNECTIONS). It is constructed out of ½” black pipe that you can pick up at any hardware store. Do not use the gray or galvanized pipe. Assemble the pieces so you have a fitting attached to one end to accept the gas line from the tank. Then connect the remaining pipes and fittings so you have 3 outlets to feed the burners. Attach a ½” gas ball valves to the black pipe at each outlet. Now you want to attach a low pressure regulator to the 2 outlets that will ultimately attach to the burners under the Hot Liquor Tun (HLT) and the Mash Liquor Tun (MLT). One my system they were the middle and far right burner. Now connect a flexible gas line to each low pressure regulator and one to the outlet that will go to the burner for the boil pot (far left on my system). Connecting all this up can be a bit confusing because of all the different fittings and thread sizes involved. Don’t let it bog you down. You will be using a ¼”, 3/8”, or ½” fitting. With either a flared end or NPT thread. The easiest thing to do is lay out each of your components and then draw a rough sketch that illustrates the sequence that they will be connected. Label each end of the component as to what size fitting is needed to make that connection.

Then you can take that sketch to Lowe’s or HD and get the folks there to assist you. I found that they were always more than willing to help and once you told them it was for a brew rig they made it their personal mission to make sure they got you what you needed. One thing to note: if you use appliance gas lines as I did (yellow lines on my rig) they will come with several fittings. They will also come with a safety valve which will keep the gas from backing up in the system. Seems like a good idea right? So, when you lay out the components you probably already have a few of the fittings that will work. One more thing on the appliance gas lines, the safety valves only work on the low pressure lines. They will not work for the boil kettle burner.

Now you need to change out the high pressure orifices to low pressure orifices on your HLT and MLT burners. Once you’ve completed that, connect the flexible gas line from your manifold directly to the burner orifices. Now you can connect your propane tank to the manifold using your high pressure regulator line. Notice we have not connected the furnace valves yet. The reason for this is because those valves will not operate properly without the controller telling it what to do. The controller is part of the main control panel which we will get into in a future post.

Check for Leaks

Now we need to check for leaks. With all the ball valves closed on the manifold, slowly open the propane tank valve. This will fill the manifold with high pressure gas. Listen and smell for any leaks. If you do smell or hear something try to isolate it by sound. If that does not work spray soapy water around the joints and look for bubbles. Once you’ve isolated the leak, take that joint apart, rewrap it and tighten it back up. Repeat that process until the situation is corrected. Once the manifold has been check, move on to each individual outlet. Open each ball valve one at a time and listen/smell for leaks. Correct as needed. This is a little more difficult on the boil pot burner because there is no valve on the high pressure orifice as there are on the low pressure orifice. You will need to use soapy water as soon as you open the ball valve. At this point you should not have any leaks all the way to the burners. Now you can test the burners themselves. Again, open each ball valve  one at a time and fire the burner. You should see a blue flame about 1.5” to 2” coming out of the low pressure burners and a 1” blue flame blasting out of the high pressure burner. You may need to adjust the air openings to get the proper flame.

Now attach the manifold to the main frame. I used single screw conduit hangers from Lowes.

Furnace Valve and Pilot Assembly

Once you are satisfied that everything is working properly to this point you can remove the burners from the gas lines and prepare to connect the furnace valves. My furnace valves are connected to the “burner frame” as opposed to the actual brew rig frame. You can do it either way just keep in mind you want to minimize the stress on the gas line connections into the valve itself. To me it made more sense to keep the relationship between the valve and burner constant in the event I needed to adjust the height of the burners.

The furnace valves I used were Honeywell. They are set up to be used on a natural gas system. No big deal, these are easily converted to LP gas using the included conversion kit. Make sure you follow the instruction that come with it but it is almost as simple as replacing a light bulb. Now your valve is set up but don’t attach it to your frame yet. You still need to attach the pilot light and thermocouples.

The pilot light and thermocouple need to be attached to the burner so it can fire properly. The pilot light I used comes mounted on an “L” shaped bracket. I straightened the bracket out and then mounted it on the bottom of the burner with the light itself located in between to openings on the burner. I used tiny self-tapping screws for the connection. I also coated the threads with Rectorseal.

If you have not already mounted the burners, go ahead and mount them to the burner frame. Then place the furnace valves in the general location of where they will be mounted on the frame. Cut a piece of ¼” flexible copper line about 18” long (this may vary on your rig) to connect the pilot light to the furnace valve. Make sure not to damage the end. De-bur and clean the ends and connect to the pilot light with the compression fitting included with the light. Now, very gently, bend/form the line around the burner and back to the furnace valve being careful not to crimp the line (pipe benders can be used for this step). Connect the line to the furnace valve using the compression fitting included with the valve. Next, uncoil the copper line attached to the thermocouple and attach to the furnace valve. This has very specific tightening instructions so make sure you follow them precisely or your valve won’t work. I found this out the hard way. Now you can mount the valve to the burner frame.

At this point you should have you manifold mounted to the main frame, and the burners and furnace valves mounted to the burner frame. Now just connect the remaining flexible gas lines and your there! Woohooo!

Unfortunately, you can’t fully test it until you get your controller assembled. In part three of this build post I will talk about how to assemble your controller. That’s it for now. Please let me know if you have any comments or questions. Good luck with your build and check back soon.

Also, it has come to my attention that the detail needed to fully explain how all this goes together is difficult to include in a blog post. I have been kicking around the idea of putting together a “How to” manual that will explain and describe things in full detail with plenty of images to help bring things into context. If this is something you would be interested in please let me know.

Cheers!

The Doghouse Brew Rig Build Part One

The Doghouse Brew Rig Build Part Three “The Control Panel”

The Doghouse Brew Rig Build Par Four “The Plumbing”

 

 

 

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30 Responses to The Doghouse Brew Rig Build – Part Two “The Gas System”

  1. […] system. The components of the box send signals back and forth to your furnace valves (described in Part Two), which in turn open and close to fire the burners. This keeps the strike water and mash at the […]

  2. […] The Doghouse Brew Rig Build Part Two “The Gas System” […]

  3. kudos on your system! i’m interested in building one like it. I would be interested in a how to manual

    • Hey Kelly- Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the kind words on my rig. What kind of manual are you interested in? How to put it together? OR how it works?
      Clay

  4. collecting the hardware and getting ready to weld one up. I would be very interested in a how to manual if possible.

    • Hey Steve- Thanks for commenting. I’d be happy to put a manual together. Are you looking for a manual to put it together a a manual for running the system once complete?

  5. Commonwealth Brewery

    Hey really like the build, trying to copy it. My Question is, the link to the low pressure regulators is broken, I found them, but they don’t have that extra round piece to the right. Was that part of the one you purchased? Do I need it? Will I burn my eyebrows off if I don’t have it?

    • The regulators I used are 2 stage regulators. A single stage should work just fine. It sounds like this is what you are using. The only reason I used a 2 stage is because it was available to me locally. Thanks for the heads up on the broken link. I’ll get that fixed. Good luck with your build. Send me some progress pics. Happy Brewing!

      Clay

      • Commonwealth Brewery

        Thanks for the quick reply. I’ll definitely send you pics when I get moving on this, plus maybe a 12 pack for your trouble

  6. Hello,
    Thank you for this great informational website! I am looking at the system and wondering if you could go into more depth as to what the low pressure orifice does and how it does it?
    Thanks much,
    Josh

  7. Hey nice setup. Just wondering if I could use a jet burner instead of the banjo? Do you know if I would still need the low pressure orifices for a jet burner? I got the 24 jet burners. I know the jet burners have a 1/2″ input, so might have to get a 1/4″ to 1/2″ fitting if I still need one.
    Thanks for the help

    • Jim- thanks for the compliment on my rig. It has worked very well for so far.

      The burners you have should work fine. If they are the jet burners I’m thinking of, then they are already low pressure burners. The orifices that came with the burners should work fine.

      Hope this helps. let me know if you need anything else.
      Cheers!
      Clay

      Let

  8. Awesome looking system. On this page one of the pictures shows the system with the 2 stage pressure regulators and one picture without them. Which is correct?

    • Thanks Rick. The correct set up is the one using the regulators. They don’t have to be dual stage but you definitely need them to convert back to low pressure for the furnace valves. Sorry for the confusion.

  9. […] to produce that wonderful libation we refer to as BEER. In earlier posts we discussed the frame, the gas system, the electrical system, and finally the plumbing. I have to admit that when I finally got all of […]

  10. Are the low pressure regulators actually needed if the input source is domestic natural gas? I have a Blickmann burner and used their orifice with needle valve conversion kit. It is hooked up to the household NG supply with a flexible hose and quick disconnect. Works fine, but no regulator is used.

    BTW, your link to the low pressure regulator is for a propane unit (which I assume is high pressure).

    • RS- I don’t know if the regulators are needed for NG. If your furnace valves are working the way you have it set up then regulators probably aren’t needed. Sorry I can’t be of more help :-/

  11. Nice build! I was wondering you said your rig is low and high pressure. So if you want to use the high pressure boil Burner do you just turn the gas valve off on the gas beam for mash and Hlt. thx

    • Raul,
      The answer to your question is yes and no. The gas manifold is always charged with high pressure. The pressure is then regulated down stream of the hlt and mlt valves using low pressure regulators. This does not affect the boil burner at all and you could run all the burners at the same time if you ever had the need. That said, I do cut the valves off to the low pressure burners when I’m not using them. Hope this helps.
      Cheers,
      Clay

  12. Hey great build! I was just wondering if you had a manual that you have put together for this thing? I am thinking about just purchasing a barebones brutus 10 type chassis and running with your configuration you’ve posted on here. Cheers!

  13. Hello,

    When you mounted your pilot assembly did you JB Weld it in place first? The screws I have are metric M8 self tapping screws and are a bit larger and want to walk as I attempt to screw them down. I even drilled a pilot hole to help. Just seeing what you did and used.

    Thanks!
    Matt

    • Matt,
      I did not JB weld the pilot assemblies. I used the smallest self tapping screws I could find and drilled a small pilot also. I also sealed it with Rector Seal. Not sure if that was necessary but it sure couldn’t hurt. Let me know if you need the screw size.
      Cheers,
      Clay

  14. BearcatBrewmeister

    I am doing a similar build – high pressure to BK, low to HLT – and similarly, I have 1/2″ black pipe for its high volume prior to splitting to each burner. I am curious as to your connections from the tank to your first black pipe. Is that 3/8 braided or 1/4″? Most of what I see is 1/4″ for high pressure but to me that would seem to defeat the purpose of using 1/2″ black pipe down stream from it.

  15. Great build! I just finished my build and am curious what size hose you are running to your burners. I can’t find an adapter to go from 1/2″ hose to the 3/8 flare that is on the burner orifices.

  16. Nice build looking to do the same. Could you give more info on the flexible gas lines. What are the silver ones running from the furnace valve to the burner and on the boil burner?

  17. Hey Clay, I’m a member of JRHB and in the process of building the rig. A couple of questions– thinking of starting this out as a manual(non automated system) to beging with and adding the automation later. How would you recommend pr do i need to alter the gas line connections? Also is there anything you would do different with the build?
    Thanks any feed back would be great!

    • Hey Steve- The gas line manifold would be the same. Since you are not automating the system you would not need the furnace valves and therefor, not need to reduce anything to low pressure. So, you can run high pressure lines straight to your burners. If you are using the same burners as I did then they are already set up for high pressure.

      If I were to do it again I would not use so much steel. It’s a bit over built. The pot holders are plenty strong enough to be part of the actual frame. There’s no need to have the additional 1 1/2″ tubing cross members between the pot holders. Just adds extra weight. I would also make the plates that hold the furnace valves and the pumps a little bigger so they could act as a shield as well as a mount. Other than that I don’t think I’d change anything. Good luck with your build and let me know if you have any other questions.
      Clay

  18. Thanks a ton Clay!

  19. Hi,
    Thanks for a great info. I built a homebrew system very similar after reading through your build write-up. It works well, except for one problem, my low pressure burner only puts out a large orange flame. I use a 10psi regulator at the LP tank and installed a 11″WC regulator upstream of the Honeywell valve (same valve you used) then put the low pressure oriface to convert my burner to low pressure. I have tried a couple different burners and adjusted the air vents, but the flame is always large and orange. In order to get blue flame I put the high pressure oriface back into the burner, but it takes over an hour to get water from 115°F up to the strike temp of 165°F. Any ideas?
    Thanks,
    Chris

  20. […] The doghouse brew rig build – part two “the gas system […]

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