- 1 What to Look for When Purchasing a Propane Burner For Brewing Beer
- 2 Bayou Classic SP10 High-Pressure Outdoor Gas Cooker
- 3 Bayou Classic KAB4 High Pressure Banjo Cooker
- 4 Camp Chef Maximum Output Single Cooker Stove
- 5 King Kooker CS14 Portable Propane Single-Burner Outdoor Camp Stove
- 6 Gas One Portable Propane High-Pressure Single-Burner Outdoor Camp Stove
Many people would say that homebrewing is a journey in that when you first start out you most likely begin pretty small. This probably looks like a small setup in your kitchen, maybe from a kit that you got as a gift, or one that you bought for yourself right after you decided that you wanted to craft your special beer and put your name on the label. Once you get bitten by the homebrewing bug you’ll inevitably want to upgrade your setup and, for most people, this starts with moving from the kitchen to the garage.
Brewing outside or in a garage provides more you space to not just move around more freely while you drink beer and relax as you brew, but also makes room for larger, more substantial equipment. And as we all know, if you are going to brew beer, you are going to need heat. That’s why when upgrading a home brewing setup, the first purchase people usually make is a propane burner for brewing. A good portable propane burner will get your wort boiling in around 15 minutes or less and last you several years, allowing you to make countless batches of homemade beer.
There are a lot of options to consider when looking for the best propane burner for brewing beer. A lot of them are multi-purpose and have simply been adopted by the homebrew community for their quality and durability, and others have been made specifically for brewing beer. In this guide to propane burners, we are going to cover what to look for, what to watch out for, and also review the top burners one by one giving you an overview of their individual strengths and weaknesses.
|Brand & Model||Weight||BTU||Our Rating||Price|
|Bayou Classic SP10||18 lbs.||185,000|
|Bayou Classic KAB4||31 lbs.||210,000|
|Gas One B01||15 lbs.||200,000|
|Camp Chef Max Output||14 lbs.||60,000|
|King Kooker CS14||15 lbs.||54,000|
What to Look for When Purchasing a Propane Burner For Brewing Beer
Number of BTUs Produced
When looking at propane burners for brewing, one of the main selling points will always be the number of BTUs it can produce. For those of you that are unfamiliar, BTUs are simply the units that measure the heat given off by the burner. To go back to high-school science class for a second, one BTU will raise the temperature of one pound of liquid by one degree Fahrenheit.
When looking at outdoor and portable propane burners, the range of BTUs is pretty broad. You will see burners sporting anywhere from 55,000 BTUs all the way up to 210,000 BTUs. For a little context, the stove in your household kitchen is going to produce about 7,000 BTU. However, in the case of propane burners, a bigger BTU is not always better and the larger BTU is not always the clear winner.
While a higher heat can be beneficial, especially when dealing with all grain wort where it’s pretty much required, just don’t be fooled into thinking it’s always necessary. Some of the lower BTU burners on are list have a lower output, but are far more efficient and distribute the heat much more evenly.
Single or Double Burner
Whether you need a single or double burner is going to come down to the size of the batches of wort you are making at one time. I suspect that most people reading this can get away with a single burner as this can easy handle the boiling for a 120-quart brew kettle, but some people just like the extra room. Double burners do tend to be more substantial and therefore sturdier, even if you are only using one the burners. The last thing you want is to have a huge boiling pot of wort on an unstable surface.
The double burner can also come in handy if your burner moonlights as an outdoor stove on camping trips or for other cooking jobs like large stews. All of the has burners on this list are extremely portable and can easily be packed up for a camping trip or outing. Just remember, if your propane burner has an extremely high BTU and heat output, it can easily destroy cookware designed for a conventional gas stove. Some of these burners are as much as 20x as hot as that!
Type of Metal Used
Generally speaking, all outdoor propane burners for brewing will be made from steel, stainless steel, or cast iron. Each of these metals holds and distributes heat differently, which will make a big difference if you were to cook on them, but not so much when you are boiling on them. The thing you do want to consider about these metals is how they hold up and oxidize over time.
Some prefer burners made from cast iron molds because they tend to be thicker and studier, which many people will equate with overall quality. However, cast iron burners weigh more and if stored outdoors can rust over time. On the plus side, cast iron will never bend or become misshapen which can happen with lighter metals like steel if handled or stored improperly.
If you want something lighter and easier to travel with, then go with steel or stainless steel. These also don’t rust as easily if your burner is going to spend a lot of time outdoors. In the end, they are just as sturdy; they just don’t carry the same heft as cast iron.
Every propane burner is going to sit at a different height off of the ground depending on how it was designed and its intended purpose. If the burner was designed by the manufacturer as an outdoor stove it will likely have longer legs and the flame will be closer to waist height. While this is great for cooking because you don’t have to bend over to tend to the pots and pans, it’s not ideal for brewing beer.
When dealing with large pots of boiling wort, you will want a burner that sits lower to the ground as the shorter legs are going to create a sturdier base that’s less likely tip over. Watch out for any burner that’s categorized as a camping stove as these will generally be taller and not built for handling large pots. Some burners do have adjustable legs that can be useful if you want your burner to be good for both brewing wort low to the ground and cooking at a campsite or outing.
You will definitely want to make sure that the outdoor propane burner you buy has some kind of windscreen incorporated into the design. This usually means that the actual source of the flame site below a metal lip that prevents wind from easily blowing out the flame.
While it may not seem like a big deal, especially if you don’t plan on brewing in windy conditions, if you are brewing outdoors at all even a slight breeze can become a real nuisance. Brewing outside can offer a lot of benefits over brewing in your kitchen and you don’t want to have to wait until the perfect weather conditions are present to be able to do it. The windscreen doesn’t have to be large and even a few inches should be sufficient, but without it you’ll be forced to re-light again and again which will get in the way of a smooth boil and become quite annoying.
Now that you know what features and components you want, lets take a closer look at some of our favorite propane burners for brewing beer. All of the burners we reviewed here meet our high standards in terms of construction, durability and features. While they each have their own set or pros and cons, we are confident that you will be happy with your purchase of any one of them.
The Bayou Classic brand is famous for their high-quality cooking equipment like grills, fryers and propane burners and even though their products are primarily made for cooking, many of them have been adopted by the Homebrewing community because of their quality craftsmanship and construction.
The SP10 is pretty barebones in terms of features, but its low weight and profile, coupled with its ability to get the job done, make it a best seller. With its one-piece, 13” steel welded frame, it’s one of the strongest cookers commercially made. The 14” cooking surface is wide enough to hold up to a 100-quart stock pot safely and the BTU comes in at 185,000. It comes with a 20-pound regulator and a braided SS hose to be used with a 20 lb. propane cylinder. The windscreen is high enough for complete protection of the flame and the 48-inch braided hose with brass valve allows for total temperature control.
Everything comes ready to go and the only assembly required is to attach the hose to the burner by sliding the cone shaped spring through the end of the hose and the air control shutter and then screwing it into the burner. You should note that there is a black coat of paint on the burner that protects it during shipping but it will burn off during first use, so you may want to run a preliminary boil outdoors with nothing but water to get it out of the way.
- Lightweight steel construction
- Full 360-windscreen protection
- Low center of gravity for large stockpots
- 10psi high-pressure regulator and brass control valve
- Burner is slightly noisy
- Lower settings are a bit tricky to achieve
- Coat of paint burns off during first use
Here we have another great propane burner from Bayou Classic that comes highly recommended from many people within the community. This very powerful, high-pressure outdoor stove features a 10” cast iron burner that puts out a minimum of 201,000 BTUs making it one of the hottest burners on our list.
The total spread on the burner is 17” and the profile of the stove is quite low to the ground so it can easily support a large 120-quart stockpot. Like the SP10 model, included with the KAB4 are a UL-listed 30 PSI regulator, 48-inch hose, and valve assembly for precise temperature control.
Assembly of the burner is incredibly easy and everything is ready to go right out of the box. Our unit showed up in excellent condition and we had it set up and turned on within a matter of minutes. The cast iron and steel construction of this stove make it particularly durable and we expect it to last for many years before we run into any trouble with it. One of the only complaints is that it burns propane pretty quickly and other burners on the list do a better job of conserving fuel.
- Very high heat
- Solid construction
- Effective windscreen
- Easy to setup and get going
- Can be tough to regulate temperate once it gets boiling
- Uses more propane than other burners we reviewed
- Does not work well with small pots due to burner size
- Would need to be modified for use with keggle
We, along with man others, have always been fans of the Camp Chef brand and their rugged line of outdoor cooking products which they have been manufacturing for over 20 years. The Camp Chef Maximum Single Cooker Stove is a solid contender for best propane burner for brewing and packs quite a punch with its 60,000 BTU output while including some extra features making it slightly more versatile than other burners on the list.
The burner plate sits 24” off of the ground making it the perfect height for tending to the boiling wort but not being so high that it becomes unstable. The legs are also adjustable so if you need to, you can bring it lower to the ground as well. One feature unique to this is unit is that each leg is individually adjustable making it easier to get a level cooking surface on uneven outdoor ground or driveway.
Customer report having used this burner consistently for 10 plus years and it’s still going strong. It’s lightweight, easy to use, clean and transport making it a well-rounded burner that will last.
- Adjustable legs for uneven surfaces
- Higher burner height
- Long-lasting durability
- Burner is a little loud
- Paint burns and flakes off during first use
The King Kooker burner is by far the tallest burner on the list and a good option if you are going to be using the outdoor stove for things other than just brewing beer. In fact, it seems that more so than all the other models reviewed, this one is mainly used for cooking but is a solid option for brewing nonetheless.
It is constructed out of durable iron and does not feel flimsy or cheaply produced at all. The 14” by 14” cooking surface is capable of a 54,000 BTU output and features a listed LP hose and regulator with type-1 connection and removable windshield. The burner is very easy to assemble and get going right out of the box. We had ours set up and connected to a propane tank in less than 10 minutes. If you’re looking for a truly versatile outdoor burner than it capable of taking on home brewing along with other cooking tasks than this is your best bet.
- Tallest burner reviewed making it easy to utilize
- Great for homebrewing and cooking
- Solid iron construction
- Removable windshield
- No electric starter
No friction in the regulator knob making it harder to control
The Gas One portable stove is a newcomer to the market but is hands down one of the best propane burners for brewing we have ever used. It checks all of the boxes and sits comfortably in that sweet spot of great price, durability, ease of use and extra features that secures its spot as a favorite.
With 200,000 BTU it has an incredibly high heat output but contained in a small frame with a very fine-tuned adjustable heat control knob. The stand out feature of this burner is the removable legs which are great for portability, easy storage, and when you’re cooking on uneven ground. We found that the burner is very stable at any height and many different types of surfaces.
Even though there aren’t a ton of reviews for this product yet, our tests would have us believe that more and more home brewers will be turning to this Gas One model for their next addition to their homebrew setup.
- Adjustable/removable legs for added convenience
- Very high power output
- Sturdy at all heights
- Paint burns off during first usage
As you can see, it’s hard to nail down the very best propane burner for brewing because each one comes with it’s own set of strengths and weaknesses and everyone has their own unique set of needs. However, whether you are just starting to upgrade your homebrewing setup or looking to add additional pieces to your current equipment, any of the propane burners on this list will do a great job. We have personally tested every single one of these at one point or another and would be happy to have any one of them in our arsenal.