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Thread: Burner Advice

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Somerville, Massachusetts

    Burner Advice

    Hey guys,

    Been in the industry for a few years and it's strangely my first time posting here so please bear with me!

    Anyways, after working for the last two years to put together my nano while working at a brewpub I'm less than a month from moving all of my equipment into the industrial space I've leased. The pilot sized system I purchased is 1.5bbl, had never been used, and needed a burner. As such I went out and purchased a 160,000 BTU 32-tip jet burner online and began talks with the local plumber about getting it fitted to the gas source in the space. He very quickly raised concerns about the town gas-inspector and his habit of demanding American Gas Association testing and approval on all parts used. As such I contacted the online seller who then contacted the distributor who then contacted the manufacturer (in CHINA!) who then informed me that although the burner is certified for use and used in thousands of restaurants throughout the nation they do not have an AGA approval certification they can give me.

    I then found other burners online and contacted their manufacturers. Same story.

    Finally I contacted Burners Inc. and explained my problem to an engineer there. He informed me that my town inspector had set an impossible standard to meet as generally only a complete burner "system" complete with shutoffs, piping, solenoids, and controls is approved by the AGA or similar safety certification group. He then pointed out that no such system would exist for my kettle, or perhaps any kettles, as almost all brewery equipment is custom manufactured.

    Please, correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that there are hundreds if not a thousand or so direct fired breweries in the U.S. using custom or new burners. The brewpub I currently work at replaced JUST our burner a few years back without a word from any inspector. How can this be? Is my gas-inspector holding me to an impossible standard here? Is there any way to convince this man that these burners are in use in hundreds of brewpubs, micros, and nanos throughout the country?

    More importantly, have any of you ever encountered this sort of problem with your local inspectors? If so, how did you deal with it?

    I'd really appreciate any advice you have. I'm knee deep in labels, cooling systems, and TTB paperwork and all of a sudden the town blindsides me with this...



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Las Vegas
    Be as nice as possible and be patient. Local inspectors vary greatly even in the same city. A local brewery here was forces to remove all of the copper cladding from their brewhouse when an anal inspector worried that wort might somehow jump out of the kettle touch the copper and find its way back into the production stream. If the guy is inflexible find out when he goes on vacation!
    Big Willey
    "You are what you is." FZ

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Quote Originally Posted by BenHowe
    He informed me that my town inspector had set an impossible standard to meet as generally only a complete burner "system" complete with shutoffs, piping, solenoids, and controls
    I'm using those burners.

    Shutoffs (I'm assuming this means valves) and piping are standard, and I'm using electronic Honeywell valves, controlled by the BCS-462, with a CO detector mounted to the side of the control box that will shut the whole system down if a CO threshhold is met.

    I haven't been through an inspection, but I spoke to a bunch of people who knew what they were talking about. (it seemed to me anyway... hyuck hyuck). I've been into some Chinese restaurants and invited myself into their kitchens to check out their burner systems, and I think what I have beats the hell out of some of those fireballs waiting to happen.

    I'll report back in ten years when I have everything just the way I want it and apply for something that requires an inspection.
    John Little | Auburn, Alabama
    General Counsel, Southern Farmhouse

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Odessa, FL USA
    I had the same issues a few years back on my old converted dairy tank kettle. I "hired" an engineer friend of mine to write up an Engineer's report of functionality on the finished kettle. BTU's, vent size requirements, safety, air flow and consumption...all that stuff. The county inspectors accepted it in place of a manufacturer's report. They actually said this was preferable. Some of these building inspectors act like scared dogs backed into a corner when dealing with something they no nothing brewing equipment. They'll snap at everything that comes their way. By all means, stay above board or else they will come back to bite you later.
    Last edited by Capt. Bob; 08-13-2011 at 06:30 AM.
    Saint Somewhere Brewing
    Tarpon Springs FL

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