JFTaylor Senior Member Joined: 12 Jul 2013 Posts: 3 Location: Virginia Beach, VA, USA Expertise: Just starting
Espresso: na Grinder: Encore Roaster: Outdoor grill & homemade...
Posted Sat Sep 14, 2013, 9:22am Subject: Newbie Questions
Been roasting for 2 months using a 4 burner BBQ Grill with a 14" long X 6" diam. homemade drum. The drum easily handles a pound of beans. I set all up, then fire the grill with all 4 burners on max. When the grill top (oven thermometer) reaches 425-450, I turn down the 2 middle burners to keep the temp below 525. I adjust all burners to maintain grill temp @ 500-525. I like Full City to Vienna - This takes 17 min or so.
Question #1: Is my temp OK or do you recommend changing up or down?
Off-gassing - I've been observing the 24 hr rule. The latest from my source recommends 48 hrs. 4 some beans
Question #2: What are the ill effects of brewing B4 the recommended "Off-Gas" period
Question #3: Do different coffees require roasting modifications? (e.g. higher temp, less time)
Welcome to the forum. I have been roasting with a 5 lb drum on my BBQ for about 4 yrs now (100+ roasts) and will let those more expert than I jump in when they want. I roast 2 lbs lots at a time and usually do 5 to 10 roasts in 1 day when I roast. Different beans do roast at different times but I just pay attention to 1st and 2nd crack. The beans do have to be rested at least 24 hrs but I've found that much longer is better. The only ill effects of brewing B4 is lousy tasting coffee. Larry
Another thing I have learned is to keep a large glass of water near the grill when you are roasting. A bean fire can be pretty spectacular and dumping the water on it will quench the fire before melting your drum. The only fire I have had was my very first roast with only 1/4 lb of beans in the drum and I wasn't ready for it. Thankfully there no videos of it. :-)
Sadly, your temperature measurements aren't going to mean very much to anyone else, and vice versa as a result of the difficulty of obtaining consistent, real-world temperature measurement. That's true for all sorts of reasons for just about any roaster type -- even same maker / same model roasters with same model thermometers mounted in "identical locations;" but difficulty turns to impossibility with bbq drum type roasters. Don't hold out hope for specific advice based on your temp numbers -- at least not from someone who understands roasting basics.
It possible, try to keep track of roast milestones like onset of drying, end of drying, cinnamon, light American, onset of 1st crack, interval between onset of 1st crack and onset of 2d crack, time to desired roast level (e.g., Full City) and so on. If you can record your temperatures along with your times so much the better, but be aware that the information will mostly be of value to you and that the best you can hope for in terms of recommendations about profiling will be general advice.
For example: I'm not a bbq drum guy, but have done a fair bit of other sorts of drum roasting. As a generic, for a charge greater than 50% of the roaster's nominal capacity I suggest a relaxed drying period, going quickly from EOD to onset of 1st C, and an interval between onset of 1st and onset of 2d of at least 2min, but no more than 4-1/2. I also suggest keeping your total roast time for shb between 14min and 19min. But if failure or success takes you outside my (or anyone's) numbers, go with reality. Every time.
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