[Homeroast] RK drum learning curve troubles

Brian Hoppler brianhoppler at hotmail.com
Wed Feb 4 10:32:21 CST 2015

I get a first crack on 2.5 pounds at 15 to 18 minutes usually.  The hood temp gauge rarely goes over 500 degrees F.
Second crack about 3 minutes later, & a bit of smoke.  Changed jets to natural gas, run all 5 burners on high for the duration, sometimes on small batches, (or fast beans [decaf]), turn off the middle burner at first crack.
What I the distance of the drum to your burners?
> Date: Tue, 3 Feb 2015 21:36:25 -0600
> From: john.nordling at gmail.com
> To: homeroast at lists.sweetmariascoffee.com
> Subject: [Homeroast] RK drum learning curve troubles
> I did my first couple roasts tonight on my new RK drum roaster build  - 2
> lbs each in a 4 lb drum.
> In the first, they came out black (blackest beans I've ever seen), hitting
> first crack at over 25 Minutes. I was going for second, but pulled them at
> 30. I think that was a good move - I must have been seconds from ignition.
> The grill temp was held around 525 the whole time (preheated, then brought
> back up as quickly as possible after loading, and monitored/tweaked
> throughout the entire roast).  I was roasting blind, because I didn't want
> to drop temp. (Also, I have always roasted by smell/sound on my Whirley.) I
> bought a thermometer from RK, and it seems accurate, though I haven't done
> a boiling water check.
> The second roast took close to 15-20 minutes to hit 1st crack, which never
> really took off. (I wrote down the exact time, but my log is in the
> garage). I dumped it on the cooling fan at 25 minutes. I started this one
> trying to maintain 550, but after 10-12 minutes, I bumped up to 575 because
> I figured I was under heating. I also suffered heat loss in this
> batch because I pulled bean samples at a couple points, trying to
> understand what was happening. Since it was about 20 out, that caused
> significant cooling. Finally, toward the end, my propane tank was getting
> too cold (I think-or its almost empty, though I haven't run for that long
> on it yet), so I was having trouble keeping my temp above 550 (when
> starting, I was hitting 600 at 1/4 gas.  This was at wide open). That may
> have also been a factor.
> Also weird-very little to no smoke during the roast (except at the very end
> of the first batch, but that was coffee oils considering ignition.)
> Any suggestions?  I suspect I'm not giving it enough btu's in the early
> part of the roast, but I wanted to bounce this off you all before I blow
> through another two lbs of my sacrificial beans. (I get three more tries
> before I have to either try on my good stuff, or buy more cheapos).
> Finally, my surplus store motor is geared down to between 4 and 5 rpm. I
> think that's ok for now, but some day I'll be ordering a faster one.
> Thanks for any advice you can give.
> John
> -- 
> ~~
> "Can't believe how strange it is to be anything at all."   Neutral Milk
> Hotel, *In the Aeroplane Over the Sea*
> Email:  john.nordling at gmail.com
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