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Simmering with alcohol stove
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Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
Simmering with alcohol stove on 04/17/2008 08:07:56 MDT Print View

I have no experience using alcohol stoves, but am about to give it a try. For my birthday I'm getting a Caldera Ti-Tri for my MSR 0.85 liter pot. My question concerns simmering using the alcohol stove that comes with the Ti-Tri, since we (two of us) enjoy cooking and do not want to always eat freezer-bag style meals.

Can one block off some of the jets in the alcohol stove to get a lower heat but efficient burn? If so, how?

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Simmering with alcohol stove on 04/17/2008 08:51:59 MDT Print View

One approach is to cut a narrow band the circumference of the stove body, plus an inch, then slot the ends so they hook together into a ring. The band should be tight enough to stay above the vent holes, but loose enough to be Easily pushed down over them once the stove is hot and you’re ready to simmer. This works, but I find the stove still puts out too much heat.

Another approach is to use inverted muffin liners, with half of their bottoms removed. You get infinite adjustment by rotating the top tin. In the link below scroll down a bit to see an example.

Simmer Control

Edited by greg23 on 04/17/2008 08:54:41 MDT.

John G
(JohnG10) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic via Upstate NY
Simmering on 04/17/2008 09:30:17 MDT Print View

Some people also recommend using putting a lid from a tin can between the flame and pot bottom to act as "heat diffuser". Apparently this allows simmering without burning things to the bottom of the pan with an unaltered stove. The trade-off seems to be that you don't save any fuel with this technique.

From what I've heard, restricting the air holes may require fiddling to keep the stove burning soot-free / non-yellow, and it may be difficult keeping the alchohol hot enough to flow from the jet holes rather than the open well (&/or going out in cool weather).

Also, If you use the 2 muffin tin approach to restict the flame to a small triangle and try to bake muffin (et), I've heard it's best to rotate your pot 90 degree about way through the baking time so that the muffin gets done evenly on the bottom and doesn't have a burned part.

(T-BACK) - F
Caldera Cone simmering on 04/17/2008 09:44:13 MDT Print View

I have a Ti Tri for my SP 600 cup. This to me, is a great set up in that it allows me to cary just enough fuel to squeak by. If I run out, no big deal, I just set it up to burn wood. This is a very good low trace option for a cooking fire. As far as simmering, I've played around with it some and have found that It can be done but requires a bit of tweaking. The stove has only one central opening and you can choke that down using a piece of aluminum with a smaller diameter opening. Start small and then increase the opening size until the stove stops "burping". The stove is designed to burn hot inside the cone. You have to burn off the vapor at a rate fast enough to prevent it from escaping out the air intake holes on the sides (that's where the burping comes from). You could also try a tealight candle, placed on top of the stove, and see what that would do for you. I bring my water up to temp with the stove or esbit and then light the candle. It holds a perfect simmer with my cup and should do the same for your kettle.


Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Caldera Cone simmering on 04/17/2008 10:36:16 MDT Print View

I re-found the link to the muffin tin approach....

Simmer Ring Detail

Joshua Mitchell
(jdmitch) - F

Locale: Kansas
Re: Caldera Cone simmering on 04/17/2008 15:18:31 MDT Print View

Someone around here has recommended using the Feather Fire or Feather Fire XL stoves in place of the 12-10 stove in order to do things like simmering. Only problem I see is that it's likely to be less efficient during 'normal' operation (aka just boiling). However, it's something I plan on trying with my Tri-Ti...

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Caldera Cone simmering on 04/17/2008 16:35:03 MDT Print View

Yes, the FeatferFire works great for simmering with a caldera. The simmers cable comes out far enough that it is easy to adjust. PLUS you can recover unused fuel with this sytsem

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Caldera Cone simmering on 04/17/2008 17:38:09 MDT Print View


Edited by retropump on 04/17/2008 22:41:18 MDT.

Dave Heiss

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Featherfire XL Stove on 04/17/2008 19:53:02 MDT Print View

I recently bought the Featherfire XL stove, and while its a nifty little design I have not been all that pleased with it. With the airflow holes at full-open the stove burns nice and hot, and with the airflow holes at full-closed you have a gentle flame perfect for a slow simmer. However, at any setting in-between I find the stove flares/burps regularly - sometimes even putting itself out. When asked, the manufacturer thought I might have the placed inner fuel cup too close to the airholes, but no setup I have tried seems to fix the problem. I even trimmed some height off the fuel cup to improve airflow, but the burping continued.

Nobody has mentioned this problem in regards to the original Featherfire stove, but the XL is new for 2008 and maybe its not perfected yet? Bummer, because I really like the idea of an adustable alky stove.

Has anyone else had this burping problem with the XL?

Edited by DaveHeiss on 04/17/2008 19:54:58 MDT.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Featherfire XL Stove on 04/17/2008 22:45:13 MDT Print View

I haven't used the XL, but the original doesn't have this problem for me. The biggest problem using a FeatherFire with a Caldera cone is that you can't see the flame you're trying to adjust unless you lift the entire cone off the stove. In most cases I just turn the stove down to a low simmer and it's fine without any other fiddling.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
Re: simmering with Caldera Cone on 05/17/2008 19:22:21 MDT Print View

Played a lot with my new Ti-Tri on my patio (warm, no wind) with an MSR 0.85 liter Ti pot and got the following approximate formulas:

(ml alcohol to get rolling boil) = 6 * (number of cups of water) + 2

(burn time in mins) = 0.5 * (ml of alcohol)

(time to boil in mins) = 3 * (number of cups of water) + 1

I've posted these before.

But now I made a simmer ring and measured simmer times.

Simmer ring for Caldera Cone Ti-Tri stove

The simmer ring is nothing more than a one inch strip cut out of a soda can, slit so it fits over the stove. It can cover all the air intake holes, or one hole can be left open. The left shows one on the stove, to the right is another ring partially coiled up. The ring weighs 1 gram.

If you add the ring after boiling the simmer times are:

(simmer time in mins after boiling) = 1.5 * (remaining alcohol in ml)

Thus with 20 ml and two cups of water it will use about 14 ml to boil, then have (20-14) * 1.5 = 9 mins simmer time.

If you put the simmer ring on immediately after lighting the stove it simmers quite a bit longer:

(simmer time in mins, no boiling) = 2.5 * (alcohol in ml)

I guess this is because the stove is relatively cool if you put the simmer ring on right after lighting, so it burns more slowly.

I also tried covering the top of the stove with foil with a hole cut in the center. Without a simmer ring, but with a 1/2 inch hole the stove ran too hot for simmering. With a 3/8 inch hole the stove ran erratically until it blew itself out.

I may try a combination of simmer ring and foil cover, but since it works fine (at least on my patio) with just the simmer ring, I may not. I also need to see how well the simmer ring performs in wind and cold.

Edited by ewolin on 05/17/2008 20:24:45 MDT.