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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: yugamrap on January 22, 2014, 09:05:43 PM

Title: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: yugamrap on January 22, 2014, 09:05:43 PM
This polar vortex thing is driving me nuts.  It's probably not going to make it over 20 F here for a couple weeks.  That's messing with my brewing schedule, and I'm going to be behind on my Maibock. >:(  The temperature I can deal with - it's the lousy wind chill that's keeping me from brewing outdoors.  It's time for some more small batch BIAB experiments on the stove, I guess.

GO AWAY POLAR VORTEX - I GOTTA GET MY BREW ON!!!! 
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: weithman5 on January 22, 2014, 11:20:12 PM
i have a small batch electric kettle. can plug it anywhere. only 4gallons. works great.
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: Upstate Dan on January 23, 2014, 03:23:50 AM
When I read that we're in for potentially weeks of bitter cold weather in NY all I could think was..."man I can brew a lot of lagers now."
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: fistfullofhops on January 23, 2014, 03:50:35 AM
I was going to wait until it warmed up because even though I brew in a garage, it still gets DAMN cold in there because it's not attached, however; the cold weather is here to stay so I'm going to deal with it. Wind isn't a problem for me but mashing in can still be tricky when it's really cold.

Tuesday's session was the first time I didn't use a backup thermometer. Things were going weird at mash in, and when I finally decided to check with a second thermometer I discovered I had mashed in at >160*F. I aborted and tossed the grain. It was only a 60 shilling so the grain bill was pretty light.

Also had a propane regulator failure and busted a lab thermometer. Things weren't going my way.

But, with a bit of luck I shall redeem myself in a couple days when I squeeze 14g of 60 Shilling out of a Sanke kettle.
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: jeffy on January 23, 2014, 12:20:15 PM
I was going to wait until it warmed up because even though I brew in a garage, it still gets DAMN cold in there because it's not attached, however; the cold weather is here to stay so I'm going to deal with it. Wind isn't a problem for me but mashing in can still be tricky when it's really cold.

Tuesday's session was the first time I didn't use a backup thermometer. Things were going weird at mash in, and when I finally decided to check with a second thermometer I discovered I had mashed in at >160*F. I aborted and tossed the grain. It was only a 60 shilling so the grain bill was pretty light.

Also had a propane regulator failure and busted a lab thermometer. Things weren't going my way.

But, with a bit of luck I shall redeem myself in a couple days when I squeeze 14g of 60 Shilling out of a Sanke kettle.

Sounds like a bad brew day, except for the mash temp.  I think that would be perfectly fine for a 60/-.  It would accentuate the maltiness in a very light beer.
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: AmandaK on January 23, 2014, 01:17:10 PM
Thanks for the reminder!

It's supposed to be 45 on Saturday and 56 on Sunday. Then bitterly cold for the foreseeable future. I'm going to brew twice this weekend.  8)
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: gandelf on January 24, 2014, 06:30:44 PM
When I read that we're in for potentially weeks of bitter cold weather in NY all I could think was..."man I can brew a lot of lagers now."

+10 I live in NE Wisconsin; polar vortex bring it on! I have 5 years of firewood and 2 years of propane. The
vortex is saving me money on heating fuel and homebrewing. I'm currently on my second pint and saving money
as I rattle the keyboard. On a side note, the Mrs and I toast the house up on some Saturdays and walk around
in our underwear in the winter. It's just one reason we love living in the woods. Life is grand!
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: duboman on January 24, 2014, 07:14:44 PM
I'm about done with this vortex nonsense! The temp is currently 12 but the wind is howling at 30mph so it feels like -15 another 5" of snow coming through the weekend and next Tuesday is supposed to be -12 as a high.....

My garage is currently a temperate +8F, hoping to get a batch in tomorrow:)
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: HoosierBrew on January 24, 2014, 07:37:03 PM
I'm about done with this vortex nonsense! The temp is currently 12 but the wind is howling at 30mph so it feels like -15 another 5" of snow coming through the weekend and next Tuesday is supposed to be -12 as a high.....

My garage is currently a temperate +8F, hoping to get a batch in tomorrow:)

Pretty much a carbon copy here. And colder this coming week. Crazy s#&*.
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: Joe Sr. on January 24, 2014, 07:42:30 PM
Bah.  It ain't so bad.

I just order my milled grains and they're ready for pick up on my way home.

10 gallons shall be brewed on Sunday in my kitchen.  Hopefully the steam doesn't freeze up on the inside of the windows.
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: duboman on January 24, 2014, 09:07:12 PM
 On a side note, the Mrs and I toast the house up on some Saturdays and walk around
in our underwear in the winter. It's just one reason we love living in the woods. Life is grand!

Way more info than necessary.....;)
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: HoosierBrew on January 24, 2014, 11:22:26 PM
On a side note, the Mrs and I toast the house up on some Saturdays and walk around
in our underwear in the winter. It's just one reason we love living in the woods. Life is grand!

Way more info than necessary.....;)

Can't lie........that was a fair amount of info  :D.    But I support their right to walk around in their BVDs.
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: leejoreilly on January 25, 2014, 03:34:31 PM
We have a terrific new concept we're working on here in Michigan. It's called "Inside"...
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: hopfenundmalz on January 25, 2014, 03:42:57 PM
Brewing in the attached garage. Not too bad toady. It has warmed up to the low 20s. With the warming we also are have some pretty good snow showers.
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: duboman on January 25, 2014, 04:06:54 PM

Brewing in the attached garage. Not too bad toady. It has warmed up to the low 20s. With the warming we also are have some pretty good snow showers.
Same.. I'll be getting a batch underway in the garage this afternoon, the wind is howling and another 2-4" expected starting late tonight.
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: reverseapachemaster on January 25, 2014, 04:09:59 PM
It was 30 yesterday but 70 tomorrow. It will probably 30 again on Tuesday. Texas weather is crazy.
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: fmader on January 25, 2014, 07:00:59 PM
It was 30 yesterday but 70 tomorrow. It will probably 30 again on Tuesday. Texas weather is crazy.

70 to 30? I'd rather have that 40 degree swing than the one we'll have here in Ohio. 20 today and tomorrow and -18 Monday and Tuesday. Needless to say, brewing was on hold this weekend.
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: thirsty on January 25, 2014, 09:23:01 PM
When I read that we're in for potentially weeks of bitter cold weather in NY all I could think was..."man I can brew a lot of lagers now."

+10 I live in NE Wisconsin; polar vortex bring it on! I have 5 years of firewood and 2 years of propane. The
vortex is saving me money on heating fuel and homebrewing. I'm currently on my second pint and saving money
as I rattle the keyboard. On a side note, the Mrs and I toast the house up on some Saturdays and walk around
in our underwear in the winter. It's just one reason we love living in the woods. Life is grand!

How much firewood and propane is that, exactly?
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: snowtiger87 on January 25, 2014, 09:59:18 PM
61 in Denver today but I don't care since I brew indoors on my e-brewery.  :)
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: duboman on January 25, 2014, 10:35:52 PM
Everything went great this afternoon, especially chilling down 6 gallons to 48 in 10 minutes! The down side is the skating rink my driveway turned into......spread a lot of salt:)
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: Mark G on January 25, 2014, 10:58:02 PM
It's supposed to hit 24 tomorrow, so I'm taking advantage of the heat wave to brew a CAP before we drop back into negative readings.
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: HoosierBrew on January 25, 2014, 11:10:23 PM
Yeah, assuming there's anything positive about this relentless winter - I brewed 2 weeks ago today and chilled my wort to ~ 65F in 11 minutes.
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: hopfenundmalz on January 25, 2014, 11:30:27 PM
Brewing in the attached garage. Not too bad toady. It has warmed up to the low 20s. With the warming we also are have some pretty good snow showers.

For the decoction step, Mrs. R said "We can go to the kitchen and boil on the gas stove top, right?" and I said YES!
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: philm63 on January 26, 2014, 03:05:02 PM
Left my dang hose outside too long - froze solid! I guess if I buy a new hose, I can brew this weekend... Still below freezing here north of Atlanta!
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: el_capitan on January 26, 2014, 03:40:48 PM
It was 30 yesterday but 70 tomorrow. It will probably 30 again on Tuesday. Texas weather is crazy.

70 to 30? I'd rather have that 40 degree swing than the one we'll have here in Ohio. 20 today and tomorrow and -18 Monday and Tuesday. Needless to say, brewing was on hold this weekend.

We had a 50 degree swing here the other day.  It went from -20 to +30 overnight.  What a huge difference.  This winter seems to be making up for the last 10 years of wimpy winters.  We're having a hardcore, old-school Minnesota winter up here.  I think my Norwegian heritage is coming through for me - I'm growing a huge thick beard.  My genes are responding favorably to the frigid temps! 

It's supposed to be -19 tomorrow morning with 16 mph winds.  There's a good chance school will be called off and I'll be brewing some IPA.  Not so bad in the attached garage.  The main inconvenience is lugging the kettle inside and down to the utility room to chill.  Brew on!
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: gandelf on January 26, 2014, 03:56:44 PM
When I read that we're in for potentially weeks of bitter cold weather in NY all I could think was..."man I can brew a lot of lagers now."

+10 I live in NE Wisconsin; polar vortex bring it on! I have 5 years of firewood and 2 years of propane. The
vortex is saving me money on heating fuel and homebrewing. I'm currently on my second pint and saving money
as I rattle the keyboard. On a side note, the Mrs and I toast the house up on some Saturdays and walk around
in our underwear in the winter. It's just one reason we love living in the woods. Life is grand!

How much firewood and propane is that, exactly?

11 full cords or 33 face cords; I buy a full semi load of hardwood every 4 years. That was $925 last summer. 500 gallons of propane which is purchased in the summer very 2 years. The price of propane is a little cheaper during the summer months in Wisconsin, but the "summer rate" has been discontinued many years ago. I had the 1500 sqft house built in 1991, with double the code requirements for insulation.

Edit: Having dry SEASONED wood (2 years), increases the BTU output ~40 percent.
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: duboman on January 26, 2014, 05:47:05 PM
Left my dang hose outside too long - froze solid! I guess if I buy a new hose, I can brew this weekend... Still below freezing here north of Atlanta!

Just bring it inside and let it thaw in the bath tub or run some hot water through it and all is good, that's what us 'northern folks' do..........;)
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: el_capitan on January 27, 2014, 03:33:06 AM
Sure enough, school's off for tomorrow.  I'm throwing down Dean Larsen's Celebration Ale recipe.  I brewed this recipe a couple years ago and thought it came out well, if a little lacking in the hops department.  That was before I got a handle on water chemistry, so I'm hoping this batch turns out a little better. 

The windchills tomorrow morning should be in the -45 range.  Don't worry though - I'll be in the garage, where the air temp should only be around -19. 

Seriously, we must really be earning an awesome spring/summer.  I can't wait. 
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: Jeff M on January 27, 2014, 03:35:50 AM

Seriously, we must really be earning an awesome spring/summer.  I can't wait.

or maybe mother earth is starting to fight back.....  ::)
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: yugamrap on January 27, 2014, 06:39:44 PM
We have a terrific new concept we're working on here in Michigan. It's called "Inside"...
Unfortunately, full-scale brewing indoors just isn't an option for me.  It should be around 20-25 F here this Saturday, so I'm going to sack-up and jury-rig some tarps to block the wind and brew outside.  The part of my patio where I brew has a roof and I have an infrared heater to take the chill off.  It's really the wind that's the problem - it messes with my burners and really impacts my boil-off rate.  That just means more monitoring during the boil with my refractometer so I hit my target OG.
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: Slowbrew on January 27, 2014, 07:27:19 PM

Seriously, we must really be earning an awesome spring/summer.  I can't wait.

or maybe mother earth is starting to fight back.....  ::)

If it follows the most recent pattern we will

1) Continue to freeze until EOM March
2) Rain like cats and dogs every 27 hours until EOM April
3) Wash away any loose soil in my yard and off the farms all Spring
4) Go directly into another drought with 95+ deg temps every day until September
5) No rain from June 1st until Mid-September
6) Be back in the deep freeze by mid-October.

More and more I ask myself why I stay in Iowa.   ::)

Paul
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: HoosierBrew on January 27, 2014, 07:30:32 PM

Seriously, we must really be earning an awesome spring/summer.  I can't wait.

or maybe mother earth is starting to fight back.....  ::)

If it follows the most recent pattern we will

1) Continue to freeze until EOM March
2) Rain like cats and dogs every 27 hours until EOM April
3) Wash away any loose soil in my yard and off the farms all Spring
4) Go directly into another drought with 95+ deg temps every day until September
5) No rain from June 1st until Mid-September
6) Be back in the deep freeze by mid-October.

More and more I ask myself why I stay in Iowa.   ::)

Paul

That's the exact pattern here recently. It's crap.
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: el_capitan on January 28, 2014, 02:26:01 AM
It was pretty cold out there this morning, fellas.  I should have brought my propane tank in to warm up last night - it froze up within the first 5 min.  So I brought it in for an hour or so and gave it another shot.  Everything was fine from that point onward. 

I spent the majority of the brew session indoors, doing other brewing chores and organizing in the basement.  Celebrationish Ale is bubbling away!
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: duboman on January 28, 2014, 03:16:56 PM
Just having to vent this morning as my kids are off school again today because according to the powers that be it is just too cold! My kids have not had a full week of school since winter break ended either due to cold or snow or some national holiday. Mind you I have one in HS, one in Jr. high and one in 5th grade, they all take buses or carpools to school and since we are in the modern age here, all schools are climate controlled environments!!!

Everyone I know goes to work each day, some wait outside for public transportation even, I know contractors that get bundled up to work outside, I see pothole patchers daily braving the elements and I still take my dog for a walk. Since when did we all become a society of wimps?

I do understand that not all people live in the 'burbs and may walk to school or whatever but this is Chicago, we do have winter and it is usually cold, we all have winter jackets, gloves, hats, scarves and boots so bundle up people and get real, this is just ridiculous already!

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.................
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: beersk on January 28, 2014, 03:33:38 PM

Seriously, we must really be earning an awesome spring/summer.  I can't wait.

or maybe mother earth is starting to fight back.....  ::)

If it follows the most recent pattern we will

1) Continue to freeze until EOM March
2) Rain like cats and dogs every 27 hours until EOM April
3) Wash away any loose soil in my yard and off the farms all Spring
4) Go directly into another drought with 95+ deg temps every day until September
5) No rain from June 1st until Mid-September
6) Be back in the deep freeze by mid-October.

More and more I ask myself why I stay in Iowa.   ::)

Paul
Me and my girlfriend are starting to talk about moving to Fort Collins where it's not so freakin' cold as Iowa City, Iowa. I biked to work today and it was -8 with pretty much no wind. It was pretty cold, but not too bad. I don't like to go much colder though, especially if there's any more than a 5 or so mph wind. I'd like it to at least be seasonal temps in the 20s.
I brew inside on the stove, so no issues with cold or bad weather affecting my brewing.
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: Joe Sr. on January 28, 2014, 03:53:41 PM
Just having to vent this morning as my kids are off school again today because according to the powers that be it is just too cold! My kids have not had a full week of school since winter break ended either due to cold or snow or some national holiday. Mind you I have one in HS, one in Jr. high and one in 5th grade, they all take buses or carpools to school and since we are in the modern age here, all schools are climate controlled environments!!!

Everyone I know goes to work each day, some wait outside for public transportation even, I know contractors that get bundled up to work outside, I see pothole patchers daily braving the elements and I still take my dog for a walk. Since when did we all become a society of wimps?

I do understand that not all people live in the 'burbs and may walk to school or whatever but this is Chicago, we do have winter and it is usually cold, we all have winter jackets, gloves, hats, scarves and boots so bundle up people and get real, this is just ridiculous already!

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.................

Relax.  It's for the kids.

But seriously, I don't disagree with you in general.  However, in a large public school system like Chicago's I understand that not all families are as well equipped with cold weather gear.  This cold is extreme, if not so much in intensity as in duration.  It's wreaking havoc on infrastructure and I'd hate to see something happen to a kid because the parents were ill-equipped for the cold or just bad circumstances in frigid temps.

What bothered me more was last year they closed schools in anticipation of snow.  Because we all know that the forecast is exactly what will happen.

However, it's not just the cold.  We get the same thing in the summer when its hot.  I don't know when people lost the common sense to cool off when its hot and bundle up when its cold, but it sure seems like something changed in the last 30 years or so.  Probably the widespread distribution and reliance on A/C.
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: duboman on January 28, 2014, 04:26:06 PM
Joe,

I agree that in the city it can prove to be a bigger issue for your reasons stated but here in the burbs not so much.

My office is across from a large sledding hill and both yesterday and today there are families sledding. Also in the paper as well as in my neighborhood are kids bundled up playing hockey in their back yard rinks so why is it too cold to be in a heated classroom?

Just because there are issues to combat in the city doesn't mean the entire area need to cancel school across the board
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: Slowbrew on January 28, 2014, 04:29:58 PM
Just having to vent this morning as my kids are off school again today because according to the powers that be it is just too cold! My kids have not had a full week of school since winter break ended either due to cold or snow or some national holiday. Mind you I have one in HS, one in Jr. high and one in 5th grade, they all take buses or carpools to school and since we are in the modern age here, all schools are climate controlled environments!!!

Everyone I know goes to work each day, some wait outside for public transportation even, I know contractors that get bundled up to work outside, I see pothole patchers daily braving the elements and I still take my dog for a walk. Since when did we all become a society of wimps?

I do understand that not all people live in the 'burbs and may walk to school or whatever but this is Chicago, we do have winter and it is usually cold, we all have winter jackets, gloves, hats, scarves and boots so bundle up people and get real, this is just ridiculous already!

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.................

Relax.  It's for the kids.

But seriously, I don't disagree with you in general.  However, in a large public school system like Chicago's I understand that not all families are as well equipped with cold weather gear.  This cold is extreme, if not so much in intensity as in duration.  It's wreaking havoc on infrastructure and I'd hate to see something happen to a kid because the parents were ill-equipped for the cold or just bad circumstances in frigid temps.

What bothered me more was last year they closed schools in anticipation of snow.  Because we all know that the forecast is exactly what will happen.

However, it's not just the cold.  We get the same thing in the summer when its hot.  I don't know when people lost the common sense to cool off when its hot and bundle up when its cold, but it sure seems like something changed in the last 30 years or so.  Probably the widespread distribution and reliance on A/C.

I agree with you on this.  I grew up in rural NW Iowa ("rural is pretty much everywhere in NW Iowa).  Our winters were always this cold.  -5 was not abnormal.  Snow came in 6"-10" loads and and there was always wind.  We went to school everyday you could get a vehicle to the road.  We played outside at recess everyday and non of died because of the weather.

We wore long underwear, we had heavy coats and thick stocking caps.  When they started selling "ski gloves" it was a godsend over mittens and yellow cotton gloves.  We worked outside everyday doing chores and repairing machinery.  we learned to stay out of the wind if possible but just dealt with if it wasn't.  Kids are awfully tough if you let them be.

The main reason for the 2 hour delays and closures due to cold is the threat of lawsuits against a school when the parents don't dress their kids warm enough.

I'll leave it at that as I don't think we should turn down that path of discussion.

I'll be kegging a RIPA and a Scottish 70 in the next couple of weeks in the comfort of my basement.  I'll look at brewing dates as the college basketball regular season winds down.

Paul
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: Joe Sr. on January 28, 2014, 04:32:34 PM
Agreed. 

In general, I think society has become much more cautious about these things (extreme weather just being one example) as society has become much more litigious.

I have no idea if they're closing the private schools in the City.  I know the universities are not closing.

I also know that I moved my saison this morning to be right near the heating vent as the basement temps are a little chillier.
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: duboman on January 28, 2014, 07:56:22 PM
"I also know that I moved my saison this morning to be right near the heating vent as the basement temps are a little chillier."

Because after all, it really comes down to what's best for the beer;)
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: Joe Sr. on January 28, 2014, 08:37:15 PM
"I also know that I moved my saison this morning to be right near the heating vent as the basement temps are a little chillier."

Because after all, it really comes down to what's best for the beer;)

Darn right.  You can teach the kids to go get a blanket when they're chilly, but you can't teach the yeast to do that.
Title: Re: Stoopid Polar Vortex!
Post by: el_capitan on January 29, 2014, 01:07:40 AM
You just can't count on people having common sense anymore.  Yesterday our schools were canceled, because the windchills were around -40.  I ran to town for some stuff and saw two young teenage kids come walking into Walmart wearing basketball shorts, ankle socks, sneakers and sweatshirts.  They were with their mom.   ::)

So there you go.  FWIW, I'd much rather sweat it out for two more days in June than struggle through this weather and possibly endanger kids waiting for a bus.  Plus, the buses have a hard time staying running in weather this cold.  A bus full of kids, broken down on the roadside with -40 windchills?  Sounds like a bad idea.