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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: paloaf on September 16, 2015, 09:28:51 am

Title: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: paloaf on September 16, 2015, 09:28:51 am
I'm looking for a little advice or feedback on brewing in the garage in the winter. 

I live in Minnesota where the winters are long and cold.  My wife and I moved to a new house recently in which I have a nice three car attached garage that is insulated. It is not heated.  I have water and a sink plumbed to the garage with a floor drain for access.  I made the water shutoffs on the inside of the house so that I can drain them after use to avoid freezing.  My brewing system uses propane burners.

My main concern is with condensation buildup from the boil.  In my previous garage, I brewed all winter long and the windows would fog up even with the garage door open.  This new garage is a lot bigger, but I want to avoid any condensation/mold issues.  The new garage does not have any windows, so I would need to brew with the doors open to evacuate CO if it's there. I've toyed with the idea of installing some sort of an industrial vent hood over my brew rig and venting that to the outside, but I would like to avoid that investment if I can. 

Does anyone have any current process/setup that they use to avoid condensation build up in the winter?  I'd hate to have to quit brewing when it gets too cold to brew outside!
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on September 16, 2015, 09:31:44 am
I'm looking for a little advice or feedback on brewing in the garage in the winter. 

I live in Minnesota where the winters are long and cold.  My wife and I moved to a new house recently in which I have a nice three car attached garage that is insulated. It is not heated.  I have water and a sink plumbed to the garage with a floor drain for access.  I made the water shutoffs on the inside of the house so that I can drain them after use to avoid freezing.  My brewing system uses propane burners.

My main concern is with condensation buildup from the boil.  In my previous garage, I brewed all winter long and the windows would fog up even with the garage door open.  This new garage is a lot bigger, but I want to avoid any condensation/mold issues.  The new garage does not have any windows, so I would need to brew with the doors open to evacuate CO if it's there. I've toyed with the idea of installing some sort of an industrial vent hood over my brew rig and venting that to the outside, but I would like to avoid that investment if I can. 

Does anyone have any current process/setup that they use to avoid condensation build up in the winter?  I'd hate to have to quit brewing when it gets too cold to brew outside!

yes keep garage door open part way and run a fan - push co2 out and help with condensation.
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: pete b on September 16, 2015, 09:52:36 am
One simple way, if you batch sparge with a cooler mash tun, is to just heat strike/sparge water and do the boil outside, mash and clean inside. Otherwise open door and fan I guess.
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: rudy1964 on September 16, 2015, 10:23:30 am
I use a Greenhouse exhaust fan in my barn for winter brewing.  Michigan is similar


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Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: dilluh98 on September 16, 2015, 10:47:43 am
If you or your wife don't mind the smell that brewing makes, one option is to move to a smaller BIAB setup indoors on the range top for the worst parts of the winter. You can crank out 2-3 gallon batches with ease. Super easy brew days make for more frequent (and potentially experimental) brew days and more variety in what you have available to drink/share. Just a thought. I am fortunate in that my wife actually loves the smell of boiling wort.

We have the opposite problem in TX - I need to brew outdoors in the summer because it heats the house up too much to do it indoors. In the winters I'll often go back to 2 gallon BIAB batches on the stovetop just for variety's sake and to test out different ideas.
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: duncan on September 16, 2015, 10:52:12 am
I've seen people rig up exhaust hoods, like you might have over your stove top, to push steam outside.

I have the same issue in my house in the winter. I usually open the windows, set up some fans, and put on a jacket since my house is about to be freezing  8)
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: kramerog on September 16, 2015, 11:24:30 am
If fan doesn't work, Fan + curtain around brewing area and fan should work.  The curtain should be nylon and away from any fire.  Nomex panels can be added to the curtain for insurance.
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: jimmykx250 on September 16, 2015, 11:28:44 am
I put a small 14" fan above the kettle and a couple feet behind it pointing down and towards the garage door. Works good and no moisture buildup inside. My garage is heated though.
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: ynotbrusum on September 16, 2015, 11:47:42 am
I am lucky to have a service door and a window but the key is cross ventilation and exiting the condensation near the top, so the service door with a fan blowing out works for me.  You could just lift the main door a bit and push air out the service door, if I get your set up correctly.

If it's absolutely brutal, consider smaller batches indoors on the stove (at least for the mash, if not also the boil).

Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: dmtaylor on September 16, 2015, 11:55:32 am
consider smaller batches indoors on the stove (at least for the mash, if not also the boil).

This is all I ever do, winter spring summer fall!  I don't understand the obsession with large batches and big equipment.  Save time on brewing day, experiment a lot more, get more variety, yadda yadda.
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: HoosierBrew on September 16, 2015, 12:01:41 pm
consider smaller batches indoors on the stove (at least for the mash, if not also the boil).

This is all I ever do, winter spring summer fall!  I don't understand the obsession with large batches and big equipment.  Save time on brewing day, experiment a lot more, get more variety, yadda yadda.

I brew 90%+ in the garage, but my kettle is actually wide enough to straddle 2 burners on the gas stove. I wussed out and brewed a couple batches on the stove last winter - took a little longer to reach boil obviously but made 5.5 gallon batches just fine. Takes a wide kettle to hit 2 burners though.
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: dmtaylor on September 16, 2015, 12:08:02 pm
I have 3 small kettles.  Works fine on the stovetop with 3 kettles if I want to brew 5 gallons.  Or, just brew 1.7-2.5 gallons and you're fine in one kettle, if your stove can handle it which it most likely can (my glass-top can handle this no problem).
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: ynotbrusum on September 16, 2015, 12:11:35 pm
consider smaller batches indoors on the stove (at least for the mash, if not also the boil).

This is all I ever do, winter spring summer fall!  I don't understand the obsession with large batches and big equipment.  Save time on brewing day, experiment a lot more, get more variety, yadda yadda.

Those small batches wouldn't make it through Friday evening with the crew that drinks my beers.  So, I typically brew 10 gallon batches of the routine lagers and ales and save the smaller batches for atypicals - like 5 gallon sours.  But I may go even smaller on the sours to try more varieties this winter.  Scaling and associated math and fear of non-linear impacts have kept me from it so far.  But Dave's points make very good sense,especially at single digit temps or lower.....
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: duboman on September 16, 2015, 04:21:28 pm
I'm in Chicago and brew in the garage all year as well. I just set up a box fan and open the overhead door half way, the box fan creates enough circulation where condensation isn't an issue, its a standard 2 car garage.

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Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: leejoreilly on September 17, 2015, 06:24:54 am
consider smaller batches indoors on the stove (at least for the mash, if not also the boil).

This is all I ever do, winter spring summer fall!  I don't understand the obsession with large batches and big equipment.  Save time on brewing day, experiment a lot more, get more variety, yadda yadda.

I brew 90%+ in the garage, but my kettle is actually wide enough to straddle 2 burners on the gas stove. I wussed out and brewed a couple batches on the stove last winter - took a little longer to reach boil obviously but made 5.5 gallon batches just fine. Takes a wide kettle to hit 2 burners though.

Perhaps the greatest invention of the late Stone Age is the concept of "indoors". 
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: HoosierBrew on September 17, 2015, 06:35:46 am
consider smaller batches indoors on the stove (at least for the mash, if not also the boil).

This is all I ever do, winter spring summer fall!  I don't understand the obsession with large batches and big equipment.  Save time on brewing day, experiment a lot more, get more variety, yadda yadda.

I brew 90%+ in the garage, but my kettle is actually wide enough to straddle 2 burners on the gas stove. I wussed out and brewed a couple batches on the stove last winter - took a little longer to reach boil obviously but made 5.5 gallon batches just fine. Takes a wide kettle to hit 2 burners though.

Perhaps the greatest invention of the late Stone Age is the concept of "indoors". 

No doubt.  ;D
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: klickitat jim on September 17, 2015, 07:07:36 am
We don't have Minnesota winters but close sometimes. I have brew days where I have to unlock my water line from the frost free after filling the MT and HLT or it will be frozen solid by the time I need it for the chiller. I just wear longjohns, and my carhart insulated bibs, and keep the shop door open.
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: paloaf on September 17, 2015, 09:23:41 am
Perhaps the greatest invention of the late Stone Age is the concept of "indoors".
[/quote]

Brewing outdoors and in the cold is not an issue at all for me.  In fact, I'd rather brew outdoors as I do 5/10 gallon batches and all of my fermentation space is in the garage as well. 

The bigger issue for me is keeping my new garage from having possible mold/drywall issues from excessive condensation.  My ceilings are fairly high at about 11 or 12 feet, so condensation may not be as big an issue as I am considering?  I guess the only way to find out is to brew when it's cold!
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: metron-brewer on September 17, 2015, 10:49:57 am
Fellow Minnesotan here. Finally got fed up with cold weather brewing, frozen hoses and the like and moved into the basement and went electric. I use this fan mounted to the ceiling and venting out the basement window with no moisture problem at all. The thing moves a ton of air. Takes my brew house humidity from 70% to 60% no problem. They also have a 12" version that may exhaust your larger space better.
http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200007224_200007224 (http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200007224_200007224)

Cheers
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: beersk on September 17, 2015, 11:11:04 am
consider smaller batches indoors on the stove (at least for the mash, if not also the boil).

This is all I ever do, winter spring summer fall!  I don't understand the obsession with large batches and big equipment.  Save time on brewing day, experiment a lot more, get more variety, yadda yadda.
It makes sense for some people to brew large batches. If you don't drink much or have that many other people drinking your beer, then it makes more sense to brew smaller.

Brewing inside in the winter is a great idea. It adds humidity to the house and heat. I brew inside year round, probably shouldn't in the summer months though. Gets a bit humid in my place.
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: brewinhard on September 17, 2015, 11:48:25 am
100% year round garage brewer.  Love not really having to deal with weather issues (rain, snow, wind, etc) except for heat/humidity in the summer and frigid temps in winter (Western NY south of Buffalo, Lake Erie).  I have not had any issues with mold or moisture problems in my garage but I only brew 5 gallon batches at a time.  Just leave the garage door about 1/3 open to allow for some airflow and CO escape from propane burning.

Having floor drains also is a real plus!
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: dmtaylor on September 17, 2015, 02:11:28 pm
It makes sense for some people to brew large batches. If you don't drink much or have that many other people drinking your beer, then it makes more sense to brew smaller.

Brewing inside in the winter is a great idea. It adds humidity to the house and heat. I brew inside year round, probably shouldn't in the summer months though. Gets a bit humid in my place.

:)  Smells great in the house for a couple days, too!
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: erockrph on September 17, 2015, 05:41:58 pm
It makes sense for some people to brew large batches. If you don't drink much or have that many other people drinking your beer, then it makes more sense to brew smaller.

Brewing inside in the winter is a great idea. It adds humidity to the house and heat. I brew inside year round, probably shouldn't in the summer months though. Gets a bit humid in my place.

:)  Smells great in the house for a couple days, too!
I wish my wife thought the same way  ;D
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: duboman on September 17, 2015, 06:48:56 pm
It makes sense for some people to brew large batches. If you don't drink much or have that many other people drinking your beer, then it makes more sense to brew smaller.

Brewing inside in the winter is a great idea. It adds humidity to the house and heat. I brew inside year round, probably shouldn't in the summer months though. Gets a bit humid in my place.

:)  Smells great in the house for a couple days, too!
I wish my wife thought the same way  ;D
+1

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Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: ramitt on September 17, 2015, 10:47:42 pm
consider smaller batches indoors on the stove (at least for the mash, if not also the boil).

This is all I ever do, winter spring summer fall!  I don't understand the obsession with large batches and big equipment.  Save time on brewing day, experiment a lot more, get more variety, yadda yadda.

 It is cool that it works for you, I hate kitchen brewing, I like to keep the mess in another area and find making larger batches more efficent for my time.  You could consider that what works great for you may not for everyone.
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: dmtaylor on September 18, 2015, 06:26:29 am
consider smaller batches indoors on the stove (at least for the mash, if not also the boil).

This is all I ever do, winter spring summer fall!  I don't understand the obsession with large batches and big equipment.  Save time on brewing day, experiment a lot more, get more variety, yadda yadda.

 It is cool that it works for you, I hate kitchen brewing, I like to keep the mess in another area and find making larger batches more efficent for my time.  You could consider that what works great for you may not for everyone.

Diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks!  I get that.  Of course my process is the best.  For me.  Not for anyone else.  But it's certainly an option that some people just never seem to consider.  Everyone brews the same way as Denny Conn or John Palmer or Jamil Z or whoever else.  It seems to me so often that everyone is set to auto-pilot.  Does it work?  Sure it works!  But so does my way.  And nobody else seems to do it my way!  Well, a few.  But not many.  It's an option worthy of consideration.  That is all.
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: erockrph on September 18, 2015, 06:53:53 am
Diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks!  I get that.  Of course my process is the best.  For me.  Not for anyone else.  But it's certainly an option that some people just never seem to consider.  Everyone brews the same way as Denny Conn or John Palmer or Jamil Z or whoever else.  It seems to me so often that everyone is set to auto-pilot.  Does it work?  Sure it works!  But so does my way.  And nobody else seems to do it my way!  Well, a few.  But not many.  It's an option worthy of consideration.  That is all.
Big +1 on this. I've developed a system that works great for me, and allows me brew 3-galon all-grain batches in my kitchen. This enables me to brew the beer I want to brew, as often as I like to brew, and makes the amount of beer that I typically consume in a reasonable period of time. If I listened to common wisdom when I started brewing, I would have never gotten into all-grain brewing and might have quit the hobby once I started getting bored with partial-boil 5-gallon extract batches.
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: dilluh98 on September 18, 2015, 09:11:30 am
Diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks!  I get that.  Of course my process is the best.  For me.  Not for anyone else.  But it's certainly an option that some people just never seem to consider.  Everyone brews the same way as Denny Conn or John Palmer or Jamil Z or whoever else.  It seems to me so often that everyone is set to auto-pilot.  Does it work?  Sure it works!  But so does my way.  And nobody else seems to do it my way!  Well, a few.  But not many.  It's an option worthy of consideration.  That is all.
Big +1 on this. I've developed a system that works great for me, and allows me brew 3-galon all-grain batches in my kitchen. This enables me to brew the beer I want to brew, as often as I like to brew, and makes the amount of beer that I typically consume in a reasonable period of time. If I listened to common wisdom when I started brewing, I would have never gotten into all-grain brewing and might have quit the hobby once I started getting bored with partial-boil 5-gallon extract batches.

Completely agree on this as well. I started with 2-3 gallon BIAB batches in the kitchen, gained more knowledge on the hobby, got a setup for 5 gallon batches outdoors with a propane burner and now I do both depending on all sorts of variables: type of beer, experimentation, time constraints, weather constraints, etc. Hell, I'll do the occasional 1 gallon batch here or there to experiment because it's so damn easy to do on a weeknight while other chores are getting done in the process. 30 min mash, 30 min boil and no need to lug out an immersion cooler when I'm done. Having the flexibility of several setups keeps the hobby fresh for me and keeps me brewing often.
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: denny on September 18, 2015, 09:32:27 am
Diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks!  I get that.  Of course my process is the best.  For me.  Not for anyone else.  But it's certainly an option that some people just never seem to consider.  Everyone brews the same way as Denny Conn or John Palmer or Jamil Z or whoever else.  It seems to me so often that everyone is set to auto-pilot.  Does it work?  Sure it works!  But so does my way.  And nobody else seems to do it my way!  Well, a few.  But not many.  It's an option worthy of consideration.  That is all.

Could it be that people (like me) HAVE tried it your way and prefer the "other" way?  That's it not about popularity but practicality?
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: HoosierBrew on September 18, 2015, 09:56:11 am
I couldn't care less what size batches somebody else brews. When I started brewing, most of the recipes and kits were scaled for 5 gallons, but I never found it very hard to scale a recipe down. And I did for some big beers because I didn't necessarily always want 5 gallons of those, where 3 gallons seemed about right. But I do like having lots of 5 gallon kegs because that size batch on an average strength beer is just the right size batch for me and my friends and family to enjoy several of, then it's gone and remembered fondly. The idea of people brewing an amount just because other people do is silly. We all do it our way.
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: dmtaylor on September 18, 2015, 11:20:44 am
The idea of people brewing an amount just because other people do is silly. We all do it our way.

Do we?
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: HoosierBrew on September 18, 2015, 11:48:04 am
The idea of people brewing an amount just because other people do is silly. We all do it our way.

Do we?

I would hope. Maybe not, Dave. I think newer brewers brew in 'standard' volumes because there's so much info to absorb. Didn't take me many batches to decide how much of something I wanted, though.
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: Stevie on September 18, 2015, 12:23:41 pm
Smaller batches are just not worth it to me until I have a stable of 2.5 gallon kegs. I love the idea of smaller batches and have done some small batches that I bottled, but bottling sucks. Bottling small batches sucks even more.
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on September 18, 2015, 12:25:28 pm
El Niño winter has Ohio solidly above average temps through February, with much above average temps for December!!!!

whoohoo outdoor December brewing in shorts baby!
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: HoosierBrew on September 18, 2015, 12:26:40 pm
El Niño winter has Ohio solidly above average temps through February, with much above average temps for December!!!!

whoohoo outdoor December brewing in shorts baby!

I've been hearing the same. A mild winter sounds pretty damn nice !
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: theDarkSide on September 18, 2015, 12:37:07 pm
El Niño winter has Ohio solidly above average temps through February, with much above average temps for December!!!!

whoohoo outdoor December brewing in shorts baby!

Watch out for this.  We didn't have our first significant snowstorm in New England last year until late January (I think we were at 6 inches for the season).  Then it snowed every other day, including a blizzard which dropped about 30 inches on us.  We ended up with a season total above 100 inches (otherwise know as a mild winter in Buffalo :) )
Title: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on September 18, 2015, 12:40:48 pm
El Niño winter has Ohio solidly above average temps through February, with much above average temps for December!!!!

whoohoo outdoor December brewing in shorts baby!

Watch out for this.  We didn't have our first significant snowstorm in New England last year until late January (I think we were at 6 inches for the season).  Then it snowed every other day, including a blizzard which dropped about 30 inches on us.  We ended up with a season total above 100 inches (otherwise know as a mild winter in Buffalo :) )

not this year...looking real good thata-way

edit: caution dec-feb..you're on the cusp.
(http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/09/18/7cb7881106c0e14e6e37bc73f8c64f4c.jpg)


http://dsx.weather.com//util/image/w/wsi_outlook_dec-feb.jpg?v=ap&w=980&h=551&api=7db9fe61-7414-47b5-9871-e17d87b8b6a0
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: theDarkSide on September 18, 2015, 12:49:34 pm
I guess I wait and give my prediction in March  ;)

I brewed zero beer last winter after January...too busy digging out every other day.  I could definitely use a mild winter.
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: HoosierBrew on September 18, 2015, 12:57:47 pm
Indy is just into the 'above average' temp band. I sure hope we stay that way. It's been all about the 'polar vortex' for the last few winters.
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: Stevie on September 18, 2015, 01:07:10 pm
Looks like I need to get out of Dallas fast
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: riceral on September 18, 2015, 07:19:48 pm
Looks like another reason why I need to get out of Dallas fast

Fixed this for you, Steve.
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: pete b on September 23, 2015, 06:19:59 am
El Niño winter has Ohio solidly above average temps through February, with much above average temps for December!!!!

whoohoo outdoor December brewing in shorts baby!

Watch out for this.  We didn't have our first significant snowstorm in New England last year until late January (I think we were at 6 inches for the season).  Then it snowed every other day, including a blizzard which dropped about 30 inches on us.  We ended up with a season total above 100 inches (otherwise know as a mild winter in Buffalo :) )
It seems as though the past few years in New England our winters have shifted from early December through early March to Late December through early April.
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: ynotbrusum on September 23, 2015, 01:20:43 pm
Here in Illinois it shifted later, as well.  I was lagering in the garage until late April.

I can't help but think of Chris Farley when hearing the words "El Niño" - "which is Spanish for the Niño"!  ;D
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: leejoreilly on September 24, 2015, 07:03:35 am
The idea of people brewing an amount just because other people do is silly. We all do it our way.

Do we?

It might be more accurate to say that our equipment choices greatly influence our batch sizes. Once I've invested in tuns/kettles/coolers/kegs that support 5 gallon batches, it's a no-brainer to just brew a 5 gallon batch. Not to mention my recipes are dialed in at 5 gallons, too. I certainly could brew 2 gallons using the same equipment, but there's no big benefit to doing so (for me). I could save a little in ingredients, and maybe some time, but I'd end up with less beer for my efforts. And, being a retired man of leisure, a shorter brew day is not as great a value to me as it may be to some.
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: hopfenundmalz on September 24, 2015, 07:05:17 am
El Niño winter has Ohio solidly above average temps through February, with much above average temps for December!!!!

whoohoo outdoor December brewing in shorts baby!

Watch out for this.  We didn't have our first significant snowstorm in New England last year until late January (I think we were at 6 inches for the season).  Then it snowed every other day, including a blizzard which dropped about 30 inches on us.  We ended up with a season total above 100 inches (otherwise know as a mild winter in Buffalo :) )
It seems as though the past few years in New England our winters have shifted from early December through early March to Late December through early April.

The last two here have shifted to Thanksgiving to Easter.
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: klickitat jim on September 24, 2015, 07:43:19 am
Smaller batches are just not worth it to me until I have a stable of 2.5 gallon kegs. I love the idea of smaller batches and have done some small batches that I bottled, but bottling sucks. Bottling small batches sucks even more.
I used to bottle, then switched to kegs and thought Wow, much easier. Then I went back to bottling after I got into brewing sours. Then I realized, for me, its much easier to control carbonation with bottling. Then I contemplated selling my kegs and kegerator. Then the wife told me she missed having beer on tap. So yesterday we completely tore down the kegerator and cleaned a couple kegs. When we got done she said, "Sorry... I just remember you saying how much easier it was to keg, and thought my suggestion was helping you save time and effort."

The act of kegging 5 gallons is easier than the act of bottling 5 gallons. But cleaning and sanitizing 48 bottles is much easier than completely tearing down a keggerator and cleaning/sanitizing a couple grungy kegs.
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on September 24, 2015, 10:13:25 am

Smaller batches are just not worth it to me until I have a stable of 2.5 gallon kegs. I love the idea of smaller batches and have done some small batches that I bottled, but bottling sucks. Bottling small batches sucks even more.
I used to bottle, then switched to kegs and thought Wow, much easier. Then I went back to bottling after I got into brewing sours. Then I realized, for me, its much easier to control carbonation with bottling. Then I contemplated selling my kegs and kegerator. Then the wife told me she missed having beer on tap. So yesterday we completely tore down the kegerator and cleaned a couple kegs. When we got done she said, "Sorry... I just remember you saying how much easier it was to keg, and thought my suggestion was helping you save time and effort."

The act of kegging 5 gallons is easier than the act of bottling 5 gallons. But cleaning and sanitizing 48 bottles is much easier than completely tearing down a keggerator and cleaning/sanitizing a couple grungy kegs.

For me, Key is never let kegs or any stuff get grungy.


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Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: HoosierBrew on September 24, 2015, 10:17:00 am
For me, Key is never let kegs or any stuff get grungy.

I'm with you, Ken. Kegging got a whole lot easier when I started cleaning kegs and flushing the lines as soon as the kegs kick. Definitely time well spent.
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: dmtaylor on September 24, 2015, 11:06:04 am
Oh yeah.  Same goes for cleaning bottles and carboys as well.  Rinse all bottles well IMMEDIATELY upon pouring into your glass, and then bottling day goes way faster.  Do a real nice scrub of your carboy IMMEDIATELY after racking, and don't let it sit for a few hours, or that gunk is really hard to get off.  Similar to kegs when it comes down to cleaning.
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: klickitat jim on September 24, 2015, 01:01:15 pm
I agree and normally dont let things sit dirty. Grungy is probably a relative term. In this case I mean used empty that normally has a small pile of trub in the bottom.

At any rate, I still think its easier to clean and sanitize a bottle (one peice) vs a keg  (13 peices) I've not timed myself, but I bet its about a tie, timewise, to properly clean and sanitize a corny as it is to do 2 cases of glass.
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: toby on September 24, 2015, 01:05:36 pm
The act of kegging 5 gallons is easier than the act of bottling 5 gallons. But cleaning and sanitizing 48 bottles is much easier than completely tearing down a keggerator and cleaning/sanitizing a couple grungy kegs.
The answer is don't let them get grungy.  96 grungy bottles aren't easier to clean than a couple grungy kegs.  In both cases, I rinse them out right after use.  I also tend to give my kegs a 24 hour Oxiclean Free soak in short order after that (I'll use a picnic tap to make sure some goes into the dip tube).  I usually have a keg or two on standby with StarSan in it, and I'll transfer from the out tube on one into the out tube on the other to make sure the dip tube gets sanitized also.

And all that being said, I'm a year round garage brewer.  When we moved into our current house, my wife basically told me to get whatever I needed to brew outside.  I'll brew just inside the garage door in cold or rainy weather, and I'll brew just outside the garage door in regular weather.  I use a box fan when I brew in the garage pointed towards the door to get some exhaust happening.  Granted, living in south Louisiana, our idea of cold is nothing like up north.  Condensation is also not typically an issue since we're already humid.
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: brewsumore on September 27, 2015, 02:30:41 pm
My individual preference is to brew 10-gal batches, winter, spring, summer, fall.  However I'm lucky enough that there are enough +32F days in winter to wait for one to do what I prefer which is to brew on my covered patio outside.  This way my hoses don't freeze solid, and when I chill with an IC the runoff doesn't turn to ice before it evaporates (usually).

To each his own, but I recognize that it is much more challenging in a more northern/frigid climate, and in that event I would try to adapt by brewing in a garage, even if I needed a space heater and a fan.  Water runoff would seem to pose the biggest problem, so as not to create a skating rink on the lawn and/or driveway.

Cheers!
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: rebuiltcellars on October 02, 2015, 05:59:00 am
One simple way, if you batch sparge with a cooler mash tun, is to just heat strike/sparge water and do the boil outside, mash and clean inside. Otherwise open door and fan I guess.
This is my method; heat mash liquor on the stove, mash in the sauna, drain to the kettle then carry everything outside to the patio where I'll do a second sparge and start the boil.  Not outdoors long enough to be a pain.  Only issues are the need to manage chilling hoses so they don't freeze solid, and make sure the propane tank valve doesn't ice up.
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: evil_morty on October 05, 2015, 07:58:32 am
I've brewed many times in cold temps in my garage.  I know people will freak out but I don't even open the garage door until the boil really gets cranking.  there is a little condensation on the windows but I'm not overly concerned.  I only brew about once a month so it's not like it's constantly damp out there and with the dry winter air things become not damp pretty quick.
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: Stevie on October 05, 2015, 09:02:19 am

I've brewed many times in cold temps in my garage.  I know people will freak out but I don't even open the garage door until the boil really gets cranking.  there is a little condensation on the windows but I'm not overly concerned.  I only brew about once a month so it's not like it's constantly damp out there and with the dry winter air things become not damp pretty quick.
Carbon monoxide should be your concern, not condensation.
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: dmtaylor on October 05, 2015, 09:26:25 am
Carbon monoxide should be your concern, not condensation.

A colorless, odorless gas?  No problem.  It's not like that can KILL you or anything.  Oh, wait...... it CAN kill you.   :o  Oh, okay. 
Title: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: Stevie on October 05, 2015, 09:36:21 am
The good news is you can react if you are awake and about your wits enough to realize you are being poisoned. Throw some booze in the mix and who knows.
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: erockrph on October 05, 2015, 06:18:23 pm
Carbon monoxide should be your concern, not condensation.

A colorless, odorless gas?  No problem.  It's not like that can KILL you or anything.  Oh, wait...... it CAN kill you.   :o  Oh, okay.
+1 - I ran my generator inside the garage with the door half open when we lost power in a storm a few years back. Despite having the door from the garage to the house closed it still managed to set off all the CO detectors in the house in short order. That was enough to scare me straight. I'll never run anything in the garage again...
Title: Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
Post by: evil_morty on October 06, 2015, 04:26:35 am

I've brewed many times in cold temps in my garage.  I know people will freak out but I don't even open the garage door until the boil really gets cranking.  there is a little condensation on the windows but I'm not overly concerned.  I only brew about once a month so it's not like it's constantly damp out there and with the dry winter air things become not damp pretty quick.
Carbon monoxide should be your concern, not condensation.

that's the freaking out I was talking about.  the propane burner shouldn't be dumping CO like crazy.  certainly not like a generator which is def producing quite a bit.  I have yet to have my detector go off.