Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: saintjimmy on December 08, 2016, 11:15:20 pm

Title: What's the coldest I can brew?
Post by: saintjimmy on December 08, 2016, 11:15:20 pm
I'm planning my next brew for Monday, Dec 13, and was looking at the forecast because I brew outside.  It's supposed to be -9c (15f), and have no idea if that is too cold or not.  Thoughts?

The brew is going to be a Tripel IPA (not a Triple IPA)... for my wife's birthday in February.

Cheers,

James
Title: Re: What's the coldest I can brew?
Post by: Nwsurfkid on December 09, 2016, 01:17:49 am
You could brew in the arctic if your burner had enough BTU's and no wind....you might need a bit more gas or electric bill $$ on hand. 😆

You could get all thermo dynamic on it with delta T's and burner output...if you were concerned.

Drink some Rum, and give it a try.

Keeping your Mash temp steady might be the issue if it is outside with kettle.



Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

Title: Re: What's the coldest I can brew?
Post by: majorvices on December 09, 2016, 05:30:12 am
I have never brewed that cold but I have brewed outdoors in sub freezing temps several times. The key for me was always to bring in the garden hose and wort chiller and leave the outdoor spigot on at a trickle so it wouldn't freeze.
Title: Re: What's the coldest I can brew?
Post by: pete b on December 09, 2016, 06:33:44 am
It depends on your set up. I batch sparge and my indoor stove can handle the separate batches of mash and sparge water so when its that cold I mash in the house and do just the boil on the deck with a wind break.
Cleaning up is a PIA.
Chilling the wort is fast.
Mostly in the winter I do 2.5 gallon Brian.
Title: Re: What's the coldest I can brew?
Post by: neddles on December 09, 2016, 06:37:49 am
I have conducted my boil outside as low as -11F. Really not any different than any other brew except for the fact that it was pretty much impossible to see the surface of the wort during the boil.
Title: Re: What's the coldest I can brew?
Post by: reverseapachemaster on December 09, 2016, 08:31:48 am
I tried brewing outside once when it was in the mid-20s and windy as heck. Flame went out a few times on the burner and it really struggled to keep a boil. Then the tank ran out with about five minutes to go. Awful brew day.

Tried to coolship that wort. Wort froze. Unsurprisingly did not turn out and turned into five gallons of yard fertilizer.
Title: Re: What's the coldest I can brew?
Post by: Stevie on December 09, 2016, 08:35:24 am
Put the propane cylinder in a warm water bath.
Title: Re: What's the coldest I can brew?
Post by: bayareabrewer on December 09, 2016, 09:49:44 am
As a wussy Californian that thinks temps in the 40's are almost intolerable, you people are insane :)
Title: Re: What's the coldest I can brew?
Post by: HoosierBrew on December 09, 2016, 09:54:47 am
As a wussy Californian that thinks temps in the 40's are almost intolerable, you people are insane :)


I'll cop to an occasional 'wuss moment' myself. Being in the Midwest, I'm often out there in the butt freezing cold. But now and then I'm not in the mood to brew in a polar vortex, and opt to take the party into the kitchen. In my 20s it was a badge of honor. Now, at 49 I'm glad to have sensation in my extremities.  :)
Title: Re: What's the coldest I can brew?
Post by: coolman26 on December 09, 2016, 10:19:12 am
I've brewed to single digits. Really not much to it IMO. I just make sure not to let the hose freeze. I bring in the cooler MT the night before. The burner heat makes it tolerable. Having a wind screen is a must for winter. I've been unable to brew for a long time. I'm brewing 20 gallons of Kolsch Sunday morning, if the rain holds off. The temp will be mid 20's. I'm hooked up to NG so that helps.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: What's the coldest I can brew?
Post by: BrewArk on December 09, 2016, 10:31:57 am
Depends on your elevation. ;)
Title: Re: What's the coldest I can brew?
Post by: saintjimmy on December 09, 2016, 10:52:58 am
Fantastic!  Thanks for all the advise.  We are having a brewing party, where only the hearty will survive.  It will be sunny, so that will make things better! 

My wife will have her birthday present  ;D
Title: Re: What's the coldest I can brew?
Post by: brewinhard on December 09, 2016, 12:27:59 pm
I have brewed in some pretty frigid temps before. As stated above, you definitely want to be able to keep your propane from freezing up which will happen pretty quickly while you are using it. You definitely will want to bring your mash tun inside (or at least to a warmer spot) if possible to maintain your temps as long as possible. Also keep your chiller in a warmer spot (and water line) until needed as any water left behind in it could easily freeze causing the end of the brew day to suck.
Title: Re: What's the coldest I can brew?
Post by: Arsuf476 on December 09, 2016, 07:06:58 pm
I've brewed in the 20s, have a wind break prepped ( half open garage door) and plenty of warming refreshments. Rubber gloves when handling liquid are a must. Otherwise, brew on.
Title: Re: What's the coldest I can brew?
Post by: santoch on December 09, 2016, 07:44:43 pm
I have brewed in some pretty frigid temps before. As stated above, you definitely want to be able to keep your propane from freezing up which will happen pretty quickly while you are using it. You definitely will want to bring your mash tun inside (or at least to a warmer spot) if possible to maintain your temps as long as possible. Also keep your chiller in a warmer spot (and water line) until needed as any water left behind in it could easily freeze causing the end of the brew day to suck.

This^^^^  Have a spare propane tank ready and keep it INSIDE until you need it.  Expanding propane gets cold, and in such cold weather, it can and will freeze the regulator up.  I have had this happen to me. A warm water bath for it is a good idea, but having a backup plan will help just in case the worst happens.


Title: Re: What's the coldest I can brew?
Post by: el_capitan on December 09, 2016, 09:04:19 pm
A couple years ago, we had a hellaciously cold day, and school was cancelled statewide.  The actual air temp was something like 31 below, and the windchill pushed it to 52 below.  I brewed a batch in my garage - an AG Munich Helles.  I called it "Helles Frozen Over".  Indoor mash, water bath for propane, indoor chill by the utility sink.  It was great! 

Final tip - You GOTTA hit up some grilled cheese sammies with tomato soup for lunch!
Title: Re: What's the coldest I can brew?
Post by: fmader on December 11, 2016, 07:20:57 pm
I brewed a batch a couple years ago when was -2F when we kicked the burner on. It reached a high of 3F that day. It was pretty miserable, but to be honest, I'd rather brew in those temperatures than when it's 100 degrees out. You can brew in those types of extremes in Ohio lol.
Title: Re: What's the coldest I can brew?
Post by: jtoots on December 12, 2016, 09:33:12 am
I just brewed on Saturday and it was about 20 degrees.  Everything was good until I realized my hose was frozen, then by the time I reconfigured to cut out the hose, my chiller had frozen... Then my Starsan spray bottle... oh, and my deck... things got pretty dicey out there once the sun went down!!
Title: Re: What's the coldest I can brew?
Post by: fmader on December 13, 2016, 04:47:20 pm
I just brewed on Saturday and it was about 20 degrees.  Everything was good until I realized my hose was frozen, then by the time I reconfigured to cut out the hose, my chiller had frozen... Then my Starsan spray bottle... oh, and my deck... things got pretty dicey out there once the sun went down!!

Lol yeah... I've dealt with a frozen hose before. We bring them inside before brewing now.
Title: Re: What's the coldest I can brew?
Post by: HoosierBrew on December 13, 2016, 04:50:43 pm
I just brewed on Saturday and it was about 20 degrees.  Everything was good until I realized my hose was frozen, then by the time I reconfigured to cut out the hose, my chiller had frozen... Then my Starsan spray bottle... oh, and my deck... things got pretty dicey out there once the sun went down!!

Lol yeah... I've dealt with a frozen hose before. We bring them inside before brewing now.


Flashbacks of some of my days.  ;D
Title: Re: What's the coldest I can brew?
Post by: jimmykx250 on December 14, 2016, 02:56:29 am
All the commments regarding hoses and chillers makes me thnkfull i switcched to no chill. So much less to deal with and havent had an infection. I brew in my heated garage so I guess im spoiled.
Title: Re: What's the coldest I can brew?
Post by: jtoots on December 14, 2016, 07:57:34 am
All the commments regarding hoses and chillers makes me thnkfull i switcched to no chill. So much less to deal with and havent had an infection. I brew in my heated garage so I guess im spoiled.

So how do you get it down to (1) a temp low enough that you can transfer? (2) a temp you can aerate? (3) a temp you can pitch yeast?  I'm intrigued!
Title: Re: What's the coldest I can brew?
Post by: jimmykx250 on December 15, 2016, 02:36:32 am
All the commments regarding hoses and chillers makes me thnkfull i switcched to no chill. So much less to deal with and havent had an infection. I brew in my heated garage so I guess im spoiled.

So how do you get it down to (1) a temp low enough that you can transfer? (2) a temp you can aerate? (3) a temp you can pitch yeast?  I'm intrigued!

Once the boil is complete I transfer directly to my no chill container wait 12 to 24 hours then pitch. Never had any problems doing this. I figure this saves atleast an hour and a s***lload of water and so much hassle
on brew day. Here is  link to the containers and a video of the guy I learned this practice from.
http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=23285&catid=459
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rh04dELHB5U
Title: Re: What's the coldest I can brew?
Post by: natebrews on December 15, 2016, 04:27:10 am
I used the 'no chill' method several times (maybe 15) with that same container after hearing about it on Basic Brewing.  I was surprised by how well it worked, given the historical dogma about slow chilling being terrible.  The thing that I found the most problematic with it was that I couldn't get completely reproducible results.  I think the chilling time would change depending on outside temperature (-20F to +50F) and that would impact the hop character of the beer.  That probably isn't a problem making malty styles, but for pale ales or the like it can move things around a bit.
 
Title: Re: What's the coldest I can brew?
Post by: jimmykx250 on December 15, 2016, 07:40:03 am
I used the 'no chill' method several times (maybe 15) with that same container after hearing about it on Basic Brewing.  I was surprised by how well it worked, given the historical dogma about slow chilling being terrible.  The thing that I found the most problematic with it was that I couldn't get completely reproducible results.  I think the chilling time would change depending on outside temperature (-20F to +50F) and that would impact the hop character of the beer.  That probably isn't a problem making malty styles, but for pale ales or the like it can move things around a bit.
Ive been using the same 2 containers for well over a year! I even bought 2 extra screw on lids and mounted bubblers in them so I can ferment in them. Easy to clean a little pbw and hot water. After washing i store it with a 1/2 gal of star san to keep it bug free. Ive never noticed the reproducible thing however when I re-brew the same beer I always change one variable or another cause im always trying to improve the beer.
 
Title: Re: What's the coldest I can brew?
Post by: MadJohnShaft on December 16, 2016, 05:34:17 am
Propane freezes at -44F per Google - I've used my gas grill in winter on the coldest of Chicago days with no problem for 20 years.


I boiled outside on the deck recently when it was very cold - other than about another 3/4 gallon evaporation than usual and having to go outside to stir it worked just fine. Was kind of fun watching the cloud coming off the kettle.

Oh - do not try cooling off the wort in a snow bank - it acts as the world's best insulator and sits hot for hours and hours. I didn't have much luck leaving it out in the wind and cold to cool either, and went back to normal wort chiller inside.
Title: Re: What's the coldest I can brew?
Post by: Slowbrew on December 16, 2016, 06:19:47 am
Propane freezes at -44F per Google - I've used my gas grill in winter on the coldest of Chicago days with no problem for 20 years.


I boiled outside on the deck recently when it was very cold - other than about another 3/4 gallon evaporation than usual and having to go outside to stir it worked just fine. Was kind of fun watching the cloud coming off the kettle.

Oh - do not try cooling off the wort in a snow bank - it acts as the world's best insulator and sits hot for hours and hours. I didn't have much luck leaving it out in the wind and cold to cool either, and went back to normal wort chiller inside.

I do the indoor/outdoor routine every time I brew.  I mash and sparge in my basement workshop and do all the heating outside on the walkout patio.  I chill indoors with an IC.  I used a flat furniture cart to move the kettle around.  It beats standing outside on sub zero weather.

I have frozen the regulator on my propane tank a couple of times though.  You have to keep an eye on things out there.   :)

Paul