Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: goybar on December 03, 2009, 10:52:13 PM

Title: Boiling Wort outdoors in winter
Post by: goybar on December 03, 2009, 10:52:13 PM
Would I be able to do a full volume boil outside in the winter?

I live in Southern Maine.

Planning on 5 gallon batches.  I assume I would need about 6.5 gallons to start.

I'm planning on purchasing a Bayou Classic SP10 (other recommened?) and a 40qt kettle.

Thanks

Chris

Title: Re: Boiling Wort outdoors in winter
Post by: pdbreen on December 03, 2009, 11:22:35 PM
Your propane tank will frost (more than usual), but the fire will still be hot enough for the boil.  Try to stay out of the wind.  And, plan ahead where you discharge your chiller water - makes for good skating!
Title: Re: Boiling Wort outdoors in winter
Post by: goybar on December 03, 2009, 11:40:33 PM
I figured a snow bank and the ambient air temperature would cool the work quickly with out the need to bring out the wort chiller.

Chris
Title: Re: Boiling Wort outdoors in winter
Post by: pdbreen on December 03, 2009, 11:43:42 PM
I figured a snow bank and the ambient air temperature would cool the work quickly with out the need to bring out the wort chiller.

I've found a chiller is still much, much faster - much greater surface area in contact with the wort.  I run a hose from inside my house to the chiller so I don't have to worry about freezing hose lines.
Title: Re: Boiling Wort outdoors in winter
Post by: a10t2 on December 04, 2009, 12:29:23 AM
I figured a snow bank and the ambient air temperature would cool the work quickly with out the need to bring out the wort chiller.

Snow is actually mostly air. Just look how well insulated igloos are.

I set my kettle in a snow bank last year when my CFC froze and it took over two hours to get to pitching temperature.
Title: Re: Boiling Wort outdoors in winter
Post by: Dbbrewing on December 04, 2009, 04:08:36 AM
I love brewing outdoors in the winter. I brewed today and it was 28 degrees when I started with a windchill in the teens. I have never had my propane tank frost and I have brewed when it was below zero.
Title: Re: Boiling Wort outdoors in winter
Post by: BrewArk on December 04, 2009, 12:23:57 PM
I love brewing outdoors in the winter. I brewed today and it was 28 degrees when I started with a windchill in the teens. I have never had my propane tank frost and I have brewed when it was below zero.
Here in California, I don't give it a second thought.  It might be uncomfortable brewing in the 60's but I'll put on a coat. :)
Title: Re: Boiling Wort outdoors in winter
Post by: ndcube on December 04, 2009, 01:31:27 PM
If you have probles with the propane tank freezing up in the winter (I do) just put it in a tray or tub with a few inches of water in it.
Careful if you take it out and set it on a solid surface.  I've had to run warm water around my tank to unfreeze it from my deck.

Also, It might take a couple batches to figure out your evaporation rate.  I have a pretty wide pot and boil off about a gallon every 30 minutes.
Title: Re: Boiling Wort outdoors in winter
Post by: theDarkSide on December 04, 2009, 01:40:59 PM
I figured a snow bank and the ambient air temperature would cool the work quickly with out the need to bring out the wort chiller.

Chris

I have the same setup as you...the Bayou SP10 and 40 Quart kettle.  I usually try to get right to 7 gallons preboil, but then add the no foam stuff to avoid boilovers.  I'm in Southern NH so I feel your pain.  Your biggest problem will be the wind.  Even with the little heat shield around the kettle, the wind blows the flame off the kettle and makes it hard to keep a consistant boil.

Placing your kettle in the snowbank may chill it, but if nothing is transferring the heat, the snow bank may actual insulate the kettle.  I would use the wort chiller, and put your kettle in the snow.  Then once below 100 ( probably ok below 140 but I hate to take chances ) I use a sanitized spoon to stir the wort gently to bring the heat down.  There are some who have posted here that say if you lift the chiller up and down in the kettle, it will help chill it and aerate it too.  ( again..once below 100 )
Title: Re: Boiling Wort outdoors in winter
Post by: dan1076 on December 04, 2009, 09:14:41 PM
I would also recommend still using the wort chiller.  The snow bank method does not work too well.  I had to resort to it last year for a lager I was making as the garden hose froze up because I forgot to bring it in.  It took too long to chill and left me with a bad taste of dms....but my dad loved that brew.
Title: Re: Boiling Wort outdoors in winter
Post by: Siamese Moose on December 04, 2009, 09:45:19 PM
I'll second the comments about evaporation rate. Mine varies quite dramatically depending on the wind, and a little on the humidity (and I brew on a protected walk-out basement patio that is sheltered on three sides). It's always nearly double the rate I experience during the summer. I have not had much success in predicting it very accurately, so I now target to get five gallons or less, and dilute as needed in the fermenter.
Title: Re: Boiling Wort outdoors in winter
Post by: mtbrewer on December 04, 2009, 10:03:55 PM
I have brewed in below zero weather, so I don't think you will have any problem. One trick I came up with, get yourself a hose cap and drill a hole in it. Use a compressor with a blow gun on it to blow all the water out of your hose and IC.
Title: Re: Boiling Wort outdoors in winter
Post by: dbeechum on December 04, 2009, 10:11:46 PM
Use a compressor with a blow gun on it to blow all the water out of your hose and IC.

Obviously, we don't have to deal much with the whole pipes freezing thing here, but I've always dried my chiller with a long hearty blast of CO2 at 15 psi. Would that would as well or no?
Title: Re: Boiling Wort outdoors in winter
Post by: mtbrewer on December 04, 2009, 10:38:39 PM
Use a compressor with a blow gun on it to blow all the water out of your hose and IC.

Obviously, we don't have to deal much with the whole pipes freezing thing here, but I've always dried my chiller with a long hearty blast of CO2 at 15 psi. Would that would as well or no?
I am sure it does, but with the air compressor, its free ;)
Title: Re: Boiling Wort outdoors in winter
Post by: dbeechum on December 04, 2009, 10:57:13 PM
I am sure it does, but with the air compressor, its free ;)

Oddly enough.. so's CO2 for me! :) (One of the big perks of being a Falcons board member is our local CO2 provider and former officer of the club himself gives the board free CO2)
Title: Re: Boiling Wort outdoors in winter
Post by: wilypig on December 08, 2009, 06:35:40 PM
Boiling is ok as long as the wind is not too much. Be careful about the snow bank cooling method. I like in Niagara Falls and many of my friends have used the same method with disastrous results. The snow will melt and you may have a tipped over kettle which will make a mess and waste a brew day. I prefer to use a chiller(I have a counter flow) so I can control the temp going into the fermenter.
Title: Re: Boiling Wort outdoors in winter
Post by: slimsparty on December 09, 2009, 04:21:27 PM
Quote
Oddly enough.. so's CO2 for me!  (One of the big perks of being a Falcons board member is our local CO2 provider and former officer of the club himself gives the board free CO2)

The hillbilly route works too-Blow the water out with your mouth. (For an IC)
Title: Re: Boiling Wort outdoors in winter
Post by: denny on December 09, 2009, 04:25:15 PM
Yep, or just hold it upside down for a minute.
Title: Re: Boiling Wort outdoors in winter
Post by: ndcube on December 09, 2009, 04:40:09 PM
The hillbilly route works too-Blow the water out with your mouth. (For an IC)

Yep, or just hold it upside down for a minute.

I do this too.  Usually holding it upside down cretes kind of a siphon effect that sucks most of it out for me.  Then I blow the rest out.
Title: Re: Boiling Wort outdoors in winter
Post by: karlh on December 09, 2009, 10:59:05 PM
I've been brewing outside in the winters of Northern Illinois (near the WI border) for a couple of years.  12 gallon boils with a jet burner are not a problem.  I will mention that during Jan or Feb last winter my CFC was running really slow and I finally figured out that with the wind chill it was freezing the beer solid in the hose post-chill.  I cut back the water flow a bit so it wasn't as effective and the slightly warmer beer went into the fermenter just fine.  If you have the option of using an immersion chiller in the coldest weather, it might outperform either a plate or CF chiller.
Title: Re: Boiling Wort outdoors in winter
Post by: slimsparty on December 09, 2009, 11:41:11 PM
hello from wheaton Karl!
Title: Re: Boiling Wort outdoors in winter
Post by: rabid_dingo on December 10, 2009, 05:37:25 AM
I love brewing outdoors in the winter. I brewed today and it was 28 degrees when I started with a windchill in the teens. I have never had my propane tank frost and I have brewed when it was below zero.
Here in California, I don't give it a second thought.  It might be uncomfortable brewing in the 60's but I'll put on a coat. :)
A coat in 60's?!?! That is shorts or pantless brewing temps for me....Oh, how I long for any temp above 32*F right now.....Looking at the thermometer outside right now...-8*F....
Title: Re: Boiling Wort outdoors in winter
Post by: a10t2 on December 10, 2009, 06:20:58 AM
My parents lived in Puerto Rico for several years... anything below about 80°F was long sleeve weather. They had an overnight low that would be close to freezing ONE night, ONE year and there were runs on the grocery stores.
Title: Re: Boiling Wort outdoors in winter
Post by: karlh on December 11, 2009, 09:07:00 PM
hello from wheaton Karl!
Hello back from Mundelein... not quite brewing weather this week