Author Topic: Chilling wort in the winter  (Read 1493 times)

Offline qm3k

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Chilling wort in the winter
« on: December 23, 2012, 06:19:48 PM »
Hi all,

I am an all-grain brewer and typically brew outside. I live in Nebraska, so I usually shelve my kettles during the winter and twiddle my thumbs waiting for the thaw. I have decided that this year I will suck it up and brew anyway...however, chilling my wort poses a bit of a problem. I'm a bit nervous about running a hose in sub-zero temps (although friends tell me that as long as I put the hose away afterwards it shouldn't be an issue). I use a Blichmann Therminator to chill.

Does anybody have any ingenious solutions for outdoor chilling through a counter-flow chiller in the winter time (I can't use my sink...it isn't set up to take a garden hose or even an adapter...this is the basis for a future home-improvement project, but that's a ways down the road)?

Anyway, any ideas would help.

Thanks.

P.S. Yes, I know I could move it inside, but the time involved in boiling on a stovetop is a real turnoff. Plus, since my sink is not an option for chilling, it really isn't a viable solution for me.

Offline jeffy

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Re: Chilling wort in the winter
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2012, 06:44:03 PM »
You could fill up a kettle or a bucket with cold water and use a pump to circulate the water through your chiller.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline bigchicken

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Re: Chilling wort in the winter
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2012, 09:44:49 PM »
I've always been concerned about splitting garden hoses this time of year. I recently bought an Xhose (you may have seen the infomercial) and am surprised it works great. I've been watering my trees and then bringing the hose in the house when done. Takes a minute to drain and weighs only a couple pounds. Now I'd still be a little cautious about using it on a day way below freezing. I find that air cooling or putting the kettle in a snow pile isn't that bad when its that cold.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Chilling wort in the winter
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2012, 11:43:06 PM »
It's not Nebraska cold here, but I have split hoses left outside before.  When I brew in winter I take the hoses out and hook them up for brewing (filling the HLT and mash tun, wort chilling, and clean up) then put them away when I'm done.  I brewed last week and the 50F ground water was great for chilling, but my hands froze during clean up.
Tom Schmidlin

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Re: Chilling wort in the winter
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2012, 04:15:04 AM »
It is a balmy 21F here and I will be doing a Vienna in a few hours.

Will use tap water and then switch to the pond pump in a ice/snow bath to get it down to lager temperature. The main brewing is in the garage, so not too cold, but clean up is in the drive. Hope it warms up a little so my hands don't get cold. Then again it is expected this time of year.

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Offline konrad

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Re: Chilling wort in the winter
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2012, 06:55:53 AM »
I actually look forward to brewing in the winter (I'm in Michigan).  My immersion chiller takes an hour to cool the wort in the summer, and even then I have to chill the last 5 or so degrees in my fermentation freezer.  In the winter, with the ice cold ground water, 15-30 minutes is all I need.  If there's snow on the ground... even better.  I use those Goodyear rubber hoses that kink like a mother, but... on the plus side... are super flexible in below freezing temps.  No problems rolling them up at the end of the brew day.  I just make sure they are drained of water, and I store in the garage.  No freezing and splitting problems.
Konrad

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Re: Chilling wort in the winter
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2012, 11:58:48 AM »
Hi Konrad.

We were at 45F in 39 minutes today. Not bad for getting 10 gallons down to lager pitch temps.
Jeff Rankert
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Offline konrad

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Re: Chilling wort in the winter
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2012, 01:07:17 PM »
We were at 45F in 39 minutes today. Not bad for getting 10 gallons down to lager pitch temps.
Hey Jeff.  Yep... can't do that in the summer!  It's worth the chapped hands for the day or two following brew day.  I'll be brewing a baltic porter in the snow on Saturday.
Konrad

Offline greatplainsbrewer

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Re: Chilling wort in the winter
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2012, 03:21:50 PM »
Not sure i understand the problem.  Don't discharge the water anywhere you don't want ice and drain the hoses using gravity.

I'm in central Neb and look forward to brewing with colder chilling water

Offline beerstache

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Re: Chilling wort in the winter
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2012, 03:58:37 PM »
I look forward to chilling in the winter as it takes way less time to cool and uses less water. 
I keep my hose in the basement so it is flexible when I put it outside.  Also, if you have snow, try burying the hose in the snow for added chilling and also put your kettle in a snow pile if possible, I brew 5 gal. so it isnt too heavy to move/carry! I use a dolly also.  If you dont have snow, even the cold ambient temps will speed up the cooling.  Dont know if this helps, just the way I do it.

Offline repo

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Re: Chilling wort in the winter
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2012, 04:40:19 PM »
Hi all,

I am an all-grain brewer and typically brew outside. I live in Nebraska, so I usually shelve my kettles during the winter and twiddle my thumbs waiting for the thaw. I have decided that this year I will suck it up and brew anyway...however, chilling my wort poses a bit of a problem. I'm a bit nervous about running a hose in sub-zero temps (although friends tell me that as long as I put the hose away afterwards it shouldn't be an issue). I use a Blichmann Therminator to chill.

Does anybody have any ingenious solutions for outdoor chilling through a counter-flow chiller in the winter time (I can't use my sink...it isn't set up to take a garden hose or even an adapter...this is the basis for a future home-improvement project, but that's a ways down the road)?

Anyway, any ideas would help.

Thanks.

P.S. Yes, I know I could move it inside, but the time involved in boiling on a stovetop is a real turnoff. Plus, since my sink is not an option for chilling, it really isn't a viable solution for me.

I'd be a lot more concerned about frostbite at sub-zero temps. Listen to your friends, and remember you have a giant fridge/freezer to chill your wort in.

Offline gymrat

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Re: Chilling wort in the winter
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2012, 08:37:24 AM »
I just brewed in 26 degree weather last weekend. I have a really cheap hose that won't break the bank if it splits. I also put a fan on my kettle while it was cooling. It went from boiling to under 70 in less than 20 minutes. I didn't drag my food grade hose out for filling my hot water pot because I didn't want to get it all dirty dragging it around in snow. So I had to do a lot of running in and out of the house with a pitcher.
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