Author Topic: cold-weather brewing  (Read 1561 times)

Offline violaleebrews

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cold-weather brewing
« on: February 22, 2014, 10:41:11 AM »
Livin in Holland, MI & haven't brewed for a while due the crappy weather we've had lately.  I'm an all-grain propane brewer.  Anyone else brew in sub-freezing conditions?  If so, what sort of obstacles should I consider or should I just stop being a pussy and brew?  I'm considering doing some extract beers just to fill my kegs.  Any thoughts?

Offline Slowbrew

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Re: cold-weather brewing
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2014, 10:51:06 AM »
I'm lucky having a walkout basement with a door in my woodshop/brewery.  I run the propane outside while I stay inside.  I use homemade aluminum flashing shields to block the wind from by stand.  I mash inside and just move pots in and out.

This isn't an option for everyone but it works for me.

Paul
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Offline Alewyfe

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Re: cold-weather brewing
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2014, 11:14:08 AM »
If you're out of the wind, you can brew in just about any weather. I had a whimpy burner back in Minnesota, so I always stuck to 5 gal. batches when it was cold. Loved having all the snow for quick chilling.

Now get out there and brew. You'll be able to tell your grand kids about the adversity you survived one day.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: cold-weather brewing
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2014, 11:23:04 AM »
3 gallons All-grain in my kitchen here. I can brew year-round and the only thing that changes is my chilling water temps may be a few degrees higher in the summer. Heat in the winter and A/C in the summer - I'm a spoiled brewer :)
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Offline rodmanxxx

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Re: cold-weather brewing
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2014, 12:28:52 PM »
If you are doing extract like you said in the last sentence, you should have no problem keeping the boil if you have a decent burner. I have done so in temp in the 30s here in NM no problem (ya it does get cold here some times). But you also said you do all grain. The hard part for me is keeping mash temp. If you use a cooler pail, preheat it with hot water, then put the mash pail in the house to keep warm. Me I do biab mash in the kettle, and when it is real cold I have to keep hitting a bit of heat and stirring every 10 or 15 mins, so I haven't mastered perfect temp control yet, but it still comes out ok. I just made an insulation cover out of a fiberglass welding blanket ($20 at harbor freight), but haven't had the chance to use it yet.
I like brewing in winter, chilling the wort is a breeze.
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Offline duboman

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Re: cold-weather brewing
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2014, 02:23:59 PM »
Suck it up and get brewing!  Seriously.....

I know how you feel being in Chicago! I do brew in my garage but it's been of little relief this year for sure so a couple things I find helpful:

1. place your propane tank in a tub of warm water, the gas flows much better and doesn't freeze up
2. keep your hoses inside or be sure to blow them out completely when done brewing to prevent them freezing up
3. Chilling with 48 degree ground water is completely AWESOME!!
4. Use a windscreen if heating is problematic
5. use reflectix around your kettle
6 Mash inside or pre-heat your tun. I keep mine inside until I'm ready to brew to keep it warmer
7. Wrap your tun in a blanket to maintain temps

It takes a bit of work but it's completely doable if you plan ahead!
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Offline rblack90

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Re: cold-weather brewing
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2014, 09:17:58 PM »
I'm lucky having a walkout basement with a door in my woodshop/brewery.  I run the propane outside while I stay inside.  I use homemade aluminum flashing shields to block the wind from by stand.  I mash inside and just move pots in and out.

This isn't an option for everyone but it works for me.

Paul
+1
And also to 48 degree ground water!

Offline dkfick

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Re: cold-weather brewing
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2014, 09:28:04 PM »
I don't really ever have an issue brewing outside... layer... I never get cold even when temps are in the negatives.  I will wear some gloves to rinse things off outside... Do most the actual washing indoors.
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Offline koop3700

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Re: cold-weather brewing
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2014, 06:12:52 AM »
Finally got a break here in upstate N.Y.41 degrees, tap water still at 40 degrees though. Brewed yesterday 2nd AG went very well i must say. Like to throw out a thank you to denny on his RIPA man its is tasty tasty tasty cant wait for it to finish. I will say some sort of hop screen,blocker,false bottom,what have you will be my next venture in upgrades. Always used pellets first time with whole hops not much fun dumping a keg to the bucket glad i had a buddy around. Any thoughts or recommendations on what to use in bottom of keg or drop in screening for the hops would be appreciated.Brewed my first AG 6wks ago at 8 degrees went well bundle up and keep that propane out of the wind.

Offline coolman26

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Re: cold-weather brewing
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2014, 08:47:28 AM »
I brew exclusively outside.  It sucks, but that is all I have.  No garage, so I wing it.  I let the hose trickle so it doesn't freeze.  My burners put off so much heat once I start I never get cold.  Chilling is awesome with 48 degree tap.  I would rather brew in the cold of winter than heat of summer. 

Offline turkeygecko

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Re: cold-weather brewing
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2014, 11:34:27 AM »

6 Mash inside or pre-heat your tun. I keep mine inside until I'm ready to brew to keep it warmer


This. Pre-heat the mash tun!

Offline Scot (one T)

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Re: cold-weather brewing
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2014, 04:14:43 PM »
I bring mash and sparge water from the house in buckets (145 degrees so less time in the garage waiting for it to heat up) and I keep the hose for chilling inside until the last second.  Irish coffee helps as well.
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Offline Steve in TX

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Re: cold-weather brewing
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2014, 06:33:16 PM »
I was taught in pasta making class to always start with cold water to prevent the pickup of mineral deposits in the hot water tank and plumbing. Might be interesting to test both cold and hot supply with ward labs to see if this is true.

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: cold-weather brewing
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2014, 07:45:04 AM »
I tried to get a boil going outdoors on a turkey fryer when it was in the mid-20s and quite windy. Not a mistake I will be making in the future.

I was successful in brewing in the cold with the turkey fryer by using it in my detached garage with the bay door and entry door open so there was a good draft. I sat in my car in the driveway and watched to make sure nothing bad happened. Not sure if the fumes in the garage would have been bad enough to cause harm to me but I didn't feel like taking the chance.
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Offline duboman

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Re: cold-weather brewing
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2014, 04:08:18 PM »

I tried to get a boil going outdoors on a turkey fryer when it was in the mid-20s and quite windy. Not a mistake I will be making in the future.

I was successful in brewing in the cold with the turkey fryer by using it in my detached garage with the bay door and entry door open so there was a good draft. I sat in my car in the driveway and watched to make sure nothing bad happened. Not sure if the fumes in the garage would have been bad enough to cause harm to me but I didn't feel like taking the chance.
you would have been fine:)
I brew in the garage with the bay door open about a foot and the service cracked open. I have a co monitor and it's never gone off
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