Author Topic: Winter/Garage Brewing  (Read 2646 times)

Offline paloaf

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Winter/Garage Brewing
« on: September 16, 2015, 03:28:51 PM »
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!

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2015, 03:31:44 PM »
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.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2015, 03:52:36 PM »
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.
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Offline rudy1964

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Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2015, 04:23:30 PM »
I use a Greenhouse exhaust fan in my barn for winter brewing.  Michigan is similar


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Offline dilluh98

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Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2015, 04:47:43 PM »
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.

Offline duncan

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Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2015, 04:52:12 PM »
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)
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Offline kramerog

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Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2015, 05:24:30 PM »
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.

Offline jimmykx250

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Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2015, 05:28:44 PM »
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.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2015, 05:47:42 PM »
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).

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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2015, 05:55:32 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.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2015, 06:01:41 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.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2015, 06:08:02 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).
Dave

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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2015, 06:11:35 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.....
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Offline duboman

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Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2015, 10:21:28 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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Offline leejoreilly

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Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2015, 12:24:54 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.

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