Author Topic: Brewing outdoor in cold weather?  (Read 2871 times)

Offline Lazy Ant Brewing

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Re: Brewing outdoor in cold weather?
« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2019, 02:59:16 PM »
I like brewing in 30 F to 40 F temps outside.  My water to run through the immersion chiller comes from the city water tower and it can be 80 F in August.  I like it when it is in the 50 F range or below; much easier and faster to cool the wort.
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Offline Visor

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Re: Brewing outdoor in cold weather?
« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2019, 04:51:22 PM »
   It was 8 below here yesterday morning, still about 0 now, there's no friggin way I'd brew outside. Winter brewing inside in cold country without ventilation isn't entirely without snakepits, last winter I did a monster brew that took 2 full brew days with extended boil times and a 3rd day for the partigyle. The next day I discovered sticky condensate all over the walls, which was especially bad on the outside walls, that took most of another day to clean up. After that I decided that installing an exhaust system was a priority and intended to get it done this past summer, and of course I never quite got around to it so I guess either I forego big beers until warmer weather or resign myself to scrubbing walls.
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Offline mdyer909

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Re: Brewing outdoor in cold weather?
« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2019, 01:40:31 AM »
I brew in the open garage in subzero temps.  I don’t even bother with the immersion chiller because I run it off the garden hose and that’s packed away.  I just put the lid on the kettle and let it sit overnight and aerate and pitch in the morning.

Offline brewsumore

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Re: Brewing outdoor in cold weather?
« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2019, 05:04:47 AM »
I brew outside in eastern Washington State where it is often freezing cold in winter, but not as often as say, in Montana.  I use a windscreen for my propane burner for sure, and watch the weather forecast and plan my (typically weekend) brewdays for when the temp will be above freezing.  Otherwise my hoses freeze, and IC runoff turns to ice, making a skating rink out of my driveway.  And I definitely wouldn't want my outdoor faucet to freeze up!  I also try to be done (10 gallon batches) before the mercury dips below freezing after the sun goes down, so that I can finish clean-up, again outside, before hoses freeze, etc. 

I like winter brewing - no dust or bugs, and as others have said, quick wort chilling - and the brisk air is refreshing.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2019, 05:07:28 AM by brewsumore »

Offline EchoValley

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Re: Brewing outdoor in cold weather?
« Reply #19 on: December 23, 2019, 02:44:54 PM »
One thing to keep in mind is freezing hoses for chilling your beer.  I keep my chiller and hoses inside until it is time to use them. Also make sure your outside faucet is not frozen and water turned on.

Ah yes, I remember my first time brewing in freezing temps.  Took some scrambling to get that hose unfrozen in the utility sink.  ;D

Offline Barbarian Brewer

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Re: Brewing outdoor in cold weather?
« Reply #20 on: December 28, 2019, 04:26:07 AM »
My first time brewing in the cold (maybe 20 F) taught me about slow-chill brewing!  I was amazed how long it took to cool five gallons of wort when it's sitting on an icy driveway and I'm stirring continuously!  After a while I just gave up and went inside.  Came back outside 3-4 hours later and it was finally at pitching temp.  Really made me appreciate how effective my immersion chiller is!
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Offline Ward Chillington

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Re: Brewing outdoor in cold weather?
« Reply #21 on: December 30, 2019, 12:36:26 AM »
My first time brewing in the cold (maybe 20 F) taught me about slow-chill brewing!  I was amazed how long it took to cool five gallons of wort when it's sitting on an icy driveway and I'm stirring continuously!  After a while I just gave up and went inside.  Came back outside 3-4 hours later and it was finally at pitching temp.  Really made me appreciate how effective my immersion chiller is!



So I'm reading more an more about slow chill and with winter setting in here, it really  has my interest. 


So that I am clear on this, the reason we want to chill down to a pitch temp as soon as we can, is to reduce an opportunity for contamination, right??  IOW, if I was to cover and somehow seal my boil kettle until my wort is at pitch temp later that day or perhaps the next day, I would be not be risking contamination any more than when I use my immersion chiller and covering the kettle with some towels while I whirlpool with my big spoon?


 I typically dump my entre contents into the carboy.

Offline narvin

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Re: Brewing outdoor in cold weather?
« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2019, 04:09:44 AM »
You can make fantastic beer in cold weather.  There are advantages, such as city water being nice and cold for chilling, and not having to deal with the heat and steam from the kettle on a 90 degree day. If it's below freezing, be prepared for challenges.  Water lines freezing and propane tanks icing up are major issues, and a wind screen for the burner as mentioned above can be a life saver (tin foil works in a pinch).  I got higher evaporation rate in the dry winter weather, and planned accordingly.

That being said, I got tired of brewing in the elements.  But it's as doable on a 30 degree day as it is on a 90 degree day.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2019, 04:03:09 AM by narvin »

Offline denny

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Re: Brewing outdoor in cold weather?
« Reply #23 on: December 30, 2019, 03:01:49 PM »
My first time brewing in the cold (maybe 20 F) taught me about slow-chill brewing!  I was amazed how long it took to cool five gallons of wort when it's sitting on an icy driveway and I'm stirring continuously!  After a while I just gave up and went inside.  Came back outside 3-4 hours later and it was finally at pitching temp.  Really made me appreciate how effective my immersion chiller is!



So I'm reading more an more about slow chill and with winter setting in here, it really  has my interest. 


So that I am clear on this, the reason we want to chill down to a pitch temp as soon as we can, is to reduce an opportunity for contamination, right??  IOW, if I was to cover and somehow seal my boil kettle until my wort is at pitch temp later that day or perhaps the next day, I would be not be risking contamination any more than when I use my immersion chiller and covering the kettle with some towels while I whirlpool with my big spoon?


 I typically dump my entre contents into the carboy.

You are correct.  No chill even works great when it's not cold out.
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Brewing outdoor in cold weather?
« Reply #24 on: December 30, 2019, 10:04:33 PM »
I brewed a triple outside today and the temp was never higher than 26F.  It was a very enjoyable day.  And my OG was 1.088 (was aiming for 1.080), close enough for my standards.

Paul  ;D
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Offline brewsumore

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Re: Brewing outdoor in cold weather?
« Reply #25 on: January 04, 2020, 12:32:30 AM »
My first time brewing in the cold (maybe 20 F) taught me about slow-chill brewing!  I was amazed how long it took to cool five gallons of wort when it's sitting on an icy driveway and I'm stirring continuously!  After a while I just gave up and went inside.  Came back outside 3-4 hours later and it was finally at pitching temp.  Really made me appreciate how effective my immersion chiller is!



So I'm reading more an more about slow chill and with winter setting in here, it really  has my interest. 


So that I am clear on this, the reason we want to chill down to a pitch temp as soon as we can, is to reduce an opportunity for contamination, right??  IOW, if I was to cover and somehow seal my boil kettle until my wort is at pitch temp later that day or perhaps the next day, I would be not be risking contamination any more than when I use my immersion chiller and covering the kettle with some towels while I whirlpool with my big spoon?


 I typically dump my entre contents into the carboy.

Based on my admittedly limited scientific, food- and beer-related knowledge, I have issues with the idea of slow chilling, especially with larger batches.  The opportunity for bacterial growth occurs, as I recall, mostly between 140F and 40F, at least for food.  To avoid spoilage, when at all possible, chefs refrigerate leftover cooked food beginning while it is +140F, so that it will remain in the "danger zone" for as short a time as possible.  I took a little cooking school when young, and this is what we were taught. Over the years on the beer making forums (and maybe in books too) I have also read numerous times that a standard SOP is to chill your wort to below 70F within 20 minutes if possible, again, to reduce potential for bacterial growth, which ostensibly negatively impacts the beer's flavor.

That said, there have been times when I have left my wort outside in the kettle in very cold temps to reach pitching temps, but my SOP is to use a chiller, get the temp down to pitching temp quickly, and get the wort aerated and pitched pronto.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2020, 12:43:57 AM by brewsumore »

Offline Robert

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Re: Brewing outdoor in cold weather?
« Reply #26 on: January 04, 2020, 12:51:31 AM »
Slow chilling also maximizes DMS formation, minimizes the chance of getting an effective cold break to have clear beer, and massively oxidizes the wort.  But these issues aren't important to some homebrewers.  My understanding is that some people try to address the risk of infection -- which should matter to anyone -- by tightly sealing the hot wort right off the boil in a vessel that can withstand the vacuum that will occur on cooling, so the wort is supposed to be subjected to a sort of poor man's pasteurization as it begins to cool.  I used to do something like this making starters.  I'd boil up my DME, pour it into a Mason jar, seal it up, and make my starter the next day, to save the effort of an ice bath.  I'm not dead.  I also didn't expect to enjoy drinking my starter.
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Offline brewsumore

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Re: Brewing outdoor in cold weather?
« Reply #27 on: January 04, 2020, 04:04:21 AM »
Aha!  So, Robert, I WILL get up early tomorrow and first thing make my starter for tomorrow's Traquair House Ale brewday, so it will be as close to full krauesen when otherwise the wort is ready to pitch.  Thanks for the additional insights that confirm that "if it isn't broke, don't fix it."  So little time (in general), so many beers to brew!
« Last Edit: January 04, 2020, 04:05:55 AM by brewsumore »

Offline denny

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Re: Brewing outdoor in cold weather?
« Reply #28 on: January 04, 2020, 03:15:04 PM »
Slow chilling also maximizes DMS formation, minimizes the chance of getting an effective cold break to have clear beer, and massively oxidizes the wort.  But these issues aren't important to some homebrewers.  My understanding is that some people try to address the risk of infection -- which should matter to anyone -- by tightly sealing the hot wort right off the boil in a vessel that can withstand the vacuum that will occur on cooling, so the wort is supposed to be subjected to a sort of poor man's pasteurization as it begins to cool.  I used to do something like this making starters.  I'd boil up my DME, pour it into a Mason jar, seal it up, and make my starter the next day, to save the effort of an ice bath.  I'm not dead.  I also didn't expect to enjoy drinking my starter.

It's not that they're not important, it's that based on experience they appear to be canards.  Unless you have tried no chill and the beer made from it, all comments need to be tempered.
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Offline Robert

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Re: Brewing outdoor in cold weather?
« Reply #29 on: January 04, 2020, 03:53:07 PM »
Slow chilling also maximizes DMS formation, minimizes the chance of getting an effective cold break to have clear beer, and massively oxidizes the wort.  But these issues aren't important to some homebrewers.  My understanding is that some people try to address the risk of infection -- which should matter to anyone -- by tightly sealing the hot wort right off the boil in a vessel that can withstand the vacuum that will occur on cooling, so the wort is supposed to be subjected to a sort of poor man's pasteurization as it begins to cool.  I used to do something like this making starters.  I'd boil up my DME, pour it into a Mason jar, seal it up, and make my starter the next day, to save the effort of an ice bath.  I'm not dead.  I also didn't expect to enjoy drinking my starter.

It's not that they're not important, it's that based on experience they appear to be canards.  Unless you have tried no chill and the beer made from it, all comments need to be tempered.
Yeah, there are good reasons why one of the first great improvements in beer quality was the ability to chill rapidly.  Right up there with temperature control in fermentation.  Not going back.  When I hear people say that they can do this, that and the other without affecting the quality of their beer, I have to question the baseline of quality.  But if people are happy with a technique, it's their choice.
Rob Stein
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