Author Topic: Frigid Weather Brewing  (Read 3862 times)

Online theDarkSide

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Frigid Weather Brewing
« on: January 20, 2011, 09:43:19 AM »
I know I'm going to get a lot of "Suck it up" and "Be a man" responses to this so go right ahead if you feel so inclined.

I haven't been able to brew since October and would really like to brew this weekend.  Saturday is out so I'm left with Sunday ( since there is no real football to watch this weekend anyways  :P ).  Unfortunately, the low Sat night into Sunday is 0 F, and the high is only supposed to be 13 with very light wind ( 9mph ).  I'm an all grain brewer so I'm outdoors for the boil at least.

What kind of issues am I going to run into with weather this cold?  Am I going to use a whole tank of propane just to get a boil going and hold it?  At least the chilling part would seem to go faster.  I'd probably turn on my outside spigot for my wort chiller...I just have to make sure I turn it off when I'm done.

I'm curious what you cold weather folks do.

Thanks.
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Offline Kit B

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Re: Frigid Weather Brewing
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2011, 09:48:53 AM »
You'll be just fine.
I brew in my garage, in MN.
I didn't really notice much difference in the amount of propane used.
I open my garage door, about 12"-18" & open a window, for fresh air.
The burner keeps it somewhat warm, depending on how bad the wind is.
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Offline Mark G

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Re: Frigid Weather Brewing
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2011, 09:55:52 AM »
I mash in a cooler in the kitchen, then conduct the boil outside. I set up my burner on my back patio so I can watch it from inside.  I'm brewing tomorrow morning with temps in the single digits. I don't think it really takes any longer to get a boil, but your boil-off rate will be a bit higher. I store my hoses in the basement and don't bring them outside to hook up to the chiller until I'm close to flame-out. Cooling definitely goes much faster in the winter!
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Offline uthristy

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Re: Frigid Weather Brewing
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2011, 10:15:08 AM »
I know I'm going to get a lot of "Suck it up" and "Be a man" responses to this so go right ahead if you feel so inclined.
-
Unfortunately, the low Sat night into Sunday is 0 F, and the high is only supposed to be 13 with very light wind ( 9mph ).  I'm an all grain brewer so I'm outdoors for the boil at least

NFW would I be brewing at those temps, hurts even thinking about the wind cutting right thur you :o

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Offline bluesman

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Re: Frigid Weather Brewing
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2011, 10:38:51 AM »
Is your kettle insulated? If not, I would look into that at a minimum. I assume you don't have a garage. I brew in my garage as low as 20-30F with no problems. In fact the garage warms up quite a bit during the session.
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Offline johnf

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Re: Frigid Weather Brewing
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2011, 10:39:30 AM »
I don't really brew below freezing even though I brew in the garage since I am a wuss and I have to clean outside.

I need to repair the floor drain in my basement, when I do that I'm going to have a nice big sink installed so I can clean inside and also use that sink (it is in a good location for this) for chiller water and return. That will make me much more excited to brew when it is very cold. Defrosting the hose first thing in the morning and then spraying out keggles with cold ground water as the sun goes down and it is 10 F is not fun, I did it once.

Offline glastctbrew

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Re: Frigid Weather Brewing
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2011, 10:50:00 AM »
I'm a little south of you in CT.  I've been mashing in a cooler in my kitchen and boiling outside without any trouble.  I setup on my porch so the house serves as a nice wind break on 2 side.

This weekend I'm moving to my garage for the entire process.  Given we're looking at temps in the teens for Sunday I plan on either making a box for my cooler out of 1/2" Polyisocyanurate Rigid Foam Insulation or getting a butt load of blankets to wrap it in.  I store all my gear in the basement so I don't have any frozen surprises during the brew session.

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Offline SoPHiSTo

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Re: Frigid Weather Brewing
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2011, 11:02:42 AM »
I have decided to brew extract inside in the kitchen until it warms up.  I've noticed that I lose quite a few degrees in my mash tun when I'm mashing in the cold garage (10-30F)

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Online theDarkSide

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Re: Frigid Weather Brewing
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2011, 11:16:30 AM »
Is your kettle insulated? If not, I would look into that at a minimum. I assume you don't have a garage. I brew in my garage as low as 20-30F with no problems. In fact the garage warms up quite a bit during the session.

Actually I do have a 2 car, attached garage, but it is under my family room and I just don't feel comfortable burning propane in there even though I know several people do it.  I have a 10 gallon, SS kettle - not insulated.  What do you insulate with that won't burn up?

I'm a little south of you in CT.  I've been mashing in a cooler in my kitchen and boiling outside without any trouble. 

This is what I've done in the past but I just don't remember if I had done it last winter when it was this cold.

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Wow...3rd post.  that took longer than I thought it would  :D
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Offline akr71

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Re: Frigid Weather Brewing
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2011, 12:21:33 PM »
I still brew outside in the winter.  Just not as often as I would like, because sometimes the weather gets in the way.  I have brewed in a blizzard before, though the temp was ~15F, so not too bad.  You'll use a bit more propane, but nothing horrible.

Rather than risk frozen & cracked pipes, I run my immersion chiller off the tap for the washing machine in the laundry room.  That is probably the worst part of brewing outside in winter - hauling the kettle down to the basement and hooking up the chiller.  Even if it was mild, my outside tap is buried under a snow drift.

I'm brewing tomorrow, but we may have a 'weather bomb' (6 to 12 inches, maybe more) dropping on our ass, so it may be postponed until Sat.
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Offline smoga

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Re: Frigid Weather Brewing
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2011, 12:27:10 PM »
I brew in Seattle on the back patio. The weather forces me to brew in the winter on those rare sunny days. And when it's sunny that means, cold (for Seattle) around 20F

In the cold, I have noticed that the burner puts out a lot less BTU's if I leave the propane outside (where it's normally stored) I assume the propane in it's normal liquefied state thickens up in the cold. I had a couple experiences where it took over an hour to reach boil with a cold propane tank; wind blowing, temps in the 20's...
So, I bring in the propane bottle the night before brewing. Problem solved.  

Offline bluesman

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Re: Frigid Weather Brewing
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2011, 12:35:26 PM »
I have a 10 gallon, SS kettle - not insulated.  What do you insulate with that won't burn up?

Use some fiberfrax blanket wrapped with aluminum foil tape. Wrap the kettle with the blanket and then make tape rings down the kettle. Makes an excellent insulator.

http://www.infraredheaters.com/insulati.htm
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Offline hokerer

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Re: Frigid Weather Brewing
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2011, 12:43:29 PM »
I brew in Seattle on the back patio. The weather forces me to brew in the winter on those rare sunny days. And when it's sunny that means, cold (for Seattle) around 20F

In the cold, I have noticed that the burner puts out a lot less BTU's if I leave the propane outside (where it's normally stored) I assume the propane in it's normal liquefied state thickens up in the cold. I had a couple experiences where it took over an hour to reach boil with a cold propane tank; wind blowing, temps in the 20's...
So, I bring in the propane bottle the night before brewing. Problem solved.  


It's not so much "thickening" as it is the fact that, at those colder temps, the propane evaporates from a liquid to a gas much more slowly.  Also, as you use propane, you'll notice that the tank cools down (and often even frosts up on the outside).  If warming it the night before doesn't help you last for the time of an entire boil, some folks put the propane tank in a tub of lukewarm water.
Joe

Offline bassriverbrewer

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Re: Frigid Weather Brewing
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2011, 02:30:03 PM »
I'm brewing in MA sunday the high is supposed to be 14 degrees I mash in the kitchen and boil outside on propane.  I have an outdoor firepit im planning on using for myself.  When I brew in the cold I haven't had a problem with a roiling boil unless the wind starts blowing.

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Re: Frigid Weather Brewing
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2011, 05:01:56 PM »
I'd probably turn on my outside spigot for my wort chiller...I just have to make sure I turn it off when I'm done.

Once you turn the water on, I wouldn't turn it off until you're finished. Trust me, a frozen chiller is no fun.

I won't be brewing outside until spring (no way am I shoveling seven feet of snow off the porch) but last weekend I got the bug and did a partial boil on the stove. http://seanterrill.com/2011/01/16/of-ice-and-10p/
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