Author Topic: All grain brewing in the winter  (Read 4575 times)

Offline punatic

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Re: All grain brewing in the winter
« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2011, 12:12:06 AM »
You could move to Hawaii and brew here.   ;)

When I lived in Florida and brewed in the winter I used to place the wort kettle (covered) on the second step in the swimming pool, and let it cool by convection.  The pool water was in the mid 50s and would cool the wort to pitching temp in an hour or so.

The snow bank, or just let it sit outside ideas are sound.  Be sure to monitor the wort temp.  The cooling fluid temps are much lower than your target wort temp.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2011, 12:20:05 AM by punatic »
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Offline beersk

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Re: All grain brewing in the winter
« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2011, 07:18:51 AM »
I ran out of beer last winter, so I had to do a partial boil on the stove and top off with ice to chill/dilute. I don't think there are any major benefits to a full boil for an average-gravity beer.
I'm surprised that you said that, being the experienced brewer that you are.


Another suggestion would be that you could do smaller batches.  I do 3.5 gallon all grain batches stove top, still keg in 5 gallon kegs.  It's pretty awesome.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2011, 07:22:13 AM by beersk »
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Offline lazydog79

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Re: All grain brewing in the winter
« Reply #17 on: November 04, 2011, 07:13:37 PM »
All this confirms my opinion - outdoor brewing in the winter is a B*TCH!  I usually try to get my last one in around Thanksgiving-ish and brew enough before that so I will be good until March or so.  Winter is for working on projects, next year's calendar, and recipes.

Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: All grain brewing in the winter
« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2011, 05:00:53 AM »
I mash in the house.
Boil in the garage.
Chill with a garden hose discharging into my kitchen sink, rather than my lawn or driveway.

I really hope I can finish my basement brewery, before winter hits.
It gets f-ing cold, in Minnesota.


This is my process all year round. Mash in the kitchen, boil in the garage, chill in the basement laundry room.
Matt Schwandt | Minneapolis, MN
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Offline jeffy

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Re: All grain brewing in the winter
« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2011, 05:10:04 AM »
Of course its just the opposite here.  It's much more difficult to stand over a boiling kettle in the summer when it is 90 degrees out, so winter is brewing season in Florida.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline seajellie

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Re: All grain brewing in the winter
« Reply #20 on: November 05, 2011, 06:17:49 AM »
gymrat, my only concern for you and winter brewing, is that it's just not cold enough in Kansas  ;D

Winter in Michigan is my main brewing season, and although it can be a hassle, it has multiple benefits:

a) Super easy to cool off ten gallons of wort to lager pitching temps with even a small chiller
b) Use a cheap pond pump to circulate snow-water through the chiller
c) No fruit flies, and the general airborne presence of microbes is small
d) Which makes it safer to do things like rack to the fermenter outside (covered big shed) and aerate out there, further dropping wort temp
d) My cellar gets down to 50 and stays there for months, so between the fridge and the cellar I have lots of options
e) It's winter, what else am I going to do between shoveling the sidewalk; take up ice fishing again?

I don't really need the outdoor tap, but I usually use it. As others said, keep the hose inside overnight. When you are done with the spigot, close it off and let it drain. Not had a problem in four years of this strategy.

As other have said, if you have a good cooler, your mash temps will hold surprisingly well. My best cooler wrapped in an old Coleman sleeping bag or two hardly drops more than a couple degrees in an hour even at 10 F outside.

On the other hand.. it does take more propane, and I sure could use all that heat inside the house - so I often do what others have mentioned, downsize and go to the kitchen stove depending on mood.

Watch out for ice patches!


Offline gymrat

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Re: All grain brewing in the winter
« Reply #21 on: November 05, 2011, 07:01:55 AM »
Seajellie I like how you only see the positives. Thankyou that was helpful. I will look into a pond pump.
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Offline suds

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Re: All grain brewing in the winter
« Reply #22 on: November 05, 2011, 07:23:16 AM »
In the winter I'll brew in the garage and bring the kettle inside to the laundry room sink to run water through the chiller.  The 10 gallon cooler will be fine for holding the mash within 2-3 degrees in your garage. 

If you don't have a good place inside to run water for chilling, you could explore the possibility of no chill brewing for the winter.

Offline gymrat

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Re: All grain brewing in the winter
« Reply #23 on: November 05, 2011, 07:40:10 AM »
Suds I was thinking I might have to explore that option. But the other suggestion of a cheap pond pump sounds good too. I saw some at lowes.com for $20

Problem with brewing outdoors and chilling indoors is that after 3 hernia surgeries I really don't want to carry a pot with 5 gallons of liquid in it.
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Offline malzig

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Re: All grain brewing in the winter
« Reply #24 on: November 05, 2011, 08:21:18 AM »
It's cold here in the winter, which makes it a great time of year to brew Alts and Lagers.  I do most of my brewing from the fall through spring.  One alternative, the one that I use when it gets too cold to brew outside, is to make 3 to 3.5 gallon AG batches on my kitchen stove.  That's just about the upper limit I can hit and still get a proper boil.

Offline gymrat

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Re: All grain brewing in the winter
« Reply #25 on: November 05, 2011, 10:28:01 AM »
It's cold here in the winter, which makes it a great time of year to brew Alts and Lagers.  I do most of my brewing from the fall through spring.  One alternative, the one that I use when it gets too cold to brew outside, is to make 3 to 3.5 gallon AG batches on my kitchen stove.  That's just about the upper limit I can hit and still get a proper boil.

Thats my limit as well. That is the size of the boils I was doing when I did extract brewing. I thought about just extract brewing through the winter but I have a back log of grain I would like to use while it is fresh.
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Online morticaixavier

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Re: All grain brewing in the winter
« Reply #26 on: November 07, 2011, 09:12:33 AM »
So I started to think about this thread while preasure canning some wort for later starter use and I had an idea.

When the weather is more amenable to brewing outdoors why not brew up a batch of insanely strong wort (1.2 or so) and then can it in half gallon jars and stick them in the pantry. Then, in the winter when you want to brew up a batch whip out a couple half gallons of 1.2 wort and either do a partial boil or dilute and do a full boil. Two jars of 1.200 wort should get you about 5 gallons of 1.040 or three jars would get you 5 gallons of 1.060.

Just a thought.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: All grain brewing in the winter
« Reply #27 on: November 07, 2011, 10:12:52 AM »
So I started to think about this thread while preasure canning some wort for later starter use and I had an idea.

When the weather is more amenable to brewing outdoors why not brew up a batch of insanely strong wort (1.2 or so) and then can it in half gallon jars and stick them in the pantry. Then, in the winter when you want to brew up a batch whip out a couple half gallons of 1.2 wort and either do a partial boil or dilute and do a full boil. Two jars of 1.200 wort should get you about 5 gallons of 1.040 or three jars would get you 5 gallons of 1.060.

Just a thought.
So you're saying "why not make your own extract to use later?" ;)
Tom Schmidlin

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Re: All grain brewing in the winter
« Reply #28 on: November 07, 2011, 10:23:34 AM »
So I started to think about this thread while preasure canning some wort for later starter use and I had an idea.

When the weather is more amenable to brewing outdoors why not brew up a batch of insanely strong wort (1.2 or so) and then can it in half gallon jars and stick them in the pantry. Then, in the winter when you want to brew up a batch whip out a couple half gallons of 1.2 wort and either do a partial boil or dilute and do a full boil. Two jars of 1.200 wort should get you about 5 gallons of 1.040 or three jars would get you 5 gallons of 1.060.

Just a thought.
So you're saying "why not make your own extract to use later?" ;)

yeah exactly, except, unless you have a vacuum evaporator you probably don't want to reduce it to a syrup. Hey we are homebrewers after all.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: All grain brewing in the winter
« Reply #29 on: November 07, 2011, 10:25:50 AM »
So you're saying "why not make your own extract to use later?" ;)

yeah exactly, except, unless you have a vacuum evaporator you probably don't want to reduce it to a syrup. Hey we are homebrewers after all.
[/quote]
I think it's a pretty good idea, you still retain full control over the wort but you 'll have to expect some darkening.  I'm not sure it is worth the effort, but I have different circumstances.  I'm really glad that I don't have problems brewing in the winter :)
Tom Schmidlin