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Old 11-10-2010, 02:13 PM   #1
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Default Thinking about brewing over a campfire

Every year I camp with a group of buddies during the week after Christmas. I always have various homebrews stocked up for drinking during that week.

This year I'm thinking about brewing an AG batch over the campfire. I figure I can use the picnic table for a brew stand (HLT on top, MLT on seat, brewpot on ground). Then transfer the pot to a grate over the fire for the boil.

Has anybody tried doing this before? I thought I saw a thread sometime back but can't find it now. Will it be too hard to get a full boil? I'm cool with scaling the recipe and doing a smaller batch.

There is a water spigot close by so I will use my wort chiller. Then I plan to let it ferment (Nottingham?) at ambient temperatures during the remainder of the camping trip...unless if Florida gets a winter like last year.

Any input is appreciated. I've not yet even settled on a style. Probably will stick with something simple using hops that I have on hand (Palisade, Santiam, Cascade). Though it would be really super-dee-duper if I made something strong that could age until camping next year.

Really, I just hope to hear from someone else who has tried brewing over a fire pit (brewpot will be on a grate).

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Old 11-10-2010, 02:15 PM   #2
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I was just thinking of doing this same thing, but with extract. I'd love to hear if anyone has done it.

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Old 11-10-2010, 02:19 PM   #3
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I've thought about it several times. My only on concern is traveling with it afterwords. During fermentation might be best. I wouldn't want it sloshing around in the car after fermentation and getting all oxidized. Thought about maybe brewing the last last night, then let it sit over night, and then pitch the yeast before I head on home.

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Old 11-10-2010, 02:24 PM   #4
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soot soot soot soot.

Sounds messy, but potentially fun.

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Old 11-10-2010, 02:45 PM   #5
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Ive never tried brewing over a camp fire but I have seen it done over tire fire.

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Old 11-10-2010, 03:03 PM   #6
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I have a Stove Tec wood cookstove (http://www.stovetec.net/us/index.php) and use it primarily to brew. All extract kits so far.. just getting back into brewing. I also use it for canning garden veggies and to cook lobster. It is fantastic... highly recommended.

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Old 11-10-2010, 03:09 PM   #7
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Everything old is new again.

brewing over a wood fire.

From experience, you have no control over boilovers.

At the end of Septmenber we brew my big barleywine, but we decided also to try doing a 15th century burnt mead as well....We started the Brochet (burnt mead) on Ed's firepit. We didn't realize what a nightmare that would be. Do not try this at home, or if you do have silicon fire gloves and a back up plan. Or at least use a bigger cast iron pan. The honey is just warming up. Still honey colored.


Here's why you need to have aback up plan and heat retardent gloves so you can lift the pan off the heat.


After too many boilovers we switched to something with more temp control for the mead. It STILL required constant attention. Which luckily Terrapin put his chef skills on the line to be the man of the (several) hour to stir that puppy and keep fiddling with the gas. This was a lot like making roux at long time consuming process. But hopefully worth it. As you can see it is starting to change color.


Everything we used on my barleywine/brochet brew day.

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Old 11-10-2010, 03:44 PM   #8
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A smaller volume in a larger vessel would be the ONLY sane way to attempt a fire boiling as shown with the burnt mead picks.

You can control how high it is off the fire but really that is just a waste of time I'd do a rather big 2.5 gallon batch in a 10 gallon pot and let it sit for a year like you suggested and drink while you brew the next years batch!

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Old 11-10-2010, 03:47 PM   #9
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If you look at the stuff about historical brewing that I posted in the other thread , you will see that it was/is done...it just takes a big kettle.

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Old 11-10-2010, 03:50 PM   #10
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Thanks for that info and link, Revvy. That helped a lot. Mash temps won't be a problem because I plan to use coolers. I wish I could go all old school...maybe next camping trip.

Great point you make about worrying about boilovers. Our fire pit is large enough that the pot will sit along one side, leaving plenty of room to use a shovel to manipulate the coals. Plus, with the pot on the side of the pit, I can stir without needing to lean my whole body over the fire.

Since I will be using a hose for my chiller, I can keep a nozzle on the hose to spray the foam in case of emergency. I only have a 7.5 gallon pot so I will surely need to stay on top of things.

Any suggestions on a recipe using Palisade, Santium, and Cascade hops? While not traditional, how about an old ale with them? The fellas I camp with can enjoy big beers (several batches of RIS and a Founder's BS clone were big hits). However, they are not hop heads so something like a DIPA is out of the question. Perhaps a bit smaller batch size such as 4 gallons?

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