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Old 01-08-2013, 11:20 PM   #1
beerspitnight
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Default Cold China Brew - Tips for Cold Weather Brewing

Hi Folks,
We are almost all set to brew an American stout on Friday night. It is really cold here in Beijing and we'll be brewing outside. High temps for the day are 37f and lows of 15f. I suspect it will be be below freezing when we brew, so I am looking for some suggestions to make sure the process works as it is supposed to.
We brew 10 gallon all grain batches.

Possible Issues:

Frozen water in the hose that we use for the wort chiller and for cleanup.
Solution: I bought a new hose and will keep it inside until it is time to cool down the wort.

Cold Gas Tank - we brewed a couple of weeks ago in the cold, and we lost pressure on the gas tank due to the cold.
Possible Solution:I will keep the tank inside until it is time to turn on the burner, but is there anything else that I can do to ensure that the tank doesn't get "too cold"?

Mashing - We kept temps sorta consistant the last time we brewed in the cold, but it will be even colder on Friday night. Any ideas on ensuring that our mash temps remain consistant? We have a digital thermometer that is connected to a logging program on the laptop (via usb), so we are able to constantly monitor temps.

Cold Brewers - solution = a fire pit in the back yard.

Does anyone see any additional issues that we might have to deal with during the brew?

Thanks!

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Old 01-08-2013, 11:33 PM   #2
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Never brewed outside in the cold with propane, but as a proud Manitoban, I've grilled enough meat below zero I may be able to help...

Be very careful with a propane tank indoors - they vent if they got warm, and then you've got propane drifting around inside...not fun.

Icefishing, I use a tub of warm (20C, not hot water!) to warm up the tank and keep it warm as I grill.

You could always use the firepit that's keeping you warm to keep some water warm for the propane tank.

Have fun! Don't let winter grind you down!

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Old 01-08-2013, 11:35 PM   #3
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Put the tank in a large bucket of hot water and keep it warm

Wrap blankets around the mash tun to minimize heat loss

Get a good bottle of schnapps to keep YOU warm!

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Old 01-08-2013, 11:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duboman View Post
Put the tank in a large bucket of hot water and keep it warm

Wrap blankets around the mash tun to minimize heat loss

Get a good bottle of schnapps to keep YOU warm!
^^^^ plus add some really hot water to your mash tun to pre heat it. then pour it out just before u mash
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:59 PM   #5
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You use more gas when it's cold (I take the tanks inside to warm up) and also run the burners hotter and if it's windy, you have to set up a wind block. Use lids for the pots, wok lids fit keegle's great.

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Old 01-09-2013, 12:05 AM   #6
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Can you have your mashtun inside out of the cold? That would probably work much better.

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Old 01-09-2013, 12:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc_Trax View Post
Can you have your mashtun inside out of the cold? That would probably work much better.
Thanks for all the advice, people! I'll have to find some type of blanket to use as I don't reckon my wife will be keen with us using one of her blankets!
Pre-heating the mash tun is a good idea as well. We usually add a bit of hot water to warm it up, we'll use more next time.

And we don't use propane over here - it is liquid gas, but point taken! Into a warm water bath it will go!

Thanks folks!
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:54 AM   #8
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More out of curiosity - what kind of liquid gas are you burning?

As I said, mostly curious, but I've used enough different camp stoves in the cold to possibly have a trick or two to share, if I know what fuel you're burning.

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Old 01-09-2013, 12:57 AM   #9
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Good luck, hope the pipes don't freeze.

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Old 01-09-2013, 12:58 AM   #10
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Insulation - of whatever kind (blanket, etc...) around what needs to stay warm... Mash tun, propane tank, people, etc...

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