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Old 12-23-2012, 01:33 AM   #1
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Default Winter Brewing Outdoors

Today was the first time I've brewed outdoors in cold and windy weather.
I brewed next to the house, in a slightly protected area between 2 hoses, and screened by a fence and a car. (the car was several feet away)

1. I have a Blichmann burner, but the wind gusted so hard at one point it blew the flame out. Another time it almost blew it out. Other than brewing in the garage, any ideas to prevent this?

2. It was cold (Duh) so it seemed to take longer to reach temperature, and to maintain boiling. Do you just crank up the heat (and use more fuel)?

3. Wind kind of sucks because it can knock things down, and blow them away.

4. I do like how easy it is to cool the wort. I was using a 50' immersion chiller, and it cooled the wort down pretty fast.

Do you cut back on your brewing during the winter?
Or instead brew in the garage?

Any general hints or suggestions for winter time brewing?

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Old 12-23-2012, 01:38 AM   #2
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Interested in people's thoughts/tricks on this subject. For my first cold weather brew, I had a much more drastic evaporation rate during my boil. Had to add 1-1.5 gallons of water to the carboy when I was done.

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Old 12-23-2012, 01:43 AM   #3
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I also had my first outdoor cold weather brew today (15 F without the wind chill). The one lesson I'd add is: Take your March pump inside when you're not using it, or keep SWMBO's hair dryer handy. Water in the pump will freeze and seize the whole thing up.

EDIT: Yeah, I had to add about a quart of water to the fermenter too.
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Old 12-23-2012, 01:44 AM   #4
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Open garage door. Use a squirrel cage fan to ventilate if you're worried about carbon monoxide.
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Old 12-23-2012, 01:45 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by ArcLight View Post
Any general hints or suggestions for winter time brewing?
Garage, or better yet basement. Couple years ago I got tired hauling gear outside and then hauling wort back inside....lectric basement brewing is not that difficult.
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Old 12-23-2012, 12:47 PM   #6
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I do 90% of my brewing between Sept & April but being in northwest Ohio, where it is always breezy, I have to set up an elaborate system of wind screens to try to stabilize the burner, boil, etc. For this, I use my gas grill with the cover on and around six to eight patio chairs. This does a decent job of protecting the burner from blowing out but it does nothing as far as keeping the evaporation rate lower. I just try to account for it by collecting a bit more from the mash. Im not sure if partially covering your kettle with a lid would help with this. Im sure you dont want to completely cover it.

To be honest, I just have to play it by ear and brew in the garage on days that it is too windy. I do this with the overhead door cracked just enough to keep the beagles from escaping and the back door either propped open or at least having the window opened. Ive found that on days when its too windy to brew outside I get a good stream of fresh air moving through the garage this way so exhaust isnt a concern for me. I still have the convenience of backyard/garden hose clean up this way.
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Old 12-23-2012, 01:11 PM   #7
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No reason not to brew in garage if you can, might not keep the cold out with the door open but at least you'll avoid the wind issues.
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Old 12-23-2012, 01:41 PM   #8
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Mark me down for doing most of my brewing in the garage. Winter or summer in windy weather.
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Old 12-23-2012, 01:49 PM   #9
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The last two brews I did in the garage. I close the door during mashing, so I don't lose heat from the kettle to the cold. The door goes up anytime I fire up the burner.
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Old 12-23-2012, 01:52 PM   #10
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I live in South Texas so the only difference between brewing in winter or summer is wearing pants and shoes or wearing shorts and sandals. Yesterday, I brewed and it was a "cold" day for here. I actually wore a light jacket (of course I had to leave it unzipped and the sleeves rolled up to keep from sweating). I really miss truly cold winters (like we had when we lived in Montana, Idaho and Colorado). I ferment in my garage now that temperatures have lowered, but still have to use frozen milk jugs in a water bath to keep the temps on them low enough even for ales.

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