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Brewing in Cold Weather

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permo

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I live in ND, where it can get..well..COLD! Anyways, I am a newer brewer only 25 gallons brewed so far, but this weekend I brewed one up and the outside temp was 33 degrees or so. I could crank up my burner and not matter what I wouldn't get a boilover...the cold air just make the wort steam and roll back under. It was a nice rolling boil. I just thought I would pass this along for others in the north, that brewing the colder weather has some advantages. I can't wait until I can chill my wort in a snowbank or on my steps outside my front door at -20 degrees! :rockin:
 

Grinder12000

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I'm in Wisconsin and have brewed in cold weather and have had boil overs but my burner is rather powerful. You do get more evaporation also.

BTW - cooling in snow is SLOW!! Not worth it. It helps but not as much as you would think because the snow keeps melting away. I still use a wort chiller but we have a new house with outdoor faucets that do not have to be turned off in the winter.
 
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permo

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You are telling me about he evaporation. I was anticipating some evaporation so i boiled 5.5 gallons...by the time it was all said and done I had 4.5 gallons left and had to add water.
 

shortyjacobs

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You are telling me about he evaporation. I was anticipating some evaporation so i boiled 5.5 gallons...by the time it was all said and done I had 4.5 gallons left and had to add water.
Wow....you get away lucky...I usually lose around 1.75 gallons....1.25 to evap, 0.5 to trub in kettle...
 

cactusgarrett

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Once it's colder, you can lose more during the boil. 1gal/hour is standard for me at 60 or 70F. You're lucky that you don't have to shut off your faucets in the winter. Mine freeze up fairly quickly with consistenly cold weather. Snowbanks won't work - trust me. I have to huck the boilpot downstairs to the utility sink to hook up my immersion chiller.

One thing i DO plan on doing this year is to buy one of those portable firepits to set up in the driveway. Nothing like brewing next to a campfire - a little space heater in a 10F garage only goes so far.
 

400d

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I live in ND, where it can get..well..COLD! Anyways, I am a newer brewer only 25 gallons brewed so far, but this weekend I brewed one up and the outside temp was 33 degrees or so. I could crank up my burner and not matter what I wouldn't get a boilover...the cold air just make the wort steam and roll back under. It was a nice rolling boil. I just thought I would pass this along for others in the north, that brewing the colder weather has some advantages. I can't wait until I can chill my wort in a snowbank or on my steps outside my front door at -20 degrees! :rockin:
I'm really interested in how you ferment if it is so cold?
 

babalu87

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The worst part is trying to keep the wort chiller going
I had the hoses freezing up on me a few times last year
 

Grinder12000

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I would think the hard part is thawing the ice chunk after a winter of chilling!

I will admit that I won't brew in ultra cold. Upper 20's are the limit for me.
 

cruelkix

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For all those thinking snow will help you chill your pot just rememeber that snow is actually a really good insulator..... Take a bag of water and throw it in teh snow. Come back ina awhile and its not frozen. Throw that same bag on top of the snow were the ari and wind can get at it .... Frozen, and pretty fast at like 0 - 10 degrees outside.

You may absorb some energy melting the snow, but as soon as the intial contact is done you are worse off then just leaving it out in the cold air and wind.
 

shortyjacobs

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For all those thinking snow will help you chill your pot just rememeber that snow is actually a really good insulator..... Take a bag of water and throw it in teh snow. Come back ina awhile and its not frozen. Throw that same bag on top of the snow were the ari and wind can get at it .... Frozen, and pretty fast at like 0 - 10 degrees outside.

You may absorb some energy melting the snow, but as soon as the intial contact is done you are worse off then just leaving it out in the cold air and wind.
.....by that logic, does that mean it's better to throw a mixed drink into the freezer instead of putting an ice cube in it?
 

OCLemon

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.....by that logic, does that mean it's better to throw a mixed drink into the freezer instead of putting an ice cube in it?
No - the reason snow is a good insulator is because it isn't very dense. There is a lot of trapped air in there, and air is the most commonly used insulator there is.

The ice cube in the mixed drink is effective at cooling because it melts - the drink loses energy to the ice cube by melting it. If you were to put a 32 degree plastic block in your drink, for instance, it wouldn't have nearly the same effect as an ice cube.
 

springer

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I'm really interested in how you ferment if it is so cold?
I think his house is a little warmer than outside.;)

Snow banks are not that good a cooling wort as been said.Now if you use a pond pump and snow and water you can pump slush threw your chiller..I left it too long and had to wait till the wort warmed up to 68° to pitch.It was 48° when I brought it down to the basement :drunk:

 

kappajoe

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I just had my buddy install a hose bib inside my house for those cold MT weekends.... Now if I can get my chiller to quit dripping I will be all set.
 

rcrabb22

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I live in Illinois and I have brewed in single digit temps. I brew in the garage and since afraid of CO poisoning I leave my garage door fully open and open the rear service door as well.

I use the outside hose bib and have not had issues with freezing hoses. I keep my garden hose in the house until ready to use it to keep it supple. Once chilling is done back into the house they go so they won't freeze.

I have had issues with ice glazing on the garage floor from spilled liquid. I once almost took a nasty fall into the boiling brew kettle but was able to avoid it, whew! The good thing is water temp going into my chiller from the tap is around 44F, makes for quick cooling.

I make 10 gal batches and in dead of winter I need to start with 13.5 gal for an hour boil to end up with 11 gal for fermentation. As temperatures warm 12.5 to 13 gal do fine. Thick steam from the kettle can make actually seeing the start of the boil difficult.

I ferment in the basement and use a 30 gal rubbermaid tub filled with water. I have a Ranco temp controller with a 50 gal aquarium heater, and a pond pump to keep the water moving to manage fermentation temps. If unheated the water temp in the tub is 61F.

For me, winter is easier to brew for me. Summer and the warmer temperatures are harder for me to manage.
 
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