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donovanmaxwell

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Did my first all grain batch yesterday. Making an ESB. It was in the mid to high 40s outside yesterday here in Irving, Tx. We had a good time sampling some brews and cooking some fajitas.

My question is this: How do you guys deal will all the steam coming from your boil kettle? I'm borrowing my home brew club's keggle and the thermometer is mounted higher than I need for a 5 gal brew so I wasn't able to monitor temp the entire time and due to steam was unable to adjust the amount on heat to apply by looking a the boil. They normally do 10+ gallon brews.

Any advice? When I build my keggle I am planning on mounting the thermometer lower (with a heat shield below). That way I can just watch the temp gauge and still adjust gas flow.

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kirbcheck

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I'm sorry but I had to chuckle at "Cold weather brewing" meaning 40 degrees. I live in Nebraska and that's a fairly common thing for me...

As for your question, I'm assuming you mean you wanted to monitor how ferocious your boil was so you could turn down the gas to conserve propane? It would be difficult with a 5 Gallon batch in a keggle just because steam will sit in the top 2/3. You can use a fan to displace the steam, but for a 5 Gallon batch in a keggle, I don't know how well that would work. Personally, I would move up to 10 Gallon batches, it would be easier to monitor.

When you do make your keggle, remember that the boiling temp of wort is higher than water, so you want to wait to throttle down your burner until you reach an actual boil.
 

MaxStout

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I've had the same problem here in frigid Minnesota. I have to shine a flashlight down into the kettle to see how the boil is going.
 

lumpy5oh

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I just brewed in 28º weather. I simply blow the steam away to monitor the boil. It also kinda feels good getting the warm steam in the face.
 
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donovanmaxwell

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Chuckle away! "Cold" is all about perspective. For me anything below 50°F is "cold" I don't think I could survive a norther winter... :) I had to chuckle myself when I traveled to Ely, Minnesota during Labor Day 2012. It was 85°F outside and they had a heat advisory going. That's the result of a cold front here! HA HA All in good fun!

Anyhow, you are correct. It was mainly a fuel conservation issue. Though, I was trying to avoid excessive boil off. I boiled off roughly 3 gals and only ended up with 4 gallons in the fermenter. I did try shining a flashlight, but it mainly reflected off the steam and was difficult to judge. I'll try to remember a fan next time it's cool out like that.

10 gallon batches are in the future, I just need a couple more carboys. I'm trying to keep a constant pipeline going so as not to run out of something different to enjoy. Looks like I should have waited until today to brew. It feels wonderful outside!
 

MikeInMKE

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Just a FYI, when I end up boiling off a bit too much, I just add unboiled room temperature water to the still-hot wort get me back to the desired post boil volume.

For instance:
4G @ 200 degree wort + 1G @ 70 degree water = 5G @ 174 degrees. High temperature short time Pasteurization requires 161°F for 15 seconds, so you're good to go.
 
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donovanmaxwell

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That's a good idea. I hadn't thought to do that. I'll keep it in mind for the next brew.

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Drk93TT

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Just brewed a few weeks ago. 14 degrees and blowing snow lol watched the boil from inside and it went wonderfully
 

PastorofMuppets

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This year my cold weather brew was -5 degrees outside and 7 degrees inside my garage.
I had the door cracked a bit for some air flow. It was still a fun day.
 
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donovanmaxwell

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Geez and I'm thinking of moving South for the cold weather we get here in D/FW, TX. I'm much better suited for hot weather. Not that I like 110°, but I can always find a way to cool off. I have a hard time staying warm. Lots of props for you guys that deal with the sub-zero junk!

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mozart4898

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I just try to blow the steam away as best as I can. I too have tried the flashlight and that hasn't worked well, it just reflects off the steam. Sometimes stirring vigorously will cut down on the steam just a bit too.

I've only really gotten back into brewing in the last 4 months and it's been one of the harshest winters in history in my area. I've brewed 6 batches and I'm not positive temps have been above freezing for any of them - perhaps the first one. In fact one batch I brewed (New Year's Day), I partially cooled the kettle in a snowpile beside the driveway. I could have easily buried the kettle.

I think my coldest brewday has been 0 or a few degrees below. Brewing in the garage, but still...
 
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