First Brew Outdoors! Advice Please

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cannman

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Less than 3 weeks before my first planned outdoor brew. I was wondering what advise you could give to someone who has only brewed on a stove. We're moving to a 30k BTU burner in the open. No Garage. What do you know now that you didn't know then? What might save my brew-day? Thanks for your advice in advance!

:mug:
 

Dopeybrew

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Look out for leaves, pine needles, rain, bugs, and bird poop(yes that has happened to me once).
 

flars

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Check the forecast for the potential of high wind and rain. May need some protection. Does the burner have a wind screen around the base for even the light breezes?
 
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cannman

cannman

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Check the forecast for the potential of high wind and rain. May need some protection. Does the burner have a wind screen around the base for even the light breezes?
oh no.... :drunk:

There is this lip but thats it... :( work around?

 

bobby4

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I have brewed in rain and snow, but wind is a PITA. I have moved various furniture as a wind break, but without great success.


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Natdavis777

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When I went from the stove top to a turkey fryer burner, this biggest thing I enjoyed was the time saving. The burner heated my strike water and got me to a boil so much quicker. So you have that to look forward to. Other than that, I would worry too much about the elements as long as you are not brewing during a downpour or tornado. You are generating a lot of heat and steam while boiling, so there is little chance of something falling in the boil. Once it is cooling though, that is when to watch our for bees and flies. I used to exclusively brew outside because all my equiptment was in my sunroom next to my deck. The coolest brew I did was when it was snowing hardcore.

IMG_0273.jpg
 

dobes

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def check the weather, I had one of those pop up shelters as a back up. and I also had a piece of duct work tin that I used as a wind shield for my burner.
one big bonus for me is the extra space and being able to clean my equipment outside. Makes things real easy.
 

Natdavis777

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For the record, I too, kept a 12x12 pop up cover on hand for those just in case moments. Never had to use it though
 
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cannman

cannman

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For the record, I too, kept a 12x12 pop up cover on hand for those just in case moments. Never had to use it though
hmmm

I wonder if I should brew under the canopy of our RV... serves like a pop up.... it won't help with the wind, but bird poop... :)
 

ArthurDigbySellers

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I bought a fold up table at Lowe's.
Here is my setup.
Just had to chime in that this setup looks almost exactly the same as the one I use. Sam's club fold out table with mash cooler on top. The only thing I lack is the fancy pot you have sitting near your table. I'm still using a 7.5 gallon turkey pot for my strike water/boil kettle and have to manually dump everything (no ball valves or anything like that). My next upgrade will be to get a decent sized pot with a ball valve. But finding a 10 gallon pot with one is not cheap!

As for brewing outdoors. It is the only way I have ever done it and aside from one small rain shower where I had to move everything into the garage, I have never had a problem.
 

runkelia

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Just had to chime in that this setup looks almost exactly the same as the one I use. Sam's club fold out table with mash cooler on top. The only thing I lack is the fancy pot you have sitting near your table. I'm still using a 7.5 gallon turkey pot for my strike water/boil kettle and have to manually dump everything (no ball valves or anything like that). My next upgrade will be to get a decent sized pot with a ball valve. But finding a 10 gallon pot with one is not cheap!

As for brewing outdoors. It is the only way I have ever done it and aside from one small rain shower where I had to move everything into the garage, I have never had a problem.
If I could do it again, I would have bought that pot @ 15 gallons for 10 gallon batches. You live and learn.

Back to the OP: the only issue I have encountered brewing outdoors, is that in the winter, my hose froze up and had to pack snow continuously around the pot, what a PITA. You would think cooling would be easier in the winter...not so.
 
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The other thing I would mention, is (obsessively) plan out your brewing, and have all your equipment available. It's a pain in the butt to have to run into the house to get a 1/2 tsp. measurer because you forgot you need one, and have a boilover happen that puts out your burner.
 

FiddlersGreen87

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The other thing I would mention, is (obsessively) plan out your brewing, and have all your equipment available. It's a pain in the butt to have to run into the house to get a 1/2 tsp. measurer because you forgot you need one, and have a boilover happen that puts out your burner.
This sounds more like a personal story than advice. :p
 

paperairplane

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Plan out where your water hose and propane hose will be. Make sure there is nothing to trip over
 

SuliBrew

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Have a checklist of all items needed.
plan out your immersion chiller if that is what you will be using to chill. You don't want to run into a situation where you yank on your chiller hose and spill the chilling wort.
 

WWJPD

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Wind and your burner blowing out. Keep an eye on that. Obviously rain-I have a deck with an awning that works great for me, but I wouldn't brew outside if rain were threatening.

In regards to bugs, leaves and other airborne stuff... I sometimes use a grease splatterguard like this. I know there is a concern of DMS, but so much of the steam from the boiloff goes right through it and I've had good results so far. Even if your pot is bigger than the screen, at least most of it is protected. Makes me feel better when the bees come to sniff the wort.
 

Wolfbrau

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My advice? Don't tug on superman's cape, don't spit into the wind, don't pull the mask off the ol' Lone Ranger, and above all DON'T MESS AROUND WITH JIM.

But, really, aluminum foil can help with wind. Don't starve your burner, either.
 

YeastMode

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If I could do it again, I would have bought that pot @ 15 gallons for 10 gallon batches. You live and learn.
This. Anyway, aside from what has been mentioned, I always keep a few pieces of scrap wood around to rest my hot pots on, whether it be on the table or on the ground.
 

firerat

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Get a pop up tent thingy. You said (OP) you had an RV canopy or whatever? Use it. You'd be amazed at what can find it's way into your kettle.

The foil idea for dealing with wind is a great one!!

Keep a trash can close by.

Clean as you go.

Have a good cleaning station of sorts set up.

Try to pick a day with good weather. That's hard to do down here, but as anyone from South Florida will tell you, if you don't like the weather, wait 10 minutes, it'll change.

Be aware of where your propane hoses are as well as any extension cords.
 

jamsomito

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Not sure what size batches you're doing, but I brew outside and chill inside. I just rigged up a hose adapter to my kitchen faucet, works great and you don't have to worry about stuff falling into your then vulnerable wort.

Funny to see this thread... On my last batch I swore I would get some sort of table for the next one. I had several cardboard boxes set up and it kinda sucked.

Ive never had too much fall into the mash or boil... Nothing I couldn't scoop out anyway.

Wind is the worst. But I've been successful even in moderate winds so don't sweat it too much. Chances are you'll want to be elsewhere than outside during a wind storm anyway. If the weather is crappy I just swap some plans around and choose a different day to brew.
 

eadavis80

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Be sure you have a radio so you can listen to a football game or some good music while brewing. Enjoy the time outdoors. Just make sure you have all your equipment nearby and if your brew has DME, be careful with it if it's windy - it's amazing how much of it can blow away if you're not careful.
 
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cannman

cannman

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I appreciate all of the info! Please keep it coming!

My next few brews will be all grain, no DME involved outdoors (perhaps for the yeast...)

All of this talk of rain and snow make me want to plan a brew for the first snow day of the year! Attack the day intentionally...

I wish I could give some of these posts a double thanks.
 
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cannman

cannman

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So...... do I have to Teflon the threads between the regulator and propane tank?
 

Foosier

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I just screw the regulator right onto the propane tank. No reason to teflon those. It isn't a permanent connection and you are outdoors so the big worry would be leaking in a confined space which you don't worry about out doors.
 

Bobcatbrewing42

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A wind screen is critical as several have noted. Your boil kettle may seem fine until the wind dies and then suddenly boil over. When chilling, there is a lot of wild stuff in the breeze. Depending on what you have, a cloth wetted with sanitizer over the whole thing can save some grief. I brew in the dead of winter on good days and the air has less mold, yeast, etc. and the snow is a great pre-chiller.
 

FiddlersGreen87

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One thing I haven't seen mentioned that might be a good idea that I'm definitely doing Friday is a trial run. Since I'm using a lot of new equipment for the first time that I never used in my kitchen, I'm going to hook everything up and run water through everything so I can find any leaks or make note of any equipment or steps I missed in preparation.

I'm about to go down the same road, moving out of my kitchen for my first outdoor brew this weekend as well. Fortunately most of the things mentioned here I've covered, I do need to still do a checklist.

I am really excited to brew in the winter too. I'm not too sure why, but I just like the thought of being outside on a chilly crisp day with the brew cooking away. Although I do live in GA so I don't know how much of a winter we'll get, but either way since this is going to be my first full winter since moving from HI I'm just excited for the season changes in general.
 
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cannman

cannman

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Does yours look similar to this:

Where the black coupler part just screws onto the propane tank?

Then no, no teflon tape needed.
Its more metal on metal, no plastic over cap

 

hezagenius

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If you are going to use an immersion chiller and plan on sanitizing it in the boiling wort for the last few minutes of the boil, make sure to keep the hoses up high and away from the flame and side of the brew kettle. I guess that goes for both indoor and outdoor brewing.

A few batches ago, I spaced this off and the outflow hose melted closed. I didn't realize it right away when I turned the water on since it takes a little bit of time for the water to go through, but then I could see it block and I had this "oh s...!" moment right before it blew the outflow hose right off the metal coil. The clamp couldn't hold it on. Luckily I was able to keep most of the water out of the wort until I could cut the line and re-attach it. Beer turned out OK so I chalked it up as a good lesson.
 

firerat

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Its more metal on metal, no plastic over cap

I don't think you need teflon for those either, but wait for someone smarter than me to chime in.

Side Note:

If you want to switch from that type of regulator fitting to the more standard ones like I posted, buy a tank gauge. It will fit to the regulator you have. They are like $13 at home depot. Makes switching tanks a bit easier. Not really a big thing, but i did it so I figured I'd share.

Tank gauge:

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Brinkmann-Propane-Tank-Gauge-812-9220-S/202994547
 

william_shakes_beer

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Before i did my first banjo brew, i purchased 2 sheets of aluminum, 12x24, bent them to cover the space between the burner and the bottom of the pot rack, and slipped it underneath the heads of the bolts holding the burner to the rack. Works great as a wind screen. Also, if you're in colder weather, you need something to keep mash temps from falling during the rest. I purchased a roll of 24" wide reflectiv foil vapor barrier and 2 really long double sided velcro tie wraps.
 

william_shakes_beer

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If you have a low profile burner and a brew pot with a ball valve, be sure to raise the burner enough so the output of the valve is high enough to slide the fermenter underneath. My setup requires 4 bricks under each leg. YMMV.

Be sure to level the burner with a level before you put a full pot of liquid on it. A little off center or rock when empty could end up tossing your wort to the ants.
 
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cannman

cannman

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If you have a low profile burner and a brew pot with a ball valve, be sure to raise the burner enough so the output of the valve is high enough to slide the fermenter underneath. My setup requires 4 bricks under each leg. YMMV.
This is the EXACT reason why i'm brewing 5 gallons at a time and did not splurge on the 25 gallon kettle. My burner IS low profile so if I went BIG, I'd have to invest in a pump to get the wort into the primary carboys. With 5 gallons, I can easily lift that onto my work bench. thank you for the tips
 
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cannman

cannman

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Before i did my first banjo brew, i purchased 2 sheets of aluminum, 12x24, bent them to cover the space between the burner and the bottom of the pot rack, and slipped it underneath the heads of the bolts holding the burner to the rack. Works great as a wind screen. Also, if you're in colder weather, you need something to keep mash temps from falling during the rest. I purchased a roll of 24" wide reflectiv foil vapor barrier and 2 really long double sided velcro tie wraps.
Generally speaking, wind storms are announced on our weather band, but often times, its only hours in advance. Certain hours of the day also seem to produce more ferocious winds than others...

Just to be sure, what am I worried about with wind?

1. Crap being thrown into the wort?
2. Wind blowing out the flame?
3. Wind cooling the tank preventing or hindering a boil?
4. Wind disturbing the flame so much off center that it throws off boiling times etc?

:)
thanks
 
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Always a good idea to keep a bucket of sanitizing liquid to put spoons, floating thermometers, etc in so that they aren't laying around, exposed.

I recommend spending the money on the tank larger tank connecter as well. Well worth it, although I don't think the gauge is a must-have.

Also, I keep a spray bottle with sanitized water in it nearby in case boiling over is a possibility. Works better than stirring IMO. If your pot is large relative to your 5 gallon batch, then that's a moot point.

Good luck!
 
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