Pondering moving brewing operations outdoors - suggestions?

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum:

MooDaddy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2010
Messages
55
Reaction score
1
Location
Winston-Salem
I currently brew 5 gallon extract batches, and while brewing in the kitchen works, getting to a boil takes forever on the electric range as does chilling the wort with ice bags in the sink. I sense the entire process could be made faster and more efficient with a few upgrades - most notably a propane burner and a wort chiller of some kind, the first of which requires a move outdoors. My deck is just outside my kitchen, so that is the most logical place to go, but I would appreciate hearing from some of you who have made similar moves, what you learned, and what you might do differently if you were making the move all over again. Much appreciated.
 

Jim R

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2020
Messages
360
Reaction score
354
Location
Wisconsin
I started outside and in the garage as my wife wouldn't have gone for brewing in the kitchen and house. I started with a cheap turkey fryer burner which was too slow. I quickly upgraded to a Blichmann Hellfire burner which is amazingly fast. I probably go through a half of a 20 lb propane tank per brew day which is about $10 but I bought a spare tank so I knew I would never run out at a bad time. There is definitely some expense to make the process "faster and more efficient" but it was well worth it for me.

I chill quickly with a standard copper immersion chiller. I start out with the garden hose for 10 minutes and then switch to an ice filled cooler with an inexpensive utility pump to get to pitching temperature in 20-25 min total. I make a couple milk carton blocks of ice and make a couple batches of ice cubes from our refrigerator ice maker a couple days before brew day to chill the water in the cooler during my boil time.

The nice thing about being outside is that I can use the hose to clean everything in the yard instead of in a kitchen or laundry sink.
 

bstacy1974

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2010
Messages
396
Reaction score
203
Location
Fairbanks
Do yourself a favor and look into electric systems. Lots of options for a 120v 15amp circuit. If you have a garage with a 240v outlet, your options grow even more.
 

ATLBeer

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Oct 27, 2020
Messages
131
Reaction score
123
Location
Atlanta
Are you planning to go all grain or stick with extract?

If you are going all grain there are lots of options, I like electric all in ones.

If you continue with extract there are things you can do to make it faster with your current setup.

First, only use 2 gallons of water to steep your grains and boil hops. Add your extract at the end of the boil just long enough to get it mixed. This will significantly shorten time to get to temp.

Then top it off with ice and or tap water to get to 5 gallons. This will cool your wort quickly.

Makes for a quick brew day!
 

Transamguy77

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Apr 18, 2011
Messages
2,296
Reaction score
739
Location
Perkasie
Moving outside is one of the best moves I made. The only downside to what you said is having to move more stuff out to your deck which means moving more stuff back inside at the end of a brew day.

I know electric is becoming more popular but I like propane, it works well and it can be used anywhere, couple of downsides is you can run out and the tank will freeze in the winter.

I know it’s hard to look into the future but if you think you might make bigger batches or a lot of bigger beers than get yourself a large pot and a large enough wort chiller to cool it down.
 

Coastalbrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2018
Messages
1,016
Reaction score
781
I tried brewing outside once and will never do it again. Get an all in one electric system with 240V cord and stay inside.
 

Murrayatuptown

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2020
Messages
71
Reaction score
66
First 5-gal, first outdoor.

Bayou Classic burner/boiler kit that popped up on sale while browsing. Borrowed propane tank from gas grill.

Varnish-stained countertop from baseboard molding project. Was on top of (dormant) fire pit but realized wort chiller hose length necessitated relocation. Then we were able to use fire pit to stay warm. Plot
IMG_20201213_150829.jpg
 
OP
OP
M

MooDaddy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2010
Messages
55
Reaction score
1
Location
Winston-Salem
Thanks folks for all the suggestions - much to ponder. The all electric systems in particular do seem pretty cool.

ATLBeer - great idea, most of what has spurred me to consider moving outdoors is simply the time issue, but your idea seems like it could help with that significantly, and since I only do extract at this time and my brews are fairly spread out, that might be just the ticket for the time being.
 

Dland

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
May 28, 2018
Messages
2,571
Reaction score
1,733
Brewing outside is good for me at this point, though I might want to move inside later in my dotage. Started out with gas, same rig. Snow pic is w gas rig. IMG_2584.JPG IMG_1496.JPG IMG_1305.JPG
IMG_1305.JPG
IMG_1496.JPG
IMG_2584.JPG
 
Last edited:

Alex4mula

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2018
Messages
532
Reaction score
254
Do yourself a favor and look into electric systems. Lots of options for a 120v 15amp circuit. If you have a garage with a 240v outlet, your options grow even more.
Agree 100%. If you have the space indoors I would go this way. Brew on rain or snow, cold or hot. Less space too.
 

Dland

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
May 28, 2018
Messages
2,571
Reaction score
1,733
Agree 100%. If you have the space indoors I would go this way. Brew on rain or snow, cold or hot. Less space too.

Rain snow hot/cold works outdoors too, as seen in above post (#10). Yeah, there's some times when it would be nicer indoors. One good thing about outdoors though is it a lot easier to clean up when you can just dump out & hose kettles, etc, off.
 

Transamguy77

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Apr 18, 2011
Messages
2,296
Reaction score
739
Location
Perkasie
I’m with @Dland I love it outside, doesn’t matter what the temp is or if it’s raining or snowing I’d rather be outside than inside.

It’s not any different than grilling or smoking meat, does it matter what the temp is outside? Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean we don’t get to eat brisket (or tri tip for you folks on the west coast) it’s just rain, or snow. Now I also don’t live where it gets in the single digits or stays below zero for days at a time so maybe I might think differently but probably not I don’t mind the cold as much as the hot.
 

jrgtr42

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2013
Messages
1,830
Reaction score
1,170
Location
Metrowest, Massachusets.
After brewing indoors on the stove, moving outside onto a propane turkey fryer was the best move |I ever made.
After brewing outside, moving back inside with electric (3500 watt induction; had a 220V line run for it. ) was the best move I ever did.
 

ITV

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2015
Messages
542
Reaction score
329
Location
Chicago Suburbs
I brew indoors with natural gas. I slide my gas range out of the way and set up my Edlemetal burner. My vent hood vents to the outside and I have a CO/gas detector for piece of mind. Since this is in my basement kitchen, I don't upset the wife.
The main benefits to brew in my basement is that is where I store my equipment including my fermentor and I can fill my brew kettle with RO water directly instead of hauling 5 gallon jugs around.
IMG_1475.JPG
 
Last edited:
Top