Dec 092008


Winter brewing?

I wound up postponing my brew session planned for this past Sunday when I woke up to a frigid morning and a fresh blanket of snow on the ground. I could’ve dealt with the snow, and I might’ve been OK with the cold, but the real brew killer was the fact that my garden hose was frozen!

Back in my apartment dwelling days, I brewed all year round with no worries – one of the distinct advantages of doing partial boils and extract beers. I briefly considered converting the recipe to extract, but didn’t know if the long boil would mess up my stove (one of those electric flat cooktop ones). Frustrated, I put off the brew until this coming weekend, and all I can do is hope for some better weather.

So, how do you guys do it? I’ve read accounts of brewers in Minnesota brewing in sub-zero weather, so I should be able to handle the occasional freezing brewday. What do you guys do when the weather gets cold? Do you have a system to deal with the cold weather (mash indoors, use the cold to your advantage when chilling, etc…)? Do you brew indoors, switching to smaller batches or partial boils? Or do you hang up your mash paddle until the Spring? And how do you deal with a frozen water supply anyway???

I feel this year was such a bust – I totally missed out on the Fall, which is my favorite season to brew. I missed performing the Great Pumpkin Beer Challenge, and didn’t get my Winter Warmer brewed. What a waste of some good brewing weather. It would kill me if I couldn’t brew again until March. Not to mention I need to get this beer done in time for Christmas!

Email me or leave a comment with your best winter brewing tips – if I get enough, I’ll compile them into a separate post. Happy brewing!