Jan 052009

Welcome to 2009! It’s been almost a full month since I posted last, and in that time, I’ve been struggling with the Winter weather here in the Northeast. My last post on winter brewing had a few of you chime in, and it seems like many of you do head indoors and fire up the stove for some extract and partial boil brews. Man, I was really hoping for some off-the-wall Rube Goldberg-esque methods to defeat the cold and brew in complete comfort – go figure, most of you just go inside your houses. Once again, I am overthinking…

With this in mind, I headed out to the brew store last week and picked up my first brew kit in a long time. There was something relazing about not having to worry about measuring grain and hops – everything is all bagged and ready to go. The kit is a clone of Old Speckled Hen, which I chose for its fairly quick grain to glass timeframe. I am brewing this as a belated Christmas gift, and I’d like it to be ready before Spring arrives!

So, brewing is planned for Saturday – weather be damned! I have to scrounge up my old boil kettle and give it a good washing – I think it has been relegated to the basement and stuffed with old towels or something.

I think this will be cathartic – I had a very disappointing brew year in 2008, and now it’s a new year and I’m returning to my roots. Sometimes you have to break things down and get back to the essence to remember why you like to do them. I’m hoping this will be the spark that gets 2009 off to a great start!

Do you guys have anything brewing for the New Year? Drop a line and let me know. Also, if you do have any crazy and creative Winter brew tips, shoot them over – there’s still plenty of cold weather left to put them to the test!

  3 Responses to “Winter Brewing Redux (or, How I Learned to Love Partial Boils)”

  1. Nothing crazy. Just ran out of homebrew. Its tough to keep it around the house during the holidays.

    The tap water is colder in the winter here and it helps me chill my wort faster. I’ll often leave my kegs in the garage in the winter instead of running the beer fridge. Hmmm…I think that’s about it.

    I’ll save the rest for Fermentation Friday!

  2. I do all-grain year round in my basement brew room. It’s a daylight basement with a door at that side of the house, so it works great even with a gas burner going. Just hang the door open and make sure you’ve got some plastic up to keep the humidity out of the rest of the house. I would advise against the use of gas in a true underground basement without professionally installed ventilation built for the purpose but electric heating for mash and boil is an option if you can get the humidity out.

    This room is a great boon since all of the other brew equipment and ingredients are just a few steps into an adjacent room, along with a deep stainless sink for cleanup and chiller hookup. I used to have to carry everything upstairs and out into the garage and then lug it all back down again when the fermenter was full.

    I still do extract brews – I have a particular hefe-weisse that I simply cannot match with grains- but I’ve never done partial boils. I’ve got plans to properly round out the basement brewery with a decent ventilation system this year so while that’s going on, I may try a partial boil or two in the kitchen.

  3. Thank you for your post, it was very interesting to read. I always like to read and write about this kind of craftsmanship.

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