Last Saturday I had my first experience brewing in the snow. I brewed up a Scottish Ale, so the snow cover outside seemed appropriate. I thought about waiting a week for the weather to improve, but I can just hear the scolding I would receive from some Scottish highlander for being a pansy. So I grabbed my Siberian hat and fired it up.
Brewing in sub-freezing temperatures wasn’t all that bad. Luckily, it wasn’t very windy, so the propane burner provided a suitable amount of heat. Even though I have an insulated cooler that I use as a mash tun, I kept it inside so it would minimize heat loss.
The toughest part of the process was getting my wort to boil. I was doing a 10-gallon batch with a 90 minute boil, so I started with 13 gallons of wort. Even though the wort started out at nearly 155 degrees from the mash and sparge, it still took nearly an hour and half to bring it to boil. I was beginning to think the old adage was true, “a watched pot never boils.”
On the flip side of that, I was able to cool the wort using my immersion chiller very quickly. I was able to get all that wort cooled to 60 degrees in about 45 minutes.
I had a great time, and it felt awesome to be outside, making beer in the freezing cold. And aside from forgetting to fill my propane tanks the day before the snow hit and having to go out and exchange one of my tanks and almost not making it back up my driveway, everything went smoothly.
Here are a few photos for your enjoyment.
|Nicole getting ready to stir the mash|
|Somehow, the combination of extreme cold and the heat from the Bayou Classic unleashed a torrent of electromagnetic energy, transporting us back to 1978.|