Author Topic: Mashing in very cold environments  (Read 4987 times)

Offline dnd0327

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Mashing in very cold environments
« on: October 03, 2012, 05:15:58 PM »
Has anyone tried mashing with a cooler type mashtun outside when it's below freezing out? I would like to move my operation outside, but it get's very cold in Maine. I'm not sure if a cooler will hold temps outside like it does at room temps.
Thanks,
Dan

Offline pcollins

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Re: Mashing in very cold environments
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2012, 06:58:56 PM »
Just grab a heavy blanket and wrap up the cooler as best you can. Maybe two. ;) A spare parka, maybe. If you're leaving everything outside then something that you can dirty up or get wet or what not and not worry about. Maybe do a check with hot water before to see how much temp is lost over the hour.

I'm in Southern Ontario so we get cold winters here... sort of. What I ended up doing was mashing outside and then shlepping the cooler inside for the mash rest and then outside for the sparge/lauter. There were two of us brewing so that was fine but it wasn't something I would have wanted to try on my own.

Offline Rep

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Re: Mashing in very cold environments
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2012, 09:53:24 PM »
I use a Coleman cooler and do brew in the Wisconsin winters. 

I took a piece of blue insulation that is probably two inches thick and cut it to form into the top of my cooler mash tun.  I then made a second piece and place the two, one on top of the other, into the cooler and press them down so they come to rest close to the grain.  I simply fill the air space with the insulation.

Offline bigchicken

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Re: Mashing in very cold environments
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2012, 11:02:30 AM »
I live in Nebraska and use a Rubbermaid 50 quart 5 day cooler for my tun. I've brewed outside when temps were below freezing with good results. Over the course of an hour, the mash can drop about 4 - 5 degrees with no extra insulation. As long as the style you're brewing can handle the decrease, you can may some great beers when it's cold. I say go for it, but just plan ahead. If you want to keep your mash at the same temp the whole way through, you may need to add some more hot water.
TJ Cook

Offline anvilbrew

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Re: Mashing in very cold environments
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2012, 11:06:00 PM »
Here is something I did; take a Mylar survival blanket wrap the tun in that then wrap a couple of blankets or a sleeping bag around that. The Mylar reflects about 45% of the heat back.
Drinking:
Porter
In the keg:
Porter
In the fermenter:
Kolsch
American IPA
Next brew session:
Smoked Beer, Strawberry Blonde

Offline marcuskillion

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Re: Mashing in very cold environments
« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2012, 08:35:17 AM »
I have a question . why do want to mash outside in the winter ?
I boil outside in summer but in winter I boil inside with my propane burner right in the kitchen . If you can not boil inside for whatever reason then can you not just boil outside and then bring in the pot and pour it in the tun inside ?  That is what I do in the summer . A cooler does not take up much room in the kitchen or utility room and only for a couple hours .

 if you must do it outside how about some dense styrofoam insulation . A piece on the ground for the tun to sit on and perhaps a square around the tun with the front able to open up to put in the tun . Perhaps make a box from 1/2 " plywood and the styrofoam on the inside . this would make a nice insulated shed for your tun .
« Last Edit: December 25, 2012, 08:41:25 AM by marcuskillion »

Offline bigchicken

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Re: Mashing in very cold environments
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2012, 05:39:50 PM »
I have a question . why do want to mash outside in the winter ?
I boil outside in summer but in winter I boil inside with my propane burner right in the kitchen . If you can not boil inside for whatever reason then can you not just boil outside and then bring in the pot and pour it in the tun inside ?  That is what I do in the summer . A cooler does not take up much room in the kitchen or utility room and only for a couple hours .

 if you must do it outside how about some dense styrofoam insulation . A piece on the ground for the tun to sit on and perhaps a square around the tun with the front able to open up to put in the tun . Perhaps make a box from 1/2 " plywood and the styrofoam on the inside . this would make a nice insulated shed for your tun .

Boiling inside with most propane burners is a really bad idea. A great deal of propane burners have a lesser quality combustion than a typical stove would have. Carbon Monoxide is a real risk. If you have some type of ventilation system, then things could be different for you. Even 98% efficient furnaces must be vented outdoors or you risk Carbon Monoxide in the home.

Boiling outside and bringing the water in to your mash tun would work just fine. As long as you don't mind lugging it around, depending on the volumes.
TJ Cook

 

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