Home brewing in Connecticut Discussions - CT Beer Trail

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Wort Chilling in the Snow! New England Style

Have you ever used snow to help chill your wort?

I finally got back on the horse and brewed something... I should say it was over a week ago, my time is very short these days with work and family gobbling up nearly all of my time. Sadly more work than I'd like and less family... But I digress... With my limited time, my blogging has fell by the wayside. I'll make an honest attempt at getting caught up...

Brew Day Prep

The Deck - I intended on clearing the ice and snow from my back deck to create a clearing for brewing outside with my turkey cooker. I'm a lazy man, so I planned on starting up the old deck heater and letting the propane melt away my troubles. That plan failed, the heater wouldn't stay lit, and the ice is still there to this day thanks to this annoyingly snow filled New England winter.

The Turkey Cooker - I did manage to get the propane tanks filled for both the heater (useless) and the turkey cooker. I decided to pull the old Bry-Mobile out of the garage and cook out there instead, and it worked out pretty well. My first garage brewing experience, and it seemed to go pretty well...

Have garage, will brew... Note the ice covered driveway...

The Wort Chiller - I also was hoping my buddy Dave G. would come over to help me brew and would also be kind enough to bring his wort chiller... Dave never showed up, nor did his chiller. Come to think of it, I haven't even heard from Dave in over a week or so... Hope he's OK.

Kenn did show up, and he was kind enough to bring his own wort chiller, as well as some sampled of he first handful of home brews. I'll go into more detail on his brews in a later post, but over all, not too bad...

Kenn shows off one of his home brews... Not too shabby...

Using the garage was convenient because it gave of access to two things.

1. We had quick access to the hose spigot, perfect for feeding the chiller cold water. Although, as Kenn was quick to point out, the water would eventually coat the driveway and add to the ice. He was right, but ehh... What ever... It'll warm up eventually. (Did I mention my mother's car and the cable guy's truck may have slide down the drive way later in the week... While in park...)

2. We had access to plenty of snow, which I was curious to see in action as an assistant to wort chilling.

Kenn packs the snow around the hot brew pot
while keep the wort chiller hose from getting dirty...

When the time came, Kenn and I hooked the wort chiller up and let it do its thing while nestling the brew pot in a pile of snow. I'm not sure how helpful the snow was, but it didn't seem to hurt.

Kenn did a fine job of using the little snow bank
on what was once a planter on my front step.
Perhaps I'll grow hops there in the spring...

Kenn was having some trouble unhooking the nozzle from the garden hose in the video above. Note the "You are trespassing!" sound in the background. Part of my houses vast security network. The place is a impregnable fortress.

We eventually gave in and moved the pot closer to the spigot... OK, I gave in, and Kenn moved the pot... Oh, and Kenn is the strongest man in the world, and is not harmed by heat, cold, nor any of the elements. It's true, look it up in Wikipedia...

Kenn and I enjoyed his home brew offerings and the last of my Franken-Brew, which I will comment on in a future post. All in all, we had a good brew session, but in the end, the proof is in the pudding, or in this case the brew...

Oh, by the way... If you recall, I gave the wife the night off, and she went out with a girlfriend and left me home with the boy. He was perfect, out like a lamp at 7 p.m. and didn't make a peep until the next morning. Even with the brew kettle boiling away in the garage beneath his room.

Next post, my second try at using a secondary... And the curious case of the misbehaving bung hole... Stay tuned!


  1. Now you used Snow as your chilling medium how about trying making Ice Beer in the secondary or in a Corny Keg .

  2. Here in Texas we can't follow your wort cooling techniques unfortunately. Anyhow, it looks good. Keep us posted on how it turns out.

  3. Matt, sounds intriguing...

    Ben, you bet I will...

  4. The one thing I'm curious about is whether the snow actual helped. I know that snow can be used an an isulator because of it's structure. Snow is less dense than water so it has a lot of air pockets, and air pockets means low specific heat capacity. I would think you would be better off having a bucket of water. And just placing snow in it should rapidly cool the system. Just a thought though, from what I understand of thermodynamics.

  5. Oh wow, nice one dude! This is crazy. I never thought this could be possible. Wicked idea man! Thanks for sharing.


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