Originally posted on December 12, 2012 at 12:00 AM
We recently moved into a house which has more carpeting than I’m used to so I resolved to do all of my beer brewing on the front deck.
Brewing involves heating a large kettle containing water and a cloth bag containing malted grain and holding it at about 145 degrees F. Later the bag is withdrawn and the resulting extract is heated to a boil, hops and other ingredients added, boiled for about 30 minutes then chilled rapidly before yeast is added. I use a 32-gallon canner for my brewing pot and start out with about six gallons of water and 8-12 pounds of grain which has been “malted” or sprouted then roasted. My brewing deck idea worked pretty well until late October when temperatures had fallen to such an extent that my hot plate electric burner wasn’t up to the heat loss to outside air and my canner wasn’t reaching the boil.
I remembered that I’d recently bought a small, 3.5 cubic foot refrigerator. This came in a box with a cardboard and foam false bottom, held in place with packing strips. It also had a conventional box top with the usual four folding flaps strapping-taped closed. Leaving the false bottom behind I took the box outside, slipping it over my burner/brew pot assembly on the deck and closing down the flaps. In a short while I opened first the top flaps then removed the canner lid and found I had a fine boil. The heavy cardboard wall had insulated my brew sufficiently to combat Fall chill and this has continued to be the case into the Winter. When not in use my portable, mini brew house folds flat for storage. Winter Chill also makes a fine beer fridge for my pressure keg!