Outdoor brewing - direct sunlight & boil hops

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Outdoor brewing - direct sunlight & boil hops

Postby lexuschris on Fri Jul 08, 2016 1:56 pm

Hey all,

I was curious how many folks brew outdoors in direct sunlight? Not under the garage awning or patio cover... but in full sunlight.

After reading stories of how quickly packaged beer can skunk in direct sunlight (or even interior store light), I have always wondered if my 60 minute boil hops could be skunking or getting a bit off during the boil, when the sun hits the top of the BK directly.

Something I should worry about?

My new brew area is without any shade. My last one was partial shade depending upon season...

:?:
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Re: Outdoor brewing - direct sunlight & boil hops

Postby CurtisG on Fri Jul 08, 2016 2:01 pm

I don't know the exact science behind it but I believe skunking needs both yeast and hops, so you shouldn't have any issues before fermentation starts.

I brew in direct sunlight and have no issues.
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Re: Outdoor brewing - direct sunlight & boil hops

Postby BrewMasterBrad on Fri Jul 08, 2016 2:10 pm

I brew in the back yard with no shade I have not had any skunking issues. You can always get an EZ UP if you are really worried about it.
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Re: Outdoor brewing - direct sunlight & boil hops

Postby lexuschris on Fri Jul 08, 2016 3:14 pm

Good feedback! Thanks!

I've had not worried about it before, but while reviewing my brewlog for the last time I brewed an IPA or APA that came out well... I had to go back a few years. It got me thinking, and my new side yard is all direct sun.

Actually, its been a full year since I last brewed on my homebrew system, and if I can get my act together, I may try and brew an APA this weekend.

Now where did I put my 5L Erlenmeyer flask.....
K:-)
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Re: Outdoor brewing - direct sunlight & boil hops

Postby BrewMasterBrad on Fri Jul 08, 2016 3:18 pm

You could always brew at night!
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Re: Outdoor brewing - direct sunlight & boil hops

Postby maltbarley on Fri Jul 08, 2016 3:34 pm

BrewMasterBrad wrote:You could always brew at night!

...in the mortuary.
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Re: Outdoor brewing - direct sunlight & boil hops

Postby lexuschris on Fri Jul 08, 2016 3:56 pm

maltbarley wrote:
BrewMasterBrad wrote:You could always brew at night!

...in the mortuary.


Hmmm... an IPA? bone-dry?
;)
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Re: Outdoor brewing - direct sunlight & boil hops

Postby bwarbiany on Mon Jul 11, 2016 3:10 pm

lexuschris wrote:I've had not worried about it before, but while reviewing my brewlog for the last time I brewed an IPA or APA that came out well... I had to go back a few years. It got me thinking, and my new side yard is all direct sun.


Were you doing anything with the water at that time? While I didn't have any trouble with hoppy back before doing RO, I generally didn't get the same "pop" in a recipe using only light-colored malts that I do now. And now when I make an IPA I do treat the water for an IPA specific water profile with a lot of sulfate.

For your question, though, I haven't brewed in full sunlight in a long time... So I'm no help on that bit.
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Re: Outdoor brewing - direct sunlight & boil hops

Postby lexuschris on Mon Jul 11, 2016 10:40 pm

bwarbiany wrote:Were you doing anything with the water at that time? While I didn't have any trouble with hoppy back before doing RO, I generally didn't get the same "pop" in a recipe using only light-colored malts that I do now. And now when I make an IPA I do treat the water for an IPA specific water profile with a lot of sulfate.


Actually, I had to go back to summer 2011 for an APA that I felt really good about, and that was about 8 months before I started tinkering with water additions (and a Ward's water report). However, back then I was on my 5 gallon Rubbermaid mashtun, and would frequently use bottled 'drinking water' for my water, although I did not keep specific notes on that, as I was not 'into water' at that point.

Even though brewing beer at its concept is a very simple exercise, the devil is in the details! And my brew-days tend to be more 'Dante's Inferno' than 'Ode to Joy'!

So, I did brew my 2011 'Angry Indian Ale' on Sunday. A simple all Centennial hopped pale, with 76% 2-row, 17% Vienna, 7% Crystal-40L and San Diego Super Yeast. Even after pulling out everything I could find on Saturday, setting up, and doing a dry run with cleaning solution to ensure a good brewday... I had lots of issues (my own) on Sunday.

My box of water additions was ready to go, but I failed to realize that my lactic acid was missing. So, staring a a full MT with un-treated water and no acid was an issue. I decided to re-run my gypsum & CaCl calcs without an acid, and ended up doubling the dose in order to try and get the pH down. Now, I do not think that was the best call. (I should have ground up some dark malt, and moved my SRM towards 15).

I had unpacked my new pH meter on Saturday, activated the probe, and tested the source water at my house. I have no specific water report here, and the meter showed an 8.8pH tap water.. which seems really high! (Irvine was high at 8.1pH). When I did my salt calcs, I did not change the water profile from Irvine, as I had no new report of salt ions, and did not change the pH either. Thus my calcs would take me from 8.1 down to 5.2-5.4. When I measured my mash pH, it was 6.0pH.. about 0.7pH too high... duh.

The other crazy detail was setting up my brewstand with the back towards the prevailing breeze. It took 2.5 hours to bring my wort to a boil, and it struggled at the last 2 degrees for an hour. The breeze was really pushing the flame around, and heat wash everywhere, except on the kettle.

I knew my first brewday at the new house would be chaotic and unpredictable, and I was right. We'll see how everything turned out by the club meeting this month. Hopefully, it will not be too bad.

I will be buying new lactic acid, Ward's water tests, and probably some bleeder valves for my pumps (priming issues all day long). Anyways, every brewday is an opportunity to learn some new stuff! Also, I highly recommend going to a brewday at somebody else's place, and watching how they solve some of these issues. My 2 brews at Sam's house has really expanded my thoughts on what I can do with my own system.. I am inspired! Now, I just need to do the work!

Prost!
:cheers:
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Re: Outdoor brewing - direct sunlight & boil hops

Postby lexuschris on Mon Jul 11, 2016 10:41 pm

And I did end up moving a portable patio umbrella to cover.... myself while I stirred the barely boiling wort! To save myself the heat you understand.... :problem:
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Re: Outdoor brewing - direct sunlight & boil hops

Postby BrewMasterBrad on Tue Jul 12, 2016 7:20 pm

Hey Chris, bring me a water sample from your house next time we get together and I will test it for you.
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Re: Outdoor brewing - direct sunlight & boil hops

Postby jward on Wed Jul 13, 2016 8:05 am

lexuschris wrote:I was curious how many folks brew outdoors in direct sunlight? Not under the garage awning or patio cover... but in full sunlight.


I brew in what ever sun is available. I read some suggestion that the heat of the boil prevents the UV reaction from occurring. If that's true I would expect wort to be vulnerable during chilling for me. I'm usually chilling after the highest UV of the day. On your next brew day take a glass of wort and put it in full sun to test.
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Re: Outdoor brewing - direct sunlight & boil hops

Postby lexuschris on Tue Jul 19, 2016 11:30 am

I got my APA in the kegs on Sunday, and I do believe the lack of a proper boil has left the beer with a corn-like flavor (DMS).

I am also curious if I will detect any astringency once it carbs & ages. Hard to tell from my fermenter sample. Either way, I will wait before passing final judgement on drink-ability. Due to the DMS, I don't think I will bring it to sample tonight at the meeting.

On the plus side, that WLP090 (San Diego Super Ale Yeast) is awesome. It dropped so clear and fast! I had a dense slurry at the bottom of the bucket, and the beer clarity was awesome! I think I'll switch to this one as my main house yeast. It ferments fast too!

I also discovered that I collected way too much wort. I had 2.5 gallons extra in the fermenter after filling 2 kegs. This nearly explains my OG being 10 points too low. I was without my usual measuring device for pot volume, and had to eyeball it. I guess my eyesight ain't what it used to be! :shifty:

:happybeer:
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Re: Outdoor brewing - direct sunlight & boil hops

Postby BrewMasterBrad on Thu Jul 21, 2016 9:16 am

Part of the extra wort must be due to a low boil-off volume from your boil issues. Hopefully it turns out alright. I used that yeast once and liked it. Maybe I will give it another try after the "year of the lager" is over.
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Re: Outdoor brewing - direct sunlight & boil hops

Postby Megastout on Thu Jul 21, 2016 1:31 pm

Going to try the 090 for the first time this weekend with a Red IPA and next weekend with a Black IPA. Will relate findings, hoping for good results.
Hey, by the way, you will happy to know I hit the 100 brew last weekend, I am getting a little better.
Cheers!
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