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This Saturday (1/2/09) will be my very first time brewing and I am considering my options as far as location.

I have seen some folks boiling their wort outside on a gas grill and the smiling people in "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing" do it right inside on their own kitchen stove. And I'm sure the first beer was made from wort cooked on an open fire. Is there a place that is better?

As it is January and 12 degrees outside, I think we will be setting up inside this time, regardless, but am still curious as to everyone's specific setup.

Thanks!

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Maybe it's time to move the carbon monoxide related answers to a separate question and focus on the answer to "Where do you brew?" –  Dean Brundage Jan 11 '10 at 15:35

13 Answers 13

My stove sucks ... so after farting around with that the first time, my first major purchase was a out door propane burner and I have never looked back.

I live here is SoCal, so it is easy to be outside year round, but most of the guys I know in my homebrew club all brew in their garages. Mostly for easy cleanup.

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Welcome to the hobby. The best place is somewhere comfortable where you can get a good rolling boil.

Most kitchen stoves take ages to get five gallons of wort up to a boil and don't keep it there very well. For smaller boil volumes the stove makes sense. A stand-alone propane burner is great for handling 5-10 gallons of wort.

If you have bitter winters or blistering summers and would rather brew inside consider going electric. You can size your brewhouse appropriately and need not worry about carbon monoxide poisoning.

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I have an outdoor propane burner and love it. Unfortunately, it's 20 degrees and 30 mph winds today, so I am going to brew on my stove. My gas stove top gets a good rolling boil of about 2.5 to 3 gallons. I have done it before with great success. I wouldn't try burning propane indoors, though. You run the risk of a build up of fumes, and a drop in oxygen due to the burner consuming it.

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I also brew on an outdoor burner. Sure beats cleaning up the stove. The only thing that sucks is brewing in the rain.

The main thing is to make sure you're comfortable, since you're going to be at least somewhat near it for 4 - 6 hours at a shot.

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Definitely DO NOT use propane in an enclosed area unless you want to run the risk of dying from carbon monoxide. A "well ventilated area" is key.

I brew outdoors w/propane burner always. Even in these cold Illinois winters (though admittedly not very often). Invest in a remote thermometer so that you can retreat indoors when bringing the kettle to a boil (or when you don't need to baby-sit it) yet still watch the temperature. (I always stay somewhere near a window so I can occasionally peek at it.)

I have had 0 luck using electric stoves (which is what I have in my house). They just don't generate enough heat to bring anything much larger than 3 gallons of water to a boil.

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I use an outdoor burner and have never brewed indoors. Here in Michigan winter brewing is one of my favorite. Nothing beats brewing during a cold snowy day with nothing to keep you warm other than your winter gear, warm imperial beer and the heat from the boil. I would imagine the comforts of indoor brewing is nice but the outdoor brew day is where its at for me.

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I live in an apt an always brew right on my stove. Be careful not to boil over or your kitchen may get trashed (then again this is kind of a brewing right-of-passage)

If you are on electric it may take a long time to get boiling so you might consider steeping and boiling with less water and topping it off when you're done.

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I always have brewed right on my kitchen stove. My current stove is electric and takes forever to get a boil going, but it works. Currently it is my only option. There is no way I could see doing a full boil on my stove. I am looking into getting a gas burner for outside. I would also say that I would rather be brewing outside if its nice out, and if not I can always fall back on the kitchen. I don't really think that there is a "best" place, but instead wherever you are most comfortable brewing. Try it inside on the stove and if that doesn't work, go buy a burner and try doing it outside.

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I brew in my garage with a propane cooker, right in the doorway.

When the weather is cold, I move my brew station under a window in the garage and brew with the door only open about 6 inches and the said window open a couple inches. I use CO monitors at knee level and chest level as a precaution.

I have never had a problem.

CO doesn't suddenly overtake you and put you down. If you are aware of the warning signs, you'll have plenty of time to make changes to your setup as you brew before CO becomes a problem. And its impossible to be burning up all the available O2 in the garage environment (let alone a significant amount to affect you), no ones garage is that well sealed up.

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I boil on my patio and mash inside using an electric HERMS setup. Propane is great for maintaining a rolling boil but its not cheap (comparatively) and very inefficient as you lose a lot of energy to the atmosphere instead of into the boil. Using a shroud made out of cheap aluminium sheeting to channel the heat up the sides of the pot and protect the flame from crosswinds will make a major impact on how long it takes to boil.

Beware reaching over the top of the shroud to stir though as the heat will be concentrated there, all my brewing fleece's have crispy forearms.

I love brewing outside in the winter, the roar of the flame and being outside on a cold day standing around a steaming pot of hot wort can't be beaten.

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I brew outside on a propane burner (5 gallon all grain batches).

When I make partial mash batches I can do it inside in the kitchen (but like was said above, getting a good boil is tough without a canning element).

A photo of my current setup: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sudsymaggie/4318981367

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I brew over a fire pit. With four 15 gallon kegs converted to pots, I brew 20 gallons at a time. See http://www.sites.google.com/site/firepitbrewing for details and pics.

Martin

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I'm a garage brewer. I have a large sliding door in the front of the garage and 3 windows in the back near my burner. When everything is open, I get great cross ventilation. I recently installed base cabinets, a SS sink, a water heater and other improvements so it's a very comfortable brewing environment. AFAIAC, the biggest plus is a drain in the center of the floor. The floor slopes 1/8 per ft. down to the drain.

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