Spent part of Monday brewing outdoors. The first time I’ve done that. I purchased a Blichmann floor burner from Grape and Granary a few years back and just hadn’t gotten around to using it; well, now I can say that I have.
The burner is fantastic and connects to a propane tank. It puts out 72,000 BTU’s per hour which translates to a whole lot of heat for fast boils. I am used to brewing in my kitchen where I use a standard gas range. The time to boil was a great delay in the brew day for me. After lautering and sparging and collecting the wort into the boil kettle, the time from that 160 or so degrees to 212 was too much. It could take nearly an hour just to get to boil. I didn’t time things out specifically, but I would swear that the Blichmann was heating water at around 10 degrees every five minutes, maybe even faster. So in approximately twenty to twenty-five minute it was boiling. It happened so fast, in fact, that I had my first boil over in years, even with fermcap. But it was outdoors, so only the ants were pissed (and me later, when I had to scrub the pot).
Another upshot with outdoor brewing is that I just ran the hose to the kettle and used the hose to connect to the Blichmann plate chiller that I have. The excess water that comes in chilling the wort went straight into the garden beds for the very thirsty pumpkins, cucumbers, and peppers. The main drawback was that the water temperature was very difficult to get down, with the nearly 100 degree heat, so I could only chill the wort to 77 degrees, which is a bit high for pitching (but I did it anyway).
I brewed a Brown Ale with lots of Cascade and Nugget hops. The Nugget came straight from my backyard, circa 2011 (vacuum sealed in the freezer). It was a low gravity extract beer which I am using as a yeast starter (essentially) for an all-grain Imperial Red (Nosferatu clone) that I’ll brew in a week or two.