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First time brewer, does higher altitude matter?

I just ordered the go pro small batch kit. I live in Denver and many cooking recepies have high altitude instructions. Is there any thing I need to factor brewing in higher altitudes.

No changes in timing for boils and additions like there is for processing times with a pressure canner. There are some tweaks that can used though. The basics of some of the tweaks are in this article.

Good question. I know it will take longer to get a boil going but after that its the same. My concern is the yeast. I would definitely make a starter to get the yeast acclimated an make sure to oxygenate the wort. Save your yeast for repitch to insure you have yeast that likes the environment.

I live in Montana (not as high as Denver, but still high altitude) and have never had an issue. I agree with brew_cat that it can take awhile for water to boil, but otherwise I’ve never had to do anything different in terms of brewing directions.

Just curious, but wouldn’t the lower boiling point at elevation make it faster, not slower, to get to a boil? Does the thinner oxygen environment cause the the burner to burn cooler than at a lower elevation?

No it takes longer. Less pressue

Doesn’t the old physics experiment put a beaker of room temperature water under a vacuum, at which point it boils? I always thought liquid under lower pressure had a lower boiling point, and assumed that would mean it would boil faster… Trusty Wikipedia says that water in Denver boils at 203*, instead of 212* at sea level.

That would be correct. Lower atmospheric pressure equates to a lower boiling point for water. The lower air pressure and reduced anount of oxygen may affect your burner, though, but I’d expect you could adjust the damper to compensate.

The lower boiling point likely will impact hop isomerization, though.

Definitely 212* here on an Atlantic Ocean barrier Island!! and not a smidge earlier! Takes a lot to get a vigorous boil too.

Think of a pressure cooker. More pressure boils faster less pressure slower

After reading this discussion, I paid more attention to the temp my water began to boil (live in Montana, high altitude) and sure enough, it began to boil shortly after hitting 200*. I had never realized my water boiled sooner, even though it sure takes awhile to get to 200. Another reason why I love living in the mountains I guess!

Rate of change in temperature is a function of the heat added, heat lost, mass, and specific heat of the medium. A pressure cooker retains more heat in the closed system than in an open pot, so you’re losing less heat while the system is heating. The pressure cooker just raises the system pressure allowing the liquid to boil at a higher temperature.

But this is a beer forum, not a thermodynamics group, so it really doesn’t matter that much. :beer:

The plus is that with a lower boiling point, you can get below hop isomerization temperatures a lot quicker for doing a hop stand!

Now I find myself wondering if all the posts over the years about badly calibrated thermometers showing water boiling at 200* were just the result of elevation. Think of how many people bought Thermopens needlessly.

Just think… All those people have been buying an expensive thermometer and incorrectly calibrating it for 212°F when their actual boiling temperature was much lower. And as a result, they’ve been mashing higher than they realize. The horror! :smiley:

I’m sure unless they are transplants they learned the boiling point in their area from mom or their teachers

Not in Denver(5100-5700ft), but just south in Colo.Springs (6035ft), batch I did just this past weekend, I was at a low rolling boil at 200. Using the thermometer I got that clips on the side of the pot, and an instant read digital one. It did take a little longer than it did when I was still in Chicago, but once you get it goin, its all the same that Ive noticed.

You should check out the donuts they make at pikes peak, they say its impossible, but they do it, and at 14110ft…

One thing I learned the hard way camping in the MTS is you use a heck of a lot of fuel trying to get water boiling

Here is a YouTube clip from a Denver news program last week.

It talks about the brewery, Pb, in Leadville Colorado that is at an elevation of 10,000 feet. We stop there whenever we are hiking in that area, great beer.
They have a great name. Pb or Periodic Brewery. Pb is the element name for lead and they are in Leadville. Very creative.

I live in central Colorado at 9,400 feet, about and hour south of Leadville. I do extract brewing with full boil and use a starter. Water boils here at 196 degrees so I assumed the altitude had some effect but was not sure. I guess I need to adjust my hops or just understand the IBU will be a little lower than what is calculated.

I bottle so I don’t have to deal with draft and the elevation.

Can’t answer your question but I like the breweries take off on the periodic table.

Even just our simple elevation… 2300’ A.S.L. brings my boil temp to 209… I’ve checked thinking… it really can’t have that much of a diff… It does… Sneezles61

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