Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: denny on February 23, 2017, 06:58:58 PM

Title: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: denny on February 23, 2017, 06:58:58 PM
You know how it goes. Drop a carboy, burn the mash, put 3 eyes of newt instead of 1. What's your disaster story?  OK, we've all had those brewing days where nothing seems to go right. Not just running out of propane...you know, the kind of day where you wonder why you're doing this! But we power through and keep brewing. For our April Fools show, we're looking for stories of brew days gone wrong..really wrong. Something to make us all feel better about our own brewdays from Hell! Email your brewday disaster stories to podcast@experimentalbrew.com or call our Beer Hotline at 626.765.1ALE and tell us your story!
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: bayareabrewer on February 23, 2017, 07:05:15 PM
thanks to some guy on the internet hyping up batch sparging :), the first time I did it I forgot to close the valve on the keggle I was sparging into. After vorlauf I opened up the valve to my mash fun full blast and went inside and made toast, came out to all my precious wort on the ground.
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: denny on February 23, 2017, 07:09:17 PM
thanks to some guy on the internet hyping up batch sparging :), the first time I did it I forgot to close the valve on the keggle I was sparging into. After vorlauf I opened up the valve to my mash fun full blast and went inside and made toast, came out to all my precious wort on the ground.

I have a friend who's "famous" for doing that repeatedly.  He also once poured out a yeast starter on the ground because he thought it was sanitizer!
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: bayareabrewer on February 23, 2017, 07:16:26 PM
haha, its so easy to forget, one stupid little valve and all your hard work is gone.

On one of my first brews, I somehow failed to account that LME needed to be stirred into the water and not simply dumped in all at once. The ensuing burnt on crud that was left on the bottom on my pot could have survived a nuclear blast it was so cooked on. It was a cheap pot so I just ended up throwing it out.

Lets see, how else am I an idiot...
I used standard heating elements in an electric keggle I built and the ensuing wort smelled and tasted like kingsford charcoal.

boiling starter wort+yeast=dead yeast.
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: WattsOnTap on February 23, 2017, 07:44:46 PM
I'm sure I do... and I'm planning on 2 - 3 brews this weekend so I might have a few more stories by Monday!  ;D
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: HoosierBrew on February 23, 2017, 07:46:05 PM
Man, it runs the gamut in terms of all my screwups!

1/ 2 broken carboys where I got stitches.

2/ Scorched DME and LME that didn't get stirred, as posted above.

3/ Brewing a double batch and pitching the wrong strain into the wrong wort.

4/ Same as above, but wrong hops into wrong wort.

5/ Broken glass thermometer into my wort.  Yeah, wow.


Many others. I learned how to be creative with the profanity.
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: PORTERHAUS on February 23, 2017, 07:49:17 PM
There is always something going wrong on brewday right? One that comes to mind for me is I brewed a Lager for a friend towards the end of last year and I needed to add around 3 ml of Lactic acid to my mash. I use small plastic medicine syringes. I have one that is 1ml on a full draw. Well I recently added a new one to the stash and I grabbed the wrong one, its larger and is actually 5ml on a full draw...I filled that sucker 3 times. Measured the mash ph at something like 4.5 and realized what I did. I was about to give up on the batch but it was for a friend who really wanted the beer. I figured I would at least see how it turned out. Baking soda to the rescue. I skipped the acid in the sparge and ran with it. Believe it or not it turned out to be just fine. I was worried about the flavor threshold but I couldnt pick up anything even with 15ml of Lactic acid. It was a very crisp, clean Amber Lager.  :o
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: deadpoetic0077 on February 23, 2017, 08:23:06 PM
haha, its so easy to forget, one stupid little valve and all your hard work is gone.

On one of my first brews, I somehow failed to account that LME needed to be stirred into the water and not simply dumped in all at once. The ensuing burnt on crud that was left on the bottom on my pot could have survived a nuclear blast it was so cooked on. It was a cheap pot so I just ended up throwing it out.

Lets see, how else am I an idiot...
I used standard heating elements in an electric keggle I built and the ensuing wort smelled and tasted like kingsford charcoal.

boiling starter wort+yeast=dead yeast.

I did the LME thing... I don't think ive ever heard more requests for a repeat recipe than that one... I went with it since it didn't scorch bad enough where it was all stuck down there, but I was convinced it was going to be terrible. It ended up delicious.
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: IPAnic on February 24, 2017, 12:10:20 AM
Garden hose for counter flow wort chiller unknowingly froze. Ended up with "hot" wort going into glass carboy on a minus zero day. Blew the top off the glass carboy...It literally exploded "feet into the air". Quickly washed mouth out with grain alcohol and siphoned wort into another barely disinfected carboy @ 9:00ish a.m. Try doing that any time, let alone early morning - HELLO morning. Beer was pretty good. The LODO people would've had a screaming mimi watching me run it through a kitchen sieve 2 or 3 times just to ensure the glass was removed. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger ;D
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: dls5492 on February 24, 2017, 12:52:58 AM
A few summers ago, I was brewing an all-grain Summer Ale. My system is all gravity. My sparge water is in a cooler on a tall ladder. My mash tun is on another ladder and my collection bucket is on the ground. My boil kettle is on the burner near by. So, I was done running my sparge water. At this time, I collected about 3 gallons and I needed about 3 more gallons of wort. I asked my self why I wasn't collecting my runnings directly into the kettle. I decided to move my mash tun in order to do that. I picked up my mash tun and then dropped it. (When it fell, time slowed down). I had grain and wort all over my garage floor. I decided to head to my LHBS and pick up some DME to make up the difference. When I got there, he was closed, so I left. Fortunately, the owner saw me and texted me. So he did sell me some DME and I finished with a descent beer.
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: GS on February 24, 2017, 01:03:44 AM
I once bottled a 5 gallon batch of beer without adding any priming sugar.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: ynotbrusum on February 24, 2017, 06:44:29 PM
So I had two empty kegs and was transferring Vienna lager to the kegs from  bright tanks for an annual party.  I CO2 purge with sanitizer, so one keg was filled with sanitizer and jumpered to a second keg to push it all out and then fill that empty sanitized keg from the bright tank keg.  Then clean, sanitize and purge the prior bright tank keg and repeat the process with the second bright tank of Vienna...except somewhere along the line after removing the tape identifying the beer kegs, I confused which was which and proceeded to put about a half pint of iodophor solution into a bright tank of Vienna Lager!  I could not tell the difference in the beers - so I guess it turns out that beer is pretty forgiving, indeed. I am also happy that my iodophor solution was at the dilute end of the spectrum for its use.  I didn't bring the bad keg to the party...if you were wondering about that.
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: chezteth on February 24, 2017, 06:57:49 PM
I was brewing a 10gal batch. My brew day was moving along as normal. Then, while transferring the chilled wort into one of the two 6.5 gal glass carboys I decided I wanted the second carboy moved. So, I reached over the top of the carboy that was filling and grabbed the empty one. As I was over the top of the one getting filled it slipped out of my hand. Both carboys were smashed on the garage floor with 5gal of wort. Fortunately, I didn't get cut. Plus I still had 5 gal of wort to transfer into another carboy.

Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: WattsOnTap on February 24, 2017, 07:43:33 PM
One pleasant summer morning I was finishing a mash of my favorite Irish Red.  I had a basic recirculation system going on the mash tun with a HLT warming up next to it; separate output hose on the HLT to quickly plug into the pump when I was ready to start sparging.  Guess a slug found that hose while I wasn't watching, because moments after I started the sparge water flowing he came spraying out all over the top of my mash.  Eww.
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: EnkAMania on February 24, 2017, 08:23:08 PM
I've never had a disaster, so I'm worried one is coming.  The worst that happened to me was having a water heater blanket on my kettle for mashing.  Mash done, so I start the flame and forgot to take the water heater blanket off first. 
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: HoosierBrew on February 25, 2017, 01:31:16 PM
Pretty timely thread - here's another major screwup. Lost one of the kegs of dunkel overnight because it leaked out the swivel nut on the liquid QD. Helluva mess. Luckily it wasn't the low O2 one, since it's going to NHC. I got burned years ago and lost a keg due to the same thing. I tightened all the connections and was fine for years. Obviously the safe thing is to disconnect the QDs at night. Nothing like a self inflicted wound. ;)
 
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: majorvices on February 25, 2017, 02:05:38 PM
Once, after a double decoction, I started running off a sparge. Went inside to make coffee and got delayed longer than I expected. When I came back outside I noticed I left the valve open on the boil kettle and most of the wort has just trickled out on the deck. Boy was I mad.
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: santoch on February 25, 2017, 04:20:32 PM
I posted this on another forum:

Quote from: me
I went to crank out a simple extract batch about 45 mins ago.
Got everything set up. Went to pour the steeping grains into my grain sack.
Instead, they all went onto the <expletive> driveway. In the rain.

I turned off the gas and went inside instead.

<expletive> this

Brewinhard replied here to give solace.

Quote from: me
Yeah. I went inside and started to watch the Seahawks game. They played like <expletive> too.
I was in such a bad mood that my wife got up and left. (*too many loud expletives*)
A little while later, I get a phone call from her phone. She's at the LHBS asking me what I need to replace! She handed the phone to the guy and I told him what I needed, this time with a bigger grain sack and an extra lb of dme, just to bump the gravity a bit (because, hey, everyone knows more alcohol will fix things).
So, I turned the burners back on, got my water all the way heated up, added my extract, and just before hitting hot break, I <expletive> ran out of propane.

So, I ran to the store and swapped both of my propane tanks out.

But, now I have 5 gallons of IPA bubbling and the world is good again.
I should probably go put a blowoff tube on the fermenter. Something tells me I'm stupid if I don't.

I did put on the blowoff tube but it turned out it wasn't needed.
The beer turned out great.
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: rob_f on February 26, 2017, 04:16:41 AM
Made a three-quart yeast starter for a lager.  It was in a brown gallon jug.  I also keep my Star-San in a brown gallon jug and reuse it.  Used some Star-San and went to pour it back in the jug.  When the jug overflowed before half the Star-San was in, I knew what I had done.  Whoever says it doesn't kill yeast is wrong. I decanted and pitched the yeast.  That lager had a very poor ferment.
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: chumley on February 26, 2017, 03:29:17 PM
Like others, my biggest brewing disasters happen not on a brew day, but somewhere along the line.  To wit:

A couple of years ago we had a small group (8-10) friends over for a summer barbecue.  Everyone was sitting out on our deck.  Underneath the deck and out is my brewing/ meat smoking area, with my brew room in the basement.

I went down to pull some meat out of the smoker, and took it inside to carve in my brewing room.  I accidentally dropped my by heavy set of tongs during the process. Ordinarily no big deal, except they landed and karoomed off a 5 gallon glass carboy that currently was serving as a secondary fermentor for a 10% abv Russian Imperial Stout.

The tongs hit the edge of the carboy where the vertical sides start curving up to the neck.  This broke a very small hole at the spot of impact, causing a small stream of RIS to squirt out of it.  I though that if I lifted it onto the table and started a siphon into a keg or bucket, I could capture and save most of the RIS.

Unfortunately, the small hole marked the end of the structural stability of the carboy.  When I attempted to pick it up, it failed, and RIS poured all over the basement floor.  Fortunately, the carboy fell apart into large shards, which I easily picked up and placed into a trash can.  I then quickly mopped up and hosed down the RIS mess (my basement floor has a floor drain, which greatly helps when such disasters occur), and I had every thing cleaned up and done in 10 minutes, before a guest could come downstairs to fill a beer out of my kegerator and see what I have done.

I carved the brisket, and headed up to the deck for dinner.  No one knew of my disaster.  I told my wife what had happened after the guests went home.  8)
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: Delo on February 27, 2017, 02:56:16 PM
My three favorite disasters.
1)In my extract days I topped of my carboy of Irish stout with StarSan instead of distilled water.   

2) I must have put my brew pot on a spot of sticky wort and then on a pot holder, which stuck to the bottom of the pot.  I didn’t notice it before I put it on my stove.  When I went to heat my strike water, flames started to shoot up the sides of the pot.  I grabbed the flaming pot and ran out of the house and stuck it in a snow bank. My friend was hanging out with me to learn how to brew that day...

3)  My wife and daughter were gone for the weekend and I figured I would have a relaxing brewday and I would keg an existing carboy of an awesome IPA I made for her.  The IPA was one where I had to take multiple measuring samples because I would drink it before I actually checked the final gravity.  Anyway, after a hot summer brew day, my friend called me to invite me to a BBQ so I decided to postpone kegging the IPA and jumped in the shower.  While getting dressed, I remembered I forgot to put my freshly brewed carboy in my fermentation fridge to drop down to pitching temp.  I carried the carboy down into my basement in my brew hauler. I was rushing and when I made the turn to put the carboy into my fridge, I slightly swung the brew hauler and tapped the “to be kegged carboy” with the one I was carrying.  The to be kegged carboy shattered, flooding our basement with gallons of beer.  I was fortunate enough that the one I was carrying did not break and I didn’t get cut.  I could have been found bled out in my underwear in a puddle of my blood, my beer, and my tears that I shed because that IPA that I lost was so awesome.
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: 69franx on February 27, 2017, 06:31:05 PM
My three favorite disasters.
1)In my extract days I topped of my carboy of Irish stout with StarSan instead of distilled water.   

2) I must have put my brew pot on a spot of sticky wort and then on a pot holder, which stuck to the bottom of the pot.  I didn’t notice it before I put it on my stove.  When I went to heat my strike water, flames started to shoot up the sides of the pot.  I grabbed the flaming pot and ran out of the house and stuck it in a snow bank. My friend was hanging out with me to learn how to brew that day...

3)  My wife and daughter were gone for the weekend and I figured I would have a relaxing brewday and I would keg an existing carboy of an awesome IPA I made for her.  The IPA was one where I had to take multiple measuring samples because I would drink it before I actually checked the final gravity.  Anyway, after a hot summer brew day, my friend called me to invite me to a BBQ so I decided to postpone kegging the IPA and jumped in the shower.  While getting dressed, I remembered I forgot to put my freshly brewed carboy in my fermentation fridge to drop down to pitching temp.  I carried the carboy down into my basement in my brew hauler. I was rushing and when I made the turn to put the carboy into my fridge, I slightly swung the brew hauler and tapped the “to be kegged carboy” with the one I was carrying.  The to be kegged carboy shattered, flooding our basement with gallons of beer.  I was fortunate enough that the one I was carrying did not break and I didn’t get cut.  I could have been found bled out in my underwear in a puddle of my blood, my beer, and my tears that I shed because that IPA that I lost was so awesome.

So sorry about those last 2, but thanks so much for the laughs
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: Chas on March 05, 2017, 07:58:50 PM
Yes, my brew day yesterday. I just did my biggest equipment upgrade only to think it's time to sell them and give up the nine years in this hobby. I did my first ten gallon batch with keggles I purchased. Since I could directly heat the mash tun, I thought I would try step mashing. Acid test, protein, then both starches followed by mash out. I'll never do that again! I didn't stir enough at the bottom, got busy with kids running around the basement, and one I got a better stir in, I went from 120 to 191. It leveled out at 172. I added cold water add Ice cubes and it went down to 140. I really don't know what I got (it's a surly furious clone that should be mashed at 154), but the fermentation is going well. Then, the new keggles kettle clogged up with whole hops. I barely could fill the second keg. Took forever to get it out. Then, I could not get the new oxygen wand to even screw on the oxygen tank. I started banging the floor saying "why can't crap just go right"


This was my biggest jump, tested and treated my water, pitched correct yeast, used oxygen wand, it's in a fermentation chamber, etc, etc. Lesson is, just because you got new toys doesn't mean your ready to use them or are going to be a pro. It's tempting to have way too high of expectations after you do tons of research , listen to podcasts or binge read brulosophy. Next time, in going to do a walk through the day before
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: denny on March 05, 2017, 08:04:29 PM
Yes, my brew day yesterday. I just did my biggest equipment upgrade only to think it's time to sell them and give up the nine years in this hobby. I did my first ten gallon batch with keggles I purchased. Since I could directly heat the mash tun, I thought I would try step mashing. Acid test, protein, then both starches followed by mash out. I'll never do that again! I didn't stir enough at the bottom, got busy with kids running around the basement, and one I got a better stir in, I went from 120 to 191. It leveled out at 172. I added cold water add Ice cubes and it went down to 140. I really don't know what I got (it's a surly furious clone that should be mashed at 154), but the fermentation is going well. Then, the new keggles kettle clogged up with whole hops. I barely could fill the second keg. Took forever to get it out. Then, I could not get the new oxygen wand to even screw on the oxygen tank. I started banging the floor saying "why can't crap just go right"


This was my biggest jump, tested and treated my water, pitched correct yeast, used oxygen wand, it's in a fermentation chamber, etc, etc. Lesson is, just because you got new toys doesn't mean your ready to use them or are going to be a pro. It's tempting to have way too high of expectations after you do tons of research , listen to podcasts or binge read brulosophy. Next time, in going to do a walk through the day before

There's a reason I've stuck with my Cheap'n'Easy system for 512 batches and nearly 20 years.
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: JT on March 06, 2017, 04:47:06 AM
Like others, my biggest brewing disasters happen not on a brew day, but somewhere along the line.  To wit:

A couple of years ago we had a small group (8-10) friends over for a summer barbecue.  Everyone was sitting out on our deck.  Underneath the deck and out is my brewing/ meat smoking area, with my brew room in the basement.

I went down to pull some meat out of the smoker, and took it inside to carve in my brewing room.  I accidentally dropped my by heavy set of tongs during the process. Ordinarily no big deal, except they landed and karoomed off a 5 gallon glass carboy that currently was serving as a secondary fermentor for a 10% abv Russian Imperial Stout.

The tongs hit the edge of the carboy where the vertical sides start curving up to the neck.  This broke a very small hole at the spot of impact, causing a small stream of RIS to squirt out of it.  I though that if I lifted it onto the table and started a siphon into a keg or bucket, I could capture and save most of the RIS.

Unfortunately, the small hole marked the end of the structural stability of the carboy.  When I attempted to pick it up, it failed, and RIS poured all over the basement floor.  Fortunately, the carboy fell apart into large shards, which I easily picked up and placed into a trash can.  I then quickly mopped up and hosed down the RIS mess (my basement floor has a floor drain, which greatly helps when such disasters occur), and I had every thing cleaned up and done in 10 minutes, before a guest could come downstairs to fill a beer out of my kegerator and see what I have done.

I carved the brisket, and headed up to the deck for dinner.  No one knew of my disaster.  I told my wife what had happened after the guests went home.  8)
You're a better man than I.  My guests, the neighbors and anyone else in a 2 block radius would have known something was wrong in my basement. 

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: TheDrunkenMaster on September 14, 2017, 10:40:04 PM
So today, I brewed for the first time with my new Braumeister 20L.

Everything was going great and doing a Mozaic led spin on a Pliny recipe.
All was just seamless and I was loving the big, sexy German piece of kit. I have the Braumeister plus so I hooked up my pump and recirculated ice water through the cooling jacket whilst marveling at the speed it got to 70 degrees. Wow! Time to pitch my lovingly prepared starter of California Ale yeast with a double inoculation.

Pitched and put in fridge at 67. Phew.

Except when I put my hands inside to start cleaning....it felt rather hot.... too hot. Of course the Braumeister is German and METRIC so being on auto pilot when looking for my pitch temperatures I saw 70 and muscle memory took over.....except that it was 70 degrees CELSIUS!!!!! AAAAAGGGGHHHHH!!!!!! Oh well, it's in the fridge and let's see if any if the wee yeasties are still viable! Will have a fruity flavour that's for sure!
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: ethinson on September 15, 2017, 12:03:21 PM
Ironically, I have a memory of a brew day that went so horrifically wrong that it made me want to quit homebrewing, but I don't remember the details of what went wrong. I've repressed it I guess. 

I do have two incidents though that I remember. 

One, my first attempt at a high gravity beer (11% stout, 1.100+ OG) boiled over all over my stove top and at the time I had no idea what to do besides cut the heat and wait.  I had to remove all four electric elements and clean out under the top of the stove top (between the elements and the top of the oven).  That took days to clean up.  I also horribly underpitched that beer and bottled it at 1.040.  I had to dump the bottles after the first one I opened sprayed the kitchen ceiling.  After I opened them all I was soaked in underattenuated stout from the waist up. As awful as that was, I learned a lot of lessons that day.

The second, and this may be the batch referenced at the top, I had broken my glass hydrometer (I've been through 4...) so when I went to buy my ingredients the morning of brew day I bought another one, no big deal, they aren't that expensive.  Carry out brewday, get my wort cooled and in the bucket, ready to pitch, go to check the OG, open my brand new hydrometer and it crumbles in my hands. The one I got at the store was broken in the package! I went back the next day and they replaced it no questions asked, but that batch ended up having an unknown starting gravity.

Cheers!
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: Wilbur on September 15, 2017, 04:18:03 PM
One, my first attempt at a high gravity beer (11% stout, 1.100+ OG) boiled over all over my stove top and at the time I had no idea what to do besides cut the heat and wait.  I had to remove all four electric elements and clean out under the top of the stove top (between the elements and the top of the oven).  That took days to clean up.  I also horribly underpitched that beer and bottled it at 1.040.  I had to dump the bottles after the first one I opened sprayed the kitchen ceiling.  After I opened them all I was soaked in underattenuated stout from the waist up. As awful as that was, I learned a lot of lessons that day.

So many lessons...something so terrible about getting sprayed down and having to look at the next bottle and think, do I really need to open this?

First one, I bottle a smoked porter a little high, I had thought it was done fermenting at 1.022. Open the first one after bottling, gusher. No big deal. Open the second above the kitchen sink, thinking I'm a genius. I was using a butter knife (couldn't find the right tool), bottle cap explodes off and hits me in the chest. Breaks the skin through my shirt.

Second, I'm driving home after a midweek interview, trying to make the few hour trip home. I stop by Northern Brewer because my town doesn't have a real homebrew shop. I see, "Brown malt", and vaguely remember something about it from a BN episode. A quick google search reveals it was a historic base malt, perfect! That weekend during the brewday I mash for two hours, trying to figure out why nothing is converted...and find out that brown malt has a diastatic power of 0. I run to my liquor store, and buy pale malt at $3/lb to try and save it. Beer ends up really astringent anyway.
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: ynotbrusum on September 15, 2017, 06:44:57 PM
Brewday disasters are few for me, but one recurring (not too frequently, thankfully) issue is tapping a keg in a lagering chest (while hosting a party - ok I had a few and that effected the typical process).  The liquid out QDC is not screwed on to the cobra tap line tightly enough....the next morning discovery - about a gallon or more of Czech Dark Lager is on the floor of the chest freezer from the slightly oozing connection between the flared fitting of the QDC and the tap line barrel swivel.  Makes me cringe and consider not using flared screw on fittings! (I've never experienced a leak with a barbed QDC, but I prefer the ease of cleaning the flared set up). 
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: ethinson on September 15, 2017, 11:10:42 PM
One, my first attempt at a high gravity beer (11% stout, 1.100+ OG) boiled over all over my stove top and at the time I had no idea what to do besides cut the heat and wait.  I had to remove all four electric elements and clean out under the top of the stove top (between the elements and the top of the oven).  That took days to clean up.  I also horribly underpitched that beer and bottled it at 1.040.  I had to dump the bottles after the first one I opened sprayed the kitchen ceiling.  After I opened them all I was soaked in underattenuated stout from the waist up. As awful as that was, I learned a lot of lessons that day.

So many lessons...something so terrible about getting sprayed down and having to look at the next bottle and think, do I really need to open this?


Yeah, that was really fun (not).  The first one I opened was a Mr Beer plastic bottle (which I no longer use) and as soon as I unscrewed it, it sprayed out like a shaken soda and so I had a perfect horizontal wet stripe across my chest.  Next one was a glass bottle and I popped the top and it spewed like a Indy 500 winner's champagne bottle and sprayed the entire kitchen.  I spent like an hour after that popping the bottles upside down to spray down into the sink, but of course it splashed all over the place.. I was soaked and had beer in my hair, all over my face, running down my arms..
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: Stevie on September 18, 2017, 02:00:31 PM
So today, I brewed for the first time with my new Braumeister 20L.

Everything was going great and doing a Mozaic led spin on a Pliny recipe.
All was just seamless and I was loving the big, sexy German piece of kit. I have the Braumeister plus so I hooked up my pump and recirculated ice water through the cooling jacket whilst marveling at the speed it got to 70 degrees. Wow! Time to pitch my lovingly prepared starter of California Ale yeast with a double inoculation.

Pitched and put in fridge at 67. Phew.

Except when I put my hands inside to start cleaning....it felt rather hot.... too hot. Of course the Braumeister is German and METRIC so being on auto pilot when looking for my pitch temperatures I saw 70 and muscle memory took over.....except that it was 70 degrees CELSIUS!!!!! AAAAAGGGGHHHHH!!!!!! Oh well, it's in the fridge and let's see if any if the wee yeasties are still viable! Will have a fruity flavour that's for sure!
70C is 158F, close to 15 second pasteurization. Your yeast are toast.
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: tedtalb on October 11, 2017, 03:24:24 PM
4 years ago. The second brew I every made, an Irish Red. I had a carboy carrier on the carboy. I started pick it up and strap slipped...CRASH!!!!....5 gallons of beer went all over my basement floor. It was as if thousands of yeast cried out in terror and then were suddenly silenced. But it was a learning experience :-[
Title: Well that's odd...
Post by: breidenbach on October 11, 2017, 06:01:39 PM
This was the 3rd of 4th time I had used my counter flow heat exchanger.  It is the copper tube inside a rubber hose type.  To easy set up I installed SS cam fittings to the wort inlet and outlet.  Since I move the inlet water line around, it got a cam fitting too.  The brew day was going well and it was time to heat sanitize the heat exchanger, so I turn on the pump.  When I check the boil kettle I notice the liquid level had dropped.  Some level change was normal due to filling the tubing of the CFH.  At about the same time I was thinking "well, that's odd that the level was so low and getting lower"  I tuned an saw steam coming from the outlet water hose!  What a dunce - I had cross connected the wort and water lines so I was pumping wort onto the lawn.  I think I dumped 2 or 3 gallons before I realized my goof.
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: hawkbox on October 11, 2017, 06:06:53 PM
One, my first attempt at a high gravity beer (11% stout, 1.100+ OG) boiled over all over my stove top and at the time I had no idea what to do besides cut the heat and wait.  I had to remove all four electric elements and clean out under the top of the stove top (between the elements and the top of the oven).  That took days to clean up.  I also horribly underpitched that beer and bottled it at 1.040.  I had to dump the bottles after the first one I opened sprayed the kitchen ceiling.  After I opened them all I was soaked in underattenuated stout from the waist up. As awful as that was, I learned a lot of lessons that day.

So many lessons...something so terrible about getting sprayed down and having to look at the next bottle and think, do I really need to open this?


Yeah, that was really fun (not).  The first one I opened was a Mr Beer plastic bottle (which I no longer use) and as soon as I unscrewed it, it sprayed out like a shaken soda and so I had a perfect horizontal wet stripe across my chest.  Next one was a glass bottle and I popped the top and it spewed like a Indy 500 winner's champagne bottle and sprayed the entire kitchen.  I spent like an hour after that popping the bottles upside down to spray down into the sink, but of course it splashed all over the place.. I was soaked and had beer in my hair, all over my face, running down my arms..
I'd have probably opened them in the shower while crying and rocking back and forth.  So far I've only broken a thermometer in my Belgian Wit and it was still drinkable. 
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: snowtiger87 on October 11, 2017, 07:41:16 PM
Disasters - hmm, let me count the 3 biggest:

1) Carboy shatter #1 - I was sanitizing a carboy at the end of a brew session and shaking 1 gallon of Star San around in the kitchen. I was holding the carboy horizontally. On a downward shake the carboy slipped out of my hands and crashed to floor with such force (after all, I had in essence thrown it on the floor) that it shattered with shards even hitting the ceiling. Luckily, no injuries.

2) Carboy shatter #2 - I was transferring from primary to secondary in the garage (I had smartened up and no longer did anything brew related in the kitchen) and had the sanitized carboy sitting on a step stool so that my siphon hose would reach the bottom. It must have been unstable and got bumped and I noticed it falling and instinctively tried to grab it. My hand touched it just as it hit the floor, shattering into big shards. I essentially stabbed myself in the finger with one of the shards causing a deep gash on the underside of my middle finger. Blood was everywhere, but beer had to be transferred so I wrapped up my finger, cleaned up, and proceeded. The next morning my finger was still bleeding so I went to the doctor where I ended up with 5 stitches. I still don't have feeling on the end of that finger.

3)  Cereal mash burn - I had returned from a deployment in Afghanistan and was brewing my first beer since I got back. I was brewing a Classic American Pilsner which called for a cereal mash of the corm meal and some 6-row. Normally I wear my brewing shoes (LL Bean duck boots) but it was hot and I was trying to recover from "foot funk" which can happen when wearing combat boots every day for a year. So I wore rubber river sandals (open). During the cereal mash while I was standing over the boiling wort stirring - a little glob of corn meal/6 row wort popped out of the pot and landed on the middle of my exposed foot. I did not feel any pain but knew I was in trouble when I saw the skin immediately fall off. Of course I continued with the brew but ended up with a third degree burn on my foot. It swelled up so much that I could not where a shoe for a week.   :o
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: Michael on October 11, 2017, 08:00:03 PM
My first all grain brew day. (I still made beer, but what a day...)
I got a late start (in the afternoon) because of a family commitment. This made me feel rushed up front, which is important when realizing that I had never brewed an all-grain process before, and hadn't even done a grain-free dry run of the whole process to make sure I knew what I was doing. So here's the day...

I get home, and I put some water on the burner to pre-heat the MashTun (I knew I wanted to do that, recipes said to get it about 10° higher than my mash temp). This is a 20 gallon mash tun, but since it was my first all-grain foray, I was only making a 5 gallon batch. Well, I pre-heated the MashTun, but my grains had been resting all night and day in a lovely 62° room in my basement. Added the grains and the strike water and poof, I'm starting out with a mash temperature 5° below my planned temp, and falling (since I had only about 3.5 gallons of liquid in the 20+ gallon tank). I scramble, trying to figure out what to do, and start heating some more water. I keep adding water that's in the 160°+/- range and all I manage to do is maintain my mash temp at about 143° (now 9 degrees below my planned mash temp and 8 gallons in the tun). So what do I do? I mash in for 3 hours instead of 1. I finally pull wort off the grain bed and end up with my pre-boil 7.5 gallons of wort (after a haphazard fly sparge).

So it's not my first rodeo, but I'm so out of sorts after the mash-in mess, that I freak out when, 30 minutes into my boil, the thermometer built into my (new, 20 gallon) brew kettle is now above the level of the wort and I can't get a boil temperature. Before you say "you don't need a boil temperature, it's boiling which is somewhere around 200-212° or more" I know that, but as frazzled as I was, I start to freak out that I don't know my boil temperature. A friend firmly reminds me that boiling point is a standard temperature (duh) and basically smacks me down to reality. This is also the moment I realize I didn't do a yeast starter (or even warm my liquid yeast packet by taking it out of the refrigerator) so I rush to try and wake up yeast, with only about 30 minutes until pitching time. I try to mix up a starter quickly and get it on with my stir plate, instead getting DME all over my workspace (that's fun to clean up!).

Finally, 6+ hours into a 4-hour all-grain brew day I have chilled wort going into fermentation, and I forget to take an OG reading (heck, I haven't taken a gravity reading at all this day, why start now!). I realize this but with the wort all pitched with yeast, I no longer have a clean source to get OG (or an easy, sanitary way to draw wort and test at this point since I'm using a 6 gallon carboy with just about 5.5 gallons of wort in there. Oh well, no idea what the ABV/Gravity will be when done, I put it off to ferment for two weeks since I can't even guess to gravity readings.

Rush forward now, about 4-6 weeks later, and I finally crack open a bottle of this (supposed to be American Pale Ale) beer aptly named "Disaster Pale Ale" - it's really DRY, almost pucker-worthy, and a really muddy gray-brown color for an APA, but sure enough, it's drinkable (but not in high volumes) and beer, nonetheless.
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: mosquitofeet on October 11, 2017, 09:19:18 PM
In the middle of a drought I figured that I really ought to be doing something wise with the warm water coming out my immersion chiller coil. I hooked up the outflow to a hose and a lawn sprinkler thinking I could water my half-dead lawn while cooling the wort.  The extra back pressure from running the hose up-hill to the lawn popped the clamp off the coil making my 5 gallon, 1.051 batch of California Common a 9 gallon batch of ??? at about 1.029.  I was ready to dump it all when my dear wife intervened , "Boil it down some and make two batches. It's worth a try."  So I pulled the hop basket, boiled a bit, added some sugar and made two ~1.036 4-gallon batches of sumkinda bitter. I pitched one with the Steam yeast and the other with BE-134. The BE-134, fermented at 74°, finished at 1.001! and drier than a popcorn fart. The cooler WLP810 finished at 1.008. Both versions were tasty and well received by knowledgable judges.  Never give up! and listen to your SO.
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: jmastera on October 12, 2017, 06:04:39 PM
Not a brew day mishap, but a bottling day mishap.

Brewed a Double IPA for my wedding, brew day went great. Cooled, transferred to my Cornical (not rely in love with this thing by any means), pitched, etc. etc. etc. One week primary, one week secondary. During secondary I had added 4 cups of crushed pineapple.

On bottling day(night actually - its close to 11pm when I get started) I get the Cornical up on a platform, open the valve to drain off whatever trub and pineapple remnants might be left over and see clear beer. Thinking I am ready to go I get all the fittings ready bottle, give the beer a little time to settle, have my sanitized bottles waiting in stand by. I open the valve and nothing comes out. Maybe a trickle. I jostle the fermenter and still barely anything come out. Give it a BIG shake, and beer starts flowing, I get about 4 bottle in and it stops again.

At this point I know exactly what has happened, the "crushed" pineapple is clogging the valve. I close it up, pull the fittings and bottling tube off and slowly start to open the valve. I figure if I can dislodge it, maybe I lose a coupe bottles worth, no harm no foul. Well still nothing is coming out. Without even paying attention, or maybe I was just exhausted from a long day, I start to loosen the tri-clover clamp for the Ball valve off (WTH was I thinking?????) and WOOSH! it was like the flood gates opening on the Hoover Dam.

Lost about 10 bottles total. Not the end of the world as I still had a Raspberry Pale on deck as well. If I do the Pineapple again, pureed not crushed.
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: tklarose on October 12, 2017, 07:08:47 PM
We all have our brewing stories.  This one is about brewing safety. Having brewed over 100 batches of beer with no major incidents, this particular Saturday was a different story.  I volunteered to do an all-grain brewing demo at one the local homebrew stores. Waking up that morning, I dressed accordingly for the weather which was a warm summer day, around 90 degrees. I threw on a t-shirt (beer related, of course), shorts, and tennis shoes.
       When I got to the store, they had a Blichmann top tier brew stand to brew on. I thought to myself, "Alright, I get to be one of the cool kids for the day!" My recipe was a Trappist single. I had three other members of my club join me, Al, Nick and John, with Al as my brewing assistant. Al and I were splitting the 10-gallon batch of the Trappist single and Nick and John were doing 10 gallons of a Festbier. The equipment was a little unfamiliar, so we were out of our element, but grain was crushed and mashed in, and our beers would be shared at a future club event.
   There were some minor glitches like missing our mash temperature on one for the beers, but we persevered. Some homebrew was shared but not overly so. Questions about the brewing process were abundant. We had a nice crowd of about a dozen beginners show up to watch and learn the brewing process. I love doing brewing demos so I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  I see it as my chance to give back to a great community who taught me so much.
   As the day wore on the newbies got there answers and moved on with their day. By the time the boil was finished, not many spectators were around. The boil was complete on my beer and it was time to cool the wort in order to pitch the yeast. The hoses were hooked up and ready to circulate the wort for chilling to the appropriate temperature for the yeast. I double checked by hoses and connections. It was time to turn on the pump. BOOM! I hit the switch. Everything started circulating. I flipped the switch for the water to run through the Therminator.
   It always takes a second or two for the pain from your foot to hit the receptors of the brain. Wow, that is warm, my brain thought. NO, IT'S DAMN HOT!!! I turned on the hose to run the water through the Therminator, but I did not realize my right foot was in front of the exit hose for the water. Once, I realized what was happening, I yelled HOT! HOT! HOT! I threw off my tennis shoe and sock. It was a 90-degree day so ice was available to chill the wort a little quicker. Someone grabbed a bag of ice and put on my foot. We then put some ice in a bucket since there are always buckets around when you are brewing. I put my burned foot in the bucket of ice water and I left it in as long as I take it.
   I texted my wife, the nurse, smarter than most doctors (sorry if you are a doctor but the truth hurts) a picture of my foot. I could hear her heavy sighs through the text, saying "You stupid idiot." At that point I couldn't argue. I didn't have a leg to stand on...literally!
   Thinking I should go to the hospital, we finished up the brew day because, like a good soldier, you don't leave your post. Once things settled, I was thankful for wearing pretty decent shoes. My burn was minimal comparatively, on my right foot from the big toe to the arch of my foot. Things would have been really bad had I worn sandals or flip flops.  I would definitely be in the hospital.
   So, here I am on my soapbox: WEAR REAL SHOES! NO SANDALS OR FLIP-FLOPS!!! Pay attention to your surroundings. Accidents happen and you never know when it is going to happen to you!
Prosit! I meant it.
Title: Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
Post by: franknbeth on October 16, 2017, 12:18:28 AM
Thought I would get a little creative....You know how root vegetables (carrots and beets) have a lot of sugar.  I came up with a recipe for a beet root rye.  I roasted and mashed the beets, used a little pectinase and let it sit overnight.  Did my normal mini-mash and added the beets in the last few minutes of the boil.  Cooled and pitched into a glass carboy.  set the fermenter in the garage overnight.   in the morning, everything looked good, so I left it and went to work.  Came home to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre in my garage.  Fermentation was VERY aggressive (guess I didn't know how much sugar the beets actually added).  The cork held and acted like a nozzle.  Sprayed this blood-red concoction all over my white cabinets floor and shelving.  I cleaned everything up.  Throw out hundreds of paper towels that looked blood soaked....surprised the police didn't show up asking questions.  Clean out the airlock, wipe off the carboy.  Everything and clean and ready to put away.  Pick up the carboy by the neck (no handle or webbing), get it maybe 1/4 inch off the ground and drop it.  Now I have the remaining three to four gallons of bloody goop flowing across my garage floor....and the clean up starts all over.  I did brew it again, and it turned out pretty good.  I am currently changing to plastic carboys.