Author Topic: How Bad Have You Crashed and Burned?  (Read 3842 times)

Offline brick pig

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How Bad Have You Crashed and Burned?
« on: June 19, 2014, 08:57:43 PM »
On Father's Day my wife and I were wandering around town in the nice Spring weather, and wound up for a time in our local kitchen gadget store. They sell beer kits in there, and I overheard a woman telling the shop owner that since she and her husband moved to town, he's made two batches of beer that were so bad they had to pour them down the sink. To make a short story long, I jumped in to say that I've been brewing with our local tap water since moving to town almost 11 years ago, and I've never had a problem. Ditto for several friends of mine who are homebrewers in the area. Told her to have her husband get in touch with me and we'd see if we could figure out the problem.

This prompted me to think, though, that in the 18 or so years that I've been brewing, I've never made a batch I didn't drink. Sure I've made some that I didn't absolutely love. Some that was too watery or otherwise didn't have the best mouthfeel. Occasional batches that didn't taste exactly like I expected. And obviously some recipes that I simply didn't much care for.

The worst batch I can remember was in 2003. It had a noticeable (to me, at least) funky finish. It is by far the worst batch I ever made, but it was still drinkable. In fact, I had one friend at the time who told me it was one of his favorite of my brews that he'd tasted up to that point, so what I perceived as a fault may very well have been a matter of opinion.

To my knowledge, none of my homebrewing friends have ever had a real catastrophe, either. An explosive bottle here and there, of course, and like me, a few batches that didn't make it onto the favorites list. But I don't personally know of anyone who's dumped a batch.

How 'bout y'all? What's your worst batch?
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Offline philm63

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Re: How Bad Have You Crashed and Burned?
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2014, 09:12:09 PM »
Black Imperial IPA. Came out OK up to and including kegging, where I decided to do a final dry-hop charge. Used a nylon stocking, a few ounces of Citra whole-leaf, and some stainless ball-bearings to weigh the bag down so it wouldn't just sit there on the top.

Ball-bearings worked fine - plenty of weight - just that they were 430 grade stainless as they were ball-bearings, and not the non-corrosive type such as 304 or 316. See where this is going?

Darn things rusted over the course of the several days in the keg carbonating and conditioning. By the time it came for the first sip, I knew it was drain food - plenty of iron, though, if you're into that sort of thing. I'm not. Sad day. True story. Lesson learned.
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: How Bad Have You Crashed and Burned?
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2014, 09:17:59 PM »
I've 2 or 3 that were absolutely undrinkable over my 17 years.
 
It doesn't happen often but it does happen.  Lately my beers have been just kind of "meh", not bad but not great.  I need to focus more and check the details going forward.

You're right though, as long you aren't doing something really off the beaten path, it's difficult to make a truly horrible beer.

Paul
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Offline brick pig

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Re: How Bad Have You Crashed and Burned?
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2014, 09:40:05 PM »
Heh. I think I'd drink the ball bearings before I'd drink the perfume.
--Monty

Offline AmandaK

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Re: How Bad Have You Crashed and Burned?
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2014, 10:00:11 PM »
When I moved to KC, didn't know there were chloramines in the water. Brewed a Wee Heavy and it was a chlorophenol BOMB.

Saved some of it for off flavor classes and dumped the rest.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: How Bad Have You Crashed and Burned?
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2014, 10:52:34 PM »
I pinned a cotton hop bag to the bottom of my kettle with the IC for the last 15 minutes of the boil. the bag and about a quarter of the hops actually burned under the wort. Black and charred. the whole batch smelled like camp fire yuk. kept trying to convince myself it was just a happy accident and I had 5 gallons of smoked hefe but finally I gave up my illusions and dumped it.
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Online denny

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Re: How Bad Have You Crashed and Burned?
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2014, 11:58:44 PM »
I'd guess I've dumped 5 or 6 out of 458.
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Offline kmccaf

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Re: How Bad Have You Crashed and Burned?
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2014, 12:13:22 AM »
I've dumped two batches. Was brewing in an old house with LOTS of mold in the basement. I was opening up my lids too often to sample, and ended up with some awful beer. The incredibly hoppy alt turned out quite nice, even though it was clearly infected. Other two...bleh. Super gross.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: How Bad Have You Crashed and Burned?
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2014, 12:20:10 AM »
I've dumped 2 batches that were oxidized pretty badly over the years. The only ones I've dumped, but I started out fermenting too warm (before I got a handle on the amount of heat produced from fermentation). So there were some overly fruity, estery, fusel-ly headache bombs. Everybody has a story !
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: How Bad Have You Crashed and Burned?
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2014, 12:57:28 AM »
Dumped 2.
#1 Was my Weiner Quad. A lovely Belgian Dark Strong that was primed for bottle conditioning with water that had boiled hotdogs rather than sugar.
#2 Was a Vienna Lager that got contaminated with pedio. (I think)

Offline Stevie

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Re: How Bad Have You Crashed and Burned?
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2014, 01:30:46 AM »

#1 Was my Weiner Quad. A lovely Belgian Dark Strong that was primed for bottle conditioning with water that had boiled hotdogs rather than sugar.

No way! That is awesome.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: How Bad Have You Crashed and Burned?
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2014, 01:59:20 AM »
True story. Use obviously different pans if you are going to cook weenies while bottling

Offline Jimmy K

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Re: How Bad Have You Crashed and Burned?
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2014, 02:08:30 AM »
True story. Use obviously different pans if you are going to cook weenies while bottling
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Offline sambates

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Re: How Bad Have You Crashed and Burned?
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2014, 02:12:00 AM »
I've had 2 batches so far:

1. A hard cider that had potassium metabisulfite (whose effects I was unaware of at the time) in it, so the yeast fermented the sugars I added, but not the cider itself. Adding more sugar and yeast to try to amp it up. Ended up with about 6% ABV ape cider vinegar...kept it for too long

2. An ESB that was my first batch using water additions, which sucked. On top of that, I ended up with acetaldehyde bad from taking off the cake too soon or over pitching. Bottle half for a buddy and I dumped my keg and made him dump the bottles.
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Primary:Belgian Dark Strong, Scottish Wee Heavy, American Session Wild Ale, Brandy Barrel "Lincolnambic"

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: How Bad Have You Crashed and Burned?
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2014, 02:12:20 AM »
I'll take it!

Discovered the mistake 3 weeks later when I went to check progress. Nasty, though I didnt try it with mustard.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2014, 02:15:52 AM by klickitat jim »