I agree with everyone else: the hot dog water story is awesome. Coolest sad story I've ever read.
@factory: I've never had great luck with lagers. They're always perfectly drinkable, but they've never measured up to my ales. I simply don't have the resources to keep them at a constant-enough cool temp to be really successful.
I think my luck with not having had any batches go so wrong as to need dumping stems from two pretty obvious factors: 1- Since I began brewing, I've always lived in places with decent water, so I very, very rarely do any treatment, and 2- I am absolutely maniacal about sanitizing my equipment, before, during, and even after, every brew and every bottling.
I also very rarely take readings, so most of the time I'm not opening my fermenters at all except to rack or bottle. (I'm only brewing for my own drinking, so I'm not much concerned with my ABV and whatnot. Sometimes if I'm trying something I've never done before, I'll keep a closer eye on things, but not often.)
Or, maybe the odds have just been stacking up against me all these years, and I'm coming due for a run of disappointments. Yikes.