Author Topic: Got a brewday disaster story?  (Read 2971 times)

Offline Stevie

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Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
« Reply #30 on: September 18, 2017, 07:00:31 AM »
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.

Offline tedtalb

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Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
« Reply #31 on: October 11, 2017, 08:24:24 AM »
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 :-[

Offline breidenbach

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Well that's odd...
« Reply #32 on: October 11, 2017, 11:01:39 AM »
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.

Offline hawkbox

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Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
« Reply #33 on: October 11, 2017, 11:06:53 AM »
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. 

Offline snowtiger87

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Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
« Reply #34 on: October 11, 2017, 12:41:16 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
Brewing since 1989 - BJCP National Rank
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Offline Michael

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Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
« Reply #35 on: October 11, 2017, 01:00:03 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.

Offline mosquitofeet

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Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
« Reply #36 on: October 11, 2017, 02:19:18 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.

Offline jmastera

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Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
« Reply #37 on: October 12, 2017, 11:04:39 AM »
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.

Offline tklarose

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Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
« Reply #38 on: October 12, 2017, 12:08:47 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.

Offline franknbeth

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Re: Got a brewday disaster story?
« Reply #39 on: October 15, 2017, 05:18:28 PM »
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.