Author Topic: I can't be the only one- those "nightmare" home brewing stories...  (Read 991 times)

Offline sbypackerfan

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After today, see below, I was curious to think there have to be others, I can't be the only one... I am talking about those crazy, at the time "nightmare", later you have to smile, stories about home brewing....

Today, I bottled my third brew, again, see below but...

For my last brew, while bottling, I was capping my bottles and one just simply exploded... shards of glass and beer everywhere... my wife came to the save and had me not move since I was in bare feet and cleaned the glass up from around me...

Then, this brew, my third, I bottled 20 bottles and decided to cap them before filling the other bottles. I went to the other side of the table and capped about half, again, while talking with the wife... then all the sudden, my bottling bucket on the other side of the table just falls to the floor with about 2 gallons of beer going everywhere in the kitchen... we grabbed every towel, blocked off all appliances so not to have to pull them out, and laughed as we cleaned. Since we only got 20 bottles from this brew, we are calling this my first "limited edition"  :D.

Alright, what are your stories? I can't be the only one...

Offline Robert

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Re: I can't be the only one- those "nightmare" home brewing stories...
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2018, 03:08:31 AM »
First attempt at counterpressure bottling.  Had my keg of carbed beer, my new CP rig, no direct experience or advice, just directions I'd read in a (to remain nameless)  homebrew book.  But they related (unbeknownst to me) to a weird alternative arrangement of the gas and liquid lines.  Said you should add more gas if the beer started foaming in the bottle.  Well, if gas and liquid are (as usual) both on the dip tube, bubbling in gas will just cause instant breakout of all the gas in the beer in the bottle.  Blows the rig out my hands, and all the beer all over the basement ceiling.  28 straight bottles worth, all over the ceiling, and me, and everything else.  Then I quit,  put a picnic tap on the keg, drank my fill, and cleaned up.  Figured it out, and never had a fail after that.  Eventually built a keezer and never bottled again though. 

BTW have you heard Klickitat Jim's hot dog story? Jim? Care to relate? One of my all-time favorites.
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Offline BrewBama

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I have been dabbling in low oxygen exposure techniques, especially on the cold side, and decided I needed to add sugar solution to a spunded keg to get it to the carbonation level I needed.  So, using Kai’s calculations I decided to inject a sugar solution thru the gas port of the keg. My contraption all rigged up and syringe full of sugar solution, I attached the quick disconnect to the gas port.

The plunger of the syringe shot across the room, sugar solution followed and I fumbled to get the QD off the port as quickly as I could.  I sat there for a minute, mouth wide open just shakin my head, amazed at what a few PSI was capable of doing.

Now if I am going to add anything to a keg thru the gas port I ensure I have my hand on the syringe plunger. ...but lately I decided perfection is the enemy of good enough, quit stressing over the small stuff, and just open the keg and purge the headspace.  My kegs only last about two weeks anyway.
Huntsville AL

Offline denny

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Re: I can't be the only one- those "nightmare" home brewing stories...
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2018, 03:53:21 PM »
The episode of Experimental Brewing coming out on Wed. is about brewday disasters.  Some great stories!
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Offline klickitat jim

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The episode of Experimental Brewing coming out on Wed. is about brewday disasters.  Some great stories!
Right on! You guys must have tried my beer.


Offline ethinson

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Re: I can't be the only one- those "nightmare" home brewing stories...
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2018, 11:59:53 AM »
I got really adventurous (as I think a lot of us do) very early on and my 4th ever batch of beer was an attempt at an 11% milk stout. Starting gravity well over 1.100.  I do stovetop extract and so with a good 7 or 8 pounds of extract rather than 4-5, my pot was very full.  Of course it boiled over.  That early in my homebrewing career I had no idea what to do so I just sat there and stared at it and panicked.  I finally grabbed the potholders and tried to pull the pot off the burner but it was way too late.  The wort was burning on the burner and seeping down under the elements.  I had to take all four elements off and lift up the top and clean out underneath and clean the drip rings and everything.  It was a huge mess. 

Same batch.. oh, it get's better.  Somehow managed to finish the boil and get it in the bucket.  Again, not knowing yet what I was doing, horribly underpitched this beer and it stalled out at around 1.040.  Decided "screw it" and bottled it.  Tasted a few of them and it was god awful sweet, just undrinkable.  Went to start dumping them.  At the time I was still using plastic screwcap Mr Beer bottles and as soon as I cracked the seal beer shot out in a horizontal plane painting a line across my chest and the walls of the kitchen.  Next opened a 22 oz glass bottle and it sprayed like champagne at the Indy 500.  I ended up opening the bottles upside down so they would spray into the sink but it still splashed everywhere.  The kitchen was trashed and I was literally dripping by the end of it.  My wife and I both just laughed at the ridiculousness of it all.

I'm planning on attempting this beer again.. I dialed it back a touch to about 9.5% instead of 11%, but now I know the tricks like aerating and pitching a lot more yeast than I did the first time. 
SE Portland - AKA Beervana
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Offline Kevin

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Re: I can't be the only one- those "nightmare" home brewing stories...
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2018, 05:58:52 PM »
This is by far the worst brew day I've had in 20+ years of making beer.

This weekend I was making a barleywine. OG 1.110. Everything was going to plan until the first runnings were pumped into the boil kettle. Seems I left a valve open somewhere and all the BK wort somehow flowed back into the mash tun.

I didn't notice that little tidbit of information because I was busy trying to reheat my sparge water. I had heated it too early and it had cooled from 168° to 156°. It was as I was adding the batch sparge I noticed the mash tun looked really, really full. See the issue above.

Now I start to vorlauf but it never clears. Either while stirring the mash after adding sparge water or the wort back flowing into the mash tun dislodged the pickup tube on my false bottom. What now? Get my BIAB bag and drain into a bucket... lift bag, squeeze... pour wort from bucket to BK. It sorta works.

At least I had the expected volume in the boil kettle but the pre boil OG is way off. I don't have DME to add... only a pound of dark muscovado which doesn't help a whole lot. So my barleywine will now be more of a strong ale or old ale.

After the boil I was short on my expected volume... 5 gallons instead of the 6 I was after.

At this point all of this has been minor headaches that couldn't be overcome. Until this one.

I brew in the garage and ferment in my basement. Being an older geezer and not as strong as I once was I empty my boil kettle into a clean, sanitized bucket and carry about 2.5 to 3 gallons at a time downstairs. I started to empty the first bucket and the valve on my stainless steel brew bucket is open! I reach down with one hand to quickly close it and while I'm doing that I lose my grip on the bucket with the other hand. 3 gallons of wort all over my basement floor.

At that point I wasn't going to bother with half a batch of half the beer I set out to make. I dumped the rest of the boil kettle out, cleaned my equipment and reset for this coming weekend.
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Offline jweiss206

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Re: I can't be the only one- those "nightmare" home brewing stories...
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2018, 06:01:29 PM »
These are some of my favorite mishaps.

I once misread 1 tsp of Anise as 1 ounce and the 'Anise Blaster' Porter was born. Think a nice robust porter with a shot of Jagermeister thrown in for good measure.

I've forgotten to put the little cup thing in a single chamber airlock, so air was freely wandering in and out for the entire fermentation process. Why yes that beer did get infected thanks for asking.

I've added raspberry puree directly into a Saison's primary fermentation before it had reached final gravity. Needless to say I was cleaning up a Raspberry Saison off the ceiling within a few days.

Also failed at some of those common mistakes like running out of propane before the boil is complete or priming the beer for bottling and realizing I don't actually have any bottle caps.

Good times.

Offline rburrelli

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Re: I can't be the only one- those "nightmare" home brewing stories...
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2018, 06:09:51 PM »
This is by far the worst brew day I've had in 20+ years of making beer.

This weekend I was making a barleywine. OG 1.110. Everything was going to plan until the first runnings were pumped into the boil kettle. Seems I left a valve open somewhere and all the BK wort somehow flowed back into the mash tun.

I didn't notice that little tidbit of information because I was busy trying to reheat my sparge water. I had heated it too early and it had cooled from 168° to 156°. It was as I was adding the batch sparge I noticed the mash tun looked really, really full. See the issue above.

Now I start to vorlauf but it never clears. Either while stirring the mash after adding sparge water or the wort back flowing into the mash tun dislodged the pickup tube on my false bottom. What now? Get my BIAB bag and drain into a bucket... lift bag, squeeze... pour wort from bucket to BK. It sorta works.

At least I had the expected volume in the boil kettle but the pre boil OG is way off. I don't have DME to add... only a pound of dark muscovado which doesn't help a whole lot. So my barleywine will now be more of a strong ale or old ale.

After the boil I was short on my expected volume... 5 gallons instead of the 6 I was after.

At this point all of this has been minor headaches that couldn't be overcome. Until this one.

I brew in the garage and ferment in my basement. Being an older geezer and not as strong as I once was I empty my boil kettle into a clean, sanitized bucket and carry about 2.5 to 3 gallons at a time downstairs. I started to empty the first bucket and the valve on my stainless steel brew bucket is open! I reach down with one hand to quickly close it and while I'm doing that I lose my grip on the bucket with the other hand. 3 gallons of wort all over my basement floor.

At that point I wasn't going to bother with half a batch of half the beer I set out to make. I dumped the rest of the boil kettle out, cleaned my equipment and reset for this coming weekend.

Man.  You win the prize with that one.  Everything that could have gone wrong did!
Just sitting here learning what I can....

Offline Slowbrew

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Re: I can't be the only one- those "nightmare" home brewing stories...
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2018, 09:30:24 PM »
The worst thing I've had happen lately was a cleaning accident.

I was cleaning 7 dirty kegs and was on the last one.  I picked up the keg which was full of PBL in order dump it down the drain.  I had to pause to move something out of the way and my hand holding the keg slipped.  The keg dropped straight down, about 3 feet.  It hit the top of my knee cap and continued down on to my right foot.  The knee was swelled for about 4 days.  I don't normally bruise much, but my foot has a 2.5 to 3 inch bruise centered on the base of toes and on to the top of my foot.

I wasn't sure how much damage had been done but I finished the job and pressurized the kegs.  Then I drug myself up the basement steps and had to ask my wife to remove my work boot and sock so we could see if I had any broken bones.

Luckily, I don't have any broken bones but it's going to take quite awhile to heal up.

Paul
Where the heck are we going?  And what's with this hand basket?

Offline James K

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Re: I can't be the only one- those "nightmare" home brewing stories...
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2018, 12:55:08 AM »
I had a wide mouth carboy. Key word had. I was putting the lid on after just crashing the beer from my brew day. The lid seemed to get cross threaded a bit and the silicone o ring that creates the seal was sticking a little. I was having trouble untightening the lid and decided to get some leverage on the carboy so I used my knee to hold the carboy. And. Well. My knee punched through the side of the carboy, which cut my leg, shattered and dumped 5.5 gallons of beer with freshly pitched yeast and beer all over my rug, which didn’t absorb anything, and then the beer went all over my wood floors, under the stove, and pretty much everywhere. My mop didn’t do a damned thing. I used every towel in the house. And the rug had virtually all the hop matter caked into it. I just rolled the rug up and threw it in the garbage along with the carboy I used twice. (Haven’t used a wide mouth ever since.)

And that’s the biggest nightmare I’ve ever dealt with besides one bottle bomb.
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Offline 69franx

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Jweiss, I hate to laugh as I have had plenty of mishaps. But man your post got me laughing pretty good.

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Offline 69franx

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I brewed for the second time this year last Saturday, June 9th. Did not do as much pre-brew day prep as I would like. Grain, hops, water salts all not weighed out prior to starting my day. Home printer would not work, so my beersmith brew sheets were not printed out. Let the fun begin.
    Go to start my brew day by opening my laptop. It tells me it wants to do an update. Not paying attention to the fact that it's a big one, I ok the update. I'm not even sure how much water I need for my first no sparge brew day. I get 12 gallons heating up while I wait for the update to finish. Over an hour later, the update finishes. My mash water turns out to be a little shy, and a couple degrees over target but I can fix that by adding the necessary water. I get the water straightened out but now need to weigh and mill my grain....
     Get all the grain weighed out, add some to my mill, and turn on my drill. Nothing. Absolutely nothing happens except the powered wheel spins. Gap is off, knurls are a bit dirty from my last experiment with wet milling. Spend an hour getting the mill up and running; which includes emptying it at least 3 times, taking it all apart twice and then it works.
     Turn the mash water back on to get the last couple degrees I need. Mash in with no issues, but wind up 3 degrees higher than intended, still need to figure out my target for no sparge. I did reset my beersmith default for grain absorption, as I am using a mash in a cooler bag, but forget to change my default dead space. After draining mash tun, I am over a gallon high. Boil for an extra 45 minutes to get close. In the end I get 11 gallons of 1.046 ish instead of 10.5 gallons of 1.049 so really did not take a hit with no sparge, just needed to boil longer.
     Boil goes off without a hitch, thank goodness. After chilling, I realize that my yeast (for my pilsner) has been sitting in my ferm fridge for at least 3 weeks at my target ferm temp of 50, as I had to postpone brewing. I pitch anyways, not expecting anything. Getting nothing is exactly what I get. 48 hours post pitch, no signs of fermentation, even upon visual inspection and a new hydro test. I do happen to have 2 "fresh" vials of WLP 860 helles lager yeast that obviously had a different destination and I pitch that. Projection is for a 0.5% difference in ABV and I can live with that. That was pitched last Monday and today I transferred to spunding kegs. Fingers crossed that all the drama with this batch is over. You're welcome for the entertainment.
    My usual 5-6 hour brew day turned into a 10 hour nightmare, and that did not even include yeast pitch. Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. The 6 PS would have saved me this day.

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« Last Edit: June 19, 2018, 02:16:57 AM by 69franx »
Frank L.
Fermenting:
Conditioning: Fest Bier
In keg:
In Bottles:  
In the works:

Offline jweiss206

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Jweiss, I hate to laugh as I have had plenty of mishaps. But man your post got me laughing pretty good.

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Yeah, I think for a few of those I may have been relaxing a bit too much and enjoying a few too many homebrews.

Offline James K

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Jweiss, I hate to laugh as I have had plenty of mishaps. But man your post got me laughing pretty good.

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Yeah, I think for a few of those I may have been relaxing a bit too much and enjoying a few too many homebrews.

I usually have two propane tanks for the same reason. Once I had to run to the gas station mid brew to make sure I could finish my boil. I’ve also ran out of gas before heating up my hot liquor tank. Those 6+ hour brew days are always fun.
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