Author Topic: 6 gallons of beer on the floor....  (Read 758 times)

Offline jjflash

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6 gallons of beer on the floor....
« on: March 24, 2019, 12:20:02 AM »
….on the counter top, in the drawers, in the cabinets, then the floor.

After you have been brewing for many years you figure you have made every mistake know to brewers.
Then one day you make a mistake you have never seen before.

Brewed 12 gallons of Tripel and split the volume into two glass carboys as usual.
One week later moved the carboy to pull the blow off tube.
I use Brew Hauler's on all my carboys - absolutely love this gadget.
Noticed a small amount of liquid under the carboy.
Figured I must of spilled some beer from the blow off.
Week later moving the carboy again and notice again a small amount of liquid.
This is not good.
Figure I will transfer the beer to another carboy to be safe.
Rigged everything up for the transfer and ready to go.
Now I transfer every liquid under 4-5 psi CO2 pressure.
Normally good technique, this time it was a bad mistake.
Slightly opened the CO2 valve and immediately blew the bottom off the carboy.



Six gallons of beer immediately poured over the counter top, into the drawers, into the cabinets.
Spent the entire afternoon cleaning up the mess.

I have used these glass carboys for many, many years.
My brewhouse has a concrete floor.
Now I have never slammed the carboys down hard on the floor.
The Brew Haulers really help control the descent.
However, they do tap the floor lightly.
I surmise this constant tapping over the years cause micro-fractures in the glass.
Not big enough to see when they are being cleaned.
Apparently enough wear through the years and they eventually fail.


---JJ---

I don't know half of you half as well as I should, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
- Bilbo Baggins

Offline Robert

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Re: 6 gallons of beer on the floor....
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2019, 12:46:22 AM »
Hey, at least you're okay.   You're lucky.   I think everyone has heard of a brewer using pressure to transfer from a glass carboy and having the whole thing shatter.  You never know where a weakness might be,  and serious injuries are possible.  Maybe time to consider a new type of vessel, or a new method, before your luck runs out.  (I got scared into making such a change.)  Again, glad the only harm is lost beer and a big mess.
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

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Offline swampale

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Re: 6 gallons of beer on the floor....
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2019, 11:05:57 AM »
I recycled all my glass carboys and went to plastic.

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: 6 gallons of beer on the floor....
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2019, 11:14:57 AM »
I use glass rarely anymore (long term sours) and keep movement to a minimum when they are full.  Plastic and stainless are my preferred carboy materials. If you can afford stainless, it is the best approach IMHO.
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Offline KellerBrauer

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Re: 6 gallons of beer on the floor....
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2019, 12:06:49 PM »
I use glass for my primary fermentation and have considered using pressure to transfer as Robert suggested.  I think I’ll forgo that notion in view if this catastrophe.  Good thing no one was hurt!  I have moved to plastic (PET) for my long term fermentation’s as well as for bottling.  Looooove the plastic!  Sorry, jjflash, to see this unfortunate event.
All good things come to those who show patients and perseverance while maintaining a positive and progressive attitude. :-)

Offline BrewBama

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6 gallons of beer on the floor....
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2019, 12:18:12 PM »
Did you put hot wort in the carboy then rapidly cool it? If so, it could have been multiple rapid temp changes over time causing thermal cracks (temperature change causes different parts of a material to expand at different rates, and the resultant stress can cause the material to crack). If the temperature change happens rapidly materials like glass can shatter or seem to explode.

Resistance to thermal shock is part of why Pyrex became so popular for cookware; you could move a hot glass pan into a cool spot without worrying about it cracking or shattering. It’s also part of why laboratories prefer to use borosilicate glass rather than conventional soda-lime glass.


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« Last Edit: March 24, 2019, 01:05:26 PM by BrewBama »
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Offline goose

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Re: 6 gallons of beer on the floor....
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2019, 12:59:10 PM »
I use glass for my primary fermentation and have considered using pressure to transfer as Robert suggested.  I think I’ll forgo that notion in view if this catastrophe.  Good thing no one was hurt!  I have moved to plastic (PET) for my long term fermentation’s as well as for bottling.  Looooove the plastic!  Sorry, jjflash, to see this unfortunate event.

I still use glass to some extent for the secondary (i.e. brite tank) and sometimes when I make a 5 gallon test batch of a new beer.  When I keg from the brite, I push with CO2 but NEVER above 2 PSI.  To get it started you may have to goose (no pun intended) the pressure up to about 3.5 PSI for about 5 seconds but then reduce it quickly once the beer begins to flow.  You only need enough pressure to displace the beer flowing out of the carboy and to keep the O2 out.  Rob and I both have a friend who was pushing beer out of a carboy at about 10 PSI and he ended up in the ER to have the wound in his back stitched up after the carboy exploded.  That said, if you have the slightest doubt about transferring from a glass carboy using CO2 to push the beer, don't do it.

i am gradually weaning myself away from glass and using my conical as the fermenter, for dry hopping (which I  previously have only done in a glass carboy), and the brite tank.  I also inspect all of my glass carboys prior to use for any possible fractures in the glass.  PET carboys may also be in  my future but I will need to build a carboy washer so I don't scratch the plastic when cleaning them.

Glad you carboy failure only resulted only in lost beer and not a serious injury.
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Offline Robert

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Re: 6 gallons of beer on the floor....
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2019, 01:31:56 PM »
One further caveat.   Even if you are transferring under low pressure, a little hop material, yeast, trub, whatever could cause a clog and pressure could build rapidly without your noticing.   
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

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Offline MattyAHA

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Re: 6 gallons of beer on the floor....
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2019, 04:20:54 PM »
Rough , like the rest of us, my first thought was thank God you did not get sliced up or glass in the eye, this is why everything in my brew house is going SS, my carboys are years old also and they are ticking time bombs, im saving my cash up and getting like 4- 7 gallon kegmenters, glad you aint hurt sorry about the lost beer and mess cheers
Matty


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Offline Richard

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Re: 6 gallons of beer on the floor....
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2019, 05:24:13 PM »
I stopped using my glass carboy because I feared an experience like yours, although I don't do pressure transfer. My biggest concern was when I was washing it and turning it upside down to drain, etc. I got a PET carboy with spigot and I love being able to lift it with one hand. I also like being able to stick my arm in it all the way to the bottom for cleaning.
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Offline MNWayne

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Re: 6 gallons of beer on the floor....
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2019, 06:04:19 PM »
I've been fermenting in glass for about 20 years. I've been lucky so far. I did manage to crack one due to thermal shock before I invested in an immersion chiller, that was a long time ago. I'm going to pull the trigger on a SS conical. What can I do with all my carboys? I hate to just throw 'em.
Far better to dare mighty things....

Offline Robert

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Re: 6 gallons of beer on the floor....
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2019, 06:53:36 PM »
I considered the issue of not wanting to just trash them.  But the only use I could think of was to pass them on to another brewer.  I couldn't do that in good conscience, since I was worried myself that they could be stressed and dangerous.  (Most were over 25 years old.  But who knows, new ones could be flawed too.)  So in the end I just trashed them.
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

Offline MattyAHA

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Re: 6 gallons of beer on the floor....
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2019, 07:00:26 PM »
I considered the issue of not wanting to just trash them.  But the only use I could think of was to pass them on to another brewer.  I couldn't do that in good conscience, since I was worried myself that they could be stressed and dangerous.  (Most were over 25 years old.  But who knows, new ones could be flawed too.)  So in the end I just trashed them.
i hear ya, once i get all my ss gear im gonna turn my carboys into bottle gardens
Matty


"This sweet nectar was my life blood"-  Phil "Landfill" krundle

Offline Bilsch

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Re: 6 gallons of beer on the floor....
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2019, 02:48:46 AM »
If you consider the internal surface area of a carboy is about ~700 square inches, your 4 psi of pressure created about 2800 pounds of force on the glass. I'm surprised is didn't end up in more pieces. Glad you survived unscathed.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: 6 gallons of beer on the floor....
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2019, 03:03:09 AM »
I ditched my glass years ago. Cracked one near one-off my kids and that was it. There are too many safer options available.


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