Author Topic: Worst Homebrew Ever!  (Read 2299 times)

Offline gmac

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Worst Homebrew Ever!
« on: February 09, 2011, 11:23:31 PM »
Maybe this has been done before but what's the worst batch you've ever made?  We're all proud of our successes and achievements but what's the worst beer you've made.  How did it go bad?  What did you do wrong?  

I'll start off by telling you the story of what has certainly been the worst brew I've ever done (although in a weird way, it turned out to be the best I could ever hope for).  

Back in University, about 20 or so years ago, I wasn't that focused on the overall quality of the homebrew I was making.  Quantity and alcohol content were the driving factors.  So, when I went home over the Christmas break, I decided to make some homebrew to take back to school with me.  We weren't allowed to brew beer in our residence although  I did fill my garbage can with potting soil and tried to grow a giant pumpkin but that's off topic....  Now, back then I was usually doing all-malt extract brews with my own hops and whatever other ingredients we decided to add. For this batch I went with a classic recipe - and I use that term very loosely - that my friend and I basically pulled out of thin air.  The beer was called "Count Hannibal Slim's Royal Ace of Spades Oatmeal and Coffee Breakfast Stout".  Hannibal Slim was my buddies Jack Russell Terrier, the Ace of Spades reference was in part homage to the colour of the beer and the classic Motorhead tune we were listening to during the process and the oatmeal and coffee were literally a couple packages of Quaker Instant Oatmeal and a pot of black coffee that we dumped into the brew on a whim.  

Because I was pressed for time before I went back to class, I only had about a week to get the beer done and bottled before I had to get back to failing classes.  We boiled a couple gallons of water, added our malt extract, coffee, oatmeal etc (this was not a mash process, just a straight up addition) and hops and boiled it for an hour, added it to a carboy with water and pitched the yeast.  But, because we were limited on time, and knowing that micro-organisms should work faster under warmer conditions, I kept the carboy at about 90 degrees for the entire brewing process.  After 5 days, we bottled into plastic bottles with table sugar and then I surrounded the hot air registers in my parents house with bottles and draped blankets over them to really insulate them and keep the heat in.

Needless to say, it was the most cidery, off-tasting, putrid beer you can imagine but I drank it happily.  In fact, when one of my female roommates brought her friend over I offered her some too.  Surprisingly, she drank it and even tried to convince me that she liked it.  I was so impressed with this girl who could stomach this horrible brew, and keep it down, and pretend to like it that I ended up marrying her.  So, what was probably the worst homebrew in history was a great litmus test to help me find an amazing women and now, 20 years later she is finally letting me brew beer again.

So that's the worst beer I've made (so far - there's always room for failure).  What about you?

Offline euge

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Re: Worst Homebrew Ever!
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2011, 12:25:09 AM »
That's a homebrew dream... :)

Spring had sprung and the "cool place" turned out to be a "warm place" and while the beer was beautiful in all other respects it tasted like nail polish. That's how I came to throw out my second batch.

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Online phillamb168

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Re: Worst Homebrew Ever!
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2011, 02:46:07 AM »
Well, this isn't technically 'bad' anymore, but about a month ago I tried to do a Magic Hat #9 clone, and used apricot extract. YEcccch. The bathroom smelled like chemical apricot for a week, and when we tried the beer... oof. Like drinking apricot-flavored cough syrup with a whole lotta astrigency and peaty/phenolic off-flavors. I figured it was due to the overuse of extract.

I kegged it anyway and now that it's about a month old, it's getting pretty drinkable, so not a fail necessarily.
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Offline oscarvan

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Re: Worst Homebrew Ever!
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2011, 06:05:10 AM »
Today I am brewing batches 12/13 ....... I haven't had a bad one yet......

Oh no, I probably shouldn't have said that..... :o :o :o
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Offline tygo

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Re: Worst Homebrew Ever!
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2011, 08:01:02 AM »
I brewed up a Mocha Porter and instead of using 12 oz of prepared cold-pressed coffee I used 12 oz of ground coffee to make about three quarts of cold pressed coffee.  The resulting effort (I hesitate to call it beer) tastes like cold, carbonated coffee.  I bottled it but I haven't been able to choke down more than a few bottles and I'm certainly not giving it to anyone.  I guess it'll hang around until I need those bottles and then become drain cleaner.
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Offline nicneufeld

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Re: Worst Homebrew Ever!
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2011, 09:16:41 AM »
I've had a lot of mediocre beers, but no standout, ye gods that's horrible! beers.  Many of them were just inadvisable recipe formulation.  Chipotle IPA...a strong and dry IPA with so much dried chipotle heat I might as well have not hopped it.  Apricot IPA, using both fruit and extract...had a strange flavor, not a lot of apricot outside the nose.  Not undrinkable, just disappointing.  My third batch was a barleywine that finished way, way too sweet.  I added oak, bourbon, dry hops, and I think molasses to that beer.  Not great!  I had an 80 shilling have a slight phenolic "eau-de-bandaids" aroma, but I still drank that beer.  Never have used peated malt again!

I once tried to make a batch of parsnip wine, thankfully only a small batch.  Finished insanely sweet, and tasted like flavorless rocketfuel.  Thankfully that was a 1gal batch!  Made a stout braggot one time that also finished way too sweet, around 1.040 or 1.030 I think.  I rescued it by fortifying it...the addition of bourbon made it more reminiscent of some weird Anglo adaptation of port. And the one batch that got a lot of it thrown out was when I fermented a carboy of pear nectar in hopes I could make perry.  The pear solids settled to the bottom with the yeast, and the flavor...leaving a thin, sugary liquid on top that fermented into bland rocketfuel.  I bottled it and several years of aging seemed to really improve said rocketfuel, but not before a lot of it got thrown out or used in things like fruit fly traps (the little beggars adore the smell of fermentation).




Online morticaixavier

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Re: Worst Homebrew Ever!
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2011, 09:33:02 AM »
Also not a standout. but I did a honey vanilla brown ale a couple of years ago that just was unpleasant. to sweet and the vanilla bean didn't come through so I added extract at bottling time which didn't get mixed well so some bottles were bland and some were like drinking vanilla extract (Which seems like it should be good but isnt')
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Offline dak0415

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Re: Worst Homebrew Ever!
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2011, 09:37:33 AM »
In 2006, before I started AG, I did a 1 gal batch that was 8oz of DME and 16oz of Rice solids with some cascade hops, don't remember the yeast.  I was going to throw it out, but my neighbor seemed to be able to drink it.  Other than a REAL funky, stressed contaminated batch that never made it near a keg, that was my worst.
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Offline abraxas

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Re: Worst Homebrew Ever!
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2011, 09:49:04 AM »
I lost track of a Darklord style Imperial Stout for a couple of months that underwent some autolysis- pretty damn awful tasting which was disappointing because earlier samples had been very promising.

My friend brewed a recipe called Mountain Brew which had, you guessed it Mountain Dew in place of much of the water.  It was very fusely and fairly rancid.  Easily the worst beer I have ever had that made it to bottles.




Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Worst Homebrew Ever!
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2011, 10:08:47 AM »
My first all-grain brew I used a garden hose to fill the HLT.  Talk about tasting like plastic!  I've made lots of others that weren't great, but none come to mind that were truly awful.

I brewed up a Mocha Porter and instead of using 12 oz of prepared cold-pressed coffee I used 12 oz of ground coffee to make about three quarts of cold pressed coffee.  The resulting effort (I hesitate to call it beer) tastes like cold, carbonated coffee.  I bottled it but I haven't been able to choke down more than a few bottles and I'm certainly not giving it to anyone.  I guess it'll hang around until I need those bottles and then become drain cleaner.
You can brew up another batch and blend in the glass . . . maybe 25% coffee beer, 75% new batch?  Or just drink it for breakfast. :)  You can also use some bottles for chili, bbq sauce, lots of cooking options.
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Offline abraxas

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Re: Worst Homebrew Ever!
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2011, 05:13:58 AM »
The resulting effort (I hesitate to call it beer) tastes like cold, carbonated coffee. 

Actually that doesn't sound too bad.  Heat some up for a Sunday morning pickup.

Offline tygo

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Re: Worst Homebrew Ever!
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2011, 05:18:56 AM »
It's also kinda on the watery side since I dumped in so much extra liquid prior to primary.  I'll have to pull another bottle out this weekend and see how it's coming along.  I did think about blending it pre-bottling but ran out of time and space.  Brewing up a regular porter and blending the glass like Tom suggested is a possibility.
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Offline cheba420

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Re: Worst Homebrew Ever!
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2011, 10:09:46 PM »
Second batch of cider I made turned into vinegar! No idea how it happened...wasnt pleasant. Dumped the whole carboy down the drain. Horrible. Just plain horrible.
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Offline brewmasternpb

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Re: Worst Homebrew Ever!
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2011, 12:13:15 AM »
Unfortunately, I've had plenty.  Before I discovered that a carbon filter was necessary for my water, I had a few Chlorophenol ruined beers.  They tasted like paint.
And then there's the beer in which my buddies and I got drunk, and put ThanksGiving in the beer... (didn't even bottle that one).
And then there's the Mild that turned a milky white during fermentation... straight down the drain with that guy...
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Offline Bret

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Re: Worst Homebrew Ever!
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2011, 01:22:06 PM »
Marathon bottling session and a rinse was skipped or rushed.  10 gallons of excellent House ESB (20 lbs of Marris Otter--the humanity!) that had a nice hint of chlorine. Dumping 5 cases of bottles is a very sad chore.
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