Worst brew day ever...Share your stories!

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by bszern, Sep 17, 2012.

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  1. bszern

    bszern Initiate (0) Aug 18, 2011 Massachusetts

    I had a terrible brew day yesterday, so I want to unload. Then everyone can share their terrible brew days and we can all laugh at each other.

    My day started out by going to the LHBS, and buying a kit for a partial mash rye beer. Being in a rush, I neglected to open up the kit and peek in. When I got home (about 1 hour away), I found that I has forgotten to crush the grains. That took a rubber dead blow hammer, a huge cutting board, and a food processor to fix (all in all, about an hours worth of time).

    When I was heating up the mash water, I was stirring it around with my thermometer (I don't know why...I was bored). At around 155 degrees I accidentally whacked the end of it onto the inside fitting for my ball valve. Lead shot and glass in the mash water (luckily no grain yet). Awesome.

    When I was heating up water to rehydrate the yeast, I poured it into a measuring cup that I was holding to cool it off in the fridge. The cup literally exploded in my hand, and I sliced open my finger. Not cool. Luckily, it looked worse then it was, and my beer remained blood-free.

    Lastly, when I took the final gravity reading, I realized that I had no idea what temperature the wort was, so I waited until it felt room temperature-ish and took it then. This also means that I have no idea if the temp at pitching was 70 or 80.

    I think the beer turned out ok in spite of all the horseshit that happened,but I will have to wait and see. What I really learned here is that I need a backup thermometer at all times...I ended up using a meat thermometer to do the mash/sparge water.
  2. raynmoon

    raynmoon Defender (676) Aug 13, 2011 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    Mine have all gone smoothly, but before i knew much about brewing the lady at my homebrew shop suggested i use two viles of yeast to get to the proper gravity quicker and it exploded in the garage. I tried salvaging it by sanitizing my bottling siphon and took about 1/3 of the beer out just to leave head room, but it exploded again.

    Talk about a waste of $50 in ingredients ha.
  3. CBlack85

    CBlack85 Defender (692) Jul 12, 2009 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Early in the summer my wife decided that she wanted to try her hand at brewing with me. While we were adding the strike water and grains to the mash tun we didn't realize that the valve on the mash tun was open until about a gallon and a half of wort was all over the garage floor. This recipe called for 2 lbs. of honey at flameout, so I cut the plastic bag that the honey was in but my wife spilled about half of it all over the side of the boil kettle and burner trying to pour it in. Then when I start to chill the wort, I stepped inside to grab something and when I come back into the garage I see that the hose has blown off of the immersion chiller and is spraying all over the garage, luckily none of it got into the wort, but nearly everything else was soaked... Not my finest hour
  4. yinzer

    yinzer Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2006 Pennsylvania

    I'm not asking why it was violent, but why did it explode? Sometimes it wise just to put tin foil on. If the beer wants to get out it will. But a steady foam snake is better than a air-lock that clogs and lets pressure build up.

    Also you removed 1/3 of the beer, so you should of had enough head space.

    But if you needed two vials, then you need two vials.

    Anyway hang in there with the beer. It just might turn out fine.
  5. raynmoon

    raynmoon Defender (676) Aug 13, 2011 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    Well I made a stout with brown sugar and molases added, plus the two vials, an airlock instead of a run off tube. Ha recipe for disaster. But that was last fall. It's by-by now. On to future projects!
  6. mudbug

    mudbug Zealot (574) Mar 27, 2009 Oregon

    My best fried brought over a magnum of his homebrew and opened in the kitchen, the gusher managed to coat every surface within fifteen feet. It was tasty though.
    rmalinowski4 likes this.
  7. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (1,570) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I'm no fan of most LHBS advice, but your problem was almost certainly not caused by using two vials of yeast, which probably got you closer to a good pitch rate than one. At minimum, it was using an airlock where you should have used a blowoff tube. Did you have some combination of the following?

    - high OG wort
    - warm wort and/or garage
    - less than 30% additional space for headroom (e.g. a 5 gallon carboy rather than 6.5 for a 5 gallon batch)
  8. itsjustzach

    itsjustzach Initiate (0) Oct 23, 2006 Ohio

    One time the the garden hose attachment on the utility pump I use for my immersion chiller somehow came loose. I'm a kitchen brewer and I was carrying a trashbag out to the dumpster when it happened so water shot up into the ceiling for about five minutes. There was about half an inch of water on the floor when I got back.
  9. bgjohnston

    bgjohnston Initiate (0) Jan 14, 2009 Connecticut

    My worst brew day was when I followed the directions supplied with a mini-mash kit that told me to boil the steeping grains. Turns out you can get a lot of tannin out them that way. Not the subtle flavor I was looking for out of a golden ale.

    The worst part was how I effectively ruined it right at the beginning, but had no idea until the beer was finished. I now take tasting samples out of the fermentor, not just gravity readings.
  10. wescj

    wescj Initiate (0) Feb 7, 2006 Georgia

    Last summer when I was interning in my home state, I was staying in my in-law's house. One weeknight when they were out of town, I decided to brew a 3 gallon batch of rye saison in the kitchen. All goes well until about midnight, when it's time to chill. Because my inlaws don't have threaded sink faucets, I had to go outside and prep the garden hose to connect to the chiller. And that's when I locked myself out of the house.

    No big deal, I think to myself. I'll just walk down the street to a neighbor who has the lights on (so I don't wake anyone up), knock on the door, ask to use their phone, and call my wife who knows the keycode to the garage door. Well, not very many neighbors had there lights on. I knock on several doors with no answer. I finally get one guy to talk to me without opening his door. He calls my wife but she doesn't answer. I can tell he thinks I'm trying to burgle his residence, so I say 'thank you' and walk on down the street to another house. Then here come two cop cars. I waive them down, tell them my delima, and they say, "have you been knocking on people's doors." "Yes," I say. They stop me, search me, question me, put me in the back of the car, drive to the two houses that called the cops on me to get their stories (one guy told them I had tried to "gain entry" into his house...). Then they finally take me to my in-laws house. They run the plates on my wife's car to cross-check the information I gave them, just to make sure I'm actually supposed to be there. Then they call my wife, who gives them the code to get in. Then they come in with me, all the way to my room in the basement, so I can show them that I have a house key and belong there.

    This all took a few hours. Ruined the beer.
  11. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Defender (637) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Great story/visuals...makes my stuck mash look like a "cake walk".
    mattbk likes this.
  12. BumpkinBrewer

    BumpkinBrewer Devotee (453) Jan 6, 2010 Massachusetts
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Actually just this passed recent batch: We were chilling the 2nd batch of the day with our IC and just let it go while we had a beer. Well, when we went to check things out the wort was certainly cool but had also rissen about an inch in our kettle. Ya, there was a leak in the chiller where the outlet hose connected to the copper. I've sinced reconfigured the chiller to have all connections passed the rim of the kettle.
  13. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,021) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    Other than creating a porter that had a catalogue of off flavors that could have been used as a teaching tool, the worst that has happened has been breaking both my only two hydrometers on brew day, luckily I am only 10 minutes from my LHBS.
  14. raynmoon

    raynmoon Defender (676) Aug 13, 2011 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    The first two.
  15. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (1,570) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I suspected. Solution (for high gravity wort blowoff) is to use a blowoff tube. As for the high temps, they should be controlled regardless of whether or not there's a blowoff problem, to avoid off flavors. How warm was the fermentation?
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