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Piscator's story about breaking his hydrometer can be read here:

http://community.mrbeer.com/forum/8-new-brewers-and-faqs/296564-crunch-minus-one-hydrometer#296586

I thought it might be interesting, fun, and a little source of comfort to us all (especially new brewers) if we related our "brewing disaster" stories. Not everything always goes smoothly for brewers, and we veterans are just as prone to screw-ups as the n00bs. As long as nobody gets seriously injured, we can look back and laugh at our foibles. And we learn from our mistakes and that makes us better brewers and better people. I might as well get the party started.

In my constant search for new and improved equipment, I've gone through a number of thermometers. I wasn't completely happy or trustful of the dial-face thermometer I was using, so I picked up a new thermometer at my LHBS. It was the old-fashioned candy-type thermometer; a graduated glass tube with mercury in it that came with a clip to attach it to the pot.

Well, I was doing a full-volume extract brew with steeping grains, and was bringing it to a boil, when I removed the thermometer and found the bottom half missing. Yeah, it had broken into the wort, contaminating it with glass, whatever grit they use to weight the bottom, and mercury.

Had to dump the whole batch right then and there. What a disappointment. Oh, and I found a digital thermometer at the grocery store, and I'm sticking with that, thank you.

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LOL.

Well, my bad stories...unfortunately, I can't really recall all of the stories. Why? Because my big disasters occurred when I have been in the midst of a diabetic episode.

Like yesterday, since I had the luxury (Thanx Vets) of being at home, I elected to do a 5-gallon batch. Part of the batch was 2 cans of the Canadian Blonde and 2 packs of Briess Pilsen Light. But I also had a mash of 12 oz Canada Superior Pale Ale and 12 oz Flaked Barley.

Well, I've got the Barley and Pale Ale grains in to do a mash and then my blood sugar gets low and honest to god I can't tell you whether I was mashing that for 20 minutes or 2 hours. Probably 45 minutes as best as I can piece together time looking back at it...but I honestly have no clue.

Also, at the tail end of the brewing session when I added the Canadian Blonde...my can opener broke. Wouldn't turn. So, I *****-rigged it it an just clamped down alll the way around putting holes in it. Got nearly all the way around and...again in a state of half-consciousness, I tried to pry the can lid open. Umm...DON'T do that!! Ended up slicing a major cut on the top side of my thumb. Interestingly, in all the diabetic episodeness of it all I reall didn't fell it. I know I did it...but no pain.

On the positive side, the final product...whatever the hell it is...was within .002 or .003 of my estimated OG...so I was lucky. But disaster??? Um, yeah.

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The hydrometer story makes me think about my stupidity with mine!
I hadn't had it a week and I was getting ready to check the gravity on one of my first few brews. For some reason, I decided to put it between my teeth to hold it while I rinsed something off and... you guessed it, into about 10 pieces it went!
Luckily, I didn't get any really small fragments in my mouth, but I called myself quite a few explicatives, some that don't even belong together!
Needless to say I haven't done that again, and knock on wood, I've had my present hydrometer for almost seven months!

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In the dark ages when I first started brewing, it was in my college days. I thought I had learned everything and kept brewing into my early marriage. We weren't back from our honeymoon two weeks when, in the middle of the night, we thought we heard gunfire under our bed. It was 2 cases of ale that went off. Seems 1 bottle caused another bottle to blow and so on. Out of 50 bottles, 21 was gone.
I don't know what was worse at 2 am, the look on my new brides face or the fact that I had to spend the next 2 hours cleaning up.
I stopped brewing a few years later when my son was born and waited 18 years to start back. Never had a bottle bomb since then.

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"Beer-lord" post=296595 said:

In the dark ages when I first started brewing, it was in my college days. I thought I had learned everything and kept brewing into my early marriage. We weren't back from our honeymoon two weeks when, in the middle of the night, we thought we heard gunfire under our bed. It was 2 cases of ale that went off. Seems 1 bottle caused another bottle to blow and so on. Out of 50 bottles, 21 was gone.
I don't know what was worse at 2 am, the look on my new brides face or the fact that I had to spend the next 2 hours cleaning up.
I stopped brewing a few years later when my son was born and waited 18 years to start back. Never had a bottle bomb since then.

Well, that's certainly a Veteran's Day or 4th of July worthy explosion. Goodness gracious.

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Way back in the way back, before I truly understood that you don't add a small mountain of sugar and a bunch of fruit/other ingredients into an LBK and hope for the best; I came home from work to find the countertop, floor, and cabinets coated in a rather sticky brown film. Later conversations with the downstairs neighbor confirmed that a loud, dull boom was followed by a "whoosh" and the steady sound of slowly dripping liquid. Luckily, I had "greased" the neighbor continuously with 1 Liter bottles from every batch of Mr Beer that I had been brewing, so nothing was ever said to the landlord (or about the home sausage-making concern, the butcher shop, the wood shop, arsenal, and handloading ammunition dump that my apartment invariably turned into over time).
The best that I could figure, was that I had added waaaaaaay too many adjuncts, and the yeasties had quite simply gorged until the LBK could no longer contain their frolicking byproduct gas. The LBK was split longitudinally down the plastic seam. About a month later I found the LBK threaded lid; residing on top of my fridge. My friends later referred to it as the Mr. Beer IED.
That was quite the learning experience. And, may I add, that Bounty was determined NOT to be the quilted quicker-picker upper during the clean-up.

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Nifty. I've never had an LBK bomb (but got close with Mr. Quad - the fermenter was "rounded" at the bottom and rocked back and forth easily before I popped the lid and released the pressure).

But I blew up a glass carboy in my closet during my old brewing career over 10 years ago (and in a previous marriage).

I had dropped it when cleaning it and it must have had stress fractures that were not visible, or if they were I didn't see them. While fermenting, my airlock got clogged, and the bung was in tight enough that it didn't pop before the carboy.

Glass shards in the walls and 5 gallons of beer on the walls, the floor, the ceiling, seeping into the floor below... it was not cool.

My x-wife and I were gonna split anyways, but this was really the last straw.

Then I got stuck living in a s8#*thole apartment with no AC and steam heat that you coudln't turn down for many years and didn't brew. Not being able to brew was actually the biggest brewing disaster.

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"Ah beer. The cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems".
-Homer Simpson

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Guest

Umm... what disaster? I've never had one of those... :whistle:

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"FrozenInTime" post=296757 said:

Umm... what disaster? I've never had one of those... :whistle:

No one has ever been injured in the making of my beers! Had a a couple of bottle bombs, all linked to the same case of glass bottles... Clean up on aisle 4!

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The only disaster I have had was one that I related in another thread a few weeks ago...

I was brewing the Staggerback Stout recipe from the MRB recipe section. It was late at night, but it was just an easy extract batch...no hops boils or anything...so I got started. Everything was going smoothly. I had poured the gallon of cold water into the LBK, boiled the 4 cups of water, added the extracts and sugar, then efficiently poured the hot wort into the LBK no spilling a single drop!

Brilliant!

At this point, I should break to explain something about my process. See, I buy my spring water at the grocery store in 4L containers for $0.99 per. These containers also happen to be perfect for mixing my Iodophor solution for sanitizing. I keep one handy for just such a purpose.

I have also found that if I just chill one of the bottles...the first one I pour into the LBK...I get a better pitching temperature once I add the wort and the rest of the water.

Now, back to the story...so I had just expertly added the wort to the LBK. All that was left was to fill it up with another bottle of spring water and pitch the yeast! Easy!

I reached back to the other counter, grabbed the bottle of spring water, and started adding it to the keg, being careful about just how full I got the little keg. Once finished, I put the bottle down, looked at it...looked over at the counter and the full bottle of fresh spring water still there and...well...you get the idea!

I had poured about a liter and half of iodophor solution directly into my already mixed wort.

I didn't know what else to do other than to continue on, so I just went ahead and pitched the yeast. After a couple of days of research and some pretty sympathetic yet steadfast advice from Mashani, I decided to give the batch back to the beer making gods.

I was devistated, and embarassed.

Needless to say, my iodophor solution is now in a very BOLDLY marked container!!!

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My biggest disaster by far happened on the day of our homebrew club's Annual Big Brew. Each year the PALE ALES get together for a day long outdoor brewday using a very large mash tun that we all share. I was carrying a plastic pail filled with about two gallons of 172F strike water when the unthinkable happened, the wire handle broke spilling the very hot water on my right foot.


For the next two months I had to suffer with the pain from the burns, wear a shoes with the top cut off and limit my movements. I've since learned a new respect for safety when brewing and keep in mind just how dangerous strike water and kettle boils can actually be if using the wrong gear.

I managed to finish out the brewday by taking the wort home after the lauter and boiling it there. The Big Brew recipe was for a nice English style Brown Ale that I've brewed at least two other times since then and it's now become a favorite cool weather brew of mine. My foot eventually healed up and I never did have to go see a doctor, although I probably should have, but it's a day I haven't forgotten.

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Mano, I remember that thread. That was kind of oogy.

I also had a disaster in which I had to dump the beer out of the keg, but not because it was contaminated or anything like that.

I had decided to step up and try all-grain brewing, so I put together a simple recipe for the LBK. When I went to my LHBS, I picked out my grain, and then asked them where I should go so they could grind it for me. The guy looked at me, puzzled, and said, "We don't grind the grains here."

So I took my grains home and tried to crush them with a meat tenderizer. Took forever, and it wasn't a very good job, I realize now. (I think I realized it then, but I figured, in for a penny, in for a pound, let's just let this play out)

Anyway, the OG was ridiculously low, and even though I let it sit and ferment for a week or so, it just wasn't worth tying up an LBK on what was a doomed brew. It hit the drain, and I went and bought myself a grain mill.

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mine was with a pumpkin porter recipe. I decided to up the pumpkin flavor by adding more pumpkin (out of a can). Pureed up the extra and brewed the wort and dumped it in the keg, pitched the yeast and got her going.

About two days later I noticed that the trub was three inches deep!!!

Okay...wait a bit until the primary is done and then racked off into my carboy. Cleaned out the LBK, and reloaded it with the racked off partially fermented beer. Pitched an extra packet of fromunda in there for GP.

Then finished the fermenting time of 3 weeks.

Fast forward to one month...sample time.

Acid big time... like puke almost.

Gave it two more weeks and tried again. No better.

Sent the rest down the drain to beer hell.

Must of picked up an airborne nasty somewhere in all that handling.

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Unfortunately, I have another one...

I decided to do a hard lemonade style drink for the SWMBO, so after reading some threads on here with recipes, I decided on one that seemed pretty simple. A few cans of frozen lemonade, a couple of cups of sugar, a pound of lactose and away we go...easy, right?

Not quite.

When I went to the grocery store, I had my choice of the quality Minute Maid frozen lemonade or the no name brand. Being the cheap SOB that I am, I bought the no name stuff, not bothering to read the ingredients.

Turns out that the more expensive stuff doesn't use any preservatives while the no name stuff does. Yeast, I was to find out, do not care for preservatives much, so my money saving efforts (only saved about $0.25 per can!!) ended up costing me an entire batch of lemonade!!

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i have not had a disaster(knock on wood), i have had some minor overflows from the lbk but nothing major :cheer: :cheer: :cheer: :cheer:

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I posted my disaster on here about a year ago, but will re-tell here.

I always batch prime my brews and have use the same routine since the very begining. I transfer the wort from the LBK into a Wally world slimline via an auto-siphon. First I take and boil a cup of water with my priming solution then cool it in the fridge. Once cool I start the auto siphon, let it run for a few seconds then add the priming solution.

Let me explain my set up. I set the LBK on top of a small cooler on my counter and have the slimline setting in a partially open drawer. Of course I have the auto-siphon running from the top of the LBK into the top of the slimline.

Okay on this day I have cleaned and sanitized my slimline and all my bottles, have boiled and chilled the priming solution. I'm about an hour and a half into the bottling day. I start the auto-siphon for a few seconds then add the priming solution.

Well upon adding the solution I realize the slimline isn't filling with wort! I finally look at the slimline and see that I forgot to put on the spigot!! By this time I have about 1/2 inch of wort in the drawer and it's driping onto the floor and the cabinet below it!! OMG!!! I stop the auto siphon and tip the slimline to stop any more wort from coming out.

It was then that I saw the true extent of the mess. In the cabinet below the drawer is where we store our paper products (paper towels, napkins ect.), cereal, oatmeal and other dry goods. Needless to say I trashed 4 rolls of papertowels, a package of napkins, 2 containers of oatmeal (1 new, 1 half full), but I saved the cereal because of the plastic inside of the boxes! All this and I still needed to make another priming solution and bottle the remaining wort!!

After an hour of cleanup and saying many expressions not suitable for the forum I was able to finish the bottling day. The next day I was at work and my wife calls asking if I knew we were out of paper towels, napkins and oatmeal! I told her that I thought I had just bought those things but must have forgot. I assured her I would pick them up on the way home. She thanked me and said "next time you spill your beer in the cabinet will you please use the disinfectant so then kitchen won't smell like a brewery?" All I could say was..."Yes Dear. I love you!"

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granted, I'm a newbie and only have bottled one batch so far, I have two batches in LBKs with one of them going into the bottle Saturday and afterwards I will start my fourth batch. So I haven't had any disasters yet! (Notice I said yet). I spend as much time as I possibly can going to various forums and reading posts trying to learn as much as my feeble mind allows and I'm certain it's not a matter of if but when. When the inevitible happens, I will post here in all it's infamy to share with all! :gulp:

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All of my disasters (yes, plural) have involved DME. You know how they tell you to watch your boiling DME like a hawk and never turn your back on it for fear of that dreaded boil over? Well, it seems to happen to me every single time. I usually always add a DME & hop boil to all of my brews. While waiting for the DME to boil, I usually always get sidetracked with the TV, radio, or cleaning up the kitchen. As much as I try to keep an eye on the stove, it never fails....I turn my back for 3 seconds and hear that dreaded sizzling sound of liquids touching flame. Almost as if the DME has a mind of its own and is just waiting for the perfect opportunity to make my day worse. What a pain to clean up. I now have a specific burner dedicated to my stovetop DME boils because the burner has been so stained and tarnished now. Beware the DME! :pinch:

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"OikoEco" post=296888 said:

Beware the DME! :pinch:

No kidding! That stuff has Inertia. Once it starts up the walls of the kettle, almost nothing saves you. I have this BIG aluminum ladle sitting COLD ice water as a safety measure.

Slide the kettle sideways off the flame, plop in the ladle. It absorbs enough heat to save the day...as long as I get it before the roiling boil hits the 3/4 mark.

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"k9dude" post=296866 said:

The next day I was at work and my wife calls asking if I knew we were out of paper towels, napkins and oatmeal! I told her that I thought I had just bought those things but must have forgot. I assured her I would pick them up on the way home. She thanked me and said "next time you spill your beer in the cabinet will you please use the disinfectant so then kitchen won't smell like a brewery?" All I could say was..."Yes Dear. I love you!"

Now that was funny!!! :laugh:


Rick

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"hcls78" post=296734 said:

"Ah beer. The cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems".
-Homer Simpson

Actually, the line is "To alcohol, the cause of...and solution to...all of life's problems.

Sorry, that's just the Simpsons nerd in me talking

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"TheConserver" post=296912 said:

"hcls78" post=296734 said:

"Ah beer. The cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems".
-Homer Simpson

Actually, the line is "To alcohol, the cause of...and solution to...all of life's problems.

Sorry, that's just the Simpsons nerd in me talking

You'd get along great with my son. He's a walking encyclopedia of Simpsonalia.

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The only disaster I have ever had was when, early on in my brewing hobby, I ran out of homebrew to drink...that is one cardinal sin, I tell you!!!

[attachment=9364]outofbeer.jpg[/attachment]

[attachment=9365]outtabeer.jpg[/attachment]

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My disasters haven't been too bad. I once was in a hurry to get an Amber ale ready for competition and bottled early. I didn't get a chance to check the FG because my hydrometer broke. Needless to say, it never made it to competition because I ended up with bottle bombs and gushing beer bottles.

The most recent happened when I made the Screwer In the Rye a couple of months ago. My wife cut the stopper for my new flask in half so the kids could each a piece of foam to play with. (She had no idea what it was.) No big deal. I used some foil. The next day I brewed successfully with no problems. All problems started during cleanup. My sample tube and 2 hydrometers got knocked of my work bench shattering on the concrete. While I was picking up the glass my son thought it would be fun to stir the water in my clean up bucket with my stir paddle. In the bucket was my new flask and autosiphon. Both ended up in pieces. I didn't freak out on anyone, but my blood pressure and heart rate got so high that I ended up in the emergency room that night.

There were some other issues that contributed to it like a respiratory virus that was discovered a couple of days later and a crazy work schedule. But my stressed out brew day required 2 nitro pills to get my blood pressure and heart rate down. At least I didn't yell at anyone though! And yes, my heart has been confirmed perfectly healthy after a few test. A few brewing tools are nothing to get worked up about though...

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"T8r Salad" post=296943 said:

The only disaster I have ever had was when, early on in my brewing hobby, I ran out of homebrew to drink...that is one cardinal sin, I tell you!!!

now, this is a total disaster!!!!!!!!!!!!

for the sake of the beer, brew, brew, brew, and brew some more. when your done, brew some more. :):):):):) :cheer:

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My recent, mini disaster, while brewing today. Started off as a BIAB stove top recipe. It quickly turned in to a mash on the stove top but I need a propane burner to bring this wort to a boil because my stove top won't boil this much wort! So i had to disassemble part of my brew stand, the burner part, and reattach it to my banjo burner stand. I got my boil going and than noticed my dog rolling around in the yard about 10 yards away from me. I went over to see what she was up to and realized that she was rolling around in S**T AGAIN!! Forth time in 5 weeks!! Luckily I only have a 60 minute hop addition and was 5 minutes into the addition. Grabbed the dog and leash and tethered her to the hand rail and got out the hose. Gave the dog a 10 minute bath and dried her off and put her in her kennel. When I got back outside I noticed the pot was very lightly boiling.... yup, rain out of propane. Ran up to the grill and detached that propane tank and ran down and attached it back to the burner.

15 minutes left in the boil......... what else can go wrong?

EDIT:
Well, luckily nothing else went wrong. They actually got pretty good. My efficiency was great, about 75%. I was worried about that because the last time I brewed this the efficiency was about 60%. I'm pretty sure it was the crush now. Smooth sailing after the propane going out.

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My first attempt of a 5 gallon batch resulted in a bit of a mess. Before I started I must have read in at least 10 different places to be very careful and watch for boilovers. So of course at the 53 minute mark of a 60 minute boil I was cleaning utensils instead of TCB. And if any of you are not blessed with farm life experience you might not know that liquid malt extract smells exactly like livestock feed. PLUS I didn't use a hop sack so when the volcano erupted there was hoppy sticky syrup everywhere. The house smelled like a barn and my wife was due home any minute. She's a great woman and she is happy that I have this new hobby, but I'm thinking that there is no way I'm coming out of this looking good. Luckily I had most of it cleaned up just as she arrived home. So when I told her the story she just laughed a little and gave me a kiss.

All my friends say she is way too good for me.

So it was a semi bad experience, but a good memory.

But I might change my mind if the beer ends up tasting like " Chicken Feed Pilsner".

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"packerduf" post=298436 said:

[attachment=9452]bump_2012-11-21.jpg[/attachment]

keep diggin...years ago... :borg:

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