Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Misadventures in Homebrewing - Summer 2014

It's not all sunshine and rainbows in the world of brewing, folks.  I learned this firsthand when a recent batch of brown ale we made at the band house took a turn for the worse.  And by worse I mean exploding all over the goddamn place.

About a week after we bottled it a couple of bombers blew up, sending beer and glass all over the basement.  After that the rest were put into plastic bags and we hoped for the best.  But more continued to explode.  It was clear that these things were way, way overcarbed and they foamed like a bastard when I tried to pour one.  The surviving ones were caked in sticky beer residue and tiny bits of glass.  Just a complete friggin' mess.  When I went over to the band house to help clean up and salvage what we could, things just got worse and more of 'em blew.  At least these blew up outside but it was a scary experience and now we found ourselves picking up shards of glass from the lawn.

We decided to dump the rest immediately.  Most of 'em were in swing tops which luckily hadn't blown and we spent the next 30 minutes wrapping 'em in towels and prying 'em open.

Back at home I still had another ten bottles in a box that was in a plastic tub.  I got decked out in long sleeve clothes and eye goggles and went to work, shaking the tub vigorously.  I felt muted "pops" as the bottles smashed into each other and burst.  Finally the deed was done and I was left with a tub full of beer and glass shards.  Great!

What a mess.  What a waste.

So that batch was a bust.  Luckily we also made five gallons of the 15 Minute Cascade Pale Ale which fared much better.

This past weekend I crafted up another couple batches.  I gave Amanda plenty of notice and she and the girls fled before I filled the house with the delicious scent of malt.  I made 2.7 gallons of Deadringer IPA (a Bell's Two Hearted Ale clone) and 1 gallon of Imperial Stout.  Neither hit the starting gravity I had planned which is somewhat of a bummer but whatever.  It's warm even in the basement so I put 'em in a sideways tub and have been replacing frozen water bottles every 12 hours or so.  Fermentation is well underway now.

With the lid in place, it's a decent fermentation chamber

So there you have it.  One batch brings destruction and sadness.  Yet new batches arise to bring fresh hope and joy.  Circle of Life.

1 comment:

  1. Wow what a mess. The circle of life is right. I think I have a couple Bell's Two Hearted Ales left. That's the one with the fish on the bottle? Although Dave has been into the beer a lot so I may not. Quite tasty.