It’s Only Homebrew, What Could Go Wrong?

We’ve all had mishaps on brew day which may have caused us grief at the time but in looking back, we can take pride in surviving the ordeal.  Here are some of those mishaps which, if studied, you won’t have to make yourself.

  • On Wednesday I brewed a steam beer.  The first thing I did was trip and dump about 1/3 of the grain into the sewer.  I had bought enough grain to do a brew-in-a-bag, but after losing so much of it I decided to go ahead and mash it like normal.  I don’t know how much of each grain I lost, but this steam beer is MUCH darker than it should be.  I’m talking stout-dark.  Then, when I went to check my pre-boil gravity, I dropped the hydrometer and broke it.  I kind of stopped caring what I was doing after that point.
  • When brewing one of my first beers, I tried to pull the plastic bag apart which contained the DME.  The seam let go all of a sudden, the DME flew out and coated my face.  Some got into my eyes which caused tears.  Of course the malt powder clumped up and I spent much of the day trying to get the clumps out of my eye lashes and eye brows.  I doubt I’ll ever open a bag without scissors again.
  • I brewed a batch of Wit after reading an article which said there’s no need to use Irish Moss because it’s supposed to be cloudy anyway.  It made perfect sense to me so I didn’t add any to the boil.  Once the beer was done, I kegged it.  It looked “chunky” and reminded me of the composition rubber used for carpet backing.  It smelled good, tasted good, but looked so bad I didn’t want to drink it at all.  I filtered the whole batch instead of having to drink it in the dark.
  • I live in an apartment and brew on a second floor balcony. I was sanitizing a bunch of stuff in my fermenter bucket.  I thought I had removed all the pieces and was pouring the sanitizer in the toilet.  An unseen airlock was still in there and went into the toilet which automatically flushed taking the airlock down.  It got stuck in the toilet and I didn’t get it out for several weeks.  I had to rely on the charity of friends and family during the interim as the toilet wasn’t usable for its intended purpose.
  • Recently, I was brewing a Barleywine.  Since this beer has a large hop load, I thought I could keep it clearer by using leaf hops in muslin hop bags.  Everything was going well and I added the hops to the kettle with 60 minutes left in the boil.  I was busy doing other things and came back when there was about 40 minutes left.  Something was burning.  I stirred it up and there were a bunch of charred hops in the wort.  I immediately strained the contents of the pot into my smaller brewpot and discovered that 3 of the bags had holes burned in them.  At this point I had already been boiling this stuff for 2 hours so I wasn’t about to toss it.  We’ll see how it comes out.  I’m hoping the burned muslin plays well with the charred hops and high alcohol.  Also, this is the UGLIEST beer I’ve ever made.  It actually looks like mud.  The OG was a little low, but I think that’s because I lost wort straining out the burned stuff.  This morning it was bubbling away at 55 degrees in the cooler and it smells pretty good too. 

He  “My pale ale tastes like shit!  What’s wrong?”     Me  “Let me have a taste.”

Me  “Did you brew this in the Spring?”  He  “Yeah” 

Me  “Did you brew it out on your patio as usual?”  He  “Sure” 

Me  “Do you have a lot of oak trees around your house?” He  “Yes, I do!” 

Me  “Oak pollen fell into your kettle during the boil; I did the same thing a few years ago.  Tastes like shit, doesn’t it?”

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