Just wanted to share what an awful day I had today. Set out to brew the AG St. Paul Porter with my new mash tun. Even though my fittings were water tight when I tested it with cold water, when I put in my strike water, the O-rings were leaking! Fiddled with it for a couple hours - transferring water back and forth, reheating water, retransfering, etc.- until I finally gave up! I decided that instead, since I was pressed for time at that point, I would just bottle my American Wheat. Man, I wish I woulda just called it a day instead! I broke one bottle while sanitizing (had never broken one since I started brewing). I ran outta my Star San mixture in the middle of sanitizing so I had to make more (not a big deal, just inconvenient). And somehow, even though it’s sat upright in a box in the same spot forever, Both caps on the Star San bottle were busted up. Finally get everything ready to transfer and start my autosiphon, but I had to run upstairs to get a spoon. When I came back down there was beer running everywhere becuase I left the dang spigot open (I know, duh!) So I lost at least a half dozen bottles to the basement floor, and who knows how much of my priming sugar. Still ended up with five gallons in my bottling bucket though, so I kept puching through. My next issue was with the caps; as i’m placing them over my just-filled bottles, I start noticing that some of them have rust spot all over them. WTF? I had to throw out at least a dozen caps! And finally, when I was crimping my caps, I clean-cut straight through an anchor steam bottles! I crimped, heard the crumch of glass, and removed my capper to find the cap and top of the bottle still in it! Anyways… I just had to vent. My first time brewing - back when I didn’t have any idea what I was doing - wasn’t this rough!
That sucks, sounds like a rough day.
My worst wasn’t associated with brewing but with racking. I dropped the primary in the bathroom and it exploded everywhere. Lucky for me it was after transfer so it was just all the crap at the bottom and the beer was safe but still, it took me like 45 minutes to clean it up from behind the sink and toilet. It even ran underneath the radiator…
Damn, you weren’t kidding! Well, if it makes you feel any better:
I dropped a 6.5 gallon carboy on my foot after I sanitized it during my last brewing session. Sliced right through two of my toes, and my garage floor was puddled with blood and covered with sharp/jagged glass. I guess it could have been worse though, like if the carboy was filled with cooled wort… inside.
Yeah, sometimes it seems everything that could go wrong does. But be glad you didn’t get hurt like Male-ale. His story makes me glad I got rid of my carboys before something similar happened to me. And truthfully, I can’t detect any difference in my beer now that I’m just using buckets, except that it is safer and easier.
I’ve bottled 20+ batches and I’d say on average I bust the top off at least one bottle per batch. The capping technique takes some finesse. I’ve learned NOT to push down on the bottle when capping. Use the weight of the capper to hold the cap to the bottle lip and lift UP while forcing the wings down. If you look closely at your bottles, you’ll notice that the seams on the sides of the bottle and at the head. It’s just a weak point in the bottle. I’ve found that by lifting while I push down the wings, I put less stress on the head of the bottle. Since using this technique I haven’t busted a bottle in 3 batches.
i can sympathize. Sat was pretty much a sh-it brew day for me 2. had the lakefront fixed gear AG kit. decided to condition grain, and my spray bottles were all busted so i got the genius idea to use the sprayer on my faucet. oversoaked the grain and ended doughing up my mill. try to dry grain with hair dryer. no go. had to completely overhaul mill, went thru this 3x. finally dried it all out in the oven. by then i was 2hrs later than i wanted and all my water temps were shot. it was cold outside too. so, i found out that my burner can’t boil 7gal in 35°F weather. had no boil after 1.5hrs. said whatevs and started my 60min hops and went on. probably got no hot break. minimal cold break and had to split 6.75gal of wort between to carboys. my red ale is also almost a black ale cause of the oven fiasco. and it’s about 15 gravity points too low and has improper hop utilization due to no boil off. not to mention this took many hrs too long and SWMBO is beyond P-O’ed at me. at this point i am now going to be relegated to doing partial mash and extract at night cause i got two kids and cant waste day(s) with a brew session. yeah. now i really need to start getting the goods together to hook up an electric system so i can brew in my basement while the kids play and thus get back to AG. I really am not happy with having to resort to extract again.
I dropped a 6.5 gallon carboy on my foot after I sanitized it during my last brewing session. Sliced right through two of my toes, and my garage floor was puddled with blood and covered with sharp/jagged glass. I guess it could have been worse though, like if the carboy was filled with cooled wort… inside.[/quote]
ouch! this is what i have nightmares about. if i break a carboy at my feet, full of beer, i can only imagine the spilling beer sweeping large and small razor sharp pieces of glass over my feet and ankles. the thought gives me the chills. i always where shoes when i brew, a direct result of this fear
knock on wood…
once while i was cleaning carboys i bumped one into the other, and the other shattered. make me want plastic buckets all the more.
i have also ran into rusty bottle caps durring bottling day. i ended up sanitizing foil, covering the bottles, and rushing to my LHBS to get more. worked just fine, i dont recall oxidation issues or an infection
Jeez - sounds like a total crap day for sure! You’re really going to have to savor that batch and RDWHAHB extra hard to make up for all that hassle. I’ve had one or two days like that! The only time I’ve had problems with rusty bottle caps is when I soaked them in an OneStep to sanitize rather than boiling. OneStep releases oxygen, so it rusted them right up in no time. I’ve since switched to StarSan which doesn’t have that issue, since it’s acid-based.
Better luck next time.
Cabrito - don’t let your AG experience push you back into the dark ages just yet. When you condition, you don’t need to mist the water in. You can just sprinkle it around over the grain and stir really well. It seems to do fine for me anyway. Brew in the garage to avoid issues with the wind and your burner. Or you could wrap tin foil around the base of the pot & burner for a cheap heat shield. Just DON’T wrap the foil up and over the rubber grip on your spigot handle, because it will be toast.
@Scoggin, I wasn’t wearing shoes before, but you can bet your ass I do now. I am also going to invest in some carboy straps (I have the carboy collar handles, but the damned things slip off a lot).
I would “invest” in some “repurposed” milk crates! 8)
A piece of old carpet in the bottom and ONLY move carboys with the crate.
Plastic buckets all the way for me. I’ve basically done away with secondaries. Dry hop right in the primary after 3 weeks. Bag them and weigh it down and you’re golden. 8)
I only have 2 carboys left and only use them for an occasional Barley Wine or Lagers, although, I mostly lager in the keg.
Good Luck and stay safe.
Loose the carboys and switch to buckets. I haven’t regretted it at all.
I use buckets nearly all the time, but when I do use carboys, I just put it in a milk crate. Fits pretty nicely
it would take alot more than that to get me to give up on AG. the real issue is that i have 2 kids one sorta small the other a 5mo old. i barely have time for AG in a perfect brew day (that’s if i mash the nite b4 and wake up at 5am to sparge, boil etc. meanwhile praying to the beer gods that the kids won’t wake up early). the only thing positive i can say about extract is that i can do it at nite after the kids go to bed. ultimately, i need to hookup an electric setup in the basement and then time is not an issue in the same sense cause i can brew while i watch the kids, thereby pleasing SWMBO and making life grand again.
but, good call on the wind shield. i should have done that, but i was so strapped by that point that my mind was shot.
Last couple of brews, I mashed, sparged, and then brought the wort to a boil and covered and wrapped the kettle, went to bed around midnight. Got up at 6AM, wort was at ~185F, quickly brought it back to a boil, and was finished so fast that my wife just couldn’t believe it the first time.
Like fishing a bad day brewing is better than a good day at work :cheers:
I have done a lot of the same things like leave the spigot open then add wort to the fermenter. Sticky stuff all over floor is fun to clean up. Must be blessed with glass carboys since I frequently brew wearing flip flops and carry them around by the handle. Chipped the top of one 6.5 gallon and that is the worst thing that has happened to them and they are about 15 years old. Knocking on wood.
Broke plenty of bottles too. The pry off top ones that are return but not reuse seem to get brittle after enough uses. The old fashion bar type that were sent to the brewery and refilled will go a long ways but most of them are pretty beat up looking. SS carboys are tougher and faster to fill
I collected a bunch of Anchor bottles 'cause I thought they looked cool but stopped using them as too many were breaking in the same way the OP describes. I was using a wing capper; even when I tried to be gentle, at least one or two per batch would break. Finally pitched them and stuck to Sierra Nevada bottles.
I like the short bottles because I can fit more of them in my beer fridge, which is not very big.
Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for your words of encouragement and for sharing your similar stories of brewdays gone wrong.
To follow up, I brewed the porter a while back and, ironically, it was one of my best brewdays ever. Got it brewed, and with 82% efficiency! Also, the wheat beer is carbonated just fine. Not sure how that happened.
Everyone has those days. I have left spigots open. I have overshot temperatures and ingredients. I accidentally put 10 lbs of munich in a brown ale last month instead of 10lb of 2 row (although, that actually turned out GREAT), last year I mashed in and 15 minutes later realized I had not turned off my burner (my mash was at about 200 degrees). Shit happens.
As with others, I have a carboy nightmare. Washing a 6.5 gallon carboy in my plastic side by side wash sink. Had 1-2 gallons of water in the carboy. Slipped from my hands down into the sink (only a 6 inch fall). Went right through the bottom of my sink, onto the tile floor and EXPLODED. I am not kidding - there was not ONE piece of that carboy that was more than a few millimeters in length. I have room in my basement where I brew that is about 12x14 or so - glass everywhere in the room. Not only that - I found glass 20 feet out into the rest of my basement. I could not believe how far that glass went and where I was finding it - even weeks later. Of course, I was barefoot. I had to stand there and yell for my wife to bring me some shoes so that I could move. Buckets for me now too:)