Your best mistake

So I’m sure everyone’s got a story where their brew day went totally wrong, you screwed something up royally and were totally frustrated…and you ended up making a great beer in spite of that.

Mine happened a few months ago, I brewed a Weizenbock using a modified version of JZ’s BCS recipe. Well something went wrong and I still have no idea what it was but my gravity was WAY off pre-boil. So my options were to boil for 2+ hours or dump whatever DME I had on hand (which was maybe 1lb). I decided to do a combination of the 2 and boil for 90 min and dump in the DME. The OG was still quite a bit lower than the original recipe and just a bit under the BJCP accepted standard for OG. I didn’t adjust the hops so I started to worry that the BU/GU ratio would be way off.

Well flash forward a few month later and the beer took 3rd in the midwinter hbc in the German wheat beer category. This beer is really one of my better brews. It finished quite dry and is slightly more bitter than the style expects but it just seems to work. it’s got a nice banana character from WLP300 but nothing over the top.

So that was probably my best mistake. I plan to have many more in the future cause im always screwing something up :slight_smile:

So what was your best mistake?

I’m an anal retentive pump engineer so I follow procedure and common sense, thereby making very few mistakes. What mistakes I make are often very easy to cover up so it does not look like a mistake.

Two mistakes come to mind:

  1. Siphoning sanitizer from a 19 gallon tub into a 5 gallon carboy. Never take your eye off it, not even for a second. Otherwise, you get preoccupied with something else until such time that you hear that dreaded sucking air sound. At that moment, you remember that 19 gallons does not fit into a 5 gallon carboy, and 14 gallons goes a long way on a carpeted floor.

  2. That awkward moment AFTER bottling where you discover the priming sugar solution still in the pot and realize it’s not in the 220 bottles that you just filled and capped.

Yikes sounds like a mess! How did you fix the bottle conditioning issue? Open each one and dose them individually or pour it back out and into a bucket and re-bottle?

[quote=“mattnaik”]Yikes sounds like a mess! How did you fix the bottle conditioning issue? Open each one and dose them individually or pour it back out and into a bucket and re-bottle?[/quote]Well, I only screwed up on 5 of 20 gallons. My son had already organized all the bottles according to height, so they were all mixed together. I ended up dropping carb caps into the ones which didn’t pst when opening. It took a long time to find them all.

I had a bad poppet on a keg. I hooked the keg up to gas to carbonate it. Went out of town for a few days and found a big sticky puddle in front of my fridge when I got back. Dang it.

Not that I mind the stories of dread but I was looking more for mistakes that turned out to be really good in the end. I like happy endings…er wait…hmm :mrgreen:

Was making an american stout and thought I had my strike water at the correct temp but must have read the thermometer wrong, since I was shooting for a 152 degree mash temp and was in the lower 140’s. Was a big beer that I was doing 10 gallons of so I had no where near enough room in the mash tun to get the temp up via infusion. I let the mash go for 30 minutes and pulled out 3 gallons of grains to bring to a boil for a decoction to get the mash temp up to 154 degrees where I let it hang out for another 30 minutes.

Ended up hitting my desired OG despite a very slow run off from the mash. Turned out to be one of the best beers I’ve made, I’d literally change nothing about it. :cheers:

I went to my local home brew store. I picked out some ingredients for a recipe I was going to brew. The recipe called for 4 pounds vienna. The guy working asked me if I wanted my grains crushed and was talking to me as I gathered rest of the stuff I need. Got everything and headed home excited to brew everything was going great. Had sparge going went to test my gravity and was way off and the wort wasn’t very sweet even to the taste. So I went another 30 minutes 90 minutes total in the mash tun. Took some first running and tested my gravity again and was close to same as first time. Was dumb founded. The crush was fine water temp was right. What was going on. Thought maybe my hydrometer was off so tested it. Perfect spot on. So I went back over the recipe calculated it again. Then I went to look at box that home brew store gave me make sure everything was right. They always put empty bags in bottom of box. I’m guess while guy was helping me I grabbed one bag of goldpils Vienna and three bags of carapils instead cause I wasn’t paying attention

“Lost” a fermenter full of dry stout in the corner of the basement. Found it about 14 weeks later. At first I was worried about dead yeast (autolysis), but I primed and bottled it, and having the extra time on the yeast made all the difference. Turned out great!!

I scaled down the Megalodon recipe to a smaller batch size. Brain fart caused me to oversparge and NOT realize until it was chilled and I was filling the fermenter. Why does it look so full? so 3 gallons from a 2.5 gal recipe. No big deal, it was supposed to be a really big beer; now it’s just normal-to-big.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, I’m racking my winter warmer onto the mulling spices, and realized I grabbed the wrong fermenter, I was 2/3 done racking, so best to just go with it.

I made a winter spiced not-quite-imperial red.

It’s actually pretty good. So two wrongs CAN be ok.

I’m strictly an extract brewer, and was making a wheat beer that I had made before. It’s a wheat pale ale that’s a lot like Gumball Head. Well while I was at LHBS store I forgot the 1 lb bag of wheat DME that my recipe calls for. I only had the 6 lbs LME. Well my brew day was already under way and I couldn’t run out and get what I forgot, so I started looking around the house for something to get the gravity in the range I wanted and ended up adding 2 lbs of honey. When the beer was finished, it ended up really good. Now whenever I make that recipe, I add 2 lbs of honey.

Had picked up “all” the ingredients for a new recipe Belgian Wit I was trying out. Got the mash going and then realized I had forgotten to get coriander and orange peel. Out loud (silly me) I said: “That’s okay. I’ll just run up to the grocery store quick”. BOOM!!! Thunderstorm with tornado sirens. After a quick duck and cover I went back to the garage and did my runnings. Just as my wort hit the boil…BOOM! more tornado sirens. Shut everything down and did another duck and cover. Had the TV on in the basement and the weather guy said everything was passed so I went back out an re-started the boil. About 15 minutes in…BOOM! More sirens. Kept the boil running while keeping an eye on the weather report. Tornado activity not close by so I just kept going. Right about the time the boil finished and I was ready to chill…BOOM! Touchdown a mile away. So after a much longer duck and cover I went out and chilled and got it into the fermenter. Couldn’t get the temp down far enough and was tired of dealing with it so pitched the yeast when it was still in the mid 70 degree range. After bottling and carbing a few weeks later I tasted one and it was pretty good. Local homebrew club was having a Franco-Belgian competition so I entered just as a goof (I really have no desire to enter comps). Ended up scoring a 40 and had some good compliments and feedback from the judges.

And that is how my “Ill-Fated Belgian Wit” recipe came into existence.

Had another where I tried to sparge 6 gallons of porter into a 4 gallon pot. Ended up boiling the hell out of it to get the volume down so I could use it all. Probably one of the best porters I’ve made.

It was a long time ago, but I will never forget my best mistake. I put a carboy full of cali common in the basement of a house we just moved into. No blow off or real krausen, it just never really took off. Just kinda sputtered out. A few weeks later I get ready to dump it and I was brave enough to sample it. It was FANTASTIC! Apparently, the cooler temps made the beer cleaner tasting and was much better than brews I kept warm near the heat register… Whoda thunk?! :lol:

Congrats Matt!

Last Fall I did an Irish Red. I sanitize my bottles by running them through the dishwasher with the heated dry setting. This time I set the timer incorrectly when I went off to work. Came back home and bottled the whole batch, except for the final sixer before I realized the washer never turned on.
So the good news- not a single contaminated bottle. Turned out real nice.