Crazy Brewing Day

Discussion in 'Brewing Photos & Videos' started by Jimminator, Mar 24, 2014.

  1. Jimminator

    Jimminator New Member

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    So I decided this morning to put another batch in the fermenter, and that was when the trouble started. First thing that happened was I couldn't get my Wyeast smack pack to pop. I tried several different times to get the pack up in the corner so I could pop it, and it just wouldn't break. So I put it down on the floor and gave it a good whack. Well that worked. It also coated the sliding door and blinds with a nice yeast starter coating! (I don't think there was any problem with the smack pack. It was operator error.) I hit a gallon Ziploc and the pack with sanitizer and sealed the smack pack inside.

    The mash went perfectly though, I hit my target temperature within 0.2 degrees and it maintained heat all the way through the mash, only losing 2 degrees.

    My lauter tun consists of an old five gallon fermenter bucket with a home made lauter screen and uses the same spigot that the fermenter bucket came with. I accidentally put the spigot from my new fermenter in the hole, and got it nice and tight. Then I scooped the mash into the lauter and started to let it rest, when I heard a pop. The spigot had come loose and fresh wort was squirting out around the spigot! I grabbed the spigot and shoved it back in the hole and realized it was HOT fresh wort. My wife and I got it to the sink where I figured I might just lose the whole batch. However, since I already had it set up, I was able to get the first run of wort into the boil pot, (no vorlauf though) by holding the spigot in place, giving myself some minor burns in the process. Then I duct taped the spigot in place and was able to run the sparge water through the grain bed and got nearly a full boil. It turned out I got most of the sugars into the boil pot, as I only lost a couple of points on the pre-boil gravity. There weren't too many husks floating around, so I figured what the hell, lets just keep going.

    As the boil was starting, I realized my spigot mistake, and cleaned the spigot so I could put it into the proper fermenter. As I tightened it into place, I broke the barb end off! I found a new spigot that fit properly and got it into the fermenter bucket. But, now I had to re-sanitize the fermenter bucket with the new spigot. As I was cleaning it, I accidently knocked my hydrometer test tube over, breaking it.

    After that, things seemed to calm down a bit. However, with about ten minutes left in the boil, the heat from my turkey cooker started to give up the ghost. At shut down, the wort was barely more than a good simmer. I went to turn the valve off and the fire stopped by itself! Somehow, my nearly full propane tank had depleted itself. Normally it only uses about 4 pounds of propane for an hour boil, and this had over 8 when I started. Arghhhh.

    Now the good news. Because of our continuing winter weather, the cold water was at around 38 degrees, so it only took 20 minutes to get the wort down to 70 degrees. The wort was very clear going into the fermenter, and despite all the issues, and I only lost a single post boil gravity point and still got nearly 5 gallons.

    Now it's in the basement, and the air lock is already beginning it's clickity clack. I think this is going to be a good batch!
     
  2. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    Ha Ha we've all been there, sounds like you had a hell of a day .... you only learn what to do after finding out what not to do he he, good luck
     
  3. Smitty27

    Smitty27 Member

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    I've had a few days that just seemed to not go right no matter what, but in the end after everything is said and done I ended up with some good beer. Sound like you'll still get some good beer out of it. :D
     
  4. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    We've all had these days....
     
  5. steamyb

    steamyb New Member

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    Wow! For the love of beer! Those burns are a high price to pay for homebrew. I am a single pot brewer and I have wrestled with whether or not to put a spigot in my brew pot for almost 3 years now. Your story settles this argument for me once and for all. I have had a problem with siphoning from day one, so now I use a pump and hope it doesn't screw up in the middle of a transfer. The only transfer is from the pot after fermentation to the keg to condition, so I'm not dealing with anything hot, but I don't want this new beer to sit exposed too long either. Craig's videos make it all look so easy!
     
  6. Jimminator

    Jimminator New Member

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    Steamyb, my spigot issue was mostly because I am using plastic. The plastic nut 'worked' in that it screwed onto the spigot back and held in place due to friction with the gasket. I think when the wort hit the gasket, it lubricated it and allowed the nut to slip off the spigot (i.e., the nut was too big.) This wouldn't happen with a metal nut because the threads are much more precise. And if you can break the nipples off of a stainless spigot, I want to shake your hand! (Errrr, actually, I DON'T want to shake your hand.) ;)

    Yeah, we've all had days like this, but this one had me particularly laughing so I thought I'd share.
     
  7. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Good stories.... It's great that we can laugh about days like these! Although I have to say, they're a lot more fun in the rear-view mirror....
     
  8. Jimminator

    Jimminator New Member

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    To me the best thing about adventures like this one is they are great stories to tell to friends over a home-brew. :D

    So slainte everyone, or prost if you prefer!
     

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