Worst spill, mess, or otherwise bonehead move?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by jmcnamara, Apr 26, 2016.

  1. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    This past summer I came upon an old home brew kit at a yard sale. I figured I could scrounge it for some buckets and such. Turns out there was a 5 gallon glass carboy in there.
    I've read a few places before that glass carboys are like motorcycles, you've either had an accident or you're going to have one. I do have a few plastic ones, and even those I felt a little unsure sometimes moving a full one around the house, especially through doorways or other tight spaces.
    Anyway, i recently got one of those straps / harnesses that fits around the bottom, and it makes it much easier to lift and move around.

    I guess this is a long way to ask, what's the worst spill / mess you've had? Also, what did you do to attempt to mitigate or prevent it from happening again?
    I've never spilled a carboy, but I did pour some wort into a bucket with a spigot, which I apparently didn't check to make sure it was closed. got about half a gallon on the floor before i realized it. Now, I check it a few different times before I'm ready to pour. If I'm brewing with the wife, I'll even have her check it a time or two.
     
  2. oliver

    oliver Well-Known Member

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    i've had two big spills, but not that bad. After sparging one afternoon i tried to carry the grain bag over to the sink, and the thing slipped right out of my hand, whole bag of spent grains on the kitchen floor. Tough using the broom on wet grains.

    #2, while sanitizing my big kettle, lifted it up to dump the sudsy water and i dropped it on the ledge of the sink spilling backwards about 3 gallons in the kitchen.. sanitized the hell out of my kitchen floor though.
     
  3. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    haha, I don't count spilled sanitizer anymore. It happens so often for me that its just part of a normal brew day
     
  4. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    I was experimenting with this diy project with pellet hops in it and I was recirculating over the top, so the hose coming out of bottom of that pot was looped over the top and it was hot wart, this was flame out 200 degrees, so it clogs and like normal i shut off the pump and close that valve where you see coming out of the kettle thinking it would stop but "no" a siphon started back wards from the top of the wort up through that small pot spilling hot wort all over the place. I had gloves on but not brewing gloves like I now have and I pulled the hose out and sloshed hot wort on my hand, thinking my glove would protect me,well it just made it worse a slow soak of hot work gave me 3rd degree burns....it was not a good day,
     

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  5. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    A few years back, my kid was about 10 years old. He wanted to see how heavy my 5 gallon glass carboy was. It was much lighter when he was done.
     
  6. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    Looks like I just came home to a bonehead move. I kegged my Belgian before I headed out of town for the week. The plan was to hit it with 30 lbs of CO2, and then connect it to 7 lbs. When I get home, it should be nicely carbonated, right? Wrong! It wouldn't even pour. What's wrong, clogged dip tube, or something else? I was just about ready to switch lines with another beer when I noticed the shutoff at the regulator was off! Apparently I forgot to turn it back on when I was doing things to the system before I left!
     
  7. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    My old mash tun is all just dry fit together. On many occasions I have knocked off the drain valve and had to quickly attempt to stop the flow of 154° sweet wort from draining out. Lets just say it burns like hell and leaves quite a sticky mess.

    I have also walked away from a transfer from BK to fermentor and came back to 5 gallons of wort on the floor.

    Many others but those stick out.

    Cheers
    Brian
     
  8. EbonHawk

    EbonHawk New Member

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    Had a ferm lock clog with krausen and hops on a 5 gal glass carboy one day while I was at work and thought everything was safe...

    My wife called me at work around 10am... We were putting our house on the market to sell and the realtor had come over for the initial setting up of the listing and my infant son was asleep in the back bedroom...when there was an earth-shattering Kaboom!! and the windows shook and the baby screamed, and the realtor almost jumped out of her skin. My wife just said, "That was my husband's beer!" And they went into the hallway to see 5 gallons of fermenting beer oozing out from under my computer room door.

    I lamented the loss of the carboy more than anything. It was an antique, one that my wife's grandfather had used to brew beer and make wine in in like 1955 or something.

    Yeah... I still get to sit through that when we meet new friends and they find out I brew and the topic almost always comes around to that explosion.

    There have been many other messes, but that was by far the most epic. Had to paint the ceiling to get rid of the beer stains. :eek: The hardwood floors were ok though.
     
  9. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I'm pretty sure every brewday my kitchen is a worse mess than the last time. Actually a neighbor gave a really nice stove that's jetted for propane so I set that up on the back deck (I know...totally hillbilly, but it really works ;) ) and I even manage to crap out the entire deck area by the time I'm done mashing (BIAB), boiling, chilling, etc.
    But the worst and most stupid thing was when I filled my carboy with rinse water and went to empty it on the plants...in the dark...with wet hands. I lost my grip and dropped it, not on the nice soft grass but right on the only big rock in the border of the plant bed. It's really an awful noise that a nearly-full carboy makes when it shatters catastrophically... sort of a cross between a dull thud and wrenching crash - a sickening crunch like bones breaking.
     
  10. nflamedrash

    nflamedrash Member

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    Last month I put the CO2 ball lock on my keg without checking the connection for a tight fitting, I now have to refill the tank and start over. No physical pain involved but the stupidity is killing me.
     
  11. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    I almost always overfill at least one bottle by at least a little bit each and every bottling day.

    seems like the more i try to stay focused on it, the easier i get distracted. until my hand gets wet that is.

    i'm slightly afraid that when i move to kegging, this problem will transfer and i'll be spilling more beer. that's definitely worth more of a cry than spilt milk :D
     
  12. EbonHawk

    EbonHawk New Member

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    My first all-grain batch... I followed all the steps I had written down, to a 'T', checking everything, it was like starting brewing as a rookie again... So, I decided to make a rookie mistake.

    Got to the wort collection step and started the sparging process, did the recirculating bit, and all was going well... And then I felt this icy-cold "burn" on my foot.. I look down, and hot wort is gushing out on my leg and running down into my shoe. It was so hot it felt cold at first, and then the burning set in as I rushed to get the ball-valve closed to keep from wasting anymore wort. Now, I make sure all the valves are closed when I install them on the kettle and mash and sparge tuns, before we get started. And I repeatedly check them over and over throughout the process.

    And a few batches later, I assembled the ball-valve and spigot in a sort of reverse fashion on my kettle the next time and wound up with one part attached to another spigot (impossible to explain exactly how I did it, exactly) but the strike water collection was taking waaaayy too long until it finally drained down low enough to get to the spigot (inside the kettle) and a friend goes, "Isn't that the connector you were looking for?" and he points to the inside of the kettle. Yep, there it was. So, I took my silicone glove and with a wrench, removed the thing and reaffixed everything correctly. I'm starting to think maybe some diagrams of all the fittings on waterproof paper might be in order. :p
     
  13. dbrowning

    dbrowning New Member

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    The first time I used the only Glass Carboy I ever had I broke it
    About 2 minutes after I filled it
    Lost 5.5 gallons of Saison
    That was on the back porch.so wasn't that hard to clean up

    About 2 weeks ago I put 6.5 gallons of Belgian Ale in a 5 gallon keg.
    I intended to have 4.5 gallons in that keg and 2 gallons in a 3G keg.
    I forgot
    About 1.5 gallons of it DID NOT STAY IN THE KEG
    That was in the kitchen. About 3 minutes before SWMBO got home
     
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  14. Bowhunter64

    Bowhunter64 Member

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    My GF had this old carboy that she toted around every time we moved and never even chipped it! I was gonna use it the very first time I ever brewed a batch of beer washed it,sanitized it ,set it down and it cracked right up the side! Good grief!
     
  15. Mark D Pirate

    Mark D Pirate Well-Known Member

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    you guys make me feel better ...
    worst mistake was racking off to a bottling bucket without a tap fitted , all that time, love and $$$ all over the kitchen floor
    managed to get 5 bottles out of what hadnt spilled and ex housemate drank them while i was away for weekend ...
     
  16. Bill Cook

    Bill Cook New Member

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    Worst - and luckiest - thing for me was back in the 60s. I was in my teens & my Dad & I were just learning how to brew.
    For some reason, he'd decided that the beer (20l) should go on a shelf above the kitchen stove. I guess to keep it warm.
    What he hadn't taken into account was that 20l of near-boiling wort would really soften the plastic bucket we'd put it in. So, when he lifted it, the thing folded in on itself & the hot wort came pouring out.
    One hell of a mess, but the lucky thing is that most it missed him. He did have scalding on his chest, but nothing really serious!
    Made one hell of an impression on me though!!
     
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  17. Clarkey35

    Clarkey35 New Member

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    Good to see everyone's errors are just like mine i.e. on the most obvious, simple parts of the process.

    I fall for the old "tap left in open position" every time. Sometimes the "didn't even attach a tap to the fermentation bucket after cleaning it".

    There's 50l of apple cider and apple + pear cider currently fermenting in my boiler cupboard, after I picked about 90kg from random trees around Manchester, England. What do fruit flies/ beer flies like more than anything else? The smell of fermenting sweet fruit bubbling out of an airlock. The place is crawling with them. Very annoying, but strangely satisfying watching them trying to get at it to no avail. It's safe for now.
     
  18. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    we had those fruit flies bad for a while. a little bit of apple cider vinegar mixed with a drop of dish soap in a mason jar will attract those pesky flies. even better is to put a funnel or something to cover most of the top and those little buggers can't get out.
    and it only took one open tap mistake for me to double and triple check that thing all the time
     
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  19. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    Good idea! Bug and fly traps are a great way to battle the little critters. We make bee traps from water bottles with top portion cut off and turned over like a funnel. Never thought about doing that for fruit flies.
     
  20. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    a great way to keep fruit flies away is to wash your glasses and bottles right after you drink one, it only takes 30 seconds;)
     
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