Author Topic: All Grain Horror Stories. :)  (Read 6113 times)

Offline c_smith

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All Grain Horror Stories. :)
« on: March 13, 2015, 09:13:27 AM »
Maybe it was your fault, maybe it wasn't... But we've all got them. Post yours here, maybe we can learn from each other's pain. :) 

I'll go first:

Last month my wife's parents came to visit. And as is sometimes the case with elderly folks, they felt a bit chilly and turned up every heater in the house... For the entire week.

We'll, the place warmed right up and my fermenter joined in the fun.. 6 degrees centigrade of too much fun. Result was of course pears in the finished flavor and lots of "Ah, it's still drinkable " comments from my friends. But drinkable was never an adjective I like to describe my beer. DOH!

Offline TAHammerton

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Re: All Grain Horror Stories. :)
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2015, 05:13:37 PM »
My first all-grain was BIAB. I was using (and still am unfortunately) a cheap 8 gallon kettle with a thin bottom. I missed my infusion temp and stuck it on the kitchen burner to warm it up to the desired temperature. Unfortunately the bag was sitting on the bottom of the kettle and scorched a hole right through it. I brew at night after the kids are in bed so at midnight I was drilling a thousand holes in a plastic bucket to fashion an emergency lauter tun. Well the bucket lauter tun worked and the beer got brewed although it too half the night to get it done. It actually turned out to be a very good beer with no hints of scorched flavours!

I only did a couple more BIABs after that (with new bag) and avoided the problem by placing a small metal pot stand (like a mini cookie cooling rack) in the bottom of the kettle to keep it separated from the bag.

If I had to do it all again I would skip the BIAB and go straight to a proper all-grain set-up.
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Offline ihikeut

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Re: All Grain Horror Stories. :)
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2015, 09:38:59 AM »
Over the years of brewing I've decided that beer can be very forgiving. They are so many mistakes I could talk about, but I would be typing all day. one that comes to mine when I first started brewing.

After a trip to Costa Rica and drinking Imperial beer, I decided to try and duplicate Imperial beer and I know it's a lager made from corn. Son and daughter in law are visiting and plan is to go to breakfast. Knowing the woman won't be ready until 10 Am and most brewing seasons last about 5 hours, we start at 5 Am. Everything going perfect grains in with lots of maize, temp dead on at 154 degrees. Open valve to start draining tun into boil kettle, flow about a quart and stop draining. Start by blowing in drain tube to clear stuck sparge, drain another quart and stops again. After doing this several times decide the only way we are going to get the wort out of the cooler is to pour it from the top. First we try carefully pouring the wort directing into the kettle. It's hard to be careful with a 10 gallon cooler full of grain and wort, end up with half wort and half grain in the kettle. Next step is to borrow wife's strainer, this works but me and son have to trade off picking up cooler several times to empty strainer of grain. Now we have to remove the grain from the the boil kettle. The only pot large enough is my wife's pressure cooker stored in the basement. After searching and finding the pressure cooker, strain out the wort, and return the grain back to the tun. Sparge time and worrying about the sparge getting stuck. Wife and daughter in law are awake from all the noise finding pressure cooker and want to know if we are done yet. Are you done yet continues for the next  several hours. Batch sparge flows perfect and rest of brew went as planed. Beer turn out perfect and we all had lunch instead of breakfast. Lesson learned rice hulls.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2015, 09:42:57 AM by ihikeut »

Offline Brewmex41

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Re: All Grain Horror Stories. :)
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2015, 12:13:29 PM »
I had some people over Nov 1 for learn how to homebrew day. Scott Ickes brough a saison, russian imperial stout and some of the collaboration porter we created as a group here on beersmith forums. Another buddy brought firestone double jack and another buddy bbrought a sixer of Stone Ipa.

We spent more time sampling beers, including a barleywine I made, than paying attention to the brewing.

I ended up having just a little too much so.about half way thru the boil i decided i had enough and cut the flames, chilled the beer and fermented it, tho i dont remember how i did those things that impaired.
That batch also ended up being my only batch to be bottle conditioned and get infected.

Since then i have not had a beer while brewing until the boil starts.
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Offline Scott Ickes

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Re: All Grain Horror Stories. :)
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2015, 12:57:48 PM »
I had some people over Nov 1 for learn how to homebrew day. Scott Ickes brough a saison, russian imperial stout and some of the collaboration porter we created as a group here on beersmith forums. Another buddy brought firestone double jack and another buddy bbrought a sixer of Stone Ipa.

We spent more time sampling beers, including a barleywine I made, than paying attention to the brewing.

I ended up having just a little too much so.about half way thru the boil i decided i had enough and cut the flames, chilled the beer and fermented it, tho i dont remember how i did those things that impaired.
That batch also ended up being my only batch to be bottle conditioned and get infected.

Since then i have not had a beer while brewing until the boil starts.

He forgot to mention that I had another appointment and had to leave not too far into the boil.  I stayed more or less sober, and I didn't notice anything bad happening before I left.  I'm wondering, have I tasted this one yet?
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Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: All Grain Horror Stories. :)
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2015, 01:45:09 PM »
Tried to mash overnight. Big mistake. My container wasn't sufficiently insulated, and the mash was close to a hundred degrees and foaming when I awoke. Soured beyond recovery.
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson

Offline Brewmex41

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Re: All Grain Horror Stories. :)
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2015, 04:35:12 PM »
I had some people over Nov 1 for learn how to homebrew day. Scott Ickes brough a saison, russian imperial stout and some of the collaboration porter we created as a group here on beersmith forums. Another buddy brought firestone double jack and another buddy bbrought a sixer of Stone Ipa.

We spent more time sampling beers, including a barleywine I made, than paying attention to the brewing.

I ended up having just a little too much so.about half way thru the boil i decided i had enough and cut the flames, chilled the beer and fermented it, tho i dont remember how i did those things that impaired.
That batch also ended up being my only batch to be bottle conditioned and get infected.

Since then i have not had a beer while brewing until the boil starts.

He forgot to mention that I had another appointment and had to leave not too far into the boil.  I stayed more or less sober, and I didn't notice anything bad happening before I left.  I'm wondering, have I tasted this one yet?

It wasnt your fault scott.

I dumped the batch because they all were gushers.
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Offline bhanson

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Re: All Grain Horror Stories. :)
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2015, 05:14:31 PM »
I've had a couple. 

Worst - sanitized with bleach after reading the New Joy of Homebrewing.  Dumped a batch that smelled like Clorox.

Second worst - Drunken brewing session that resulted in an infection which left the finished product tasting like sauerkraut.  But not good sauerkraut.

Third worst - Fermented a pale ale with Nottingham yeast around 75 degrees.  It ended up really estery - like beyond drinkable.

Fortunately these are all ancient history.......
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Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: All Grain Horror Stories. :)
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2015, 05:54:45 PM »
Quote
sanitized with bleach after reading the New Joy of Homebrewing.  Dumped a batch that smelled like Clorox.

When I was in cooking school they taught us that a single capful (that's cap, not cup) was sufficient for a five gallon bucket of sanitizer.  It's really easy to use too much bleach. People thing you need to smell it for it to be effective. But that's wrong. If you can smell it you've used too much.

Quote
Third worst - Fermented a pale ale with Nottingham yeast around 75 degrees.  It ended up really estery - like beyond drinkable.

I made banana beer once. Don't brew in the summer anymore. Ales in the spring and fall, lager in the winter.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2015, 06:04:26 PM by Maine Homebrewer »
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson

Offline brewfun

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Re: All Grain Horror Stories. :)
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2015, 09:10:17 PM »
Let's see...

There was one time where an assistant was told to clean the spare valves. He got ambitious and decided to clean some extra ones, starting with the one on a 20 bbl fermenter. Luckily, he only looked drowned.

Then there was the time I forgot the false bottom and doughed in 1500 lbs before I saw it up against the wall.

Early in running their new 250 bbl brewhouse, Lagunitas reported that they managed to make a 2 Plato (about 1.004) batch of Hop Stupid. Somehow, the auger from the silo to the mill stopped shortly after it was started and nobody noticed.

All too many times, I've started to sparge into the kettle and noticed the first runnings exiting via an open drain valve.

It isn't if. It's when, how bad and how you recover.
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Offline dcboch

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Re: All Grain Horror Stories. :)
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2015, 02:48:22 PM »
My first all grain set up was a system I purchased which was a bucket with a false bottom and plastic tubing inserted into a hole in the side of the bucket below the false bottom.  The tubing was just a snug fit into the hole and the open end simply laid beneath the false bottom for transferring the wort into the kettle.  Well, one brew day, I decided to mash out, and the resulting increased temperature of the wort draining into the kettle was just enough to cause the tubing to slip out of the hole.  A wort fountain in the kitchen! 

 

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