Author Topic: What are your WORST brewing mistakes?  (Read 11791 times)

jwhite751

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What are your WORST brewing mistakes?
« on: June 02, 2004, 04:28:18 AM »
It seems like every batch I make I see something I would do differently. I think a list of things Not to do is as helpfull as a good recipe ( esp. for those like me that just have to experiment). I have had some memorable mistakes as seen below and would love to hear yours.
   a.Wit beer- I made 2 major mistakes, first I thought if some was good more was better. I added more bitter orange than called for ,added some regular orange, then compounded the problem by adding them at the beginning of the boil instead of the end. The result was a very orange colored wit that tasted like bitter orange juice
  b.Ginger beer - I love ginger ale and thought ginger beer sounded great. I added way too much fresh ginger and it tasted nothing like ginger ale. Make sure you know what affect an additive has on your beer before adding or remember that less is usually better.
  c.substituted sweet cherrys instead of sour cherrys in a stout. The result was a very sweet beer that was nothing like i was looking for.
  My point is I think you need to make changes carefully and in small quantities and follow your directions

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Re: What are your WORST brewing mistakes?
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2004, 01:24:07 PM »
Lets see...

1. Spilling a hot mash tun full of water all over myself - fortunately no permanent damage but it did hurt quite a bit.  I have since modified my technique to avoid moving hot mash tuns around.

2. Substituting sugar for malt early on - ended up making cider, though it was not the good tasting cider.

3. Ginger beer (not good), Spruce beer (another disaster - tasted like pine tar), several batches made from oxidized ingredients (can you say bottle bomb! - one stout basically covered the entire kitchen with beer when it blew)

Things I did not do but should have done a lot earlier:

1. Buy a kegging system - I don't know how I lived without it.

2. Buy a Gott Cooler for all grain - I used a "stovetop" temperature mash for several years.  This was a huge waste of time - the 5 gal cooler cost $18 and saved me tons of sweat and tears.

3. Figured out how to calculate IBUs - particularly when I switched from extract to all grain brewing I made several batches that were horrible because I used my old extract recipes and did not adjust the hop amounts.

4. Switch to liquid yeast - even though only dry yeast was available when I started in the late 80's - I was totally amazed at the improvement in quality when I tried my first liquid yeast in the early 90's.

Cheers!
Brad
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unclejack

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Re: What are your WORST brewing mistakes?
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2004, 01:29:31 PM »
I think the worst mistake any brewer can make is NOT trying something new. If you are not making mistakes, your are not brewing; and not brewing is definately your BIGGEST MISTAKE.

I have a friend who's wife purchased one of the gianormis brew starter kits for him as a birthday gift. It sat in the box for nearly 3 years because he was afraid of making a mistake. Once I got him cooking and his first batch in a cold glass he was hooked and couldn't understand why it took him so long to get after it.

As you so aptly put it, you had some memorable mistakes that helped you in your learning process and you have probably helped many with your post.

Keep makin' those mistakes & learn from 'em. And remember that a good bartender always drinks his mistakes . . .

Brew on brothers & sisters,  U.J.

THE_DRUNK_ARAB

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Re: What are your WORST brewing mistakes?
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2004, 07:07:30 PM »
I used 100 mls of black strap molasses in an extract Old Peculiar clone, tasted like burnt rubber beer :-X

C&B
TDA

delhotal

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Re: What are your WORST brewing mistakes?
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2004, 10:55:25 AM »
I've been brewing since the early 90's and have made a lot of dumb mistakes.  Some of the worst resulted in contaminated beers because I was lazy in my sanitation, The worst was using whole hops in a carboy with a smallish vent tube.   When the hops plugged the tube I had about 2.5 gallons of dark brown liquid all over my landlord's bedroom carpeting and walls.  Also, finding myself making some dumb mistake almost every time I brewed, I have now gone to a "brewing day" checklist and a "bottling day" checklist.  It has helped, but dumb is forever.
Cheers, Van

cj_in_j

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Re: What are your WORST brewing mistakes?
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2004, 03:47:32 PM »
My worst mistake was brewing two beers back to back with smack packs that had been shipped by sea mail. Neither one swelled (and I didn't make starters back then), but I used them anyway. Two beers in a row got dumped. Badly contaminated. Not fun.

The most embarrassing just happened on my last brew. I brewed in a 10-gallon corny -- like I've done many times. I had a blowoff tube hooked up to the gray gas quick disconnect -- like I've done many times. After transferring the cooled wort to the corny, I hooked up the quick disconnect -- like I've done many times. A few hours later, I noticed wort on the floor of my brewing nook -- what the hell? Well, I'd hooked up the disconnect to the . . . beer OUT post, not gas in. I lost about a gallon of precious wort. Crap crap crap. I'll be sure not to make that mistake again.  >:( :-[

jwhite751

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Re: What are your WORST brewing mistakes?
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2004, 06:11:36 AM »
Thanks for all the replys. It really helps to know what pittfalls are out there. I have another one I learned over time.
* Dont  get carbonation confused with a foamy head.Again I thought more was better so on priming I would always use 1cup instead of 3/4 cup thinking I was creating a more foamy head. I have since learned that the extra carbonation created larger gas bubbles that dissapated quickly. I think most 5 gal batches do better with 3/4 cup priming sugar.

underfoot

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Re: What are your WORST brewing mistakes?
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2004, 07:46:16 AM »
Worst mistake?  Starting a siphon by sucking on the end of the tube.  Ruined my very first batch that way.

Trev

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Re: What are your WORST brewing mistakes?
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2004, 11:41:26 PM »
My very first partial mash - I spent quite a while reading, studying etc. I had everything worked out.

I had the boiler ready,
I had the ingredients ready,
I had the method, the technique and everything all ready to go!

The only thing I didn't have was the tap closed on the fermenter when I poured everything into it :(

Trev

tresero

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Re: What are your WORST brewing mistakes?
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2004, 03:05:03 PM »
Sparged at 180 so I got some great bitterness, but not the kind you want >:(

SAHomeBrew

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Re: What are your WORST brewing mistakes?
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2004, 04:55:08 AM »
One of my worst brewing mistakes, turned out to be the best tasting beer ever.

It was my first batch ever made, and not knowing what to do with the grian bag (directions lacked this piece of information) I put the hops (pellets) in it, tied it up tight, boiled my wort, added said hops at the right time, finished boiling,  removed the hops and tossed them in the trash.

This turned out to be my and all my friends favroite beer. The flavor is mild, it has a great aroma, the body is just what I was hoping for,  and the only way I have been able to duplicate the taste is to make "the mistake" every time I brew it.

Oh well, it works  ;D
« Last Edit: October 28, 2004, 02:55:37 AM by SAHomeBrew »

jdjeff

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Re: What are your WORST brewing mistakes?
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2004, 08:39:50 AM »
I always pick the worst times to brew, and so end up getting rushed for one reason or another.    My best beer to date was the result of two mistakes.  I was brewing an APA, and put the kettle into an ice bath just as my wife reminded me that we had to leave for a birthday party.  The temp was coming down really slowly, and my pleas for "just a couple more minutes" were getting me into hot water.  I eventually pitched the yeast at 95 degrees! and left it to do whatever it was going to do.  After a very vigorous (and quick I might add) fermentation, I racked into the secondary for a couple of weeks, and then into a keg for carbonating...only to discover that I didn't have any C02!  I went completely mind numb for some reason and decided that as there was no way to get the tank refilled for the next several days, that I might as well just chuck the batch.  It sat there in the keg, with no top, waiting for me to toss it when, 5 hours later, it suddenly struck me that I could still carbonate the old fashioned way.  I boiled up some priming sugar, tossed it in, sealed it and left it for a couple of weeks.  It was awesome.  Go figure.

Triple_Freak

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Re: What are your WORST brewing mistakes?
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2004, 10:30:45 PM »
I left a steam clone on the yeast for a month once. It was horrible, and I had to dump it.

hornbrau

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Re: What are your WORST brewing mistakes?
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2004, 05:06:37 AM »
The only brewing mistake is not brewing!!!

liquidbrains

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Re: What are your WORST brewing mistakes?
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2004, 10:32:01 AM »
Maybe I've just been lucky, but I can't think of anything I'd call a big mistake.

Lot's of little things tho, and stuff I seem to do time and time again...:

-  leaving the tap open on the fermetor while filling it (lost about 1/2 gallon wort, very sticky mess)
-  Not removing the airlock before opening the tap on the fermetor.

Oh, I just thought of a big one. I once put 4 pounds of 500srm roasted barley into a dry irish stout, where the recipe called for  1/4 pounds -- ended up tasting like espresso,

...

-L

 

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