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Thursday, November 3, 2011

What's the worst that could happen?

Paulaner clone, gusher
Wanted: hilarious tales of homebrew mishap.

By Steve Siciliano

I've been in this business long enough to hear a horror story or two—a slippery carboy is dropped and five gallons of precious liquid oozes across the basement floor; a fermenter stashed away in a bedroom closet erupts like Mt. Vesuvius and the brewer comes home to an irate wife standing menacingly over a pile of krausened-soaked clothes. There are tales of massive boil overs, just-opened bottles gushing like oil wells, and sparges stuck worse than a tax-reform bill in congress.

Anyone who brews beer or makes wine has or probably will someday encounter such difficulties. But we homebrewers and winemakers are a tough, resourceful lot, not so easily dismayed or deterred. We lick our wounds, do whatever it takes to win back the good graces of our significant others, and climb back on our hobby horses. My own horror story involves drain-pouring the contents of two five-gallon carboys. What started as wine metamorphosed into something with the distinctively unpleasant odor of nail polish remover.

Got a horror story to tell? Share it with us. Write it up in the comments section below. There’s a community of brewers and winemakers out there who can relate, and who are explicitly capable of commiserating with your misery.

1 comment:

  1. I still can't figure out exactly how I did it, probably because I had too much out on the table in the first place, but instead of putting 2.5 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice into my 10 gallon batch of pumpkin ale, I put in closer to 10 or 11 teaspoons. Like I said, I have no idea what I was thinking. I didn't even realize what I had done until I transferred the beer to the secondary a week later, then it hit me.

    Needless to say, it tastes and smells A LOT like pumpkin pie and has an unpleasant bitter aftertaste. Its destined for the drain tonight. I gotta make room for more beer :-)