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Old 08-15-2010, 03:00 PM   #1
hedonist91
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Default Brew Safety-Buddy System!

This is about 3 weeks overdue, but I thought I'd tell the story anyway, and sort of put out a public service announcement.

Always, for the love of God, brew with a buddy.

So many things can go wrong with propane, fire, electricity, wort, water, pumps, carbon monoxide, etc. I realized this three weeks ago when I needed someone to drive me to the hospital.

I got really cocky, and my system has been kicking ass, so I gave myself a little extra time and decided to start my brew day alone, and I got all the way to collecting my sparge water by myself. A flawless dough-in, mashing was smooth, the herms'-a-cookin' the whole nine yards.

Now my HLT right now is a 10G Gott Rubbermaid Cooler with a cheap ball valve on the bottom. I gravity-feed the sparge arm, so naturally, I have it up on a homemade stand. I collect boiling water in it, then cool it with tap down to 170 for sparging. So, like a jackass, by myself, standing right next to an extension cord on the floor, and a propane tank, I lift the cooler, filled with boiling water, up and towards the ceiling to prop it up on the stand, which is about eye level.

The ball valve caught on my shirt as I was lifting, and boiling water gushed on my stomach. I freaked and dropped the cooler, and the valve continued to gush onto my foot. My shirt and shoes only held the water on me, and I ran got naked and flung myself in the shower. I didn't have a cell phone, it was in my shorts, so I just sort of collected myself and chilled out for a bit. A brew buddy was on his way, so I ran fast to find my cell phone (it's really burning now), and unplugged everything in the brew room to make sure my buddy didn't electrocute himself, and told him what happened. Well, I threw ice on it, and we went to the emergency room, and by now skin's peeling off of me. It was on the worse end of 2nd degree burns, and hurt like hell. Got some morphine, bandages, percocet, and was told to stay of my feet and elevate it for three days. My calf and foot were all swollen up from the antibodies and whatever going to my extremities. Wild stuff.

So I never brew alone anymore. It's just better to have someone there, even if they can't help, to make sure that you're safe, and can either call someone, or drive you somewhere, or help you pick something up so you're not overextending yourself because you think you're the homebrewer of the century.

Just thought I'd share my worst brew day ever horror story. I try to keep this in mind when I have equipment problems: "Well, at least I didn't have to go to the frickin' hospital!"



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Old 08-15-2010, 03:08 PM   #2
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That's a horrible story. Thank you so much for posting - it's a great service for the rest of us and just might prevent another similar accident. Do yourself a favor and buy a pump, some silicone tubing, and some quick disconnects. Keep everything on the ground. That's what I do.



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Old 08-15-2010, 03:15 PM   #3
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Yeah, I know. Unfortunately, when I designed my system, I had it go through too much coil and hose, and it can't pump to where I need it to go. Time to overhaul, eh? Just need to get less resistance in the line, and pump it up there. Should have done that a long time ago. I guess ya live and learn.

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Old 08-15-2010, 03:16 PM   #4
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Sorry about that. NOTHNG is worse than low temperature burns.

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Old 08-15-2010, 03:33 PM   #5
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Now my HLT right now is a 10G Gott Rubbermaid Cooler with a cheap ball valve on the bottom. I gravity-feed the sparge arm, so naturally, I have it up on a homemade stand. I collect boiling water in it, then cool it with tap down to 170 for sparging. So, like a jackass, by myself, standing right next to an extension cord on the floor, and a propane tank, I lift the cooler, filled with boiling water, up and towards the ceiling to prop it up on the stand, which is about eye level.


You dont need a brewing buddy, you need to use your head.
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Old 08-15-2010, 03:51 PM   #6
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Not that I've never done stupid sh*t, but actually with a buddy I've never had problems doing this. But ok.

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Old 08-15-2010, 05:17 PM   #7
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Just goes to show you. You do something so often or become complacent with it then WHAM, it can backfire in a microsecond! (not that you lift that cooler all the time)
It is scary to think about what could happen when we brew.

I am glad you are healing.

I gotta ask, what happend to the brew?

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Old 08-15-2010, 05:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinW View Post
Just goes to show you. You do something so often or become complacent with it then WHAM, it can backfire in a microsecond! (not that you lift that cooler all the time)
It is scary to think about what could happen when we brew.

I am glad you are healing.

I gotta ask, what happend to the brew?
thanks-my brew buddy returned to the scene and sparged, but we saved the boil for the next day, and we boiled what we had. Ended up finishing it, I hated the thought of getting scalded and then losing the whole batch too. It's still fermenting now.
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Old 08-15-2010, 05:41 PM   #9
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Sorry to hear about your unfortunate accident. a bigger pump can pump through all that tube. try a Little Giant 3-MD-HC. it is twice as powerful as the march 809

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Old 08-15-2010, 06:50 PM   #10
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I'm sorry this happened, but am glad to hear you are on the mend.

Stories like this are why I am not a big fan of 3 tier stands. Even with a pump, having boiling water that far off the ground is dangerous.



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