Just had to share this experience to commiserate with those of you who have had a similar experience (or can imagine.)
I've been brewing for 6 months now and last night I experienced my first major diaster while transferring a really outstanding batch of Dead Guy Clone from primary to secondary. I pulled the ale pail out of my fermentation chamber and carefully racked it to a freshly cleaned and sanitized carboy. To be extra careful about sanitization, I sprayed a little starsan solution on the rim of the carboy opening and replaced the (freshly sanitized) airlock and proceeded to pickup the carboy and put it back in the chamber.
Well.... it turns out 5 gallons of beer in a carboy with neck 'lubricated' with sanitizer is a difficult thing to pickup and slide into a front loading fermentation chamber. It didn't feel particularly heavy, but I'll be dammed if it didn't slip out of my hands from about 2ft up over my basmenet concrete floor. The result was spectacular.
Broken glass and beer went gushing in all directions (including in my slippers, but thankfully I wasn't badly cut.) I allowed my self about 1 second to feel sorry for myself and yell a few things I will not repeat here, before the fury of damage control and cleanup began. I won't go into all the details, but needless to say I had an unpleasant couple of hours of cleaning.
I can't say enough how key it was to have a wet/dry (shop) vac handy. I was able to get suction on the floor within about 30 seconds from the spill, and was therefor able to capture probably ~3 gallons of the stuff as it was pooling and flowing around the room. I don't know what I would have done with out this! Highly recommended tool to have on hand if you are ever working with large volumes of liquid.
- 5 gallons of one of my favorite homebrews
- 1 5 gallon carboy
- 2 decent area rugs
- Some drywall.. yeah.. this was bad
- A shopvac filter
- Two towels
- A good helping of pride.
After the bulk of the cleaning was complete I turned my attention to the hydrometer tube full of beer that I had sampled during the racking, now the only remnant of this batch. It was fantastic. This is the third time I've brewed this particular beer, and this was easily the best racking sample.
Oh well, life doesn't alway go to plan.
I resolved to 1) buy some carboy handles 2) get some ingredients for another batch of Dead Guy and 3) head upstairs and start brewing up my batch of Pale Ale per my plan for the evening. My brew day didn't end until 12:30 last night, but dammit I got it done!