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Old 05-24-2011, 05:54 PM   #1
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Default First Brewing DISASTER - overcome!

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.

Casualty list:

  • 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!
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Old 05-24-2011, 06:11 PM   #2
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I thought you were going to take RDWHAHB to a new level by using a shopvac as a secondary, glad you didnt get to badly wounded by this.

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Old 05-24-2011, 06:13 PM   #3
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Damn, that sounds awful, thankfully your okay.

This has almost happened to me lifting carboys in and out of my fermentation chamber. You must brew another one ASAP now! The pipeline is unforgiveable and doesn’t care about anything besides itself, your liver is evil as well and must be punished daily do it your biddings in the wake of this disaster and brew another beer!

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Old 05-24-2011, 06:15 PM   #4
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Glad you weren't hurt. Stories like this is why I want to line the floor of my fermentation room with these http://www.amazon.com/Rubber-Cal-Dur...6280415&sr=8-3

Edit: Fixed link. Doh!

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Old 05-24-2011, 06:17 PM   #5
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link not working for me daybis?

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Old 05-24-2011, 06:19 PM   #6
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I saw some carboy handles once that looked like the cargo net on the back of a pick up truck. One handle on each side. Goes about half way up the carboy.
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Old 05-24-2011, 06:24 PM   #7
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I'm sorry for your loss. I would recommend against using carboy handles to lift full carboys, though - I believe those are only intended for empty carboys. It's much safer to use a milk crate or BrewHauler:
http://www.midwestsupplies.com/the-brew-hauler.html

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Old 05-24-2011, 06:24 PM   #8
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Perhaps consider switching to Better Bottles?

(If you were already using them you likely wouldn't have lost your brew.)

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Old 05-24-2011, 06:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by count_dookie View Post
I thought you were going to take RDWHAHB to a new level by using a shopvac as a secondary, glad you didnt get to badly wounded by this.
You know, even after sucking up all the dirt and broken glass along with the beer, it was still hard to pour the contents of the shopvac out! On a related note, my garbage man is going to love me come garbage day. I tried to "decant off" the beer so I could only throw the glass in the garbage, but there were so many tiny glass fragments it was impossible. There is a slurry of beer and grime in my can waiting to be picked up now..
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Old 05-24-2011, 06:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeafSmith View Post
I'm sorry for your loss. I would recommend against using carboy handles to lift full carboys, though - I believe those are only intended for empty carboys. It's much safer to use a milk crate or BrewHauler:
http://www.midwestsupplies.com/the-brew-hauler.html
Good call - thanks. I'll give those a shot.
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