All the serious talk of exploding carboys and trips to the ER has me feeling grateful that all my homebrewing accidents have been funny rather than dangerous. Here is a description (from rec.crafts.brewing) of my second batch of homebrew:
"My second batch of beer was a batch of Imperial Stout from Papazian's
book. We loaded it up with dark malt extract and a massive dose of hop
pellets, boiled, cooled the pot in a sinkfull of ice. We ran out of
ice and tried to strain it through a tiny, super-fine strainer, which
promptly clogged up. Our solution was to just dump it into the carboy,
hops and all, and pitch the yeast. The wort was about 85 F when we
pitched the yeast and it was summertime in NC, so the appartment was
about 85 F all night long.
Being a couple of smart guys, we decided to set up a Papazian-style
blowoff tube: narrow tubing jammed into a drilled stopper. We plugged
it in the top, set the carboy in a closet in the spare bedroom and
went to bed.
I woke up to the sound of rain at about 4 AM and went to close the
window, only to notice that it wasn't raining. The sound of running
water was very distinct and was coming from the spare bedroom. I
figured in out just before I opened the door and saw the blowoff hose
standing up on end, whipping around and spraying the ceiling of the
closet with half-fermented wort. There was black beer literally
running down the walls, which the cat thought was very interesting.
I grabbed the neck of the carboy and tried to point it into a nearby
bucket, but I lost my grip and the carboy landed on its side, which
shook it enough to blow the stopper off across the room. A 1 1/2"
diameter jet of beer shot across the room and nailed the cat with a
direct hit. She was completly soaked with beer and had bits of
hop-gunk all over her ears.
When I got it under control, half of the batch was in the carpet,
dripping from the ceiling or on the cat. I had to rent a steam cleaner
to get the carpet clean and we ended up repainting the walls to cover
the stains. It took the cat a week to get all the wort out of her fur.
The beer turned out OK, so I guess Papazian's favorite saying is good
My girlfriend thought it was funny, so I married her; excellent
I think that was way back in 1996 when we had to by our supplies at a used record store. The owner was a homebrewer, so he had a little stash of extract, hops and yeast in the back room. As I recall, you could get two kinds of extract in cans (dark or light), two kinds of of dry yeast in 5g packets, and a few types of hop pellets (all of them stale).