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Old 04-24-2011, 05:23 AM   #1
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Default Getting back into homebrewing after a 9 month layoff

Last August I brewed a stout and had plans to bottle it that same month. Unfortunately things took a turn for the worst and I just bottled it tonight.

So basically last August I had come down with an ear infection. Didn't think much of it as I just let it run it's course. A few days into it I got a horrible fever and had to go to the emergency room. Turns out I had rare condition called mastoiditis. I spent a night in the hospital and went through with all the awfulness that came with the condition. By this time my batch had been sitting in the primary for 3 more weeks then I intended.

After I recovered from that I started getting headaches all the time and a constant runny nose. Went to a few doctors and a specialist and they said I was fine. I wasn't. The pain continued and I missed several days off of work. I finally got fed up and went to the emergency room where they collected some of the fluid that was running out of my nose. I made an appointment with another specialist. By this time my batch was 3 months in the primary.

This specialist knew what he was talking about. The fluid that been running into my ear through my nose was... brain fluid. The mastoiditis infection caused a hole in part of my skull and I was losing brain fluid on a daily basis. Doc told me I was a ticking time bomb and needed surgery ASAP (I was at risk for a stroke or an aneurysm just from walking around). I was scared and terrified of surgery then another bomb dropped on me: I got fired from my job.

I actually worked in a hospital (in IT) and they didn't like the fact that I was taking too much time off. Surgery was delayed until COBRA got cleared. Stressed out, unemployed, broke, on the brink of a stroke at 26, and I had a batch that needed to be bottled.

So I had surgery to repair my skull and everything went successfully. I spent weeks recovering in a vicodin induced haze, and somehow managed to pull myself together through the pain to get a job interview. Somehow through all my pain and suffering I nailed it. I got the damn job in this crushing recession 2 weeks post surgery. Best part was that I started in the new year which gave me some time to recover physically.

So here I am in late April. I'm finally feeling like myself again and with the help of a close friend I bottled my first batch again. The job is going great and one of the guys there is a veteran home brewer who has won several awards and is actually a BJCP master judge. It all worked out somehow, and my experimental batch on Southern Tier's Creme Brulee stout is finally in bottles.

I had to stay away from this forum because I KNEW I would get the bug if I started reading, but there was no physical way I could brew. But now I'm back.... and I'm alive!

Perhaps I should change the name of my "brewery"?

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Brain Damage Brewing
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Bottled: Three Pistols, Spaced Out Saison, Amarillo Armadillo
Conditioning:
Fermenting: GTFO Stout
Gone: Sheffield Pale Ale, Donut Shop Coffee Stout,Hop Rape Imperial IPA, Hooston's Irish Red Beer'd
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Old 04-24-2011, 05:32 AM   #2
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Glad you are well again. That is a rough story. At least you're back brewing ...that is good therapy.

Edit - how is the beer?

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Old 04-24-2011, 05:38 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by lschiavo View Post
Glad you are well again. That is a rough story. At least you're back brewing ...that is good therapy.

Edit - how is the beer?
Thanks, much appreciated. Brewing is good therapy and I plan on brewing up either a simple Hefe to back in the swing of things or an IPA.

Just bottled the beer tonight, actually didn't try it for some reason. I re-pitched when I bottled and threw in some vanilla extract for flavor. Hoping it turns out well, especially after 9 months in the primary.
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|---------------------------------------------|
Brain Damage Brewing
|---------------------------------------------|

Bottled: Three Pistols, Spaced Out Saison, Amarillo Armadillo
Conditioning:
Fermenting: GTFO Stout
Gone: Sheffield Pale Ale, Donut Shop Coffee Stout,Hop Rape Imperial IPA, Hooston's Irish Red Beer'd
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Old 04-24-2011, 05:46 AM   #4
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Wow thats a heck of a story! I'm glad you made it through, AND got a new job, AND (most importantly) are back in the Brewing game
You need to design up a good label for that brew -it should be a great conversation starter since it has such a life-changing story behind it (thankfully, as a stout, it should age nicely).

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Old 04-24-2011, 07:17 PM   #5
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Jeez, should sell the rights to that story to the writers of House. Congratulations on the recovery, the job, and... well I won't jinx the beer. Should market that beer recipe, "Age as long as it takes to diagnose, treat, recover from mastoiditis, and surgically repair a hole in one's skull. Serve chilled."

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Old 04-24-2011, 11:51 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Dome555 View Post
Jeez, should sell the rights to that story to the writers of House. Congratulations on the recovery, the job, and... well I won't jinx the beer. Should market that beer recipe, "Age as long as it takes to diagnose, treat, recover from mastoiditis, and surgically repair a hole in one's skull. Serve chilled."
Thanks! Also that description is awesome!

The condition is House worthy actually, only 20 Americans a year get a CSF leak as a result from mastoiditis.
__________________
|---------------------------------------------|
Brain Damage Brewing
|---------------------------------------------|

Bottled: Three Pistols, Spaced Out Saison, Amarillo Armadillo
Conditioning:
Fermenting: GTFO Stout
Gone: Sheffield Pale Ale, Donut Shop Coffee Stout,Hop Rape Imperial IPA, Hooston's Irish Red Beer'd
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Old 04-25-2011, 12:31 AM   #7
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Bro, I am so glad to hear you are better after that. It's a miracle of modern medicine.

Welcome back to brewing and congrats on being gainfully employed once again!

And I thought an eight-month layoff due to spending too freakin' much last year was bad.

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