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Old 05-05-2008, 03:25 PM   #1
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Default Sometimes things just don't go right

So I am brewing up my third batch of beer. This was my most ambitious project so far, a big Belgian Golden Strong Ale. I put forth a lot of time building a stir plate and making a yeast starter so I can have a lot of yeast to pitch.

Now that I have a couple batches under my belt I am getting the process down. I get everything sanitized and start my boil. It all goes well, sitting outside enjoying the weather, drinking a couple beers, while tending to my boil. Once it is all done I hook up the hose to my chiller, start it up, it all looks good so I leave to start getting the fermenter ready...I am hooking up a temp controller and heater for the first time. I mess around with that stuff for awhile and then head back out to my beer after about 10 mins to check on things.

As I approach I hear a hissing noise...ah oh, I look inside the pot and the damn hose that connects to the copper has sprung a leak and is shooting hose water into my wort. I quickly pull the chiller out, but I have no idea how much water it dumped in there...unsantized water also...from an outside hose... I was so pissed off, the temp was still about 130 so I can only hope it was still hot enough to kill most of the potential baddies. After dumping over $60 in ingredients in this batch, plus the controller and heater costs, plus the time to build a stirrer and culture the yeast, I was pretty pissed. I don't think a chiller should fail on the third time using it.

I toyed with the idea of just dumping the beer. I worked in a lab so I am a sanitizing freak, the idea of hose water in my beer just irked the hell out of me. I decided to not dump and just see what happens. Cooled the brew pot in the sink with cold water but it went soooo slowly. After a couple hours I finally gave up and put the wort in the fermenter and pitched the yeast at 80 degrees. I was afraid to keep waiting knowing that any bacterial or other crap was getting a big head start the longer I waited. Plus it was getting late now and I just was feeling defeated. I was expecting to top off with a gallon and only had to use a half...so maybe a half gallon or so of hose water got in...no real way to tell.

Checked on it this morning (8 hours after pitchign) and it is at 72 degrees (in a 60 degree basement) and it is super active with a few inches of krausen. So at least the yeast went to town quickly and with a 1.088 OG there is a lot of sugar to munch. I can only hope the yeast quickly out compete anything else that might have gotten in.

Not sure if it was a good idea to pitch at 80 or if I should have waited longer even with possible contamination. Anyway...sorry about the rant...just was a disappointing brew session, especially for my first "big" beer. Sucks even more that it was due to a equipment failure. Hopefully it still turns out alright and I can laugh about it later. At least I got a good name for the beer out of it...Belgian Hose Water.

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Old 05-05-2008, 03:56 PM   #2
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I bet it becomes one of your best and you're out there trying to re-create everything in a few months.

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Old 05-05-2008, 04:29 PM   #3
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Yeah, it will be fine. I've had my wort chiller leak into my wort a couple times as well and there were no problems. I think you made the right decisions, it should turn out great!

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Old 05-05-2008, 05:58 PM   #4
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I bet it becomes one of your best and you're out there trying to re-create everything in a few months.
Hahaha...okay...now I start the leak and let it leak for about 10 mins...

At least it was a Belgian so I planned on fermenting a bit warmer than normal anyway. I guess you just got to take everything in stride when brewing!
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Old 05-05-2008, 07:11 PM   #5
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Yep. I bet it turns out just fine. Now, I bet you remember to tighten your clamps before you chill next time.


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Old 05-05-2008, 07:40 PM   #6
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It'll be great. You just added your top-off water a mite early, that's all. No worries.

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Old 05-05-2008, 07:43 PM   #7
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Yep. I bet it turns out just fine. Now, I bet you remember to tighten your clamps before you chill next time.


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You know, the damn clamps are these cheap crimp on things, so I was not even able to tighten them, sanitize, and put back in. I'm just going to pull the crappy things off and put some stainless clamps on there that I can actually tighten.

Glad to think everyone thinks it will turn out alright. Still getting the hang of this brewing thing and I am paranoid about contamination.
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Old 05-05-2008, 08:57 PM   #8
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You know, the damn clamps are these cheap crimp on things, so I was not even able to tighten them, sanitize, and put back in. I'm just going to pull the crappy things off and put some stainless clamps on there that I can actually tighten.

Get yourself some compression fittings with hose attachments on them. They won't let go.
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Old 05-05-2008, 09:16 PM   #9
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I had a similar experience the first time I used my SS chiller from Midwest. I turned on the hose (around the side of the garage) came back to the brew kettle to find the water squirting into the wort... sonofa&!@#$

I put another hose clamp on there, and cranked down on both of them, but it still leaked. I learned that I could only crack the hose open a little in order to not have a leak.

I looked around for some compression fittings at Lowes, but didnt see anything that I thought would work. Anyone successfully convert their chiller to compression fittings? Pics please?

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