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Old 12-12-2008, 02:43 PM   #1
Cpsurfer
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Default First Batch-A Comedy Of Errors

Sorry this is long but I have to rant.

A few weeks ago I brewed my first batch, a partial extract Nut Brown ale. The brewing and fermentation went great. I left it in primary for a week before racking to the secondary (I wanted my bucket so I could brew another batch!), this is where the fun started.

Once I had the brew in my better bottle carboy I couldn't get the stopper to stay in. It was still wet with the starsan and just kept popping out, so I did what any redblooded American guy would do: I pounded the bejesus out of it with a quick thump. It worked...the stopper went in and didn't come back out. The downside was it was lodged firmly in the neck of the carboy below the lip...great. I tossed the airlock in it and figured I'd deal with figuring out how to extract the stopper at bottling time.

Bottling time was last night. I couldn't get that stopper out so I bit the bullet, sanitized the top and just pounded it again letting it splash into the beer. I primed, then then went to work filling my bottles with all 5 gallons of the brew and loosely placed the caps on top as I went. Here's the worst part:

As I was capping my 7th bottle THE CAPPER SNAPPED IN HALF!!!! D'OH!!! So there I was, with 5 gallons of beer primed and bottled and no way to seal all but 6 of them!!!!! I ended up dumping the rest.

The good news is thankfully I learned a great way to get the stopper out of the carboy that worked like a charm:Remove A Cork From The Wine Bottle*Video

Anyway, now I need to get a new capper, and probably a different kind of cap for sealing the carboy so I can avoid that fiasco again. On the plus side, if I had to dump a batch, it may as well have been the first as it will likely suck. I tasted it last night and it was very watered down and not too good, although I'll try again after my 6 bottles have conditioned a few weeks.

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Old 12-12-2008, 02:53 PM   #2
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I can see how you needed to rant and I feel for you. Neighbors walking by my house would've thought I was abusing the family. "No, honestly officer, I was screaming at my beer!"

Unfortunately your biggest mistake by far was dumping the beer. What made you think you needed to that? You could have put it back in the bottling bucket and covered it until you bought a capper. It would have survived just fine.

As far as it not being good, you just can not make any judgements until after a few weeks in the bottle. IT might get good before then but you have to wait at least a few weeks to say "this beer is no good". In over 200 batches I have only said that once.

Also on the carboy stopper, you named the reason for it popping out. I'm curious why you didn't try to fix that? I just give mine a quick rub with a paper towel before pushing it in. It might try to pop out once or twice but once the stopper is dry it does not.

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Old 12-12-2008, 03:02 PM   #3
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Thanks for the consolation, fortunately I was able to refrain from screaming but only because it was pretty late and the Mrs was sleeping. I felt it wise to avoid her wrath!

I thought that I'd have to dump the beer because I'd added the priming sugar and figured that carbonation would start going...if I'd tossed it back into the bottling bucket and sealed it off for a week or two would I have to re-prime again before bottling?

Also, I didn't have a lid for the bottling bucket...the only lid I own is on my primary fermenter which currently houses my Fat Tire clone. I suppose I could have dumped it back into my carboy but at that point the stopper was still swimming in the bottom of it and I hadn't yet figured out how to extract it. Either way, I'm perfectly ok writing this off as a learning experience, and hopefully a few weeks in the bottle will make my first batch something drinkable!

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Old 12-12-2008, 03:15 PM   #4
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Oh man...........that sounds like something that would happen to me. Sorry to hear about the loss of your first batch. Hey I bet it will never happen again.

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Old 12-12-2008, 03:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpsurfer View Post
if I'd tossed it back into the bottling bucket and sealed it off for a week or two would I have to re-prime again before bottling?
Exactly right. For future reference. I've had to do this a couple times over the years. No problem.

(Any lid will do: saran wrap - in fact some use this to cover their primary fermenter, baking sheet, etc. Someone on here said "this hobby does not make us alcoholics, it makes us engineers." Of course none of this is ideal, it is just about saving the beer.)

I admire you being able to toss the batch with aplomb. Remember the batch I mentioned that was "not good." I still have not been able to toss it. It sits in bottles taking up valuable real estate and every time I think 'I should throw it out' I think 'maybe one more month.' I try one once a month and figure that in 37 months it will be all gone.
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Old 12-12-2008, 04:01 PM   #6
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Sorry to hear about the lost batch. Do you still need a capper? I've posted one here that I can send you if you want.

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Old 12-12-2008, 06:27 PM   #7
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Thanks again everyone for all the helpful advice, this forum is awesome! And thanks kelsch for the offer on the capper but it took me all of 5 minutes to break the wing capper that came with my kit. I'm taking it as a sign and am going to use the opportunity to upgrade to a bench capper.

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