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Old 06-26-2011, 02:41 PM   #1
Apr 2011
Chicago, IL
Posts: 3

So, I'm a newbie brewer (my most recent batch was my fourth) and I'm still inventing new mistakes each time we brew.

My most recent brew day was about three weeks ago. After the unfermented beer had been transferred into the carboy, I put a stopper (still wet with sanitizer) in the top and the pushed the airlock into the hole of the stopper. Only... that's not what happened.

The force of pushing down on the airlock was evidently greater than the upward resistance of friction between the tapered (also remember wet) stopper and the glass neck of the carboy. The stopper went straight through into the carboy.

Okay, the immediate problem wasn't so great, the stopper had been sanitized, so I wasn't too worried about it spoiling our brew. The stopper remained in the carboy throughout fermentation. We simply put another one in and went about our business.

Now the stumper. How to get it out before our next brew day? I suppose the stopper could have remained in there forever, but I just didn't feel it would ever get truly clean in there; it might spoil the next batch.

My buddies and I contemplated this for the three weeks that the porter sat in fermentation. Most of our ideas fell into two categories: 1. fish a weighted string through the hole in the stopper and pull it out, and 2. harpoon the stopper with something long and narrow and try to pull it out. Busting the glass would, of course, be effective, but would defeat the purpose entirely.

Well, the stopper is out and we did none of these things. While washing bottles on bottling day, I remembered an episode of Scam School I watched a while back (link below). This trick worked like a charm; we got it out on the first try in about 30 seconds.

So perhaps none of you have been dumb enough to have this problem, but if you're unlucky enough to have done so, check this out:

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Old 06-27-2011, 07:08 PM   #2
Jun 2011
Spring, Texas
Posts: 27

Certainly happened to me before. Nice solution; you can also do it with a wire coat hanger, but much less elegantly.

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Old 06-27-2011, 07:11 PM   #3
olllllo's Avatar
Apr 2006
Phoenix, Arizona
Posts: 13,330
Liked 140 Times on 114 Posts

Classic bungdropper.

What chowser said or you could do this for style points.

Rabbit And Coyote Schwag
Rob - Phoenix Ambassador to Milwaukee
Where did your avatar go?
Ginger Beer for Moscow Mules Bacon Vodka

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Old 06-27-2011, 07:14 PM   #4
Old and OK is good enuff
WildGingerBrewing's Avatar
Mar 2010
McKinney, TX
Posts: 16,756
Liked 2349 Times on 2256 Posts

I think everyone has had it happen at least once, but this solution is awesome! We used a screw driver and some needle nose pliers. It worked but it took some time.
Doritos are evil. Taco Bell is evil. Ergo, Ginger is Satan. - Shecky
I should have known the thought of Ginger's wang flopping would be enough to kill the TR. - KCBrewer
I'm getting terribly curious about Ginger's pp. - SharonaZamboni

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Old 06-27-2011, 07:14 PM   #5
Mar 2011
Pennsauken, New Jersey
Posts: 142
Liked 3 Times on 3 Posts

Once you empty the beer from the carboy, turn it over and use a small pair of tongs to hold the stopper in place and thread a coat hanger through the hole. Bend the wire backwards using the tongs, then pull it out. Don't use a heavy duty wire hanger. The cheap flimsy white hangers are best for this purpose.

Also, my LHBS guy always gives me stoppers a size too large so that it's pretty much impossible to push them through.

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