My First Catastrophe - Should I dump it?

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NeedsMoreHops

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After 30 extract batches over 2 years, I just had my first real catastrophe and I'm wondering if I should just dump it.

Quick version: The plastic spigot on my ale pail cracked and I just let it drain into my brewpot.

Long version: 2 days ago (Saturday) I finished brewing what promised to be a delicious IPA and put it about 4.5 gallons into my 6 gallon plastic bucket. I fitted the bucket with a plastic spigot so that when I bottle or transfer to secondary, I don't have to use a racking cane, I just attach a vinyl hose and open it up.

When I came home from work today (Monday), about 48 hours after pitching, I went to check on airlock activity and noticed a small puddle around the bucket. The spigot was still attached and dripping slightly, I moved it to the kitchen sink and it started streaming, so I tried to tighten the spigot. I guess the gasket was holding it to the bucket before I moved it, but the spigot turned loosely when I tried to tighten it, as if the nut on the inside had fallen off. I held it in place and let beer trickle out while thought about what to do.

I rolled up the sleeve of my free arm, rinsed it in hot water, sighed, and plunged my hand into the beer, hoping to find the nut and tighten the spigot back up. Then, I discovered what I should have already known, the spigot had cracked at the base of the threads.

I quickly grabbed my brewpot, gave it quick rinse with hot, sink water and let the bucket drain into it. It foamed up a bit, but I was able to put the lid on it, its floating on the foam a little bit as I write.

I think I'm going to run to home depot, get a new spigot, pour it back in the bucket and hope for the best. What do you think?

SHOULD I JUST DUMP IT?

Here's the facts:
I put my rinsed, but not sanitized arm in it, introducing possible infection.
I poured it into a somewhat clean brew pot, introducing a little chlorinated water and possible infection since it was not sanitized.
I aerated the bejesus out of it by letting it drain out of the hole into the brewpot (but it was only 48 hours into fermentation and still going).
It's been sitting almost an hour and will be another hour before I can get a new spigot, so it's sitting open to the elements with a loose fitting lid on it.

Good news, I probably lost less than a gallon. So, is it worth putting the extra time, energy, bottle cleaning and bottle caps into it to let it sit for a few weeks, bottle it up and hope its not infected?

Or, should I just cut my losses and accept that I lost a brew day plus about $40 worth of ingredients?
 

snowtires

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I actually dont know what i would do, i lost a spigot too but it was when i was cleaning with hot water not wort luckily. i thought if that was my beer i would be mad so i bought an autosiphon instead and i love that tool
 
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NeedsMoreHops

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Tomorrow when the LHBS opens, I'm buying an autosiphon and a new bucket. Now, I'm off to Home Depot for something to stop up the hole, when I return, I'll decide if I'm actually going to use it.
 

tampa911

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I would say ride it out at least until it would be ready for bottling. Keep an eye on it and make a game time decision on bottling day.

I have had one brew day, and that batch is sitting in a secondary for another week, so take my advice witha grain of salt, but from all the reading I have done here there is a good chance it will be fine (may want to run it through a fine strainer for arm hair if your arms look anything like mine :)
 

Worticia

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I hope you kept it. You will likely get beer.

You will also get to taste how the beer turns out when things go wrong.
 

prandlesc

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I'd keep going. Taste it before you bottle and make a decision. I'll bet any nasties will have reared their ugly heads by then. My bet is you didn't introduce any infection. Let us know.
 

eric_618

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Yeah. Dumping now or at bottling time doesn't matter. Might as wait it out till bottling time. Ya never know.
 

BrewPilot74

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I think you will be just fine. If worst comes to worst and you find out later that you do have an infection, you can dump it then but might as well wait and see. I bet you get a decent beer out of it.
 
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NeedsMoreHops

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thanks for the fast, encouraging replies. I just got back from home depot and, no, they don't sell anything like the plastic spigot i got at LHBS. But, they had some 3/4 pvc pieces i think will work. Gonna try it out now...like most said, might as well keep it til bottling...good experiment if nothing else.
 
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NeedsMoreHops

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Well, I'm right at 4 gallons, plus a few inches of foam from all the splashing around.

I have a 3/4 inch hole a few inches from the bottom of the bucket, so I found a 3/4 PVC cap with female threads and a wide enough edge to seat a gasket.

That was the biggest problem I had searching the plumbing (and gardening) section of home depot: every time i thought i had something that would work, i realized that it didn't have enough of a lip to make a tight seal with the gasket.

I also found another 3/4 "plug" with male threads, that barely had enough lip to hold a gasket. I stuck the plug in from the outside of the bucket (with a gasket), put a gasket on it from the inside, then tightened the cap on it until it was snug on the inside. On the outside, its not really seated flush all the way around, but its tight enough to hold it and its not leaking.

I'm going to leave it for 3 weeks and see what happens. I'll post updates if anything interesting happens. I'm hoping there's enough yeast floating around that it doesn't need repitching, but if I don't see airlock activity by tomorrow night, I'll repitch.
 

wolfstar

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Doubtless a lot worse sh*t happened to beer hundreds of years ago and they still got beer and did not die...Roll with it, and call it Catastrophe Ale...

My wife wanted me to throw in this part...

We currently have 17 dogs, 4 cats, a horse and both of us handle countless other critters from hamsters to ferrets, lizards, snakes and birds...We have yet to have a problem with that. We are careful and conscious of the environment, but there is absolutely no way we could keep all the bugs from coming in contact with our beer, mead, and cider...yet it still comes out great.

Use your common sense, you must have some being a homebrewer, and roll with it :mug:
 
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NeedsMoreHops

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lol, we have 2 cats, a dog and a horse...i'm pretty sure every batch i've made has had a little cat hair in it, but i've never had a problem. I started out overly cautious about sanitation and have realized that I can relax a little with each batch. So, i'm gonna roll with it, but I've never let a batch get exposed like this before. It will be interesting to see what happens.
 

bds3

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I bet it'll be fine... just make sure you tell the story about how you reached your arm down in the beer right after your friends finish their beer.
 
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NeedsMoreHops

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Well, I left it alone for 3 weeks in primary, opened it on 3/30 and it smelled like every other beer and no weird stuff floating on top. I transferred to a bottling bucket, tasted it and it seemed fine, so I bottled it up. Another week or two, I'll give it a taste and post again.
 

harmenbor

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The same thing happened to me years ago. I wound up discarding that batch, couldn't save it the way you did. Never used a spigot since.
What wrong wid da beer we got?
 
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