Whats the biggest bonehead mistake you've made while brewing?

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ChadRabbit

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Last week my buddy and I were brewing a batch of our IPA. Our plan was to bottle our Imperial Red on the same day. Amidst the entire process, we of course became rather hungry.

Being that we were outside I figured that I would just fire up the grill and barbecue a few brats and burgers. So I did.

I grabbed a package of brats and couldn't rip the sucker open. I grabbed the knife and sliced the top part and finally got the package open. After turning around I notice that my buddy has the bottling bucket open with our gorgeous Imperial Red glistening in the overcast of the great northwest. It is also about that time that I realized when I spun around and set the knife down, I dripped a ton of bratwurst juice DIRECTLY into the beer.

We decided to just go with it and see how it turns out anyway. If it doesn't become infected, maybe we just created a nice Louisville Red?

Anyway, what's the biggest bonehead mistake you guys have made when brewing? I figure it's best if we just laugh these instances out. I can promise I won't be anywhere near my brew with hotdog juice again.
 

mtnagel

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In the 24 batches I've done, the biggest mistake was forgetting the priming sugar in half of a 10 gallon batch. We did remember it in the 2nd half of the batch, but then we didn't know where the non-priming sugar bottles stopped and the ones with priming sugar started. We separated primed from non-primed from unknown. Primed ones were fine obviously. The non primed ones I had to open them all and drop in the priming drops and recap. For the unknown ones, in some, I'd open them up, drop a tablet in and they would spew foam. So those I pitched. Overall not the biggest deal, but we did lose a few beers.
 

BobTheFourth

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Other than habitually leaving valves open and spilling wort on the floor, one of the dumber things I've done was try to use my hop spider bag as a trub filter by recirculating my wort through it while chilling. It blew up like a giant wort balloon. To get the wort out I had to lance it with a knife.
 

25518

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Left me wort overnight in the pot. Came home from work the next day. Fermented it anyway. Tasted like my first batch. Gross.
 

Braufessor

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hmmmmmm....

Knocked over a bucket with 5.5 gallons of chilled wort just as I was finishing up a brew day.....

Dropped a 6.5 gallon glass carboy through the bottom of my plastic wash sink, onto a tile floor where it disintegrated into tiny, tiny glass shards that covered my entire basement....

Forgot to turn the burner off on my mashtun and added my grain- checked temp 10-15 minutes later and it was 200 degrees.

That is probably enough for now:) Brew long enough and you will do all kids of dumb ****.
 

Yesfan

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Dumbest thing I done was getting the bright idea of using a small heater, on the lowest setting, to bump the temp in my temp controlled freezer for an altbier I had brewed. The current ambient temp was in the mid to low 50s (my garage was colder), so I thought the heater would raise the temp to 65F and the freezer would then kick on if it went past that to keep it at 65F.

I came back downstairs after 20 minutes to see how it was running and noticed the freezer temp controller was flashing 135F!! :eek: :smack: Miraculously, I still got fermentation (and didn't burn my house down). I want to do that batch again and see if that mishap had any impact.
 

seigex

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Not my dumbest, but I had the bright idea to drop a muslin bag into a carboy and rubber band it around the top. The goal was to pour the wort, trub and all, into the bag to filter it out. I thought I had a brilliant idea! For some reason (maybe a few too many beers?) I thought that I would then be able to pull the full muslin bag back out when I was done, can't say I didn't give it the ole college try. I now have newfound sympathy for my wife pushing three babies through a hole three babies just should not fit through. Ended up just dropping it in and leaving it and the beer turned out horrible.
 

LongDog

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I was at Andrew event for a local brew club. They were brewing a couple of batches for an upcoming beer fest. One of the guys was getting ready for the last hop addition at the end of the boil. He wanted to be precise on the time of the addition. So he took his phone out and swiped to unlock and dropped the phone into the wort. They'll only have one batch to pour next weekend.
 

Billy-Klubb

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letting other people know that I brew. 65% want free beer (90% of them just to get drunk, 10% for the love of beer), 25% want to heckle me because I brew beer, 25% want to quiz me about little things to catch me showing the stupidity of home brewing. the numbers add to over 100% because all three overlap each other. there's a small amount that do all three.
 

LongDog

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Ugh. iPhone autocorrect. I was at a brew event. I must have had a typo, but I definitely did not type Andrew.
 

vineyardbmw

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Entered a heffe into a brew event. Spaced off the timing until a week before. I hurried and threw together what in the past was a fair heffe. The yeast I was using threw a little sour notes under normal circumstances. So I pitched this and some lacto and upped the temp to 80 degrees plus. After the vigorous stage threw it in a keg and force carbed. Surprising it turned out very well. Wish I would have taken notes. Let that be a lesson. Take notes every time, even if you think it will fail.
 

catdaddy66

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hmmmmmm....

Knocked over a bucket with 5.5 gallons of chilled wort just as I was finishing up a brew day.....

Dropped a 6.5 gallon glass carboy through the bottom of my plastic wash sink, onto a tile floor where it disintegrated into tiny, tiny glass shards that covered my entire basement....

Forgot to turn the burner off on my mashtun and added my grain- checked temp 10-15 minutes later and it was 200 degrees.

That is probably enough for now:) Brew long enough and you will do all kids of dumb ****.

Wow! I hope none of this was recent!
 

Braufessor

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Wow! I hope none of this was recent!

:)
The carboy "incident" was 8-10 years ago.

However, The other two were embarrassingly recent in my 18 year homebrewing career....... although they both had some striking similarities:
1.) Both times I was brewing with the same college buddy.
2.) They were both on 3 batch brew days.
3.) Drank the night before and drank during the brew day..... more than we should have.

Lesson: Don't drink and make beer.....
 

gmcapone

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The first time I bought ingredients from my LHBS that wasn't part of a kit I was making a ginger peach beer. Well, I didn't realize the hops was only sold in 1oz increments. So, what was supposed to be a few .25 to .5 oz additions turned out to be numerous 1oz additions. Half way through I asked myself, "why is the beer green? It tastes bitter as hell!"

This was bad enough of a mistake but in my anger I dumped the beer thinking I ruined it. I still wonder how it may have turned out. I was such a brew noob!
 

DrunkleJon

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Grabbed the IC by the copper while it had been sitting in boiling wort for the past 20 minutes without water going through it.
Forgot to check the level of gas in my propane tank, ran out at beginning of boil, simmered on stove for the last 45 minutes.
 

BigRedHopHead

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Completely forgot that my stir bar was in the bottom of my starter one time. I heard the clank on the bottom of the fermenter and thought CRAP!! I have another brew I have to get done this week and that is my only stir bar for my next starter. So I washed my arm and sprayed it down with star san. Fished out the stir bar. The next 4 weeks were anxiety laden since this was a belgian dark strong for Christmas and if I had an infection there would be no BDS for presents. Needless to say everything turned out fine, no infection and beer was great. Now I have 2 stir bars just in case......
 

kombat

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So I washed my arm and sprayed it down with star san. Fished out the stir bar.

Why didn't you just sanitize a metal rod (corny keg dip tube?) and pick up the (highly-magnetic) stir bar that way? Or heck, you could have even just used a strong magnet on the outside of the carboy to "walk" the stir bar up the glass and right out the mouth of the carboy.

Next time. :)
 

Iceman6409

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I use plastic hose connected to my wort chiller. The incoming water line was not quite tight enough last batch. Therefore as I came back 20 minutes after staring the water flow to the wort chiller I found my 9 gallon kettle about 7 gallons full after I thought I had 5 gallons to start with. And it was perfect up until then. :( :smack:
 

DrunkleJon

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Not exactly while brewing, but today when I got back from work, leaned into my fermentation chest freezer chamber to tell my beer to be that I was home and caught a nose full of the CO2 that was filling it. Wow that stuff stings.
 

nealizm

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After the boil and cool I transfered to carboy filtering through a paint strainer. I lost it in the fermenter mid move took about an hour of playing with the siphon,knifes,Etc. Finally got it but it was a struggle.
 

nealizm

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After the boil and cool I transfered to carboy filtering through a paint strainer. I lost it in the fermenter mid move took about an hour of playing with the siphon,knifes,Etc. Finally got it but it was a struggle.
 

ArthurDigbySellers

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Not exactly while brewing, but today when I got back from work, leaned into my fermentation chest freezer chamber to tell my beer to be that I was home and caught a nose full of the CO2 that was filling it. Wow that stuff stings.

LOL. I did this yesterday! That was the first face full of CO2 that I have ever received. Not pleasant!
 

wailingguitar

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Home-

Forgot to clean my cooler mash tun out, found it a few weeks later... oopsh... Scooped the stuff out (while gagging), rinsed it and threw some bleach water in, expecting to come back in an hour, pull the stuff apart and begin hand cleaning it... got distracted and didn't get back to it until a couple days later, by which time the copper manifold was a lovely shade of blue-green... Had to rebuild that sucker lol

Pro-

Forklift, reverse, no brakes, fermenter, racking arm valve... you can piece that together yourselves!

Best one I ever heard; I won't name names, but he is a well known brewer that you would all recognize. In the wake of the afore mentioned forklift incident this particular guy told me he was brewing one day and had a lot of things going on. He knocked out to the fermenter and then opened the the kettle drain to let the trub out to the trench drain. He did some other stuff and glanced over at the hose to the trench and thought "hmm that is taking a long time to drain", he came back a while later and saw it was still draining. Went to see why and, tracing his steps, found that he had left the valve at the bottom of the unitank open... the 30bbls of wort he had just brewed had siphoned back through the kettle and down the drain!
 

bradkurtis

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I am new to kegging. I decided it was a good time to keg my oatmeal stout I worked so hard on. I got the keg set up, filled it and hooked up the tank to pressurize it. I set it in my mini fridge to get a quicker carb. I came back two days later to check the carbonation and discovered my entire keg was empty with the beer at the bottom of the fridge and soaked into the floor below the fridge. I leaned my lesson to not leave the dispenser on the keg while carbonating. Apparently it can't handle the pressure. After ripping up the carpet and replacing the padding I'm now kegging in the garage.
 

Spartan1979

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Many years ago, I used to used Polyclar to clear my beers. One time I threw in the Polyclar and the beer started foaming up. I looked at the container and I had grabbed a cleaner instead. That beer immediately went down the drain.
 

corkybstewart

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I threw a couple of ounces of dried orange peel into the kettle to boil for 5 minutes. Those little tiny pieces swelled and plugged my pump, spigot and counterflow chiller. Now I use a hops bag for dried peel.
 

MaxStout

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I was bottling a batch of beer one Saturday morning. I would fill about a dozen bottles, then cap them, fill a dozen more, repeat. After I had filled and capped 24 bottles, I looked over on the counter only to see the little baggie of priming sugar. Had to uncap and drain each of those bottles back into the bucket, then boil/cool/add the sugar and start over.

The good news: no infection from my "extra step" that day. The beer turned out fine.
 

BigRedHopHead

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Why didn't you just sanitize a metal rod (corny keg dip tube?) and pick up the (highly-magnetic) stir bar that way? Or heck, you could have even just used a strong magnet on the outside of the carboy to "walk" the stir bar up the glass and right out the mouth of the carboy.

Next time. :)

at the time I was flustered. I have several of those craftsman magnetic pick-up wands and should have used one of those. Live and learn!
 

DiscipleofDionysus

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mmm so many, most recent though, was brewing an oktoberfest and the target og was 1.051. After draining into my BK I got a gravity reading well below that so I decided to add a little dme to even things out. Oh and by a little, I mean 2 pounds. Ended up with 1.071 after the boil, lol.
 

SteveLikesBeer

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It was/is my first time kegging. Things went pretty smoothly and I was going to kick start the keg with forced carbonation. After about 16 hours I decided to do a short pour to see how much had changed and it was starting to come a long ... but the pour didn't stop when I let up the tap. It kept going. I pulled the line to the sink while keeping the fridge door open. The glass slipped from my fingers and shattered making a beery mess on the ground while beer spouted from the tap. The root cause was I didn't screw the picnic tap handle all the way so it was stuck in a mostly-but-not-totally shut configuration. One half turn later and everything has been solid.
 

orion7144

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On brew day I tend to forget a valve is open that shouldn't be.

I bet if there was a thread for bonehead kegging mistakes the thread may be quite a bit bigger. I have kegged a lot this year and I always seem to do something really dumb. Usually while cleaning them.
 

plumber_bob

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Short list:

I typically leave all my valves open after cleaning. And I remember this while filling my hlt on brew day. Then I turn them all off right away. (Feel water on foot.)

Broke a big aquarium thermometer once in my mlt while filling with water from hlt. (No more glass in tuns.)

Constantly get beer showers when de-pressurizing Sankes, ( forget to plug the beer out side).

Get in a hurry to finish up and forget to check OG, aerate. (only happened once,...knock on wood).

While sanitizing commercial keg by boiling, scorched my foot. Not bad but a good wakeup call.

I got more I'm sure

pb
 

plumber_bob

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One more off hand:

Tried to quick chill some beers I bottled from a room temp keg. No big deal right!

Put them in freezer while imbibing. Forgot about them

Freezer bombs are a pain to clean!!!;)

pb
 

zmanzorro

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Back when I didn't know better, I didn't pasteurize the peaches for my Shiner Cheer clone.

Accidental sour beer!
 
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I had a rather aggressive fermentation that spewed a bit in the ferm chamber (chest freezer), so I leaned deeply into it with some towels to mop up the bottom. I got pretty dizzy, but realized what was going on before passing out...
 

MidTNJasonF

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Ball valve open on the mashtun while filling with strike water: Check
Ball valve open on boil kettle while filling with wort before the boil: Check
Left a clamp loose on the immersion chiller and realize it just after turning the water on and spraying hose water into your wort: Check
Knocking the pickup tube loose from the kettle while full of water heated for sparging: Check
Knocking the manifold loose from the mashtun valve while you stir and dough in: Check

And possibly the most spectacular...

Leaking disconnect on the liquid out side of you newly kegged porter while you force carb: Check
Double checking your newly kegged porter the next day to see how the force carb is doing only to find all of the beer in the bottom of your chest freezer: Check
 

DrunkleJon

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Leaking disconnect on the liquid out side of you newly kegged porter while you force carb: Check
Double checking your newly kegged porter the next day to see how the force carb is doing only to find all of the beer in the bottom of your chest freezer: Check

Reading those always make me sad.
 
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