Here’s an old message I sent to the Members of Barleyment brewclub mailing-list, a while ago.
——– Original Message ——–
|Subject:||Beer Explosion and Other Cautionary Tales|
|Date:||Mon, 1 Mar 2004 09:04:41 -0400|
|From:||Alexandre Enkerli <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
Got back from the in-laws this morning. The house smelled like beer. Not really a good sign. Had brewed a batch and bottled another one on Thursday. Left Friday afternoon. Thought the yeasties didn't need their herder for the weekend. The new Scotch Ale seemed happy, bubbling in a cool carboy with blow-off tube. The bottles of Mep were all warm and cozy, didn't seem to want to transform into little bottle bombs, yet. Where's that smell coming from? Oh, well, people were in the house during the weekend so if a catastrophe happened, they probably know about it. But let's check the bottles, just to make sure. Snif. Snif-snif. Sniffffffff... Nope, no b.o. (beer odour) here. Fine, then. Talked a bit with SWMBO before she left for work. Thought about going back to bed (got home before 7am). Hey, it's Spring Break for everyone, right. But no /Girls Gone Wild/ shooting in perspective. Just this beer smell... Speaking of beer: how's the new batch coming? It's always cool to check on a fermenting beer. Except, that... OMG! What's that thing where the carboy used to be? Did someone put it somewhere else? Looks like it. An empty beer pack isn't where it was on Friday. But, wait. This is the t-shirt that served as a carboy-jacket. Why's it all wet? And where's the Scotch Ale? Hey, the blow-off tube's still here. So is the wine bottle at the end of the blow-off tube... Uh-oh! Oops! There you go. That's where the b.o.'s coming from. And that's where the carboy morphed into a pile of shattered glass in a pool of wort. Smells good, though. Let's learn some lessons: a) Murphy's Law applies to brewing b) yeast can be mighty strong c) a rubber stopper can stick to a carboy more strongly than the carboy's walls themselves d) a blow-off tube shouldn't be constricted e) there's a reason to have a headspace above fermenting wort in a primary f) it's a good thing to have your fermenters in the basement g) carboys break fairly cleanly h) a 5 gallon carboy filled with about 4.8 gallons of wort might make a mess of ca. 1.5m^2 i) New Brunswick's blue plastic bags for "dry" trash aren't really sturdy j) there are situations where beer odors don't smell so good k) it's probably a good thing to open-ferment ales in primary ["Whoooooo are you? Who-Who? Who-Who?"] Sara's surprisingly not in the mood for beer this early in the morning, so Warrick's the one taking the pictures and sending the yeast to Greg for DNA analysis. Al establishes time and cause of death: carboy explosion. Grissom, using his in-depth knowledge of brewing, establishes a timeline. Lag time was probably around 9–10 hours, blow-off tube was blocked after 30 to 48 hours, pression accumulated at a rate of 2 PSI/hour, carboy exploded about 66 hours after pitch-in, most of the wort dried off in the remaining 18 hours. Stokes notices some mud-like substance on a fragment of glass. Analysis comes back: precipitated protein, yeast sediment... Yup, it's trub. But how did it get there? Catherine tours brewpub to identify the victim. The brewmaster at the pub: "Hey, it looks *somewhat* like Scotch Ale, but real Scotch Ale would be maltier and bigger." A botched attempt at Scotch Ale? A lagered Tripel? Maybe... Ale-X, not in Vegas References/Apologies to: http://www.homebrewers.com/product/600671 http://www.hum.utah.edu/english/faculty/brunvand.html http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~insrisg/nature/nw00/laFontaine.html http://www.edwards.af.mil/history/docs_html/tidbits/murphy's_law.html http://www.cbs.com/primetime/csi/main.shtml
I hope this might help others, if only as a funny anecdote.
3 thoughts on “Beer Explosion and Other Cautionary Tales”
Maybe I should be more worried but even though I did get a few bottle bombs, I wasn’t that worried about moving the remaining bottles about or even opening them and drinking them.
Some people advise homebrewers with bottle bombs in their hands to put on some protective gear and uncap every bottle to take off the excess CO2.
Blork: thanks for the comment. I tend to put these things in blockquote.
I have some bottles in the basement that keep going off. I bottled a batch that apparently wasn’t fully attenuated. Frankly, I’m nervous about moving them, but I isolated the bottles within a box and am just waiting for them to gradually go off.
It’s hard to read the email because the last few words from each line are cut off. If you remove the [pre] tag from the HTML it will flow normally.
(BTW, a similar thing happened to my friend. The beer explosion, I mean…)