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A little less than a happy high
Wherein our hero just says "Fuck" a lot...
It was a simple plan to brew some English Bitters so there would be something around to drink or to offer to friends. The operation was conducted under the veil of secrecy with the mind that if I had yet another brew go south, I would be the only one disappointed. Ok, maybe less of a veil so much as a hanky of secrecy. There were a couple of people who had an idea that I'd be doing this. Nonetheless, it was a solitary venture.

Overall, things went pretty well. I managed to forget to add finings to the boil, but that's just a cosmetic touch. There were no boilovers, I hit the hops schedule right on, and Pablo's cooling coils functioned marvelously. The problems started when I tried tranferring the cooled wort to the fermenter. My equipment for this seems to work best with three hands. Since I'm not quite so well endowed, this usually means that having someone to help with the transfer is a Good ThingTM. If I had any doubts about this assessment before tonight, I hereby stand humbled and converted.

First, the siphon hose clogged. The exercise to clear it involves shaking it while hoping you won't have to start the siphon again since a) it's not entirely sanitary and b) it's a pain. I was managing this while bracing the funnel and making sure the end of the hose that was in the pot stayed put just fine until the phone rang. Under normal circumstances, this would be ok, and given the delicate nature of the process in which I was embroiled I probably shouldn't have attempted to be the hero and answer the phone.

I decided to be a hero, and it's pretty easy to guess what happened next.

Introducing the need for a fourth hand into my already precarious situation led, predictably, to the funnel, already filled with wort, to tip. And then fall sideways until it dumped a large puddle of proto-beer onto the kitchen floor. As I tried to catch it, I dropped the phone into said puddle and knocked the funnel off the carboy and... onto the floor.

This is where it gets really good.

In hopes of minimizing the damage, I quickly picked up the now contaminated funnel and rested it on the pot. With the tube submerged in the wort. Just as I realized how incredibly stupid that was the siphon hose opened up. Throughout this, I had managed to keep the hose in the pot and my beer began pouring out onto the floor. You would think that I'd make a move to slow or stop the stream, but I just looked at siphon and said, "Oh, so NOW you work."

Gods, but I'm dumb.

Everything's been dumped, and I'm in the process of cleaning. For those of you playing at home, I am now exactly one botch away from having dumped as much beer as I've successfully made. Next time I try to offer advice about this process, just tell me to shut up.

UPDATE: In retrospect, with the exception of all the swearing and the sad sad dumping of proto-beer, it was pretty funny. The scene was like something straight out of 1930's slapstick.
9 comments or Leave a comment
sassyinkpen From: sassyinkpen Date: December 16th, 2004 05:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Despite all your troubles this time around, you are firing me up to get back into brewing like you wouldn't believe. We used to brew quite a lot a few years ago and had to give it up when we sold our house. Now that we're in the new one and all the major remodeling is done, we're gearing up to get started again after the holidays.

I found your journal a few days ago and have really enjoyed reading your posts on the subject, I hope you don't mind if I stick around to hear about further adventures.
komos From: komos Date: December 16th, 2004 05:48 am (UTC) (Link)

Chaotic, messy, and wet

I'm having some positive impact? Neat. ^_^

Welcome. There's sure to be more adventures before too long...
sassyinkpen From: sassyinkpen Date: December 16th, 2004 05:52 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Chaotic, messy, and wet

OH, of course you are! Brewing is no fun without the mishaps. He had an old water jug rigged up for bottling that worked rather well...

...until it sprung a leak early in it's final batch and then the race was on to see if we could bottle more than ran out on the floor.

(god I miss it!!)
komos From: komos Date: December 16th, 2004 02:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Chaotic, messy, and wet

I tend to prefer when the mishaps don't result in the loss of the whole batch. Otherwise, yeah... I love having stories to tell. Even this I'll look back on and smile about eventually.

Last night, though? Boy was I upset.

(Get to it. Incidentally, have you found homebrewing yet?)
sassyinkpen From: sassyinkpen Date: December 16th, 2004 03:29 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Chaotic, messy, and wet

Yeah...in all the humor, I'd sort of forgotten the whole batch got scrapped. I do feel for you...

No, I haven't found homebrewing yet - thanks! I hadn't done a whole lot of looking just yet, but I saw one of your posts in mollys_cauldron, on soda brewing I think, and got intrigued. (My sister and I are going to have a Harry Potter theme weekend some time and will make all the foods, etc. I was thinking of butterbeer...but we've since out that Buttershots makes a pretty fine facsimile all on it own)
komos From: komos Date: December 16th, 2004 03:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Chaotic, messy, and wet

The community has a fair share of "scientific" brewers who'll occasionally point out that if you do it "that way" you won't get reproduceable results, but overall they're a good lot.

I found my way to mollys_cauldron by way of agoodshinkickin, and I think that was the first post I had seen that actually was HP themed. I may eventually post there properly. Maybe after an experiment or two.

Incidentally, I do make a mean ginger beer.
mudguts From: mudguts Date: December 16th, 2004 03:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
id say we could have done this together on monday but then we would have missed the hilarity that was record of lodos war.

i dont intend to be long at class tonight. if youre going to be around, i may stop by.
komos From: komos Date: December 16th, 2004 03:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
No hot elf-on-elf action? Bite your tongue.

Yeah, may do. Han't decided if I want to deal with the crush of people who'll be in the studio scrambling to finish things for the holiday. Give a call later and I'll probably have a better idea of what I'm doing.
mudguts From: mudguts Date: December 16th, 2004 04:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

Bite your tongue.

i love it when you talk dirty.
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