Adjusting the Zankapfel Life

Brewing, Cats, and Moving

The Brew that Almost Wasn’t

Oh goodness.

My Tuesday worked out quite well. I finished my morning university gig and decided that if I was going to have a beer ready for my birthday at a BYO restaurant I should get going on it. My FLHBS is right by the college, so I just stopped by and thought that I would be able to put together a black Rye-PA with NZ hops in no time.

I think I can do a bunch of things.

The good thing is that I can think of all sorts of work-arounds.

A half hour later I walked out with a Better Brewer Rye-PA box and a bunch of NZ hops. I have a pack of WYeast Denny’s 50 at home which I had planned on useing from the beginning. My plan was to put it together on Wednesday, but at 4PM I got a phone call from my tutoring client cancelling our appointment.

Fuck it. Let’s brew.

I got everything going for the initial steeping of the grains, and the temperature was at a perfect 157, I dropped in the grains, the temperature dropped to 155. I dropped the thermometer into the pot. Fine, let’s move on.

Grains steep. I bring it to a boil and add the 60 min LME and hops. I add the 20 min LME and get SpecSO to smell the hops before I put them in. He’s not impressed, but that’s ok: More for me!

I finish the boil and bring it to the sink to cool. I just add our tap (well) water straight to the carboy to top it off, so I start adding it to the pot itself. The pot feels cool enough, so I start siphoning it into my carboy and walk off to dip the yeast into the sanitizer. When I come back, something doesn’t look right. MY CARBOY IS MELTING!!!

I pour the wort back into the pot to stop it and toss in a bunch of ice cubes and start to retransfer the wort. A couple of pumps on my siphon feel odd, so I pull it out of the opaque wort and IT’S MELTED TOO! My auto-siphon has a 15 degree angle bent into its middle. Really.

Grumble grumble. Whatever. We’re almost done. Just pitch the damned yeast already. I open up the smack pack and… the yeast pack didn’t break. Fine, let me sanitize a knife and poke it open.

Poke. Poke. Fuck.

I poked a hole in the bottom of the smack pack also.


It’s all together, let’s put a cap on it and let it go.

I do.

I go out for a drink.

I clean up the next morning and …

find the 20 minute hops still in their packet on the counter.

I open the stopper and toss them in.

Fuck it. Let’s see what happens.

I’m not going to put up the recipe until this brew proves itself not horrid.

(note: this article was written on 11/23 and references Tuesday 11/22 .I thought I scheduled it for publishing, but I hadn’t and discovered this after all of the earlier discussed drama that occurred the following week.)


5 comments on “The Brew that Almost Wasn’t

  1. jsamuelson18
    December 13, 2012

    Good lord man that’s one hell of a brew day you had! Our last brew kind of went off the same way, we were all set up and pumped to brew this pumpkin ale since we hadnt been able to brew in like two months. Get everything good to go, I purchased double the ingriedients to add the extra flavor i was looking for. Get the water temped in at 155 and toss in the LME, when suddenley We noticed that for whatever reason (me being a dumb ass) there is 6.5 gallons in the pot instead the required 5 gallons. So we try to dump just a little bit out, no saving the Malt extract at that point. Then the pumpkin clogs the strainer all to hell so that becomes a process in and of itself. We finally get it in the bucket, clean up and call it mission success. The next day I finish up some dishes and lo and behold theres the aroma hops just hanging out like they have nothing better to do! Tossed them in the secondary and dry hopped it, the result of this completely crap brew day was what weve come to call a pumpkin pale ale. The hops came through so strong there was almost no pumpkin, but at least it was orange! ~Cheers~

    • Lavender_Pepper
      December 13, 2012

      Oh goodness! Like, I’m sure it won’t be *horrid*. I tasted it as I moved it to secondary and it wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t amazing. Also, to top this off, I just noticed the post doesn’t have a picture! ARGH! I could have sworn I took a pic of the collapsed carboy!

  2. jsamuelson18
    December 13, 2012

    You using a better bottle?

    • Lavender_Pepper
      December 14, 2012

      Yeah, a better bottle. I would be scared had a glass carboy gone and started to melt on me!

      • jsamuelson18
        December 15, 2012

        Right, I keep considering picking up a few of those. I have two glass ones but I’m looking to do some lagering so def need to have some extra.

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