A symbol of man’s hubris

I’ve been gone for a little while, but I’m back now.  I had some business trips and then I was sick and then I had to travel again.  But now that I’m back I have some funny stories for you all (both of you reading this).  Well, not so much funny as depressing.  See I’ve had some beer related failures lately and since I’m an honest guy I’m gonna tell you all about them.

Failure the first – my 3 liter kegs.  The cap fixture I made leaked.  I tried different washers, gaskets and even some epoxy but I just couldn’t get the thing to hold pressure.  I’m working on a solution at the moment which will hopefully be shown on this here blog at some point in the not-so-distant future, but in the meantime I’ve got a bunch of beer sitting in 3 liter bottles that I can’t really access.  So I caved in and bought the Tap-a-Draft you see in that picture up there (25 buckaroos at one of my LHBSs).  Voila!  Beer!  The rye ale in the picture is quite tasty, by the way.

Failure the second – bottling.  Because I’m an idiot, I decided to secondary some beers in 3 liter bottles, but that’s not the idiotic thing.   The idiotic thing is that I capped the bottles instead of plugging them with air locks, because I figured they were done fermenting and any degassing wasn’t going to cause any trouble in a plastic soda bottle.  Boy was that dumb.  The beer built up some carbonation and when I transferred them to new bottles and added some sugar…KAPOW!  Foam out the wazoo.  I only had to lose one batch of beer to realize my mistake, thankfully.  The pale ale was lost to the foam demons, but there’s still a bottle of brown ale and a bottle of dry stout left.  I can’t carbonate these now because they have CO2 in solution and the addition of sugar will blow them up so I think I’ll just have to force carb these with the Tap-a-Draft.  No big deal.

Other things:

I bottled up the IPAs I had in primary, skipping the secondary altogether.  They’ve been sitting around for about 4 weeks now so they went right into some 3 liter bottles with about 3/4 ounces of sugar each.  One of them had a really low OG (1.050) and hit 1.012 with some Sixpoint yeast (76% attenuation and ~5% ABV).  The other  started at 1.058 (still low) and got some Pacman yeast that I had cultured from a bottle of Shakespeare Stout.  That one hit 1.008…86% attenuation and 6.5% ABV!  That Pacman yeast is a killer.  And it tasted pretty damn good out of the primary.  The only thing I didn’t like was that it didn’t flocculate nearly as well as the Sixpoint yeast or the White Labs 001 that I normally use.  Oh well.

Still haven’t figured out my low efficiency problems, but now that I have some empty fermenters I can get cracking on that.