Monday, March 21, 2011

Running On Fumes

I got home from work the other day with a plan. I knew my wife would be studying for the next hour and I had a list of beer chores to bang out. The tasks were simple enough. I was just doing a little bottling. My thought was to bottle 3 sets of Sa-Wheat! competition entries, a 6 pack of Sa-wheat for a friend, and finally bottle the hard cider that was sitting in my closet. Piece of cake.

So I got right to sanitizing. Bottles, check. Tubing, check. Beergun, check. I set everything up and I'm ready to go. Beergun is pressurized, and I have it hooked up to my keg of Sa-Wheat. This is where I run into my first problem. I give the CO2 button a squeeze and it wont budge. Finally (with a pair of vice grips) I manage to break the stuck button and start to fill.

So I think. The beer instantly starts foaming like mad. I realize I now have the exact opposite of the problem I just had. Now the CO2 wont shut off. I'll be honest. At this moment a little panic set in. I've got all these bottles ready to fill, and no way to fill them. I'm bleeding CO2 off my tank without being able to stop it with the beer gun. I'm destroying this beer by foaming it out the top of the bottles. I unhooked the gun and ran it to the kitchen where I still had a sink full of sanitizing solution. I finally freed the button fully by submersing the gun and working the CO2 button 20-ish times.

I'd say this is now 40 minutes later of my 60 I allotted. I've only filled one bottle of beer. Which technically is not true. I've filled a quarter of a bottle with beer, and 3/4 of a bottle with foam.

Setting that beer aside, I proceed to continue filling bottles smoothly. I get one submission (3 bottles) filled. 4... 5... 6.. wait. Siiiiiix... Nope. The keg's been kicked. God damn. I am thoroughly frustrated at this point. I am completely out of beer. All homebrew. I don't have a single keg of beer. I have no more bottles to fill. After cursing for a good 2 or 3 minutes, I decide to grasp at that silver lining. At least I have one submission, and enough to give to my buddy to sample.

I am now at my hour. But I march forth.

I remove my fermentor from the closet. Pop the top and take a good whiff. The hard cider does not smell great. Downright bad actually. But after a lapse of good judgment, I decide to prepare to bottle anyway. Thankfully this procedure was quickly cut short. I tipped the fermentor on its side a slight just to take a look at the sediment and I notice mold growing on the trub (fancy word for crap-on-the-bottom). I didn't even know mold could grow underwater. Hell, maybe it wasn't mold, maybe it was the cure for cancer. On the flip side, maybe it was Ebola's evil cousin. Regardless, the concoction has been thoroughly mixed with extra strength Palmolive and flushed down the Ocoee town sewer system.

Time elapsed, one and a half hours. Amount accomplished? Five and a half bottles of beer.

What a night.

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