Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Beer-Making, Part Four: Oh, the humanity!

A few days ago, I heard the sound of shattering glass and was startled, but had no idea from where it had come. I went into James' office, and Aish seemed to be telling me from where the sound had emanated... But it was impossible. She was looking directly at a drawer in James' computer desk. How could glass break in there?

As I stood, glancing around the office, though, I started to smell something sweet-yeasty-smelling. I looked down, and it appeared that the desk was bleeding. But, no: It was beer. Beer was pouring out from under the cabinet.

I was still pretty dense; I couldn't understand this. Still, I opened the bottom drawer and found, among the bottles James had apparently stored in there, one of his fermenting new bottles had exploded. I cleared out the intact bottles and then it occurred to me to take this picture.

Yeah. I'm very glad that wasn't sitting on a shelf somewhere, out in the open, especially near the cat.

There was no way to stop the beer from just spilling out all over the floor. I had to hose out the drawer, too. And one of James' favorite bottles is history. Le sigh.

According to this blog, we did everything right... except for maybe one thing: Cool/dark place. We live in Austin, TX. Dark, we can give the beer. Cool? Not this time of year. We only cool our house to 78, and the thermostat is in the living room, which is probably the mildest room of the house. In the mornings, James' office gets pretty warm (that's where this happened) and in the afternoon, our bedroom heats up.

This morning, the same kind of thing happened, though it wasn't as dramatic-sounding. Still looked pretty horrifying.

(Direct all comments about the boxes and whatnot to James; it's his "Hobbit Hole" and he keeps it as he pleases.)

The reason it hadn't sounded quite as clinky/explosive was that this box happened to have the cardboard divider panels in it.

So there wasn't as much collateral damage. Still, especially after having read that blog, I'm glad it was in a box. I'm thinking we need to box ALL of it up; there are a few bottles sitting in the floor, I believe, and the cat (and the computer) spends a lot of time in the office.

James said he'd never had a beer explode before, and that the friends he's had who did mostly seemed to have the bases kind of blow off. I also wonder if the fact that these are self-sealing lids has any relevance. My only other idea was that the first bottle was larger than the average beer bottle, so that perhaps the head space we gave at the top wasn't adequate for a larger volume of carbonating liquid. Anyone else have any clues?

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