Tell us about your mistakes.

This hobby is fun & enjoyable, but it is not tiddlywinks. Be safe!

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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby yupiteru » Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:57 pm

Pikey wrote:
yupiteru wrote:I'm new,

Yes we can see that

ALMOST CERTAINLY THE CAUSE OF EVERYTHING HAS BEEN THE EXCESSIVE HEAT,
.................e[/quote

The thing you did RIGHT - was to NOT leave your still unattended - so you were There to attend to the issues - THAT is number one priority. 8)

And you clearly learned a lot ! 8)


seen the risk. I've already taken action,
replaced the regulator lpg pressure with a normal kitchen this works very well sends the right amount of gas even if you inadvertently touch the valve on the burner, no longer does the flame-thrower effect,
anyway you're right, staying near the distiller is the first thing to do,
the second thing, it's not keeping alcohol near them,
It should also be noted that these are things about general safety,
example if you turn on a lpg burner indoors there must be ventilation etc ..
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby SherrodBrown » Wed Aug 08, 2018 6:54 am

shadylane wrote:My worst one was having too small of a copper pipe for a condenser and it got plugged with grain from the mash I didn't strain. Thank heavens I did have a homemade pop off valve. Made out of my thermometer just setting in the hole. Never did find that thermometer.


Thanks for the mistake. I think I will add one of those tube fitting with a mud filter inside the lid of my boiler. :D
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby cariboux » Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:37 pm

ALL GRAIN 100% MALTED RYE FAILURE
This last month I tried something I really wanted to do, but was way out of my league and beyond my experience level. I've had great success with everything I'd done so far and I am an example of 'PRIDE COMETH BEFORE THE FALL'! :esad:
I was determined to do an AG 100% Malted Rye mash. I'd read warning about starting with a small batch, but I decided to do an 18 gal mash with 35# of milled Malted Rye. I milled the grain to near flour as I was trying out my first BIAB. I boiled the mash in the bag in my 32 gal BOP. Everything looked GREAT until I started to extract the bag. I had burned a hole in the bag and all the grain was in the bottom of my BOP. I had no way to sparge it and 20 gallons is not an easy handle. I ended up fermenting on the 'grain'. It bubbled and foamed over violently and made a horrible mess. On about the 2nd day, the whole batch stunk like vomit and my young bride was not happy with me.
Anyway, I siphoned the whole mess into carboys , let it settle and distilled. The conversion/yield was horrible and the smell stayed with the distillate. The residue in my carboys was a chore to wash out and actually made our compost pile stink! I finally just put what distillate I did collect into my next corn wash.
It was a rather expensive, labor intensive and time consuming utter failure, but as my ol' dad always said, "No college is free".
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby dieselduo » Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:25 am

If you do it again try some fermcap it really works. Rye also likes to puke so put some in the boiler too
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby fizzix » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:54 am

Dammit I'm so pissed at my rookie mistake.
Boiled up a Scottish Ale beer while I'm drinking some of that buckwheat whiskey I'd made.

The wife calls down "It's time to go!" (she's the designated driver for our short trip to visit friends.)
What do I do? Absent-mindedly (drunkenly) pitch the Scottish Ale yeast into the hot wort.

Expensive and hard to get Scottish yeast. Murdered.

I need one of those mechanisms where you pull the rope and a big boot kicks you in the ass.
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby Yummyrum » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:13 am

Hey Fizzix , Feel your /their pain ..... may they rest in peace with the knowledge that their rotting corpses may nourish those that follow ....albiet ... at a slightly lower temp :D .... you poor bastard ..: that would have pissd me off no end

Dang ... why can’t those taxi drivers get their trip times sorted :econfused:
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby raketemensch » Tue Aug 14, 2018 2:29 pm

A month or so ago I plugged in the cord for the still to warm up and wandered around nearby getting prepped for the run — gathering jars, rinsing the pump etc.

I noticed it wasn’t heating up as fast as expected, but whatever, I hadn’t run in 3 weeks or so, maybe I was just out of practice, right?

My wife comes down and is talking to me, then there’s a loud crack and a red flash — the cord wasn’t plugged into the still, it was plugged into the 5500 watt element in my electric pot. It was dry-fired, and eventually arced.
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby The Baker » Tue Aug 14, 2018 4:17 pm

Perhaps a big red label on the cord next to the plug?

POT STILL 5500 W

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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby HDNB » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:04 pm

so i re-plumbed a bunch of cooling, made a new condenser and generally cleaned things up. then summer set in and i never got around to a run for over a month.
last week i was talking to my fitter friend and said "should i clean the condensate trap before i fire up, after sitting that long?"

he sez, Nah, if it ain't broke don't fix it.

trying to do a spirit run on some rum that's been lingering and the first half went fine. Just as i'm deep in hearts my output starts fading and i never touched a thing...and then all of a sudden she blows a big rush of steam, blowing booze everywhere and she's puking her guts out all over my heart cut. :shock: :evil:

after a hasty shutdown and quick mop up, i turned the steam (input heat)down and restarted the boiler. no way in hell she will puke at that low a heat input... but sure enough 10 minutes of heat up later she does exactly the same thing.

so what happened was the condensate trap got a bit plugged up, the steam jackets filled with condensate blocking heat transfer. output slows... Then the boiler peaked up to 15lbs and the condensate trap let go, the jacket empties of water and fills instantly with 252*F steam....flash boils a big cloud of steam and pushes the boil right up the column.

note to self: don't ask the fitter's opinion on maintenance no goddamn more.

on the bright side i think she puked the perfect amount of backset in to the heart cut for barrel aging. Tastes great!
I finally quit drinking for good.

now i drink for evil.
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby Fiddleford » Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:10 pm

I was making a run a few years ago and the side of my cap started to steam and it was just like a tea kettle, I was in a panic and started to paste it up and the paste wasn't working, It would stick then fall off after a minute fall off so I did something really stupid and dangerous. I'm not proud of myself for doing this and regret it completely. I put the paste on and to harden it quickly I used a blow torch and some steam leaked through and all I gotta say is you ever see a ethanol blowtorch? It's scary shit, I could have killed myself and injured my housemates.
I took from that to not underestimate the danger of this hobbie and now I don't keep blowtorches around my still
Rye whisky rye whisky oh dont let me down
Gunna have me a drink then gamble around
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby Yonder » Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:38 pm

Jesus H., fiddle! That coulda got real excitin, real fast. You are one lucky man. :esurprised:

A week or two back I caught a leak in my pot just when the temp hit 190. Shut 'er down, rebuilt the biscuit and cranked up again insida 15 minutes, little loss of vapor and safety first :oops: . I run pure electric with a fan blowing past the boiler. Fire extinguisher pegged to the wall a few feet Away. :ewink:
Gotta have a plan ready always.
Double, Double, toil and trouble. Fire Burn and pot still bubble.
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby Fiddleford » Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:45 pm

I actually had another leak a few days ago second one luckily, I found it and threw the past on and it sealed right away. Different still, alot more prepared to and knew i could knock my vapor down with water since its a column still.
Rye whisky rye whisky oh dont let me down
Gunna have me a drink then gamble around
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby Pikey » Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:03 pm

Pikey wrote:Decided to make a trial run of Odin's Cornflake Whiskey. Got the missus to pick me up a box of "Kelloggs" and thought "I'll cook it in the pan part of teh pressure cooker then dilute after".

Meanwhile I'm clearing out the fermenter, adding the sugar et al, sweeping the yard etc and keeping an eye on the pan. Soon it's up to heat and an occasional stir confirms the flakes are mushing up nicely, so a final couple of minutes outside and I'm back in again, everything is looking ok and I'm thinking how easy this is going to be ! Then I think "Oh I ought to give it a stir" - sure enough there is a thick layer stuck hard to the bottom of the pan ! :oops:

SO decided to cut the cook there and then and just use what I can get out easily without dislodging the burnt on layer.

So that's where we are now. Undercooked and not the full amount of cornflakes in the wash. Not only that, I was so p*ssed off I forgot to aereate the wash and haven't put any nutrient in ! - so the ferment is pretty slow.

By now I'm pretty despondent with it, so I decide to have a fag and sit down, on the fermenter to smoke it, which has been standing outside and the UV has got to it ! - The top cracks, not enough to leak the contents, but enough to mean it is no longer any good for any more ferments.

It'll make SOMETHING ok - but not nearly close enough to the original recipe for me to know what it should taste like, so I'll have to just "take what it gives" and put another down ! :roll:


Well I'm drinking the "white" of that as I type 8)

Credit where it's due - there is the basis of something good here !

There is no way I'm giving up - on this one ! :thumbup:
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby fizzix » Fri Oct 05, 2018 2:09 pm

Picture a big pot on a hellfire gas burner heating mash water with a submerged temperature probe.
Picture a wet rag draped over the pot lip to protect the probe cable.
Picture the hellfire burner igniting the rag and the probe cable. Flames and all.
Picture me extinguishing the flaming rag and probe cable and finding the ACTUAL wet rag sitting on the table.
Picture that I had used a dry rag by mistake.

Idiot Charge = $10 Inkbird probe cable
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby Truckinbutch » Fri Oct 05, 2018 5:21 pm

fizzix wrote:Picture a big pot on a hellfire gas burner heating mash water with a submerged temperature probe.
Picture a wet rag draped over the pot lip to protect the probe cable.
Picture the hellfire burner igniting the rag and the probe cable. Flames and all.
Picture me extinguishing the flaming rag and probe cable and finding the ACTUAL wet rag sitting on the table.
Picture that I had used a dry rag by mistake.

Idiot Charge = $10 Inkbird probe cable

Relatively small price to pay for what could have been a very expensive lesson . What doesn't kill us makes us stronger .
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby fizzix » Fri Oct 05, 2018 5:27 pm

Truckinbutch wrote:Relatively small price to pay for what could have been a very expensive lesson . What doesn't kill us makes us stronger .

I know. You think it's all under control and then the gremlins show up.
Good to see you Truckinbutch. I was thinking you fell off the flat end of the earth. Hope all is well.
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby Truckinbutch » Fri Oct 05, 2018 8:14 pm

fizzix wrote:
Truckinbutch wrote:Relatively small price to pay for what could have been a very expensive lesson . What doesn't kill us makes us stronger .

I know. You think it's all under control and then the gremlins show up.
Good to see you Truckinbutch. I was thinking you fell off the flat end of the earth. Hope all is well.

Thanks for asking . Life is good here in general . Neighborhood and family jealousy over my negotiating skills with an energy company on my own farm has caused me to cease distilling for a while .
I'll still be here .
Made S3-18 and a good time was had by all .
If you ain't the lead dog in the team , the scenery never changes . Ga Flatwoods made my avatar and I want to thank him for that .
Don't drink water , fish fornicate in it .
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby Nabatean » Sun Oct 07, 2018 4:45 am

Hop season in Europe.
(we are October)

I harvested the fantastic hop bells (humulus lupus) They are kind of greasy when fresh and smell delicious.
I boiled them down and added the Hops Tea to the distillate.
Hoping to end with a discreet bitter flavour in the aftertaste

What it did was making the full batch extreme bitter and nearly undrinkable.

When working with fresh hops, one should be very conservative I guess.

Here a good PDF link for hops from Oregon USA

http://www.uvm.edu/extension/cropsoil/w ... ective.pdf
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby Yummyrum » Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:56 pm

More an accident that could have been worse .

Set the Still up , had the Pump running in the tank and all was good .Lit the boiler . It was running on a High Pressure regulator .I knew this 60 liter charge was going to take an hour or so to heat up so went about doing other things ...as you do :yawn:

Came back about 1/2 hour later and it was warming up . But something didn't sound right .......The HP reg makes the gas burner roar but my deaf ears took a while to register that the hum from the pump in the tank wasn't there .

Sure enough it had stopped . Realized that a bag of stuff had fallen ( maybe the wind ) off the bench and onto the power cord to the pump just enough that it had pulled the plug from the power board .

Why does shit always happen when you walk away from your still . :oops:
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby jonnys_spirit » Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:20 am

I had left the still while heating for a sporit run once and before I had turned the PC water pump on. When I came back it was shooting a three foot long plume of hot vapour out the end of the PC with significant force - presumably high proof and flamable. It’s an electric boiler but the picture in my mind is fire shooting out the end and the vapour buildup in the room. I posered everything down and opened doors to the outside.

Low wines come up to temp sooner than a strip run and their vapour is higher proof.

Good Luck and always keep eyes and ears on your still !
-jonny
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby sltm1 » Sat Oct 13, 2018 11:14 am

My 1st two marriages ended in divorce..............LOL
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby TDick » Sun Oct 14, 2018 8:58 pm

sltm1 wrote:My 1st two marriages ended in divorce..............LOL


Ditto on the first.
Jury is still out on the second one after 29 years.
At least the general consensus is that it wasn't MY mistake!
8)
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby TDick » Sun Oct 14, 2018 9:10 pm

This weekend I used the alpha amylase I bought last year after I ground and started cooking 17 pounds of corn in 3 separate batches.
(My biggest pot is 4 gallons so I did 3 batches with 2 gallons each.)

"I kept thinking, my AG thinned out a LOT easier than this!"

I figured out my amylase is shit despite having no expiration date and I have a 12 gallon coleman cooler half full of corn casserole.
Thicker than baby shit!
Because it didn't convert and thin, a bit burned on the bottom despite CONSTANT stirring!

No home brew shops locally so I ordered a new batch of amylase to get here Wednesday.
So just wondering if my "casserole" is going to last that long.
:evil:
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby fizzix » Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:03 am

TDick wrote:This weekend I used the alpha amylase I bought last year after I ground and started cooking 17 pounds of corn in 3 separate batches.
(My biggest pot is 4 gallons so I did 3 batches with 2 gallons each.)

"I kept thinking, my AG thinned out a LOT easier than this!"

I figured out my amylase is shit despite having no expiration date and I have a 12 gallon coleman cooler half full of corn casserole.
Thicker than baby shit!
Because it didn't convert and thin, a bit burned on the bottom despite CONSTANT stirring!

No home brew shops locally so I ordered a new batch of amylase to get here Wednesday.
So just wondering if my "casserole" is going to last that long.
:evil:

TDick, I was considering buying a "lifetime" supply of a gallon each of alpha and gluco amylase until
Swedish Pride told me any amylase loses its potency at about the year mark. So I pass that on to you.
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby Big Stogie » Mon Oct 15, 2018 1:27 pm

Made a wash in a 32 gallon Brute can with some spent beer grain, sugar and bread yeast added the next run of grain and more sugar had a nice ferment going great smell. Well didn’t get around to running it for a few weeks, siphoned off a boiler full fired it up and only got 5 pints out of 14 gallons. Apparently I let it sit open too long and the alcohol evaporated out there was nothing left. Stupid mistake but I got a pint of amazing hearts most expensive pint I’ll ever have.
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby Mikey-moo » Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:31 am

fizzix wrote:Swedish Pride told me any amylase loses its potency at about the year mark. So I pass that on to you.


If you keep it in the fridge it's supposed to help... I need to use mine up!
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby jonnys_spirit » Tue Oct 16, 2018 9:12 am

Mikey-moo wrote:
fizzix wrote:Swedish Pride told me any amylase loses its potency at about the year mark. So I pass that on to you.


If you keep it in the fridge it's supposed to help... I need to use mine up!


Really? I bought a couple liquid bottles from POS a while ago and keep them in the fridge... What's the consensus on how long they keep in the fridge?

Cheers,
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby TDick » Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:06 pm

Big Stogie wrote:Made a wash in a 32 gallon Brute can with some spent beer grain, sugar and bread yeast added the next run of grain and more sugar had a nice ferment going great smell. Well didn’t get around to running it for a few weeks, siphoned off a boiler full fired it up and only got 5 pints out of 14 gallons. Apparently I let it sit open too long ....


+1

My noob ass had about 30 gallons of assorted washes last year.
Life got in the way and months later I was ready to run.
No joy, had to throw it all away.

On a similar subject, I went to Tractor Supply a few weeks ago and bought Corn and COB.
Let it sit and started grinding last weekend.
A SIZEABLE portion of buggies everywhere. I think they add a little extra flavor but sure glad SWMBO didn't see them in her kitchen.
It may not make a difference, but next time I'll wait until the day I'm ready to start.
Put the excess grain in big orange buckets and into the freezer for a little while.
:wtf:
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby Manc » Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:13 pm

Hi Jonny

Mine came with a best before date of May 2019 and said should be kept below 10°c. With it being a best before date I believe that is like medicine the effectiveness may deminish gradually after this date but as I overpitch don't see it being a problem.

But it does say not to store over 25°c

Lee
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby Mendel » Sat Nov 10, 2018 8:47 am

Long ago I brewed a carboy of beer that didn't turn out. The carboy is tempered glass, and I put pyrex baking dishes in the oven up to 500F, so I thought maybe I could distill straight from the carboy - right in the middle of my kitchen. If anything went wrong, I'd only be out the cost of a carboy.
So I put raised the carboy off the bottom of a my mash pot, filled the pot just over the carboy with water, and planned to heat the water slowly to boiling. I ran a line from the carboy's air lock through running water, and just as I started collecting some 'heads' the carboy shattered forcefully, which was enough to knock over the pot, and I had over 5 gallons of nearly boiling beer mixed with small shards of glass all over the floor.
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