We Need Pretzels, Repeat Pretzels

If you happened to be at the brewery the night of August 26th around 7pm, you might have seen something like this:

Afraid that our beer might be ruined, we have kept this story under wraps for the past few weeks. But as of Sunday 9/18 we declassified it. The story is as follows:

As stated above, it all started on the night of August 26th. Commander Matthew was working his side job as an accountant so Captain Chris and Chief Joe were left alone to tend the brewery by themselves. Our third batch of Protector Imperial IPA was at the end of primary fermentation and we started to cold crash it.

Our normal procedure for fermentation is: Primary fermentation, cold crash, pull off yeast, add dry hops, condition and keg.

For some reason, Chris and Joe thought “why not add the dryhops while it’s starting to cold crash?” It wasn’t our normal procedure, but we began adding the hops regardless. To this date we are not sure why.

We moved our ladder to the fermentor and climbed up top to add the hops. As the first pound was added, Commander Matt arrived, eager to help the brewery.

Matt joined Chris climbing half up on the ladder while Joe stood guard on ground in case beer stealing zombies attacked.

Second pound of hops added – no issues.

Chris, on the ladder, began to add the third pound of hops.

Chris: “Whoa! What the?”
Joe and Matt: “What?”
Chris: “Whoa Crap!”
Joe and Matt: “…..”
Chris: “Crap crap crap crap!”

The brewery crew quickly realized that beer began foaming out the top of the fermentor where we added the hops. Chris quickly covered the hole.

Beer instantly started shooting out of the vent tube near Joe’s feet while Chris clamped down the hole up top.

Now normally when something bad happens in the brewery (valve accidentally left open, hose breaks and shoots 180 degree water into the air, etc.) we quickly diagnose the problem and solve it. In this instance, we all stood there for what seemed like 30 seconds watching beer shoot out the vent tube not understanding what was going on. Then,

Chris: “JOE! DO SOMETHING”
Joe: “WHAT?!”
Chris: “COVER THE HOLE!”

Joe quickly covered the hole and the beer stopped foaming out the vent tube. Seconds later,

Chris: “Gah! Don’t cover the hole. Don’t cover the hole!!”

When Joe covered the hole, pressure in the fermentor built up and started spraying beer out the top hole all over Chris’ face and the brewery.

Joe let go.

The three brewers stood there for what seemed like nearly a minute, watching the beer shoot across the brewery not knowing what to do.

Eventually Matt had the good sense to grab one of our grain buckets and put it underneath the vent tube to catch all the beer.

We stood there, beer/foam flowing freely into the bucket until the foaming subsided. Not fully understanding what just happened, covered in yeast and beer, worried that we had just ruined our batch of Protector, we began to clean up the mess.

Luckily the beer turned out fine – though a bit hoppier than batches past. We learned valuable lessons… like never add dryhops to a fermentor without cold crashing the fermentation unless you want a mess of beer over the brewery.

And if you are lucky enough to try this batch of Protector over the next couple weeks, you can really taste the explosion in it.

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2 Responses to “We Need Pretzels, Repeat Pretzels”

  1. Nimai says:

    Just further proof that brewing is both a science, and an art. Mistakes happen, or new methods are attempted, but sometimes they can result in something interesting. Will be in soon to try this 3rd batch.

    I also blame the Zombies for this mishap.

  2. Dean says:

    Oh dear….another thing to worry about. “Beer stealing zombies”
    I had better get a kegerator so I can appease them and still have some for myself.

    I am also happy that the beer was not wasted.

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