Introduction: How I Ended Up Mopping the Ceiling...

Picture of How I Ended Up Mopping the Ceiling...

Have you ever mopped your kitchen ceiling? No?

Me neither. Until I cleaned the fridge one day...

Things started off innocent enough. There wasn't even a "Hold my beer and watch this!" moment. No Redbull either.

No, aside from the ranch dressing (or was it expired milk...) that had turned into a bio-hazard and needed to be disposed of this was just a boring day in normal life and there were chores to do.

My job was to clean out the fridge. So to get started I pulled everything out of the fridge. Then I wiped down the shelves. Next was to sort through things and get rid of the expired items. Did you know penicillin could grow on ketchup? I didn't.

After shooting baskets into the trash can with the expired items I ran across a glass bottle full of brown sediment. It was old yeast leftover from brewing beer. I figured it wasn’t a good idea to throw a full glass bottle and instead put it in the sink.

Next I put everything what wasn’t expired back into the fridge. Then I wiped down the counters where the fridge stuff had sat. Now it was time to empty the glass bottle so I could recycle it.

I grabbed the bottle opener and just barley touched the lid of the bottle when


The contents of the bottle evacuated itself all over the kitchen celling. And my face.

I stood there stunned trying to figure out why people were laughing.

After a few seconds I figured out what had happened. And after a few more seconds I also realized that I would now get the opportunity to clean the rest of the kitchen. Including the ceiling.

This experience taught me a very important life lesson - Bribe someone else to clean the refrigerator next time!

Step 1: Yeast Bomb!

Picture of Yeast Bomb!

What happened?

I usually save some yeast from the current batch of beer in order to make the next batch of beer. It takes beer to make beer right?! Reusing yeast also adds a unique flavor, character and depth to the beer palate profile. Resulting in a uniqueness that is unparalleled and impossible to copy.

Sure does. It also costs less.

Anyway, this batch of beer had an extremely "active" fermentation and blew out it's airlocks and made a pretty good mess. Once it fermented out, for whatever reason this time I grabbed a 22oz. beer bottle to save the yeast in. Topped it off, capped it and put it in the fridge. I then forgot about it and left it in the fridge for too long. That should be no big deal...

But, while cleaning the fridge I let the bottle warm up for awhile on the counter top. Pressure built up inside the bottle, I went to open it, the opening of the bottle was small and funnel like and then BOOM! Yeast explosion.

I can't say for sure that's what caused it, but that's my best guess.

Step 2: Diffusing the Yeast Bomb.

Picture of Diffusing the Yeast Bomb.

Cut the red wire!

Wait, no, wrong instructable...

I normally save yeast in mason jars. Or pickle jars, or spaghetti sauce jars. Basically anything with a large opening. It makes it easier to fill. And you can also crack the lid to let any built up pressure escape before you end up yeasting the ceiling like I did.

Trust me on this one, it's better to store yeast in mason jars than beer bottles. In fact I'm still finding yeast in places...

If this instructable gave you a laugh or two, please consider throwing me a vote in the Epic Fail contest!

Step 3: More Yeasty Goodness.

Ultra-Indigo had a good suggestion to add some more info on yeast washing, thanks!

You guys probably already know this, but it's worth saying again:

Number 1 priority - Make sure everything is super-duper clean and SANITARY!

Quick tip - One of the easiest thing to do if you’ve planned ahead enough is to pitch your wort right onto a fresh yeast cake from your previous batch. But I’m not usually able to brew back to back so I end up saving yeast.

Here’s the link to the blog post that got me interested in trying to save yeast:

The cliff notes are:

  1. Sanitize the jars and lids you're going to use to save your yeast in. You need at least 2.
  2. Try to save yeast from your primary fermentor, it's more active.
  3. If needed, use clean water to help break up the yeast cake and pour it into the sanitary jars.
  4. Loosely screw on the cap, let it sit for about an hour in your fridge.
  5. The stuff that settles out we don't want, pour off the liquid into another jar.
  6. Top the jar off with clean water, screw the lid on tight, put it in the fridge.
  7. You can store it for a couple months without issue.
  8. Make a yeast starter before you use the yeast again.
  9. Use the yeast only in similar beer styles, ie - don't use a yeast you brewed a porter with to make a pilsner.
  10. I usually toss the yeast after about 4 or 5 batches.

As far as what can go wrong and what to watch out for, this link has helped me out:

Thanks for reading!


The Innkeeper (author)2016-04-29

I've never thought to save my yeast. How long does it last?

I make mead, and yes, yes I've had to mop my ceiling as well. I feel you.

Nate5b (author)The Innkeeper2016-04-29

It usually lasts about 3-4 months. It really helps to make a yeast starter too before using it again.

Raccoon77 (author)2016-04-22

I remember my mom sending me macaroni in a thermos for lunch in 5th grade but she put it in while it was hot and I went hungry that day because the cooling pasta created a vacuum inside the thing and I couldn't open it.

jan.wouter.5 (author)2016-04-13

Reminds me of the time I made blackberry wine. The blackberries clogged up my airlock and the fermantation pushed the content up to the ceiling. I had to use bleach on the walls to remove the stains.

ata1anta (author)2016-04-12

My mom and her husband had quite the wine cellar. They also made their own wine. They had one batch of still wine that somehow turned sparkling. This was discovered by finding corks (from the lucky ones) strewn across the basement floor. And they didn't go all at once, there was an initial batch of a bunch and then we'd go down and find another one had blown its top.

Beatboxing Tuba (author)2016-04-08

I did the same thing with a thermos and 2 week old all natural mac and cheese, except there was a little clip that holds a spoon on top and when it blew up the lid hit the ceiling and now it looks like there is a power outlet on the ceiling in my kitchen

Nate5b (author)Beatboxing Tuba2016-04-11

wow, it actually went through the ceiling?! I'm still amazed by the forces fermentation can produce.

Beatboxing Tuba (author)Nate5b2016-04-11

I have like a 10 foot ceiling in my kitchen, but if you think about it, it was in thermos and it was sealed and nothing could escape for an entire week, so pressure buildup from the sugar in the cheese reacting with the wheat in the macaroni had some devastating effects.

t.rohner (author)2016-04-07


Reminds me of a ginger mead i made many years ago. High gravity, slow fermentation. So it seems i underestimated the low final gravity and thus too much fermentables at bottling. We used champagne bottles and these beauties can withstand pressures up to 40 bar or 580 psi !!! When i opened the first one, it gushed 80% to the ceiling. Luckily it happened in the brewery, so i hosed down the ceiling... We refrigerated the remaining bottles to below zero and opened them very slowly. The mead was a spectacular drink. In terms of taste and carbonation...

I store my yeast in jars with a rubber ring as seal. If there is too much pressure, the rubber ring just pops out somewhere and thats all.

Nate5b (author)t.rohner2016-04-11

580 psi! I like the rubber ring idea, I might give that a try.

James A.L (author)2016-04-08

I had a similar, though more dangerous, experience with my pool chlorinator some years ago. Our pool filtration/heater system had an automatic chlorinator bottle for pucks which dissolved over time. I also had a bucket of chlorine pucks, some of which had broken down to a powder. To empty the container I dumped the powdered pucks into the bottle (which was contained in a shed, btw) and screwed down the lid. I had just stepped out the doorway when a blast like a bomb went off and I saw jagged shards of plastic flying across and beyond the diagonal corner of the 50' x 20' pool. I have no idea about the chemistry involved but I'm sure I would have been serious affected had I not had the shed wall between myself and the 'bomb'. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.

Nate5b (author)James A.L2016-04-11

Woah. Scary, glad things turned out OK in the end.

johara53 (author)2016-04-09

Great inadvertent pun:

I grabbed the bottle opener and just barley touched the lid of the bottle when


Nate5b (author)johara532016-04-11

Lol, good catch!

rburgen (author)2016-04-09

psychedelic colors in the brew/downstairs room from just such and occasion I cleaned up the majority of mess and left the colors as reminders to watch what I am doing

johnny108 (author)2016-04-08

You might want to google "storage of yeast with distilled water"....

It's a great long term method, and it takes up far less space.

Jack Rodgers (author)2016-04-07

Brought back a slightly related memory. There is 6 years between my brother's birthday and mine. Not a good thing for the younger brother.

I discovered a warm bottle of coke and shook it like mad. Then told my brother to open it and fix us an iced soda.

KyHillBilly76 (author)2016-04-07

Had a similar situation only with a strawberry wine that turned sparkling. Luckily I wasn't in the same room when mine exploded. The corks stayed in a third of the bottles, but glass an sparkling strawberry wine everywhere... Ceiling, walls, everything was coated. An took more than a day to clean up. 5 gallons is a lot of wine to clean up.

Nate5b (author)2016-04-07

Thanks everyone for sharing your brewing stories today! Glad to see I'm not the only one who's had some brewing "adventures."

BruceG1 (author)Nate5b2016-04-07

Great story! Glad you didn't get hurt. Apparently there was still some sugar of one form or another in the bottle. I believe yeast will stop fermenting when it runs out of sugar. At least, that's been my experience. I once brewed a batch of beer with some yeast that needed a higher temperature than I usually use, and didn't wait long enough for the yeast to eat up all the malt sugar. It took a long time for my (home) office to stop smelling like beer from the few burst bottles. I quickly chilled the unburst ones and drank that stuff up quickly. Opening those over-pressurized bottles was always an adventure. After reading all the comments I've just got to look up a ginger beer recipe. I tried making ginger-flavored beer, but it was horrible.

EmmitS (author)2016-04-07

My family has a similar story. My grandfather and his brother were typical mountain men living in West Virginia. They were famous for their homemade wine. One day they set up a vat of wine and left it in the attic in their sister Ivy's house. Aunt Ivy was a was a single older lady, and on this particular day, she had her minister in for a visit. As they sat talking, she realized that her brothers' wine had overflowed the vat. She was so embarrassed, she didn't know what to say so she just sat there and acted like nothing was happening while the red stain ran down the wall. The minister said nothing either and she was hoping that he had not noticed. Then the visit was over and the usual farewells were being said when the minister turned to her and quietly said, "oh, and tell Emmit and Everett to put the wine vat in the cellar next time."

lovethebackwoods (author)2016-04-07

Cool sort of 'ible, thanks. I had a similar "accident" a long time ago when our kids were still growing up and lived at home. It was winter, which means good-and-cold-where-I-live, and one of my ever-so-delightful young 'uns wanted his or her soda pop good and cold. S/he left it in the below-zero pantry and you can guess what happened. I should have just carried it up into the woods and left it, then gone back a couple of months later to properly recycle the plastic bottle. However, I carried it into the kitchen and set it in the sink. As I cleaned and whatever, the pop melted, so I figured I'd just dump it down the sink, rinse out the bottle, and put it in the recycle bag. Wrong thinking! Bad! I barely touched the bottle to remove the lid and the monster mush exploded - melting chunks of pop absolutely everywhere! Yeah, I had to mop the ceiling - and the rest of the kitchen. The kids totally lost pop privileges for one full month. They've never pulled such a thoughtless thing again, nor have I.

Tenebrax (author)2016-04-07

Reminds me of an *event* I had while brewing a batch of beer in a big five-gallon glass carboy. Long story short, lots of hops clogged the too-narrow hose channeling the excess carbon dioxide off, and eventually the rubber bung popped with results much like you described. Hops EVERYWHERE in the spare bedroom. HOPS BOMB. I was finding hops on the underside of shelves for years. Now when I brew a batch of beer, the carboy is in the bathtub for that first super-active phase, shrouded under a black garbage bag. And the blow-off hose is *massive*. And don't bottle your mead too soon either. Hearing a *pop*FOOOOSH in the middle of the night is just unsettling.

spark master (author)2016-04-07

I never had a bottle pop, I made hundreds of bottles. One batch I used the wrong yeast it was a top floater. So my tanks were overflowing pulled out the air locks, we
pushed tubing into the airlock hole, sealed it with wax, put the tubing
down to the floor into a pot with water and bleach and let it rip, The
best batch we ever brewed, we called it "the abortion" 21 gallons was
not going to be worted I mean wasted. It was incredible after a 2 year

Mex5150 (author)2016-04-07

Most brewers have a bottle bomb go off at some point, just think youself lucky it as the lid that gave and not the glass!

Wild-Bill (author)2016-04-07

Been there done that. With my two sisters and my mothers supervision, we made root beer. We were all awakened to an explosion. I learned that day what a chain reaction was. Every bottle was shattered and there was glass and root beer all over the huge pantry. It took for ever to clean up. To this day I gag at the smell of root beer.

thesnowtheriver (author)2016-04-07

oh heavens it's a miracle you weren't maimed or killed. so dangerous. please be careful.



always curious (author)2015-12-31

GINGER BEER FAILURE! - I am 70 years old, lived in Australia most of my life, and have fond memories of home-made ginger beer. Have an old cook book with a very simple recipe - basically, ginger, water, yeast, sugar and lemon. Proceeded and filled about 15 litres into various sized plastic bottles. Put it out on my 3rd floor outdoor terrace as had heard that these things can explode. Time came to open a bottle - fizzed madly and I thought, yes, the yeast is working, so I just let the air out, closed it up and left it out longer. Mistake!! Opened another bottle, and the cap whizzed out into the distance,. very beery ginger beer over the terrace,table and me. I was nervous of getting rid of the rest - carried bottles into bathroom shower area, lay one sideways and gently opened the top- a jet blast sprayed out, hitting the wall, wetting me, the walls and basically half the bathroom! Was more cautious with the other bottles by keeping a very strong grip on the lid. Bathroom smelled like a brewery for a couple of days.

Was going to enter the competition, but was taken up with cleaning rather than photographing. PS. have kept a 350 ml bottle - its been 3 months- who knows what I have made-poison or passion (as in wine)?

Lovely messes are made sometimes- I can laugh now, but not then- I was so disappointed as I absolutely love home made ginger beer.

LindseyR1 (author)always curious2016-04-07

Ginger Beer is notorious for blowing the cork!! My Dad used to make it when we lived in the UK. The first time he laid the bottles flat with the cork slightly elevated. One night we were watching TV and heard a loud bang...thought it was on TV (Probably watching a war movie knowing my dad), then another bang, and another. 3 bottle blew! The corks slamming into the wooden door of the sideboard. What a mess, a sticky mess! Now I'm itching to make ginger beer :-)

Nate5b (author)always curious2016-01-04

Wow, good story! I'm still amazed how much force fermentation can create. I wonder how far your ginger beer rocket would have launched if you hadn't contained it in the bathroom!?!

Mister Weepers (author)2016-04-07

It wasn't the bottle warming up a bit that set it off. Yeast is still active in the fridge, just slowed down but still working and building pressure. That's why if you don't pasteurize what you made and just put it straight in the fridge, they can start popping in there or you get bursters (not bottle breakers but everything fizzes out) when you open them.

I know some people pasteurize by boiling bottles, with a towel at the bottom of the container to stop cracks as the bottles move but if you're hot water is hot enough, you can just do it in the sink. I only suggest this because it's all I've ever done and I've never had any popping bottles or bursters.

My hot water runs around the upper 130s, so I put bottles in the sink and fill it up. Then every 5-10 minutes I check the temp, then drain some of the water and add more hot water. I keep doing it for around 30 minutes and once I get there I just let them naturally cool down in the water.

While it may seem like more work than boiling, I can fit a whole lot more bottles in my sink than if I boiled them and I also don't have to risk heating a bottle up too much and then having it explode from the pressure while it's boiling or while I'm taking it out and accidentally tap it against something, setting it off.

Fotmasta (author)2016-04-07

The mystery remains- How long is too long?

Zclip (author)2016-04-07

Damnedest thing, a similar experience with the fermenter. I usually just made mead, but wanted to give a shot at a Bock because they were also good for cookin' rabbit...anyways I'm getting ready to move from fermenter to carboy, and I notice my carboard light trap won't lift off the fermenter, I have to tear the thing up to remove it. Turns out the stuff foamed up clogged the gas valve, popped the seal on the lid, AND then resealed itself when the bubbles in the foam popped, or deflated, or whatever they did. It smelled OK, it tarted wonky, but about what I expected it to taste like at that stage, so I just started ageing & clarifying what as left. I swear to god-almighty, when it was finally ready, that batch was PO-tent! That was what I called a "Happy Accident".

thesaltedmatt (author)2015-12-17

Great instructable! I was brewing at a friend's house one time (as my place didn't have the space to brew in) and had some of my wort left over. I figured it'd be fine to just set aside in a plastic coke bottle and keep to compare flavors once the beer was done. Once I left, the friend saw the bottle on the counter and tossed it thinking it was trash. A week later the bottle exploded, sending shattered pieces of a rum bottle that had been alongside it across the kitchen at high speed. Turned out that the wort fermented in its bottle. For the rest of that year, we'd find pieces of glass embedded in the kitchen wall and ceiling. Not quiet a yeast explosion, but still homebrew related ^_^

Nate5b (author)thesaltedmatt2016-01-04

Crazy it shattered a bottle next to it, think some wild yeast got on there? I guess at least some of it was contained in the trash can, hope nobody got hurt.

thesaltedmatt (author)Nate5b2016-01-19

I honestly have no idea what happened. Nobody was hurt, but my friend to this day says I'm an assassin out to get him. For the rest of that year it actually became a joke that I had been blessed by the brewing gods and that anything I touched now fermented.

iceng (author)2015-12-12

Great failures can lead to great success !

Ultra-Indigo (author)2015-12-09

I voted for you, cause that sure went wrong.
Could you please post on this ibble or a new one any tips and tricks for keeping yeast? How much to keep, how long, do you keep feeding, any trouble with contamination?

Nate5b (author)Ultra-Indigo2015-12-09

Thanks for the vote and the comment! I added another step with some additional info about saving yeast.

haycurt (author)2015-12-03

wow, I'm also entering the contest but I think you'll win, it's the funniest ible I've seen on here

Nate5b (author)haycurt2015-12-05

Thanks for the comment! I read yours about oversharpening a knife, good info!

wannabe181 (author)2015-11-28

I can say I've never had to mop a kitchen ceiling but I did have to mop a living room ceiling! I had a airlock get stopped up while fermenting blackberry wine and BOOM it hit me in the back of my head and sprayed the ceiling and walls. Bravo to you!

Nate5b (author)wannabe1812015-11-29

Wow, the airlock actually hit you?! That's crazy, its amazing how much force fermentation can create!

tjdux (author)2015-11-29

I've mopped the ceiling before. Mashed potatoes. Yep. In a restaurant I worked at in high school one of my coworkers decided to try and save some time. We were moving the mashed potatos from the 5 gallon stock pot into small pans that fit into our hot line. My coworker was lifting the pan a few inches and dropping it onto the counter to get the taters into the bottom of the pan. It's a slow process sometimes with thick potatos. Then he looks at me and drops the pan on the floor from waist height.... Instant 200 degree mess everywhere. It covered at least a 3ft square area of ceiling. Hence moping the ceiling. We actually used a towel on a broom but same difference. Good ible.

Nate5b (author)tjdux2015-11-29

Lol, thats a good one. Thanks for sharing your story. I'm glad my yeast wasn't hot like your potatos!

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