How I Ended Up Mopping the Ceiling...

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

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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

BOOM!

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!

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.

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: http://beersmith.com/blog/2008/07/25/yeast-washin...

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: http://www.brewersfriend.com/2011/11/12/infected-b...

Thanks for reading!

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    45 Discussions

    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.

    1 reply

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

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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

    2 replies

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

    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.

    Haha

    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.

    1 reply

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

    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.

    1 reply

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

    Great inadvertent pun:

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

    BOOM!

    1 reply

    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

    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.

    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.

    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.

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    Nate5b

    2 years ago

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

    1 reply

    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.