On Sunday, January 16th I ended my homebrewing hiatus. My awesome girlfriend, Jenni, bought me a dual-tap kegerator for the holidays. "I no longer have to bottle beer!!?," I thought to myself. "I'm back!"
I decided on a Belgian Tripel for my first batch of beer in two years. Belgian Tripels are light, fruity, tasty and very high in alcohol content. For brewing purposes Belgian Tripels are considered a more intermediate beer to brew since a yeast starter is typically required. Hey, why not start out with a more advanced beer? Besides, I had an assistant. My buddy, Brad - also a brewing newbie, came over to give me hand.
Everything was going swimmingly. We steeped the grains and started the boil with no boil over. At the end of the boil my assistant had to run off. This is where things started to go wrong. Now I'm not blaming him for what happened, but it is kind of his fault.
I did not own an immersion chiller at this time, but I didn't think this was going to be a problem since it was 30oF outside. Well, beat me with a rubber spoon if it didn't take 3 hours for it to cool down on its own. That's the first mistake. The wort should be brought down to yeast pitching temperature within the 30 minutes to an hour to avoid contamination.
When it was finally cold enough for me to transfer the wort from the brew kettle to the fermentor I brought in the brew kettle from the back patio and set it down on top the kitchen island. And that is when I discovered, to my horror, that the kitchen island top isn't level! The combination of the soot and condensation on the outside of the kettle made it very slippery. Before I knew it there was 5.5 gallons of sticky, smelly wort all over my kitchen floor.
Fortunately, Jenni wasn't home and I was able to towel and shop vac all the liquid up before she got back. Have you ever walked on a floor full of melted taffy? Me neither, but I'm pretty sure it feels similar to what it was like walking in the kitchen for the next 2 days.
Needless to say, Jenni wasn't thrilled with the sticky floors. She told me the entire brew process was going to have to take place outside from then on.
So the moral of this story is make sure your kitchen counter tops are level..