As I went to bottle my beer last Wednesday, my racking wand broke.
This is the magic wand that I use to transfer beer from the carboy into bottles; if it’s broken, then I can’t bottle and I think the problem can be easily deducted from there. The obvious solution is to go get a new wand but when I arrive at the store there isn’t one that matchs mine. So I need to buy a new syphon.
After looking at the syphons I buy the one that I swear looks exactly like the one I own. My first mistake; not bringing the original syphon down to compare, just getting one that ‘looks’ the same. I figure; hey, if the wand is broken, who cares? I can still use the other parts of the syphon including the hose and save myself some money (which is just a wee bit important these days.)
I get the parts home and I cannot fit the racking cane tube into the hose that I have. The hose is too small.
Now; here’s where I make my second mistake. Instead of thinking: ‘You know, I bet I should’ve gotten the smaller syphon. Maybe I should go and exchange this one for that one,’ I think: ‘Well, I guess I need a new hose.’ So it’s back to the store to get a new hose. And crimp for the hose so I can control the flow of beer.
However, the hose is too big now! The beer is coming out of the carboy too fast and the bottles are filling up with foam instead of beer. Even when I crimp it, the beer is mixing with so much air and coming out so quickly that I’m getting bottles half-full of froth. That just can’t be good. Now I’ve used the damn thing though so I can’t return it. It’s not broken-I just flat out screwed up. In addition, I’ve made a huge mess, spilling beer everywhere trying to fill bottles to the appropriate level. Some bottles are too full. Most aren’t full enough. I have no idea what will happen to my brew as a result of this.
So it’s off to the hardware store! There, a very patient and kind woman helped me sift through components that could be used to attach my large hose to the small one. After a solid fifteen minutes of searching we finally found a brass piece that would work.
The whole thing ran me a little over twenty bucks and ate about a third of my day and it should’ve cost me closer to ten and taken up a tenth of my time. And I still don’t know if it will work out; I am going to be using the new syphon tomorrow, so we shall see, yes? If it works then that’s great. I now have a cool cyborg-esque looking syphon and beer to boot. Sure, I’m out at least two pints of beer, but that’s better than the mess of being out an entire batch of beer because the filling process went all kittywampus on me.
I offer this tale as a warning to my readers; when something goes wrong with your equipment, bring everything you think you’ll need in order to fix the problem and don’t make assumptions.