Oz's Amazing Technicolor Shrapnel Carboy

by Dave Ballard

I want you to curl up in the warm glow of your terminals with a frothy mug of winter warmer, 'cause Uncle Davey is gonna tell you a scary story.

Once upon a time not too long ago (last week in fact), a friend of Uncle Davey's decided to brew an Irish Stout from an ingredient kit he got from Santa. The brewer, known as Oz to all that know him, did the batch and put it in a shiny glass carboy to let the yeasties have their fun. Oz went to bed around midnight a few nights later and slipped into a wonderful doze.

At around 1 AM Oz was awakened by some sort of explosion, the sort that rattles the windows in the house. The next sound that Oz heard was his dad, Mr. Oz, who was shouting at Oz to "get his ass downstairs 'cause his beer blew up." "Uh oh," said Oz, "it sounds like I'm in big trouble." When Oz arrived at the brewery downstairs he found that the shiny carboy, which had previously been holding his happy yeasties, was now in about a zillion pieces. In fact, one piece was propelled upward so hard that it blew a hole in the ceiling of the brewery. Oz was right, he was in big trouble, for the ceiling of the brewery also happened to be the floor of Mr. and Mrs. Oz' bedroom. Uh oh. Although the hole didn't go through the ceiling, it was enough to scare the living bejeezus out of Mr. and Mrs. Oz. When Oz finally found his blow off tube, it was dirty and blocked with hop pellet residue. Oz was amazed how a little gunk could cause such a big boom. So were Mr. and Mrs. Oz.

The end of the story finds us with two things: One- a shop-vac full of Irish Stout and glass shards, and Two- a warning to all you little brewers out there who do primary fermentation in carboys (like Uncle Davey does) to remember the story of Oz and be careful with those things! Oz could have been the Late, Great Oz if he had been standing next to his little time bomb when it went off...