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  1. #1

    Default I just took MEA to an entirely new level...

    An unfortunate freak accident caused what must have been one of the biggest MEAs ever tonight, leaving the bar and myself covered in mead.

    I figured out what happened. Today I topped it up with water. However, being the newb that I am, I overfilled it. It foamed into the S style airlock and started oozing out. What I didn't notice was that a raisin happened to get positioned just right so that it blocked the airlock. The pressure built high enough to force it into the first water chamber, then into the second. It pushed it all the way to the final narrow part of the airlock where it stayed. The pressure behind it built up quite a bit.

    I, of course, did not know this at the time. Thinking I could simply remove, clean, refill and replace the airlock after lowering the must level, I grabbed the bung and pulled.

    ...Now friends, I think we can all imagine what happens when something under high pressure suffers a rapid pressure drop. It vents very quickly. That mead shot out of the carboy like a volcano erupting. It went *everywhere*. All over the bar surfaces, the floor, into the living room and, of course, all over me.

    Now this was bad enough, but have any of you seen what a raspberry fruit cap looks like when it needs to be swirled back into the must? With all the seeds and brownish smashed fruit, it looks just like hamburger meat. Now do you know what this looks like spewing out of a carboy? Exactly like projectile vomiting.

    I still can't get that raisin out of the airlock, no matter how hard I blow. I'm going to take an air compressor to it.

    Short version, my mead got sick and threw up all over me.

  2. #2
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    Welcome to our exclusive (well, maybe not so exclusive) club!
    Na zdrowie!

    Wayne B.

  3. #3

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    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...c/070334ca.jpg

    There's a photo of some of the damage. Cleanup sure was fun!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Echostatic View Post
    Short version, my mead got sick and threw up all over me.
    You have been anointed.
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

  5. #5

    Default

    Word of advice: don't primary in glass. If you do, don't use fruit. Yeast love fruit and love to clog airlocks when headspace is tight.

    This might make you feel slightly better:


    Had to remove the carpet and repaint the room.
    "I've never forgotten anything that I can remember."

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Echostatic View Post
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...c/070334ca.jpg

    There's a photo of some of the damage. Cleanup sure was fun!
    That is an outstanding MEA event, sir (or madam). Well done, I applaud you!

    If you're going to do a thing, don't do it halfheartedly, give it all you've got!

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by icedmetal View Post
    Word of advice: don't primary in glass. If you do, don't use fruit. Yeast love fruit and love to clog airlocks when headspace is tight.

    This might make you feel slightly better:


    Had to remove the carpet and repaint the room.
    Nice! Man that's really something. At least it wasn't *that* bad... Live and learn I suppose?

  8. #8
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    Your brothers and sisters in M.E.A.D.S. (Mead Eruption Accident Decrement Society) are here for you. We applaud you for having the courage to acknowledge that you have a problem. That's the first step.

    We'll be passing around the hat to raise funds to purchase you a primary bucket.

    MEAs are a preventable tragedy.
    Last edited by Medsen Fey; 04-06-2014 at 10:27 AM.
    Lanne pase toujou pi bon
    (Past years are always better)

  9. #9

    Default

    This thread made me laugh out loud at work.

    LOL, thanks for sharing
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  10. #10
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    I haven't done something completely boneheaded yet (pure luck), but rest assured that when I do, I'll write about it here.

  11. #11
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    Ouch!

    Coincidentally, I had an MEA-like accident last night, though it wasn't as catastrophic as that.

    My first-ever batch is a JAO variant (well, it's from the stormthecastle site and very similar to the JAO). I had racked into a gallon jar, but discovered I had too much headspace (the jar came up to a little over 2/3 full). I moved the liquid into 2 1-liter and 2 500ml plastic water bottles (having nothing else at that time). As an experiment, I added honey to one of the liter bottles (no, I didn't stabilize, not knowing any better). But as there was no bubbling, I figured that fermentation wasn't taking place.

    Last night, I checked my batch again. The bottle was hard so I opened it and sure enough, air hissed out. Hence, fermentation DID restart, though not as violently as before. Then I noticed that the honey had separated and was sitting at the bottom of the bottle.

    What did I do? I shook it, of course...

    The effect was similar to taking a 1-liter bottle of coca-cola, shaking it, then opening it. My eyes bugged out as I saw this huge mass of bubbles rise to the top. There was no headspace so I cracked the bottle. Thankfully I was over the sink so it wasn't a geyser inside the house... Luckily I didn't decide to leave it overnight -- or the bottle may very well have exploded...
    "The single biggest threat to our planet is the destruction of habitat and along the way the loss of precious wildlife. We need to reach a balance where people, habitat and wildlife can co-exist -- if we don't, everyone loses...one day...Since when has killing a wild animal, eating it or wearing it, ever saved a species?" - Stephen Robert Irwin (1962 - 2006)

  12. #12
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    That sounds similar to my first experimentation, backsweetening without stabilization, only it was wild grape wine... and I'm sure there's still a purple blotch on the ceiling of my old apartment kitchen... I never found the cork...
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by icedmetal View Post
    Word of advice: don't primary in glass. If you do, don't use fruit. Yeast love fruit and love to clog airlocks when headspace is tight.

    Had to remove the carpet and repaint the room.
    Didn't that start to stink after awhile?

    Speaking of which -- what SHOULD you do if you end up with a raisin lodged that far into the airlock? Obviously you don't pull the stopper out, but how do you relieve the pressure? Or is it just have the mop ready?
    "The single biggest threat to our planet is the destruction of habitat and along the way the loss of precious wildlife. We need to reach a balance where people, habitat and wildlife can co-exist -- if we don't, everyone loses...one day...Since when has killing a wild animal, eating it or wearing it, ever saved a species?" - Stephen Robert Irwin (1962 - 2006)

  14. #14
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    Raisin in the S-type airlock, huh... a couple thoughts, but most of them don't involve being able to get it back into immediate use...

    see if you can thread a pipecleaner through to poke it the rest of the way up (or down back into the chamber, keep it sulphited and it might still be useful even with the raisin in it)?

    soak it in hot water so it softens?

    dry it so it shrinks?

    ferment it so it falls apart? would pectinase help it break down? would freezing it?
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

  15. #15

    Default

    What I should have done was take it outside onto the driveway, hit it with floodlights and yank the bung with a camera recording. Easy cleanup and good footage!

    So stirring honey in to backsweeten can cause an MEA? How does that happen?

  16. #16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Chevette Girl View Post
    Raisin in the S-type airlock, huh... a couple thoughts, but most of them don't involve being able to get it back into immediate use...

    see if you can thread a pipecleaner through to poke it the rest of the way up (or down back into the chamber, keep it sulphited and it might still be useful even with the raisin in it)?

    soak it in hot water so it softens?

    dry it so it shrinks?

    ferment it so it falls apart? would pectinase help it break down? would freezing it?

    I have a much faster, easier (and probably more fun) idea, and it simply involves sticking a high pressure air hose to one end and hopefully turning the airlock into a crude projectile weapon.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Echostatic View Post
    So stirring honey in to backsweeten can cause an MEA? How does that happen?
    I didn't stabilize or add sorbate before adding the honey so the yeast was still "live"...

    I noticed some honey at the bottom of the bottle. For some unknown reason, I decided to mix the honey by shaking the bottle... it wasn't an MEA like yours -- but it did have the effect of a shaken soda bottle (big mass of bubbles rushes to the surface... when you crack the top it sprays all over)
    "The single biggest threat to our planet is the destruction of habitat and along the way the loss of precious wildlife. We need to reach a balance where people, habitat and wildlife can co-exist -- if we don't, everyone loses...one day...Since when has killing a wild animal, eating it or wearing it, ever saved a species?" - Stephen Robert Irwin (1962 - 2006)

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chevette Girl View Post
    Raisin in the S-type airlock
    Can you open the top of the airlock? If so, try to cut the raisin up with an exacto knife or a scalpel then try to flush it out?

    Take a pic of the airlock and post it as a trophy first, though
    "The single biggest threat to our planet is the destruction of habitat and along the way the loss of precious wildlife. We need to reach a balance where people, habitat and wildlife can co-exist -- if we don't, everyone loses...one day...Since when has killing a wild animal, eating it or wearing it, ever saved a species?" - Stephen Robert Irwin (1962 - 2006)

  19. #19

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    I'm gonna try my "airlock gun" idea first, an exacto knife is too big to get in there. I could probably get at it with a toothpick maybe... But good idea, need to take a picture when I get home. I hope those stains come out of my bathtowels.

    I had a more traditional JAO I topped up too much at the same time and it filled the airlock. There was no dramatic explosion, but I was able to use my spiffy new carboy cap to siphon some liquid off. I tell ya, starting a siphon by simply blowing into the cap is really nice and easy!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Echostatic View Post
    So stirring honey in to backsweeten can cause an MEA? How does that happen?
    A lot of times, adding ANYTHING, especially a powder, to a vigorous ferment can cause a sudden release of CO2, like the Mentos & diet Coke reaction, and why it's suggested that when adding nutrients to add. However, what I did by backsweetening without stabilizing was to prime a bottle bomb, so technically mine wasn't a MEA. Fortunately the cork gave before the bottle did, but it was pretty messy nonetheless.
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

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