The Brew Hauler that wouldn’t Haul
I recently decided to venture into the world of lager brewing after making several successful ale recipes. I have a top loading kegerator that I am converting to a two chamber serving and brewing configuration, but was worried about getting my 5 gallon carboy in and out of the fridge because of the lack of handles. Last night, while buying the Edelbock, I decided to buy the Brew Hauler to help me lift it in and out. I went home and started brewing. After a nice afternoon of brewing (boy that wort smelled good) I was ready to eat a late dinner. My roommate was pulling the steaks off the grill and I had just cooled the wort. I picked up the carboy using my new Brew Hauler and started walking to the brewing closet.
I hadn’t taken more than five careful steps when I felt a slight tearing or slipping of nylon. Before I could react the carboy promptly exploded on our tile floor. Pieces of glass were thrown clear across the kitchen and my delicious Edelbock rushed to every corner of the floor. Sticky green hop-scented water filled every nook and cranny beneath my fridge, under cabinets, and slowly expanded into the dining room. Luckily everything it touched was tile, and after a few hours of furious mopping our floor is only slightly sticky. We went to bed exhausted.
This morning I examined the Brew Hauler. There were no visible rips, tears, or even so much as a frayed thread. The carboy had simply slipped out from the Brew Hauler Harness. I think this disturbed me more than if it had broken. I had carefully ensured that none of the straps were twisted, tightened down the clip harness, and carefully tested it when empty. The Brew Hauler didn’t break, it is simply a faulty design. Maybe it was the bit of wort that spilled around the neck of the carboy and moistened the straps– I don’t know. All I know is that now I’m out a carboy, out a $40 batch of beer, and out the entire 8 hours of my day that I spent producing and then cleaning what ended up being the stickiest floor polish I’ve ever used.
I felt cheated. I had bought a $15 Brew Hauler, and it destroyed $75 worth of beer and equipment. Even worse, when I asked AHS about being refunded the cost of the carboy and the beer I was told I needed to write an email to the owner. I may not be a seasoned Austin brewer, but I do feel like AHS is my friendly neighborhood beer store. I recognize most of the employees, and since my friends bought me a starter kit from AHS almost a year ago, I’ve brewed 5 AHS recipes, the most recent (besides the ill fated Edelbock) being the Sunny Oats Ale. I purchased all the beer lines and CO2 equipment for my four tap kegerator from AHS, and always found their advice to be accurate and helpful.
Austin Homebrew Supply’s owner replied to my email within two days and was very understanding. He’s generously offered to replace both the carboy and the Edelbock kit so I get get on with brewing this next weekend. Once again all is well in the world. I think this time I might get a plastic carboy.