Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Once again, I try to kill everyone by brewing.

The wind came screaming out of the west.  It was dirty and bitter, like a truck stop prostitute, and it carried ice and a hard fine snow.  The snow was needle-sharp and could easily pass through the pores of human skin into the soul.
I pressed my nose to the window pane.  The weather mocked me and I could hear an evil cackle on the wind.  It was brew day and the week before Christmas.  My wife and I would be gone for the holidays and I needed to brew while my yeast starter was still worth a shit.
The outside thermometer registered five degrees below zero.  Much to cold for wind or snow, but this was Wyoming, where the laws of God and nature hold no sway.
I was brewing an extract batch of stout so I just set up my camp chef burner in the basement and started brewing.  On some level I knew I should be venting the dangerous gasses generated from burning propane but when I tried opening a basement window the cold wind froze me out.  As with most worries, the concern for proper ventilation eased with the amount of beer I drank.
The brew day went well.  There was no major train wrecks to piss me off and I was able to get my equipment cleaned up and the yeast pitched.  I staggered upstairs, propositioned my wife, and when that failed, I passed out.
The horror began with the sweats.  A sticky ooze drenching the bed and pillow.  My eyes couldn't seem to focus but it was different than normal booze fueled mayhem.  My breathing was shaky.
I had a headache on a biblical scale.  An artillery battery of fighting aneurysms.  A bus full of drummers driving off of a cliff.   A throbbing cacophony of hellish fire exploding right behind my eyeballs.
 I staggered to the bathroom.  My beer buzz had been replaced with a mustard yellow nausea.  My stomach had decided everything was being evicted but was in a serious argument about which was it was heading.  It turned out, up was the winner.
My wife knocked on the door.  "Are you OK?"  I moaned but a few seconds later she said, "You need to get out of there, NOW!"
I crawled into the hallway, getting lightly trampled by my wife, who had not been drinking at all, as she had her own bathroom disaster.
The sickness lasted all night and most of the next day.  At first I thought it was some sort of food poisoning but that didn't explain our headaches.
The sickness turned out to be a case of CO2 poisoning caused from the burning propane.  It wasn't a really bad, but enough to make us sick as shit.  Be warned, improper ventilation is not something to screw around with.  You will regret it seriously if you do.  Be a man and brew outside or, if you have to brew inside, use electric elements or a hood.  I would rather freeze my ass off than puke any day.


Michigan Brewery said...

You a great blog, and I am impressed that you learn how to brew by your own self.

The Beer Babe said...

Carbon monoxide (CO) most likely. :( Try not to die. I like reading your blog.

Saveur Bière said...

Very good blog!