Although it may sound like a prog-rock band, in fact, "Fermentation Apparatus Explosion" is not a band title. It's my experience last night.
Having finished The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart, I decided to finally forego the excuses of "I can't make beer because I don't have any space.", "I can't make beer because I don't have any time." "I can't make beer because I don't have any of the specialized material you need to make beer." The Drunken Botanist reads "if you put any sugar-water mixture outside, yeast will find it and ferment." Compounding conclusions, I met a girl at a party who routinely made pineapple beer from the scraps at work, and decided, "Okay, I can do that."
Last Thursday after halfheartedly researching recipes, I bought a pineapple, chopped of the skin and stuck it in a Whole Foods growler filled with brown sugar water laced with cloves. Now to sit. And don't worry, home fermentation is happily allowed by the state of Tennessee as long as your batches do not exceed 5 gallons. Check your at-home brewing laws before you embark on this endeavor.
The recipes listed the fermentation should be done within 48-hours, but you could wait longer if you desired a stronger beverage. I wagered I'd check it Sunday giving it that additional time. The results were less than expected. I opened the growler to only a slight *pop*, disappointingly lacking in the carbon-dioxide of good fermentation. An impulse activity, I suspected the water from my Zero-Water filter (please see my expounding on the merits of the Zero-Water filter at the end of this saga) still held remnants of chlorine though advertisements claimed it didn't, thus killing much of the bacteria. Next time to use purely distilled water.
Still, maybe it would work. I placed it back in it's hidey-hole near my poorly insulated back door, the warmest place in the house. Expecting I would find much of the same, I didn't touch it for another 4 days -hoping the extra time would allow it to work.
And then, we came home from the symphony Thursday night. Hangry and tired, I went to bed. Boyfriend who had been in the kitchen came in, shocked, "Did you break a bottle?" My hangry can be excessive, but what? Coming out to see the remnants of brown glass in the entry-way, I pieced together the mystery. The fermentation worked! And exploded. At-home brewing guides will warn you of this, and of course, I pay no heed to warnings. If I were a more cautious person, I would have opened the top every day to release the pressure, but I'm a person of excitement and intrigue. I didn't want to check up on it every day; I wanted to leave it and experience surprise and awe at success.
Or lose my rewards in process. The fun part of being a scientist is that failure isn't failure. Failure is information. Failure is, "Oh, these are the things I should do differently for success." And you fail and you fail until one day you discover you've finally achieved exactly what you wanted. And hopefully you've documented the process to know how you got there. So now, I shall try again and perhaps next time I will have better results if not a better story.
And now for why Zero-Water is great.
The Zero-Water is the best water filter option I've found. A 5-Stage filter containing charcoal and high-grade resin -which looks suspiciously like the resin I use at work to get sub-ppb(parts per billion) level contaminants. "Oh, but I read my water report from the county, I know I'm fine." Yes, but that's the water that comes out of their system. Then that water enters a network of piping to travel to your house that's over 50 years old, and as far and we can tell, doesn't undergo maintenance except when there's a problem. As a corrosion control chemist, the pipes in America have me worried. Maybe I'm just paranoid, but by damn, using a water filter seems a small price to pay against heavy metal poisoning or the other crud that may be lurking.