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Beer tragedies

A view looking across Tottenham Court Road towards the Horse Shoe Brewery, premises of Meux’s Brewery Company Limited. 20 Feb 1906.

The Horse Shoe Brewery was the source of the 1814 London Beer Flood when a huge vat within the brewery failed, resulting in over 323,000 imperial gallons of porter spilling into the surrounding streets. Nine people died as a result of the flood. Eight of these deaths were caused by drowning or the effects of falling debris from damaged buildings. One person died the following day from alcohol poisoning.

It is National Beer Day in Britain!

I bought one of those mini kegs of a nice beer to celebrate and somehow buggered up the opening. I can’t get any beer out of it. I twist the thing, it makes a gentle farty noise and a little dribble of bubbles sizzles out the top.

I will persevere.

You, on the other hand, can probably stand down. National Beer Day in the US is April 7 (anniversary of the signing of the Cullen–Harrison Act, which legalized the sale of weak beer. First crack in Prohibition). The day before is known as New Beer’s Eve.

Have a good weekend!


Comment from DurnedYankee
Time: June 15, 2018, 9:05 pm

Hey, that’s a photo from MY model train set! Are you peeking through my windows again Jim Comey!

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: June 15, 2018, 9:39 pm

I had not heard about the great beer flood, but I have heard about the Great Molasses Flood in Boston.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: June 15, 2018, 10:43 pm

National Beer Day? “Day” is singular?

Every day is Beer Day!

Well, every day that isn’t already rye whiskey day or plonk day is beer day.

Comment from ExpressoBold
Time: June 15, 2018, 10:55 pm

@ Skandia Recluse
How droll! You could have at least typed “Boston says… ‘Hold my beer’!” 21 dead, 150 injured and I’m not kidding! (January 15, 1919)
Regale yourself with these other “flood disasters” and pay attention to the image which declares
Darwin’s Natural Selection
5% Alcohol ~ 500ml


Comment from Ric Fan
Time: June 15, 2018, 11:21 pm

Children drown. 🙁

Comment from Cantharkmycry
Time: June 15, 2018, 11:38 pm

And then there is the great Cheese and Butter Fire in Madison Wisconsin, ably hymned by Lou and Peter Berryman in their ballad “Pflaum Road.” (Sadly, there is no youtube).

Comment from ExpressoBold
Time: June 16, 2018, 12:11 am

@ Cantharkmycry:
YT must have just added it…

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 16, 2018, 10:25 am

Yes, the Molasses Flood was legendary, when I worked near Boston.

Also, there was a bourbon fire in Tennessee once. The bourbon flooded the crick and the crick burned. I forget the details.

So, I really appreciate all you beer drinkers who did not, in fact, shout at me that THE TAP IS ON THE SIDE, YOU MORON — THE THING ON THE TOP IS A RELIEF VALVE.

I am grateful for your tact.

Comment from Cantharkmycry
Time: June 16, 2018, 10:51 am

@ ExpressoBold
Thank you! Haven’t listened to that one in a while … not, perhaps, one of their better efforts. But it sticks in my mind because of the fire, which I’d never heard of before.
Fascinating topic, food disasters … hope folks keep ’em coming

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: June 16, 2018, 12:18 pm

@Cantharkmycry – Don’t forget all those unfortunate people who fell into the food coloring vat and dyed.

Comment from Cantharkmycry
Time: June 16, 2018, 2:34 pm

@ Uncle Al

Comment from Steve Skubinna
Time: June 16, 2018, 3:52 pm

Or the lens grinder who fell into his machinery and made a spectacle of himself.

Comment from J. S. Bridges
Time: June 17, 2018, 3:20 am

You’re quite welcome for the tact – hope you (and – maybe – Uncle Badger) enjoy the beer…

@ Uncle Al – We Shall Remember – OTOH, maybe those folks can be re-born as Easter Eggs…

RE: The Great Boston Molasses Flood – I heard that the commonest joke at the time was to ask: “So – howcum you yelled “Fire!”, when the tank went bust?” – to which the answer was, of course: “Well, now, and who would come if we was to yell “Molasses!”, I ask yez?”…

That one works well enough – suitably-altered, of course – for The Great Beer Flood, etc…

Comment from Anonymous
Time: June 17, 2018, 11:20 am

OT, but here’s how you catch a badger:

Courtesy of ace.mu.nu Saturday Overnight Open Thread (6/16/18)

Comment from drew458
Time: June 18, 2018, 11:13 pm

Can’t get the beer out of the mini keg? Are we talking a 5 liter job, the kind with the rubber stopper on top that has a plastic bung in it? And sometimes a pouring tap on the lower side? Push the bung in – it’s actually made for a little tap to be pressed in, but most of them these days just have the tap valve on the side. But you have to open the bung to get the air in. If it doesn’t have a side tap, and you don’t have the proper kind of mini keg tap, which has a long hard thin plastic cylinder that you press in to the keg, press the bung in anyway, then get a hand tool, pliers work, and tear the rubber stopper out. Good snips can cut it in half first, which makes it easy to remove. Then all you have to do is slosh it into a big mug, or figure out how to make a siphon.

Sadly, by now the beer is probably warm and flat. Which is exactly how the English like it IIRC !! So fret not. There is a fix.

Alas, if it isn’t a 5L keg, I can’t help you.

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: June 19, 2018, 12:37 am

I’d call up who ever sold it to you and ask them how to open it. You’re not the first nor the last who screwed it up.

Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: June 19, 2018, 5:46 am

323,000 imperial gallons… in one vat???

1 IG = 4.55 liters. 3.23 x 10e5 x 4.55 = 1.47 x 10e6 liters = 1.47 x 10e3 cubic meters.

How big would the vat have to be? 5 meters deep by 19.4 meters across. It would weigh over 1,500 tons.

I can’t imagine any brewer in his right mind building such a thing. Think how long it would take to fill it (and at this time, all the pumping would be done by hand or animal power). Then there is the risk of a batch going bad. Who’d want to risk so much at a time? And how would one prepare and monitor such an enormous load? Stirring hops and yeast into it would be a heroic feat. And it would make production very jerky; one would want much smaller batches finishing daily or half-daily, not one enormous batch twice a month.

I call bull—-. Although the Great Beer Flood was a real event, it can’t have been from the failure of a single vat, or it wasn’t that big.

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