I'm here to tell you that inside a concrete warehouse, it sounds like a major explosion, and can mangle the coffee can it is sitting in.
CO2 expansion can do pretty scary things, even if you are standing behind the forklift to watch...
The secretary in the front office threatened to kill me after she got over her fear that I had just killed myself.
Well I'm certainly glad no one was seriously injured. I'm also really looking forward to Franconia's imminent, limited release "Fermenter Hopslosion" once they collect all the spilled beer.
"A man comes from the dust and in the dust he will end-- In the meantime it is good to drink whiskey."
HAving brewed for a living and being a distiller you have to be careful with co2. Not only will it build pressure and blw stuff up, it will kill you. I have seen one person knocked down by it. Even in low doses it has a narcotic effect with a nasty hangover. We open top ferment and we have sensors that constantly monitor the air in the distillery and it is linked to an air sytem to ventilate the building. And belive me it helps. When I left at 6 it was kicking on every 5 minutes or so. Looking at that video that fementer had no pressure relief valve. All closed fementers have a vent on them that is hooked to a hose that sits in a bucket of santizer that lets the co2 bubble out and lets no air get back in. But everyone I have ever been around had a safety valve that would pop off if for some reason it got clogged. It could be somebody clean and sanitized the tank and did not uncap the vent and hooked the hose to it. Fermenters are not rated for much pressure at all. I would imagine that if it was closed off, as big as it was, in a days time of fermenting, it would explode. At least it sounds like everybody hurt will be ok. But I would hate to be the owner of the brewery.
I was there with StraightNoChaser - it was LOUD! Lots of free beer, however it was all on/in my clothes (and it was the lager).
There fermenters DO vent into buckets with of sanitizer, and they have numerous valves/controls on the front for draining/filling.
As of this morning, the exact cause was still not determined - they'd had the fire department and other local inspectors on site (along with the owners) trying to figure out the cause.
They are dealing with insurance, repairs, getting electricity back on, permits to re-build, etc. - no tours for the foreseeable future, but Dennis (the owner) seems in decent spirits and appears hopeful they'll rebuild.
It turns out the two people most seriously injured don't work there (we all thought they did for some reason), but both are out of the hospital and visited the brewery today. One's got a ways to go before he's fully recovered, but seemed in good spirits (according to Dennis' Facebook post).
Very scary experience - and as was said earlier, it's a miracle nobody was killed!
Latest update from their Facebook
Befor the weekend another quick update. We had engineers, and state in. They are working hard on the exact cause. The tank will be picked up and closer looked at it. it looks like at least two things came together and hope we will get clarification on it.
We where working hard this week to get back Brewing and we did brew today and will continue all weekend. Quick Reminder no tour for the next two to Three weeks. Construction will take some time.
Greetings are going out to the two people Injured. They came by this week and we wish continues healing.
Thanks for the continued updates SNC. Certainly hope the people and the industry get stronger as a result of the investigations.
Franconia will reopen for tours today!