A few years ago I went through a phase of home brewing. I assume that this is something every man goes through. Though maybe not - why bothering with home brew when you can just go down the supermarket? I eventually gave up on this pastime because of some terrible events.
1. If it counts as a terrible event, all of the wine and beer I made was, without exception, disgusting. I drank it anyway because I had made it and I thought that perhaps, like real wine, it was an acquired taste which, as my palate gained sophistication, I would come to appreciate. This did not happen.
2. In my efforts to make elderflower champagne I had two...ahem...hiccups. Firstly one of the vats acquired a disgusting patina of mould and smelt very bad. This was not a mould which was going to gently convert sugars into alcohol it was a mould which would consume the world and spit out grey goo. It went in the bin and a year later a zombie plague was unleashed upon civilisation. Or not. Secondly, when I did manage to make elderflower champagne and bottle it, all but two of the bottles exploded in our bathroom. The remaining two bottles were opened with caution in the back garden. The first one, when opened, sprayed every last drop I to the surroundings, leaving nothing to drink. The second bottle, opened inside a combination of a large plastic jug and a larger plastic bag, opened explosively and shot the bottom out of the plastic jug. So once again, I failed to capture any of the champagne.
3. Orange juice wine. Yes, it is a thing. It was in my wine making book. It seemed relatively straightforward. I made it. It went into our bijou little wine rack in the kitchen. One morning, whilst Denise and I were enjoying breakfast, we were start,ed by one of the bottles firing itself across the kitchen, spraying orange juice wine as it went.
4. Every time I drank any of my wine it felt a little bit like I was poisoning both my brain cells and my retinae. It may have been all in the mind, but one day when I was having a shower I looked down at the white shower tray and saw a peculiar circular green mark. This was only apparent through one of my eyes and I leaped to the deduction that something had gone wrong with one of my eyes. The night before we had been watching a reality TV show where one of the contestants had had to drop out on account of a detached retina. This is what I thought had happened. I went and explained this to Denise, in a considerably worried fashion, and she sent me off down to the opticians who then sent me tout de suite to the local eye hospital, 2 months later. In the period between seeing the optician and getting my appointment I discovered the wonders of having an evil eye. If I looked directly at the heads of people through my wonky eye it made their heads shrink. Not unlike this...
...which is obviously fun, but not at the expense of losing your vision. I was convinced that my problem was due to drinking toxins associated with my home made wine. So I stopped making and drinking it. Eventually I was diagnosed with a central serous retinopathy which is like a little bubble of fluid under the retina and not a full blown retinal detachment. Middle aged men get them more than other people, nobody seems to know why they happen. They usually go away. But the damage had been done and I stopped making home brew.