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Old 04-05-2012, 03:58 PM   #11
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Don't get me wrong, I love this site. There is a lot of good info here, but there is a huge difference between people saying they know what they are talking about and pros actually knowing what they are talking about. If I had the time and money I would do it.

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Old 04-05-2012, 05:00 PM   #12
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To me, the value depends on the design of the course. You have to consider that it is a week long course. If it's a lot of hands on brewing, tasting, sampling, etc. during the week, then it may be worth it. You're obviously going to learn some things. They would be providing all of the ingredients. In my opinion there's no substitute for experience when it comes to the brewing process. But, if it's a lot of classroom time, it wouldn't be worth to me. If that's the case, I'm likely not going to learn much from a series of lectures that I haven't or couldn't learn from a book. At least not $2k worth of information.

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Old 04-05-2012, 05:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mux View Post
Every class there is expensive. But look at the instructors. They have big names.
i think i'd shell out the dough to hang out and glean some wisdom from those guys...mosher alone has to be worth that!
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Old 04-06-2012, 04:11 AM   #14
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The fact of the matter is that whether you're looking at Siebel, UCDavis, or American Brewers Guild, they all have a couple of things in common. First and foremost, they are really targeted at people interested in working as an Assistant Brewer, Brewer, or Masterbrewer at an actual brewery. Secondly, they all provide a great training environment and get very in depth (most of the professional-level brewing courses have prerequisites that include difficult courses like calculus and organic chemistry), so are not intended for hobbyists. Thirdly, all three of the major training centers mentioned above state pretty clearly that their training is NOT A SUBSTITUTE for actual brewing experience. UCDavis's site actually points out that your personal homebrewing should increase in frequency while taking the courses, not be substituted by them. The focus is more on the brewing process and economics and less on recipe formulation. Finally, thanks to the success of the craft brewing revolution, these programs have become very popular and admission to most is booked full and closed a year or two in advance.

If you want to become a pro, go for it. If you want to be a better homebrewer, you have much cheaper options that will probably be more tailored to what you're looking for. Various options include:

  • freely downloadable online books and papers
  • hard copy books at libraries or to buy
  • many homebrew shops offer courses in certain topics
  • join your local homebrew club
  • attend a few homebrew competitions/events and TALK TECH
  • visit your local brewery/brewpub and see if the Brewer can talk
  • online courses, such as Cicerone and BJCP programs offer
  • brew, brew, brew some more, brew again, rebrew, perfect a recipe (not just new brews every time!)
  • enter competitions and READ YOUR SCORESHEETS
  • listen to BN shows: Brew Strong, Can You Brew It, Sunday Session, Home Brewed Chef, Jamil Show
  • free podcasts: MoreBeer Monthly, BeerSmith Home Brewing, Basic Brewing Radio/Video
  • Charlie Bamforth's book "The Art and Science of Brewing" is purchasable as a podcast as read by Charlie himself - WELL worth the purchase price to hear the book in the author's own voice!
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Old 04-06-2012, 04:51 AM   #15
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I agree....that seems like a lot of money for a one week homebrewing course. I am sure the instructors are great..but information is information. Much of it can be gained via books, podcasts, and the internet. The hands on experience is really what you are after but how much can you learn and digest in a single week?

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Old 04-06-2012, 12:08 PM   #16
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It depends on what you want to get out of it. I took the class there in Chicago last summer and I loved it. I was an extract brewer looking to make the jump to AG. Additionally, I was/am planning on picking up a B3 Brew Sculpture so I was interested in first-hand experience of using the equipment. I do much better learning in a classroom than I do finding time to focus myself and read up on the biology and chemistry of brewing of which I don't have that background from my current career. I was looking to see what the Siebel experience would be like and whether or not I'd be interested in attending one of their Pro programs. Finally, I've never been to Chicago and this was a birthday present to myself.

I agree with what @revolutioned stated. Homebrewing is about fun but I was looking at the long game. I've invested enough money into gaining the knowledge to make not just good beer but great beer. I wanted to be taught by veterans so that I can learn from them and not from my own mistakes or at least minimize the amount of mistakes so that I'm not wasting my money today.

I was taught by Ray Daniels & Randy Mosher who are just incredibly smart guys. Chris White came out and did a yeast lab with us. Chris Graham from MoreBeer did a whole afternoon on their tippy dump full digital system hosted by Doug and Tracy at Metropolitan Brewing. We did sensory evaluations and style tastings. I met a bunch of great guys and a girl from all over the world who I keep in touch with. We went out on the town hitting up brew pubs and checking out the local beer bars each day. As @DarkBrood mentions, it's not a substitute for your own experience but being there in person was worth it for me.

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Old 04-06-2012, 12:57 PM   #17
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I think if one were to look at it as a "Fantasy Beer Camp" the 2g's seems reasonable.

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Old 04-06-2012, 01:09 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enhoffer-Knopfe View Post
I think if one were to look at it as a "Fantasy Beer Camp" the 2g's seems reasonable.
right - that's what i'm thinking it sounds like- plus it's hard to ask a book questions
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Old 04-06-2012, 03:32 PM   #19
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That's what forums are for...

Forums can answer questions that the pros can't (see example in my last post).

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Old 04-06-2012, 04:27 PM   #20
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not to diminish any of the knowledge on this or any other forum, openly and freely dispensed and debated BUT forums maybe can answer some questions that some pros can't, but the internet doesn't know everything (though don't tell it that). Forums are certainly valuable, as you have access to a whole lot of experience and ideas that no one person would have access to, but there is no common brain behind all that info and knowledge focusing it to a direct answer to your question. I think that the experience and the first hand accessibility to the folks on their roster would be of great value. If you owe your bookie ten grand and he's sending a legbreaker to come collect, the class might be a waste of money. If you have the bills to spare- i think it sounds like a great time- i'm jealous!

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