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Old 06-25-2013, 04:13 AM   #1
jeffjjpkiser1
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Default UCSD Extension Brewing Certificate program

For those of you interested in the new certificate program being offered at UCSD you better be prepared to be disappointed. The program seems to be on the right track but the person overseeing the program is so disorganized that its going to have some clear issues.

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Old 06-25-2013, 04:16 AM   #2
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Just can't stand disorganization when you spend money to send and provide transcripts. A successful program is when you have your act together.

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Old 06-25-2013, 03:46 PM   #3
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Sorry to hear you are not having a good experience with this program. I think they were a bit overwhelmed from the start. Did you go to any of the information sessions? There where at least 300 people at the first one and I think there where three more. They said for the first cohort they would be only accepting around 25 people. And I assume a lot more people who did not go to the information sessions applied.

I got it to this first cohort and start classes Saturday, Im very curious to see what the class size will be like, if they accepted 25 or more people for the first group.

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Old 07-09-2013, 03:24 PM   #4
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Just a little up date on this. Right now there are +/-40 people total in the introductory class, and ~30 people in the wort production class. I start the ingredients class thursday, and it is in the same room as the wort production class, so there will be a max of ~30 people in it. As for the format, the classes are very dense, and there is a lot of very good process information that as a home brewer is not a big concern, but on a large scale brewery is essential to consider. If you are still interested I'd highly recommend re-applying for the coming quarters, I can imagen there will be a more people applying than space available for this program for quite a while.

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Old 08-02-2013, 01:57 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bsquared View Post
Sorry to hear you are not having a good experience with this program. I think they were a bit overwhelmed from the start. Did you go to any of the information sessions? There where at least 300 people at the first one and I think there where three more. They said for the first cohort they would be only accepting around 25 people. And I assume a lot more people who did not go to the information sessions applied.

I got it to this first cohort and start classes Saturday, Im very curious to see what the class size will be like, if they accepted 25 or more people for the first group.
How is that course working out for you? I live in the SF bay area and I am trying to decide whether to attend UC Davis or UC San Diego for their beer programs and I am really torn. Just the idea of moving to San Diego is a huge bargaining chip, plus the fact that it includes and internship is really interesting. The program at Davis is only 18 weeks but it's way more expensive. It's also well established and has an emaculate reputation. If you would please elaborate on your experience at UC San Diego's beer program I would greatly appreciate it.
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Old 10-11-2013, 02:02 AM   #6
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I also started the program in June...

As far as jeffjjpkiser1's comments: I agree it may have seemed to be a bit disorganized at the start. I think they may have been caught off guard with the number of applicants. All in all I didn't experience anything too bad, I just chalked it up to the fact that this is the first time...

I found out about the program by chance about a week before the deadline to apply, so I started the process of getting my transcripts sent over right away. The pre-reqs for the program were similar to what I remember reading a few years ago for the Davis program. I haven't had my mind blown yet, but I'll update if that becomes the case. I got my degree in Electrical Engineering from UCSD so I'm kind of lacking on the microbiology/chemistry side of things.

Class sizes have been about 25-30 people like Bsquared said. Tons of information in these classes, and I'm learning more and more each time. I'll break down each one below.

UC Davis definitely has the reputation and you can't go wrong there. I know once you are done there you'll go on to take the Institute of Brewing and Distilling exam. At UCSD I don't think they're sure whether we'll be ready or not just yet (no way to tell until someone actually graduates), but I may take it anyway. You'll definitely be getting a quality education and your money's worth at UCSD though.

The classes that I've taken:

Overview of Brewing Science and Technology:
Taught by Yuseff Cherney of Ballast Point:
This class was essentially the intro class and was only 3 weeks long. It's a breakdown of how a brewery works and what the program will cover. Final exam was at the Ballast Point brewery, which Yuseff gave us a detailed tour of. Yuseff puts on a good class and doesn't just read power point slides like some professors I've had. He is also the one running the technical side of the program.

Wort Production and Recipe Formulation:
Taught by Mitch Steele of Stone Brewing:
This was a 6 week course and I wish it was longer. This class was how to run a brew house. This class put science behind all the processes and Mitch made sure to highlight all the critical process control points. The tests were challenging, if you didn't study and actually understand the notes you'd be having a hard time. The class was straight forward in the sense of 'this is what you need to know and why'. Mitch was an excellent teacher and I really hope he stays with the program.

Raw Materials and Malting:
Taught by Lee Chase of Automatic Brewing, Tiger! Tiger!, Blind Lady Ale House, and previous head brewer at Stone:
This was a 9 week course that highlighted the malting of barley, hops, water, yeast, adjuncts, etc. You got what you put into this class. The assignments would be along the lines of 'give me 500 words on X', so if you took the time to read and learn you really got a lot out of it. We also got broken down into groups and assigned a beer style, that he chose, to brew. We had guest speakers for water (Johm Wammes), one of the hops classes (Matt Brynildson), and a scientist from White Labs talked about yeast. Lee had tons of information to share about his experiences, which was just as good as the class content itself.

Sensory Evaluation:
Taught by Gwen Connelly of Port/Lost Abbey:
We've only had 3 of the 9 classes, but it's good so far. Gwen will lecture for about 1-1.5 hours and then we move into the actual training of learning to taste and smell. In the last class we drank a bunch of beers spiked with different off flavors which was unpleasant but very educational. Gwen seems to really enjoy teaching and has high expectations for us. When someone said they were taking the course so that they could become a BJCP judge she told us that was a given and that we'd be beyond that by the end of her course... I'll update when I get my robe and gavel.

Yeast and Fermentation Processes:
Taught by Chris White of White Labs:
Only had one class so far, so there isn't much that I can say. Chris obviously knows yeast and he seems to give a good lecture, I'll update.

Hope this helps.

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Old 02-21-2014, 02:53 AM   #7
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JungleTim that was an awesome recap. Can you update again since its been a few months? How is everything else going?

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Old 04-26-2014, 07:23 PM   #8
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Yes, sorry it's taken so long... I've started writing this a few different times, but something always seems to interrupt me. There may be some confusion in past/present/future tense since some of this was written weeks ago.

On Thursday (4/17) I will be starting the Finishing Practices class with Nick Cain from Ballast Point. It covers the beers journey from the fermentor to the package. My Old Lady has already taken the class and she really liked it, so I'm looking forward to it. I promise it won't be another 6 months before I update again, I've read so much on this site it's time I start contributing something... We've had two classes now. Class one we covered the basics of what finishing practices are in a brewery and how they impact the beer. Nick brought in some Sculpin straight from the fermentor and then some in a bottle and there was a world of difference between the two. For our second class we had the head brewer from Gordon Biersch San Diego come in and detail his lagering process and the head of QA from Karl Strauss come talk about dry hopping and cask beers. We also have a group project and presentation we'll have to perform based on our visit to a local brewery.


Back to the classes I've taken:

Sensory Evaluation:
Taught by Gwen Connelly of Port/Lost Abbey:
This class ended up being amazing, Gwen really knows her s**t. It was 9 weeks (that is: 9 3-hour classes) of palate training. We even had a day where we profiled different ketchups, or catsups depending on the maker. We also profiled many of the beer styles (yes, that is the fancy way of saying we got to drink beer in class) and learned A LOT about detecting all the different off flavors and what may have caused them. Gwen had different aroma and taste exercises for us pretty much every class, which was great, and gave us a few profiling assignments. After taking this class I went and took the BJCP online exam and it was almost laughably easy, I didn't realize the hardest part of getting your BJCP qual was waiting for a spot to take the tasting exam.

Yeast and Fermentation Processes:
Taught by Chris White of White Labs:
This was another 9 week class, which ended up complementing the Sensory class very well. We'd discuss various fermentation byproducts in yeast class, and then go taste them two days later in the sensory class. This semester the classes are on the same night, so those students are missing out I think. The microbiology wasn't mindblowing, but I recommend at least knowing what a cell is beforehand. One of the required books for the course was "Yeast" by Chris White and Jamil, which is a book everyone should read. We spent two classes at White Labs learning proper lab procedures and techniques for mixing solutions, counting cells, plating cultures, etc. We also went over selection of yeast strains, managing multiple yeast strains, using a multiple yeasts in one beer, yeast washing, and whole bunch of other yeast related topics (sorry, it's been a few months)

Technology of Brewing:
Hosted by Yuseff Cherney with about 6 guest lecturers throughout the course:
I actually missed the first two classes of this course. I ended up getting the swine flu followed up with a nice pneumonia-like lung infection afterward, it wasn't the two weeks off work I wanted... This course really helped fill in a lot of the details about the workings of a brewery. We covered equipment selection (pumps, valves, tanks, fittings, piping/hoses), waste water management, chilling systems, brewery design, brewery layout, control systems and automation, water filtration systems, bottling and packaging systems, and all the QA equipment needed (and a recommended order you should progress with some of those purchases). This worked out well with Yuseff teaching the course and bringing in all the experts in each field. He went through all the growing pains bringing up Ballast Point, so he had A LOT of lessons to share from what he's experienced and the mistakes he's made in the past.

Barrel Aging:
Taught by Tomme Arthur of Port/Lost Abbey and Patrick Rue of The Bruery:
This was my first elective course, you need to take two credits of electives and this was worth one. This class was on two Saturday's from 9am-2pm, with about an hour for lunch. The first class covered spirited barreling and the second class covered sour barreling. Tomme and Patrick tag teamed the lecture going topic for topic, the flow was good and time seemed to fly by. They both fielded non-stop questions and were real cool about it, Patrick was hilarious. I didn't know much about barrel aging before the course, so this served as an eye opener to a whole other side of the brewing world to me. We covered a barrels entire life, from creation and charring of a Bourbon barrel that may one day be used for beer (if the brewers can get their hands on one) up until the beer is pulled from it, we also covered the same process for the sour side which usually uses wine barrels and involves cleaning the barrel beforehand and inoculating the beer with Brett/Lacto/Pedio... Now it's time to outfit the garage with a rack for barrels. Oh, how could I forget? We got to sample about 8 different beers in each class. The first week was the spirited beers, so it ended up being hammer time real quick. The beers weren't as strong the next week, but were just as amazing. I pretty much had an entire Duck Duck Gooze to myself and split a Melange #1 and Melange #9 with the people directly around me, good thing my old lady was taking the class with me and lost the pre-class coin toss. I think the amount of beer I drank more than covered the cost of the course.

Note on the program in general:

I'm definitely getting a good education, the instructors and guest speakers are all at the top of their game. I actually think the program should be harder than it is though, it's too easy to get an A...
...That is except for one course: Malting and Raw Materials taught by Lee Chase. I think this is the only course held to a proper academic standard. There was a lot of writing in this course where you had to demonstrate your knowledge and show that you really understood the material. The assignments may have seemed open ended (give me 500 words on X), but like I said before, you got what you put into this class. Sometimes I spent an hour or so reading different books and articles online just so I could put together an intelligent sounding conclusion. If more of the classes were taught like this then I think taking the IBD exam after graduation would be in much better reach... So why do I mention this class? First off, I got a B, which I accept because I half-assed it on a few things. But secondly, A LOT of people spend their time complaining up and down about this class like they're trying to win an Oscar for most dramatic performance during a brewing class, stating that somehow it's not fair that they got a C. I just sit there and think, "Yes, you are right, it's not fair. The school didn't enforce the pre-reqs and now a more qualified person is sitting at home while you sit here and complain."

The administration of the program could be better. The Marine in me has a real hard time with this sometimes, but I just follow some of the best advice I've ever gotten and relax with a homebrew, no need to worry about something I can't control. It's the first time around for the program and they need to work the bugs out.

I should be wrapping up the classes this summer and starting my internship in the fall. No clue where it'll be yet, but I'll update. All we know right now is that it'll involve at least 120 hours. After that it's on to finishing up the details on my business plan and get going. I can't really afford to go from Electrical Engineer to working in a brewery, so I'll have to go all in and start my own.

Question/Comments/Complaints? Let me now

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