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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Community > General Chit Chat > Average Joe to Brewing Pro - My two years of brewing school.
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Old 09-27-2012, 01:00 AM   #31
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I've been enjoying reading your posts. Thanks for the updates.

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Old 09-27-2012, 02:20 PM   #32
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Congratulations! I'm very happy to have found this thread for it is my dream, too, to attend your school! I actually just submitted my application as an international student (I'm from the U.S.). I'm curious, how many international students are in the program?
Thanks for the kind words, I am glad to hear you have applied. There are a few international students, a couple from the new york state / buffalo area. How did you find the application process? Have you had to submit your portfolio yet? If you have specific questions about the program or how my application process went shoot me a private message.
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Old 09-27-2012, 02:21 PM   #33
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I've been enjoying reading your posts. Thanks for the updates.
Thanks for reading!
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Old 09-27-2012, 02:47 PM   #34
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Solid updates - keep 'em coming!

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Old 09-29-2012, 09:11 PM   #35
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First brew day

I am falling behind on my updates, for that I am sorry. It has been quite a busy and exciting week for me, with my first day in the brewery getting to use the pilot system. The day started off at 8:30 with the eight of us in my group meeting outside the brewery. Soon we were told that we would be the first group from our year that gets to do a brew on the craft system. This means that everyone in the group gets a chance to brew, and we were all very excited about that.

First things first, we went to the barn behind the brewery to grab the malt we needed, as well as several cases of bottles as there would be bottling work to do as well. Once we acquired the necessary materials we returned to the brewery to be split up into our groups for the day. The way it worked was four people would get to brew on the larger craft system, while two groups of two would get to brew on the pilot systems. As I was near the top of the list I got assigned to one of the pilot systems along with three of my classmates. Some people may think that this is disappointing, not getting to use the larger system, but in reality the pilot system is where we will be doing most of our brewing throughout our time at the school and it is the only system we will be tested on later in the year.

For our brew we were making a basic pale ale to be hopped with bertwell hops harvested from this years hop harvest and dried out. The previous groups to brew (week 1 and 2) used different hops (fresh hops from the harvest on week one, and hops harvested last year for group two). We will be doing a side by side comparison of the beers in sensory evaluation to see the effect different hops can have on a recipe. Although our recipe was basic enough, learning the pilot system proved to be quite the challenge. There are lots of valves and switches and hoses, as well as all the dreaded (but necessary) tri-clamps to go along with them. With Jon’s supervision we managed to mash in okay, and I got a heck of an arm workout stirring the mash. Although not a large system, there was certainly enough grain for me to break a sweat. My group had a little trouble maintaining the proper mash temp (would have helped if we opened the steam valve, like we were supposed to) so we ended up doing a small addition of hot liquor to keep us around the required levels. After the mash comes the vorlauf, which is the process of running the wort over the grain bed in order to clarify it. The process took us about 15 minutes as we were doing it at a bit of a reduced flow rate. I had never done a vorlauf in my home brewing, so this was a new experience for me. It was interesting to see the difference in clarity from the start to the end of the process.

After the vorlauf comes the lauter, where we drained the wort from the mash tun into the kettle and sparged the grain bed to remove any of the remaining sugars. This took another 20 minutes or so. There is downtime during the brew process, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing to do. There is ALWAYS cleaning to do. Always. Once we were sure all our sweet wort was in the kettle it was time to start the boil. Following our recipe, we were to boil for 45 minutes with a hop pellet addition at the beginning of the boil, and whole hops to be soaked at 0 minutes and let to sit for 10 minutes in the wort.

Luckily our teaching brewery has a heat exchanger so cooling the wort down to fermentable temperatures was quick and easy, and we were able to do a quick transfer from kettle to fermenter by rigging up a very elaborate system of hoses. Now that we were done with the brew it was time to clean, and sanitize, and clean, and sanitize and clean some more. Once we were assured our system was spotless we moved on to cleaning kegs for the rest of the day.

All in all it was an awesome day, I learned a lot, but had a bit of information overload so I’m sure I’ll forget half of it by the next time I’m in there (three weeks and counting!). I guess I should try and volunteer this upcoming week, to get some more time in the brewery under my belt. Until then, I will continue to study the brewing process and work on some assigned projects.



Cheers,
Eric

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Old 10-03-2012, 02:27 AM   #36
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Monday I received a slew of test results, and I must say I am quite happy with them. In math of finance I got 97.77% and my professor requested that I become a peer tutor. Anyone who knows me and my history of schooling is now probably laughing so hard that they are out of breath. In brewing ingredients I scored 78% on our first major test. Not bad, but I look forward to doing better in the future.

Today my class brewed what is going to be our graduation beer. We decided to make a Russian Imperial Stout and it will age in a bourbon barrel from now until we graduate in 2014. It will be interesting to compare the beers we can make then with this one we made now, which is essentially our first ever brew. For anyone who is in the area, an un-aged version will shortly be available in the school's retail store.

No other major developments at this time, lots of assignments to get started on however, so I will be keeping busy.

Cheers,
Eric

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Old 10-16-2012, 06:48 PM   #37
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Well, it’s been some time since I had much to say about whats been going on at the school, as we settle in to a routine it becomes a bit more difficult to find exciting stuff to write about. Perhaps all the coursework has made me reluctant to take free time to sit in front of a computer screen, but I feel it is time to get back in to it, so here it goes!

This week we were supposed to have our first midterm, in Brewing Ingredients. There is a ton of stuff to review as the test is cumulative of everything from day one up until now. I spent a good chunk of the weekend typing up notes, reviewing, studying, reviewing and typing up notes (get the idea?). Sunday night rolls around and we get an email from our professor saying that the midterm has been pushed back. This is both good, and bad news. I am happy that I didn’t have to write it yesterday, as I don’t think I would have done as well as I would have liked, but now we have no set date for the midterm. It would have been nice to have it done before our reading week break, which is coming up next week. I guess it will be just one more thing to work on over the week.

Today we are going to be doing some review in Sensory Evaluation for our midterm which will be the Tuesday after the break. As we have yet to receive our flavor standards the test will be solely on the theory we have learned so far. How to set up a tasting panel, the different kinds of biases, and perhaps the proper process to evaluating a beer, as taught to us by our teacher.

We have several papers due this week as well. One for sensory evaluation, where we were given a case study of a brewery and some complaints they were receiving about their beer. We were each assigned a complaint to investigate and tasked with finding out the source of the problem and identifying how to fix it. The problem I was given was that some customers were wondering if its normal for the beer to smell like Parmesan cheese. As this beer was not, indeed, a Parmesan cheese beer, this was certainly a problem. A little bit of investigation proved that the brewery was not storing their hops properly, allowing them to age and oxidize, which allows Isovaleric acid to do its thing and create the cheesy aromas. The solution? Proper storage and monitoring of the hops. The brewery was not storing their in a cold room which was speeding up the process. Next, I finished up an essay for workplace communications, and started work on two other midterm papers due this week.

The upside of this crazy hectic week is that it is once again my turn in the brewery, which is good, because one of the midterm papers I have to write is on how to properly use the pilot system in the teaching brewery. Although I did get a chance to use it three weeks ago I am in dire need of a refresher on the subject. This week is also special because we have been invited to attend the Ontario Craft Brewers Conference this Friday in Markham, Ontario. The OCB was kind enough to invite us and give us free admission, and I am really looking forward to attending the conference and meeting some people in the industry, as well as taking notes during the lectures. Yes I will be taking notes, no I am not ashamed!

Over the reading week I have two major assignments to work on, once of which, on hop products, will be due as soon as we get back to school, so no slacking off for me.

This has been a large general update on the goings on at Niagara College, but I will soon be doing some course related updates for those interested in the day to day teachings. Stay tuned for more!

Cheers,
Eric

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Old 10-17-2012, 04:47 PM   #38
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Good luck on the mid terms!

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Old 10-17-2012, 06:12 PM   #39
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I'm in mid terms right now at uoguelph. **** I just want to brew

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Old 10-17-2012, 08:43 PM   #40
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I'm in mid terms right now at uoguelph. **** I just want to brew
You going to the hip show in feb?
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