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Old 11-28-2012, 12:01 AM   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m_c_zero

Lol... Sorry, you can have your thread back now.
Haha I was waiting for someone to comment on that.

I have officially moved from tipsy to mild drunk. Ha a few wheat beers ( ayinger, hoegaarden, and a home brew) now on to the Tripels. La Fin Du Monde, from my native Quebec and La Trappe, an official Trappist beer from the Netherlands.

I will have to keep the drinking going to avoid an early evening hangover.
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:41 PM   #72
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Well it has been a long time since I last updated this thread, I got caught up in school and part time job having and to be honest didn't really feel like writing down my day to day. Anyhow, I have some spare time now so I will try and give a general overview of my second semester thus far. Beware, wall of text will follow!

This semester is supposed to be the most difficult one of our two years at the college. The class load is pretty heavy, including courses such as Brewing Microbiology, Brewing Chemistry, Packaging, Equipment, Sensory evaluation and Communications.

I will be the first to say that I have serious trouble with science related courses. For whatever reason I just seem to have trouble getting all the information in my head. That being said I feel like the microbiology course has been the most important course we have taken so far. We are learning all about quality control practices and how to do various tests on our yeast. So far we have covered the basic stuff about working with lab equipment and have done some labs on streaking plates to culture yeast, as well as Gram staining to try and identify different bacteria cultured from various spots around the brewery. The lab portion of the class is great but we always take more than the allotted time, which means our professor has to rush through the lecture half of the class that comes after. This is problematic for me because I have trouble keeping up at a tortoises pace, never mind the breakneck speed we go at. They say slow and steady wins the race, but as I just had my mid term in the course yesterday we'll see if that holds true.

Chemistry so far has not been my favorite course, I find it to be a little disorganized and a lot of the time I'm not sure how what we're learning has anything to do with chemistry. The teacher is a great guy though, and the course seems to be picking up steam so I look forward to continuing on with it after the break.

Packaging. What to say about packaging? Even the teacher himself said on the first day of class we are going to hate him because this is the worlds most boring subject. There may have been some truth to those words. As much as I may complain about it the fact remains it is an important subject to learn, and our teacher has so many stories from the industry that he always manages to keep it entertaining. The vibe I get from this class is that bottles are the devil, and apparently we should just go ahead and get rid of them, as cans are safer, cheaper and better for the overall quality of the beer. They also provide more surface area for branding and cost less to ship (lower weight). There are about a billion things that can go wrong on a bottling (or canning) line and I am starting to get the feeling that I should take a general mechanics course to supplement my learnings at the college.

Sensory evaluation this semester has put more of a focus on the different kind of tests we can set up for panelists in order to properly run a solid quality control program. We haven't tasted any exciting beers yet, but the good ol' off flavors have made a re-appearance. Hooray. The class this semester is at 8:30am on Monday mornings, and let me tell you, there is nothing quite like warm spoiled beer to wash away memories of your weekend and bring you back to the reality of schoolwork.

Communications this semester is a much better course than last, as it is tailored specifically for our program. During the first half of the semester we have worked on developing media kits and press releases, and in the second half we will be learning how to write a business plan to present to potential investors. One of the most interesting courses to date (that doesn't have to do with brewing, mind you).

Practical brewing is still on Wednesdays, and still only once every 3 weeks. I am feeling much more confident in the brewery this semester though, and am really enjoying the time I get to spend in there.

That about sums everything up so far for this semester, next week is our reading week and then we'll have just seven weeks left until year one is over. Many of my classmates have already secured summer positions at a wide range of breweries and I myself am waiting to hear back from a few in the area. I have also been fortunate enough to secure a spot to write the Institute of Brewing and Distilling brewing modules exam this summer, taking place on the 4th 5th and 6th of June. The school has recently become a testing center and as such they will be footing my bill for the tests!

As always, I welcome any questions about my coursework or the school in general. I will be checking back here more frequently, I forgot how much it helps me to write down whats been going on in school.

On a side note - any brewers in the area should shoot me a PM, as we are starting up a homebrew club in the upcoming weeks and we would love to have as many people as possible!

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Old 02-20-2013, 10:56 PM   #73
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Good read, glad to see how things are going.

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Old 02-21-2013, 02:59 AM   #74
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I had wondered what had become of you since there weren't any updates since Nov. I was starting to think that maybe you fell into an industrial-sized mash tun and couldn't get out!
Glad to hear things are on the up & up!

Edit: on a side-note, do you get summers off? Or is it a year-round program?

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Old 02-21-2013, 03:06 AM   #75
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I had wondered what had become of you since there weren't any updates since Nov. I was starting to think that maybe you fell into an industrial-sized mash tun and couldn't get out!
Glad to hear things are on the up & up!

Edit: on a side-note, do you get summers off? Or is it a year-round program?
Haha well it wouldn't be unheard of! I don't really have a good reason for not keeping up with the updates, but I will try and do better now!

We have the summers off, but we are expected to get an internship in the industry somewhere. Most people end up at some brewery or other, either bottling, brewing or other various tasks.
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Old 03-27-2013, 04:32 PM   #76
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Looks like it's time for another of my sporadic updates!

I would like to start by congratulating Dudius and MoreHops on their acceptance to the Brewmaster program! Dudius will be joining us at Niagara College and MoreHops will be part of the first year at Olds College, where we have just started up a sister program!

For whatever reason the school has been near empty over the past few weeks, I don't know if motivation is running low or people have decided to extend their vacations by several weeks - but at least parking has been easier!

In the brew program all is well, the work flow is constant and now with the end of my first year coming up I have to start all the projects that I've been putting off for weeks. In Microbiology we have been learning about yeast propagation and how to up-culture yest from a single colony. Although labor intensive, this allows us to learn the methods necessary to continuing our yeast throughout multiple generations, instead of purchasing new yeast every time we need to pitch. There are pros and cons to both options, and not all breweries have the knowledge or capital to invest in lab equipment. Unfortunately my group was not able to get in the lab as often as we needed to due to other classes being scheduled, but our yeast grew happy and healthy anyways. They grow up so fast, those little cells.

In communications we have started working on our business plans, it has been interesting to see the dreams of my fellow classmates and what they would like to open in the future. I am currently torn between a fictional brewpub and a fictional nano-brewery. Cost wise a nano brewery would certainly be cheaper but with less potential for profit down the road. Decisions, decisions!

In packaging we are working on our final projects - designing a packaging line for an assigned brewery. I have been assigned a 70 000HL/yr Barbados brewery. Since our assignments are all based on actual breweries a little research turned up Banks Brewery in Barbados, which appears to be the only brewery of this size in the area. I have sent an email to the company in the hopes that they will share some information about their packaging line. In other packaging news we were fortunate enough to have a presentation from Sebastien Delgado, the VP of sales for Krones in Canada. He missed the class by about 30 minutes, but there were a few of us in the campus pub when our teacher brought him down to have a few beers so a few classmates and myself were able to pick his brain about packaging and the future of the industry. Very intelligent man, and super friendly to boot!

Our equipment teacher has been absent for 3 weeks at this point, he is off in P.E.I. helping to open a brewery, so we have had guest lecturers for his class. Most recently we had a representative of DME manufacturing come in to talk to us about brewhouse design and automation. DME sure seem to know what they are doing, and I got the impression that they would be a great company to buy from. Next time I have 500 000$ lying around they can expect a call from me.

Next week will be my last week in the teaching brewery for the semester. We are being given a list of things that need to be accomplished as well as a recipe to brew and then we are on our own to complete the tasks. It will be interesting to see if the 8 of us in the brewery can work together to get everything done on time. I am confident it won't be a problem.

In other news I have received my review package for the Institute of Brewing and Distilling exam. To give you an idea of how much information there is to go over, the syllabus is 54 pages by itself. There are going to be some late nights reviewing, I can already tell.

Niagara College was featured on the Rick Mercer Report this past week (think Canadian Daily Show or Colbert Report) and some of the students in my class were shown in the brewery, but mostly it was second year students. We are all there in the end though, for the final hoorah. If anyone is interested the video can be viewed here:


Most of the students in my class have jobs lined up for the summer already, which is fantastic news! All in all the semester is going well, but I am looking forward to working over the summer.

Cheers!
Eric
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Old 04-04-2013, 07:36 PM   #77
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Does this mean Morehops and I will be sisters? Either way I'm excited for September.

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Old 04-10-2013, 02:12 AM   #78
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Keep the updates coming, love learning more about how a formal brewing education works!

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Old 04-13-2013, 12:40 AM   #79
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Does this mean Morehops and I will be sisters? Either way I'm excited for September.
My Johnson precludes me from being your sister. I would, however, be happy to be your brother!

Am pumped for Sept too!
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:17 PM   #80
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Just read that Butler's Bitter from the Niagara College Teaching Brewery won Gold for the English Style Pale Ale (Bitter) category at the Canadian Brewing Awards. Was that your class, Eric? If so, that's ultra-awesome! Congrats! If that wasn't your class, that's still super-awesome for your school!

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