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Old 11-23-2009, 05:03 PM   #1
eon
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Default Looking for a mentor.

Hello,

I am new to brewing and am currently looking for a mentor. If there is anyone that lives in chicago or surrounding areas (I live in Chicago Heights) and would like to teach me what they know I would greatly appreciate it. I would like to meet in person.

It has been said to "find the best and do what they do."

Any awesome home brewers out there willing to share the knowledge?

My goal is to start a micro brewery. I am currently selling my dvd collection and anything I can find to buy some home brew equipment.

Ideally I would like to go to http://www.siebelinstitute.com/

but the master brewing program is $19,000

Thanks in advance. I look forward to hearing from anybody with knowledge to share.

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Old 11-23-2009, 05:29 PM   #2
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Not to be a downer...but I'd worry about Siebel's a few years from now. Wait until you perfect homebrewing and can repeat batches consistently before you even concider the workload involved with Siebel. It's a very fast paced school, and you'll need to know a conciderable amount about brewing before you even apply. Get ahold of Keith at Seibel if you really want to know what you're in for.

Opening a brewery always sounds like a blast, but it's more work and less play than you think.

That being said... if you love homebrewing (and continue to do so for years) then brewing commerially might be the thing for you. I'll be starting work at a new brewery in Rockford as soon the guy gets it built. I'm already under the impression, though, that I won't be brewing what I want. I'll be brewing for the Man, and what his customers want.

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Old 11-23-2009, 05:32 PM   #3
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It sounds like you've got some good goals in mind for your future.

One thing I recommend above all else is to get some gear, nothing flashy, and start making some beer. You will get practice, learn lessons, and enjoy the by-products of your education (beer).

It is possible to go from homebrewer to professional brewer in a matter of years. My LHBS owner claims that the people who run a large local brewery (Uinta Brewing Company) learned how to brew from him and still help him out on occasion. I was a little surprised to see that this was true when I went to the brewery on a tour and spoke with some people who confirmed it. Pretty cool stuff!

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Old 11-23-2009, 05:35 PM   #4
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@suthrncomfrt1884, I'm not too concerned about going to Siebel's. I just thought it might help point me in the direction of starting a brewery. My goal is to just DO IT.

More work and less play? Well, I know what you mean, but that can be fixed with the right perspective. I'm looking for like-minded passionate individuals who are not afraid of failure, love craft beer, and want to brew craft beer.

I realize that opening a brewery is a TON of work, but hell with the right people and the right attitude we can work our asses off, make great beer, and in my opinion have fun.

Thanks for your input!

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Old 11-23-2009, 05:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suthrncomfrt1884 View Post
Not to be a downer...but I'd worry about Siebel's a few years from now. Wait until you perfect homebrewing and can repeat batches consistently before you even concider the workload involved with Siebel. It's a very fast paced school, and you'll need to know a conciderable amount about brewing before you even apply. Get ahold of Keith at Seibel if you really want to know what you're in for.

Opening a brewery always sounds like a blast, but it's more work and less play than you think.

That being said... if you love homebrewing (and continue to do so for years) then brewing commerially might be the thing for you. I'll be starting work at a new brewery in Rockford as soon the guy gets it built. I'm already under the impression, though, that I won't be brewing what I want. I'll be brewing for the Man, and what his customers want.
I don't understand why you have to be great at making beer before you go to school on how to make great beer? When I take a math class in college I go in knowing nothing about the math at hand but when I come out of the class I know tons more about it.
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Old 11-23-2009, 05:47 PM   #6
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I've heard that you need to love selling more than beer making if you start a brewery. You need first and foremost to find distributors for your brew. Equipment is really expensive and to get a license you need to be brewing more than X gallons/year where depending upon the state can be as much as 10k gallons...

I bet many of us would love to have a microbrew so yours is not an uncommon dream. I would recommend reading John Palmers book, getting into home brewing as much as possible, start with extract kits, find out which styles you like, move on extract with grains, partial grains and finally all grain recipes and see if you are still as in love with the process as you think you will be with your own brewery. All the time remembering you will have to sell your beer and that is the part that will keep the owner of the brewery the most busy

You can find a mentor or several right here. Just start brewing and start asking questions!

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Old 11-23-2009, 06:00 PM   #7
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For mentors, I'd guess Chicago woudl be an excellent place to find them. I know Randy Mosher lives in that area, and although I'm not saying he would mentor you, I know that he is a member of a homebrew club, and I'm guessing there are more.

Get yourself into a homebrew club and attend brewdays. Get your stuff and start brewing. Read as much as possible. Practice, practice practice.

Brewing on a large scale is a bit different because the equipment is usually different. Plus the brewing job requires a TON of cleaning. Also, when you brew big, your failures cost big.

As I understand it, most people going from homebrewing to brewmaster usually take the route that travels through cleaning and assistant.

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Old 11-23-2009, 06:03 PM   #8
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Also, if I was going to go to school for brewing I would go here..

A real university. You will come out with a BS instead of a cert and you could get grants to do it..

http://oregonstate.edu/dept/foodsci/undergrad/fermopt.htm

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Old 11-23-2009, 06:11 PM   #9
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Or apprentice, and clean clean clean clean clean clean clean (and sanitize more than that).

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Old 11-23-2009, 06:31 PM   #10
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Thanks to everyone for advice so far. very helpful! Let me make a few things clear:

I have a vision. I have a dream. I would like to brew great beer and start a business doing that (like three floyds and dogfish head).

I may not be good at brewing yet but I am looking to put together a team. I cannot do this alone. Together we can make it happen.

So maybe instead of myself going to get a degree in fermentation science, I can find somebody who is already passionate about brewing and start a company with them.

I'm not trying to sound lazy. I want to brew as well. My main goal, my main vision is to put together a team of people that are very passionate and WANT this dream to come true. Together through hard work and great attitude, we can brew great beer and make this happen.

Not to over simplify but if together we create a great beer, there is only one more obstacle in the way: money. I'm sure we can find a way to make this happen too.

So i am looking for people to brew with and are ready to create something great. To have our very own three floyds. To do what we enjoy, have fun, and get paid doing it.

I have read an interview with Sam Calagione and he talks about his starting out. He said that he was 25 years old and had a degree in writing (not science). He did not know what to do with his life and then he decided he wanted to start a brewery.

I take my inspiration from his story. Let's create some great beer. Let's drop the excuses and the stories and the fears and let's bring this great beer and passion to the people!

I apologize if I sound ignorant or arrogant. Thanks for listening to my rant!

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