Sunday, February 20, 2011

Week 2

Week two began by us seeing much warmer temperatures, and new instructors. We got the results from our test last week. I scored an 89% which bums me out. I mis-read a big part of the test and ended up missing a bunch of questions. Oh well I still passed with a B+.
Monday: We started the week studying Mashing Enzymes, and Mashing Techniques & Wort Composition with Ray Daniels. I have taken other brewing classes under Ray and really enjoy his teaching.

"old-school" mash mixing
 Tuesday: We had a field trip to Briess Malting Facility in Chilton, Wisconsin. It was a very informative trip. Their malt house is pretty old but they sure do know what they are doing. They were roasting Caramel-40 while were there. It was really neat to pull a sample from the drum roaster and taste the malt. Unfortunately we weren't allowed to take photos inside they're facilities. The bus ride back was filled with a lot of beer drinking, but we still managed to get some good conversation in as well.
Outside of the malthouse
Wednesday: We studied Adjunct Types, Malt Handling & Milling, Cereal Cookers, Lautering, and Mash Filters with John Mallett of  Bells Brewing. That night Sharif and I managed to get some good studying in which was nice.

Thursday: We started off the day doing Brewing Calculations. A fare amount of them were mixing formula's which involved algebra. I haven't purposely done algebra since 1994 so it was a bit of a struggle for me. We also moved through them very quickly and didn't really take time to discuss why were doing what we doing. We also studyed Wort Boiling, wrote a practice essay question on the grain composition and mash schedule of a Bavarian hefeweizen, and finished of the school day with a styles tasting of English, Irish, and Scottish  beers . After class a small group of us went back to our place to study for the test and re-work some of the math equations. I feel a lot better about them now. We will see how the test goes tomorrow.

Fullers ESB
Friday: We took our second test first thing in morning. I felt pretty good about it. I know I missed at least two questions though. We then studied Wort Clarification, Wort Cooling & Aeration, Brewery Effluent, Brewhouse Cleaning & Sanitation, and Brewhouse Lab Analysis.
After class a  few of us decided we wanted to to check out Haymarket Brewing. It is the new creation of former Rock Bottom brewer Pete Crowley. We were geeking out on their draft line, and Pete came by and let us take a look at  how they set it up.They have a regulator to control keg pressure, and one to control line pressure, so they can completely empty the line without losing beer. He ended up comping us for a bunch of food and drinks which was pretty cool. Stand-up guy. They had a fantastic pilsner and a really nice saison as well. If you are ever in Chicago, I suggest checking this place out.

Inside the walk-in at Haymarket
  Saturday: There was a beer festival at the Rock Bottom Brewery called the Polar Beer Fest. It was basically 15 "strong/winter" beers from area breweries. They held it on the roof and the view was fantastic. The weather was cold but sunny. In a cruel twist of fate, the best beer there had foaming problems and it was hard to get the servers to pour it for you. I think the lightest beer had 7.5% a.b.v, and the strongest was 12%. We stayed for 4 hours and had a great time.

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