Monday, February 28, 2011

Week 3

Monday: The week long study of yeast began. I was excited as this is an area of brewing where I have a lot of interest. We started with an Introduction to Microbiology, then on to Yeast Morphology and Brewing Yeast Characteristics. It was straight up bio-chemistry, but I really enjoy this stuff. It's really amazing the things that happen beyond the scope of the human eye.

Tuesday: After a snowy walk to class we continued the "yeast week" with Yeast Nutrition, Yeast Metabolism, and Yeast Cultures/Propagation. The metabolism part was fascinating. If you are interested in metabolic pathways check this out. We also did a styles tasting where we tasted "American style beers" which started with Michelob and ended with Russian imperial stout.

Wednesday: We studied Yeast- Physical Behavior, Fermenting Operations and Yeast Flavor Compounds. It was mostly a day talking about flocculation. Cool stuff.

Thursday: We covered Yeast Quality Management, Yeast Genetic Characteristics, Yeast Handling/Management, and we had a written assignment where we had to write out the differences between yeast viability and yeast vitality. We then had to write three tests used on both and finally what the "gold standard" test was for both. Then were split into groups where we all compared what we wrote, and collectively put down what we all thought the answers were on a large sheet of paper. Finally the various groups all presented what they had come up with. This was all basically practice for future essay assignments, and group presentations. After class we had our bi-weekly study session at our place.

Friday: We had our weekly test. My "study buddies" and I studied hard for two days this week and Sharif and I studied an extra day. We were all feeling good until we got the test and it felt like of all the stuff we had studied, the test covered very little of it. At first I was kind of mad while taking the test, then I realized there was nothing I could do about it and I needed to just give it my best. I feel like I did alright, but we will see next week. The interesting thing is that almost everyone in the class felt the same way about the test. We covered a lot of material this week and it's damn near impossible to memorize it all. To make maters worse the rest of the day was not easy on the "ol" brain. After feeling pretty mentally drained from the test, we went on to study, Dry Yeast Production and Yeast Nutrients. Then we had two hours of Genetic Techniques: Yeast Identification & Detection of Contaminants. This was absolutely mind numbing. It was was straight up genetics that I  know very little about, and I will probably never do any of these tests myself . While I do fell it is good information to know, it was mostly covering methods that only trained lab personnel could perform, and on incredibly expensive equipment but what can you expect from a school who's parent company is a yeast company. We finished the day/week covering Processing Aids & Cellar Additions. This was a pretty interesting and useful two hours but naturally most of us were spent.

 After class a group of us went straight uptown to Hopleaf. I have been trying to get to this place for awhile, and it was worth the trip. The place was packed but we managed to score a couple of tables for our large group. The beers I had were Netebuk Saison, which was unbelievable, Bockor Cuvèe des Jacobins Rouge, which is probably one of my favorite Flanders Reds, Cantillon Gueuze, which is just heaven in a glass, and finally Brasserie La Binchoise's Belgoo Magus, which is a really nice well balanced Belgian Pale. I really like this style of beer. The best part is all these beers were on tap.

Saturday: Saturday was a day to just relax. We watched some football (soccer),  went and had some brunch and then came home, did some chores and watched a movie....very relaxing.

Sunday: This was another chill out day where we went to brunch, studied for awhile and had an early dinner at Revolution Brewing. I had their First Year Beer which is brewed with dark chocolate and black malts and hopped with Falconer’s Flight hop blend. I have heard of these hops but never tried them in a beer. It was nice. Basically a CDA, mixed with a porter. I also has their Oatmeal Stout, and their Robust Porter. All very well made beers.

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