Monday, March 14, 2011

Week 5

Monday: It's hard to believe I've been here this long. Monday we started our 2 week study of  Packaging and Process technology. We started the day with a Packaging Overview for a few hours with Gary Grande, a 23 year veteran of the Miller Brewing Company. Jen came and met a couple of us for lunch at the Goose Island Brewpub. Afterwards I had to say goodbye because she was leaving later that day. It was so great to see her, but the visit was way too short. after lunch we went on to study Gases In The Brewery, Valves, and Production Line Design. One really scary thing Gary showed us was a bottle with a "birdswing" , which is when a thin strand of glass goes from one wall of the bottle's interior to the other. The really scary part is if that breaks, and someone tries to drink it. I guess newer bottle making process' have made this pretty rare these days.

Bottle with "birdswing" 
Cutaway of a ball valve
Butterfly valve

Tuesday: We had Michael Eder from Doemens Acadamy there to lecture us on Labeling Processess, and Inspection Technology for most of the day. We then piled on to a bus for a tour of the Goose Island Production brewery. It was a great tour. The group I was in even got to try fresh wort from the whirlpool plus of course finished beer as well.. They were very gracious hosts.

The Brewhouse
D.E. Filter
Bottling line
Wednesday: We started  the day with 3 hours of Bottle Washing. This doesn't have as much meaning to us in the U.S. because unlike the rest of the world, we don't reuse bottles. We then went on to study Bottle/Can Filling, and Small Brewery Filling systems.

Bottle Filling Head
Can Filling Head

Thursday: Thursday was all about Kegging Systems, Packaging Materials, Process Materials, Process Troubleshooting, and a practice written assignment, which is really just practice for our final exam which is in essay form.

Friday: The day began with our weekly quiz, then the class was taught about Mainntenance Effectivness, Hygenic Design/CIP Cleaning, Pasteruization, and P.E.T. Technology and Applications (plastic bottles).

Saturday: I met up with a classmate and his wife and we got on a commuter train and headed south to Flossmoor Station. We were told that we could then get a taxi from there to take us 12 miles away to Three Floyds. This turned out to be hard to do on the day all of Chicago was celebrating St. Patricks day and all the cabs were tied up. We ended up finding a super nice couple to give us a ride. We bought them a few beers when we got there, then they took off. We stayed for a few hours and enjoyed some great beer, house made jerky, and some dinner. When we went to try to find a cab back to Flossmor, we found out that was also not so easy. Our waiter overheard us and said he would give us a rid back to Chicago. When we got back into town we went to the Twisted Spoke and had a few more beers. I then decided to go home, but I was told the night got crazier....

Sunday: The sickness that has been spreading like wildfire in our classroom finally caught up with me, so I laid pretty low most of the day. Later in the evening I had a great homemade dinner of corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes all cooked in stout with my friends Fred, Laura and their son Miles. It was a great way to wrap up a busy week.

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