Monday, April 4, 2011

Week 8

Monday: Well the first school day in Germany was incredible. We took an S-Bahn train two stops down and walked about 20 minutes or so to school. Classes start at 9:00am  and we were all still pretty jet lagged. We had a welcome orientation with Michael Eder for a couple hours. We then learned all the computer passwords we needed, then it was lunch time. Doemens has an Austrian woman who cooks every day. For about 5 euros you get an incredibly hardy meal. After lunch was a beer style tasting of Helles, which is the light lager of Munich. After this we worked on all the brewing calculations and malt milling that we needed for the group who was brewing the next day. Later in the evening we went to Augustiner Keller for dinner and a beer.
Helles, Light Helles, and Export Helles

Tuesday: The class was split into two groups. One was going to be brewing beer, and the group I was in was doing microbiology work all day. This was in exciting for me because this is an area that I really want to expand my knowledge in. We spent the first few hours talking about the the various componants of microscopes and fine tuning ours. We then started plating various yeast, bacteria and other microrganisms.

Ale yeast in bright field.

Lager yeast in dark field and with greater magnifiaction

Lactobacillus Brevis

Wednesday: This was brew day for our group. Both groups were making a Bavarian Hefeweizen. We started the day by adding our malt to the mash tun. It turned out that there was some mistake made in the weighing of the grain and both groups had more malt then what we had calculated. Also I noticed just before dumping a bag of malt in that it was milled very finely. This seemed odd to me because we were making a wheat beer and high protiens in the wheat's cell wall can tend to gum up and cause the lauter to "stick", and generally be a big pain in the ass. None of the instructors seemed to be too worried about it so we pressed on. The brewhouse at Doemens is fully automated. This was a neat chance for us to really see what benefits automation can have in the brewhouse and to learn the vernacular (even if it was in German) of the automation system. Thir system is a 4 vessel system, so there is a mash tun, lauter tun, kettle, and whirlpool instead of the the combo systems commonly seen in smaller setups.

We were told that because of the design of the lauter tun that run-offs can take a long time. Our's got "stuck"...imagine that. The worst part was that the rakes in the lauter tun failed, after trying to manually raise them we ended up just having to wait it out. At a ceratin point a gravity reading of the wort showed it to be very high. The was a small discussion where some students wanted to make a strong wiezenbock with what we had verses adding water to dilute it and reach the gravity we were aiming for in the begining. My thinking was that we do what it takes to make the beer we set out to make. It was more of a learning excersize that way. In the end that was what we did and the beer still turned out high, but that was mostly because of the extra malt and not having enough space in the kettle to make up the difference. Doemens has two cylindro-conical fermenters, and two open fermenters, with maturation happening in horizontal bank style tanks. We transfered ours in to an open fermenter, cleaned up and got out of there. With the extra lautering time it turned out to be a 10 hour day and we were pooped. Later that night a group of us went to the Lowenbrau Haus and had some food and beer. After that we went to a Spaten Haus and had one last liter. It was a nice ending to a very long day.

Open Fermenter

Maturation tanks

Thursday: We started the day with Sensory Evaluation, which was mostly just a lecture on quality control through sensory panels, good stuff. We then did another styles tasting this time with Pilsner. We tried three different types, one being the original Pilsner Urquell, the next being from Bavaria, and the last one Astra being from Hamburg.We also had a pale bock in this case it was Hofbrau's Maibock.

We then spent three hours with Klaus Ritter discussing Chemical Technical Analyses, which we will have more of next week. We ended the day with Dr. Zapf talking about flavor charcteristics of fermentation.

Friday: Friday is pretty cool at Doemens, you get out at noon. We did another Sensory Evaluation lecture, this time really concentrating on off flavors, we then did yet another Styles Tasting. This time it was dark beer. We had an Augustiner Dunkel, Kloster Andechs Dopplebock, Lowenbrau's Dopplebock, and Kostritzer's Swartzbeer. After class got out we went and had a nice lunch at place near school. They had a back patio with a stream flowing by. It was very pleasent. Next we headed into Munich and explored the Marienplatz area a little, then went over to the Englischer Garden and visited some of the beer gardens there. We finished the night at a local bar near where some classmates are staying.

The Chinesischer Turn

Saturday: Saturday was a pilgramidge day for me. We took an S-Bahn train (actually two, we got on the wrong train at first) down to the town of Herrsching, south of Munich. We walked through the town and eventually along a wooded path with a beautiful stream, up a large hill for 45 minutes to one of the last monastary brewery's in Germany,  Kloster Andechs. I have been waiting for this trip for a long time. The beer was excellent and the food was ridiculioius, not to mention the view. The Alps were glowing white in the mid 70 degree weather . It was also nice to actually get some sort of excercise. All in all I was on cloud nine.

Sunday: On Sunday the weather was very nice again. We decided to head down to the Marienplatz and really check out the heart of the city. When you are in the a place a like the U.S. long enough sometimes youforget about how old and culturly rich other parts of the world can be. I was a supurb day for walking around. We had a nice lunch where I actually found vegetables in the "land of pork".We walked down and saw the Isar river which was very cool. I saw some big fish, which instantly made want to go fishing. We finally ended up back at the Englischer Garden. When we got there we were absoulty in awe. there were thousand of people out enjoying the weather. We got a few beers and sat and did some people watching.

The Rathaus


All in all it's been a fantatsic first week in Germany.

Auf Wiedersehen.

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