Monday, July 18, 2011

Week 23

Monday: We began our school week by learning more Brewing Calculations. This time we worked on on speise and krausening figures for bottle conditioning. We also ran over figures and flow rates for filtering. The rest of the day we spent in the filling plant getting the system ready for Thursday when we filled 4 different things. One of the pre-requirements was we needed empty bottles. There was a few beers that were made at the school by other classes that were not very good so we emptied them. I believe it was somewhere around 220 cases. It was actually pretty fun. I also got to run the caustic cycle on the filler because I thought to wear pants and boots, and not shorts and flip-flops like some of the guys.

Emptying a lot of beer.

Tuesday: My group had our final brew day at Doemens. We did a Munich Helles. It was a pretty simple recipe. We used Pilsner malt that was malted at the school, plus 2% Cara-pils for a little body on the beer, and 1 kg of Acidulated malt to make up for the under modification of the Pilsner malt. We did a single bittering addition of Hallertau Tradition hops to get to 25 IBU's . The beer came in at 11.21 plato. We were aiming for 11.5 so not bad. We did it with minimal help from Micheal Eder which is a sign that we are learning their system. Too bad we will probably never use it again. The day went very smoothly and quickly.

Robbie & I doughing in.

Hop calculations

 Wednesday: Our day began with us actually starting our malting at the school. We basically just got more familiar with their system which is just a small saladin box used for pilot malting. We are making a Pilsner malt like the other group made. On this day we just did our initial water steeping to raise the moisture content, then an extended "dry steep".

Adding the malt to the saladin box

We spent the rest of the day doing soft drink sensory. It was kind of interesting to taste differences in these kind of drinks. I feel I have a really good beer palate but I have trained that pretty extensively. With soft drinks, which I really don't drink too many of, it was a little different. It all tastes really sweet to me. Not my drink of choice. At the end we got in groups and compared two cola's, then created a spider chart to show how the differences between the two looked.

Thursday: After a short time checking how our malt was coming along we went straight to the filling line. The goal was to fill 4 beers. Unfortunately there was a problem with the bottle inspector. We waited around until a solution was found. We were supposed to start bottling at 9:00am but we didn't start until 1pm. We were able to get it all done is a reasonable amount of time which was great. We ended up bottling a Radler, which is lemonade and Helles mixed, very popular here (yuk). We also bottled a pilsner that Michael Eder had made. Next was an English mild that the other group made and the most exciting for me was the IPA that our group made. We really all put in a god day of work. It was nice to do some physical labor for a change. I forgot how much I like doing that as apposed to sitting around all day.
When I got home that night I opened one of the IPA's to really check it out. It is a pretty nice beer. The Citra hops really come through in the flavor and aroma. I wish it had a bit more CO2, but it's really very drinkable.

Friday: Again we did malting in the morning. After that it was on to Microbiology lecture where we talked disinfecting.

To end the day we had another Styles Tasting. This time the focus was really on ale's. The selection of beers was pretty diverse for the Germans. We had a Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA, a Brewdog Dogma which is a honey and heather beer (yuk), an Old Tom Strong Ale, a St. Peters Cream Stout, a Fullers London Porter and finally a Left Hand Milk Stout. The Old Tom was my favorite. It had a nice sherry like note to it and was just really nice...quaffable as they say.

After school I went back to my apartment to get ready to go away for the weekend. I was heading to Slovenia to fish with my Austrian friend Tom, and some of his friends. There was one slight problem. I ended up missing my train. I had to take another train to Salzburg then catch a later train to Villach Austria where I was meeting Tom. I finally arrived two hour late. We jumped straight into his van and headed to Slovenia. We drove up some crazy mountain roads, peed at the border, got lost, then finally found where we supposed to go. Luce, Slovenia. The staff at the place where we stayed was nice enough to stay up and cook us dinner. This was at about midnight. We also had some Slovenian beer. It was a pretty run of the mill lager, but still good. Slovenia has a pretty good hop growing region, so I hope there were Slovenian hops in the beer.

Saturday: We woke up early, had some breakfast then hit the river. The morning was a bit cloudy but once it cleared up the fishing really improved. I got a lot fish and had some nice alone, in my head time. This felt good because I have really been trying to figure out what I am going to do when I get back to Portland work wise. Having this time to not be thinking about school work really gave me some clarity and what I think will be a good direction for me.

After we finished fishing we hit a tiny road side bar for another Slovenian beer. Lasko is one of the more popular beers there. The first one I had was oxidized. The second was better, again a pretty run of the mill lager, but it tasted wonderful after a long day of hiking and fishing. 

Sunday: We were up early again, had some breakfast and hit a different part of the river. This was lower down and the fish were reported to be bigger. After driving around a bit we finally found a spot. There were 5 of us at this point, which is a little too crowded for me but we soon spread out. I ended up fishing at one spot for most of the day. There were a bunch of really nice fish there and I kept catching them, so why leave?
I caught two really nice fish in row and shortly afterwards Tom came back down river. He was fishing a bank below me when I had heard some strange noises from around where he was. Suddenly I heard a loud crack, and turned around to see a pretty fair sized tree fall in the water. Luckily Tom had moved down stream. We fished for a bit a more, then decided to pack it up. Tom's friend Phillip had had a frustrating day of losing fish but he stayed to try one more cast, and sure enough hooked a monster rainbow trout on a streamer. It was a nice way to end a day of fishing.

On the way back we almost ran out of gas, but finally found some. Then Tom had to drive like an indy car racer on the Autobahn to get me to my train. We pulled up to the train station I jumped out, and had to sprint to get on my train. I made it with 10 seconds to spare. Beyond the crazy traveling, the weekend was one that I will never forget. Slovenia is an amazing place. I really want to take my brother back there because I know what he likes and this would be heaven for him, it was for me.

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