Monday, July 25, 2011

Week 24

Monday: I was still pretty exhausted from my weekend of fishing, but I pressed on. We did malting again first thing in the morning. This time we were looking at germination. The rootlet formation was good and we checked the moisture content.

Malt sample


After that we had a 3 hour lecture titled Staff Management. It was supposed to be about leadership but it was a bit more like a motivational lecture. We talked a little about business structure but most of it was about who is in control of your life. It was actually a pretty nice talk. We have most of the day Thursday to continue the conversation. After lunch we had our final lecture with Dr. Zepf. He talked about yeast propagation, then spent some time telling us material to study for one of our final tests. We ended the day with another check on the malt.

Tuesday: Again we checked the malt in the morning. The modification was looking good based on the length of the acrospire on the malt. We then started the kilning process.

The acrospire is almost as long as the kernel.

 After that our group piled into the van again and drove to Salzburg to the Stiegl Brewery
We were helping with the brewing of a Roggenbeir brewed on their 10 hl. pilot system. They do special beers every month on this system. This particular recipe was special because all of the rye used was grown and malted just south of Salzburg. The recipe also had about 50 % rye which we thought might cause a problem in the lauter but they managed to make it work. While there we also got to try a few special beer they had produced. They had a great way that they aerated the yeast and not the beer. I may try to play around with that in the future. It involved a spray ball on a wand and a hose. After the brewing we had dinner and some beers in their beer garden before returning to Munich where we were greeted by an enormous thunderstorm.

The pilot brewhouse


Sampling the wort

A zwickle sample of their Vienna lager

 Wednesday: We spent the first couple of hours finishing up our malting. With the malt ready to go we just needed to clean off the rootlets and bag everything. We also ran a bunch of samples to see how we did. In the end we slightly over-modified the malt, but that's not a bad thing. If you were doing an infusion mash, this would be a great pale malt to use. The experience was really fun and I learned a lot more about malting. It would be fun to have a small pilot malting box to play around with.

Results of the Friabilameter

After the malting we went straight to the cellar for some filtering. The other group of our classmates had made a pilsner that had all sorts of problems with the fermentation and really tasted very strange. The idea with our filtering was to see if we could remove some of the stranger flavors by not only doing a D.E. filtration but also adding active carbon. We set the filter and got a really nice flow but alas the beer could not be saved. The active carbon is pretty amazing. It pretty mush stripped out most of the color and flavor leaving a watery diacatyl ridden liquid. It was very very strange. We decided to dump it. Hopefully we will have something else to filter next week.

Kyle steaming the filter

Dosing in the active carbon
The day was not not totally shot though. A couple of us went back to my place to do some studying. We also enjoyed a bottle of Cantillon Iris. This beer is different from a lot of their other beers in that they don't use unmalted wheat, just malted barley and they use fresh hops along with a dry hopping dosage in the barrel. It was very good.

Thursday: Our Staff Management lectures continued with almost 8 hours of sitting in the class. It really is an interesting discussion we were having. It has diffidently strengthened my drive to find a different work environment when I get home. Talking about all the ways to lead people, manage them, and generally just go about getting your job done helps to solidify my displeasure with the job I will be going back to. That said I have a new outlook on how to deal with the problems there and of course I am actively seeking brewing work so hopefully my time there is very limited.
After the all day lecture we had our final Styles Tasting with Dr. Saucher. He did a review of all of the styles we have talked about over the past 4 months then we ended it with a tasting of northern German top fermenting beers. We had a Muhlen Kolsch and a Pinkus Alt. The Alt was nothing like any other Alt's I have had. The color and bitterness were very low for that style. The Kolsch was a nice though with a slightly fruity/estery note to it along with a bit of SO2 in the flavor.

Left: Kolsch Right: Alt

 After class we had another BBQ. It was another nice time chatting classmates and eating great food. This time the beer was a little better because we had the beers we bottled last week so there was a pilsner, an English mild and our IPA.

Friday: Friday was a sobering day. We had 4.5 hours of microbiology review for our tests next week. One part was to identify 20 different samples. I did not do as well as I would have liked to but the weekend of studying helped.

Saturday: Study study study. Next week we basically have four exams. I was least confident about the microbiology exams, but after studying them most of the day Saturday I feel much better. I plan on one more session of studying the material on Monday.
After the long day of brain training a group of us went out to eat then decided to do a fun experiment. I had a few dopplebock's in my fridge and I wanted to do a blind tasting. Chris also had some that he added to it. There were four of us, Duncan, myself, Duncan's girlfriend Amy and Chris. Amy poured all the samples so we didn't know what was what except for her of course. We tasted them all, then secretly decided which was worst (6) up to which was best(1). Afterwards we compared the results. They were actually a little surprising. The Camba beers were both bourbon barrel aged so they were pretty obvious and not very good. All in all it was a fun experiment. I can't wait to try this more at home. Taste panels are really good for breweries and this is just one way you could see how your beer stacks up to the competition.

Duncan:                           Amy:                                Chris:                                   Sean:
1}Andechs                      1}Andechs                     1}Celebrator                         1}Riegele
2}Riegele                         2}Salvator                       2}Riegele                              2}Celebrator
3}Celebrator                    3}Camba Heller Bock    3}Salvator                               3}Salvator
4}Salvator                        4}Camba Dopplebock  4}Andechs                               4}Camba Dopplebock
5}Camba Dopplebock    5}Celebrator                  5}Camba Dopplebock              5}Camba Heller Bock
6}Camba Heller Bock     6}Riegele                       6}Camba Heller Bock            6}Andechs

Sunday: Study study study. This time I concentrated on the technology side of things as well as studying malt analysis and malting and brushing up on my calculations. I also did a brief review of yeast propagation and beer styles. This part of the test I feel fairly confident in. On Monday I will see how educated I really am. Then on Tuesday I will see how good my knowledge of microbiology is. It will be nice to have all the tests behind  so I can start getting ready to go home. I am ready.

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