Day 183

It’s brewery day on the craft side, which means doing other stuff once the beer is mashed in.

That other stuff was filling some kegs with wheat beer (some blueberry, some not), and then heading over to spot Martin on the keg washer. And we achieved this for a brief, shining moment:

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No more dirty kegs!

Semester 1 Wrap Up

I suppose that I should finish writing about the old, first semester before talking about the new shiny second semester.

General Education Courses:

Communications
I could have done better in this, but technical issues during my final assignment made me crazy. 90 is still pretty respectable though. The textbook was only referenced once or twice, and even then it was not critical information. Happy I was able to sell it back to the bookstore.

Computer Applications
No, I didn’t ace this, but came close. The way the software is set up, you have to use a specific method to complete a task. I decided to skip a few questions on the tests rather than invest a lot of effort into learning another way to do things.

Math of Finance
Good class on problem solving and how to use a business calculator to do the heavy lifting. Nestor was a great teacher, engaging and passionate about his subject.

Brewmaster Specific Courses

Ingredients
I did not do well in this course (by my personal standards), and failed the final exam in spite of working my ass off to create study notes and flash cards, and studying in every spare moment. I ended up with a 70. I loved the content, and learned a lot, but if there was ever a course that needed a text book for reference and self-learning, this is it. There is nothing I can write about the teaching style and assessment methods that won’t sound like a petulant teenager unhappy about her grade, so I’ll just leave it by saying that as an educator for over decade, I had issues with how the information was disseminated and how the learning was evaluated. Moving on.

Sensory
One of the most useful courses. I joked with my friends about how it doesn’t suck to have to drink beer in class, which is true. It also didn’t suck to begin to build up a taste vocabulary, to taste the differences between the hops, between malts, to begin to understand and play with flavours. I loved the experimentation with spices and fruit, and the assignment on how to add different elements to beer was interesting and informative (except for the part where I ruined a pot when I let the star anise mixture boil away. Oops.)

Introduction to Brewing
Class time was used to host a variety of guest speakers from various breweries and supporting industries, which was invaluable in terms of getting real information and advice. The assessments were based on readings from the textbooks, and were a bit vague when compared to what I had to complete for every assignment. I did well on them as soon as I stopped stressing out and second-guessing what the prof wanted, and just wrote something. Some of my classmates thought the recommended textbooks “near useless”, but I found them be full of good information in an easily-accessible question-and-answer format.

Basic Practical Brewing
Loved, loved, loved this. What’s not to love about spending a full day in the teaching brewery, learning and using the equipment to make beer? Sure, there are crap jobs to do, but honestly, you don’t mind keg-washing and being sprayed with beer after about the 10th time *grin. Seriously, hands-on is the best way I learn, and this was all about being hands-on. Lots of opportunity to ask questions of guest brewers, and the staff brewers, Rob and Tanner, are amazing. The written assessments feel like a bit of an afterthought, but still relevant and useful.

Day 63 – Tuesday, Nov 4

I know I’ve said it before and will likely say it every week until I graduate, but the day in the brewery really is my favourite day.

My group was on the pilot system making a holiday beer called I’m Dreaming of a Wit Christmas. It is, as you might have guessed, a Belgian Wit with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and citrus added to it. It’s funny, I was feeling pretty confident that I knew the system after the Pilot SOP midterm assignment, but it didn’t take long for it to remind me that I’d only been on it 4 times. Mistakes were made and corrected. I sprayed myself with hot AND cold water, and got Martin a few times too. Confidence deflated.

It was a good day though. There was lots of laughter and conversation, and that’s never a bad thing.

Day 42

Brewery day! I <3 Tuesdays!

It was our turn on the pilot systems, where we made a historical Czech beer called Pivo Grodziskie. It was made entirely with smoked wheat; I am intrigued by what this is going to taste like.

As well as brewing, we were putting the finishing touches on our midterm for this class where we were asked to create a Standard Operating Procedures manual for the pilot system in under 500 words. My editing skills got a real workout – my initial draft was about 1200 words. I gave up at 507 words (a copy is here if you want to see just how spare my writing can get when it has to). They said nothing about pictures, so I added one to make it easier to understand. Did I mention that we were getting marked by our peers as they use our instructions to make beer in upcoming classes? Yikes.

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The unlabeled pilot system