Day 203

It was a short Equipment class today; there’s no way CIP* could take up three whole hours. After last week’s recap, Ray was able to cover the remaining 50-odd slides in about an hour and a half, covering how CIP works (mechanically, chemically and sterilizing), the stages (Pre-rinse, detergent, final rinse, sanitize), how long it should take, what temperature is right for each brewhouse vessel, etc. We also got into a discussion about spray balls.

Not the sexiest class every, but probably one of the most necessary.


*CIP = Clean In Place, where you clean the equipment where it is, because taking apart everything in the brewhouse after every brew would be an enormous time suck and PITA**

**PITA = Pain In The Ass

Days 168 to 175

Sick. So very, very sick.

I woke up on Tuesday morning around 3 with that distinctive gargled-with-broken-glass feeling caused by strep throat. I headed to a walk-in clinic where it was confirmed, I bought a doctor’s note and went home to email Ray that I would be missing the Equipment exam.

What followed is a week of just generally feeling like shit. I think I managed to sleep for 5 hours straight one night. I made it in to write the Packaging exam on Thursday, but had to bail on the Sensory. I rescheduled them with the test centre for Monday, but was coughing too much to actually be able to write them. They’ve now been put off (again) to next week when school starts back up.

I went back to the walk-in clinic where I saw another doctor who said, no that’s not what you have, and gave me a different prescription. After starting it, and getting a fairly decent night’s sleep, I now just feel like I have a cold. I never thought I’d be happy to be coughing and sneezing.

Pretty happy this has cleared up, as The Man and I planned to head out tomorrow for a beer and cheese road trip to NY (Ommegang), Vermont (Alchemist, Lawsons’s and Hill Farmstead), and Quebec (Dieu de Ciel, Trou du Diable). The trunk is going to be full!

Day 147

I don’t know what to say about today’s equipment class. While pumps, steam and glycol are necessary, they aren’t very sexy or interesting. Which might explain why I have retained so little.


Day 132

Today’s equipment class was all about pumps and flow. Laminar flow vs. turbulent flow.  Pressure, suction and discharge. Liquid head and head pressure. Cavitation. Seven different types of pumps that could be used in the brewery. I knew that we had all become professionals when Ray talked about tube head and choking back pressure, and not one of us so much as smirked. Or at least not where anyone could see it.

Days 126 and 127

Tuesdays are going to be difficult, in that it might be difficult to motivate myself to head the half hour to school and the half hour back for one class. Especially a class that ends at 6:30. I’m telling myself I’ll head in to St. Catharines early and go to the gym.

Yeah, right. I’ll let you know how that works out. Might be helpful if I go out and buy running shoes soon.

Yesterday was the first Equipment class, and we started with electricity (AC and DC), generators and induction motors. I kinda sorta almost knew it before; now I’m really just confused. Time to take a spin through Khan Academy or How Stuff Works to fill in the blanks.

Today was the first brew day as a second semester. Today was also the day I learned to that it is important to watch the temperature when vorlaufing, as you will get a stuck sparge if it drops too low, causing the grains to gelatinize. I also learned how to fix a stuck sparge on the pilot system.

We brewed a single-grain, single hopped Irish red. The hops were a hybrid from Clear Valley Hops, and we were all encouraged to spend some time comparing it to other hop varieties. The consensus was a Saaz varietal, or another noble hop.  They have a different colour and texture to other hops, more yellow and resin-y, which we attributed to Clear Valley’s cold pelletizing process. They smelled great, lots of lemon and pepper with some resin in the backend – the beer should be lovely!