Day 184

We looked at decoration in Packaging class, ie labeling. there’s a lot of information has to be put on a small space, from product & manufacturer information to health, regulatory and/or religious info. All aspects of labelling were covered: paper & glue composition (must adhere, but still be able to be removed easily especially on reusable bottles), printing and dye-cutting (finally, an aspect of brewing I know something about!) and the machines used to apply them. I will admit to zoning out a bit during the machinery discussion, as I was very busy sketching out an idea for a label for my beer that I haven’t made yet.

Sensory was next, after a walk in the sunshine between classes. So many cool places to explore near school! I headed to Woodend Conservation Area and stomped around in what remained of the melting snow and tried to stay out of the puddles as I walked around the old house and looked out over the lake.



But I digress.

Today was several of my favourite styles, English Brown Ale, Porter and Stout. I discovered I like the sweeter Southern English brown better than the drier Northern one, and that Dragon Stout (Foreign Extra Stout) tastes just a fruity and delicious as I remembered. We did not get to the American or Russian Imperial categories, which goves me something to look forward to next week.

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!

Days 162-164

Day 162

My team was on the craft side today. After mashing in a batch of Campus Ale, we were distributed to various other jobs in the brewery. I spent the day looking at the keg washer and getting much better at not getting sprayed with stale beer when attaching the hoses.

My view.


Day 163

First up was All About Pasteurizers in Packaging. Rob talked about the differences between a flash system (beer is pasteurized and then packaged) and a tunnel system (beer is packaged then pasteurized). I’m thinking that this is something I won’t have to worry about ever in my dream brewpub in Melbourne, but it’s good information to have.

Victor worked to catch us up in Sensory before the exam. We finished up BJCP category 18 (Belgian Strong Ales – yum!) and then moved on to categories 1 (Light Lagers), 2 (Pilsners), 4 (Dark Lagers), 6 (Light Hybrid Beer) and 7 (Amber Hybrid Beer).

I tried to explain to my taste buds that judging is not about personal likes and dislikes, but they were still most unhappy about having to move from the rich and complex flavours in Belgian Dubbels and Tripels to the significantly less complex lagers, pilsners and cream ales. I cheered them up by picking up a bottle of Westmalle Dubbel on the way home.

Day 164

Today we split our team into two so we could get through the experiments quickly. Alberto, who has more of a science background than Mat and & put together, started the Gram stain lab using samples collected from the teaching brewery and grown on agar plates. This is a method to help identify microorganisms that one might find in the brewery.

gram stain
Alberto using a Gram stain method to identify yeast (upper right), cocci (lower left) and pediococcus (lower right)

While he worked on that, Mat and I did the chem lab, and made Belgian candy syrup. An error was made on my part (apparently I can’t learn unless I make mistakes. sigh.) and the temperatures were switched between our with-lye and without-lye samples. This led to the lye sample becoming very thick with a burnt-caramel odor, and the no-lye sample not achieving the colour and taste range it was supposed to.

belgian candy
Belgian candy syrup, light, dark, and burnt.


I’ve decided that my next home brew is going to be another go at the Bourbon Dubbel and make my own Belgian candy sugar to add.

Day 135

Alas, I was bedridden yesterday, so there was no Day 134.

Well technically, there was still a day 134, but I wasn’t in the teaching brewery as I was home in bed. I’d prefer not to say what was wrong with me; we’ll just agree it wasn’t pleasant and leave it at that.

So on to day 135.

Packaging was all about filling lines and filling line planning today and understanding what a V-graph is. I am still trying to wrap my head around it; the left side kind of seems like it would be like this:

I’m thinking though it represents capacity, rather than actual. Otherwise, every filling line would be like an I Love Lucy episode. And that can’t be right.


We started on BJCP styles in Sensory. Victor led us through samples of Styles 1 and 2:
Pilsner Urquell for style 2b – bohemian pils
Bitburger for style 2a – German Pils
Spaten for style 1d – Munich Helles
Dab for style 1e – Dortmunder export

I know they are all good representatives of their styles and have their merits. I am just not that keen on them anymore.

Day 128 and Beer Club

Two classes on Thursday; packaging and sensory.

The first packaging class was all about the history of liquid containers, then looking at the pros and cons of glass and aluminum bottles, cans, kegs, casks and PET. Lots of information, 98 PowerPoint slides worth. We didn’t get through it all, as Rob shared a lot of anecdotal information that he has gained from experience over the years.

I feel that the most important slide was #7, that this is one that knowingly or unconsciously I’ll be coming back to the most:

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 10.59.02 AM


Sensory class was next, with a new professor. Victor is a BJCP judge who I met briefly while stewarding the OBA’s last year, and is teaching us all about beer styles based on the BJCP style guidelines (2008). This class was mostly an introduction to the BJCP, and ended with me emailing a few people within a decent driving radius who were hosting entrance exams in 2015 to see if anyone has a seat (Yes, got one in Buffalo in August).

Beer Club

The first one of the year was a wild card. It looks like there is a class in the culinary theatre now until 7:30, so we are in the smaller theatre style classroom in the basement. There were 8 home brew submissions, including my own chocolate oatmeal stout, which decided to gush. Really looking forward to understanding more about yeast and carbonation so I can figure out what’s going awry. Luke mentioned that it might just be the scale that I am working in – 1/4 tsp extra priming sugar makes much more of a difference in 1 gallon batches than it would in 3 or 5 gallons.

The commercial craft portion was all American beers gleaned from Premium Gourmet in Buffalo:

First beer club, 2015

Like a dope, I forgot to write any notes, but I do remember that my tastebuds quite liked the Firestone Opal and the Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale.