Day 332

Brew day today; 7 of us showed up. I know it’s summer and all, but I don’t get why one would bail on what is hands-down the most useful course we are taking at this point.

Aaron put together a recipe for a wheat rye beer, and we ran it on three of the pilot systems. I brewed solo on a pilot for the first time which was great until I had to take a bio break.

I had to bail at 1, as I had a meeting with Gary Torraville, the associate dean of the CWFI umbrella that the brewing program falls under. I am mostly concerned about the lack of morale among the students, and the rise in course/professor/program bashing. We are unhappy and disillusioned, and it shows. If left unchecked, it does nothing but degrade the program and our learning’s value to future employers.

I can’t say it was a great meeting, but it was a good start. My┬ánext step is to draft a document with the issues (compressed courses, assessments, course resources, etc), and attach it to a Student Issue Thingy (I forget the actual name, but basically, once this is created and signed, it must be dealt with). There are a number of changes that will likely not happen in our time here; the wheels of change at the college level move even more slowly than at the high-school level. Frustrating to say the least.


Day 318

My project beer is finished, bottled and in the retail store. There are still lots of bombers left, but the 20L keg sold out that weekend. Martin was saying that people were coming in on Saturday with recommendations from someone at 40 Creek Distilling to try the Katoberfest. Feeling a bit perplexed, as I don’t know anyone at 40 Creek, so it seems to be genuine. Insert Sally Field-esque they like it, they really like it.

Since I had no big duties, I lent a hand to Martin and got 3 x 50L and 2 x 20L kegs bottled. I like using the big bottler; while it still has quirks, it’s far faster than the other one.

Martin bottling his Maritime Marzen.
Nope. No OCD issues here.


Day 311

Today was as awesome as yesterday was frustrating.

I took my finished project beer, re-carbonated it, and bottled it. I MADE BEER!! And it is GOOD*!

I asked Jon at one point, if this feeling ever goes away, the feeling of accomplishment and deep satisfaction in creating a recipe and have it come out the other side exactly what you wanted. He laughed and said no.

And this is how I am reminded that I am in the right place. Curriculum, teaching, assignments, etc…whatever. It all comes down to this moment, the creation of something delicious that will make people happy.


50L keg of my beer ready for carbonation.
Filling the bell of the bottling machine
The first bottles!
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My beer in the retail store!
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and on tap!






Day 304

“I made beer!” I said excitedly to just about anyone who would listen, and to many who didn’t.

I know it sounded goofy, saying this to a bunch of students and teachers of brewing, but I couldn’t help it. I had made a beer to style, from creating the recipe for an Oktoberfest to carbonation. Unlike everything I had done in the past, whether┬áteaching/IT/webdesign/whatever, this was something I could point to, something physical, something that people wanted and would make them happy. Something I MADE FROM SCRATCH. It made me giddy.

Whenever I feel those moments of self-doubt, I need to remind myself of this day and this feeling, because this feeling is how I know I am on the right path.

Testing before filtering.
Testing before filtering.
Learning how to force carbonate my project beer.

Day 268

Brew day today! We made a total of 6 batches on the 4 pilot systems of a copper lager for a contract brewer. Alberto and I worked on Pilot #2, aka Beulah. It was a bigger boil than we had previously done in the pilots, 70L as opposed to 50L, and we were a bit worried about boil overs, as Beulah’s kettle can run a bit hot . Jon showed us a neat trick to put some hop pellets in while you’re waiting for the boil; the hops disperse and the oils stop much of the foaming. Much easier to use to, rather than running around the brewery trying to find the one small bottle of anti-foam. We were a bit off in our target gravities though, something we’ll need to address when we brew our recipe project later in the month.

I spent the evening at Oast House, where I was volunteering for the CBA’s, passing out food tickets and pouring beer. Even though I was on the working side of the draught lines, I really enjoyed myself. The weather was gorgeous, the people interesting and easy to talk to, the food good and the beer better.

My view from the outside draught taps
Upstairs bar.
Delicious, delicious Biere de Mars, Oast House’s sour beer.