Day 162


As you may recall, a few weeks ago, it seemed like we were learning about, drawing, researching, writing about, eating breathing and drinking nuthin’ but pumps. I was starting to see pumps in my sleep.

(A recurring nightmare: I am sitting in a small room at a desk covered with machine parts. A disembodied voice says, “The parts of a disassembled 1 hp centrifugal pump lie before you. In five minutes, a hungry mash tun will be admitted to the room. Take any actions you deem necessary, document them, and be prepared to justify your actions.” I always awake in a cold sweat.)

So understand my fear and loathing in Brewing Equipment today when Gordo Slater scrapped the scheduled test on boilers, cooling systems and mash tun design, and instead handed us a blank sheet of paper with the instructions, “You’re a brewmaster on vacation. You’re lying on a beach when your cellphone rings. It’s the shift brewer with news that the centrifugal pump that is supposed to move the mash from the mash tun to the lauter tun isn’t working. Describe the conversation.”

My first instinct was to write: “Fix it, dude.”

Meh. Probably not a lot of marks there. So I carefully describe a trouble-shooting conversation: “Is the pump running? If not, is it plugged in? Turned on? Is the circuit breaker open? If it is running, is…” Etc.

Damn pumps.

After that little exercise, we looked more closely at lauter tuns. As we learned in first semester, the lauter tun is where you separate the wort from the grain as efficiently as possible. Now we’re starting to get into the nitty gritty of these pieces of equipment. What is the maximum load of mash per square metre? What is a batch lauter? (As compared to a flying lauter?) What are the advantages of each? What is the maximum depth of grain bed, and how does that change the aspect ratio of your lauter tun? What are the pros and cons of a wedge wire false bottom versus a machined steel false bottom? How do you calculate the efficiency of your lauter tun? (That is, if you put in so much grain that has a potential amount of extract to be drawn from it, how sweet is the wort that is leaving–in other words how much of that sugar did you manage to get?)

On to our second test of the day, the Chemistry mid-term. Fifty questions, most requiring some thought. However, I think I passed.  And I handed in the media kit assignment for Strategic Communications.

So that’s one major assignment, one test and one mid-term exam done. One test and two mid-terms to go.


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