Day 225

The second-last day of first year was a long, long day.

Thursdays are usually the day that the second-year students are in the Teaching Brewery, but this being an exam week, the call went out to any interested Brewmaster students to help brew a Belgian-style spiced beer.

I figured, hey, we’re Brewmaster students–we’re supposed to be brewing beer, right? So, up at the crack of dawn I got, drove down to the campus and discovered that I was the only first-year student who had responded to the call, along with a second-year student. Everyone else apparently was studying. (Which technically, I suppose I was also supposed to be doing.)

Everything went well in the brewery until the lautering (removing the water from the mash and rinsing the grain with more water to remove all the residual sugars). Then things just stopped. The grain bed clumped into one impermeable mass and refused to let any water drain through it. This is what is known as a “stuck mash” or “stuck lauter”, and it is not a happy time. We tried the usual strategies for getting things going: running water up underneath the mash to float the grain bed and let it resettle into a looser bed. Cutting the bed with a paddle to let water flow through. Shaking our fists at the heavens and cursing the intransigent gods of brewing. (Worked as well as the other two strategies.)

By mid-afternoon, things were still stuck, and I had to leave for a Chemistry review class. Which consisted of two hours of learning what I had failed to learn the first time. At least now I know what I know (not a lot, apparently) and know what I don’t know (what I need to study). Tomorrow I will find out if I didn’t know what I didn’t know (what I didn’t study) and what I didn’t know that I knew (the answers to questions that I knew even though I didn’t study them.)

Back to the brewery to find out how things were going, but by that time, the lautering problems had been solved, the wort had been boiled and was now safe in a fermenting tank.

End of a long day, right? But wait, there’s more!

I then received the Equipment exam via email. Type type type type type. Hit Send, and the finished exam went flying back through the ether.

That out of the way, I could finally study for Chemistry, which will start at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow.

I would just like to say if that I was President of the World, it would be illegal to schedule any exam before noon.


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