Day 420

Back to class. Somehow those two papers never got done. Huh.

And what better way to start the second half of the semester than with a few brewing calculations? First, a review of water chemistry, especially converting calcium and magnesium to equivalents of calcium carbonate, and calculating residual alkalinity. With our brains sufficiently woken up from their 10-day nap, we moved on to a few brewhouse design considerations: given the density of mash, what size of mash tun would we need for a given volume? Also, the difference between the angle of rest of a given substance (how steep a cone it forms when poured into a pile) and the angle of slide (how high you have to tilt a board holding a layer of a given substance before it starts to slide off the board.) Both of these angles will have a bearing on brewhouse equipment dsign. For instance, how steep does the cone at the bottom of a fermenter have to be to encourage descending yeast to fall to the bottom of the cone?

We also spent some time taking up the mid-term exam. Although I did reasonably well, I was annoyed that I thrown away 3 marks on simple arithmetic errors like misplaced decimal places, and another 2 marks for the complete mind blank of only completing the first part of a three-part question. D’ohh! Obviously I need to load up on more caffeine for those 8:30 a.m. exams.

Speaking of mid-terms, we wrote the History of Beer exam today. Well, not so much wrote it as checked it off, since it was 100 multiple choice questions. Afterwards, Bill White delivered a lecture on laws and beer–how the legal system has affected the production and consumption of beer through the ages. The four key dates seemed to be 1770 B.C., 1516, 1920 and 1979, which correspond to the establishment of Hammurabi’s Code in Mesopotamia (the first legal code that mentions penalties for serving bad beer, cheating customers and allowing seditious talk within the bar), the Rheinheitsgebot (the famous Bavarian Purity Law that only allowed beer to be made from malt, barley and water), Prohibition in the U.S., and the legalization of  homebrewing in the U.S. (which likely kickstarted the entire craft beer movement).

And now to make the perilous journey home in the face of Tropical Storm Sandy.

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One Comment on “Day 420”

  1. Robin Says:

    Thanks for the pingback AND for making an amazing beer. 🙂

    Going through your site now and enjoying the hell out of it. Definitely have a lot to catch up on!

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