Day 492

Group A was back in the Teaching Brewery today. Yay. We are still scheduled to work in the brewery once every three weeks, but this semester, Brewmaster Jon Downing will mark each of us on only one special project: the creation, from start to finish, of a beer. Each student must decide on a style, calculate the alcoholic strength, colour and bitterness, create a recipe, use the 50-litre pilot system sometime this semester to brew a double batch, then follow the brew through fermentation and maturation, deciding on the optimum time to “crash” the fermenter (lower the fermenter temperature to end fermentation and encourage the yeast to go dormant and fall to the bottom of the fermenter). The one factor that we need to keep in mind is that another student will need the fermenter in two weeks for their special brew, so we can’t choose a beer style that requires a maturation time of several months, like a strong Imperial Stout, for instance. No, our beer has to be ready for packaging (and drinking) in two weeks max.

I’m not scheduled to brew my special beer until the end of February, but for those of us who were not brewing today, there was a lot of other work to do in the brewery. Two student beers needed to be packaged, then those fermenters had to be cleaned so they could be used for the two special beers being brewed today. A thousand litres of bitter had to be filtered and carbonated. Four cases of 650 mL bottles had to be labelled and then filled with the bitter, then the remainder of the bitter kegged off. The fermenter that had held the bitter had to be cleaned. Forty or fifty kegs had to be cleaned. A Grundy tank had to be cleaned. There was a problem with hot liquor tank, so it had to be drained and cleaned of scale.

One would think with all that cleaning that I would be very clean at the end of the day, but it was actually quite the opposite.

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