Sunday, October 29, 2017

Beer Brewer Professional Certificate – Week 3

In week 3 we started with an introduction to brewing terminology and discussed the ingredients used to make beer:

1.     Barley – the body and soul of the beer
2.     Yeast – the life of the beer
3.     Hops – the spice of the beer
4.     Water – the integrity and purity of the beer
5.     Adjuncts (sometimes) – the wild card

Our instructor was a guy by the name of Bobby Faithful. This guy has worked at a lot of well-know breweries including Dogfish Head, Lost Rhino Brewing Co. and The Answer Brewpub. I got the chance to talk to him after class, and this guy knows A TON of people in the local and regional beer scene. And while that might not be something that prospective students are prioritizing while looking for a beer brewers program, it absolutely should be. The craft beer scene is a tight-knit community. Having an instructor that can introduce you to professionals at a brewery that you’d like to work for one day cannot be overstated.

 Because this is an intro section, we didn’t go into tremendous detail into each of the ingredients (because we will cover that later in the course), but we did cover the five basic steps in brewing beer:

1.     Malted barley is soaked in hot water to create fermentable sugars
2.     The malt sugar solution is boiled with hops
3.     The solution is cooled, and yeast is added
4.     The yeast ferments the sugars, releasing Co2 and alcohol
5.      The beer is bottled with a little sugar for a secondary fermentation to add carbonation (unless you are putting it in a keg and force carbonating the beer)

We also discussed the difference between an ale and a lager, the difference between 2 row and 6 row barley, how to calculate the ABV of the beer, what amount of malts are typically used in a beer, using extracts versus whole grain, and the fermentability (generally) of different extracts.

We don’t have class tomorrow, but the following week we get to brew our first beer. While we’re still at the beginning of the program, I think it’s a brilliant idea to be brewing so early, and before learning anything more than the basics.

Have you ever worked on your car, or tried a recipe for dinner that you’ve never tried before? I have, and after I’ve finished, I’ve usually thought to myself, “that will go so much better next time now that I know what I’m doing.” The learning process [for me] is about doing, and then going back over the process and filling in the gaps with the knowledge that I gained the first time.

I feel pretty confident that out first attempt at a beer [as a class] will go well. Most of us have brewed before, and Bobby will be walking us through this recipe (an imperial stout), but it will be invaluable to have an experience for all of us to draw on as a baseline for our future class discussions. So far, the pace of this program is exactly what it should be, keeping the seasoned brewers engaged while not going too fast for the novices.


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