To give you an overview, we will be brewing a total of six days - three at Doemens and three at breweries in the region. One day we will spend at the Stiegl brewery in Salzburg, which we visited on our brewing tour, brewing on their pilot system, which is really exciting. One day we will spend brewing at the Riegele brewery in Augsburg. The other non-Doemens brew day we will have will be at Braucon which is a manufacturer of small scale brewing systems for the pub and micro breweries. We will be malting on a small scale at Doemens as well as doing advanced work in new topics such as steam boilers, beer filling, filtration, and staff management.
The three beers that our group will be brewing at Doemens are an IPA, an Abbey Ale, and a traditional bavarian Helles. The brewing sessions will be a little more intense as we are going to be doing a lot more analysis during the brew, as instructed by Klaus Ritter. Dr. Ritter has been teaching us Chemical Technical Analysis for the past week and a half. We have spent hours and hours learning about malt analysis, water analysis, wort analysis and beer analysis. The theoretical sections have been accompanied by applied techniques in which we get our feet wet in titrations, distillations, friability measurements and other chemical and physical analysis.
Since our class is made up of twenty students and the lab space is not intended for a class of that size, we have been split into two groups. While one group is doing Chemical Technical Analysis, the other is spending time in the Microbiology lab, working on plating techniques, membrane filtration and microorganism identification. We will also be using these groups for our brew days as well.
We have also had a couple of classes regarding the production of soft drinks, which we will be doing later in the class. A lot of the small breweries in Germany make soft drinks as well as beer. Apparently the sale of their own soft drinks is keeping a fair number of them open. It is open to interpretation if this is helping the brewing business or hurting it. Why would you avoid experimentation in the beer world to explore it in the soft drink world? It is difficult to say if the German beer drinking population would be responsive to experimentation, and many people are quick to discard the thoughts of doing so. It sounds a lot like the 70s in the United States to me, the only difference being the drinking culture in Germany is a bit older than that of the U.S. and tradition holds strong here.
I am extremely excited about the Master Program and am thoroughly enjoying it. My impressions so far is that it is well worth it. The next month and a half will be filled with studying, sending out resumes and bike riding.
I am also doing some research on cool places to live in the U.S. If you have recommendations you can leave them here, send me a message on Facebook or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. I am looking for a place near mountains with rivers and lakes. Think Asheville! I am open to all parts of the country.