We continued with our cold-side education today, finishing up yesterday’s yeast discussions and talking about fermentation control, good fermentation practices, cask conditioning, and control of fermentation flavors.
Today was also the last day that we received instruction from Kirk Annand who, I must say, has been fantastic. His are probably my overall favorite sections, thus far. His teaching style is very forthright, he has a clear grasp on a vast array of topics and apparently enjoys imparting that knowledge. I sincerely hope that I cross paths with Kirk again in my career in the brewing industry – and I hope I can get up to Nova Scotia sometime to sample some of his beer.
The information today was a clearinghouse of information about yeast and fermentation management, primarily focused around flavor control. It was part, “Don’t do X, Y, and Z so you avoid off-flavors.” and part, “If you happen to have off-flavors, you can control them by doing A, B, and C.” This is everything from yeast pitching rates to fermentation temperatures to proper yeast management, how esters are formed in your beer, when the most effective time to do a diacetyl rest is, how to measure glycogen levels and easy tips on how to measure the (rough) viability of your yeast without using a microscope.
The cask conditioning section was a treat, showing various different implements used in cask-conditioning beer which turns out isn’t any more complicated than:
a) it looks
b) it does when I did it a few weeks ago
If anything, I learned that I may have aged my beer too long and that most cask conditioned ales will condition in just a few days which, from a homebrew perspective, I just wouldn’t have assumed.
By 4:00, when we started our tasting, my brain felt full.
Bitburger Pils (German-style Pilsener)
Flensburger Dunkel (European-Style Dark)
Paulaner Hefe Weissbier (South German-Style Hefeweizen)
Franziskaner Hefe Weissbier Dunkel (German-Style Dark Wheat Ale)
Uerige Alt (Dusseldorf-Style Altbier)
Wittekerke Wit Bier (Belgian-Style White Ale)
Duvel (Belgian-Style Pale Strong Ale)
Bourgogne Des Flanders (Belgian-Style Flanders/Oud Bruin)
Chimay Cinq Cents (Belgian-Style Tripel)
Aside from the Uerige which was amazingly off, this was a really fantastic way to end the day. My only complaint (complaint? really?) is that I got a little tipsy while tasting them.
I know. It’s a hardship.
Tomorrow we start in post-fermentation: Filtration, QC, and Carbonation. We also get our last sensory panel in which I imagine we’ll get fantastic things like that wonderful aroma when you have chlorine somewhere in your beer: band-aids. Yum.