Today was by far the most fun day so far. I woke up still feeling pretty overwhelmed from yesterday, but we did an extended review to start class today. Once again, I surprised myself with how much I had actually learned. I think at the end of these long days, my brain just has so many different thoughts that I can't think of any one specific thing that I've learned.
After the review, we got into specialty malting. It was a nice discussion about how two specialty malts from different maltsters are actually very different, not only in flavor, color and aroma, but also in the way that they are produced. It's common to hear people say that Caramel and Crystal malts are the same thing. What we were taught today though is that crystal malts are kilned at higher temperatures for shorter amounts of time in order to reach the same lovibond (color) as caramel malts, which are kilned at lower temperatures for longer amounts of time. We'll get more in depth with this when we tour Briess Malting on Tuesday, but the general consensus is that crystal malts will tend to have a more pronounced, harder taste than the equivalent caramel malts.
After lunch was the fun part of the day. We moved on to our first sensory evaluation course of the day. During the lecture, we poured 2 ounce samples of Budweiser beers that had been spiked with various compounds that are considered off flavors from raw materials. Amongst them, we had D.M.S. (tastes like cream corn), overly bitter (25 IBU's added to Budweiser which is typically 8 IBU's), skunked (self explanatory), and others which were all pretty disgusting. The idea with the training is that it can help us to identify off flavors in our own breweries and determine where they come from. It gets me excited to bring some of this knowledge back to Blue Pants and train a tasting panel. Some people are more sensitive to certain off flavors than other people, so it is important to have a full panel, with ratings for each member to know how good each individual is at identifying the various off flavors.
After class, we had some rare free time so my roommates and I made the trip to Binny's. Binny's is an awesome bottle shop with some great prices. I picked up 20 beers to start doing daily reviews. In the future, I may have to be a bit more conservative... Carrying a heavy box of beer on a bus was not as good of an idea as I thought it would be when I made the purchase.