Monday, March 31, 2014

Calculations, Mash Techniques, and Malt Analysis

Today was one of our most informative days so far. We started off the class with a discussion about malt analyses and how to understand them better. As we were going over the lecture, I was looking at an analysis from our malt provider back home, and I think I may have found the source of some of our frustrations with beer haze.
After looking at the analysis, we had a lecture about calculations for recipes, and we tied some of the discussion into our malt analysis lecture. When we were talking about mash temperatures in our calculations, I had the opportunity to ask questions about enzymes and how they work at various temperatures. It was good to talk to our professor about amylase enzymes and the effects of breaking the mash into two seperate saccrification rests in order to get each type of amylase enzyme active on its own, which in turn helps to have more control over the fermentability of the wort.
Next, we had a talk on quality management, but most of that lecture we were talking about beer history and what quality management meant in the past. We are not done with that lecture and I think we will continue later in the week,
Lastly, we talked about fermentation control and we practiced taking gravity readings. While this sounds very basic to any homebrewer, we talked about things that can effect gravity readings and we were shown some examples of gravity readings that were off for various reasons (yeast in suspension, temperature, test tube not filled enough, hydrometer got the top wet, etc.) and it was shocking to see how far off it is possible to be on a reading. Today was definitely a day filled with a lot more practical information than we normally have.

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