Before I came to Siebel, I tried to find blog posts or journals from brewers that had been through the program. I found a few blogs, but most of them ended after a week or two. I am beginning to see why... It is really hard to keep up with this. Between studying, going to class, and trying to experience as much as possible, blogging is difficult to do.
For the past two weeks, we have learned about a lot of things that most people don't think about being part of the brewing process. Things like packaging, cleaning, sanitizing, brewery maintenence, and today, how heat exchanges. It is funny to think about how all of these topics are all things that a "complete" brewer thinks of. At Blue Pants, we have such a small staff, we all take on a lot of individual responsibility. When we talk about things in class like making sure that graphics line up on case boxes in order to make a package visually appealing; it seems crazy to think that at bigger breweries, this would be a concern of the brewer, or rather, the brewery manager. But that is the type of thing that we talk about.
Today, we spent a lot of time discussing how heat exchanges. We started off with a discussion of how you raise one pint of water from 32 degrees to 33 degrees, and progressed to how you make sure to have the correct size piping to carry steam through jackets to ensure that you can bring wort to boiling temperatures safely. We have also been working with professors that only work in Celsius (which makes so much more sense than Fahrenheit), and the adjustment process has been a bit of a struggle. A lot of the day was spent talking about steam systems.
We watched a video of an explosion that happened in New York City in 2007 as a result of a faulty steam system and it really reinforced the fear that I have of steam boilers. A large part of the last two weeks has been that way, really driving home the fact that most craft breweries are not taking enough safety precautions in almost every area of the brewery. The lectures have been very dry, incredibly boring, hard to follow, and yet, very helpful.