I decided to take a few days off from blogging, partially because of the material we've been covering has not been stuff that most people will want to read about, and partially because we have been going out after class a lot more frequently. I'll try to get caught back up now...
On Thursday, we spent the entire day looking at Doemens Academy's packaging area. We were shown how to turn on the steam to the bottling facility (used for sanitizing), the bottle washer (75% of beer bottles in Germany are recycled and consumers pay deposits on them...), the crate washer (... And they come in crates, which also are washed and reused and consumers pay a deposit for), the bottle filler and conveyor belts, a PET filler, and a PET washer. The most interesting part of the day for me, was seeing what PET bottles look like when they get to the packaging facility. 1 liter bottles actually look like 3 inch vials, before they are heated, and inflated to the full one liter. This saves a lot of space in the packaging facility. We will be taking turns running the bottler next week as we bottle the beers we brewed last week.
Yesterday, we had a half day (Fridays are always half days at Doemens). The entire day was sensory analysis, meaning when we got to class in the morning, we started sampling beers almost right away. Sounds fun right? Wrong! We were drinking beers in our first session that had been spiked with off flavors. We drank less common off flavors, but ones that do still show up on occasion. The flavors ranged from metallic to stinky feet to lemon pledge and to garlic. After the gross part was over though, we did get to do a fun activity. It was a kind of beer geeks board game. We had a board that had attributes written on it. "Top Fermented/Bottom Fermented", "Alcohol range", "Country Of Origin", "Type of Style", and "Name the Brand". We were given beers in a blind tasting and told to place a chip on anyone of the spots. If we got it right, we got to keep our chip and got more based on the ring in which we placed the chip. I did ok, with my guessing, but I played a little too safe in the early rounds and realized too late that I needed to take more risks in order to win the game. It would be something fun to play again with some beer geeks back home.
After class, a lot of us went to Andechs and visited the monestary and Biergarten. It was really pretty, up on top of a hill overlooking a small town and a lot of hilly farmland. The beer was ok, the food was great, and the scenery was awesome.
Today was by far the most exciting day I have had in Bavaria. I woke up early this morning and headed to the Bavarian Alps for some snowboarding. The mountain was Zugspitze, which is the tallest mountain in Germany. The slopes were incredibly challenging, very fast, and unforgiving. It was nice after I was done to find a bar in an igloo to sit and enjoy a few Lowenbrau lagers.
Next week, we are doing a lot more hands on activities, and it doubt I will go out too often since we are getting into crunch week before we take our final exams on Friday, so I should have plenty to write about.