Siebel Overview and Week 1
February 10, 2011
It’s Wednesday night and I’m over halfway through my first week at Siebel. Man, I thought grad level astrophysics classes took a lot out of me, but eight to nine hours of malting biochemistry can be brutal. 🙂 Throughout the next twelve weeks I intend to blog as much of the experience as I have time to. I’d like to go for Monday-Wednesday-Friday updates, so we’ll see how far this goes.
Let’s start this with a general overview of the 12-week course. It’s divided into six modules, each roughly two weeks in length. The modules, along with approximate length and location, are:
- Raw Materials & Wort Production (Chicago, 2 weeks)
- Beer Production & Quality Control (Chicago, 2 weeks)
- Packaging & Process Technology (Chicago, 2 weeks)
- Business of Brewing & Case Studies (Chicago, ~1 week)
- Applied Brewing Techniques (Munich, 3 weeks)
- European Brewing Study Tour (Europe, ~2 weeks)
For this first week of Raw Materials & Wort Production, we’re going over the growing, processing, and storing of barley and hops, and the composition and treatment of brewing water. Yeah, that covers an insane amount of information. When I got to class the first day and saw the binder of notes for the week, it finally settled in just how intense this course is gonna be. It’s gotta be two solid inches thick of notes, and we’re gonna have seven of these binders by the time we leave for Germany! I’d say this whole thing was a good decision.
The first three days of this week a woman from Rahr Malting was here to teach us about the processes of growing and malting barley. I think I’ve just learned everything I ever wanted to know about steeping, germinating, and kilning (and roasting) base malts and specialty malts. This will be a crazy twelve weeks.
At this point we’re all still settling into our routines for the course. Most students are still trying to figure out exactly how intensely to study on a nightly basis, as we have a quiz every week on Fridays. I’ve spent an hour or two every night reading notes and writing important things down, but I think we’ll all have a better handle on it once we see the first quiz in a couple days.
And it’s really hard to hit the train and go home to study when Goose Island’s brewpub is a block away from school. Just throwing that out there…