- Large stainless steel pot w/ lid
- grain mill
- maybe a stainless steel fermenter?
Aside from that, I reviewed some beers over the last several days, all from Okanagan Spring:
So for the past 6 months or so I've been looking at some brewing education possibilities. Now there is the debate about weather its better to just get experience working at a brewery and learn from that, or if formal education is a good idea. I'm not going to get into that right now...
Very brief intro to my background: I have a BSc in Biochemistry, have been homebrewing for more than a year, and I currently work for an environmental lab where I have learned a great deal about water chemistry.
Anyway, after doing a lot of looking around the internet for brewmaster schools that offer English classes (there are several that require German, which I don't speak enough of to get by!). I narrowed it down to (links to program description):
I’ve sort-of ruled out UC Davis for now because I think I'd like to do this in Europe. VLB Berlin is a technical program (certificate) that runs 5 months from January to June 2006. They seem to cover all the topics I want to make sure I have. There are only 20 spots, first-come-first-serve with no real entrance requirements.
Heriot-Watt offers a diploma (9 months, Oct 2006-June 2007) or a full MSc (Oct 2006-Sept 2007). The diploma and the MSc offer the same courses, but the MSc includes a longer research project. A bachelor's degree is required for entrance, preferably with bio science background.
So, the question is do I want to go to Berlin very soon for a short amount of time to get the basic certificate (and guaranteed to get in) or wait to get into HWU and possibly not get in...
The VLB program seems to cover all the basics, but its lack of entrance requirements makes me question how much detail they go into for the biochemistry and microbiology of brewing, which I think is very important. I figure their program must really concentrate on the actual technical process of setting up and running a brewery and the engineering. Which might be all I want, because I already have the bchem and microbio background under my belt...
The HWU program also covers all they key topics for running a brewery and the engineering stuff. They have intro to bcem, microbio etc, but for people like me with a previous degree in biology they offer substitute business courses (also a good thing). Having a full MSc would be great and would allow me to do research if for some unlikely reason I wanted to do that. But I do worry about getting out of the program and being over-qualified for a lot of jobs, or being all education and little experience.
Anyway, so its still up in the air. The letters are in the mail. I think I'm leaning toward HWU, but maybe my impatience will win out and I'll head to Berlin.
As a side note, I've been to both Edinburgh and Berlin, and they're both awesome cities, so no help there :). Although Berlin does have the world cup of soccer in 2006 ... hmmmmm!
Wow, my first day and already a question from a friend.
What beer kits are good?
Well, I've only tried two real full "kits" and one "can kit".
Baron's kits is what I started using. I found them for ~$23-30 depending on the kit or if there was a sale. There’s no boiling involved, just mix the wort with water and add yeast and 'dry-hops' (instructions provided). I've made about 8 of these kits myself. They're 7.5 L concentrated wort, which means you have to add 15.5 L of water. I've never had a problem using Calgary city water. Since its 7.5 L, you can actually boil up more malt or specialty malts or adjuncts and add them to the wort in place of straight of water. So, you can change the beer flavour or raise the alcohol content. But if you're going to go to all that trouble you may as well not use the kit really. The quality I got from these was pretty good and well received by friends.
The BrewHouse Kits come in 15 L boxes. This means you don't have to add as much water, perhaps your beer could be a little more consistent (?), and you could still boil up some additives if you wanted. Similar process the the Baron's kits. I haven't tasted my beer from the Brewhouse kit yet, still in production ;).
"Can Kits" - I tried these once, I really didn't like it. You buy a can of pre-hopped, very concentrated malt extract. Then you boil it up with a lot of corn sugar or dry malt extract. I found the beer I made from it was very weak bodied and cidery. Maybe I just need to do things differently, but I don't think I'll try it again.
There are several other simple no-boil kit brands too.