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Any professional brewmaster around?

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by Nestor, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. Nestor

    Nestor Lean & Mean

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    September 2013 - scheduled start of the first ever Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management Program in Western Canada. Only 60 miles away from my place. I feel like I can't miss such opportunity. I love beer, I love the history behind this drink, I love to taste all the new, different beers out there and I'm about to start my adventure with the homebrewing as well (we just recently moved to our first house in Canada, so I finally have a basement for myself). First time in a VERY long time I feel like I really found something cool that I would love to explore and learn. This program is currently awaiting approval from Alberta's Government, but once this will happen I would like to be a part of it. Should I start catching up on chemistry and microbiology? Anything else that You can think of? Any advice would be much appreciated. I just don't know how to prepare myself better. Last time I was in school...was like 10 years ago or so. :wavey:
     
  2. Louisville Glocker

    Louisville Glocker Urban Redneck

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    I'm a former pro-brewer, and now a physics professor, so I can comment a little. I'm not sure about the exact program, but brewing is a lot like any food manufacturing industry, just a bit cooler. So there is a lot of science. And a lot of cleaning. And you've got to keep the machinery and equipment running. So yes, brushing up on any science can't hurt. Most training won't go into incredible chemistry detail, but you certain will learn the basic conversions of starches to sugars that go on, and you will use simple lab equipment to grow samples (both to check yeast cell viability and for contamination).

    Really, brewers are just glorified janitors. But at least people think you're cool...

    Cheers

     

  3. Nestor

    Nestor Lean & Mean

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  4. Hummer

    Hummer Big Member

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    If you're not already experienced with making beer and wine at home, getting immersed in the art and science of fermenting on a small scale would be a valuable first step. Get to know the processes, best practices, measures and tests, sanitation issues and creative possibilities.

    Start today by reading books and web resources, even forums to learn on a crash home course. Acquire some equipment and begin making beer and wine this week. Figure that class starts today, not next year. Give yourself a good head start. Visit local home brew stores, micro brewers and wineries. Volunteer to help in those businesses.
     
  5. BFN

    BFN

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    I worked with an engineer friend who started brewing beer as a hobby, then started a small time business. In ten years he had 65 employees, earned a great reputation as brewing some of the best beer around. Unfortunately, he was killed by a fall in 2009.
     
  6. Nestor

    Nestor Lean & Mean

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    Program was announced 2 days ago and I already bought 4 books. I may sell one or two guns to pay for decent homebrewing kit. I can't really volunteer as I'm working full time and volunteering with search and rescue already, but I may start taking trips to the local breweries.
     
  7. Kurly

    Kurly

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    I had been a homebrewer for about 10 years before I worked professionally at a brewery. Had a 50bbl system and it was fun to learn how to brew on the big systems.

    At the time I was doing some consulting and thus had no benefits so I talked to the brewmaster there and mentioned my interest in helping out on the 2nd shift. I worked there for about a year and while it was fun, it became a rather boring, repetitive line of work. Lots of cleaning that was mentioned and very little creativity. The brewery I worked for had changed hands and was more interested in producing the most mass-marketable beer versus creating a niche for itself. A shame as a brewery they previously purchased made some excellent beers and was the primary reason why I wanted to work for them.

    While I won't say don't do it, just realize that it's not as glamorous of a business as it may appear on the outside. Being a brewer means dealing with stuck mashes, filter plates that get clogged, trying to locate correct hop varieties, balancing conditioning tanks versus bottling line/kegging operation, etc. The creative part is only a small part of the equation.

    Plus, you'll never be considered even moderately well-off being a brewer. It's essentially an hourly paid job and on the chance you do work for a salary, when you break down the hours you may be depressed at how much you're making per hour.