Quality and Consistency – Essential Ingredients for your Best Brew
When it comes to brewing beer, quality and consistency are without a doubt the most important ingredients. Whether you are new to brewing or want to grow your business, the same fundamental brewery lab setup and testing skills are needed. Developed by a Senior Microbiologist and Technical Advisor for the Ontario Craft Brewers (OCB), this first-of-its-kind course zeros in on the checks and balances that must be routinely performed to produce the highest quality brew. You will spend the morning learning the principles of brewery setup and the afternoon gaining hands-on experience performing control tests in brewing, as well as an understanding of why sampling and control testing from start to finish is a must with every brew. You’ll leave with the knowledge and skills to effectively manage your own brewery and a toolkit designed by the OCB to ensure you maintain quality control so your business continues to run smoothly.
BASIC BREWING OVERVIEW
Your customers expect to get the same beer with every brew. In this introduction, you will learn that the two most important ingredients in your brew are quality and consistency. We’ll talk about how to develop and follow a brewing plan to ensure everyone in your operation completes each task in the exact same manner. You will learn how to write standard operating procedures for each type of equipment, and how to perform each task consistently every time.
GETTING YOUR LAB UP AND RUNNING
In this section we will take you through all the equipment needed based on the size of your brewery. This will provide a basis for long-term planning and development to help grow your operation. Next, we’ll walk you through the five critical tests you must be put in place as you begin to run your brewery. You will gain hands on practice with each of these in our lab.
EVALUATING YOUR RAW MATERIALS
You will perform essential sensory and evaluation tests on your raw materials. Different malts and hops produce varying colours and flavour impacts in your brew. You will learn how to assess the quality of each of these and detect any issues. You will also learn how to test your water’s pH level and your brew’s guarded secret – yeast.
WHAT YOU CAN’T SEE CAN BE DETRIMENTAL TO YOUR BREW
Understanding which organisms can impact the quality of your beer; how and when to look for them, will be covered off in this section. You will learn what equipment is needed and demonstrate how to perform all the standard brew tests for pH, gravity, alcohol, bitterness and colour to ensure your beer’s parameters are accurate, as well as how to complete control charts to ensure your brew is on target.
HOW PACKAGING INFLUENCES SHELF LIFE
Your beer’s shelf life depends on your packaging source and distribution channel. Is your beer packaged in bottles, cans or a keg? Is it going to a retailer or a local bar? Here’s where you will gain the knowledge and skills to assess your brew’s shelf life. We’ll walk you through sensory kits including a dissolved oxygen test to determine the length of time before any changes to your beer occur.
Dr. Dirk Bendiak
An expert on quality issues in breweries, Dr. Dirk Bendiak is a Senior Microbiologist with LaPorte Engineering Inc., and a Technical Advisor to the Ontario Craft Brewers (OCB). He received his Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Genetics from the University of Alberta, and his Doctorate in Molecular Biology from York University. Following his post-doctoral work in yeast mutational research, he was appointed Senior Microbiologist at Molson Breweries Canada Ltd., where he spent 32 years in progressive roles in brewing, research, quality assurance, packaging and operations. He has managed the Molson/Coors corporate laboratory and the Toronto brewery laboratory. Dr. Bendiak has served as president, program chairman, subcommittee chairman and member of the American Society of Brewing Chemists; member of the Master Brewers Association of the Americas, and associate member of the Institute of Brewing. He also served as technical co-chair for the World Brewing Congress in 2000 and 2004, and has published more than 20 papers. He continues to teach brewing courses at Durham College and Niagara College where he has also managed brewing research projects.