Friday, February 8, 2008


I'm still pretty sad about Yogi, but managed to not cry in public today, so that's a good sign. A guy I've never even met sent his condolences from Australia, which I thought was pretty cool. (Yes, the Internet still amazes me.)

We had a great Chemical Technical Analyses (pronounced analyze-es here) lab today. We did the Kjeldahl method again, but this time for soluble nitrogen rather than total nitrogen, using the congress wort from last week. It was good to repeat a lot of the same steps and helped things to really sink in. We also analyzed wort color and boiled wort color from the congress wort sample using 2 different methods. My new favorite German word is Neocomparator, a futuristic name for a simple, old machine used to analyze color.

Katrin (our CTA professor) showed us the Central Lab, which was very cool. We'll do some work there later on, which should be exciting since they have nicer toys. I told her that I appreciated the quick tour because I often feel like there are all of these labs and people working here at VLB, but I really don't know what most of it is. I think VLB could do a better job showing us around and telling us who else is there, what they are doing, and what is going on in the different parts of the facility. (A tour perhaps...? I would have thought that my fifteen thousand dollars might have included one, but whatever.)

Earlier in the week, Burghard said something during class that I was very happy/relieved to hear. He told us about some hop research that someone at VLB is working on and he said that while it was too specialized to cover it in our class, that if any of us had an interest in it that they'd be happy to show it to us. He then said something along the lines of, "Well, you're here to learn and if there is something that you want to know more about, just ask." It was pretty nice to hear that, as it was kind of the opposite of my previous impression. I'm not that interested in the hops research he mentioned, but there are a lot of other things that I do want know lots more about. I have a list and it's not small. Later that day I told Katrin that I really wanted to analyze some water from the new facility in Roanoke and asked if I could do that. She said, "of course," told me to send it immediately and said she would help me with the parts that I already know one afternoon after class and that she would give the rest to the Central Lab. Our energy professor is also helping me design an ice tank (which while old fashioned, will be a huge energy savings on our scale) for the Roanoke brewery, and I think Roland's plant equipment class is going to be a huge asset. I'm just anxious to take in all of this info, so I can finalize my designs.

Micro was rather challenging this week. This was our class: Here are 12 yeast strains on wort agar. By the end of class turn in a sheet of paper with the identity of each strain. I took pictures and would never pass this class without my digital camera. Here they are: (minus Rhodotorula Rubra, which has a red color and is therefore is a dead give away without using a microscope)

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