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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: idris_arslanian on June 06, 2011, 03:58:25 PM

Title: Homebrewing class
Post by: idris_arslanian on June 06, 2011, 03:58:25 PM
I got roped into doing a Homebrew Class for the Hack Factory, which is a maker collective I belong to here in Minneapolis.  Has anyone ever done one of these before?  I have it taking up the whole afternoon, and I'd like to get both an Extract batch as well as an All-Grain completed in that time.  Too ambitious?  Using "How To Brew" as well as "Joy" as the basis for the curriculum and the wife is an Instructional Designer, so hopefully we can put together an informative class.

Topics I'm planning on covering:
-Sanitation
-Equipment
-Difference between extract & all grain brewing
-Mash process
-Boil
-Batch vs fly sparging
-Cooling & pitching
-Yeast starters
-Force carbonation vs bottle priming

Any comments subtractions or additions would be helpful.

Thanks!
Title: Re: Homebrewing class
Post by: Slowbrew on June 06, 2011, 04:14:48 PM
I don't think I'd try to cover all-grain in the same class as extract brewing.  Seems like too much information at one time for most people to me.  I'd probably just mention it as a step you can take later if you find out brewing really interests you and give a quick overview.

Other than that, your list of topics seems pretty complete.

paul
Title: Re: Homebrewing class
Post by: denny on June 06, 2011, 04:55:10 PM
I agree with Paul.  Keep it simple, on point, and just cover the basics.  People are gonna be confused enough with extract brewing that you don't need to go into Ag now.  Save that for a later class and concentrate on the basics to get people making beer.
Title: Re: Homebrewing class
Post by: idris_arslanian on June 06, 2011, 05:48:33 PM
Touche.  I wanted to go over enzymes and conversion temps a bit, but I could just incorporate that into explaining how they make the extract. 
Title: Re: Homebrewing class
Post by: denny on June 06, 2011, 05:52:42 PM
Touche.  I wanted to go over enzymes and conversion temps a bit, but I could just incorporate that into explaining how they make the extract. 

Maybe enzymes, but personally I wouldn't muddy the waters with conversion temps.
Title: Re: Homebrewing class
Post by: tomsawyer on June 06, 2011, 05:54:57 PM
You might want to look at Randy Mosher's Tasting Beer book, I'm going to teach a four session adult ed class for a local community college (homebrewing and beer appreciation) this fall and I may use it as a text and loosely follow that format.
Title: Re: Homebrewing class
Post by: thomasbarnes on June 06, 2011, 10:46:30 PM
How big is the class, how much time do you have, and how experienced are the people you'll be teaching?

If you've just got a couple of hours and you're teaching a gaggle of complete novices, stick with a simple extract brew using the sort of equipment you'd get in a starter kit. Ideally, you should actually produce some wort and perhaps share some finished homebrew. If you want to get fancy, you can do a partial grain batch by steeping some crystal malt in the brewing liquor before you bring it up to boiling.
Title: Re: Homebrewing class
Post by: idris_arslanian on June 07, 2011, 02:32:56 PM
Not sure yet, not a whole lot have actually signed up.  But supposedly we're getting picked to click by the local alt-weekly, so that might bump attendance a bit.  I think I'm going to play it by ear and have a couple kits (all grain and extract) ready to go.  Once it's finished, we'll have people come back and have a tasting during our hackerspace's Wed open house.  One of the goals of the class is to get new people into the space to check it out and hopefully become members. 
Title: Re: Homebrewing class
Post by: timberati on June 08, 2011, 05:34:39 PM
Morebeer has some documents in PDF format that might be of use at http://morebeer.com/search/103680/beerwinecoffee/coffeewinebeer/MoreManuals! (http://morebeer.com/search/103680/beerwinecoffee/coffeewinebeer/MoreManuals!). Having been an instructor before, I know you can only go as fast as your slowest student, so keep it simple and fun. There will be much less time than you think you have so consider doubling the time you think things will take. You can always have things in you back pocket if you have more time.
Title: Re: Homebrewing class
Post by: love2brew on June 08, 2011, 05:44:24 PM
I would say one of the keys to teaching people, especially if they're new to homebrewing, is to focus less on the technique and more on the feeling of how easy it is for them to do it.  Get them excited and confident and you'll have done your job well.
Title: Re: Homebrewing class
Post by: holzster on June 09, 2011, 02:42:37 AM


Any comments subtractions or additions would be helpful.

Thanks!

As being new myself I think starting off with all the terminology that you will be using a good print out would be nice for that.
Title: Re: Homebrewing class
Post by: brewmonk on June 09, 2011, 05:41:27 AM
I would say one of the keys to teaching people, especially if they're new to homebrewing, is to focus less on the technique and more on the feeling of how easy it is for them to do it.  Get them excited and confident and you'll have done your job well.
+1 The key is what level your audience is at.  If this is really for beginners, I'd focus on how easy homebrewing is.  For people like me who can get overwhelmed with details, homebrewing can sound intimidating (especially all the emphasis on sanitizing).  If they are people who have gotten their feet wet in homebrewing with just the basics, then maybe do grain steeping and how to make a kit better by adding other things. 
But, yeah, I'd go with the basics.  Just think how many people have been influenced to start homebrewing by DWHAHB. :)
Title: Re: Homebrewing class
Post by: sailortodd on June 10, 2011, 04:04:40 PM
I would say one of the keys to teaching people, especially if they're new to homebrewing, is to focus less on the technique and more on the feeling of how easy it is for them to do it.  Get them excited and confident and you'll have done your job well.
+1 The key is what level your audience is at.  If this is really for beginners, I'd focus on how easy homebrewing is.  For people like me who can get overwhelmed with details, homebrewing can sound intimidating (especially all the emphasis on sanitizing).  If they are people who have gotten their feet wet in homebrewing with just the basics, then maybe do grain steeping and how to make a kit better by adding other things. 
But, yeah, I'd go with the basics.  Just think how many people have been influenced to start homebrewing by DWHAHB. :)
I'd agree with both comments above. If there's anyone in the group who hasn't brewed before at all, trying to cover all grain or any sort of mashing process in depth would lose them fairly quickly. It's good as a "this is where the process can take you..." topic, but just learning the basics with extract brewing may be better. I think there's enough to cover with steeping grains and hop boils to take up an afternoon. Just a perspective from a fairly new brewer.
Title: Re: Homebrewing class
Post by: WDE97 on June 10, 2011, 04:42:23 PM
I would definitley agree with keeping it simple.  Maybe start with showing and explaining all of the equipment and discuss the basic process for an extract batch. Then actually brew a batch and pass out a few homebrews.  After the batch is brewed I would then discuss fermentation and bottling procedures, and end with a very basic discussion of the next levels (steeping grains, then all grain) to let them know where they can progress to as a homebrewer.  I would strongly suggest having handouts for everyone:  a list of online resources for brewing supplies and information; a list of some books they should consider purchasing; and a printed guide for beginners such as this http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/pages/zymurgy/free-downloads/zymurgy-an-introduction-to-homebrewing
Having some references to take home has always been a big hit with the people I have taught. 
Good luck!!
 
Title: Re: Homebrewing class
Post by: oscarvan on June 12, 2011, 03:22:43 AM
For the SCA types amongst us, I am being roped into doing a one hour class on how to get started in home brewing at this year's Pennsic War..... Not finalized yet, but this could be the class description.....

Quote
Home Brewing 101

Some history, some science and some discussion of ingredients, techniques and materials and their sources all wrapped in an entertaining package with the ultimate goal of giving you the basic directions to start out on the road of home brewing. Learn about brewing, packaging and serving your very own beer. Not necessarily period, but practical and very drinkable, with various levels of difficulty explained, ranging from "only add water" to "completely from scratch". Some liquid illustrations provided, so ages 21 or over only. Class lasts approximately one hour, and will be taught by Lord Goerijs the Unpronounceable in the "Brau Haus" at Camp Carillon.
Title: Re: Homebrewing class
Post by: thomasbarnes on June 13, 2011, 08:57:35 AM
For the SCA types amongst us, I am being roped into doing a one hour class on how to get started in home brewing at this year's Pennsic War..... Not finalized yet, but this could be the class description.....

To be fair to your audience, you should let them know that:

1) It's just about impossible to make medieval-style beer using modern ingredients.

2) Just about all beer styles, including some styles we think of as being extremely traditional, are fairly modern.

If you want to give your students a sense of what medieval beer really tasted like, consider whipping up a batch of Kvass, Sathi or Gottlandsdrikke, or else bringing some bottles of straight lambic.

For a reasonably authentic 7th to 16th century Western European style ale, you'd need to use undermodified, smoked amber to brown malt (no extremely pale malt or roasted malts - those are 18th century inventions). Perhaps something like Weyermann Rauchmalz, or a very lightly toasted and smoked English mild malt. Smoke character should be as neutral as possible - beechwood or alder is preferred.

You are allowed to use malt and grains other than barley in your beer. Some period recipes include oat malt, wheat malt, rye malt as well as adjuncts such as peas and buckwheat.

No hops, unless you're going for a late medieval German or Flemish hop beer. Instead, use your favorite blend of gruit; bog myrtle, yarrow, heather, mugwort, wild rosemary, etc.

If you go with a hopped beer (as opposed to a gruit ale), use the most traditional, lowest alpha varieties you can find. Hallertauer Mittelfrueh probably dates to period, as do some of the precursors of Fuggles. For extra authenticity, pack your hops as tightly into a burlap bag as you can, but store them at room temperature for a few months before you use them. Expect alpha acid losses of 25-50% depending on age and storage temperatures.

Mash is either single infusion or decoction, unless you want to get funky and do a steinbier.

No crash-cooling allowed.

Fermentation is either open or in a barrel, with wild fermentation since the beer is left to cool in the open. You are allowed to use the yeast cake or the krausen from another batch of beer, though.
Title: Re: Homebrewing class
Post by: thomasbarnes on June 13, 2011, 09:01:30 AM
I would say one of the keys to teaching people, especially if they're new to homebrewing, is to focus less on the technique and more on the feeling of how easy it is for them to do it.  Get them excited and confident and you'll have done your job well.

Amen!

Just as important, have them learn by doing. If you can, brew an actual batch of beer using a beginning homebrewing kit (equipment and beer). Show your students basic techniques like how to prevent boilovers, how to cool their wort, how to use a racking cane and how to use a wing capper.
Title: Re: Homebrewing class
Post by: oscarvan on June 16, 2011, 12:55:44 PM
For the SCA types amongst us, I am being roped into doing a one hour class on how to get started in home brewing at this year's Pennsic War..... Not finalized yet, but this could be the class description.....

To be fair to your audience, you should let them know that:

1) It's just about impossible to make medieval-style beer using modern ingredients.

2) Just about all beer styles, including some styles we think of as being extremely traditional, are fairly modern.

If you want to give your students a sense of what medieval beer really tasted like, consider whipping up a batch of Kvass, Sathi or Gottlandsdrikke, or else bringing some bottles of straight lambic.

For a reasonably authentic 7th to 16th century Western European style ale, you'd need to use undermodified, smoked amber to brown malt (no extremely pale malt or roasted malts - those are 18th century inventions). Perhaps something like Weyermann Rauchmalz, or a very lightly toasted and smoked English mild malt. Smoke character should be as neutral as possible - beechwood or alder is preferred.

You are allowed to use malt and grains other than barley in your beer. Some period recipes include oat malt, wheat malt, rye malt as well as adjuncts such as peas and buckwheat.

No hops, unless you're going for a late medieval German or Flemish hop beer. Instead, use your favorite blend of gruit; bog myrtle, yarrow, heather, mugwort, wild rosemary, etc.

If you go with a hopped beer (as opposed to a gruit ale), use the most traditional, lowest alpha varieties you can find. Hallertauer Mittelfrueh probably dates to period, as do some of the precursors of Fuggles. For extra authenticity, pack your hops as tightly into a burlap bag as you can, but store them at room temperature for a few months before you use them. Expect alpha acid losses of 25-50% depending on age and storage temperatures.

Mash is either single infusion or decoction, unless you want to get funky and do a steinbier.

No crash-cooling allowed.

Fermentation is either open or in a barrel, with wild fermentation since the beer is left to cool in the open. You are allowed to use the yeast cake or the krausen from another batch of beer, though.

All correct. I will point all of this out, however the class is not billed to be period, but more general and practical and designed to get people brewing something drinkable which later may lead them to more period styles. Friend is doing a Sathi class which will be consumed before the end of the second week.