All the Brewlab brewing courses goes through the formulation of recipes. The difference between the courses are the details which go into and outcome of those recipes.

The Start Up Brewing course basic recipe formulation is explained. This encompasses liquor salts calculations, developing a malt and hop grists with aspects of yeast selection. The calculations are explained and information provided.

The other three course of Intensive Brewing Skills, Certificate and Diploma the student develops his or her own recipe and brews that recipe on our 25-litre brewing kit. 

The four-day Intensive Brewing Skills course the student can take the wort produced together with yeast and ferment it at home. 

The longer Certificate and Diploma courses the students have more time to hone in on their skills and develop different recipes. The teaching of recipe formulation on these courses is in great detail and worked examples are provided. The students are required and expected, under supervision, to develop their own recipes. It is really interesting to see the variety and range which they come forward with. Brewlab staff try and source the different ingredients the students require. Usually we have a wide selection of malt and hops but given enough notice we can source many others.

Both of these longer courses, the students are expected to brew a beer to meet their calculated requirements. This will include the showing of all calculations of the recipe. This will be assessed for a final marking. They will brew to that recipe and we will exam how well they have physically worked in brewing their beer, again this goes against the final assessment mark. We will expect the students to record the correct information for the brews and calculate the results from the beer. Such calculations will include extract losses. They will monitor fermentations throughout and process the beer for either bottled conditioning or bright beer in bottle. Bottling will be included as part of the process with the beer being presented to the laboratory for measurement and a bottle for flavour assessment. Throughout the process the students are expected to do their own quality tests including microbiological tests.

Part of the examination will be to look at the results from the bottling and marks are won by matching the calculated formulation to what is produced. We call this process- Brew to Specification. 

Although not marked, one of the fun parts of this process is for us all to taste and asses the flavour of the beer produced. This is where we find that sometimes the flavour does not match the expectations or that the flavour exceeds what was expected. We get some very interesting beers coming out of this process and we ask the students to food match the beer for added interest.

Although the brewing of their own beer is part of the assessment. The real benefit of this process is to instil into the students the discipline of developing recipes, brewing those recipes right. To perform basic quality tests and to accurately record information. We are showing the students what is best practice so that they can take this to the work place. All of this is under the supervision of the Brewlab staff so they are there to help them and to give them confidence in how to make good beer. 

In the end it is an opportunity to develop a beer you wish to brew commercially or simply to brew a beer you always wanted to brew. 

Article written by Brian Yorston, Training Manager at Brewlab.

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