Meet Acacia Baldner: Our Fantastic Brewery Intern
We had an incredible summer intern, Acacia Baldner, and asked her to share her experience. Her guest post follows. She’s an avid home brewer and a senior in biochemistry at Southern Oregon University who will be attending the UC Davis Extension Brewing program in 2012 to become a professional brewmaster. Acacia brewed a specialty beer, Butternut Brown Ale, that may still be on tap if you’re lucky!
My interest in beer and brewing began when I was a kid and helped my family harvest the hops my dad grew on the side of the house. Eventually I started brewing a few batches of beginner beers with my dad and fell in love with the artistry, chemistry and biology of brewing and fermentation. I found that I liked homebrewing enough to look into making brewing my career.
One of the best ways to get started in the professional brewing field is to gain experience by participating in an internship and obtaining formal brewing training. Knowing that Standing Stone makes excellent beers and is very supportive of the local community, I thought they might want to help me on the road to being a professional brewer by taking me on as an intern.
Things turned out perfectly. I started working with Larry Chase, the brewmaster, in late June to begin learning the tools of the trade. One of the first things I learned was that 75% of the brewer’s time involves cleaning and sanitation and 25% is spent actually making beer. Lots of hard work soon followed, including learning how to transfer beer from the fermenters to the serving vessels, fill kegs properly, mill and mash the grain and boil the ‘wort’ into the sweet liquid that would soon become beer.
At the end of my internship I designed and brewed my own beer, Butternut Brown Ale. It is a medium bodied, malty beer that is very flavorful and has a mild, floral hop aroma. For my first attempt at brewing professionally, the beer seems to be a great success.
Though my internship is complete, I’ll still be working with beer for one of the senior projects I’m undertaking for my studies at Southern Oregon University. This will involve taking samples of immature “green” beer from Standing Stone and analyzing its flavor compounds as the beer matures. At the end of the project I will determine whether a five-day maturation period in a fermenter is necessaryfor the beer, or if a shorter maturation period is adequate.
The internship has increased my knowledge about brewing one thousandfold. When I attend the University of California Davis’ Master Brewer program in 2012, I will obtain the formal training to complement the wonderful start I’ve received here.
I want to thank Standing Stone co-owners, Alex and Danielle, for allowing me to have this wonderful experience, and extend special thanks to thank Larry for taking me under his wing and teaching me so much about brewing and the brewery.
~ Acacia Baldner, Summer 2010 intern