Tuks Brewery hosted a beer tasting event for select guests last week. During this event, the guests were taught about the finer points of beer tasting, while sampling five of the brewery’s own beers. The Tuks Brewery has been active since 2008 and the team consists primarily of chemical engineering students. The brewery has competed in an intervarsity brewing competition the past four years, sponsored by SAB, the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and the FoodBev SETA. The Tuks team walked away with the trophy three times. They also compete in other beer tasting competitions during the year including the Clarence and Warthog Brewers competition. Carl Sandrock, a lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering, explains the brewing process: “About 10 kg of milled malt is mixed with hot water to release the enzymes which convert starches in the grain to sugars.” This step in the process takes about an hour. Once all the sugars have been released, the sugary water, now called wort, is then boiled for an hour and a half. The hops are added to the mixture during this time, after which the mixture is cooled from boiling to 16 °C. Yeast is then added to convert the sugars to carbon dioxide and alcohol, which takes about a week. According to Sandrock, “The green beer is removed from the yeast and transferred to 18 litre kegs for conditioning for at least two weeks, but in some cases several months.”  For competitions, a little sugar is added to the beer before bottling so that the beer is naturally carbonated. “The Tuks Microbrewery was originally sponsored by SAB in the interest of fostering brewing related research and interest in brewing in the student body,” says Sandrock. The Department of Chemical Engineering has used the brewery for student practicals and as an experimental tool for postgraduate research.

Photo: JP Nathrass

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