Front Range Community College Blog

Fermentation Lab to Open with Brew System

What’s brewing for the fall semester in the Fermentation Science program at Front Range?

OK, sorry about the kitschy start, but there’s a lot to be excited about – a new fermentation lab at the Boulder County Campus in Longmont. The lab includes a 10-gallon brew system, four ovens/stoves, food-grade stainless steel tables, sinks, and refrigerator/freezers, and new cabinetry to store materials.

Roomy lab with space for 24 students

“We have new toys and lots of space,” says Louise Brown, program director. “Our capacity is 24 students.”

Fermentation Sciences degrees transfer to CSU, Metro

The Fermentation Science program started last year. The Associate of Science degree with designation transfers to Colorado State University for a bachelor of science in fermentation science and technology and to Metropolitan State University of Denver for junior status for a bachelor of science in brewery operations.

But the transfer opportunities are getting ahead of ourselves. First, the Associate of Science degree.

All about fermentation

The program focuses on the science of fermentation. Yes, beer, but also wine and foods. Thus, the need for the food-grade kitchen.

And, of course, biology, microbiology, and chemistry classes to understand the processes that turn into beer beer and wine into wine and kimchi into kimchi. Kimchi is a fermented dish from Korea.

A first look

Some students in the program came to see the new lab over the summer.

“We missed this nice setup,” says Sam Bergen, a student who has internships at Grossen Bart Brewery and Left Hand Brewery in Longmont. “I’m jealous.”

Yes, science

William Taylor, however, has the brewing system in his future. For now, he’s under 21 and can’t take the brewing or wine classes.

Instead, William has completed the Fermentation of Food class.

“I’m more interested in the science behind fermentation,” he says. “Working on food fermentation, you can see the microbiology behind it. I made some sourdough and kombucha at home. It will be nice having a real kitchen the whole class can use.”

Kombucha is a fermented tea using bacteria and yeast.

About that brewing system

This is Colorado, so much of the attention focuses on beer brewing.

The lab has a Ruby Street Fusion 15, manufactured in Fort Collins by Ruby Street Brewing LLC. The system includes three stainless steel kettles with lids, a wort chiller, a hop basket, a whirlpool arm, and the clamps and tubing that the industry uses.

“You can learn a lot with this system,” says Arturo Sosa, who is about halfway through the program. “You just have to do it.”

Arturo completed his internship last year at Grossen Bart Brewery.

For bottling, Louise plans to use several large bottles in which to pitch various yeasts. “We want to learn about how the different years affect the final taste in the beer,” she says.

Ready for fall semester

As the new semester approaches, Louise and some faculty volunteers (who wouldn’t volunteer?) will give the system a run-through with some small batches.

Then, it’s the students’ turn.

For information about the Fermentation Science program, contact Louise at louise.brown@frontrange.edu or (303) 678-3810.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Feeley is director of public relations at Front Range Community College.