Sep 042008
Authors: Madeline Novey

Odell Brewing Company donated a $5,590 “pilot” brewing system to the Department of Food Science and Nutrition Thursday. The brewing company announced the gift to the program last week.

The small-scale, professional “recipe development” system will be used by students taking Brewing Science and Technology, an upper-division food science course.

The brewing system, called “Brew Magic,” is an original and technologically innovative design produced and distributed by Sabco Industries out of Toledo, Ohio. The 750-pound unit was delivered to the university yesterday afternoon; Sabco paid transportation costs, totaling almost $1,000.

The system, used by pubs, microbreweries and brewing labs, is a “mini version of a technologically high-end, commercial level product,” Bob Sulier, president of Sabco, said.

Student enthusiasm over Odell’s donation runs high.

“It’s going to be pretty amazing to see how advanced this technology is,” senior biology major Dan Koogle said.

Each system is produced one at a time and takes six to eight weeks to handcraft.

Every piece is completely original — from the internal electrical system down to the kettles, which are imported from Germany and modified by the designers.

Twelve years ago, Doug Odell, founder and brew master of Odell Brewing Co., forged what he called “a public-private enterprise cooperation,” with CSU and brewing sciences professor Jack Avens.

It all started when Avens invited Odell to speak in several food science and processing courses, and the symbiosis flourished when the Brewing Science and Technology course was added to the food sciences program four years ago.

“I have always valued our association with CSU,” Odell said. “We sat down and asked ourselves how we could step up our contributions, and this was an excellent opportunity to do so.”

Brewing authorities, including Odell, noticed that there was at least two problems with CSU’s current system.

“When I first saw the old equipment, I noted that there was a lack of consistency and a lack of repeatability,” Odell said. “[CSU] needed new equipment, and this has all the bells and whistles.”

University officials and brewing experts agreed the system would give students the competitive edge they would need to succeed in the industry.

“[Students] have a wonderful opportunity to use this new and innovative equipment,” Lori Sims, director of development for the College of Applied Human Sciences, said. “No matter which way they go, this will be a valuable science-based class, and I hope that they remember this day as one that could launch the rest of [their] careers.”

Brewing science students anticipated the opportunities the new system could afford.

“It will give me more knowledge of the brewing process and the science behind it, and then I’ll know if I want to do this in graduate school,” Koogle said.

Today, students will brew 10 gallons of an American IPA style ale on the Gifford patio with the help of Odell and the ‘Brew Magic.’

They will brew the same recipe on a commercial, five-barrel system on location at Odell Brewing Company on Saturday, Oct. 25.

The barrels, which each hold approximately 31.5 gallons of beer, will be processed and sold to pubs and breweries in the Fort Collins and CSU community in late October or early November. The Ramskeller in the basement of the Lory Student Center will serve the beer.

“[Brewing with Odell] is an excellent educational experience,” Avens said. “It’s exciting because the students are here to learn the science and the technology that’s behind a commercial product.”

Staff writer Madeline Novey can be reached at

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