A quick look at Drake’s Brewery

28 Feb

I grew up in San Diego and have lived there most of my life, but this last may I made the decision to quit my job and make the move to Oakland.  It was a fresh start and I felt like it was as good a time as any to pursue my dream of working in the brewing industry.  Luckily for me, Drake’s, one of the biggest East Bay craft breweries had just put in a new bottling line and needed extra help working it.  From there, I began working my way up and having loads of fun along the way.  I work with a great crew of folks, making some of the best darn beer in the bay area.  I am pleased to say I have recently been training in the brewhouse, which has been keeping me busy.  I figured its time I posted some pictures of our ever changing and expanding brewery, so you all can see what has been keeping too busy to post.  Also if you haven’t had any Drakes beer you should get your hands on some. We make a lot of good West Coast style beers, and we do a very good dry hopped pale ale called simply, 1500.

This is one side of the brewery (the Hotside) we have a small pad over here with some 15bbl fermenters and 3 brand new 120bbl fermenters.  The big conical in the middle is one of the 120’s and the other two 120’s are just to the left of this picture.


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A better look at the small pad and the 15bbl tanks.

Small Pad

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These are the 120bbl conical tanks, the look kind of small but its just the picture, trust me.

New 120's

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You can’t really tell but this is looking into the kettle at 20bbls of boiling wort.

20bbl Boil

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This is the view from up top at the mash tun.

View from the brewdeck

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This is as you walk to the other side of the brewery where we have most of our tanks and the bottling line.

Cellara with bottling line

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This is a better view of the tanks we have over in the Cellar. We have three 80bbl, seven 60bbl, seven 20bbl tanks and various matching brite tanks including the new 120bbl brite.


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60’s on the left 20’s on the right, happily fermenting.


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Low shot of the 120bbl bright.  Make’s it look big huh?

Now 120 Brite

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Quick shot of the bottling line, my old home.

Bottling line

Well that’s all for now. I will post some pictures of the Barrel house and taproom some time soon.  If anyone is thirsty in the Bay area, let me know. I will have some more home brew posts for you folks later, I promise.




Pliny The Younger Is Back!

24 Feb

Got to have the ever so anticipated huge IPA @ 11% from Russian River last Sunday at Tornado on 30th. Pliny the Younger is def a big beer but still undeceivably smooth for its size. It numbs your taste buds with resiny goodness and finishes with a big bitter citrus bang almost like “grapefruit rind”  when tasted side by side with the elder it makes the elder go from a big IPA to almost a standard hoppy pale.

It was a good way to spend a sunday morning with friends and meeting Miguel and friends from Mexicali who drove up that morning from there (btw the chorizo potato burritos were bomb!). The line wrapped clear around the block and unfortunately the keg blew before the line ended, but that’s how it goes.

Would I wait in line for it again? Probably. Although if I could only have the elder or the younger ever again i would have to go with elder for it’s drinkability. However, the younger is a hell of an occasion beer!

Which Pliny are you?

Pliny the Younger




Bine & Vine Bottle Share

31 Jan

Back patio at Tornado. Too many for tasting notes, but one sweet picture!65255_3655854653575_5096623_n

Nut Brown! Tis The Season San Diego Style

16 Dec

I wanna start by saying I can’t take credit for the formulation of this recipe, I just brewed it! I’ve brewed a few recipes randomly found on homebrewtalk.com and this is by far the best and most worth giving an honorable mention to so hats off to fellow home brewer  Lil’ Sparky off the homebrewtalk forum.  I didn’t change the recipe to my brewhouse efficiency, I just ran with it. I brewed this one with my neighbor Jesse for a family wine and foodie get together. They loved it!

This beer pours dark hazel nut with a nice creamy tan head! The aroma is slightly malty and nutty. The taste is very creamy due to the considerable amount of oats used. The maltiness is more pronounced in the nose than taste. The maltiness is well balanced by bitterness with a generous amount of hops for style.

OG: 1.058 & FG: 1.012

I definitely recommend this beer for anyone who wants to brew something brown and tasty. I look forward to brewing it again!

Stay thirsty my friends…..

Lil' Sparky Nut Brown

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Lurking Goat Raspberry Sour Kits

5 Nov

Lurking Goat sour kits now available at J&M Brewing Supplies in Novato.  We have been working closely with our friends over at J&M to produce a Raspberry Sour Extract kit with them. I will have to say it tastes pretty darn good, and from what I hear has been received  warmly over at J&M by both staff and customers.  We brewed a pilot batch and put it on tap in the store, so if you get a chance go by and check it out.  If you haven’t been to J&M Brewing Supplies before I highly recommend you go check it out.  Joe, Marty and Sean are always eager to talk beer and they have a great selection of specialty grain and yeast among other brewing supplies.

Here are some pictures of the J&M crew along with the new kit.

I will eventually post the recipe up and possibly even offer up the instructions for anyone who isn’t it the bay area and wants to test this one out. Until then this is only available at the J&M store so go check it out, and drink a sour with the J&M crew.

150 BBL Bright Tank!

2 Nov

No! not in my garage… At work, Mission Brewery down here in San Diego next to the ball park in East Village. That’s me doing some some shining. Kick off SD Beer Week right and swing by to check it out!

New Sour Mash Recipes

19 Oct

Very similar to another sour mash I did before that can be seen here, only difference is I made a larger batch this time around as well as experimented with some different fruit and yeast, oh yes also added a little bit of white wheat this time around in hope for some better head retention and body. Almost forgot to mention the mash schedule, take the 2-row from the recipe above and do your typical Sach rest @ 150F for 50 minutes, mash out @ 170F for 10 minute, then cool mash down to 118F and pitch a handful of raw grains containing the lactobacillus were after. If at all possible purge these mash tuns with Co2 to displace the oxygen and tape the lives shut. Let this go for 36-48 hours I personally let this one go for 40. Once the 40 plus hour mash is complete your ready to brew, I steep the specialty grains @ 155F for 25 minutes then add the word from the sour mash and begin my boil. Thirty minutes is more than enough time to pasteurize that lacto. After boil is complete treat the wort as you would another.

Big Batch: I filled a 6.5 gallon carboy with this wort and then rehydrated and pitched one pack of Safale US-05, after three days or vigorous fermentation was complete I added a 3 pound can of pureed cherries and a 3 pound can of pureed raspberries, a new krausen developed for a couple days and then settled out. I let this sit in primary for 2.5 weeks then racked into a keg and began carb to 3.0 volumes of Co2. As of now it’s still crabbing and the tasting notes are right around the corner.

Small Batch: This is the one I tinkered with, I filled a 3 gallon carboy with wort then added Wyeast Forbidden Fruit and 1.5 pounds of pureed peaches at the same time. After primary fermentation was complete I tasted a sample and was not pleased with the fruit flavor, so I added another 1.5 pounds of peach puree and tasted again about 4 days later, still not satisfied. Something about peaches not tasting right with this style of beer, seems to be too acidic and not in a good way. 36 oz. of smoothie raspberries later I find an okay balance, incredibly tart and fruity. Possibly a bit too much fruit, maybe it will mellow out over the next month or so, not really sure yet. However, the color of this beer alone is enough to make it standout, looks just like Hawaiian Punch. I’m afraid the tasting notes on this one are a little bit farther out.

Gravity: both beers started around the 1.045 mark and finished around the 1.008 mark

Stay thirsty my friends….