Archive by Author

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.


. . . . .

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

Small Pad

. . . . .

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

New 120's

. . . . .

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

20bbl Boil

. . . . .

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

View from the brewdeck

. . . . .

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

. . . . .

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.


. . . . .

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


. . . . .

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

Now 120 Brite

. . . . .

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.




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.

Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project Spotlight

26 Aug

Ever since I moved to Oakland I have been excited about this brewery and the beers they conjure up. Well technically there is no brewery, these folks contract brew out of Buzzards Bay Brewing in Westport, Massachusetts. Somehow they have a very strong market in the bay area and their beer can be found on tap and in bottles multiple places at any given time. I for one am a big fan of their beers, and everything about them just screams handcrafted deliciousness. I am also in love with their labels and the great way they market their beers. Pretty Things just has that artistic weirdness about them that someone with a beer blog named lurking goat can appreciate. Tonight I am having their flagship beer Jack D’or which is labeled as an American Saison. Its easy drinking with a decent malt backbone and a hoppy American punch. Apparently it has 57 Ibu which is astounding to me as it is very reserved and smooth on the pallet. The hops play with the yeast esters giving complexity to the beer and just making it down right delicious. I haven’t had all their beers though (I guess I have some homework to do) I have had their Barely Wine which is an equally fantastic beer. Grab one, you wont be disappointed.

If you would like anymore information on Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project, you can visit their website here.

Lurking Goat Wins Gold!

29 Jul

Well, technically there were no medals but we won a $100 gift certificate to the San Francisco Brewcraft home brew shop. It was a fun day of hanging out in the sun and talking beer to everyone who came by to sample at the peoples choice Picnic for Politics in San Rafael. We brought the Extra Pale Ale that I have been working on lately, which was a big hit with the tasters. We also brought the Lurking Goat sour, which we dubbed Old Billy at the event, as a strictly off the ballot taster.  Both beers were very well received by all of the event guests and we may have even opened a few eyes to the world of sour beers. All in all it was a good day! A special thanks to all of our fellow competitors and event personnel, we had a great time and met some awesome people.

Here are a few pictures of the event.

New Fermentation Chamber

22 Jul

Ive been wanting a new fermentation chamber since I had to give up our 15.5Cf chest freezer in San Diego. My basement stays a steady 64 degrees which is nice but I feel helpless without temperature control for my various brews. I found this 8.8Cf freezer on craigslist and it seemed fairly priced so I jumped on it. Its got some scratches and a dent in the corner but I am pretty happy with it overall. The people who I bought it from even threw in a “Food Saver” vacuum bag sealer which will be useful for hops.

Here is what It looks like filled with a 6.5 gal and a 5gal carboy. More than enough room!

I am currently doing a dark farmhouse ale with Whitelabs American Farmhouse blend, which is a combination Belgian farmhouse yeast and Brettanomyces. I am ramping up the temperature slightly since this yeast ferments best at 68˚-72˚F and I want this beer to be well attenuated with that classic Belgian dryness. I will just give you a quick description of the heating system I have hooked in case anyone is making the jump to temperature control. Its pretty simple overall and the Johnson controller is awesome, no complaints from me. I have the Johnson plugged in and mounted behind the freezer with the temperature probe mounted in the fridge in WL vial filled with water.  The water helps stabilize the probe readings so the temperatures don’t swing rapidly and will closer reflect the contents of the chamber. The Johson is connected to a hairdryer which I have mounted in the freezer aimed to move air around the chamber. The hairdryer works quite well and is only on for minutes at a time. When I want it to cool I have to switch it on the Johnson and plug the freezer into it but I don’t see myself having to do that too much unless I start brewing more lagers(which would be fun). The chamber is just about the right size for what I will be using it for these days. It looks like it will fit 2 six and a half gallon carboys which should be perfect because I will mainly use this for primary fermentation and then I can dryhop and do other secondary conditioning in the 64˚ basement.

Kentucky Uncommon Tasting Review

17 Jul

I am back in the bay after a short visit down to San Diego and I brought some Kentucky Uncommon with me.  I boxed those little guys up and put them in my carry on with no problems.  The TSA apparently did have a problem with my new beard as I was “randomly selected” for additional screening, Doh..should of saw that one coming!

Willy’s Kentucky Uncommons will be tasted along side an original sour mash fruit beer that we created, and my recent dark sour mash. All these beers are variations of the same recipes so this should be interesting. From left to right it is Willy’s Kentucky with Safale US05 yeast, Kentucky with Nottingham yeast, Original Sour recipe and lastly the dark sour mash.

These beers all pour very similar, with the first two being light with almost a Pino Noir, light red grape color to them, with light white almost pink tinted foam. The original sour mash pours with the most intense red burgundy color that is just a pleasure to watch.  The head of the original is a very pronounced pink color that dissipates quickly. Last the dark sour mash pours a brown with a deep red backing to it, the head seems mostly tan but with a very slight red hue. The carbonation is high on all these beers with the original probably being the highest at about 3+ volumes.

The Kentuckys both smell great, with a light sharp raspberry aroma. The Nottingham smells sweeter with hints of darker fruits like plum and cherries, but they are overall pretty similar.  Unfortunately the Original Sour smells slightly of some sort of bad phenolic medicinal smoke aroma that is hard to get past.  It isn’t horrible, and I am not sure I would notice with just casual drinking, but with three other beers that are very similar it stands out quite a bit.  Its hard to pinpoint why these flavors occurred since it wasn’t something that I had originally perceived. Most likely I believe since we originally used whole frozen raspberries in the secondary that over time(6+months in bottle) some small amount of wild yeast was able to take hold in the beer, leading to the off flavors. Lastly the dark sour smells lightly fruity with a darker malty caramel backbone from the darker caramel grains and dark chocolate malt. It smells pretty darn good and a little more complex that the others with the malt competing with the fruit on the pallet.

Overall taste and impressions of these beers are good with the Kentuckys being light and sessionable with the tartness of the sour mash and fruit combo lending itself nicely to the refreshing qualities of this beer. The differences between the two are minimal with the Us05 being slightly cleaner and more tart and the Nottingham having a slightly fruitier balanced aspect to it. The Original beer before infection had a bright very pronounced fruit flavor with a fairly clean sour. It was pretty darn good in its hay-day almost like an awesome beer fruit soda since it had about twice the amount of fruit that our new versions have. The dark tastes mellow compared to the other two with the darker malts subduing the acidity.  The darker fruit comes through quite nicely though playing off of the coffee like darker malts. Its funny, I originally though this beer came out a little too light from what I had envisioned, but it seems to be really dark when compared to the others and the differences in the recipe are very apparent.

Overall I seem to like the Us05 version of the Kentucky a lot since is a little more sour and brighter tasting that the other. It is very refreshing and fun to drink since the fruit adds all the flavor. The dark comes in at a close second though and I believe that with some additional tweaking of the recipe it will be really good. Right now the dark seems to have more coffee and bitter malt flavor instead of the darker sweet fruit caramel that I wanted.

These beers are fun to drink and I hope those who haven’t tried a sour mash before will get the courage to do so. Let us know how it goes.

Brew On my Friends!

Lagunitas Maximus IPA Review

26 Jun

I saw this little beauty in a local liquor store being sold as a single and decided to give it a try. I like most Lagunitas beers although I can’t say I am all that familiar with them. They are located 40 miles north of San Francisco so their beer is real easy to find in the bay area and hopefully I can go on a trip up there soon. Anyway, here is the beer; Maximus clocks in at 8.2% alcohol with 59 I.B.U. which should make for a good night. This beer pours a medium amber color with a nose of floral and fruity hops that jumps out at you. This drinks fairly easily and is well balanced with its modest 59 IBU. It tastes more malty and bready than you would expect, but it works well to balance the higher alcohol.  Flavors of honey and fruit are very apparent in the taste as well, moving to a slightly bitter finish. Overall very modest for a big IPA and a little on the sweet side with the honey flavor starting to be slightly cloying. Its clearly a well done beer with a large malt profile. I am not sure I would order more than one but with the 8.2% alcohol one may be all you need.

Overall 3.8 out of 5

Happy drinking