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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.




Bine & Vine Bottle Share

31 Jan

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

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….

Wildeman Farmhouse IPA by Flying Dog Brewery

14 Oct

I’d like to start this review by saying  I’ve always liked Flying Dog’s Hunter S. Thompson approach at beer! All the labels kick ass and in my opinion the beer is also exceptional.

This Farmhouse IPA comes in at 7.5% ABV and 75 IBUs. Poured in a fat tulip glass I could smell the lemon zest and crazy citrus notes from a distance, up close the farmyard funky horse blanket was present but very mild. The head was appetizing alone, pure white thick and frothy about 3 fingers thick and dissipated rather slowly. The lace left behind was also very nice and the color was a hazy dark gold. The beer drank very crisp with a huge hit of citrus along with some tropical fruit flavors. The farmyard funk was present but just like in the aroma it was definitely toned down. One thing I noticed while drinking this beer was the colder the better. Distracted by Prometheus last night, I took my time drinking this beer and the bottom of the glass was warm and less favorable.   For the farmhouse junkies this beer will definitely leave you wanting more funk, but for new or unsure belgian fans this could possibly be a perfect gateway beer!

Stay thirsty my friends…

Washing Yeast Made Easy…

11 Aug

Washing yeast allows you to store it for reuse without having to purchase new yeast. I generally don’t do this mainly because I brew with all sorts of yeast and I never know when I will reuse or go back to that yeast for a new brew and I do not like to use yeast that has been sitting around for a long time. The way I look at it is, if you’re going to put all the effort into home brewing you might as well use fresh ingredients. But it is very nice to do this for platinum strains, bottle dregs, or in this case I’m doing it for some Brett “B” because the vials of brett that are sold in brew stores generally  have very low cell counts. By saving a good amount of this yeast I will be able to make a much more efficient starter from the get go! This is one of several different ways to wash your yeast:

When you are ready to use this yeast for a new brew, take it out a day or two before and make a starter out of it to increase the cell count and ensure viability. Hope this helps!

Stay thirsty my friends…

Saison Recipe

24 Jul

After reading Farmhouse Ales: Culture and Craftsmanship in the Belgian Tradition by Phil Markowski several times over and personally being a huge fan of these beers I thought it was time to put together another recipe. This would be the pilot batch for the new system I recently built, and the beer of choice…saison. I brewed a 10 gallon batch and separated it into two 5 gallon batches. In one carboy I pitched WLP 566 Saison II and the other carboy I made a two stage starter of WLP 644 Brettanomyces Bruxellensis Trois and pitched it.


The reason for the huge starter was the difference in cell counts. When purchasing standard yeast vials from white labs you can generally count on having around 100 billion cells to work with versus their Brett vials which only come with about 3 billion cells. I’m sure this will change soon as Brett beers are gaining in popularity but as for now you have to make the starter necessary for the beer. So I made a 7 day 2 liter starter than cold crashed and decanted most the liquid and added a fresh 1.5 liters of 1.037 wort for the a couple more days as the second stage.


The recipe shown below is what I wanted to end up with but instead when I originally put it together I was aiming for 75% efficiency, not knowing what I would get on the new system. Turns out I get just shy of 85% and I overshot my starting gravity. I ended up with 1.067 compared to the anticipated 1.056. I didn’t top off to compensate and that will be noted in the tasting notes. Can’t wait till it’s ready. I will be bottling the brett beer and kegging the saison!


Stay thirsty my friends…