1 bbl brew day on Twitter.

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Gordie

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Hey everyone. Well I've gone an taken the plunge - I converted from homebrewer to licensed and bonded Nanobrewer and I've got a 1 bbl garage called the Healdsburg Beer Company up here in Northern California. I'm going to be twittering my day @Healdsbrew if anyone wants to follow along. Making a 1 bbl batch of Healdsburg Blonde. 1.053 and 26.7 BU.

Thanks!
 
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Gordie

Gordie

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FYI - first time on Twitter so any tips would be appreciated...
 
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Gordie

Gordie

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Actually - no. About a weekend of paperwork and a 45 day waiting period. There's more to it but that's the basics. Im happy to help anyone who's thinking of it if anyone has any questions. In my day job I'm a lawyer, and I've done licensing work before so the process wasn't as intimidating to go through.
 

KingBrianI

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How are you distributing? And I'm surprised the cordless drill made it through 60 lbs of malt! They must have better batteries than they used to!
 
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Gordie

Gordie

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I'm self distributing - couldn't make any money otherwise at this production size. Yeah - had to swap out the 18v half way through...
 

JohnnyO

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Wow, awesome!! I just started following you on Twitter. Best of luck!!
 
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Gordie

Gordie

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Alas - haven't really figured out the picture thing. If you can imagine a slightly oversized Brutus with 3 55g Blichmans on it, that's the rig. I've got a pic or two in my profile, I think, with my old kettles. Next time I'll have it all sorted for pics and whatnot.
 

ClaudiusB

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Hey everyone. Well I've gone an taken the plunge - I converted from homebrewer to licensed and bonded Nanobrewer
Gordi congratulations:mug:

I've got a 1 bbl garage called the Healdsburg Beer Company up here in Northern California.
My edit:
Is the brewery inside your garage?
If yes, how did you get aroud the law?

§ 25.21 Restrictions on location.

A brewery may not be established or operated in any dwelling house or on board any vessel or boat, or in any building or on any premises where the revenue will be jeopardized or the effective administration of this part will be hindered.





Cheers,
ClaudiusB
 

Matt Up North

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Congrats, I would be down to come over and see what you have going. We still need to make that exchange some time. :mug:
 
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Gordie

Gordie

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Yee haw. Well I got out of the brew with grace and style... except for the BK filter... So a few quick answers -

I got around the 25.21 restriction by having a detached garage. I licensed my office on the second floor of my house (location of all records relating to production need to be identified for the Cal. ABC) but got a variance from the TTB for that.

Yup - It's a weekend, evening thing. Actually, now that I've got my process pretty well dialed in, its getting easier and easier. I have a 20 month old daughter so having confidence that my rig will perform as designed has been a blessing and I can go and mess with her intermittently. It takes about 8 hours to do a 1bbl so that's important to me.

The biggest lesson learned from the step up to 1bbl: You don't need more knowledge or skill to do the bigger batches, just more stuff. And time. There are some pics of the rig with my smaller kettles in my profile. Its about the same, except its got 55g kettles on it now. Assistant Brewer/Wonderdog Gordie is featured in the foreground...

Cooling was a pain - the brew threw so much protein that the BK filter slowed to almost nothing and my counterflow chiller was almost useless. On the advice of the Blichmann manual, instead of using their BK screen I used a coarse steel-wool pad. It was worse than useless. I eventually had to drain off some wort into my fermentors to lower the level enough to get some tongs and rip the steel wool off and finish cooling the wort.

Next time I'm going to make a few changes - first, I'm going to hit ACE hardware and get some copper tubing and rig a whirlpool return for when I'm cooling. Second - I'm going to whole leaf hops from now on. I'm not confident that I'm going be able to get an effective screen for that volume of wort going through that sized port and the leaf hops can help as a coarse filter. The pellet hops/hop bag worked great at 15g of wort but now that I'm throwing at least a pound of hops in the boil the hop dust that gets out of the bag is substantial.

Also - yeast becomes different. Bigger starter that won't fit on a stir plate, so rethinking that was one of those "planning things" that never really seem to be done early enough. I stir plated about 1.8 liters and then pitched that into some more slurry and some more 1.040 wort and let it rise to krausen. It looked happy so I figure I did what I could. Seriously aerating 33g of wort is a must, so this was the maiden voyage of my in-line aerator - a 2 micron stone in a stainless T (conveniently available from More Beer...). We'll see how it goes.

I'm also using sanke kegs as fermentors so I had to rig blow off tubes, which I hadn't been doing. I'm a little nervous about putting 15 gal of wort in a 15.5 gal vessel but maybe I'll just have an easier time cleaning the krausen line. I had been using the 15g sankes to ferment 12-13 gallons and just rigged an airlock but if I can fit a 1bbl batch into two rather than three kegs it will make my life dramatically easier.

Thanks to everyone who followed me on Twitter. My wife, who was the original person who said "why don't you try and make beer?" after I f#$%ed up yet another batch of wine, thought it would be cool. I'm going to try and make it a regular thing. The nanobrewing thing is pretty unique and a great grass-roots "take back the beer" kind of vibe so I'm going to try and figure out how to share what's working for me and what I've screwed up. If anyone has any questions or is in the area and wants to stop by and say hi on a brew day or anything, let me know. Also, I've got a facebook page for Healdsburg Beer Company where I'm going to be putting news and whatnot, so if anyone wants to keep informed become a fan.

Kevin (and Gordie)

Healdsburg Beer Company
 

NotALamer

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Are you using any foam control? It makes a huge difference.
 
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Gordie

Gordie

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I haven't been using any foam control but that's the next step if this one doesn't work. I've got some fermentcap on hand that I use to keep my starters from boiling over onto my kitchen range top. My only issue is that I pitch into the BK after cooling, recirc to get the yeast distributed and then directly into the sealed kegs for fermentation. I haven't used foam control and don't know if I can just throw it in the BK with the yeast or not. Otherwise I'd need to remove the spear which I'd prefer not to do for sanitization reasons. Anyone have any thoughts?

And yes - I've been selling for a few months now. I'm kegging in 5g sankes and mostly have been selling to friends and some chefs and caterers around here. I've got a plan for bottling but I want to do cork and wire and the kind of bottle I want I'm going to have to buy from eastern Canada and their minimum order is a pallet (84 cases) which is a bunch of cash. So I'm going to sell kegs for a while and save my pennies for glass down the road.

The brewery is "officially" launching Sept. 12 at our local beer festival, and prior to that I should have a few taps in town.
 

NotALamer

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You can add the fermencap at the beginning of the boil and it will stick around. Some people also add it directly to their fermenters, but some of it definitely carries over from the boil. It's supposed to settle out if the wort isn't moving around so some of it probably ends up in the break material at the bottom of the BK.
 
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Gordie

Gordie

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Thanks NotALamer! Time for some research... looks like fermcap would float on the boil and not make it through the boil sludge to the fermenters. I may have to break the seal on the kegs after all... I could put a few drops on in the sanke coupler I use to fill and let the wort push it into the keg... hm...
 

thantos

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Congrats Kevin, Very cool to be living the dream ! ! ! Is it possible for us to purchase beer from you direct like mail order wine? If so how do we go about it?
Gene
 

talenos

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I'm following you on twitter now. I was hoping you could explain a little more of the legal process you had to go through. I imagine being from California as well, it would be quite similar.
 
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Gordie

Gordie

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Quick update - fermentation is moving along well at 68 deg f. One fermentor spit out a pint or two of stuff and the other didn't blow off anything, so it looks like I'm in good shape. I'll have it sit for a week, check FG and go from there. Yeast seem happy and busy (they actually got busy in a hurry) so I'm a happy guy. In line aerator seemed to work nicely.

Hey Thantos! Sure. My distribution is about as far as I drive on a given day but if you get up this way and I've got something in the pipeline, I'm happy to hook you up. Email me at [email protected] and let me know if you'll be in the area. I'm trying to stuff the pipeline at the moment and I've got to designate a few kegs for "Beer in the Plaza" in the town square on September 12 so I'm light on inventory, but give me a shout and I'll see if I've got something I can put aside for you.

Hey Talenos. Its pretty much the same all over CA, with the exception of having to deal with your local zoning people to get approval. I'll post a more comprehensive review of the process I went through soon, but I gotta run. Long story short - you need a TTB brewer's notice (free to apply, requires a $1,000 bond and takes about 45 days waiting time after application), a CA Type 23 "small brewer" liquor license (costs about $400 to apply and about $140 a year, two meetings at ABC and a sign for a month in your window) and the blessing of your local zoning people that a small scale commercial brewery is not a zoning violation. There's nuance to it, but those are the main points.

Kevin
 

thantos

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Hey Thantos!

Sure. My distribution is about as far as I drive on a given day but if you get up this way and I've got something in the pipeline, I'm happy to hook you up. Email me at [email protected] and let me know if you'll be in the area. I'm trying to stuff the pipeline at the moment and I've got to designate a few kegs for "Beer in the Plaza" in the town square on September 12 so I'm light on inventory, but give me a shout and I'll see if I've got something I can put aside for you.

Kevin
Kevin,
If I were to bring up a 5 gal Corny would you be able to fill it? Or would it be easier to just by bottles? Or maybe a corny swap? I really wanna attend the brew fest, just gotta run it by my scheduler (SWMBO) LOL...
 

Berkbeer

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Awesome that you are doing this, I may try and run up for the fest and give your beer a try.
 

dragon99

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Sounds pretty awesome! Wish you the best of luck.

If I may ask, what was your investment to get to 1 bbl production?
 
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Gordie

Gordie

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Hi Tiedhouse. I'm using 23 tip jet burners with an adjustable high pressure regulator at the propane bottle. It took me about an hour to get 36 g of wort from 140 to 212. Normally I light up the BK when the kettle is about half full to save time, but this was my first brew with this rig and I wanted to make sure my gravity was right before I started the boil, so I was checking runoff gravity and stirring and sampling the collected wort up until I got my preboil volume so it was easier/safer to not have a F-16 engine going under the BK while I was doing that.

Hey Thantos. You know, I wouldn't be able to fill a corney, really. I could probably swap one for you, though. I naturally carbonate all my stuff in the kegs and I'm using 5g sankes. If you want to give me enough lead time, I could prime up a keg in a corney for you and set it aside and you could swap me an empty one or something.

Thanks Berkbeer. Let me know if you're coming to the fest and I'll keep an eye out.

Kevin
 

magnj

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Gordie I missed your live brew day but I'm really excited to hear that you started as a homebrewer and made the jump to nano. I followed you on twitter and look forward to your updates!
 

JMO

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Hey Gordie, great threads! What is your twitter name? I'd love to follow.
 

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Gordie, not to hijack your post, that sounds exactly what I am going through here in TX. The TTB is free, but I only need a $600 bond. TABC license is $2k per year, paid every 2 years. I 35 gallon batches, times 3 or 5 a day. I piped NG into the building for a steady gas rate, and boil, xfer wort, mash, boil, xfer wort mash, etc. I usually do about 110 gallons, and I bought and converted 55 gallon stainless barrels turned sideways for fermentors. 110 gallon batches pretty much fills 2 drums. They are on a wheeled cart, and when cooled and full, I wheel them into a cold room for fermentation. I am going to bottle and do a few kegs. I found bottles here in Waco, TX, for $3.59 / case of 12 oz long necks. Labels, caps, 6 packs and cases are a bit more. I buy grain in bulk with a local brewery. They get 40k lb truck loads, so my 500 lb orders cost about $ .47 / lb. Not to bad. My BK has a baffle plate welded into the bottom. it is about 4" tall and 12" long. It is curved to match the circumfrance of the barrel, and welded 2" from the side, directly in front of my drain valve. That way, when I whirlpool, all the trub goes to the center of the drum and the clear wort runs around the dam and the wort stays out. I can send you a picture if you like. Its a great idea, I recommend. Really helps keep the CF plate chiller clean. I also use a 2 pump system at this point. I pull the wort out of the BK with the 1st pump, and boost it to the 2nd pump to push it through the chiller. No plugging. I cool with well water down to about 78º, then into the fermentors. The cold room does the rest. I would like to talk to you more about this process. Sounds like we are on the same page.:mug:
 

oldschool

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This is great stuff. just added you on facebook even though i will probably never get a chance to try your beer since i live in Indiana.
 
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