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Ballast Point/SD Padres Home Brew Competition

I have been home brewing since 2010 and have found myself becoming more involved with the process and equipment in hopes of brewing the best beer possible. I learned a lot about the hobby from a few home brewer buddies and also devoting my morning and afternoon commutes to listening to The Brewing Network and all of their informative programming.

About two months ago, I finally made it to the Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits tasting room in Scripps Ranch and saw their poster for the competition.  Since I was set up to brew that weekend, I figured I would enter that beer.  Plus, entries were free.

An article about the partnership with Ballast Point and the Padres:  San Diego Magazine – A Home Brew Home Run

Ballast Point Brewing Home Brew Contest Info

Ballast Point announcement on their Facebook page

Photo from the judging

A fresh pour of the pale ale from the tap!

The ball for the pitch!

Field pass and game ticket

Charlie Sheen showed up at the game that day too. He threw out a pitch.

I’m one of those people that seems to never win anything.

And here’s the pitch…low and outside!

The next step is to connect with Ballast Point Brewing to get this brewed on a bigger scale and I’m hopeful to have it entered at the upcoming 2012 Great American Beer Festival Pro-Am Competition in Denver this October 11-13.

A Request for my Beer

I was recently asked by a friend if I would brew a batch of beer for a local fundraising event.  I was excited that someone actually asked me to brew for something other than pulling pints for my own enjoyment.  The event was the first annual fundraiser for Just Call Us Volunteers and was held on March 24, 2012 at Luce Loft in downtown San Diego.

Just Call Us Volunteers came about in 2005 when Chef Julie Darling saw a need to serve the homeless fresh and nutritious meals.  Julie began by serving Thanksgiving dinners; which quickly turned into serving Christmas dinner as well.  Over the next two years, their efforts expanded and they now serve twice monthly in addition to special holiday meals.

For the event, I chose to brew what us west coaster would refer to as a west coast ale.  The beer was an American Amber style ale that is big on the citrusy Cascade and Centennial hops and balanced out with specialty malts.  I bottled conditioned 5.25 gallons and was able deliver 48, 12 ounce bottles.  Original gravity came in at 1.065 and 6.6%ABV.

I am glad to have had the opportunity for my brewing hobby to expand outside the walls of my house and personal brewery set up so others can experience the craftiness of a hobby that I love and which is large part of San Diego.  I am hopeful to have the opportunity to participate in this event again.  Perhaps my chance will surface for the second annual fundraiser for Just Call Volunteers.

Harvesting / Repitching Yeast

I decided to harvest yeast from the Screaming Blonde Ale II brew I recently finished.  Since my next scheduled Special Red brew day is coming up, today was the harvest. 

I figured that since I had never done this before, I should do some research; which ended up being a Brew Strong episode from 3/22/09 titled “Repitching Yeast.”  After getting all the information in order I was well on my way to seeing how this works.

This is the process I followed:

1.  Sterilized two (2) large mason jars and lids in boiling water for approximately 15 minutes.  I then sanitized jars and lids with iodophor.

Empty mason jar - about 2,000 ml

2.  Racked the blonde ale into a secondary fermenting vessel leaving behind the yeast cake and about ½ inch of beer/trub.

Yeast transferred from primary after swirling around with the 1/2 inch of beer still left in the carboy


A closer look


3.  Let the trub and dead yeast cells settle to the bottom and then decanted the small about of beer at the top of the mason jar.

Dead yeast and trub settling out with remaining beer on top

4.  Added sterile water to the jar to rinse the yeast and again, let it settle.

Sterile water added to yeast and then shook jar

5.  Transferred the white, milky yeast in solution to the second mason jar and put in the refrigerator.

Yeast washed and settling in refrigerator

I have no clue what I am doing and I probobly have way too much water to yeast in the jar, but I’ll go with it.  From here, I will use the Mr. Malty yeast pitching rate calculator to determine how much should be pitched to my next brew; which should be approximately 100 ml.  I will be brewing in about two weeks and am curious to see the turn out.