The Method Brewing Blog

Brewday with Southpaw BBQ!

November 1st, 2014 by kenton No Comments

Big thanks to Southpaw BBQ & Southern Cooking for inviting us to join them for a brew yesterday! We had a great time making a strong Dunkelweizen, a malty German style calling for loads of wheat, prominent fruit aroma and flavor, and an ungodly quantity of rice hulls. So, so many rice hulls. Phil and Ross designed a great recipe with a gorgeous color, and we can’t wait to try the finished beer!

Ready for more rice hulls, Paul?

Paul stirs during dough-in at Southpaw

We mashed in a bit after 6AM to beat the Halloween crowd. Southpaw has an incredibly space-efficient brewhouse, using a two-vessel system from Pacific Brewery Systems that combines mash tun with hot liquor tank/boil kettle. They’ve got their beer pipeline perfected so by midday we were boiling 4 bbl of Dunkelweizen while carbonating a previously brewed stout. Meanwhile, another guest Paul (@motobrewer) and I had heard so much about how much fun it is to clean a fermenter that we just had to give it a try (really great, you should try it too!) It was incredibly valuable for us to learn the ins and outs of their rig, helping us know what to watch for as we design our own custom brewhouse, and Ross and Phil were very generous with their time.

We also did some brainstorming for an upcoming collaboration brew between Method and Southpaw, to be released during SF Beer Week – get excited! We’ll be brewing some pilot recipes so keep an eye on the blog for updates. In the meantime, hit up Southpaw for some Dunkelweizen and soul food.

For Halloween, we dressed up as people covered in grain

Left to right: Ross (Southpaw), Paul (MotoBrewer), Paul (Method), Phil (Southpaw), Kenton (Method)

Lab notebook: controlling JIIPA spice

October 7th, 2014 by ryan No Comments

We’ve noticed (and perhaps you have too) that the level of spice on the JIIPA varies dramatically, with some batches only having jalapeño on the nose and others being overpoweringly spicy. We’ve aimed to resolve this issue by making a jalapeño tincture that can be used to titrate spice into the beer until we hit the correct level. Below is the experimental outline, results, and some photos.



Above: making the tincture

For the tincture: 1kg fresh jalapeños with seeds, quartered; 2L grain alcohol (75.5% ethanol). Cost: ~$60.

Preliminary: The main spicy compound in peppers is called capsaicin, and it occurs in greater amounts in spicier peppers. While we could certainly have more economically isolated more capsaicin by using stronger (eg habanero) peppers, we opted for jalapeños for the following reasons: any additional flavor compounds from these peppers would be less likely to be detectable in the final beer; additional spicy compounds (capsaicinoids) may occur in degrees specific to each pepper variety, and if this is the case, using jalapeños allows us to preserve any specificity in jalapeño-esque spice.

Our method: After mixing the tincture, the ethanol was noticeably green and by 1 week the jalapeños had lost significant color. Ethanol was then drained from jalapeños, jalapeños were discarded, and ethanol was allowed to evaporate for two days, until volume reached 1.5L (further evaporation is certainly possible). Assuming only ethanol evaporated, the final alcohol concentration of the tincture is 66%. At this point the tincture was dark and aromatic. Evaporation could be sped up (dangerously) on the stove top.

Test: Spice is generally measured with scoville testing. To do this, make serial dilutions of your stock. The first (weakest) dilution at which you can detect spice is the scoville rating. For example, if you can taste spice at 1:5000 but not 1:6000, your stock was at ~5000 scoville units. Note that scoville ratings on peppers are generally performed with dried peppers, in an oil extract, and aim to define a rating within 100 units. For our purposes, generating a rating for our tincture is sufficient. Not a perfect test, obviously, but workable. For our scoville testing, we used a boiled 1.015 wort for our serial dilutions, the same gravity as the JIIPA after fermentation.

Result: our tasting panel put the scoville rating of the tincture at around 7500. We generally aim for 75 to 100 on the JIIPA, which for a 5g batch is 200ml of tincture. After carbonation, it was clear that had hit the mark head on, but we tested anyway and hit ~75.  No additional alcohol was detectable, although 200mL of tincture should bring the beer from 8% to 8.62%.

Future: This batch of jalapeños was not particularly spicy, but $60 worth of ingredients was still enough to spice 37.5g of beer, so we’re in a workable range. In the future, multiple rounds of peppers could be extracted in one batch, and more alcohol could be evaporated, such that we will not significantly change the ABV of the beer by tincture addition.


Above: the final tincture

Back to work…

October 7th, 2014 by ryan No Comments

Now that we have a location, we’re going to be putting some final touches on some of our favorite recipes. This weekend we’ll run a mini-megabrew, focusing on yeast health and wort oxygenation to make sure the bigger beers attenuate well. On the brew schedule:

51% oat stout + Vietnamese coffee
100% wheat porter
Brandy Barleywine
Noyaux Nut Brown
Coconut Brown
Black kolsch


October 6th, 2014 by ryan 2 Comments

Method Brewing is thrilled to announce that we’ve finalized a partnership with key owners of Local Kitchen to build a brewery and restaurant on Rincon Hill in San Francisco. The space we will call home will be like none other in The City, featuring a ground-level brewery and taproom, a second-floor event space, and a rooftop bar and beer garden. That’s right: you’ll soon be enjoying a Jalapeño IIPA or black kolsch from a rooftop garden set within the beautiful and dynamic SF cityscape. Our new partners are an amazing group with a proven track record of building top-flight spots and we’re excited and humbled at the prospect of working with them.

Since we first hatched this idea 18 months ago, we’ve built an amazing community of support. We could not ask for a better network of friends and family and we’re truly grateful for everything our supporters have done for us to date. This brick and mortar is the organic next step for us and we can’t wait to have everyone over. More updates to follow!


September 4th, 2014 by ryan 2 Comments

We’re excited to have our final beer list for our upcoming WOBO fundraiser and tasting party. We set out to put together our most experimental tap list yet, pocketing some of our flagship favorite recipes (such as WSCAS and the 51% oat stout) in favor of aggressively pursuing as many of the back-burnered ideas as possible. We can’t wait to see these all in one place. Here’s the final list:

  • 100% wheat German lager
  • Jalapeño IIPA
  • Mezcal Jalapeño IIPA
  • Chipotle/Mole Chocolate Stout
  • Jealosy (blended Syrah grape must and Belgian dark ale)
  • Pinot Kolschio (blended Pinot Grigio grape must and kolsch)
  • Rauchkolsch (smoked wheat kolsch)
  • Toasted Oat India Red Ale
  • The Hoppit (passionfruit IPA with experimental NZ hops)
  • GnTPA (IPA with Cinchona bark, cardamom, lemongrass, kefir leaves, and gin)
  • Dry Irish Red Kolsch
  • Tiniest Green Wolf microIPA
  • Guayusa Coconut Brown
  • Grapefruit Shandy
  • Imperial Black Kolsch
  • Rum Noyaux Nut Brown

Lomvardski 2014

February 22nd, 2014 by ryan No Comments

The annual lab ski/drinking retreat is in a few weeks, and Method beer is always a topic of discussion. I’ve received some requests to release the recipes of some favorites, and who am I to stand in the way of progress? Go forth and brew!

1. (mostly) traditional JIIPA, made with all Columbus and Cascade hops, as well as a later jalapeno addition for a bit more aroma:
batch size: 5.5g
domestic 2-row: 7#
domestic munich: 2#
british 2-row: 3#
crystal 20: 1#
dextrose: 1#
Mash at 152 45′
Boil 60′
Columbus 15.9%, 2oz at 60′
11 halved jalapenos @ 15′
Cascade 5.5%, 3oz at flameout
OG: 1070, 95IBU
2. Oatmeal IRA, with extra toasted oats, 1/2# acidulated malt for some zest, and all Columbus and Amarillo hops:
batch size: 5.5g
domestic 2-row 11#
munich 10L: 1#
crystal 40: 0.75#
crystal 120: 0.75#
melanoiden: 0.5#
flaked oats: 0.5#
toasted flaked oats: 1#
victory: 0.5#
acidulated malt: 0.5#
Mash at 152 1h
Boil 60′
Columbus 14.2%, 1oz at 60′
Columbus 14.2%, 1oz at 15′
Amarillo 8/8%, 1oz at flameout
OG 1058, 69IBU

Mature ginger sour seeking companionship

January 31st, 2014 by ryan 2 Comments

While doing an archaeological dig in the beer kitchen, I came across a bottle of the famed ginger sour, widely known for its champagne-like dryness, a consequence of fermentation by ginger-resident Lactobacillus. I know a couple folk out there really like this one and we don’t see it often, so it’s up for grabs to the first person who asks, payable at tomorrow’s megabrew.

Brewer’s Notebook, November 17th: A House Divided

November 17th, 2013 by kenton 1 Comment

A difficult day for the Method family, as today’s Saints vs. 49ers game has divided the founders along deeply held ideological lines. Like Colin Kaepernick and the noble Niners, we persevered with an excellent brew and came up with a new batch of our Oatmeal India Red Ale, our favorite hopped red ale. This round will feature extra flavor and aroma hops. We’ll probably keg it in a few short weeks, and can’t wait (unlike Drew Brees, who is currently trying not to think about what the next few weeks hold for him).

Go Niners!

Brewer’s Notebook, November 13th: Five Pounds of Coconut

November 15th, 2013 by kenton No Comments

We had a particularly fun brew last night – Maude and I squeezed in a weeknight brew, making a double batch of one of our most unexpectedly delicious beers: the Coconut Brown Ale. We loved the beer last time, and I tried to improve on the recipe by adding to the malty, toasty backbone that supports the powerful coconut flavor. I added 1.5 lbs of dark Munich Malt, and another pound of Belgian Aromatic (the full recipe will be published once we finalize these changes).

What makes the beer special is the toasted coconut and oats – this picture shows just 1/3 of the coconut chips we included. I grabbed a video showing what five pounds of coconut chips look like as they swirl through a 15 gallon pot – keep an eye on our twitter account. This was a beautiful brew.


My favorite part: those who’ve been brewing with us since the beginning know our fondness for our trusty wort chiller, the Copper Swan. Last night, the Swan got some coconut feathers! This is just one of the many beers we’re working on. Sign up for our mailing list to hear about our progress!

Brewer’s Notebook, October 26-27: Dark and Boozy Nights

November 3rd, 2013 by kenton No Comments

We kicked off this weekend brewing beers which benefit from some aging. We started with Paul’s Imperial Stout, a super aggressive, very tasty and dangerously strong and thick brew. This is the pilot brew for the recipe, so we’re all pretty eager to try it out.

The next day was a monster. Robert has his automated HERMS up and running (that’s Heat Exchange Recirculating Mash System, pictured below), which which is hugely exciting for us. This is the prototype for our brewhouse system, and it’s working like a dream – we’re now capable of performing multi-step mashes, with temperature control within well under a degree, and logging data through the entire process.

Our pilot HERMS

Robert’s brainchild: an automated temperature control system for mashing and fermentation.

In fact, even once our brews are fermenting, we’re monitoring and controlling their temperature, helping us more precisely determine the final flavor profile of our beers. This is a big step, and Robert deserves a lot of credit for making it happen.

He kicked off the day with a second iteration of our All-Wheat Stout. The initial brew was good, but probably needs more body and a stronger backbone, and the same may be true for the second iteration, as we were working with some incompletely crushed grain (note: that bit of conventional wisdom seems true. We brewed the same recipe on the same equipment, and crushing the grain finely in-house got us nearly a 20% efficiency bump). We expect a tasty beer, but maybe on the Porter end of the spectrum. We next brewed a second version of my Experimental Belgian. My goal is to fuse traditional dark, fruity Belgian flavors with strong malt and citrus notes to make a complex, winelike, over-the-top Dark Strong Ale, and I think we took a big step forward. I improved the recipe for my homemade syrup (to be posted soon), increased the proportion of Special B grain to a whopping 16%, and added dark Crystal malt, and the result is super dark and flavorful. Finally, we brewed Robert’s new brainchild, a Brandy and Brown Sugar Barley Wine. There’s a lot going on there, including aging on Cognac and Armagnac-soaked oak. Both this and the Belgian will be well over 9% ABV.

We like where our current experiments are taking us. The future is going to get dark and boozy.


Sadly, our brews can only be enjoyed if you're at least 21 years old.