Monthly Archives: November 2014

Brewing at Bedford Brewing in Victoria BC

I move to Victoria BC on Sunday and waste no time booking an appointment at Bushido Brewery’s next BOP facility, Bedford Brewing, for Thursday afternoon.


Bedford Brewing is located in Esquimalt BC, adjacent to Victoria BC. It’s just a short drive from my office and also very close to my current place of residence. There is more than one BOP facility in the area and I chose Bedford because they are all-grain. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to compile my own recipe to brew on their equipment so I decide to brew one of theirs, opting for the Scottish Peated Ale.

I show up at 3:00 PM on Thursday for brew day. It’s really nice to brew in the middle of the day because the place is basically empty. They’ve already done the mash and the wort is in my kettle heating up.

Immediately I proceed to measure out my specialty grains and steep them in the kettle. Then I measure out my hops. After steeping the specialty grains we bring the kettle to a boil. Their system has a water faucet at each kettle which is very useful for spraying down the foam to prevent boil over.


Near the end of the boil I add Irish moss, then the aroma hops. The brewmaster on duty, Jared, handles transferring the wort from the kettle, through the heat exchange, and into the fermenter. Just like at Gallagher’s, Bedford uses an O2 tank connected to the line to aerate the wort on its way to the fermenter. Interestingly, Bedford harvests yeast from each fermenter and to aid in this process they put a large plastic bag into each fermenter and then fill that with the wort. Then, later, after transferring the beer out of the fermenter, they have they yeast they want to harvest inside the bag.

After the transfer is complete I pitch the yeast and that makes the end of of this brew day!

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Bottling at Gallagher’s in Seattle

It’s been two weeks since brew day at Gallagher’s and tonight it’s time to bottle that brown ale!

I arrive later in the evening and the bottling stations are in use. So I sit down and wait for a few minutes. Bottling is my least favorite part of brewing and I’m interested to see how Gallagher’s makes it less objectionable.

The appearance and presentation of Bushido Brewery products is really important to me and I made it a policy years ago that our product wouldn’t be bottled in reused bottles from other breweries. Stripping labels from bottles requires so much effort, is so time-consuming, and is required in order for the presentation of our product to meet my standards in reused bottles. So I don’t do it anymore. I stand by that tonight and buy all new bottles for Bushido’s first batch of 2014. While I recognize that this is not the best thing from a sustainability perspective, I am confident that most of these bottles are going to get recovered and reused by other brewers who drink this beer, so I’m OK with this decision.

The wash/sanitize machine becomes available and I begin loading my bottles into it. This is a breeze. When the machine is done I move the bottles to the bottling station.


At Ghallagher’s the beer is transferred from the fermenter to a keg and force-carbonated, not bottle conditioned. Then the keg is hooked up to a tap and bottles are filled from the tap, just like you’d fill a growler. I’m here solo and Chris, the head brewer, is nice enough to take short breaks from his other responsibilities to help cap the bottles I am filling.


Everything goes smoothly and I fill bottles constantly until the keg is empty. The final yield is five and a half cases, each of which holds 24 12-oz bottles. That is a total of 12.375 gallons, which makes this the largest batch of beer that Bushido Brewery has ever produced!

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