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Yeast Fundamentals for Homebrewers (2/16/13)

28 Dec

Early registration is now available for our next Yeast Fundamentals for Homebrewers course held at our San Diego location. Sign up before January 15th and save $25 on registration. These info-packed courses tend to sell out quick, so sign up soon if you want to secure your spot! The course covers a range of topics with the homebrewer specifically in mind, including yeast strain selection, flavor impact and pitching rates, as well as in-depth information on yeast starters and proper handling.

Speakers include Chris White, Neva Parker, Kara Taylor and John Carroll.

For more information, contact

5,000 vials in Norfolk

13 Dec

Chris White visited Homebrew USA in Norfolk, VA last week to brew a collaborative beer and celebrate the shop’s collection of 5,000 White Labs vials. While in the area, Chris checked out local breweries such as Beach Brewing Company and Smartmouth Brewing and spent a great afternoon brewing beer and hanging out with the local homebrewing and craft beer community. Chris looks forward to visiting more homebrew shops in 2013 for to celebrate the 5,000 vial milestone. Norfolk_1



Saint Archer IPA Tasting tomorrow at White Labs Tasting Room 11/28

27 Nov

We’re beyond excited to be tapping a keg of soon-to-be-open Saint Archer‘s IPA tomorrow at the White Labs Tasting Room at noon. I conducted the following Q&A with brewmaster Ray Astamendi (formerly of Mission Brewery, Left Coast Brewing Co., and Maui Brewing Co.) via e-mail:

Q I know a lot of people, myself included, are eagerly anticipating you guys opening your doors to the public. Could you talk a little bit about your plans for launch? (initial offerings, bottles/cans?)

A: Our 30-bbl brewhouse, manufactured by Premier Stainless, is scheduled for delivery in January. We’re planning to have all our fermenters filled and in full production mode by early February. Initially, we will offer a kolsch-style ale, a hoppy pale ale, and of course an India Pale Ale – all of which will be available in 6-packs, 22oz. bottles, as well as 1/6 & ½ barrel kegs. We are anticipating additional fermenters in March/April which will permit us to launch our Double-IPA, as well as some other beers that Kim Lutz and I are working on now.

 Q: The branding and design component of St Archer is so on point and really seems to distinguish you guys from other breweries. Can you talk a bit about the company as a purveyor of lifestyle in addition to great brewing?

A: The two go hand-in-hand. Brewing is a form of creative expression, balancing both art and science.  The lifestyle element behind Saint Archer is deeply rooted in creativity, passion, and commitment. There is definitely a correlation between the two, and everyone behind Saint Archer sees that. Having grown up in Southern California at a critical time in the development of modern surfing, skateboarding, and snowboarding, I was immediately hooked when approached for this project. Afterall, I started brewing in the mid-90’s when I moved to Lake Tahoe – snowboarding and beer go hand in hand! It was beers like Anchor, Sierra Nevada, and Red Nectar that inspired me to make my own.

Q:What are your favorite styles to brew? How much variation can we expect to see in the St. Archer line (ie. experimental one-offs, collaborations, variants, barrel-aged versions of beers, etc)?

A: I definitely lean towards the sessionable beers. I’ve always loved traditional German beers such as Kölsch, Altbier, Helles, Maibock. On the other hand, a solid IPA is hard to beat.  I really believe that there is a time and a place for every beer. Our lineup will be continuously expanding – tanks permitting. Kim and I are working on the direction we intend to take our product line. Having worked with Kim in the past, I’m excited to be able to work with her again, and to collaborate with her so we can offer the widest variety of beers to satisfy the increasingly diversified palette of today’s craft beer enthusiast.

Q:You guys brewed a test IPA here at White Labs, trying out different strains in the process of dialing in the recipe. What do you look for in a yeast strain? What are some of your favorites/top performers?

A: Having brewed with many different White Labs yeast strains over the years, I definitely lean towards certain strains – especially when it comes to specific styles. I love WLP051 for Pales and IPA’s. The ester profile lends itself really well to compliment the hop character of those styles. For my Kölsch, WLP029 is the obvious choice – although I’m really interested in trying other similar strains to see how they perform side-by-side. Maybe we brew that one with you guys next?

Q: What’s the best thing about San Diego’s beer scene?

 A: The diversity and proliferation of great beer! We are so lucky to live and brew in such a vibrant, talent-rich community. This truly is America’s Finest City.

Big thanks to Ray for taking the time to answer my questions. Check out this fantastic short film that offers insight into the St. Archer aesthetic and be sure to stop by the Tasting Room tomorrow!

White Labs at the 1er. Congreso Internacional de Cerveceros Artesanales

26 Nov

White Labs founder and president Chris White visted Chile this past week to give a talk and judge the competition at the 1er. Congreso Internacional de Cerveceros Artesanales.

11/16-18: White Labs Walks for the Cure!

15 Nov


This weekend, several White Labs employees will be walking a total of 60 miles around San Diego County to raise money for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure charity. Starting Friday 11/16,  Lisa White, Neva Parker, Kara Taylor, Maureen Lalonde, Allison Wells, and Michael Fuller will begin the walk at Del Mar Fairgrounds as part of the 18-person Beer 4 Boobs team that is aspiring to raise $45,000.00 for the cause!

We want to give a big shoutout to our fantastic sponsors: HopUnion, Green Flash, Ballast Point, Lost Abbey, Pizza Port, Northwestern Mutual, Maui Brewing Company, Briess Malt & Ingredients, Sam Adams, Fredericksburg Brewing Company, Coronado Brewing Company & Sudwerk Brewery.  Thanks also go out to Bootlegger’s Brewery and The Bruery for holding some amazing pint nights and offering generous beer donations.

Below you’ll find a listing of the cheering stations for this weekend:

Friday, November 16
7:45 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.
En Fuego Cantina Restaurant
1342 Camino Del Mar
Del Mar, CA 92014
9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
UCSD Scripps Institute of Oceanography
8580 La Jolla Shores Drive
San Diego, CA 92037
9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
12:30 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.
Taylor Library
4275 Cass Street
San Diego, CA 92109

Saturday, November 17
7:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.
Robb Field South
2525 Bacon Street
San Diego, CA 92107
Please park in parking lot inside park closest to Sunset Cliffs Blvd and cheer on participants as they walk between parking lot and ball fields.
9:30 a.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Robb Field North
2525 Bacon Street
San Diego, CA 92107
Please cheer on participants as they walk along OB Bike Path between water and parking lot opposite tennis courts.
10:45 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.
South Mission
2600 Mission Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92109

Sunday, November 18
8:15 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.
San Diego Visitor Info
2688 E. Mission Bay Drive
San Diego, CA 92109
11:30 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.
Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater
2150 Park Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92101


White Labs & AleSmith Collaboration Tasting

14 Nov

Join us on December 3rd in the White Labs Tasting Room for a very special, one time-only event. We’ve teamed up with one of our favorite breweries on the planet, the superb AleSmith Brewing Company, to put together a Tap Takeover, White Labs-style!

AleSmith provided us with some of their Wee Heavy wort and we’ve fermented it with 16 (!) different yeast strains, all of which will be on tap on Monday the 3rd for the release party (and will remain on tap until finished, which means they could be on tap for several weeks). The good folks at AleSmith had the idea to try to bring out the characteristics of a Weizen Bock in Wee Heavy using yeast and fermentation alone, and we’ve used a wide variety of strains- from Hefes to Belgians- to elicit significant changes in the flavor profile.

Simply put, this event is not to be missed!

Chris White To Visit HomeBrew USA

5 Nov

As part of the Customer Club Vial Redemption program, White Labs offers rewards and discounts to repeat customers who send us labels from their used vials. The ultimate reward, given to a homebrew shop that amasses 5,000 labels, sees Chris White himself paying a visit to the shop to brew a beer and hang out with fellow brewers and White Labs faithful. On Saturday, December 8th, Chris will travel to Norfolk, VA to visit Homebrew USA where he will give a talk, answer questions, and brew an award-winning homebrew with Customer Club member Christopher Knight (a hop-forward Belgian ale brewed with coriander, grapefruit peel and chamomile!)

White Labs and GABF 2012

5 Oct

White Labs Inc. is helping to sponsor the Great American Beer Festival, along with a host of other industry, brewery and community sponsors.
White Labs, along with the other partners of the Craft Beer Quarterly, are again sponsoring the Brewers Gathering. Additionally, the GABF Pro-Am competition is sponsored by Brewers Supply Group, Briess Malt & Ingredients Co., Hopunion and White Labs. Homebrewers team up with professional brewers to vie for top honors in a field of 96 entries. Entries are brewed by professional craft brewers in collaboration with American Homebrewers Association (AHA) members.
Meanwhile, Beer for Boobs, the breast cancer research fundraising effort staffed by many White Labs fans, will have a booth at this year’s GABF. Attendees can find the booth at P18. Beer for Boobs will have lots of great merchandise. Help tap the cure against breast cancer by visiting this booth and picking up some of the great merchandise!

The Patagonian hypothesis

7 Aug

Credit: Photo by Diego Libkind, Institute for Biodiversity and Environment Research, Bariloche, Argentina

At the World Brewing Congress last week, one of the more interesting yeast talks was presented by the genetics scientist Diego Libkind, Ph.D, of Argentina, who discussed “Genetic roots of lager-brewing yeast: Saccharomyces eubayanus and the Patagonian hypothesis.” As he reported in the abstract on the talk, “Recently, a worldwide survey yielded a novel yeast dubbed S. eubayanus from Patagonian native forests of Argentina that was shown to be the closest known match (99.5%) to the non-ale portion of lager yeasts and, thus, its putative progenitor. Identifying the wild genetic stock of the cryotolerant side of S. pastorianus allowed resolution of the hitherto confusing taxonomy of the most relevant brewing yeast and the understanding of key events that led to the domestication of lager yeast.” He continued, ” … the available information relevant to the discussion on how and when such a half European and half Patagonian yeast hybrid might have been originated will be addressed in this presentation.” Indeed, it was, and the talk generated lots of interest and questions from assembled brewers and scientists.


Here is a great article if you haven’t read about this already.

WBC 2012

7 Aug

White Labs people attended the World Brewing Congress in Portland, Ore., last week, taking part in one of the industry’s most comprehensive conferences when it comes to sharing scientific research and data. The conference takes place just once every four years and draws a heavy international crowd. White Labs personnel presented three posters — data from many years of Big QC Day testing, beer and yeast packaging innovations, and recycling of production waste within a yeast plant. Regarding Big QC Day data, Kara Taylor of White Labs reported, “By collecting data from every region and for a long span of time, we can evaluate how craft beer has changed stylistically, regionally, and overall.”

New Malt Varieties grown by OSU

Additionally, Kara visited some experimental hop farms supported by OSU. Their research was based on trying to find and grow hop varieties less susceptible to powdery mildew and downy mildew. Additionally OSU is growing some rare colored malts from around the world and trying to use them in brewing.

Powdery Mildew on Hop Cones