web analytics
Ask The Brewmaster

A Visit To Rising Storm Brewing Company: Interviewing Bill and Jeff About Going Pro

So as a teacher, I have to maximize my summertime as much as possible. So with it being a great summer day, I went to Rising Storm Brewing Company in Livonia New York. you may remember that I interviewed the owners years ago in this post. Since then they’ve gone from homebrewers to Pro Brewers. Traveling just south of Rochester New York, I pulled up to the brewery.

On this day, Jeff was brewing a stout as well as testing out a new keg washer and showing the ropes do the guys from Irondequoit Brewing Company.  They were here to see a batch being brewed. Jeff is always trying to help optimize his time in the brewery. After everything was brewed ,we kegged a triple berry wheat beer and tested out the new Bouncer Pro during the process. 

So to maximize time, I figured I would ask a few questions about Jeff and Bill’s change from homebrewing to pro brewing.  This was of course during the laundry list of things I mentioned Jeff was up to above. Bill swung in to grab some kegs on lunch to deliver to one of their accounts, so he was able to weigh in on a few of them.

  • So what is the current size and capacity of the brewery?
    • Jeff: Currently, it is a 40 barrel capacity, (6) 5 barrel fermenters and (1) 10 barrel.  We have expansion plans for another 10 barrel eventually.
  • What was the biggest change from your homebrewing to Rising Storm Brewing Company?….(Not counting the size of your batch)
    • Jeff: Pumps.  It helps the process go so much faster.  I never even used a chugger pump while homebrewing.  In regards to brewing, homebrewing was every other weekend or so.  Now on the pro level, the brewery is averaging two to three batches a week. Also, Pitching size.  On a batch of stout, there is a full liter of slurry, if not more.  We don’t reuse or harvest the yeast. It isn’t worth the time and risk of infection.  Even on a homebrew scale, we used mostly used new yeast.

  • Did all your recipes scale well?  Any surprises?
    • Jeff: Most everything scaled up, the hops was a little stronger, so we pulled back a bit.  Other than that, things were looking great.
  • What do you miss from homebrewing?
    • Jeff: Nothing.  Well, maybe having my kids helping put the hops in.
    • Bill: If anything, the pressure to not have to sell it.  If you screw up at home, you dump $20 of ingredients.  If you have to dump a full scale batch, then it sucks. Especially if you have fruit or mass amounts of hops in there.
  • How do you formulate your next recipe?  Is it based on ingredients or what you have on hand?
    • Jeff: Plan it, then order the ingredients.  If there is a ton of stuff left over, then a batch may be formulated based on that.
  • If you could upgrade one thing here at Rising Storm Brewing Company, what would it be?
    • Jeff: More 10 barrel fermenters or a bigger burner for the kettle.
  • What is the worst part?
    • Jeff: Cleaning…but it is the most important thing to do right. 
    • We talked about the use of a shop vac to get the gunk out of the kettle.  It helps save time. It was a shot in the dark on whether it would work or not, but it works out great!
  • What’s on tap at home?
    • Jeff: Nothing – I just bring crowlers of beer from the brewery home.
    • Bill: Nothing as well, just crowlers.
  • How often do you guys drink other people’s beer?
    • Jeff – whenever I can get out. (Just went full time so there is not a ton of time)
    • Bill – all the time I can.
  • What are you glad to have to deal with now that you are not homebrewing?
    • Jeff: Selling beer.  It is a great feeling to move the beer.
  • How has the time with the critics gone?
    • Jeff: I really don’t pay attention to it.  I am probably my biggest critic. There are times that I don’t like my batch or it didn’t turn out how I wanted it to, but people still like it.
  • How do you plan and set up collaboration brews with other breweries?
    • Jeff: The collabs are all started over a conversation.  There is not set plan to start them up. We do them as they come along.
  • So what is your favorite hops to play with?
    • Galaxy.  It used to be Citra, until I met Galaxy.  Mosaic is a close second. In regards to Galaxy, it is expensive, but so worth it.
  • What are the hops outside growing?
    • Jeff: Cascade, Centennial and Chinook. They have a long way to go.

It was a great day to hang out at the brewery. I am always in awe of how well things seem to be run. These guys are doing great. With the one year anniversary coming up, I see many great things in the future for Rising Storm Brewing Company.

Want to see more of the brewery? Check this out!

A pictorial representation of a a few visits.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

  • My latest Untappd badge

    Untappd Derby (2021)
    Badge image for Untappd Derby (2021)
    Cue the bugle...On your mark… get set… go! The inaugural Untappd Derby is here. May the best style win! Follow the winner’s progress. View more


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)