Friday, December 28, 2007

Day Trippin'

Ah, Winter Vacation. I know that sounds completely back-asswards, but its so true. Oh how I love this time of year. No work, food, fun and frolic with family and friends, a little extra coin in the pocket. . . all three contributing to the western PA Winter Road Trip '07 concerning all things beer in which I was able to partake in yesterday. Nate was gracious enough to drive myself and Justin around to multiple beer-related destinations. Unfortunately Eli and Jon were unable to attend.

We started with a stop at The Commonplace Coffeehouse for an obligatory caffeine fix, then off to North Country for lunch and a sampler. Some tasty stuff. We then loaded up a couple growlers and headed south to Hereford and Hops (Cranberry Edition) for what turned out to be some rather average offerings. There was an interesting "finish" to all of the beers, probably related to the water profile (I only sound smart here thanks to Nate). I must say the Portersville Porter, though, was a tasty treat, being my first taste of a Baltic Porter. This may end up being one of my favorite styles. We'll have to see how it goes.

From H 'n' H, we traveled south to Wexford for a stop at Three Son's Dogs and Suds. Nice bottle selection. Not as wide-ranging as D's SixPax and Dogs, but slightly better pricing. I picked up a few offerings. We then hit Country Wines to procure some homebrew supplies for Nate, then on to East End for Growler Hours. Lots of folks jammed into a rather small area, all clamoring for free samples of the delicious nectar the Scott offers, which included on this night The Bitter End and Snow Melt, plus Three, EEBC's Third Anniversary Ale. I brought home a Grisette growler and one of the Three's for consumption.

There was one last stop to make, which was D's. It was a busy Thursday night, but after a few minutes perusing the Beer Cave, we were able to find a table and grab dinner and a pint. After the much needed sustenance, we finished our shopping in the aforementioned Beer Cave, rounding out a great little road trip to "Da Burgh".

On the homebrew tip, we're about to really get into the swing of things here at Muckney Brewing, starting on New Year's Eve with some bottling and transferring, then some serious brewing starting in January. We're looking at (hopefully) three batches a month. We'll see how it goes.

Stay Tuned.



Monday, December 24, 2007

Holiday Cheer

I'm still reeling from my recent loss in my Fantasy Football semi-finals. But it is the holiday season, so I'm sure I'll quickly get over it. Probably after a wonderful Christmas dinner of turkey with all the fixin's. It should pair nicely with the Sierra Nevada Celebration, a chocolatey Expedition Imperial Stout for desert.

Cheers, to all, and to all a good night.

Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 17, 2007

Steamy McBeer, Steely McBeam's MUCH Cooler Cousin

So I was fortunate to acquire one of Eli's steam-style homebrews last week. He's been on me to get back to him ever since. So, Eli, here goes it.

12 oz. bottle from brewer (Eli). Pours golden amber with small, off-white head. Thin and filmy. Small carmel aroma, touch of hops. Good mouthfeel, medium-bodied with medium carbonation. Carmel malt character with steam beer-esque qualities. Mild hop bitterness at the ended muddled with classic liquid malt extract/dextrose "twang". Good offering overall.

Solid offering from a novice with only a couple brews under his belt. First, there were no qualities that were reminiscent of his eASSb at all. Second, when ignoring the LME "twang" at the end, I can really make out that it is what it was meant to be, a Steam Beer. Trust me, from my own eperience, I quickly got used to wading through the twang with my first handful of brews. This is the reason that I don't use LME for my beers nor corn sugar to prime. Anywho, Kudos, Eli, and I'm looking forward to your upcoming releases.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

8000 = 200

So here I am, just over 7 months into my "awakening" (if you will) where craft brew is concerned, and I have finally rated my 200th beer on That averages out to be just under 30 beers per month, almost a beer a day. A new beer every day. Now, of course, this isn't the case, most have come through tastings with generous friends, who have been in this game a helluva lot longer than I have. To be truthful, 200 may be a milestone for me, but I'm still a newbie in the craft beer world.

I've come a long way in the past seven months as far as my palate, tastes, and knowledge are concerned. When I first was turned on to, I said to myself, "I bet that I can list 500 beers that I've tasted." I got to around 150 before I ran out. But I couldn't remember what any of them tasted like, at least specifically. So I started with one, and tasted my way to 200 so far.

So here I am, less than a year into my beer brewing/geekery. Among other things, this is what I've learned:
1. "Beer Geeks" are "Beer Lovers" who go to meetings . . . homebrew and beer club meetings.
2. Beer, above all other beverages, carries with it an inherent sense of community and camaraderie instead of an air of snobery and I'm-better-than-you-idness. I mean, come on, it's beer!
3. Hops are a tongue's best friend.
4. Anything I can't pronounce is usually good. (Yeah Weinhiphenstaphent yeast, or whatever Nate said.)

And what did I have for my 200th rate? Bells Batch 8000. Here's what I said.
(200) 12 oz. bottle, early Christmas present from Justin. Pours hazy gold with a touch of amber. Head was small and white, quickly disapating. Nose is spicy, mainly clove with some banana and alcohol. Wheat flavor, lots of clove and spice, some fruit, banana and raisin. Very dry finish, with some alcohol and a whole bunch of warmth. Pretty decent after in breathes for a bit. Drinkable, but in moderation.

So . . . Prost! Salud! Na zdrowie! . . . and most of all, CHEERS!!

I'm off to have #201.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Sixty, Ninety, One-Twenty, . . . .

So Saturday was another brewday for Muckney brewing. Besides Justin and I, Nate stopped by to "help" (read: drink). We brewed another of Justin's aggressive recipes, this time the Dark and Mysterious Cinnamon Porter (MB0012-T2). This was the second PM brew that we attempted, and all went smoothly, again, reaching 76% efficiency. As of yesterday morning it was bubbling away nicely in the dining room (the basement is too cold) which is loved by the wifey.

We also transferred the newly christened Batch 11 IBA (End of Year Beer) (MB0011) to secondary to allow it to dry hop for a couple/three weeks before bottling. The sample we had was pretty darn decent. Interesting flavors, some resin from the Chinook hops, plus a pretty complex malt character from all of the different grains/extracts added to it. I'm excited for this to be bottled and drinkable.

Speaking of drinkable, a Show Your Hoppeeness (MB0009-T1) was opened to see how its progressing after two weeks. It was a bit flat, needing to carbonate, but this was expected. Otherwise, its money. Huge bitterness and a decent hop aroma/flavor. I think it could have been/will be bigger (not sure yet) on the nose, that is, but I suspect that our method of dry hopping (adding hops to the beer after its in the carboy, instead racking it on top of the hops) may have yielded a less-than-expected hoppy aroma. We shall see.

As for the most delicious "Parallel" tasting as Nate put it, we were privy to a bottle of each of the "minute" IPAs from Dogfish Head. Pretty decent beer. I feel that the 60 minute was a bit underhopped for an IPA, but the malt backbone was good enough to cover for the lack of hop flavor, The 90 minute was pretty spot on for an Imperial IPA, with a strong, but not overpowering maltiness to accent the citrusy and piney hop character. The 120 isn't an IPA in my opinion, but on a planet of its own stylistically. Its like a barleywine that's been overhopped and over alcoholed. It was delicious, but I'm glad that I shared a twelve oz. bottle three-ways.

And now I'm off for a beer.


Monday, December 3, 2007

Celebration, Shock, and a Birthday

So the weekend was busy. The wife and I had our respective company Christmas parties, full of IC Light and Miller Lite, so when Jeff invited me over for the Steelers/Bengals Sunday night game, I was happy. Why? Because he likes his good beer. He likes it so much, in fact, that he graciously accepted a batch of homebrew as his birthday present. And that is how the Fat Tire clone (MB0007) came to be. So way back in August the batch was brewed, and the waiting game began.

It ended last night, much like the National Championship hopes of the Mountaineers the day before, only this boded better results. The Fat Tire clone, christened Random 12 Ale, was a hit. A hit to the tone of a couple 6 packs between the two of us. I think it helped soothe Jeff's wounded Mountaineer soul. And it helped us celebrate a Steelers victory, and another record for Hines Ward. It was a good evening.

So tonight, as pictured above, I cracked a Red Ale (MB0008) after 4 weeks in the bottle. Pretty good. Mouthfeel's a bit lacking, and it may need a bit longer to mature, just a bit though. Mmmmm. I'm happy with it.

Oh, and LSU vs. OSU for the BCS championship is bogus. It's time for a 16 team playoff. Go State!!


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

This is one of those times . . . .

Homebrewing involves a lot of waiting. Currently that is what I am doing. I am waiting on a lot of things, actually. First, I'm waiting for my Black IPA to be done fermenting (we're getting there). Soon it'll be time to rack it to secondary and dry hop the sucker for a good while.

Speaking of dryhopping, Justin and I bottled the Show your Hopp-iness IIPA on Saturday while partaking in some good brews (A few Rogue Ales, Southern Tier Tripel, and DFH Punkin Ale). Holy crap is this going to be a good IIPA. This was Justin's first brew. He decided to go big and take on something a bit more complex, and if the warm, flat version was that good, I can't wait until it carbs up and ages a bit.

I'm also anxiously awaiting the still nameless Red Ale to carb up.

Oh, and as a quick followup, the Dark August Dunkelweizen was a hit at Thanksgiving.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy FREAKIN' Turkey Day!. Well, tomorrow that is. But alas, as we do every year, the wife, New Addition, and myself must make the trek north to the in-laws, so I will be without internet access. Therefore, I thought I'd do my T-giving update this morning.

Now this isn't going to be a big parade of "What I'm Thankful For" BS. Trust me, I have a big list of jolly thankfulness, but I believe that stuff to be personal and not ment to be spewed out to make you "look good" on the internet.

Finally back on the subject of beer, tomorrow is the unveiling of th Autumnal version of MBs Dark August Dunkelweizen. Being the first brew to be duplicated by Muckney Brewing, the second go-round of Dark August is, IMHO, far superior to the first. The long and short of it is that there was A) no boilover, B) better utilization of the specialty grains thanks to the use of the pre-crushing service from Grape and Granary, and C) no secondary fermentation. All of this put together helped this run to be fuller in body, with a stronger yeast profile that's been nicely accented with a roasty/coffee undertone from the chocolate malt. And all that came from a sample that was bottle conditioned for two weeks.

At any rate, the Dark August "tapping", if you will, will take place at my family's Turkey-Day celebration. I'm looking forward to the feedback.

And to you and yours, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.



Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Lyrical Genius and the Downward Spiral

"Some people call me the space carboy
Some call me the gangster of trub
Some people call me Ju-rat
'Cause I brew, with a big bag of ice cubes" - Nate

Ah, lyrics as sweet as the Dunkel I'm having right now. The poetic prowess of a fellow homebrewer putting to song the toils and tribulations of this fine art. Cheers to you, Nate.

Speaking of the fine art of homebrewing, an IBA update. As of this morning the airlock was bubbling steadily, which turned into a furious belching of Carbon Dioxide while I was at work. I wonder how much this will affect my carbon footprint? I better stock up on Carbon Credits for as much brewing as I'll be doing in the upcoming year! Oh, the humanity!!

How can I jest about such a "serious topic"? Views on Global Warming aside, the notion that one can "offset" their "carbon footprint" by PAYING for people to plant trees is preposterous. If you actually think that ALL of your money is going to do the activities that are suggested, I have another cause for you to be interested in. Don't worry about the specifics, just send me a check made out to cash and I'll make sure the money gets to where it needs to go.

Honestly, though, if you whole-heartedly believe that Global Warming is a serious threat to humanity, show it in how you live. Walk more, drive less. Turn your thermostat down two degrees. Hold your breath for an hour a day (just not for an hour straight). Just for all things good and Holy don't pay what amounts to be just another Stupid Tax, like slot machines and the lottery.

On a completely unrelated note, the Powerball Jackpot is up to $120 million.

I'm off to Sheetz to get my tickets.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

MB goes PM

Tonight boded an unforseen Steelers loss, but also a milestone in the progression of Muckney Brewing. Tonight we completed our first Partial Mash brew, an End of Year Beer to use up the grains and extract that have been compiled through the last six months. The recipe was inspired by Stone's 11th Anniversary Ale, a black IPA, or an IBA. This is basically a full bodied, over-hopped porter, or at least that's kinda how I wrote it. The Coleman two gallon cooler worked pretty well as a make-shift mash/lauter tun. I haven't worked out the efficency yet, but according to Beer Tools Pro, it was around 76%, which makes this brewer happy. We ended up with an OG of 1.069, which was 1 point above the target, so I think we did ok. I guess we shall see in the upcoming weeks.

Speaking of the upcoming weeks, it seems to be a busy time for Muckney Brewing, with unveiling of the newly named Show Your Hoppiness IIPA at the end of December, and no less than three brews scheduled for the same month; two aggressive beers by Justin to be unveiled at Febtoberfest, and the second run of my XLTPA.

The New Year never sounded so delicious.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Holy Leafy Hops, Batman!

Hoppy McHopperson Mr. 'Naka wanted to dry hop his first creation, the yet unnamed monster of an IIPA that's been aging in my basement for the past 6 weeks. So seeing how this was my first attempt at DHing, I figured we wouldn't skimp, even in the middle of (think of the "anchorman giving bad news" voice) THE WORST HOP SHORTAGE OF ALL TIME!!! So 2 oz. of leaf Cascade and an ounce of leaf Amarillo later, we have the makings of (see above voice) THE BIGGEST NOSE EVER FOR AN IIPA!!!! Ok, the previous statement may be an exaggeration, but it sure is a helluva an Impy IPA coming out. We're planning on bottling this beast Thanksgiving weekend, and popping the perverbial cherry on New Year's Eve (if we can wait that long).

On a completely related note, this weekend will mark my first partial mash attempt. I got the 2 gallon cooler today (nine bucks at Wally World) and I'm off to Village Homebrew tomorrow for my first 10 pound sack of grain. The beer was inspired by Stone XI, a Black IPA, or an India Black Ale. Still working on the recipe, but it's gonna be hoptastic, and hopefully taste good at the same time. As I said earlier in the day, this is either going to be fantastic, or its going to suck (other choice words, but this is a TV-14 blog). Update on Sunday. Have a solid Saturday. Go State!!



Saturday, November 10, 2007

Back to the Pour House

A family trip to Monroeville today finished up at Rivertowne Pour House. Delicious. There's nothing better than Scotch Eggs and a sampler. Well, maybe a pint of Drunken Monster Barrel Aged IIPA. Wow. Good malt proflie + Wet hops + Bourbon = Wah-Wah-Wee-Wah!! Very interesting, inventive, and tasty brew. Hats off to the Pour House.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


So I was bottling my Red Ale this evening (should turn out pretty well. I'm excited for it to carb up) and had a new first. I really never thought I'd see this. As I was capping one of the final bottles, the "Big Red Capper" decided that bottle wasn't good enough and sheared the top of it right off.

I really wanted to drink the beer and then chew the glass, but I thought better of it. Maybe after a few more.


Monday, November 5, 2007

We Are . . . .

Penn State.

Saturday was a day of my two favorite pastimes, football and beer. Tanaka and I found ourselves standing in a frost covered field overlooking Beaver Stadium at 9AM, temperatures barely above freezing, wondering why in the hell we woke up so early only to freeze our respective asses off. One quick look into the cooler answered the previously mentioned stupid question. The beer inventory was vast. A growler of Marzoni's Avalanche IPA, the same of WVA Brewing's Appalachian Ale, a couple bottles of SN Celebration '07, two homebrewed Heavy Hefe Weizenbocks, a sixer of Mackeson XXX Stout, and a sixer of Magic Hat Roxy Rolles.

We started our slow climb out of the (NERD ALERT!) cold depths of a frost covered Narnia with an absolutely delicious stout that really shattered my expectations. A great warming brew on a cold morning. The fact that we were drinking them out of Sheetz styro coffee cups made it all the better. It was like Cuppocino!!! The Roxy was next. Another great hoptastic offering by Magic Hat. This, unfortunately killed all subtlety in my taste buds, so the Appie Ale that followed seemed lacking, but I know this to not be the case. A return to Hopville with the Avalanche Growler, then a Celebration, one that we hoped was not premature.

This proved to not be the case. PSU held on to defeat the PurDON'T Boilermakers 26 to 16. To celebrate said victory, an obligatory trip to Otto's was necessary. The food was tasty, as I was plesantly surprised by their Mango Habanero wing sauce. I did partake in a couple of drafts, a Five Year Ale and an Arthur's Amarillo Pale Ale. Oh, and a Growler of the Five Year is somehow in my fridge right now.

There really isn't anything better than good beer, good friends, and good football.



Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Rockin' the Weizenbock

Ten weeks in the bottle today for the Heavy Hefe Weizenbock (MB0003), so I had to have a taste. No official notes, just a few thoughts on it.

1) I'm SO friggin' glad that it hasn't started to get any metallic/extract twang/old homebrew tastes. (I'm pretty sure that the high alcohol content will take care of this issue). I think this is going to only get better over the next few, if not several, months.
2) Alcohol is pretty prevelant still. Not but, just "there".
3) Definately has a good barleywine feel to it. This is due to the Light DME in it instead of it being 100% Wheat DME.

This brings up a point of contention. The Heavy Hefe isn't a true weizenbock. The malt bill isn't the correct precentage for the style. So its more of a "high gravity wheat ale" or a "wheat and barley wine".

Overall, the beer's pretty good. I definately need to rate it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Work, Marzoni's and Bottling

So a delivery for work today took me to Marzoni's to meet Dan from Heister House. Had to drop off some product, and we decided to grab some lunch. I figured this be a proper place to meet. Plus, I could get a couple of growlers to go . . . which I did. I procured an Avalance IPA and Marzoni's Seasonal Hefeweizen. I figured, what the hell. I have to bottle my Dark August Dunkelweizen tonight for the upcoming Thanksgiving Celebration. This was take II for the DADW, the first being wrought with troubles, the least of which being a boilover and a bit too much water in the primary, making for a pretty watery dunkelweizen, plus I didn't get a good steep with my chocolate malt due to lack of a crushing mechanism (rolling pins suck).

So this go-around I ordered my grains/extract from Grape and Granary pre-crushed, giving me a better steep, better color, and a friggin' awesomely better flavor. This batch is so much better than the first, and it's not carbed up yet. We shall see soon enough.

And on a side note, the Hefe's gone. Gotta love it.

Out - Dave

Friday, October 26, 2007

Starting Over

This "Blog" had been "abandoned" for some time. So now it's time to start over. Here's the shizzle.

Muckney Brewing is my official name for my unofficial brewing undertaking. I've been at it for just over 6 months now, learned a lot, and still have a ton to learn. This space will be focused on the beer scene in western and central PA, with (hopefully) frequent updates concerning, well, beer, both brewing and inbibing, events, and the undertakings of the newly formed Indiana Homebrew Club. It'll be good times.

Oh, and if sports or politics sneaks in, don't be worried, I was probably enebriated.

My goal's to get a rundown of my brewing experience posted by mid week.

Cheers, y'all. And happy Blogging