Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

A bit of housekeeping to finish up the year.
  • The Bipartisan Porter (MB0025) and Ode to the Halper Bitter (MB0026) are both in secondary. More on the coffee choice to come.
  • Yesterday marked Muckney Brewing's 3rd Annual December Beer Trip. Look for the full report shortly.
  • What's next for MB? A quick year in review and goals for '09 coming soon.
  • Thanks for the shout out by El Bearded Brewer in his Best of 2008 post concerning the Rising Sun Sesame Ginger Red Ale.
That's about it for now. Everyone have a safe and Happy New Year!



Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wow! Whoopie! a Zeppelin!

Ah, 24 hours of my favorite Holiday Cheer, drinks with Family and Old Friends, eating until you feel like vomiting-and then eating more-It must be Christmas again.

Cheers to you all, and have a safe and Happy Holiday.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Another Saison du Muqunee Review

Nate chimed in also about MB's first all-grain batch. Check it out here.

Thanks for the kind words, Nate.



Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Just Another Double Brew Day (Night)

Has it really been that long? Well, according to my calendar, there has been no brewing at Muckney Brewing for the past THREE MONTHS! Frankly, that's unheard of, more so unnecessary, and completely inexcusable. Yeah, I've been busy with work and family, but recently made a career move that should allow for more brewing time, but that's a story for another day.

Today's topic, Saturday. Saturday night into the wee hours of Sunday morning, to be more specific. Finally, two weeks behind our friend El Bearded Brewer, MB closed the airlock on the first Across the Aisle Ale, the Bipartisan Porter (MB0025). You can catch up here and here, but the long and short of it is that EBB and MB, of differing political views, have decided to show that beer is a uniter, not a divider, by brewing the same beer using the same recipe, but following our political leanings in the choice of ingredients, his being the organic version and MB's being the "chemically enhanced" version of a Coffee Porter.

Here's the MB version of the recipe, for EBB's, look here:

2 lbs 2-Row
1 lb Crystal 120
.50 lbs Chocolate
.25 lbs Munich
.25 lbs Roasted Barley
3.5 lbs Light DME
1 oz Northern Brewer @ 60
.50 oz East Kent Goldings @ 20
.50 oz East Kent Goldings @ 10
Wyeast 1056 American Ale

The brewing process went well without any major missteps, and actually produced a first for MB. We normally add all of our DME at the beginning of the boil, but have been having some extract "twang" issues as of late. Now, I'm pretty sure they can be attributed to DME that was past it's prime, but it could have also been caused, in part, by the long boil time. The process was changed slightly for the Bipartisan Porter, by using the "Late Addition" method for the DME. After collecting the prescribed amount from the mash, we began boiling the wort and adding the hops as the recipe indicated. The DME was held out until the last 15 minutes of the boil, allowing just enough time for it to incorporate into the wort and be sterilized. Now I had heard of this method before, but never tried it. It was one of those "ain't broke" afterthoughts. Well, ad the advisement of EBB, I jumped on the Late Addition bandwagon with the Bipart. I did notice that the hot break began and ended faster with this method, probably because of the ambient heat in the liquid. This could have been a coincidence, but it also happened with the second batch of the evening.

And what was this mystery second batch that is indicated in the title? Well, Jon of Earth Bread + Brewery had mentioned in one of his posts that they recently brewed a Dark Mild Ale entitled Santos L. Halper's Mild. This, of course, got my mind pointed back in the direction of English Bitters, which are some of my favorite styles, and so was born Ode to the Halper Best Bitter (MB0026). The grain bill was simple, with Pale 2-row and Pilsen and some caramel to color it, this guy should hold a pretty decent bitter (32 IBUs if I remember correctly) but only weigh in in the low 4's ABV-wise. I'm pretty excited to see how this one turns out, since the last bitter, well, wasn't very bitter, nor that good overall.

The brew night, overall, though long into the wee hours of Sunday morning, was a good session. The Late Extract Addition method seemed to speed up the day a bit, or at least made it seem more streamlined. I can't end this post, though, without giving my buddy Pat a shout out and a bit "thanks". He gave me a hand with the first brew in Justin's abscence, and was awesome enough to grab a sixer of DFH Chicory Stout to share. Tasty stout night.



Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thanks for the shout out . . .

. . . to Jon at Confessions of a Hop Hater for the Saison du Muqunee review.

Jon, now in Philly, is helping Tom (of Heavyweight fame) brew at his new Brewpub, Earth Bread + Brewery. When in Philly, check it out.

Cheers, Jon! Good luck, and thanks for the kind words. We miss ya back here in the beer desert that is Indiana, PA.



Monday, December 1, 2008

Yeah, I'm that guy . . .

You know, that guy who says that he's going to brew over the Thanksgiving Holiday, but doesn't. Oh, I have everything to make both the Bipartisan Porter and a beer to be named later, but somehow it just didn't get done. The plan is for a brew day on Saturday, at least to get the BiPart done, maybe both. We shall see. Until then, check out the Bearded Brewer's Across the Aisle experience.



Thursday, November 20, 2008

Russian River Comes to Western PA

I guess that title may be a bit misleading. I guess I should specify, that through trade, I procured one bottle each of Russian River's new-to-bottle West Coast Hop Bombs. Yes, that is right, you're looking at a bottle of Blind Pig IPA and the highly coveted and critically acclaimed Pliny the Elder Imperial IPA.

I have been trying to get my hands on these for a long time, and with that comes a preconceived notion of outright superiority, very similar to the "I wish I dated a supermodel" theorem. This usually leads to disappointment. In this case, though, the River delivered, as expected.

The only previous exposure I've had to RR was through their bottled Belgian-style/sour beers which Justin procured while in San Fran. This brewery is considered to be one of the best in the nation, and unfortunately, isn't readily available in this area.

About the beers? Well, as foreshadowed, both were excellent, and lived up to expectations. The Pliny had an amazingly complex nose for one that focused mainly on hops and was deceivingly quaffable, even if it was a touch lacking in mouth feel as compared to other IIPAs. The Blind Pig was no where near as hoppy, but contributed a fuller mouth feel.

If so inclined, you can check out my Ratings.

Blind Pig.



Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dingbats Now Open

The long-awaited Dingbats location in the Indiana (PA) Mall finally opened for business this past Saturday after unforeseen licensing delays. I had been eagerly awaiting said establishment after visiting the Pittsburgh Mills Mall location over the summer. That location had boasted a rather extensive tap list, with the likes of Stone, Troegs, and other micros having a prominent place on it. Plus the food was decent and reasonably priced. I had hoped that the Indiana location would follow suit, giving us beer geeks another option for good beer.

Alas, this did not come to pass. It looks like the Bud rep pushed a ton of product on this location, which has 21 taps. The only non-bud distributed products, that I could see were Miller Lite, Coors Light, Sam, Sam Seasonal and Great Lakes Eliot Ness. Now it's not just BMC central, they did include two Red Hook offerings, the ESB and Long Hammer IPA, Shock Top, and Rolling Rock. Oh, and they did go hometown with Yuengling and Yuengling Black and Tan (non-Bud affiliated).

Overall, I'm extremely disappointed. I was hoping to see more variety. Hopefully we will in the future and this was just due to a "starting stock order", and the management can free themselves from the InBEVweiser monster soon enough.

Oh, yeah . . . the place has pretty decent food and a helluva lot of flat screen TVs, so it should be Steeler Central in there on gameday.



Thursday, November 13, 2008

Yes, the Show Will Go On!!

There have been some questions from the Beer Blogosphere whether or not the Across the Aisle Ale Series will still be brewed. The answer is a resounding yes, even though my beloved Commonwealth did go Blue. The Bipartisan Porter, as stated, will be brewed in the upcoming weeks, so keep an eye out for more information.

In other homebrew news, the Saison du Muqunee (MB0022-AG1) was a hit at the Indiana Homebrew Club meeting the other night, much to my delight. It's unfortunate that it won't be able to be reproduced exactly since we used a seasonal Wyeast strain. Tis life, though.



Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Homebrew Club Meeting Tonight

Yes, it is that time again. . . Indiana Homebrewer's Club is meeting this evening at The Coney at 8 PM. And the best part. . . I can actually attend. This will be the first time in the last three months that I am able to, because I'm actually in town. I think we're taking some of the Saison du Muqunee (MB0022) to share. If you're in town, stop by.



Friday, November 7, 2008

Dark and Mysterious Update - a Beer Review

Oh, lord, there's still some of this abomination around? Ok, I guess that was harsh. A few weeks ago Justin dropped off a sixer of the remaining cache of the Dark and Mysterious Cinnamon Porter (MB0012-T2). Personally, I had chalked this one up to experimentation a long time ago, thinking that it was completely gone until it showed up at my door, and with this, I knew I had to give it one more shot. Time for another homebrew review.

A bit over carbonated. Pours black with shades of red and a HUGE non-dissipating, khaki head. The beer took 5 minutes to pour it. The head retention is insane. It's sticking together an inch above the top of the snifter. Nose is still a mixture of Close Up Toothpaste and Big Red chewing gum. The cinnamon taste has subsided and mildly degraded. It was too much, and still is at this point. There's some mild malt character, along with some hop flavor and a decent bitterness (mild to moderate), but it's still all cinnamon, basically bordering on undrinkable. it is much better than before with great lacing. This may still improve, but I don't think it's going to get passed the overwhelming cinnamon flavor. Maybe in a few months. Watery mouth feel.

Yup, once again a reminder of what can happen when one doesn't follow the recipe.



Monday, November 3, 2008

The Rising Sun Twins Bottled - Fermentation Pipline Empty

That's right, dear reader, Justin and I finally got around to bottling the Rising Sun Ginger-Sesame Red Ale v1.1 (MB0023) and the Rising Sun Oiwai Ginger-Peach Red Saison (MB0024) yesterday afternoon. The process went smoothly. The Ginger-Sesame tasted as it should, with maybe a touch more ginger in the nose and taste than the previous version. The Oiwai Red Saison reached a FG of 1.007, which took away any of the sweetness the peach and apricot would have imparted. There is an interesting, slightly sour feel to this dry quaff, and I'll be extremely interested to see how it turns out after a few weeks in the bottle.

The issue now is that there's nothing in the pipeline at the moment. I will be attempting to brew this weekend, but time constraints may cause it to be moved until the 15th. Said brewing day will mark the 25th Muckney Brew, and will be the Bipartisan Porter collabo-brew with Bearded Brewing. Seeing how I'm a big fan of double brew days, I may have to work something else up.

On a completely unrelated note, I beat Justin in our head-to-head Fantasy Football matchup this weekend.



Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Politics of Beer

I hinted a few posts back about an upcoming collaboration brew with another homebrewer/beer blogger. Well, as the Presidential Election draws nigh, it is time for the "official" announcement.

Over the past several months, El Bearded Brewer (EBB) of Bearded Brewing and I have become friends through countless e-mails concerning all things beer. Sometime this summer, EBB and I discovered that we don't quite see eye-to-eye when it comes to the political realm. So instead of spewing the usual talking points that one can get on pMSNBC or "fair and balanced" Fox News, we put aside our ideological differences and focused more on having a dialogue concerning our views on the upcoming election, letting the "other side" in on how we view things. Being the Evil Conservative that I am, there was no way I was going to be swayed by EBB's liberal leanings, nor would the converse happen (though, I tried!).

Out of these conversations, at EBB's suggestion, came the first beer in the Across the Aisle Ale series. Ladies and Gentlemen, Madam Speaker, I give you Bi-Partisan Porter. Each homebrewing entity will make a version of the same recipe, our Blue-State friend to the north making the organic version and us racist rednecks (yes, my congressman) in western PA making the (what's the PC term) non-organic version, no, wait, "chemically-enhanced" version. There were many variations of said porter on this end while we toyed with the idea of baby seal blood, but we weren't sure if it needed boiled. EBB suggested baby Bald Eagle blood, you know, to us an endangered animal AND be patriotic! Unfortunately, said "sangre" was difficult to procure, so at Justin's suggestion, we went with coffee instead, allowing our hippie friend to use organic free trade varietals whilst we sought out beans picked by a Colombian slave child (we actually settled on either Sumatra or Celebes. More to come on that, though).

This is going to be a great time. Not only will we be able to take unnecessary shots at each other over the next several months, but there is an opportunity to help open a dialogue between the left and right that this country so desperately needs. I mean, hell, our country was founded because of beer and has played such an integral roll throughout history, why not use it as a "uniter" in such trying times.

There will be plenty of updates here and at Bearded Brewing so stay tuned to each and chime in with any thoughts, comments or opinions. All are welcome.

I must echo, as my bearded friend has, that no matter who you vote for, be sure that you VOTE! Remember, Republicans vote on Nov. 4th, and you liberals have to wait until the 5th**!! I know, "Damned conservatives! Why do they get to go first!?!"



**Disclaimer: EVERYONE votes on the 4th. I don't want to be blamed for any disenfranchisement (that's a lot of letters). Though, if you're stupid enough to choose a beer blog as your one and only source of information on the upcoming election, then maybe you shouldn't vote! :)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Arrrrh Me Matey!!

The Roger is back!! Yes Otto's Jolly Roger Imperial Stout, the 2008 version, is back in bottles (oddly enough, before it's being served at the brewpub), of which a hereby undisclosed number were procured by me today. The scuttlebutt from the brewery is that they changed the recipe slightly by adding a bit more smoked malt than the previous bottled batch. This is pretty evident right off the bat as I bury my nose in the snifter. The aroma is full of bitter chocolate and mildly roasted coffee, along with some subtle undertones of burnt wood and log cabin smokiness. JR offers up a smooth chocolate taste with muted coffee flavors and a hint of smoke, followed by a big dose of bitter that mingles with a subtle sweetness, almost caramel-esque quality throughout the after.

This guy's a pretty tasty RIS, though, in my humble homebrewing opinion, it's lacking in a few small areas as compared to other Impies. First, there's no dark fruit character. Either the smoky quality has completely canceled out any fruity esters, or there weren't any there to begin with by design. Either permutation is, of course, fine by me, but because of previous experience, I expect some semblance of vinous fruit accent. I also think that the body left a bit to be desired, again when comparing to other Impy Stouts. There was a full mouth feel, but it was missing that oily slickness.

Other than the two above grievances, which are completely minor and straight nit-pickery, I thoroughly enjoy JR every time it resurfaces. Plus, it's served cask-conditioned at the brewpub, which makes the experience all the more meaningful. If you can get your hands on some, do so, preferably by making the trek to State College, PA for a pint and sandwich, while watching the hometown Nittany (Nitally??) Lions roll THE Ohio State Buckeyes Saturday night.

We Are!! Penn State!!



Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Saison du Muqunee - a Tasting

So, I've been absolutely terrible about posting reviews of the beers we make, other than "yummy" and "tasty" and "solid". So to start what I hope will be a new trend, I give you a review of Saison du Muqunee (MB0022-AG1), the first venture into all-grain brewing.

Pours golden blond with rimming and filmy white head, dissipated from about two fingers. Nose is funky, yeasty aroma with wheaty notes and mild, grassy and citrus undertones. Taste is bready with lots of yeasty and funky bite, along with slight, lemony citrus notes. There is a good dose of bitter throughout the middle and well into the end and after, where it intertwines with citrus and grassy flavors. Pretty decent. The Wyeast VSS Farmhouse Ale Yeast has caused the beer to become more funk-defied, even over the past few weeks, which bodes well for the upcoming months.

In other homebrewing news, Justin and I will be bottling the Rising Sun Ginger-Sesame Red Ale (MB0023) and the Rising Sun Oiwai Ginger-Peach Red Saison withing the next week.

Oh, and stay tuned for special announcement concerning a collab-brew with another one of your favorite beer bloggers.



Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Nutshell - Indianapolis

First off - MY COMPUTER LIVES!!! I was fortunate enough that it only needed a small tune up, instead of a whole overhaul, which is nice because I lost nothing. (Note to self: Print out ALL recipes soon)

So I've spent the past week in Downtown Indianapolis for work, which allowed me to sample some of the local beer culture. It's not often that one has access to three brewpubs within as many blocks, namely The Ram Brewery (Big Horn Brewing), Alcatraz Brewing, and Rock Bottom Indianapolis. Having been to numerous Rocks, I mainly frequented the not-so-accessible Ram Brewery, and the local Alcatraz. Both had standard Brewpub offerings, although the food at The Ram definitely bested the Alcatraz.

I did, however, get to share a pint with the head brewer for Alcatraz, Omar Castrellon, who was nice enough to share a sample of his bourbon-aged Impy Stout from his private stock, and a tasty brew it was.

On top of the brewpubs, I also had a few pints at J. Gumbo's, which boasts a tap list of 40 brews, focusing on local fare, including the coveted Three Floyds (check out my FFF Brewpub trip here), along with other micros and imports. Plus, they carried a small array of vintage beers, including some early 00's Sierra Nevada Bigfoot and North Coast Old Stock Ale. This is THE place to go when near the Convention Center in Indianapolis. Slightly out of the way and a bit more "local" than the usual chain restaurants, this place won't disappoint. The owner knows and loves his beer, and it shows in his selection.

Downtown Indy has always been one of my favorite "work cities" to visit, mainly because of the plethora of things to do downtown, only accentuated by its beer destinations. When in town, be sure to do it up.



Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Otto's Jolly Roger Stout Out Soon

While in State College yesterday, I stopped at Otto's for lunch. While there, it was mentioned that this year's Jolly Roger Imperial Stout will be available in bottles starting October 15th. It should be on cask at the brewpub prior to that, as soon as the Old Fugget Barley Wine kicks.

It's definitely worth a stop to try this Impy Stout, especially on cask. Rumor has it that there's a barrel-aged version floating around.



Tuesday, October 7, 2008

This is the reason you back up your computer

So, yeah, my laptop died. Well, it's not officially dead, but it's in the "Computer Hospital", getting a brain transplant. And as the title indicates, I didn't back up and/or print hard copies of my recipes. Now, we take decent notes, but not always when we're transferring and such. This came into play tonight while transferring over the Rising Sun Sisters, Ginger-Sesame Red Ale (MB0023) and Oiwai Ginger-Peach Red Saison (MB0024).

I transferred the Oiwai first, racking it onto a pound of dried apricots, split. Yeah, the one night Justin's not around, I have to cut a pound of dried apricots in half. Do you know how many dried apricots there are in a pound? I lost count after fifty. At any rate, the FG of this guy got down to 1.010, which was much lower than expected, and gave a very dry, alcoholic flavor with predominate ginger notes and mild hints of peach, which should be kicked up by the apricots.

So why apricots? Well, during an e-mail exchange with Johnathan from Monday Night Brewery, he suggested that, through trial and error, they found out the peaches don't really impart a "peachy" flavor, and I trust them, 'cuz they're from Georgia. He instead pointed me towards apricots, saying that they actually give a much more "peachy" feel to the beer, so I'm taking his word for it.

I then racked the Ginger-Sesame Red Ale over to secondary, on 4 oz. of candied ginger, referring (thankfully) to this post for the needed quantity. I knew I put all this time into this for a reason! The FG reached 1.019 this go 'round, which I'll have to (hopefully) compare to my notes when I get my laptop back. This rendition of the Rising Sun had a much stronger sesame nose, with toasted, roasted, and nutty notes. The candied ginger should only add to the nose.

In other news, The Missionary Position (MB0018) and The Actual Missionary Position (MB0020) are now officially carbed up, but will need some serious time in the bottle to mellow, as they're both really hot right now, but surprisingly drinkable, as I have had one of each this evening. Full tasting notes to come in about a month or so.



Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Finishing up Western NY

So, sorry for the delay. It's been a busy week/weekend, with the PSU game and all, which has precluded me from blogging about the end of last week. Fasten your seat belts, this is gonna be quick one!

Wednesday found me at the Buffalo Brewpub in Williamsville, NY for dinner. This brewpub was surprisingly packed with lots of regulars, and featured about a half dozen house brews on tap, along with a rather extensive (for a brewpub, anyway) guest tap list. I tasted their Oktoberfest and then capped the evening with a Southern Tier IPA. The food was adequate, nothing special, but was done well. If you're in the area, swing by. The place seems like it could be good times.

On the way home Friday, I was able to swing into Beers of the World in Rochester. Huge store, all beer and home brew supplies, pretty decent selection, but nothing really crazy rare, at least that I could see. If you want it, though, 9 chances out of 10 they have it. Then on the way home I made a quick stop in Hammondsport, NY just off of Lake Keuka for lunch at the Village Tavern Inn. I stopped here on the recommendations of Nate. This small town bar boasts a huge beer and wine selection and some pretty decent food. Seems like it would be a fun little place in a town centrally located in NY wine country. It seems like a great place for a weekend getaway. I'm looking forward to finding out.

On the home brew front - we need to get some Red Ales in secondary. It'll happen this week.



Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fredonia, NY

I know, right? Who makes it a point to stay in Fredonia, NY, a small college town just off of I-90 next to Lake Erie? Well, work made it a point for me. This gave me the opportunity to visit Ellicottville Brewing Company's brewpub. Occupying an old clothing store in the historic downtown section, this brick-walled establishment boasts a rather thorough menu, and offers (usually) 10+ Ellicottville brews, mostly brewed at ECB's location in Ellicottville, NY. They do, however, house a small English-style brewery in Fredonia, where they do classic British styles using traditional open fermentation methods. Unfortunately, they were out of the most recent porter that was brewed there, along with all of their high gravity brews. This was extremely unfortunate, since that had both a barrel-aged Imperial Stout and Imperial IPA that recently kicked. They were also out of some of their other normal offerings, including their Imperial Pale Ale, all of which would have been nice to try, but, alas I had to settle for some of the other regular beers, including their Two Brother Pale Ale, Mow Master Summer IPA, and the Imperial Raspberry Beret, which was surprisingly tasty for a fruit beer. I must say, though, that the food was pretty stand-out, including the tomato-basil vinegarette and the Buffalo chicken pizza on flat bread. If you ever get to Fredonia, a definite stop, and if the E-ville location is anything close, hit it up the next time you're battling the slopes at Holiday Valley.



Monday, September 15, 2008

Brew Day

This will be the quick and dirty about Saturday's brew session - I don't have much time at the moment.

Justin and I put together two batches this weekend, the Rising Sun Ginger-Sesame Red Ale v1.1 (MB0023) and, shall we say, and experimental batch of Rising Sun Red Ale, this time Rising Sun Oiwai (Celebration) Red Ale (MB0024), in honor of my wife's recent acquisition of a permanent teaching position. This was our Rising Sun Ginger-Sesame, sans sesame, add Peach. This is MB's first true "fruit beer", including a pound of frozen peaches added at the end of the boil, and an undetermined amount of fresh, pitted peaches to be added (muddled) during secondary. Oh, and we used Wyeast's summer Very Special Strain, a French Saison Yeast. Yeah, um, this should be yummy. We're excited to see.

More in coming days. Stay tuned.



Thursday, September 11, 2008


Yes, here I am again sitting in a hotel room blogging about my recent bar hopping experiences in yet another city. This go 'round - Baltimore. Due to factors outside my control (read: work), I've only been able to hit a few of the local haunts, but, boy, did I choose the right ones. I started the the Wharf Rat at Camden Yards, a British-style pub that specializes in open fermented English Ales. The Rat has plenty of them, ranging from classic pub bitters to brown porters, sticking closely to style. . . and doing them very well. The bitter and ESB on cask were spot on. Plus, before 7 PM, they offer a "sampler" of three beers for five bucks, and by sampler, I mean 12 ounce mugs. Quite a sample, I do say so myself.

After a sampler and a few pints, Mr. Sales Manager and I headed over to Fells Point for dinner at a local haunt on the water, John Stevens, Ltd. The establishment was a small, dank and worn bar with a small menu that focused on local seafood. I recommend the crab cakes that are, as the menu states, the size of baseballs and chocked full of lump blue crab meat. The beer selection isn't too shabby either, focusing on local microbrews. Though a bit pricey, this place is a must stop when at Fells.

Following dinner, I headed over to Max's on Broadway, an extraordinary tap house with a huge selection of bottles, including many rarities. I was fortunate enough to hit the place while the local beer club was having a gathering and took company with a great group of beer geeks. The night turned into a sour tasting, including the likes of Stuiselensis, 3 Fontenin oude gueuze, and others that escape me at this time that left my tongue bruised and beaten, even today, two days later. It's like eating too many Sour Patch Kids as a youngin'. Again, Max's is a must hit when anywhere in the Baltimore area. I know, for sure, that I will patronize this place in the future.

I also have to give a shout out to the folks at Slainte, an Irish pub-style restaurant, again at Fells Point, that had the best food of this trip. Mr. Sales Manager touted the seafood gumbo as the best he'd had EVER, and the Guiness and Lamb Pie that I scarfed down was perfect. The beer selection, while not huge, was pretty solid, carrying plenty of micros and imports. Make sure to stop here, too, when in town.

On the homebrew front . . . Saturday is a brew day. As previously posted, Justin and I are going to do a double batch of the Rising Sun Ginger-Sesame, with a little twist of peach in half of it. More to come on this, this weekend.



Monday, September 8, 2008

Bottling Marathon

Fifteen gallons in one night . . . piece of cake, right? Well, it was about five hours of cake - delicious uncarbonated cake. The Saison du Muqunee (MB0022), Stone Soup XXI - The Mustachioed Dark IPA (MB0021) and The Original Missionary Position (MB0020) are all in glass right now. Justin took part in this grueling endurance challenge of liquid packaging. Now all we have to do is wait a couple of weeks.

Up next?? - well, we're taking another shot at the Rising Sun Ginger-Sesame Red Ale (MB0023). We're also going to do our first Rising Sun off-shoot - A Ginger-Peach Red Ale (MB0024) in honor of my wife's new jobby job.

Stay tuned. Saturday's a brew day.



Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Blue Canoe Brewpub - Now Open

The taps are flowing once again at the previously defunct Four Sons Brewery, now brewing under the moniker of Blue Canoe Brewery. Matt Allyn is back at the helm of the Titusville, PA brewpub, and has put together a solid lineup with a promise of more to come. Having opened this past Tuesday, there are currently 6 beers on tap, 5 regulars and a seasonal.

I was in luck to happen through Titusville on the way home from a business trip, and to my surprise, BCB was open and ready for business. Needless to say, I was pumped. I had always enjoyed my unfortunately infrequent stops at Four Sons, loving the atmosphere as much as the food and the beer. Now with this new incarnation of a truly local brewpub, there's plenty to look forward to in northwestern PA.

As for this visit, I was excited to see my favorite Four Sons brew still on the menu under a new name, Heavy Kevy, a heavy Scottish Ale. Malty, Biscuity, with a mild choclate note and a crisp, clean finish. I only sample said libation, opting instead for the Class 5 APA, a solid pale ale with good bitterness and hop character, and a goblet, or chalice if you will, of the current seasonal Big Sky, which is a Saison-esque Belgian Pale Ale. It was estery as all get out, but did have a nice biscuity background. As for food, the name escapes me now, but the turkey sandwich on the pretzel roll was killer, along with the homemade chips.

To sum it up - GO THERE! It may be a hike from everywhere in PA, but it's worth the visit.



Saturday, August 16, 2008

Colorado Update: Boulder and Fort Collins

So I'm back in PA (finally), and I'm sure you're wondering how the rest of the Colorado trip went. Oh, I'll feed you, baby birds. Here we go.

After a long work day on Wednesday, I ended my day in Boulder to set myself up for the next morning. Even though I got into my hotel late, I was still able to check out Avery Brewing's tap room for a few samples. The Maharajah IIPA and the Hog Heaven Barleywine were the real highlights of the place, but the most enjoyable part of the evening was the conversation with Peter, Avery's Sales/Marketing/Events Coordinator and self-titled Beverage Facilitator who knew way to much about his product, for that matter, beer in general. He was a great host and it made for a fantastic start to the evening. I then headed down to Mountain Sun Brewpub on Pearl St. for a couple pints (their Colorado Kind Red Ale was passable, but the FYIPA was pretty much a spot on American Style Pale Ale) before heading to the local Old Chicago for some pizza and a pint.

Thursday was another work day between Boulder and Ft. Collins, before having to head back to Denver to return my rental car. While in Ft. Collins, I did get to meet up with Dave from Fermentedly Challenged, a Colorado-based-and-focused beer blog. Dave suggested that we meet up at Choice City Butcher and Deli, which makes a fantastic sandwich and has an incredible beer list, with the likes of Fantome, Jolly Pumpkin (in Ft. Collins!), a plethora of saisons and sours, oh, and St. Bernardus Abt. 12 on tap. . . . all at a Deli! I opted to try one of hometown brewery New Belgium's employee beers, Lips of Faith Jessica's Ale, which was spiced with Cinnamon. Unlike Muckney's own Dark and Mysterious Cinnamon Porter, this incarnation wasn't over spiced, with a gentle roast and caramel quality to it. Pretty well done. Oh, and the Corned Buffalo Reuben was insane.

After lunch, I popped in to New Belgium's brewery for, say, 3 minutes, to see if I could find NB's Flander's-style Brown ale, La Folie. They, were out, but I got a lead on some bottles at a local liquor store and was able to procure one, along with some Avery and a Fat Tire for good measure. I wish I had more time to spend in Ft. Collins, it seemed like a fun place to be for more than lunch, but that will have to wait for another trip.

Overall, CO was crazy. Lots of work, lots of brewery-hopping, great food, and even better people, you know, the kind that ACTUALLY have conversations with you when you make eye contact.



Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Greetings from Denver (Sans luggage)

"It has been a long day - one full of home brew housekeeping, beer bars, flights, and lost luggage. I got into Denver at 10:30 PM local time to find that my luggage wasn't on the plane, which is awesome because I have no clothes."

That was the beginning of the post I started writing on Sunday night/Monday morning from the Quality Inn next to the Denver International Airport. Did I mention that at the time my luggage was still in Chicago? No? Well, it was. Luckily it showed up Monday afternoon. But such is life, and has no bearing on reporting this business trip that I'm on that just so happens to take me to one of beer Meccas of the US.

Ah, Colorado - the state with more microbreweries per capita than any other state in this great Union, and I'm currently trying to hit them all. The perks of being an outside salesman. I've been in Denver for just over 48 hours, and have hit no less than a half dozen beer destinations. It started Monday night after a long day of working and worrying whether or not I'd be wearing a wardrobe from Target all week. well, about 2 PM on said workday my luggage arrived at my hotel, putting an end to any worrying, and allowing me to concentrate on beer that evening.

After my last call on Monday, I hit up Bubbles Liquor Mart in Castle Rock, no less that 20,000 sq. ft. of booze with a moderately adequate beer selection. I picked up a bomber of Alaskan Amber Ale, which for a reason that escapes is somehow a fan favorite according to some locals. It was average at best. I guess it popularity is attributed to its novelty, since the likes of Fat Tire is so readily available. I then began the evening at Falling Rock Tap House, which, by any estimation is the best taproom that I've ever been in. Sixty plus on tap, and an unknown number of rare bottles helped satiate my thirst after a long day. Highlights of the evening included Duchesse de Bourgogne Flanders Brown and New Belgium Lips of Faith Eric's Sour Peach Ale on tap, and an at length conversation with Mark, GABF's assistant Cellar Master, concerning all things beer. That got me primed for a long night of a decent Pale Ale at Rock Bottom Denver while watching Alan Rodgers prove his worth in Green Bay and Michael Phelps winning gold in Beijing.

Tuesday found me ending my work day in Golden at the town's "second largest brewery", Golden City Brewing. "Largest" would have to be the most exaggerated statement I've heard in a while. Located in two houses that total no more than 2000 sq. ft., this little gem puts together a surprisingly delicious IPA, skunky and bready, and the perfect primer to an evening of brewery-hopping, with a baseball game thrown in the middle. I started at Great Divide Brewing's Tap room, a rather sterile tasting room attached to the brewery, with windows looking in on said libation manufacturing facility. This could be the best deal in the city, with up to 4 samples for free, and only $5 for every 4 following. I sampled seven, including Oak Aged Yeti, Hades Golden BSA, and two brewery-only small batch beers, Bee Sting Ale, which is GD's Samurai with honey and raisins, and an oak-aged coffee stout, which is said Yeti aged on espresso beans. I swear this brewery can't miss. A must visit when you're in town. Afterward I strolled down to Coors Field to watch The Big Unit lead the Diamondbacks to a victory over the Rockies. OK, I only stayed for three innings due to some crazy lightening, but while there I hit up Blue Moon Brewing's Sandlot brewpub at the ballpark for their seasonal Alt. I then headed across the street to Breckenridge at the Ballpark for dinner and a pint of 471 IPA. I then found myself at Falling Rock again for some more Duchesse, Oskar Blues Gordon, and some St. Bernardus Abt. 12 on tap.

This trip has been insane beer-wise so far, with much more to come over the next 48 hours, so stay tuned.

On the homebrew front, I transferred both the Dark IPA (MB0021) and the Saison du Muqunee (MB0022) to secondary before I left, the former dry-hopped with an ounce each of Amarillo and Cascade hops. Also, Justin informed me that he procured an ounce of homegrown hops this evening at the homebrew club meeting. I guess we'll have to make another IPA. Darn.

Have a good night. I'm off to bed.



Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Homebrew Week Update

Tonight I checked in on the Saison du Muqunee (MB0022) and the Stone Soup XXI Ale: The Mustachioed Dark IPA (MB0021). Both have had about 12 days to ferment out. The Saison was all the way down to 1.010, which is straight awesome. Some quick tasting notes:

Hazy yellow. Nose is wheat and slight funk. Taste is light and citrusy with dry peppery finish. Light alcohol flavor with lots of warmth. Slight spiciness. Mild wheat notes and a good dose of bitter.

This guy's pretty tasty so far. He'll be in secondary tomorrow.

Next I moved to the XXI Dark IPA. The SG on this guy 1.019, which is just a few points high, so I figured I'd let it go for a few more days before transferring, but it'll be a carboy before I leave for CO on Sunday. Tasting notes:

Pours Murky brown with amber hues. Nose is slight roast with caramel and mild hops. Flavor is subtle roast with lots of caramel and a weird mixture of fruits, cherry, raisin, lemon, grapefruit, slight apple. Moderate to high bitter and good grassy/piny/citrusy hop flavor. Slightly mouth puckering.

This will age in secondary for a few weeks on an ounce each of Amarillo and Cascade whole leaf hops to give it a hop-errific nose. Love it.



They *MAY* be coming around

Guess what is featuring today?? BEER! Not the biggest surprise, of the day, though. The article actually focuses on CRAFT BEER that's not Blue Moon, Hoegaarden, or Sam Adams. Instead, the author, Bret Stetka, actually did some research on US breweries and came up with some great candidates for brewery tours, including Great Divide, Bells, Troegs, and even Brewery Ommegang! I almost fainted. Kudos to him, though.

Just had to share. Check it out. Not a bad read.



Sunday, August 3, 2008


Hopefully there are a few out there that actually get the Strongbad reference. So, I don't think it is any secret to my friends that I love RateBeer. In fact, it has been enumerated as one of the possible sources that could lead the the demise of my marriage. At the beginning of writing this, I was not able to access the page. Of course, now that I am actually writing something about it, it is working again. But I don't care, the words are already on the page, so I'm going ahead with it. To you wonderful people who started the site... Please make it work well again. My first few months were great. I never had any problems. I know you were trying to make it better with new servers. I would like to submit that I am willing to pay a little bit extra for some consulting on how to set up your new environment. I can't tell you all the server errors that I have experienced in the past month. RateBeer is one of the few things that keeps me sane, almost as much as beer itself. It is a nice cathartic outlet. However, it has the inverse effect (1 / cathartic) when I try to add a new beer and I get some SQL error. Actually, I don't even know if they use SQL, but it is some sort of server error. That is why I am officially announcing my candidacy as a RateBeer quality assurance specialist. I am leaving my current QA position to pursue other educational ventures. That leaves the obsessive/compulsive tester in me very under nurtured. I will find ways to break the site so that others may not have to feel the frustration that I do every time my browser times out. Please, just tell me what you want from me! In other news more important to Muckney Brewing, Dave and I no longer get to hang out. He had to do 'our' first all grain batch without me because my company has seen fit to make me do 4 months of work in my last 2 weeks. Hopefully once I start my new position, I'll have a little more time on my hands. Now that I feel I have vented most of the steam caused by 10 Firefox time outs, I'm going to go and check my latest RateBeer stats. I have a case of 8/8/08 at Vecenie's with my name on it so I'm pretty sure that is going to be big number 400. I love being me.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

It's been one of those weeks . . .

Back to the grindstone this week after a fun-filled brewing week. Work has me in Northern New Jersey again, and really hasn't left me too much time for beer-related goodness. Except for a quick stop at Super Saver in Somerville, which produced a small haul, there's nothing to report. I'm hopefully going to break out of that lull this evening and find a decent beer bar.

On the homebrewing front - not much. The saison (MB0022) was starting to slow down as I left Monday morning, so it should be about done when I get back on Thursday, and it seems I have a leak in my lid seal on the Dark IPA (MB0021). Both will get some attention this weekend.

That is all.



Thursday, July 24, 2008

I Love the Smell of Boiling Wort in the Morning . . . and the Afternoon

As I write this, the sweet smell of boiled wort still permeates throughout my house. It's been a long day, being another double-batch brew day at Muckney Brewing. Only this time I was a man down for the first batch, and was getting my all grain cherry popped throughout the second. Yes, MB went AG for the first time, but let's start at the beginning.

Today's first batch was a partial mash Dubbed Stone Soup XXI Ale, the Mustachioed Dark IPA (MB0021). I brewed this batch using leftovers from previous batches and a lot of hops. Everything was going well, until I had a stuck sparge. Grain hulls clogged up my mash tun's spigot, causing me to forgo a second batch sparge and add water to bring the boil to volume. Other than that, it was all good.

And then it was all grain time. Thanks to Nate for supplying the equipment and more so for walking me through the process. Overall, it was a good brewing session. There were a few quips, like setting up the rig and hooking up the wort chiller, but other than that, the Saison du Muqunee (MB0022-AG1) went off without a hitch. We did only get 68% efficiency, but I'll deal with that for my first time around. There's plenty more I'd like to talk about, but I'm spent. Time to go pitch the yeast and veg out for a bit.



Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mustaches for Ulcers, er, Something

In a sign of solidarity with our brewing brethren from the South, I've spent the last several days attempting to answer the call of Johnathan at Monday Night Brewery to

grow [your] own mustache in support of this worthy cause . . .. With the help of our collective upper lips, we may just be able to eradicate ulcers (and specifically stomach ulcers) once and for all.

Yes, I have spent the last several days dodging questions from the wife concerning my shaving habits all in an attempt to do my part. Unfortunately, my plans were thwarted this morning while I was preparing for the day, so I will be unable to participate in Mustaches for Ulcers in the "traditional" sense. Instead, I will be dedicating the next batch of MB beer to the cause, creating Stone Soup XXI Ale, the Mustachioed Dark IPA (MB0021). OK, the name needs some work, but you get the idea. Trust me, it's better than the dirty upper lip I was sporting for the past 5 days. I wish puberty would kick in.



Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Leaky Faucet, TMP and TOMP

It was a housekeeping day at Muckney Brewing today. Both The Missionary Position (MB0018) and the Leaky Faucet Pale Ale (MB0019) needed bottled, and The Original Missionary Position (MB0020) needed transferred to secondary. The day went well overall, with a few minor annoyances here and there. Time for the specs.

I started the day by bottling the Leaky Faucet. After dry hopping it for just over a week, the beer had taken on a much fuller hop flavor and aroma profile. My only worry is that there isn't enough of a caramel malt backbone to balance out the hoppy flavor and bitterness. There's still something odd about the nose, but it is much less that before and will hopefully continue to dissipate over the next few weeks while it's carbing up. I have high hopes for this one, but I'm really skeptical that the final product is going to be anything stellar. We shall see.

After the Leaky Faucet, things started looking up. When I cracked the cork on the carboy holding The Missionary Position, I was greeted with a pleasant bouquet of fruit and spice accenting the sweet caramel malt. The taste revealed the same flavors and some subtle alcohol heat. I'm thoroughly impressed with our first attempt at a Belgian Strong Ale.

What impressed me more was the fact that we were able to duplicate our success with The Original Missionary Position. After I bottled TMP, I saved a couple nips to taste side-by-side with TOMP. They're definitely very close in flavor profile, though TOMP tasted a bit younger (makes sense) and has a more prevalent yeast profile (again, make sense). It makes me happy that they're so similar, so that we will be able to make a comparison between the beer with and without dried mangoes in secondary (2.1 oz. to be specific). We're planning on letting this bulk age for about a month before bottling.

As I alluded to in my previous post, this IS the Week of Beer and Brewing, since I'm on vacation. I was planning on brewing today, but time didn't allow for it. That means Thursday as turned into a two-batch day. I'm planning on doing the Stone Soup XXI Ale (MB0021) in the morning as a PM batch, and then, with Nate's assistance (more like guidance), tackle MB's first all-grain batch, a Saison (MB0022-AG1) using Wyeast's VSS Farmouse yeast. Oh, and I have to catch everyone up on my recent trips to DuClaw and Blue Mountain Breweries.

So stay tuned. Lots to come.



PS - Oh, yeah, um, if you can, pick up Stone XII. I'm drinking one now. It's tasty.

Monday, July 21, 2008


At last!! I'm off all week, so that means lots of beer-related activities. So far there are two brew sessions scheduled, plus some beer housekeeping needing to be done. Oh, and I have to catch up on some beer travel notes. Lots to come. Stay tuned.



Monday, July 14, 2008

Homebrew Update

I had a little homebrew housekeeping to take care of last night. The Leaky Faucet Pale Ale (MB0019) had finished fermenting out and was in dire need of some dry hopping. Its wish was granted last night as I racked it on top of an ounce of Cascade leaf hops. All went well, including 3/4 of a growler of Otto's KClinger's Brown Ale, which for all intents and purposes is one of better brown ales I've ever had.

The Faucet will chill in secondary for a week before being bottled. So far, so good, after a small scare of infection last week when I went to check the gravity and was confronted by a hideous vegetal/metallic/minerally smell. Thankfully, it has gone away, along with some of the fruity flavors. It's lookin' like this could be tasty.



Saturday, July 12, 2008

Sothern Tier's Anti-Claus

Holiday season's just around the corner - er, not really - but for the brewing industry it is. Southern Tier goes against the Christmas Cheer and focused their new Krampus Imperial Brown Lager on giving bad kids their just desserts - with sticks and chains.

From the label:

European tradition says that while St. Nick is busy delivering presents to good little boys and girls, Krampus hands out punishments to the bad. A fanged, goat-horned bully, the Christmas Devil uses sticks and chains to beat the naughty children.

Um, OK. No wonder the label status is now in jeopardy. As for the beer, it looks rather tasty. Keep an eye out for it later this year.

An extremely early Holiday Cheers,


Friday, July 11, 2008

Wii Pong . . . .

While the Wii has be heralded for its interactive play and its newest venture into fitness, JV Games is embracing the Old School attitude and releasing a downloadable series entitled "Frat Party Games", the first being Beer Pong. Finally, technology being put to good use. I just wonder if it has a virtual keg of Keystone Light, or better yet, Natty.

As one can imagine, the game has been met with fierce opposition, mainly due to its ESRB T rating, saying that it's age-appropriate for teenagers 13 and up. This has caused JV Games to change the name (already) to "Pong Toss" and eliminate all references to alcohol. Read the whole story here, then shake your head in disgust at our society's inability to laugh. Though I do agree that the Entertainment Software Rating Board dropped the ball saying that it's cool for teenagers to practice for their weekend beer pong tourney in a virtual world, JV shouldn't have kowtowed to the criticism by changing the game, but rather pushed to get the rating changed. Now the game won't have my favorite parts, the little pilsner glass and bottle cap meters in the bottom right-hand corner. Oh, well, I guess I'll just have to watch the real pint glass in my hand empty instead.



Thursday, July 10, 2008

Stone Goes Ape . . .

Yup, it's a busy summer for Stone Brewing. Along with the aforementioned Stone Anniversary XII comes Stone Cali-Belgique and Belgian Style Tripel Ale. This is insane - The former being a Belgian Style IPA, with the later being a colabo-brew with fellow SoCal brewery Alesmith and Denmark's Mikkeller Brewing. Oh, and I forgot to mention this year's Vertical Epic, 08.08.08. I think it goes unsaid that I hope some of these make it to western PA.



Monday, July 7, 2008

The Bearded Brewer Will Like Us Again!!

After MONTHS of saying that we'd review El Bearded Brewer's offerings that he had sent us, Justin and I finally stepped up to the plate and threw down on some Minneapolis/St. Paul homebrew to celebrate Independence Day. BB had sent us, along with some commercial offerings a bottle of his Mayabock and of his Irie Stout.

We started with his Mayabock, an organic Maibock named after his golden retriever. Through e-mail, BB had stressed his disappointment with this run of the Mayabock. These were all lies!! Overall this was a nice beer. A bit of an extract "twang" to it and bit dry for style, but it had a great caramel taste with fruity notes and a solid bitterness. Official review:

Pours a golden amber with fizzy white head. Lots of sweet malt in the nose, caramel and biscuit with mild fruitiness and a touch of extract twang. Lost of caramel in the flavor with a touch of said twang, dry and mildly hopped for flavor and bitterness.

Now, I do understand his points if he's referring to the beer stylistically, but this guy had some great drinkability to it, even if it was a touch dry for the style. Like the BB, I, too, love me a Maibock, and I definitely wouldn't kick this one out of my fridge.

After the Mayabock, we moved onto the Irie Stout, a monster of a "Foreign Export Stout", weighing in at 9.3% with some orange peel and brown sugar. I guess I would have to categorize this as an Imperial Foreign Export Stout. Whatever one wants to say it is, delicious should be in there somewhere. It's not a conventional stout. There are some crazy aromas and flavors present throughout, presumably due to the the orange peel and brown sugar. I can see why BB was happy with the turn out. This was a great tasting beer, more fruity than roasty, with a plethora of flavors that danced on the tongue.

Pours black with mild red hues, 1/2 finger khaki head. Nose is briney olives with roast and smoke. At first I got some notes of bubblegum and apple. Taste is bright fruit, apple and raisin, slight cherry, some brown sugar, molasses, plum, and mildly roasted coffee. It is nicely hopped without any astringent bitter in the finish. No alcohol taste at all, which scares me. A fantastic offering. The mouth feel is perfect. A touch too little head, but I'll overlook it this time.

I must say, kudos on this brew. I really enjoy seeing experimentation with classic styles.

These two offerings definitely whetted the palate for more Bearded Brewing brews, which I was forcefully told by BB that we would receive no more of until we drank these. El Bearded Brewer, you have my address. Please include more Irie in the next one.

I'm sure Justin will chime in with his thoughts soon.



Sunday, July 6, 2008

Stone XII Out This Week

Stone's 12th Anniversary Ale is hitting shelves this week. This year's ale will be a Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, with tasting notes here. No official website yet.

Get out and get yours. This is looking like a brew that's going to be tasty right out the gate and should only get better with time.



Tuesday, July 1, 2008

BMC now officially B, MC

Lucky us! Today marks the first day of operations for MillerCoors. Oh, happy day! Coors Light and Miller Light are now sisters, or kissing cousins, or . . . something. The Biz weighs in here and here is the Bloomberg report.

At least for now we're still safe using BMC while referring to US macros. From reading the news, it looks like it'll soon be InBMC, which takes too much time to write while referring to bottled urine.

Happy Tuesday!



Monday, June 30, 2008

Leaky Faucet Pale Ale

As I sit here enjoying the Bam Biere from Jolly Pumpkin pictured to the right, I thought I'd throw out a quick update on the Leaky Faucet. It's sitting at about 1.021 as of this evening, still fermenting away, and tasting outstandingly bitter and mighty hoppy. As of now it's a bit lacking in balancing maltiness, but it could appear once it's carbonated.

And how did we get the name? Well, when brewing, sometimes the beer takes over. Not so much what you're brewing, but what you're drinking (Please refer to the most recent Fermentation Friday post below). While chilling this Pale Ale, I walked away for a moment while filling the sink - with the brew kettle in it. Justin found it one gallon of tap water later about to overflow, hence Justin coming up with Leaky Faucet Pale Ale (MB0019). Yup, I'm a dumbass.



Revenge of Celebes

It is possible that Dave posted about this beer some time ago... I'm actually pretty sure that he did. However, I just decided to crack Jon's Celebes Stout. I guess it has about 3 months on it now. Here's how it turned out:

Pours a dark black color with a small tan head that disappeared pretty quickly. The aroma was a little bit carbonic to begin with, but after I let it rest for a minute, the sweet coffee really came out. I also got big notes of bitter chocolate, licorice, and a little bit of burnt bitterness. The coffee flavor is very strong, but works with the flavor of the beer, as opposed to covering it up. There is some sweet caramel, anise, and some definite roasted barley flavor. There is a slight sourness to it in the finish. Very dry with a lasting bitterness on the tongue. Not very highly carbonated, and has average body for a stout. A very good brew for a style that is often just overpowering.

I'm very excited to try his Saison when it is done. I got a taste of it last week from secondary and it was magical. This kid knows how to brew. Also, keep an eye out for news on his table wine which he brewed yesterday. As for Muckney, we're waiting on our Missionary Position and Pale Ale in primary so we can brew some more.

Finally, I still have about a half case of the Dark & Mysterious in the basement, so if anyone in the area would like to try it, let me know.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Fermentation Friday

Thanks, Travis, for hosting.

This month: Craziest Concoction (intended or otherwise)

Should I take the easy way out and talk about the successes of Batch XI Dark IPA (MB0011) and Rising Sun Sesame-Ginger Red Ale(MB0014-T3)? Nah, let's talk flub ups.

The story begins like many, with an idea. Justin was all about making a porter with a twist. After several days of playing with a few ideal additives, coffee, chocolate and the like, he decided on going the unconventional route and make it a cinnamon porter. Throughout his research, though, Justin found that there was little information on this topic and consulted the brewers at some local brewpubs. We finally settled on adding two cinnamon sticks near the end of the boil.

On brew day, everything was going smoothly, including multiple "tastings", which started to take their toll towards the end of the night. Due to our slightly inebriated state, it seemed like a great idea to add, oh, say TEN extra cinnamon sticks. Six to eight weeks later we had a porter that smelled of Close Up Toothpaste and tasted of Big Red and coffee. Needless to say, Oops.

So what did we learn? Well, first off, 12 sticks of cinnamon is too much. Both Justin and I do believe that the beer would have been solid if we would have stuck to our recipe and not over indulged in the cinnamon. We also learned that beer and brewing don't mix.

Wait! No! I didn't mean that! I -

(EDITORS NOTE: Due to Dave's final comment in the last blog post, he is currently being treated for insanity and dementia at a local hospital. You may leave notes of concern here.)


The Management

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


This is how I would text someone to describe Kuhnhenn Raspberry Eisbock. Holy freakin' crap is this beer freakin' amazing. (Freakin's are added to make our beer site family friendly.) The only way I can describe it is that it has all the best characteristics of a great beer married with all of the characteristics of a great port. Check my rating, if you would like. This beer has tons of chocolate, raspberries, caramel, alcohol, fruit, and everything else that gets me a little soggy. The depth and complexity of flavor is pretty much indescribable. My only complaint is that it only comes in a 6.5 oz bottle and that I can't get it at my neighborhood bottle shop. If you are a fan of beer, wine, or any other thing that makes you truly appreciate the heights of human achievement, find a bottle of this stuff. Beg, borrow, kill, steal, mame, riverdance... whatever you have to do. I really wish that I had more bottles so I could age a few. I'm sure a couple years would do wonders. However, I am impatient and had a desire for instant gratification last night.

I would like to apologize that it has been so long since I have posted, but I've been busy and most of my posts aren't related to brewing since Dave has all the specifics about our beers written down in his little notebook. Muckney Brewing exists out of his kitchen since the rules committee of my household has deemed my apartment / kitchen too small. (Rules for Living With Jess Sec. 12.4 Article 15 pg. 4) I would like to give a shout to the Bearded Brewer for all of his kind words about our brews and assure him that we will be providing full ratings of his very soon. I especially appreciated that he didn't say the Dark and Mysterious was outright gross, which some people have implied. Dave and I both know that we were about 10 sticks beyond too much cinnamon. There is a lot to be said about not conducting an Imperial Stout tasting while brewing at 9 in the morning. We live and learn. I'm looking forward to the *REAL* Missionary Position as I envisioned it. It should be as big and bad as the first, seeing as how the lock was bubbling after about a half an hour.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Brew Day

So take two on The Missionary Position (MB0020) was Saturday. The process went off without a quip, and it's bubbling away nicely (this time with a blow off tube from the start) and will be for the next couple of weeks. We also brewed a yet nameless pale ale (MB0019), that will hopefully be a Muckney staple in the future. Yeah, we need a house brew. This should be balanced well enough to entice even the most casual of drinker. Yeah, I'm a bit optimistic.

Other than that, all is well on the MB front. I'm out of town on business this week, so check the TravelBLOG for updates. Mad Anthony's was a good spot tonight.



Thursday, June 19, 2008

Holy Crap we started making labels!!

So I've been playing around with making labels over the past several months, but never really finished one. . . until the other night. Behold the awesomeness that is the first Muckney Brewing label. MB gives you Ides of March RIS! (Degree of awesomeness felt is linked directly with you opinion of the following artwork)



Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Some Homebrew Reviews

I haven't posted any homebrew tasting notes recently, so I figured I'd throw some out there.

Eagle and Child Mild
I like me a good bitter, hence the reason we made one. The issue is I didn't follow the hop schedule and ended up with an underhopped mild (yes, my fault, Justin had booked by this time). And there's some minerally quality that I'm not quite sure about, but I think has something to do with the extract. Any rate, here's what I had to say about it.

Pours an orange-ish copper with a small, white, fizzy head that dissipates quickly to a small, white film. Nose is off, slight extract twinge with some caramel. Flavor is caramel and mild bread with a surprising dose of bitter. Notes of apple and white grapes as it warms. Finish is dry and after had a bit of extract/mineral twinge to it, which detracts from the flavor a bit. Not bad overall, but there's definitely room for improvement.

Aroma:5 Appearance:2 Taste:5 Palate:3 Overall:11

Jon's Celebes Stout

Jon was gracious enough to share a bottle of his coffee stout. Made with cold pressed Celebes coffee from The Commonplace Coffeehouse, the sweet stout balances the coffee well, or is it the other way around. . . I don't know. Any rate, here are my notes.

Pours black as night with chocolate, frothy head. Nose is all coffee with a touch of sweet chocolate and caramel. Taste is sweet with chocolate and dark fruit, mild raisin with the coffee kicking in towards the end and melding with the bitter well and continuing mildly into the after before giving way to a silky, chocolate flavor. The mouth feel is thin and oily with a mildly watery feel early. This is a tasty stout. I kind of sense some lactose or brown sugar sweetness, but according to Jon, there be no such thing in it. I guess I'm crazy, but we all new that.

Aroma:8 Appearance:3 Taste:7 Palate:3 Overall:16



Monday, June 16, 2008

Ides of March Bottled in June - Plus the next Fermentation Friday is set

Almost three months to day after brewing, the Ides of March RIS and Quercus borealis are FINALLY in the bottle. Justin and I got together after dinner and two hours, three bombers, and four cases of sanitized glass later, we're sitting on two cases of each rendition.

So how are they tasting at the moment? Fantastic, actually. The QB has really balanced out, leaving an oak-ie, bourbon-ie nectar suited only to be imbibed during a cold winter's eve. The RIS is pretty balanced itself, with a nice dark fruit and roast character with a moderate bitter. I'm excited to see what they are like carbed up.

Up next, More Missionary Position (MB0020) and an American Pale Ale (MB0019). Both are happening Saturday as a prelude to a celebration commemorating the 28th anniversary of my escape from the womb.

And on an unrelated note, Travis over at CNY Brew is hosting this month's Fermentation Friday. Check it out and join in the blog-tastic fun.



Thursday, June 12, 2008

Finally! Some New Brewing News!!

So I guess this is what happens when you brew a lot of big beers - lots of lag time. We finally transferred The Missionary Position (MB0018) to secondary! We hit a final gravity of 1.025 (corrected), which was a few points higher that what we were aiming for, but it's all good. Especially the taste. The past two weeks have really helped it meld together and start to cover up some of the alcohol hotness.

Justin and I did come to the conclusion that we're going to forgo the dried mangoes in this batch. I must say that I lobbied pretty hard for this. I felt that we have such a solid beer already, why add to it. Justin wanted to go for it. There's good reason for his insistance. The beer's name revolves around mangoes (bear with me). Using some rather loose logic, A mango-infused Belgian Strong Ale reminded Justin of a Monk on a Mission into some tropical location where he would find mangoes and begin using them in his Trappist-style ale. So that story, along with a tongue-in-cheek sexual reference, and there you have it. But at any rate, with the promise that we would brew another batch of this soon using mangoes, Justin conceded. So MB0020 will be The "Official" Missionary Position.

Also on deck is an American Pale Ale (MB0019), the infamous Stone Soup ASA (MB0021), and, some other tasty treats that are yet to be determined. Oh, and the first all-grain Muckney offering. More on that later.

Everyone have a good night. I gotta finish a beer.



Monday, June 2, 2008

TravelBLOG Update

Check out Part Deux of my DC trip over at TravelBLOG.



Saturday, May 31, 2008

Home Brew Update

Not much on this front right now. Just a lot of waiting on really big beers. Justin and I did get a chance to check in on the Ides of March Quercus borealis. After 3+ weeks on the bourbon soaked oak chips, the "oak aged" character is pretty prominent. Even though the barrel-aged character is pretty strong at this point, we decided to let it go for a few more weeks to see what happens. We'll always have the option to blend it with the regular RIS. We shall see what happens.

The Missionary Position (MB0018) is still slowly finishing up fermenting. I'm guessing at least another week and we'll be where we need to be.



Friday, May 30, 2008

My First Time... Brewing

I will not make out my journey into brewing seem quite as glamorous as Dave’s. I had never really thought too much about home brewing more than getting a Mr. Beer kit and throwing together a couple bottles because it would be more for me to drink. I have always loved good beer, but most of the homebrew I had tried was garbage because it came out of a Mr. Beer. “It’s drinkable” is not an acceptable.

So, Dave and I started drinking good beer together. Originally, we found out that we both liked to play guitar, but after a couple days, we realized we both liked beer better. Dave had mentioned that he was thinking about brewing, but I wasn’t sure how serious he was. Well, when I tasted that first batch, I knew it was serious. I wanted to be a part of it. It was good.

Most of the stuff that we were making was pretty ordinary stuff. I was a big fan of hops, so Dave helped me write my first recipe, Show Your Hoppiness. It received some pretty good reviews. Since then, I have tried to come up with some more unorthodox flavors for our beers. Hence, the cinnamon porter and sesame ginger red ale. I contend the Dark and Mysterious would have been good has we not gotten tanked and added the whole container of cinnamon.

What it comes down to is brewing is one of my favorite things to do. It appeases the science and beer geeks within me as well as giving me more to drink. Yay. After tasting the Missionary Position out of the fermenter the other day, I know we are doing a good job.


I Remember When I Started Home Brewing . . .

Welcome to the first official Home Brew Blogging Day! Thanks to Adam over at Beer Bits 2 for putting forth such a great idea.

Muckney Brewing started just over a year ago in my kitchen, but the idea had festered in my skull for about 5 years prior, so I guess we'll start there. Back when my now wife and I were dating, we had taken an evening trip to Monroeville to shop and grab some dinner (back when gas was sub $2.00, you know, the good ol' days). After a few margaritas at Don Pablo's, we ended up at Borders for some unknown reason. As I perused the shelves, I came across Home Brewing for Dummies, which she, in her slightly inebriated state, purchased for me (so, yes, hunny, when you read this know that you played an integral part in this obsession). So after a quick read the next day, I was more than a bit apprehensive to start. It sounded like quite the complicated process and intimidated me (crazy, right?), so the book was relegated to the library where it sat for years.

In the interim between that day and my first brew, I was guilted a number of times by the wife that I never put said purchase to use. I did, however, give a presentation on said subject in a public speaking class, without any experience on the topic, which got a number of classmates into the hobby, but I still shied away from the process thinking it too complicated.

Fast forward to April 2007 when, after reading about the Indiana Beer Club and randomly stopping at a couple local home brew supply stores, I revisited Dummies and, after much contemplation (and a nice little monetary present from my Grandmother) I decided to take the plunge. So after work one day, I ventured to Village Home brew in Blairsville to get my rig. I left with a standard set up, a Better Bottle, and a Pale Ale kit.

So after a quick stop at Wal-Mart to pick up a brew kettle, I found myself hovering over my stove heating water and intensely reading the kit's directions. The brewing process went smoothly, until it came to cooling. In my (not so) infinite wisdom, I decided to pour my wort into my fermenting bucket and top it off, and place that in my kitchen sink to cool, which took until 4:30ish the next morning.

Two weeks later I pulled Justin into the fray at bottling time. I still remember taking a sample of the fresh brew, putting it to my lips, taking a long pull, and wondering how uncarbonated, room temperature beer could be so tasty. Justin had the same epiphany. Two pints later (each), we started bottling. I'm pretty sure we were about 8 beers light by the end of bottling.

From that moment on, I was hooked, or more correctly, obsessed with this hobby, which has blossomed into a true love for craft beer and all things home brew. Now one year and twenty-odd brews later, Muckney Brewing is still going strong.



Thursday, May 29, 2008

Dave's TravelBLOG Updated

Please refer to the title, then click here.

That is all.



Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Missionary Position is Awesome!!!

No, not that!! The beer! So after 17 days in primary, Justin and I decided to check the gravity of our Belgian Strong Ale. Weighing in at 1.096, this behemoth, if it reached its projected FG of 1.018, would weigh in at 10.25%. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. Due to our recent issues, though, I was a bit worried about reaching our target.

Well, as of last night, we were at 1.025, which puts us at 9.2%, if it were to finish up here, but, alas, it is not done fermenting. There is still activity in the airlock, so there's a chance that it'll drop a few more points. If we get close to 1.020, I'll be mighty happy.

So how did it taste? Well, like alcohol. This puppy is hot right now! Of course, this makes sense. Once you get through the alcohol warmth, TMP is fruity with a rather up front hop character, which was what we are going for. This outing is going to need a good amount of time before it evens out, probably at least a few months of bulk aging, and then several more in the bottle.

Needless to say, we're happy with TMP's progress. Stay Tuned.



Monday, May 26, 2008

A Little Bit of Scuttlebutt

No, not Scuzzlebutt. While attending Pints for Pets last Saturday, I had the chance to talk to Matt Allyn of Voodoo Brewery about his endeavors in Titusville reopening Four Sons (read my previous post, here). It looks like it should be up and running mid-summer-ish under the name Blue Canoe Brewing. The goal will be to have 5 regular taps and 5 rotating/seasonal offerings once they are running at 100%.

Keep an eye on the Voodoo page for more information. A link to the new brewpub website will be linked to there once it's up and running.



Friday, May 23, 2008

Bearded Brewing Reviews Muckney's offerings

I don't know how I missed this. I guess it was because I was out of town on business and didn't read my usual blog roll. So, with apologies to Matt Damon, here's BB's reviews.

Thanks for the kind words.



Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Travelblog Updated

The first of a few North Jersey updates is now posted. Take a peek.

That is all.



Monday, May 19, 2008

Pints for Pets and New Blog

Hey all. Just a quick hitter here. Pints for Pets was a great time. I'll write more on this later. I'm currently in North Jersey and don't have access to my camera for pictures and such. The skinny - it was awesome. They did a fantastic job setting it up. There were some great beers from the brewers there (more to come on this). Honestly, just a great time overall. Seemed to be a huge turn out. Hopefully they'll post some stats on it. From the looks of it, they made a ton of cash for the Humane Society, and I would be surpirsed, ok, in utter shock if they didn't have another go round next year.

So speaking of North Jersey and traveling. . . I'm back on the road for work. I started another blog to document where I'm at and what I've found on my work-centered voyages throughout the country. Most will be beer/food-centric, as actual "tourist time" will be little, if any at all. Please bear with me over the next few weeks getting it set up and such, but I'm planning on posting about what little gems I've found while out for work. Definitely more to come, so check it often. I'm going to link the first few post and such to this site keep you all up to date.

Quick homebrew update - The Missionary Position is still rollin' away. It has slowed a bit, so fermentation will be done soon, allowing us to pitch Batch XX on top of it. Batch 19 will be a pale ale here shortly. We've gotta do something that will be drinkable before the end of year soon, and a good American Pale Ale seems to be the favorite. Check back for updates.

Stay tuned.



Friday, May 16, 2008

Oh, the Beer-manity!!

In such times as these with $4.00 a gallon gas, a rocky economy, and endangered polar bears, this only adds to the grim outlook for our country. Yesterday, the CEO of Miller Brewing announced that "cash strapped drinkers" are switching to economy brands such as Miller High Life and Milwaukee's Best. According to Mr. Long, this trend that started in January is due to the decrease in disposable income of consumers.

Sales for both Miller Lite and Miller High Life were up 1.1% while MGD was down 10.6%. Oh, and 4th quarter revenue was up 15% for SABMiller. The article didn't address their "craft beer" lines, though, which I found odd. One would think that there would have been a steep decrease in the sales of these brands if Mr. Long were correct, but the best they could come up with was MGD as a "premium brand"?

So what is my take on all of this? Frankly, an increase of 1% for two of SABMiller's "flagship" beers is hardly reasoning enough, in my opinion, to declare that all beer drinkers are trending towards drinking more cheaply. Hell, that can be atributed to people switching from Coors Light and Bud Light becasue Miller Lite/High Life actually have a semblance of taste.

There's nothing like taking a small cross-section of the industry and turning it into an economic indicator, especially when said industry is brewing. This is what happened on Morning Express with Robin Meade. Nothing like waking up to hear that more and more swill is being purchased. Such a grim outlook for our country, well at least in taste of beer.

Good thing Pints for Pets is tomorrow. Hopefully the crowd's large enough to instill in me a new sense that humanity actually enjoys delicous craft beer . . . oh, who cares, at least we'll get to enjoy it.