Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Kielbasa and Double Yoi

When I think of beer, I think of Football. Maybe it could be the copious amounts of beer that I drink when I watch football, or maybe it's the copious amounts I want to drink after I play. Either way, they are tied together. Because we are both from Western PA, football means the Stillers. Today, the Stillers and Pittsburgh as a whole lost a great part of our tradition. We here at Muckney Brewing would be remiss if we didn't acknowledge the passing of Myron Cope today. Growing up, my dad always used to listen to the radio broadcast of the game while watching the game on TV. Myron was the voice of the Steelers. I guess that makes Myron Cope the embodiment of football through the transitive property. If I drank malt liquor, I would pour one out for my homey. In fact, tomorrow I will most likely purchase a 40 of Iron City and do just that. Lets all take a moment to remember how truly awesome he was. I'm sure he would want you all to drink a beer in his memory.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Conundrum of a Beer Rater

This evening, after a long day of driving, working on development of a writing tutor, and edging ever closer to becoming just another cog in the machine, I decided to kick back and enjoy some of my spoils from Trader Joe's and have a nice beer. I was originally going to do a kind of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot and Victory Old Horizontal side-by-side. That didn't happen. Long story short, I took my wife to the emergency room after the Bigfoot was poured. I had already rated appearance and aroma. At my first sip came the request. Thank God (or whoever you and your loved ones may want to thank), she is ok. However, it was late when I got home and I just finished rating not 20 minutes ago. It is now 12:58 eastern standard time and I have to be up at 4:45 for work tomorrow. The conundrum was: 1.) Do I finish the beer? 2.) Do I finish the rate? Now as I was saying goodnight to her, she said, "You could have finished your beer before we went." This, my friends, was obviously a trap. If I were to ever utter the words, "Let me finish this beer before I take you to the emergency room," I will be meeting a least once a week in a church basement, and Dave will be getting a large stockpile of libations from my basement. However, let precedent now show that it is acceptable to finish the beer, as well as the rating when returning home. This is pending that all is well. It is late and she is most likely tired from the pain killers. She will sleep better without me snoring anyway. I feel this applies as a universal. So, the lessons I learned from tonight are: Patience and loving are often rewarded with a tolerance for your allegedly silly habits (such as rating beer). Second, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot will last 3 hours in the fridge while sitting open in proper glassware.
Please in no way let this downplay my love and concern for my wife. It is just a good release from what has otherwise been an extremely stressful day.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Potentially the 7th Sign

With the additions of Jon to the blogosphere, it has become apparent to me that the Mayans may be right. Only four and a half years until the end. Thanks, Jon!!

I've come to this conclusion from multiple signs. First, Jon's now blogging. Secondly, not only has he confessed to liking Hopslam, but also The Nectar! What is this world coming to.

At least there's one good way to enjoy Judgement Day. Well, maybe two.

Cheers to the end!


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Write it down somewhere!

...that is my advice to everyone. I have yet to post an entry because after I was added to this blog, I forgot my username and password. Oops. As I'm sure Nate has posted, the Indiana Homebrewers Club met last night, a week after originally intended. The group was small, but distinguished. We even had a couple new members. This is important to Muckney Brewing, as we presented two of our beers that were to be saved for the Febtoberfest extravaganza. Fortunately, Dave and I are always willing to throw some brews out there to the public, because tasting would have been pretty slim otherwise. What did we try? I'm glad I assumed you would ask:

Excelsior Stout- This was Jon's milk stout that was rather delicious, despite his constant self deprecating feelings towards it. Personally, I thought it was really good. A little on the sweet side, but overall pretty solid. I didn't get to rate it, but I have a bottle at home. Perhaps I'll get to that soon. I really should age it for 5 years as per Jon's suggestions for most beers.

Muckney Batch XI- Dave has posted on this, and his feelings were reinforced by all in attendance. This is a really solid beer. It turned out to be a Stone XI clone, which isn't bad for gathering up the leftovers from batches 1 - 10. Coincidentally enough, it was our 11th batch as well. How serendipitous. Great hop character, but well-balanced. Possibly a little hoppy for the non-hophead's palate, but very well-received. Nowhere near as face-melting as the Show Your Hop-P-Ness. (We haven't come to terms on an accepted spelling for that beer yet.)

Dark & Mysterious Cinnamon Porter- This was actually my first crack at recipe writing. It could have worked out a little better had Dave and I not 'sampled' so many beers during the brewing process. It might have occurred to us at that point that 12 sticks of cinnamon might be a little over the top. The original recipe called for about half of that I believe. Surprisingly to me, it went over pretty well. I am putting the spin on it that it is "Dark & Mysterious" because it mysteriously has the aroma of Close Up. The taste is decent though. The comments I heard were basically "it grows on you." That is exactly how I felt about it. If we give a second crack at this, we'll probably drop a little hops and lower the cinnamon quite a bit.

I apologize if I have rambled too much for my first post. I saw that someone had commented on a previous post about suggestions for using cinnamon. My advice: Don't use 12 sticks for a 5 gallon batch. We are currently planning out our date for brewing the R.I.S. We are probably going to use some vanilla bean to pair with the bourbon flavors. I suggested we set the oak chips on fire after we soak them in bourbon to get some nice smokey-charred flavor, but sometimes it just comes down to me wanting to set stuff on fire. I'm glad Dave is there to pull the reins occasionally.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Ordinary World

Saturday was a brew day at MB. First, Justin and I transferred the Rising Sun Ginger-Sesame Red Ale to secondary. So far, so good. Very tasty right out of Primary. Lots of roasty sesame-ness, w/ some fruity esters from the yeast intermingling with the pungent ginger, then a nice bitterness at the end. A hint of sour from somewhere, but I think it was a flavor made by the ginger and the hops. To this lovely concoction, and after much debate, Justin and I kept to our written recipe and added 4 oz. of candied ginger which was boiled for 3 minutes to sanitize and remove the sugar coating. We're assuming that this will add some goodness to the nose and little, if any, taste profile. We shall see soon.

Justin had to depart early, so I was flyin' solo once the Red was transfered. So as an interim "session" brew before our venture into Imperial Stout-Land, I planned out what was supposed to be a Special/Best Bitter, but what turned out to be an underhopped bitter. I had shot for an OG of 1.043 and 30-ish IBUs. Forgetting I had made some tweaks to the hop schedule to get to the desired bitterness, I went right along with what I had originally had in my head, which was about 15 IBUs short. Plus I was 3 gravity points short. So here I am on the upper boundary of an Ordinary Bitter that's lacking the bitterness. So I'm thinking I'm going to turn out with a balanced XLTPA-ish type beer with a different hop and yeast profile. We shall soon see.

I may try to throw down with another session beer next weekend. Other than that, RIS-land is calling. Details to come.



Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Batch XI Update

It's been six-plus weeks in the bottle, and MB's first PM batch was just begging to be tried. The short of it - We done good. It's amazing how a bunch of leftovers can come together to taste so good. The long of it to follow.

Batch XI - Six-Plus weeks, cellar temp.
12. oz bottle. Pours black/brown with amber hues. Huge head, three fingers of thick, foamy, beige goodness. Lacing is good w/ good retention. After a slow pour, one-finger head above the top of the glass. I am two feet away from the glass and can smell cotton candy. Sweet, citrus and resiny nose with floral notes. A faint touch of roast. There's so much going on. Sweet caramel notes, some toffee, a touch of chocolate however small, some raisin. There roast, mildly and subtly mixes with a moder bitter. Floral and citrus hops in the finish, moderate and not over powering. A touc hof dry but still sweet with a bitter lingering into the after. Mouthfeel is a bit watery but medium.

We did pretty well with this one.



Friday, February 8, 2008

Beer is good. Great Beer is Better.

Wednesday was a great night. The self proclaimed "Exec Board" of the Indiana Homebrewers Club gathered at my domicile for another "pre-meeting meeting" to discuss the upcoming, well, meeting of the IHC.

Meeting duration - a shade under three hours.
Time spent on upcoming events - a shade over 12 minutes

This left plenty of time for general BSery and sharing some good food and even better beer. Tasting list as follows . . .

Lost Abbey Lost and Found (Dave)
Westvleteren 12, 2004 (Nate)
Russian River Damnation (Justin)
Russian River Redemption (Justin)
Russian River Salvation (Justin)
Oskar Blues Ten FIDY Impy Stout (Eli)

I must give a shout out to Nate for sharing such a rare and absolutely outstanding beer with us. (He's got a great recap of the night at his blog, as does Eli, along with some great pics. And also a big thanks to Justin for being so generous with his San Fran haul.)

Great night, through and through.



Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again

Sunday was Super Brew Sunday; Muckney Brewing's first attempt at two partial mash brews in one day. On the schedule were a PM run of G-Man's XLTPA (MB0013) and Rising Sun Ginger-Sesame Red Ale (MB0014-T3). Justin and I tackled the Red Ale first but, due to an unfortunate series of events, he had skip out on the XLTPA. For a 6+ our brew day, it went surprisingly smoothly, even with having to run a boil and a mash at the same time. I would definately suggest mapping out a plan if you're going to do more than one brew in a day.

So the results? They are currently fermenting in my dining room. Bubble, bubble. The Red Ale's wort tasted rather intriguing. I'm interested in how it turns out. The XLTPA was a bit short of its predicted OG, but that could have been because I was unable to stir it since I broke my brew spoon. Yeah, um, that plastic bends, but not that much. It's currently in three pieces in my trash. Wish I would have taken a picture. FYI, don't try to bend a brew spoon to fit in a 2 gallon pot filled with sanitizer. It fits, but not as one unit.

Sunday was also First Taste Day for the Dark and Mysterious Cinnamon Porter.

Two weeks bottled. Pours black w/ little head, amber hues throughout. Nose is 100% cinnamon, maybe a touch of roast. Smells of Close-up toothpaste. Taste is cinnamon up front, followed by roast and a touch of caramel. Finish is bitter, which lingers with some cinnamon into the after. Much better than I expected at this point.

I'm very interested to see how, a) this ends up with a couple more weeks on it, and b) how well this is received.

Up next for MB, more dark brews. A partial mash run of Quad D's Deep Creek Porter. Oh, and our first attempt at an RIS, some of which will be aged on bourbon-soaked oak chips.



Saturday, February 2, 2008

It's Groundhog Day!!!

Being a Punxsutawney-ian, today is a continuation of a birthright to be forever seen as a crazy, rodent worshiping, white-trash heathen. I love it. So, this morning, I made the trek to P-town with the fam and a couple friends to partake in the G-hog Day festivities. No Gobbler's Knob for us this morning, though. The four of us were on our way to the Punxsy Country Club for the annual breakfast. Good food. Actually, great food. There's a lot more to this story, just can't post about it now. Keep an eye out for more on the "Mystery Breakfast". (I know I sound like a complete nerd, but bear with me.)

Homebrew tip - Starters are rollin', and there's a start time of 11AM for tomorrow's double-brew-day.