Thursday, March 27, 2008

Better Bottle Bitter Bottled

With a shoutout to my man Tolkien, Muckney Brewing would like to present our Eagle and Child Ordinary Bitter. Named after the Eagle and Child in St. Giles, Oxford, England, a pub frequented by J. R. R. and C. S. Lewis, this bitter is our take on a classic Ordinary Bitter.

"Trying" to stay in style, this batch was summarily screwed up by Dave due to a lack of attention paid to the recipe. In my defense, I was brewing from memory (read: didn't look at the computer on the bar) while bittering and reverted to my original bittering schedule. The problem: my original schedule was about 10 IBUs too low to style. It was orignally to be a Best Bitter (8B), but ended up low on the OG tip, too. Read about it here.

So what did we end up with? A well balanced, quaffable session brew. A nice copper color, decent bitterness and a good caramel malt profile. I can't wait for it to carb up. Rating to come.

After Justin and I bottled the Bitter, we turned out attention to the Ides of March RIS. Long and short of it - they're still fermenting. With SG's of 1.040 and 1.034, neither batch is anywhere near the projected 1.021 FG. Took a couple samples, replaced the lids, and we're now letting them roll for a bit. Check back for updates.



Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Oskar Blues Old Chub

At first impression, I would have sworn that this was a cheap, Camo knock off with the complex flavor of feet and locker room. In my mind's eye I see a group of West Virginians passin' around a bottle of 'shine when one of them pulls out a six pack of this gem as a tasty treat.

Luckily, I know better. Good old Oskar Blues, quickly becoming one of my new favorite breweries, does it again with it's take on a classic Scotch Ale.

12 oz. Can. Pours a dark amber/brown with some light red hues. Nice medium khaki head, foamy and quickly dissipating from about one finger thick, leaving a decently laced glass. Big malt nose, mostly caramel with a slight smoke, and a touch of biscuit. Taste is full of caramel and chocolate, touch of toffee. A rather forward smoky quality permeates throughout, subtle, mixing with a mild to moderate bitter for the style. The end is crisp, but the hop bitterness and smoke lingers slightly on the sides of the tongue. Tasty brew. Would pair well with grilled steak or some beef brisket. k

I recommend picking up a sixer.



Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Necessity of Waiting

Ah, down time at Muckney Brewing. Not much going on at the moment. We're waiting for the Ides of March RIS (MB0016 and MB0017) double batch to finish fermenting (the airlock stopped bubbling on Saturday) to transfer it to secondary.

Normally this is not a huge deal. This time, it is. If you've been following along, you know that half of this (MB0017) will be aged on oak. After doing our research, Justin and I have decided to soak 2 oz. of medium toasted oak chips in Wild Turkey 12 for several days. We will rack onto these once FG is reached and allow to sit for three week, at which time we'll give 'er a try. We'll do the same every three to four weeks until we get the results that we want. I'm thinking it's going to take somewhere in the 3 to 4 month range to get a good bourbon/oak flavor. More to come once the buckets are opened.

Tasting updates - Notes to come shortly on the XLTPA and the Rising Sun Red. The Rising Sun at two weeks was delicious, but needed to carb up a bit more. I'm sure one will be popped this weekend. The XLTPA has some serious diacetyl problems. Hopefully they fade with time.

Up Next
The Missionary Position (MB0018-T4) - A Belgian Strong Ale with a twist. Yes, as you may have guessed, we're adding fruit. The recipe is still being ironed out. Details to come.

Stone Soup Porter (MB0019-M2) - Time to clean out the cupboards. Yes, another MB Mash-Up. We all know that the previous one turned out well (Batch 11 Black IPA), and here's to hopin' this one does. NOthing crazy about this one, just a classic Robust Porter.

On a personal tasting note, CONGRATS!! to Justin for recently rating his 200th beer on A Good Choice if I must say so myself.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Say 'Ello to My Little Frieah!!!!

I felt like Tony Montana today, separating a bunch of white powder in to baggies. Now it wasn't the nose candy that Al Pacino's character was pushing. No, it was extra light dried malt extract. Fifty-five pounds of it to be exact. Muckney Brewing decided to kick it up a notch and start buying bulk. We now have enough DME for a WHILE.

We did make a bit of a dent by doing two batches of RIS. Currently named Ides of March Russian Imperial Stout, we are planning on aging this for a while, with half of it on bourbon soaked oak chips (Ides of March Russian Imperial Stout Quercus borealis). A pretty smooth brew day overall. Jon joined us for a bit and a few brews.

Good times today. Can't wait for this one to be done. It's gonna be a long haul.



Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Haul

Everyone who knows football has heard of "The Catch." Anyone who knows Steeler's football knows "The Tackle." Now, in the Pantheon of great moments, I introduce to you: The Haul. Now, I will be the first to admit that a score like this takes teamwork. I'd first like to thank Nate for driving and sharing this great day with me. I'd like to thank Ron, for his vision in opening Vintage Estates Wine and Beer. Finally, I would like to thank RateBeer, a place where I can learn about these wonderful establishments. I'm not going to go through and list all the beers I picked up, because there are a lot. Let's just hit some high points: get the picture. If you get a chance to head out to Boardman, OH, do it. If you think you got a good price for a beer somewhere in Allegheny County, you are most likely wrong. All the prices were about 1/2 of what I pay here. It is a sobering kick to the reproductive organs when you see a beer you purchased a week prior for 6 dollars less a bottle. Ouch. I really wanted to dig in as soon as I got home. However, some of these will be outstanding with some age on them, so I must be patient. I really can't say too much about this place and how great a store it is. Ron is a great guy and obviously loved to talk about beer. Very knowledgeable about his wine collection as well.

As if the day didn't have enough excitement, we stopped at growler hours at East End in Pittsburgh. Since there weren't a whole lot of people there, we got to sample a lot of the beers and talk to Scott a little bit. We even got a little nipper of the Monkeyboy Hefe that will be released in the spring. All I'll say is I'm lookin' forward to that one. We came home to an excellent Homebrew Club meeting. It was just a spectacular day. I recommend you try it. If nothing else, we are going to have a lot of sampling going on while we are brewing the RIS this Saturday. Luckily, I only have 3 vanilla beans, so I don't think we'll have a repeat of the Dark and Mysterious.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Dallas (Que Theme Song)

So, bad news first: No ginormous haul of fantastic beer. Reason - No rental car, no proximity to any beer stores, plus that whole work thing.

Yes, trade show season is in full effect, this most recent one pulling me away from my desk and whisking me off to Dallas for 6 days.

Good news: I did my homework. This lead me to find a couple of decent beer bars in the vicinity of my hotel. Located in Uptown, both the Idle Rich Pub and the Ginger Man offered enough tasty treats to get me through my stay. Idle Rich offers some great Belgian selections and other beer geek favorites. Good, pub-style fare, too. The real gem, though, is Ginger Man. Having 60ish on tap and over a hundred and a half bottles, this is the true beer bar of Dallas. No liquor, and only a limited wine and food selection (only snacks) help say that. The beers here run the gambit from BMC (Bud Light on tap) to rare locals and everything in between. Reasonable pricing also. This was the bar that beckoned me back again and again. I mean, a Flemish Brown on tap? Tasty.

Now the biggest thing that stood out was the knowledge that the staff at G-Man. Tim, a NJ transplant, was a total beer geek at heart. A brewer himself, Tim was gracious enough to guide me through the best of the local brews. He was the kind of guy who enjoyed working at a beer bar.

On a personal note/rant, this was my first extended exposure to a real beer bar. After said experience, I'm pretty sure I couldn't work in one. Not because it'd be difficult, nor that it wouldn't be fun. I would get friggin' fed up with people walking in and ordering a friggin' Blue Moon when there are 7 other wits and hefeweizens on tap. I guess I should be happy, but jeez. There's a lot of good beer out there, and you're in a place that has a lot of it. Why not try something new. But oh, well. Trendy crowd, trendy beers I guess.

Now that I'm back in the Commonwealth, Justin and I can get down to business. RIS brewday is Saturday. 10 gallons of the yet to be named Impy Stout, half to be bulk-aged on oak chips. Can't Wait. More to come.



Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Because I got yelled at . . . .

Well, not really. I guess it's more because I'm a slacker. Or the fact that I've been battling some crap-tastic sinus issues. At any rate, Some beer related news follows.

Saturday night Justin and I were privy to some delicious Nugget Nectar whilst helping a friend celebrate his 30th birthday (significant others included). There's nothing better than some good beer and Table Shuffleboard. Well, maybe Foosball.

Homebrew news. . . . RIS Day is tentatively scheduled for March 15th.

We'll keep you updated.



Saturday, March 1, 2008

Why there were 3 Musketeers.

Sometimes, you get to the point when 2 people just isn't enough. Last night, we reached that point. Sure it could have been averted with some patience and better planning, but at Muckney Brewing, we believe you should go hard or go home. As I was capping the Rising Sun Sesame Ginger, Dave was finishing the bottling process. Ever the thrifty brewer, he lifted the bucket above his head to get that last bit of beer into the bottle. What he could have used was a lesson in physics. Once the bucket was perpendicular to it's proper orientation, the remaining beer decided its home was not in the bottle, but rather on Dave. Hilarity ensued.

At any rate, we did get some work done. I brought my wife with me this time because I worry less about ignoring her when she is in the same room than me ignoring her when I'm out and she is home. We finished up 3 orders of business.
1.) Bottle the Rising Sun Sesame Ginger- I am a huge fan of how this turned out. The crystallized ginger in secondary gave it a nice gingery nose. It seems pretty well balanced. Can't wait until this is ready.
2.) Bottle G-Man's XLTPA- Done and done. For what this beer is, it is excellent. Nice light color and flavor. We have thought about using a dash more hops, but from what I understand, the Coach likes him some American Macros, so it worked out very well.
3.) Rack the under-bittered bitter to secondary- This actually was a really quality beer. It really did remind me a lot of Boddingtons. I'm excited to see how this finished product works out. I'm currently looking into where I can steal a nitro system.

Unfortunately, I don't think I have permissions to update the info on the right over there. If its updated, thank you Dave. If it is not, you should be able to figure out where things are by reading this post once again.