Saturday, May 31, 2008
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
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.
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
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
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
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
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
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.
Friday, May 16, 2008
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.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Everything else has an official celebratory week, so why shouldn't Craft Beer. Hell, even The US House of Representatives agrees. So, having started Monday, May 12, 2008, we are in the midst of American Craft Beer Week which continues through this Sunday. If you're down, you can check out a list of events in your area. I will be celebrating in Altoona, PA at Blair County Ballpark (in the rain nonetheless) while attending Pints for Pets. There are a number of us going from the home brew club and should prove to be a fun-(beer) filled day.
So why the sarcasm at the beginning of the post? Well, after reading the press release, i got a bit worked up about the wording (I know, semantics-schemantics) concerning what was actually being celebrated. And I quote:
American Craft Beer Week (May 12-18), which is celebrated annually, highlights the industry and culture of craft beer. This year, breweries and beer makers will also recognize their collective charitable contributions. For the first time ever, the Brewers Association announced U.S. craft breweries’ charitable contributions, and for 2007 they are estimated to be more than $20 million.
What? You're thinly veiling a week dedicated to imbibing malt beverages behind the fact that the industry donated $20 mil to causes in their local area? Let's call a spade a spade here. Don't celebrate "beer" by pushing the fact that the craft brewing community supports the local PTA. From HR 753:
Whereas American craft brewers are vested in the future, health, and welfare of their communities . . . as commited sponsors of a broad range of vital community institutions and philanthropic causes, including parent-teachers' associations, Junior ROTC, children's hospitals. . ..
That's all well and good, and I sincerely commend each and every brewery that gives back to its local community. If you are going to celebrate this generosity, though, don't call the week "American Craft BEER Week", (see, semantics) because what is supposed to be celebrated and what the participants are actually celebrating are two different things. I guess it comes down to this - if you are going to celebrate the community service of American Breweries, do so and flaunt it. If you are going to celebrate American Craft Beer, then don't hide the fact that you're planning on drinking behind the breweries' service projects.
I guess this hearkens back to days of the Temperance Movement. You know, the one that brought us Prohibition. I really do not understand this country's apologetic nature when it comes to alcohol. Or, more specifically, the need to make the fact that a person likes to drink beer somehow more chivalrous or meaningful. This, though, is another discussion for another day.
So . . . Kudos to the many American Brewers that care about their community and so graciously give their time and money to help improve the world around us. As for American Craft Beer Week, I'll be celebrating the brewers product, like the title implies.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Last Thursday I finally got to dig in to the beers from The Bearded Brewer. At our monthly pre-meeting meeting for the Indiana (PA) Home Brew Club (read: tasting/BSery), I broke out both Surly offerings, Bender and Furious. I was excited to try both, as they've both received some hype on Ratebeer.com. That, and I love hops.
Here's the Nitty-Gritty
16 oz. can courtesy thebeardedbrewer shared with the exec board. Pours brown with small, khaki head. Nose of chocolate and roast with a touch of hops. Ok, a lot of hops and some coffee. Lots of roasty, burnt flavor with some chocolate. Good bitter melds with the roast. Good beer. Stone XI-esque. . . kinda.
This was an interesting interpretation of a Brown Ale. Not as malty as I had envisioned, more porter-esque in my mind. Whatever it was supposed to be, it was a pretty solid beer. I like when brewers try to meld styles.
16 oz. can courtesy thebeardedbrewer shared with Exec. Board. Pours amber red with off-white head. nose of grapefruit and grass, some sweet resiny notes. Taste is huge hop flavor, grapefruit, resin, pine and grass. Decent caramel malt backbone. Great IPA. Good Balance.
Furious definitely wasn't as complex as Bender, but was just a great example of a standard American IPA. Big bitter and big American Hop flavor balanced out by a nice caramel backbone. Nothing tricky, just done well.
On the home brew tip - The Missionary Position is bubbling away still. This is expected - and welcomed. We don't want another stuck fermentation.
As for the future of Muckney Brewing, we're planning on doing a classic American Pale Ale. We've brewed a lot of big beer recently, and nothing close to a session beer. So Justin and I agreed on doing an APA before we went crazy on our next project, which is going to be the Stone Soup Porter, which just got crazier. Beside using only leftovers in this batch, we're going to pitch it on the yeast cake from TMP. It's definitely not going to be to any style. Were thinking of shooting for an even bigger beer than TMP. I mean, we have all of those hungry yeasties in there, might as well feed them. There are some ideas being tossed around, and I'll post them as they become more solid.
Keep checkin' in.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
The Missionary Position is a Dark Belgian Strong Ale brewed with Wyeast's Trappist High Gravity yeast. We're planning on adding dried mangoes to secondary for a little fruit lift.
The day went pretty well once we got rollin'. Attempting to get an early start, Justin and I were thwarted by my lack of inventory adjustment, thinking that I had one large grain sock left which we use as our lautering device in our mash tun. So after a few minutes of trying to figure out a way to MacGyver a lauter tun, we decided to use some cheese cloth, which we draped over the cooler and secured underneath the lid. And this is what I mean by an "open grain bed". Instead of usually tying off the grain sock, the top was left open. This actually worked a heck of a lot better. It was easier to stir the grain to make sure it was saturated and it created a better "filter" (mainly because it's an actual grain bed). So, I think we found a new technique.
After that little hiccup, the rest of the day went smoothly. We ended up with an OG of 1.096. That's a lot. So I was expecting a vigorous fermentation. Definitely nothing as vigorous as what's taking place in my dining room. The normal airlock got clogged twice, causing it to fill up, so I had to put a quick blow off tube together.
But now, as of Sunday night, it seems that all is well.
Friday, May 9, 2008
Up next: The Missionary Position BSA - tomorrow. More to come.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Thanks to our good friend at Bearded Brewing in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Muckney Brewing is now enjoying some the Northern Plains finest beer, including two Bearded Brews, Irie Stout and Mayabock. I'm definitely looking forward to this trying these home brews. Tasting notes to come.
On top of the Bearded Brews were included offering from Surly Brewing (Bender and Furious), Summit Brewing (Extra Pale Ale and Maibock) and an offering from Rush River, The Unforgiven Amber Ale. So, as you can see, lots of tastings this week.
A huge thank you to our Bearded Friend from the Twin Cities.
More to come. Stay tuned.