Monday, July 6, 2009

PGE: Mothman Barley Wine

I recently transferred to secondary what has been dubbed (thanks to Craig) the Mothman Barley Wine (MB0027). The gravity was 1.025 and, thanks to the simmering pre-boil (read about it here), there's a HUGE caramel flavor along with a big floral nose from the Cascade hops. It has a moderate to high bitterness, pushing this closer to an American Strong Ale, or dare I say and Imperial IPA?? We'll have to see in a month or so when it's bottled, but whatever this big beer is, it looks to be tasty.

In other news, Hwart's Bitter (MB0029) is going to be transferred to secondary later this week. It's been fermenting for just over a week and smells pretty decent. Even with all the issues on brew day, I'm interested to see how it ends up.

Stay tuned.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Guess What! I Made Another Session Beer!

Sunday was the third Brew Day in the past week. And for the third time in as many brew sessions, the beer of choice was a session beer. After experimenting with The Ultimate Table Beer last week, I opted for a more traditional style this time. Enter Hwart's Bitter (MB0029).

I have been trying my hand at Bitters for a while, with such attempts as the Eagle and Child Mild (MB0015) and the Ode to the Halper Bitter (MB0026). The recipe for the latter had been used, with some modifications, in Nate's brewing course in May and, most recently, by Eric for his second extract batch this past Wednesday. So, with my new found interest in session beers (more to come), I decided to revisit the Halper and make some adjustments to it.

The inaugural version of OttH got some good reviews, but the biggest criticism was that it was a bit too sweet. Since that version, every subsequent batch has used less caramel malt. Nate's class's version cut the caramel malt in half, which lead to it being a bit to bitter. For Eric's version, we lowered the lovibond rating and reduced the caramel malt by only a quarter.

For Hwart's Bitter, the caramel malt and the bittering hops were both reduced by at least 40%, hopefully evening out the malt/hop ratio while cutting the sweetness. We'll have to see. As for now, it's bubblin' away.

Coming up this week - A look at the Parti-gyle barley wine, some thoughts on all grain, and what's next for MB.

A big thanks to Nate and Joe for helping out, and to the former for continued use of this AG rig.


Friday, June 26, 2009

PGE: The Ultimate Table Beer

The first of the two Parti-Gyle beers to ferment out, of course, was the small beer. Now, frankly, this beer isn't all that small. With a starting gravity of 1.040, it's going to get to around 4.5% ABV, instead of the sub 3% I was looking for. I guess this makes it an Imperial Table Beer? No. Oh, well.

Now as the post title indicates, I'm referring to this as the "Ultimate" Table Beer (MB0028). What makes it so ultimate? Well, for starters, primary fermentation used a Belgian Saison Yeast. After four days in primary and a specific gravity of 1.020, I racked the beer to secondary. I added to the carboy Brettanomyces bruxellensis. This will continue to ferment for the next 6 months, adding some funky flavors to the beer.

I've been a fan of Jolly Pumpkin's Bam Biere for quite some time now, which was the inspiration for this beer. Bam is a farmhouse ale boasting all the classic saison qualities with some tart, funkiness to boot. It's extremely quaffable and could be considered a session beer weighing it at a manageable 4.5% ABV.

I'm not attempting a clone, per se, but I am shooting for a beer with all of the above qualities. I want something that fits the "session beer" template, but still has a ton of flavor. Plus, I've always wanted to experiment with Brett.

To do this, I invested in a new 3 gallon Better Bottle, since equipment that's been exposed to Brett is notoriously difficult to clean thoroughly. I don't know what Mrs. Muckney Brewing is going to say about a carboy sitting in the dining room for six months, but oh, well.

Keep an eye out for updates on this one.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Parti-Gyle Experiment: The Brew Day Strikes Back

It always sounds easy, doesn't it? One Mash, two beers? Heating up a lot of water, draining a lot of wort? Cake walk. That's what I said Thursday night when I told Mrs. Muckney Brewing that "sure, I can brew tomorrow so we can go to your Dad's house on Saturday!". Well, while Eric and I were cooling the remaining 4 gallons of Barley Wine wort at 2:45 AM early Saturday morning, racing against an advancing storm, watching the chunky, Irish-moss-less, over-boiled, golden-caramel pre-beer move quickly through a transfer hose I grumbled under my breath that said "cake walk" had turned into a long, meandering marathon of a brew session.

It all started well. I had the brewery up and running by 6:00 PM. The plan was to mash-in by 7:00 PM or so and be boiling by 9:00. Well, the water took a bit longer to heat than anticipated, pushing the mash-in back an hour. All seemed to be going well through the sparge, though it too took a bit too long. We finally gathered enough wort (more on "enough" later) close to 10PM. This is where things took a turn for the worse. There were about 5 gallons of wort "left over" after the Barley Wine (MB0027) was "good to go". So instead of wasting it, I boiled the Table Beer (MB0028) in two separate pots with few issues, except forgetting the Irish moss. No biggie. I ended up with about 3+ gallons of 1.040 OG wort, which was about 10 points higher than what I was shooting for, but oh well. I'm not complaining.

Now for the Barley Wine. Well, as the Table Beer was boiling away, the BW was "coming to a boil", which, unfortunately took about 90 minutes. There was something inhibiting the burner from getting to full strength, so after a quick fix of the propane, we were boiling. Ninety minutes later, the BW was cooling (after an additional 10 minutes to sterilize the wort chiller) without the addition of Irish moss.

After transfer being an hour late and a gallon short, I took a gravity reading - 1.090, no where near the 1.100 I was shooting for, and this was for 4 GALLONS! That means at 5 gallons it would have been closer to 1.080. So this means that my efficiency was sub 60. This is where "enough" from above comes in. Basically, I left 20 gravity points in the mash. The last batch sparge read 1.030. It should have been closer to 1.010. So, I missed 20 points of wort. Basically another 4 gallons of golden goodness. All I can say is "D'0h!"

All in all, it was a 9 hour brew session that could have been shortened to about 6 with a bit more planning and little less stupidity. But hey, there are two beers, one big and one small fermenting away, so I guess in the end, it's counted as a success.

I'm planning on writing an "analysis post" on this in the near future, with some possible fixes for the above problems. As for now, I'll chalk this one up to "learning through experience". No excuses, but it was my first all grain by myself. More to come, including some twists on the two brews from this batch.

Stay Tuned.


A big shout out to Nate for letting me borrow his equipment, Pat, Craig and Eric for helping brew and to Rob for his moral support.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mash Tun Photos

I told you they were coming - frankly, I warned you. So here they are, the aforementioned pictures of "Mashie" (it's kinda catchy, isn't it.



The Glory that is "Mashie"

Obligatory Side View

Ball valve outlet with hose barb

Circular steel braid lautering device with copper t-juction and hose barbs

Obligatory close up

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Parti-Gyle Experiment

There are plenty of way to make homebrewing more productive, more cost effective, and more enjoyable. OK, so we'll have to see about the third part of that statement, but it looks like I've stumbled upon a method to bring the first two to fruition. I guess we'll start with a story.

I'd been talking with Nate about a couple brews I'm planning to make, one being a funky, saison-esque table beer while the other was a big American Barley Wine. Nate suggested that I make the table beer from the second runnings of the barley wine. This got me thinking, and after a quick Google search, I found a reprint of Randy Mosher's Parti-Gyle Brewing article on Brewing Techniques.

Parti-gyle brewing is an ancient technique that uses one mash to make multiple beers. The classic example is of course the "Belgian Hierarchy" of Tripel, Dubbel, and Single, each made with a subsequent mashing of one grain bed. This allows for a greater variety in styles while cutting the length of a brew day, in contrast to brewing multiple beers from several mashes. Needless to say, the shortened brew day can have significant advantages, from reducing brewer's exhaustion to not getting harassed by one's significant other that you "wasted" your whole day on your "dumb hobby" (DISCLAIMER: Mrs. Muckney Brewing does not consider brewing a "dumb hobby", or so she says).

The process is simple enough, but does have its own drawbacks, though minimal, IMHO. It does, however, throw a new calculation into the mix, and can confuse brewing software. Here we go.

First, one must decide on the gravity of each brew. For this example, we'll go with, say a Barley Wine and a table beer. Coincidence, I think not! Let's say we're shooting for a 5 gallon batch of Barley Wine with a starting gravity of 24.22P and 3 gallons of table beer at 7.3P. To figure out the target gravity of the "mother ale" as I call it, use the following formula.

(D1 x V1) + (D2 x V2)/Vtotal*

where D is the density of the target beers 1 and 2 in Plato and V is the desired volume of the beers in gallons. Vtotal is the total volume of the target beers.

Simple enough, right? Now running our numbers through the formula gives us the following:

(24.22 x 5) + (7.3 x 3)/8 = 17.875

For those following at home, that translates to 1.074 SG.

Step two is to develop the recipe for the Mother Ale. Using whatever grain bill you'd like, shoot for a target SG of 1.074. The brewing software of your choice is a big help in figuring this out. It keeps the calculator out of it. Once you have the grain bill, the next step is to figure out the pre-boil volumes needed. This will vary from system to system, and with the length of boil used.

Step three is to complete the recipe for each beer. For my current experiment, I found it useful to create each beer separately in Beersmith, manipulating the grain bill to get your target gravity, then working through the recipe as normal to get the correct hop dosage and such.

Brew Day

Implementing the process has its own hurdles. First, having two brews going at the same time may be a bit of a struggle. Equipment limitations may render this technique moot, as it applies to a time saving technique. My plans for the upcoming brew day is to boil the 6 gallons (calculated pre-boil volume) of Barley Wine in Nate's converted keg on the back deck for 90 minutes, while brewing the 3.5 gallons (again, pre-boil volume) of table beer inside on my stove in my brewpot for 60 minutes.

Yes, I do think I'm crazy to attempt to run two boils simultaneously, but with a bit of planning, and some luck, I'm hoping to pull it off. Keep an eye out for updates.

Sounds fun, huh? I think so. There are some concerns noted in Mosher's article, the most pressing, in my opinion, is the color of the second beer. The runnings may be a bit light, so Mosher suggests a mini-mash on the side to get to the desired color. Depending on the style, a longer boil of the second runnings could also help achieve a darker color, but may affect the final volume of the beer, let alone the flavor. That sounds like another experiment for another post.

The only issue I'm currently having is choosing a sparge method. I'm leaning towards a batch sparge, which seems to be more traditional, but a continuous sparge may allow for more precise wort collection. I'm still doing research on this. Any ideas would be appreciated.

Stay tuned for updates.


*Calculations from Parti-Gyle Brewing by Randy Mosher, republished from BrewingTechniques' March/April 1994. For more information, including calculation tables, please read the article.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New Mash Tun Built . . . FINALLY!

So back in February, I mentioned that I purchased parts to build a mash tun as Muckney Brewing's first step toward all grain. Well, this evening, after a quick trip to the hardware store, I finally finished building what I've affectionately dubbed "Mashie" (I'm still working on the name). Mashie has a capacity of 12 gallons and should easily do 10 gallon batches. For a lautering device, I've employed a steel braid by connecting both ends to a T-junction with barbed hose fittings and high-temp resistant zip ties.

So, I guess it's needless to say that I'm excited to put Mashie to use, and his first task is going to be a tall order. I'm planning on making a Barley Wine (MB0027) and Table Beer (MB0028) both from one mash, but there's more to come on that.

And to answer the inevitable question, yes, there are pictures to come. The wifey has the camera this evening.

Stay tuned.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Go Pens!

I know, it's not beer related, but it's pertinent. For those that don't know, the Pens forced a Game 7 with Detroit tonight to be played on Friday night.

All I have to say is



Monday, June 1, 2009

Back to Brewing

It's been a while - since December, in fact - since I pulled out the brew equipment. Well, with the return of summer, and my recently purchased, though not yet assembled MLT, the time has come to make some beer. Now, the little Brew Devil inside of me is pulling me in a few different ways, and I have a couple of obligations to previously conjured brews, so the brew schedule is filling up fast. Here's a quick run down.

1) Since I couldn't decide between whether to do a barley wine or a table beer, I'm going to do both . . . from the same grain bill. Yup, we're going to play a game of "Big Beer/Small Beer", and collect the second runnings of the barley wine to make a table beer. Details forthcoming.

2) The Ides of March is still un-brewed. This is not cool. The IoM will be brewed this year, just a bit late, so more like, Ides of July.

3) I'm in a Saison mood. I'm also in a Sour mood. I think we're gonna see a funky saison in the near future.

Oh, and the good thing. We're going all-grain on all of this.

Stay tuned.



Friday, May 29, 2009

An Open Letter to Miller Lite

Seriously? Now why would you want to go down this road, Mr. Lite? You already changed the spelling of a word to fit a marketing scheme, which may systematically be changing the spelling habits of BMCers across the nation. Why, oh why did you have to jump on the "we have hops in our beer" bandwagon (see also Sam Adams and Budweiser). Not only that, but you make up some more crazy terminology - triple hops brewing. Oh, say it ain't so, SABMiller!

You see, Miller Lite, you had me at hello. Of course, I'd rather drink a nice septuple-hopped Double IPA, but if I were to grab an American Macro Light Lager, I need my "-I-T-E". You have that market cornered! You're the commissioner of the More Taste League. It's true, you do have more taste than all the other BMC Lights, which is why I'm a fan, but I have to say, this "triple hops brewed" BS-erie is causing my inner Beer Geek to react like I just heard the proverbial "Brown Note".

Here's an idea, stick to what you're good at. Show us well-endowed females being all too attentive to overweight, balding men watching whatever sport is in season. It's worked so far. Be what you are - a mass-produced, fizzy, yellow, water-like substance that college-age frat guys and mid 30's execs like one in the same. Don't try to infringe on the Craft Brew movement. That's not what you are. You are my college beer. You are my $1.00 pint beer on game days. You are my substitute for water when I have none. Be all of these things, and do them the best that you can. It's better off that way. Trust me, the universe will thank you.

If you haven't yet see this commercial, you can get the gist of it at their website.

*End Rant*

And in one post, I have officially become a beer snob.



Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pints for Pets this Weekend

Yes, that's right, ladies and germs . . . the return of central PA's best beer fest is THIS WEEKEND, May 30th, 2009 at Blair County Ball Park in Altoona, PA. Pints for Pets, benefitting the Central PA Humane Society, has expanded to two sessions, 12:00 to 3:00 and 4:30 to 7:30 and features 50+ brewers this year. Check out the site, get yourself a $30 ticket, and enjoy some good beer. Designated Driver recommended!



Thursday, April 30, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again . . . sort of

So, for the loyal readers that have occasionally been checking this blog, I guess I owe you an apology. I didn't mean to leave you all so abruptly. Certain situations warranted such actions, strictly personal, of which I will not discuss here. I do, however, have to discuss the results of those actions, which has lead to limited brewing and a self-imposed hiatus on alcohol intake. Although, Dear Reader, don't be alarmed. Muckney Brewing is still around, currently a dormant entity in my basement, but will again see the light of day. In the mean time, stay tuned. There are (hopefully) events on the horizon that will hopefully pique your interest.

Lost and found again,


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Pullin' One Out of the Cellar

A long time ago, in a kitchen not too far from where I'm sitting now. . .

Justin wanted to make an IIPA, and so was born the Show your Hoppeeness Double IPA. Brewed back in September of '07, this hop bomb boasted 13 oz. of hops in the five gallon batch. Well, Justin still had a few bombers of this layin' around, and dropped on off at the ol' homestead. I had a chance to crack it the other night, and wow, this thing's still tasty. It's very similar to an aged Stone Double Bastard Ale. There still tons of bitter, but the hop flavor and nose has diminished to almost nothing, allowing the malt profile to shine through. The alcohol heat has settled down, and there's no extract "twang" present. This guy was tasty, and I'm hoping that Justin comes across a few more of them and is willing to share. Oh, and we need to make it again.

Here are the tasting notes:

Pours a hazy orange with a huge, foamy white head, three fingers thick, dissipating to a finger of lacing foam. Sugary, resiny nose with toffee and caramel. Mild vaporous alcohol and a touch of residual hops, but not much present.
Taste is mouth coating, sugary, resiny caramel with mild floral and citrus notes and a huge bitter. Mild chocolate notes also present.



Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Homebrew Review: Ode to the Halper Bitter

So we've had some issues with the Ode to the Halper Bitter (MB0026), but alas it's bottled and carbed up, so now's the time for a review of this Ordinary Bitter. The ABV ended up just under 4%, and it's cleared well after having bulk-aged in secondary for about a month. So let's get down to to it:

Pours a clear orange with honey hues and a foamy, 3/4 finger white head. Nose is sweet caramel with mild floral hop notes, also a touch of apple. Moderate watery mouth feel with good carbonation. Nice lacing. Taste begins with a huge caramel flavor accented with fruity notes of bright apple and mild cherry, which quickly bleeds to a solid hop bitter and mild floral and piny hop flavor.

This thing is too damn drinkable. Now, we've had some issues with Pale Ale's in the past (Leaky Faucet anyone?), but this one's on point. Well, it's at least a jumping off point. There's a bit too much caramel malt causing it to be slightly on the sweet side, but other than that, it's rather well balanced. I've been partaking in a lot of these, and it's slated to be made again soon. Could we be onto a "House Beer" with this one? Potentially, but it still needs a bit of work. I'm thinking a little less caramel malt to start. We'll see how it goes.



Friday, February 27, 2009

Fermentation Friday: Keeping the Nasties at Bay

It's that time again, dear readers! Fermentation Friday for February 2009 is brought to you in part by the letter C, and A World of Brews.

So why the letter "C" you may ask? Well, until recently, I have exclusively used C-Brite as my sanitizer-of-choice. Why? Well, it's what my local homebrew supply shop had on hand when I bought my first kit, and since then, I've gone with the "ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude. Yes, over the last several batches I've used one-offs of it, but I'd always used a chlorine based sanitizer.

That is, until the last two batches. We were in need of some sanitizer, so Justin Picked up some One Step, which is a no-chlorine sanitizer. While I've seen no difference between the two except for the smell, I may opt for the One Step in the future, and have also thought about venturing into the world of iodophor.

I must add, though, that no matter what is used, cleanliness and sanitation are the two most important things that any homebrewer should master. Learn it. Love it. Live it. Clean it, then clean it again. Read directions, and mix properly. There's nothing worse, than bacteria in your brews. That is, unless you want them there.



Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The First Steps Toward All Grain

So over the weekend, Justin, Nate and I scoured every hardware, farm supply, value, and surplus store that was open in Indiana, PA in search of parts to build new Mash/Lauter Tuns. We were specifically searching for 10 gallon cylindrical coolers (to no avail) and the corresponding drainage hardware. The latter was easy to find, the former, not so much. This is why I settled for a 48 qt. square cooler. Nate's holding out hope to find the drink cooler.

Unfortunately, it's not built yet. I've run into some hardware issues and need to pick up some additional materials. This would be the reason for a lack of pictures and directions to what I did, both of which will follow upon completion. Until then, the MLT is just a cooler with a hole in it.

Time for a beer.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

I'm Pretty Sure I Love Bells . . .

A recent inventory of my fridge led me to the above conclusion. TEN of the 22 12. oz bottles in my fridge come from the Kalamazoo, MI based Bell's Brewery. And this isn't a case of bulk buying one beer. No, there are four Bell's brews gracing my chill chest at this moment. First, my old stand by and go-to beer, Two-Hearted Ale. Two-Hearted is an American IPA, chock-full of juicy, citrusy hop goodness and mouth puckering bitter that is surprisingly drinkable. This beer can cool you down on a hot August afternoon, or warm you up in dead of winter. It's always in my fridge.

Speaking of Hops, once a year Bell's ups the ante and releases Hopslam. This mid-winter release takes hops to the next level, upping the alcohol, bitterness and hop flavor while keeping it drinkable, almost to the point of a session beer, which is scary for a 10% ABV Double IPA.

Next on the list is Bell's Expedition Stout, their incarnation of a Russian Imperial Stout. Black as night and as viscous as 10w30, this roasty, chocolaty libation coats the palate with lingering maltiness and a balancing bitter. Great fresh or aged.

And finally, a brew I haven't tried, is Bell's Christmas Ale, a Scotch Ale that boasts Michigan grown barley and hops, which was a gift from Justin. I'm sure it won't last long.

So, yeah, I understand that the previous paragraphs read like a Bell's promotion, but seriously, barring the Xmas Ale, of which I have no opinion as of yet, all are favorites of mine, and are available locally, both in cases and in six-packs. The only thing that's missing is a Bell's tap in Indiana, which will hopefully be remedied soon.

Now, I'm putting the cart before the horse here a bit stressing the locality of this Michigan beer, but bear with me. As stated previously, part of "Keepin' it Local" is to patronize your local establishments, such as distributors and six-pack shops. By having such highly sought after beers now available in Indiana County, I now don't have to travel to Pittsburgh to find these beers, but like I said, I'm getting ahead of myself. I have a lot more to say on this topic.

but for now, Get some Bell's.



Monday, February 16, 2009

Keepin' it Local, the Introduction

A recent post over at Pfiff! got me thinking about the local beer scene here in Indiana, PA. Now, to not mince words, Indiana is basically a beer desert. Seriously. Living here is by far a beer geek's worst nightmare. Well, second worse, right behind not having any beer. The locals are full of BMC mediocrity, where even the "micros" are "macros", but I guess you have to cater to the crowd you have, namely swill-chugging collegians and fans of the ubiquitous "dark beer", Guinness. I've been living and drinking in this town for seven years now, and have, sadly, been both of the aforementioned stereotypes. Now I'm a beer geek/nerd/snob, the latter being the vein this post is written in, but back to the reason for this post.

Rob at Pfiff! posited the need for some retrospection concerning the availability of good, local brews, and if none are available, why aren't they. So for the past several weeks, since reading the post, I've been paying more attention to the availability of craft beer in Indiana and the surrounding area. And, be it fate or luck, there have been some significant changes in the normal tap rotation of local pubs as of late. Not only have tap lists expanded, but craft bottle selections have increased to some surprising heights. Not to get anyone's hopes up, but there have been some big steps forward, especially for this area.

The main issue with this is that there's no real "local" brewery in Indiana. No, no one has stepped up and opened a small brewery or brewpub in this college town. I personally think it would do well, but not having a solid financial background, nor a product good enough to put forth, this task can't rest on my shoulders. So with no truly local beer available, what's the next step in "Keepin' it Local"? Well, first is patronizing local bars, bottle shops, and distributors. This is where a lot of my focus will be. Secondly is expanding "local" to "regional". Now we're getting somewhere. Within a two-hour drive, there are no less than 11 breweries and brewpubs, many of which make some great brews. I'll be hitting on these, too.

I'm going to try to break this down into several parts to keep each post reasonably focused.

So stay tuned.



Sunday, February 15, 2009

I've Been a Bad, Bad Blogger. . .

So far this year I haven't quite stuck to my guns when it's come to Brew Year's Resolutions, namely in the "post better, more often" category. Well, I've had a few thoughts swirling around in my mind over the past week that I want to get up here, but they're a bit all over the place and can't be condensed into one post. So, just as an FYI, there will be a decent amount of beer news coming up in the next few days, and some thoughts on which direction the blog will be heading for the next several months.

Stay tuned, it'll (potentially) be a bumpy ride.



Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Homebrew Club Reunion

Club Meeting tonight.

Jon's back in town.

Get your butt out in the fantastic February weather and come join The Indiana Hombrew Club for some Philly Area microbrews.

See you all there.



Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Bowl Sunday

Yeah, it's a beer blog. So I should put up a post about beer commercials and what America should imbibe on the second largest eating and drinking day of the year. Well, I'm not. All I have to say is. . .




Now back to your regularly scheduled blog.



Saturday, January 31, 2009

Fermentation Friday: What does 2009 hold for Muckney Brewing

Fermentation Friday was started by Adam over at Beer Bits 2, and it’s a chance for all homebrew bloggers to sound off on a singular theme at a set date - the last Friday of each month (check out Adam’s post explaining the origins).

This month: Brew Year's Resolutions, hosted by Jim at lootcrop 3.0.

I held off on posting my "Brew Year's Resolutions" at the beginning of the month because of the topic of this month's Fermentation Friday, of which I've been lax at best in participation. Without further adieu, here are my goals for MB over the next year.

  • Read more about beer in general. From brewing, to recipe formulation, to styles and tasting, I want to learn all that I can. I feel that I've gotten comfortable with my basic knowledge and have been lazy about learning new things. I hope to remedy that.
  • Get a little more serious about chasing the Pipe Dream of opening a Brewery/Brewpub. There's plenty I don't know about the business aspect, and even more about production brewing. Plus there's this little thing called "funding", for which you need a "business plan". All of them are huge undertakings, but you have to start somewhere.

  • Go All-grain. I said I'd do it last year, but didn't. This year, no excuses.
  • Brew more often. I want to have at least one brew day per month, preferably with multiple brews on those days.
  • Blog more often. Not only more often, but streamline my thoughts a bit and do a better job of following up with previous brews. Plus, sometimes I'm a bit short with some of my posts and ideas. I hope to remedy all of this.
  • Take part every Fermentation Friday.
That's it, the quick and dirty. We'll see what pans out a year from now.



Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Seriously, this is my new favorite food. . .

I know it's a beer blog, but I have to give this some attention. Apparently some crazy folks who have complete and utter disregard for their innards and any longevity in their lives, came up with the Bacon Explosion, what basically amounts to a meat roll topped with meat and barbecue sauce. Yes, the crazies at BBQ Addicts developed this Vegan's Nightmare in response to a request for some bacon recipes. Damon Darlin blogged about it today on the NYT's Dining and Wine Blog.

I'd write more, but I'm off to the butcher.



Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Homebrew Review: St. Defibaugh Single

I've been meaning to get to this for the past month, and finally pulled Jon's Belgian Pale Ale out of the fridge to enjoy. According to Jon's Blog, St. Defibaugh Single is a . . .

Dry hopped abbey pale ale with 8 types of malt, Turbinado sugar, and TONS of Juniper berries.
O.G. 1.058
F.G. 1.005

Here's the quick and dirty:

Pours a brilliant gold with a huge, fizzy white head. Great carb and thoroughly effervescent. The head diminishes to about a fin finger foamy mass. Nose is peculiar - lots of sweet candy and bubblegum, some bready notes with some spicy notes and pine. Taste is sweet caramel and sugary candy notes along with some bread and biscuit throughout. There's very little bitter, but just enough to balance out the malt profile. This is where the nifty part comes in. The end is like a bitter gin martini, accenting the alcohol and lasting well into, and actually peaking, in the after.

So yeah, this is one of the craziest Pale Ales I've ever had, that's still a Pale Ale. Tons of malt character and a decent amount of bitter, which would make it a tasty Belgian Pale outright, but the addition of the Juniper took it to another level. It still has a very authentic Belgian Pale feel, but the Juniper gives it its own identity. You knocked it out of the park, my man. I mean, it's terrible. Please forward all of the remaining bottles to my address so I can "dispose" of them "correctly".

I'm guessing the real question should be, when will we see this on tap at EB+B? Seriously, dude, this could be a staple at any bar. If I were to have any criticisms, and this is coming about 6 months after bottling, would be to kick up the dry hopping a bit, and use something with some piny notes to accentuate the Junipers. Honestly, though, those could have been there before, and I was too dumb to crack this thing open fresh.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Halper's Bottled, and a Hop Hater's Review of the Ides of March

In case you haven't been following along in the side bar, the Ode to Halper Bitter (MB0026)is now in bottles, and slowly carbing up in the basement. Preliminary results say that it's a bit too sweet in the caramel department, although it is rather balanced. As of now, it's the best version of a Pale Ale that we've been able to produce here at Muckney. More to come.

So, as the title clearly states, the Halper himself, Jon of Confessions of a Hop Hater and Earth Bread + Brewery weighed in recently on the Ides of March Russian Imperial Stout (MB0017). Check it out.



Thursday, January 22, 2009

Homebrew Review: Batch XXI

It's that time again. I figured I'd review something I hadn't yet. This time I'm going with the Stone Soup Ale XXI: The Mustachio'd Dark IPA. The name hearkens back to when our friend Jonathan at Monday Night Brewery was having some health issues, so, when The Boss (read: wife) wouldn't allow me to grow an actual "mustache", I immediately showed Muckney Brewing's support through our beer. The above links tell more of the story, so on to the beer.

Pours black with ruby hues throughout and boasting a creamy, one finger think khaki head with great lacing. Nose is floral and citrust hops, grapefruit and rose, with caramel undertones. Mild oxidation and extract notes. Taste is full of caramel and mild roast, with a mild to moderate bitter, followed by some resiny and citrus hop character. Mild oxidation and extract notes.

Overall, I'm a fan. It's not quite what I was looking for, but it's still tasty. Definitely something to build upon. It is rather thirst-quenching and quaffable, so it can't be that bad. The next Stone Soup Ale should be coming towards the end of March or early April, right after we brew the '09 Ides of March RIS.



Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Some love from Minnehaha. . .

Recently, EBB and and MB exchanged what we've been brewing over the past few months. EBB was nice enough to have worked his way through most of the brews, while Justin and I, the slackers that we are, have only tried one of EBB's brews. We're hopefully going to remedy that this evening.




Sunday, January 18, 2009

It's a Beautiful Day for some Bottling. . .

I got caps, or should I say, Justin picked up some caps. And looking at the above picture, it's a beautiful, January day in western Pennsylvania. It's the type of day when only an Impy Stout can warm you up, and venturing out is the furthest thing from your mind.

So, I'm sure this means I should bottle. I still have the Ode to the Halper Bitter (MB0026) "lagering" in the "cellar" (by "lagering", I mean sitting, and by "cellar" I mean the ice box that my basement has become. Who needs temperature control when it's 12F outside!), and it needs a home. I'm not quite sure if I'll get to it, as today is going to be dedicated to only one thing, the Stillers and their next stop on the road to the Super Bowl. We're kinda fans here at MB.

And to think, we were going to grill today. I think that idea's shot!

Go Stillers!!



Thursday, January 8, 2009

The First Rule of Bottling. . . .

. . . .is you don't talk about bottling.

The second rule of bottling is, well, yeah, you don't talk about bottling.

The third rule of bottling, and a mighty important one is Make sure you have enough caps!

Yeah, so after all of the planning an preparation of last night, an oversight on my part limited our bottling efforts to only one batch, the Bipartisan Porter (MB0025). We'll take care of Ode to the Halper (MB0026) later this weekend.

I love pulling numbskull moves like this. . . .

OK, time to get back to the National Title Game.



Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Yeah, we're going to start labeling. . .

I'm in the middle of removing labels off of 4 cases of 12 ozer's at the moment. I was prompted recently in a rather rude e-mail from The Bearded One that, and I'm paraphrasing, at least HE doesn't have to send along a key to decipher which beer is which while trading. Well, now there's nothing to bitch about. MB's joining the Extreme Geek crowd. Stay tuned for labels.

As for now, I'm taking my prunie hands back to the buckets full of bottles.



PS - If anyone's interested in my methodology, I'll have to get back to you. The current cleaner soak isn't quite going as planned.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Putting the "Coffee" in Coffee Porter

So the Bipartisan Porter (MB0025) has been in secondary now for two weeks, and will be bottled within days. To get the coffee into said porter (recipe here), I followed Nate's method that was cooked up by he and TJ, owner if The Commonplace Coffeehouse here in Indiana.

Using a toddy, the good folks at the Commonplace cold-pressed some Sumatra Mandheling, one quart to be exact, which I added (after a quick boil and cooling) to the porter while transferring it to secondary. This method was chosen to reduce the addition of tannins that would be produced during the steeping of the coffee. We'll see how it turns out shortly.

Also, Ode to the Halper Best Bitter (MB0026) has been chillin' in secondary along side the BP, and is begging to be bottled and then imbibed. I'm excited to see how this one turned out, as keep having self-imposed problems while making session beers (i.e. the Leaky Faucet Pale Ale and the Eagle and Child Mild), which, so far, hasn't plagued the Halper.

More to come.