Archive for June, 2013

Visiting the in-laws, I got a chance to visit two local breweries in Meadville, PA (south of Erie), Timber Creek Tap and Table and Voodoo Brewery . Tap and Table is a brewpub with eight beers on tap, including a rotating Belgian, and two seasonals. We didn’t eat there, so no food reviews. Word on the street is that service is pretty rough, but we didn’t have any problems in the Tap room side. The atmosphere was pretty laid back, with an industrial lodge feel, highlighted by a windowed floor to the brewery below. Although, I couldn’t help but think that was pretty creepy for the ladies in the bar.

Their beers were pretty much to style, and all pretty good. Unfortunately, nothing really stood out as great. The highlights included the Dortmunder, if you like the style (too sweet for me, but the wife loved it). The stout was pretty solid, too, with a good chocolate and coffee notes, but not so strong you couldn’t have more than one (see Voodoo below). The IPA seemed too hoppy almost, lacking a good backbone to support the five (really!) hops used. It reminding me of a young brewer who decided more IBUs must be better without considering structure. We’ve all been there, but it was disappointing from the pros here. One other note, they also brew a root beer on site. Cool and kid friendly.

Voodoo, in downtown Meadville, is a pretty cool place. Again, we didn’t eat, but the food coming from the kitchen looked pretty tasty. It had a more hip industrial vibe, long tables and bar, and was a good setup to linger. Their beers were more inventive, and most pretty solid. They seems to love Belgians as well, offering three different ones among their 10 offerings. Six of these are year round, and four are rotating. My only complaint was that they seem to love ABVs, with all standard taps above 7.5%. The rotating taps had some session beers to balance, though. These guys have been distributing around PA since 2007, and just moved into New York.

I really enjoyed the brown ale, and brought a growler back to the in-laws’ to enjoy. They also had an imperial stout that was great, coming in at 12%, that’ll knock your socks off. If you like Belgians, their offerings were pretty solid too. Their IPA rotates by season also, changing throughout the year. This will definitely be a standard stop on our visits as I really enjoyed the beers here. If your in the area, I’d suggest you make a stop and check it out.


Today was bottling day for the milk stout. I used 3.4 oz of corn sugar to batch prime it, ending with 37 bottles and 2 bombers. The FG was 1.018.

The sample had fantastic notes of chocolate and coffee. It was very smooth and very tasty! This one should be great!

Just a quick note to say that I bottled this one up this afternoon. The final gravity ended up at 1.016, a bit higher than anticipated. I think it was done, though, as the color was good and the clarity was pretty good too.

The hydro sample had a nice sweetness to it, and a golden copper color. I expected it to be a bit darker, but I think it is okay for the style. It’s probably a bit low in ABV, so maybe I’ll have to change this to a Scottish Heavy instead of an export. Used .5 oz of corn sugar in a batch prime, and ended up with 31 clean bottles, including 2 trub.

I squeezed in another brew day today, brewing up Opus 19: Kokomo Arnold Milk Stout. This recipe is based on this one from homebrewtalk, and received great reviews. My brother enjoys this style, so I thought I’d give it a go. It’ll also be a nice contrast to the light summer beers I’ve been making. The only adjustment I made was to play with the numbers for a 4 gallon batch.

The name comes from the song “Milk Stout Blues”, originally written by Kokomo Arnold, an early blues musician and contemporary of Robert Johnson. I love it when I can learn a little music history as I brew!

This is also the first batch that I will ferment in my new Better Bottle, which I bought with my winnings at the Madison River Roots Brewoff. This also marks the first time I will be using rinsed yeast, pitching a 1 L starter. I’ll have to describe that process in another post sometime.

Recipe Characteristics

Recipe Gravity 1.066 OG Estimated FG 1.017 FG
Recipe Bitterness 24 IBU Alcohol by Volume 6.4%
Recipe Color 48° SRM Alcohol by Weight 5.0%


Quantity Grain Type Use
6.00 lb Two-row (US) Grain Mashed
0.50 lb Munich (German) – [Malty, Sweet – Redish Color] Grain Mashed
0.50 lb Crystal 60L – [Body, Caramel, Head, Sweet] Grain Mashed
0.50 lb Chocolate Malt (British) – [Chocolate, Coffee, Nutty, Toasted] Grain Mashed
0.40 lb Flaked Barley [Briess] – Body for stouts and porters Adjunct Mashed
0.30 lb Flaked Oats [Briess] – Body, mouthfeel and head retention Adjunct Mashed
0.75 lb Roasted Barley – [Burnt, Coffee, Grainy, Nutty, Roasted] Grain Mashed
0.75 lb Milk Sugar Sugar Other
Quantity Hop Type Time
1.00 oz Kent Goldings (U.K.) Pellet 10 minutes
0.25 oz Magnum Pellet 60 minutes
Quantity Misc Notes
1.00 unit Irish Moss Fining Added at 15 minutes
1.00 unit Safale S-05 Dry Ale Yeast Yeast 1 liter starter

Recipe Notes

Mash 75 minutes at 152, Ferment for 3 weeks at 65
Add lactose at 10 minutes

Batch Notes

Mashed for 90 minutes at 152-154. 1.047 Preboil gravity. OG is spot on at 1.064!

Used 1 gallon less than calculated, added back for sparge

Pitched 1 L starter of rinsed US-05 yeast at high krausen, at 70 degrees.