Happy Holidays from Atomic Donkey Brewing

I hope everyones Holidays are going nicely. We have had a nice one here at Atomic Donkey. Plenty of brain storming going on around here for 2012. It will be the year of the Donkey. Just wait and see. Last night 5 gallons of the Atomically Red Irish Ale were transferred off the yeast cake in the primary and into a clean secondary. The other 5 gallons are going to remain in the primary for another week or two and then both will be bottled.

We will have another poll up after the Holidays. Once again you will get to decide what we brew. We are beginning to get some estimates together on a kegging system. Bottling will continue as well so we can get as much brew out there to the masses as possible. The kegging will be for personal consumption and when we are doing tours of the brewery.

An exciting year awaits us. Hope you all come along for the ride. Bring some friends as well. CHEERS and an early Happy New Year..

Hold on tight in 2012!!

Altbier is altbottled

On my recent day off I finally got around to bottling the winner of the most recent Atomic Donkey Brew Poll. The German Altbier. Things went pretty smoothly aside from the two bottles I knocked over. This will be one of the last batches we ever completely bottle. Atomic Donkey Brewing hopes to move to kegging after the 10 gallon batch of Atomically Red Irish Ale goes into bottles. We will continue to bottle enough to give away to friends and customers.

The Alt took about 2 hours from beginning of the process to the end. Future 10 to 15 gallon batches are going to turn into an all night project unless we move to kegs. Anyways, this batch tastes great. Its sitting in the outside fridge at a cozy 50 degrees and should be ready in about 4 weeks.

On a different note, the Late to the Party Pumkin Porter is finally showing signs of carbonation. Its going to end up being 8 weeks from bottling to ready to drink. A true test of patience which we have been somewhat successful at.

We at Atomic Donkey Brewing wish you and yours some Happy Holidays, whichever you might celebrate. CHEERS!!

Mule of the Month: Southern Tier

Southern Tier Mokah

Due to an illness this post was delayed by a day. We apologize for this. Staff is feeling much better now. So here you go.

This week we will take a look at one of the best American Double/Imperial Stouts I have ever had. Southern Tier's Mokah. Upon pouring you immediately notice its deep black color. There is initial a small amount of brown head. It retains a tiny amount of this throughout. You can smell a bit of coffee but the most predominate smell is the chocolate.

The taste you notice first is chocolate mixed with some coffee and oatmeal. definitely can tell the ABV is high in this (Around 11%). But the alcohol taste is not too noticeable. Its an intense brew from beginning to end but the chocolate adds a nice smoothness to it. Its a sweet beer. Even sweet by stout standards. Its not a beer you are going to have too many of in one sitting. But having just one will make you a happy camper. It will put a smile on your face, due to both the taste and alcohol content.

Mule of the Month: Southern Tier

Southern Tier IPA

I'm sure by now you have all guessed that I'm a big fan of Southern Tier. This week I decided to do a write up on a more readily available brew of theirs. The IPA is a delicious brew. While not as strong as the Dogfish head 90 min, they taste somewhat similar to me. There is a definite citrus/malty taste to this brew. The hops start and finish strong. It pours a deep amber color with moderate to low head. Its a very nicely balanced IPA.

Southern Tiers IPA is a very easy drinking American IPA that would be favored by those who like their citrus and floral hops and don't mind a touch of malt. If you are lucky enough to live somewhere that sells Southern Tier, this brew would be a great place to start. Then you can work your way up to the 2X IPA.

A Congratulations is in Order

Atomic Donkey would like to send a congratulations to our friend Matt over at the soon to be State Brewery. He and his lovely wife found out this morning that they are expecting a baby girl in a few short months. That will make it 3 to 1 in the females favor. So if you ever need to get away my friend, just run on over to Atomic Donkey. We are always open. CHEERS my friend!

Return of the Irish

So yesterday was the first time we at Atomic Donkey got to use our new keggle. There were some hiccups along the way but all in all things went well. Thank you to Matt for stopping by. There was a lot of heavy lifting that would have no doubt resulted in major burns had it not been for Matt. Thank you my friend. The next step is building a nice tiered system to help with this issue.

The brewing went well. I tweaked the Irish Red recipe just a bit. Should be a little less hoppy and a little more malty. Nice rhyming skills huh? So there are now 10 gallons bubbling away and smelling delicious. So total we have 15 gallons of brew (altbier and Red) that should be done in a month or so. And the Pumkin Porter is taking its sweet time carbonating. Its getting closer every day but still taking too long for my liking. So, thanks again for voting everyone. This was fun from beginning to end. CHEERS!

The tinfoil was to keep some of the heat off of the thermometer and spigot.

Num num indeed. Bubbling away this morning.

Mule of the Month: Southern Tier

Each month we here at Atomic Donkey Brewing will be focusing on a different brewery and every Thursday we will review a different creation from said brewery. This week we will take a look at Southern Tiers Imperial Oatmeal Stout. This was one of the few Southern Tier brews that I had not tried yet. My wife and I opened this last night. This brew appears as a dark, thick, slightly syrupy Oatmeal Stout. This is what an Oatmeal Stout should look like. At first it had the taste of a good basic Oatmeal Stout. Chocolately malt, with a slight hint of coffee. A second later you get the idea of why it’s an Imperial. Personally I thought I could taste a hint of alcohol in the finish. Not to say that this is a bad thing. The wife described it as a crisp finish. T each their own.

This brew sits at an impressive 10.8% abv. Some of the batches have come out as high as 11%. It seems that with Imperials there is often a lot of carbonation. Not with this brew. It was just the right amount. This is a full body brew for people that enjoy more complexity in their beer. I am a huge fan of this style of beer. Once again Southern Tier has made a beer that I would describe as one of the best of its kind. If you can find it, pick it up and give it a try. You will not be disappointed.

Great homebrewing website

I was sent a link to this site over on http://www.homebrewtalk.com/.  It's a pretty cool site where home brewers can exchange recipes and even brew. If you're into home brewing take a look. http://brewshuffle.com/

Atomic Donkeys Keggle is complete

Here she is. Only thing missing are the gallon marks on the site glass. This problem will resolved very soon.

Mule of the Month: Southern Tier

Atomic Donkeys Favorite Beers and Pictures of Said Beer: 

Pumking Imperial Pumpkin Ale

I had the pleasure of trying my first ST Pumkin IPA this past Halloween. It's an amazing brew. I wont break it down into hints of this and a slight taste of that but I will say, Its incredible. Its beer in some of its most intense form. I mean that in a good way. 

I doubt many are still around if any, but if you are lucky enough to come across it, pick it up. Then enjoy. CHEERS!

Some amazing art

This is the handy work of James Ball. The same person who designed my labels for me. His work is amazing. Check him out on facebook when you get a chance.

All Pieces Acquired

I hope everyone had a nice holiday break. We at Atomic Donkey were lucky enough to have our families visit. There was lots of golf being played and lots of football being watched. The outcomes of which were not great. That goes for golf and football. But it was a fun time with family and that’s what matters most.

On the way home from one of the golf outings I swung by Extreme Brewing (http://www.xtremebrewing.com/) and picked up the last pieces needed for the full conversion of the keggle. I will be drilling holes this evening and it should be up and in running condition no latter than the end of this week. I will have pictures up of the conversion process and the finished product. Stay tuned. CHEERS!

Progress and Updates

The site glass and thermometer for the soon to be fully converted keggle have just been ordered. Went to http://www.brewhardware.com/. Really good prices and great customer service. All around great site. In 4 or 5 days it will arrive and by then I will have the spigot as well. Getting closer...com

Atomic Donkey's Lecker Altbier was transferred to cold storage last night. It will chill at 42 to 43 degrees for the next 5 weeks. The gravity reading was right on target as usual. The sample tasted great. The balance between maltiness and bitterness was perfect. This is going to be one fine beer.

The new Atomic Donkey website is in the works. We are narrowing down the possibilities every day. Want to make sure we get the most bang for our buck. Things are moving quickly here at Atomic Donkey and the future is looking very bright. CHEERS!!

Atomic Update

Since the last post we at Atomic Donkey have had a very special visit from some dear friends and heroes of mine. Two of the bravest people I know and am honored to call friends.. While they were up visiting the brewery we managed to make it to Evolution Brewery in Delmar, De and Dogfish Brew Pub in Rehoboth Beach, De. We sampled many great brews and had some great food as well. Most importantly my family and I got to spend some time with some of the best people we have ever known.

While they were here we managed to make some amazing ribs and brewed the winning batch of beer from the Atomic Donkey poll that was posted 2 weeks ago. The winner was the German Altbier now known as Atomic Donkeys Lecker Altbier. The brew went off without a hitch. And it really helped to have some folks around assisting. Took 3 hours from beginning to end for a 5 gallon batch of all grain. Not bad at all. My only oversight was not having a hydrometer to measure my OG. No worries though. I will get the final gravity.
And I have enough confidence to know that it’s going to come out just like it should. This will be one of the test batches, along with the Late to the Party Pumkin Porter, for a friend’s special event coming up sometime soon.

The keg conversion is dragging along. All I need are two 7/8 inch holes in either side of the keg. This will be happening this weekend. I will also be purchasing my weld less spigot and ordering my sight glass. I can feel the excitement in the air. Cant you? Good and exciting times are just around the corner friends and fellow Atomic Donkey drinkers. CHEERS to every one of you!! And thank you again Steve and Ryan for the help and coming all the way up to see us. Love you brothers.

And the Winner is

German Altbier! That's right. In the first ever You Vote We Brew poll, the German Altbier has come out on top. I have the ingredients in hand and brewing will take place as soon as time allows. The keg conversion has not happen yet but a person has been contracted to do the cutting and rilling that is necessary. parts are on the way and the conversion WILL be complete soon. I will have the measurements and markings done tonight and I can hopefully get the work done tomorrow evening, Exciting times at the brewery. But for the Altbier another 5 gallon batch will have to do.

Update: The Pumkin Porter still has another week or so to go. The taste is exactly what i was hoping for but the carbonation is not quite there yet. As soon as it is ready you will all be the first to know. CHEERS!

Patience Please

I am messing with the layout so there will be some chaos for a day or so. I hope to have it done by tonight. Thank you for bearing with us. Dont forget to vote!! 2 days left!!

Impatience will win again

It hasn't quite been two weeks since the Late to the Party Pumkin Porter was bottled. But as the title of this post suggests, we at Atomic Donkey Brewing are not always the most patient bunch. I will be opening one tonight and giving it a try. Whats the worst thing that can happen? I already know it tastes great. I'm hoping it carbed a bit faster than normal. Here's to wishful thinking. CHEERS! Its Friday..

Late to the Party Pumkin Porter

 The party is about to begin. And it won't be as late as initially thought. After several taste tests over the last few days I decided it was time to get the latest Atomic Donkey creation into bottles. From begining to end the entire operation took about 2 hours. Not bad. I had high hopes for this brew and it turned out even better than I was expecting. I ended up with 40 bottles. That may seem like less than than usual but I used several larger bottles. I plan on keeping a few of these around for a while. 

There is a definite classic Porter taste. A hint of smokiness and chocolate. But the pumpkin and spices come in soon after and add a lot of complexity to an already delicious brew. I can't wait to get a few out to my friends and Atomic Donkey customers to get their feedback. There will a one per person limit depending on how many orders I get. :)

Next up will be my first brew using the new 15.5 gallon keggle. Obviously the batch will be much bigger than anything to date. Therefore friends will be able to sample more than usual. Not sure yet exactly what I will be brewing. I know another round of Donkey Milk Stout is in the pipe line. But that won't be all. With this new capacity, I can brew up as many as 3 different brews at a time. Can't wait. Good things are on the horizon. I hope you will all join me for the trip. CHEERS!

The Goods

Looking for Design Input

This blog has been my first attempt at something like this. If any of my readers happen to be more experienced and have suggestions to help my site look more professional, user friendly, appealing, etc... I would greatly appreciate hearing from you. This started as just something fun for me to do, but my long term goal is to use this site for promotion of what will become a successful micro brewery. So I need it to look as good as possible. Thank you in advance. CHEERS!

Good News Good News!!

The Pumkin Porter is delicious. I will be bottling Sunday evening/night sometime and it should be ready to drink a week or so after. Who will the lucky few be to get a sample? Hmm, only time will tell. CHEERS

Sample Night!

Tonight the Atomic Donkey staff will be pulling a 4 oz sample from the Atomic Donkey Pumkin Porter and seeing how close we are to bottling time. This will be the last sample of beer from a 5 gallon batch we ever do. Because the next batch I do will be at least 10 gallons. I will have the keg cut and converted by this time next week. Also, another keg is on its way to the brewery increasing our brewing capacity to a whopping 30 gallons. I see great things on the horizon.

The next Atomic Donkey brewing session will consist of a Lager, Stout and one yet to be determined brew. The Stout will be the very popular Atomic Donkey Milk Stout. This is being brewed as a gift to a freind of Atomic Donkey and his expecting wife.

Things are moving quickly here at Atomic Donkey and I am loving every second of it. The goal is to be featured at the Good Beer Festival next year. In order to do this I need to be working with a distributor. So needless to say I and the Atomic Donkey staff have a long ways to go and a short time period in which to do it. But our passion for great beer will keep us going. We will update everyone tonight on the status of the Pumkin Porter. Things are exciting and the future is looking awfully bright.. Take care everyone and CHEERS from Atomic Donkey Brewing...

Good Beer Festival recap

I was lucky enough to get to spend the day with my wife and brother in law at the Good Beer Festival at Pemberton park yesterday. The weather was incredible and there was a good turn out for a Sunday and by all accounts it was a much better day to be there than the day before. From the sound of it there was a huge turn out on Saturday. Long lines for just about everything. While that is good for the future of the festival, I prefer the smaller crowds.

We got there an hour or so after the gates opened and we greeted with a nice souvenir pint glass. The first thing I noticed was there were fewer breweries than had been advertised. Two big ones missing were Southern Tier and the new local guys Burley Oak (http://burleyoak.com/). Both of which I really wanted to visit. But that's what happens when you go on the second day. Many of the breweries had run out of product. No worries though. For the price there were still more than enough brews to be drank.

Some of the highlights for me were Evolution Craft Brewery's Lot 6 IPA (http://www.evolutioncraftbrewing.com/). Evolution doesn't make bad beer period, but this IPA stood out among the rest to me. These guys are still relatively local but are growing quickly. A nicely run brewery and the owners couldn't be nicer. I wish them all the luck in the world. Also, a beer I have just gotten into recently, Oskar Blues Brewery (http://www.oskarblues.com/)had a delicious Russian Imperial Stout (Ten FIDY). This brew was incredible. And for a stout it didn't sit heavy at all. I could have drank a 6 pack of them easily. I plan to very soon. Like Southern Tier (http://southerntierbrewing.com/), these guys do not make a bad brew. Stone Brewing's Oak Aged Arrogant Bastard (http://www.stonebrew.com/) is something you will have to go out and buy if you can find it. I have been wanting to get into the oak aged beers and their take on it has convinced me that this is something I need to do. Along with the brews there was also some good live music. The local blue grass boys Chester River Runoff (http://chesterriverrunoff.com/) played a great afternoon set. Its not often that good blue grass pays a visit to our little area of the shore. This made me a very happy and buzzed camper. The whole band was good, but the standout to me was the fiddle player. Very impressed.

So that was a brief summary of what I and friends experienced at the 2nd annual Good Beer Festival. I see this festival sticking around and growing more every year. The one thing I felt was missing was a homebrew competition. I have already started the ball rolling on bringing one to the festival next year. its the perfect setting and this area has no shortage of talented homebrewers. One of the standouts is of course The Crooked Oak Brewery. I was lucky enough to hang out with head brewmaster Carl during the festivities. I saw many friends and made some more. So next year I want to see some more of my friends. This is an open invitation to next years festival. You have a place to stay and Atomic Donkey Brewery is located a mere 15 mins from the festival grounds.

On the Atomic Donkey front I will be testing the Late to the Party Pumkin Porter this evening. I should be approaching the end to fermentation but I have kept this brew at a lower than normal temperature (64 degrees) for most of the fermentation. Therefore the yeast may be a bit lethargic. I will let you all know how its coming along. Well, that's it for now from Atomic Donkey Brewing. Pass the word around about the blog if you can. It's much appreciated. Take care of yourselves and everyone else. CHEERS

Historic Pemberton Hall

 Chester River Runoff

That game where you throw a bean bag. Yeah, that one.

Late to the Party Pumkin Porter

So time is flying by and next thing you know, its fall. Perfect time of year for a nice seasonal brew. The Atomic Donkey staff decided that a nice Pumpkin Porter would be the perfect brew to ease the transition to the cold winter season. Due to our tardiness with this brew it has been appropriately named Late to the Party Pumkin Porter

For this brew I decided to go a bit malty. I don't want to drown out the Pumpkin taste completely but I was going for subtle. I ended up using close to 45 ozs of Pumpkin Puree. 15oz during the mash stage and then another 30oz during the boil. I also used a mix of nutmeg, ground cinnamon, cinnamon sticks, cloves, all spice, and ginger. Threw a little bit of something else in there but I'm going to keep that one to myself till I see how the brew turns out.

No major issues during the cooking. A bit more of a boil over than normal but it smelled great as it was burning off. Gravity came out at 1.06. Being as I created this recipe I'm not sure what the target was but this reading fits into the range of a porter. The fermentation started quickly with this one and has grown into a frothy delicious smelling foam. The temp got a bit high, as you can see in one of the pictures, so I had to move it this morning to the outside fridge. I don't think it was high for long. Shouldn't get any off flavors out of it.

On another note, the Donkey Milk Stouts and Jackass IPA's are just about gone. They both turned out great. Especially the stout. The Jackass was not quite hoppy enough for myself and some hophead friends of mine, but other folks find it much more drinkable than something I would prefer. Hope everyone is doing great as we approach the cold winter season. Or as I like to call it, the Brewing Season. Take care of yourselves and everyone else. CHEERS!!

Some of the ingredients

No time to cook down the pumpkin myself. Thank you Libby..

Right after I transferred to the carboy. Yeast had not started feasting yet.

This was taken about 8 hours after the previous picture. Yeast are going to town. Notice the high temp reading. Moved to the outside fridge to bring it down to around 68.

Taste updates and more...

I forgot to mention in the previous post that the Milk Stout turned out great. Not much carbonation but with a stout that's what you want. The Jackass IPA could use some more hops. So I have made a note and the next one will be the hoppiest beer this side of the 120min IPA.

I mentioned briefly that some of my Carolina family had graced us with a visit. We had a great time. A house full of friends. That's how it should be. We paid a visit to Dogfish Head Brew Pub and some of us made a visit to the Crooked Oak Brewery as well. Both places were flowing with great beer which we all happily drank down. Cant wait to pay a visit to our friends places next time. And of course they are welcome at our home anytime.

The Good Beer Festival is right around the corner (Oct 8-9). I'm looking forward to sampling a large number of the brews that will be on hand. Atomic Donkey will have a sampling booth within the next two years or so. This trip to the festival is purely for research. Yes, research. If anyone is interested in maybe attending from out of town, you have a place to stay. Its a very short ride from the house to the festival. You all know you want to attend. http://www.goodbeerfestival.org/

Speak to you all soon. CHEERS!!

Back Baby!!

So after a long break from brewing its time to jump back in full speed. This Saturday I will be making a trip up to Extreme Brewing in Millsboro to pick up what I need to make my first Pumpkin Ale. That's right. Atomic Donkey will be producing our first Pumpkin Ale to date. Haven't locked down my recipe yet but I will have it all done by Friday. Can't wait to get this one under my belt. My inspiration is the Southern Tier Pumking Ale I had a few weeks ago when my Carolina family was up. If you haven't tried this brew do yourself a favor and seek it out. Incredible brew!! In fact, Southern Tier is my new favorite brewery. Haven't had a thing from them yet that I wouldn't describe as great. (http://southerntierbrewing.com/index1.html)

Anyways, I will be updating again before Saturday and letting everyone know the brew day. Hope everyone is doing well. Take care of yourselves and others. CHEERS!!

Bottled up Jackass!

After a long day of an angry baby and a long evening of trying to keep my eyes open I finally made it around to bottling the Jackass IPA? The process started around 7 and ended at 11 when I put the bottles in the fridge. Everything went very well. The uncarbonated IPA tastes great. Better than I was hoping for. Great hoppiness but not too much. Still a little too hoppy for your average water (bud, coors, miller) drinker. The Cascade dry hopping added the perfect amount of hop flavor. Cant wait to get this one carbed and in a glass. Should be ready just in time for Labor Day weekend.

On that note, the Donkey Milk Stout is coming along perfectly. I opened one last night after only a week of carbonating and it was surprisingly almost done. It is a perfect balance of maltiness and subtle hoppiness. A definite chocolate and lactose flavor with just a touch of coffee after taste. I'm very very happy with the results.

Ive got a fridge full of homebrew and I'm ready for my long lost friends to arrive. Hope you all had a great weekend and are having a good start to the work week. Take care of each other. CHEERS!!

 Two friends side by side.
 Check out the carbonation in that Stout. Only one week!
I'm thirsty again..

Is that a Rhizome in your pocket

Why yes it is. Two to be exact. My friend and fellow beer lover Weston was kind enough to allow me to clip off a rhizome or two from his Chinooks. I will be taking this home and planting it where my Willamette use to be. They just couldn't handle the summer heat around here. The Chinook on the other hand have been thriving this summer. You can see the finished product surrounding the Rhizome there. Smells amazing in here.. CHEERS!!!

Great Brew is just out of reach!!

Only a few more weeks till both brews are ready to drink. I will be bottling the Jackass IPA tonight and it should be ready to drink Friday Sept 2nd. Just in time for our NC visitors. Donkey Milk Stout has been bottled for almost a week now. May open one this weekend just to get an idea of where it stands. Plus, I'm impatient and its a great excuse to open one. I will let everyone know how the stout is coming along and the IPA as well. Hope everyones Friday is going well. Weekend, here we come.. CHEERS!


Hoppy Monday, Jackass...

Added an ounce or two of the homegrown Cascades to the Jackass IPA on Sunday. Going to let them sit and marinate for 6 days or so. Then its time to bottle. Should be a Hopocalypse of epic proportions!! Nothing like some good ol fashioned dry hopping to get everyone excited.. Have a great week everyone. CHEERS from your friend/s at Atomic Donkey Brewing..

 num nums
 Just for Hopheads
After a good shake, the hops are saturated and ready to do their thing for a few days.

Sound advice

Donkey Milk Stout

So last night was a great night. The temperature outside was perfect. My Eagles were playing their first preseason game of the year AND i finally bottled Atomic Donkeys newest creation. The Donkey Milk Stout. This is by far going to be the best thing Atomic Donkey has put out so far. And they have put out some great ones.

It’s a nice dark color. You can smell some caramel and even a hint of smokiness. The taste even at this stage is great. Again, a slight caramel smokiness along with the lactose and add a hint of chocolate. The hops are very far in the background but still there. Abv came in at 5.3%. A little lower than my previous stout but right where I was hoping it would end up.

SWMBO floated the idea earlier this week of sanitizing one night and getting everything ready. Then bottle the next night. This was a fantastic idea. From beginning to end it took about 2 hours last night. Not bad at all. This will be my new approach to the bottling process from here on out.

So now the waiting game begins. It will be the end of September before the official release. There will be some taste testing done the first week of September by a group of experts making their way up to the brewery from North Carolina. Then it will be another few weeks. The Jackass IPA will be going into bottles within the next week. The next Atomic Donkey project will be a joint effort with the North Carolina folks I mentioned previously. Can’t wait to see what we come up with. Hope everyone is well. Take care of yourselves and each other.. CHEERS!!