Friday, June 10, 2011

Big Muddy - Saluki Dunkeldog

As I mention in my previous post, June is allegedly for one to focus on drinking beer from their state/region.  With this beer, I stay true to my state as it is from Big Muddy Brewing in Murphysboro, Illinois.  For those of you unfamiliar with Div.1 NCAA football or ancient Egyptian dogs, a Saluki is the Southern Illinois University mascot.  Gotta love a brewery that stays true to its roots and community.  Let's pour!

Picture is my own.  Bottle art image used without permission for educational uses only.
Aroma 7/12
It is no surprise that a large caramelly, bready malt presence is the first scent noticed.  Alongside it is a bit of a sour note (citrus hops?) that does not exist once the head falls.  Once this beer warms, more toasty malts emerge and show the true character of this beer.  Fairly simple.

Appearance 2/3
Moderate clarity and great colors in the bright shades of copper, amber, red, and scarlet!  The cream-colored head is small , but does persist enough to temporarily cover the top before finally residing as a collar.  No lacing.

Picture is my own.
Flavor 16/20
A lighter flavor, but not in a bad way.  First sips are light, clean, and certainly involve pale malt.  The backbone is a gradual transition in the caramel and if held in the mouth long enough a light, yet distinct, citrus hop, and finally shows a nutty sweetness.  The finish also enjoys the prominent flavor of caramel-drizzled whole grain bread, but surprises the drinker with a very nutty, sweet flavor.  This finishes fairly clean, but the aftertaste comes back with the dark roast malt (almost coffee-ish), and a light hop bitter.  Everything is light, delicate, and not out of place.

Mouthfeel 4/5
Light bodied and extremely drinkable.  A very low carbonation exists which lends itself well to a false sense of creaminess.  There is no detectable warmth or astringency.  A wonderful juxtaposition of a light beer that feels sessionable without sacrificing distinct, complimentary flavors.

Overall Impression 8/10
The flavors in this beer are not robust, but they do not have to be.  Everything comes together quite nicely from the color and flavor, to the body and balance.  A very well put together beer that shows great poise in its simplicity.  Not to mention, a great example of the style.

Total 37/50
This beer is at the apex of the "Very Good" category, but the score feels low.  This brew is very much like a quiet athlete that goes out every week, does his job well, keeps his nose out of trouble (and the press), and is just a solid player.  This beer has the same simple, humble nature.  It is not going to be on any highlight reels or Sports Illustrated covers, but it is a sound performer that can (and should) be appreciated.  It deserves more accolades than perhaps it receives.

It is strong enough to be distinctly flavorful and light enough to finish several or encourage those new to craft beer.  I recommend both savoring the flavors AND having several.  This is a good beer made in a small brewery and I wish the folks down at Big Muddy Brewing nothing but more success on their future endeavors.  Prost!


  1. Hey, how did you run across this beer? It's from our neck of the woods! Glad you enjoyed it--unassuming, but solid, just like an SIU Saluki, eh?!

  2. Thankfully, Big Muddy has a nice little distribution going in IL! Almost any Hy-Vee Wine & Liquors in the Quad Cities will carry it. Can't testify to anything much further north.