The measurement of muon energy is critical for many analyses in large
Cherenkov detectors, particularly those that involve separating
extraterrestrial neutrinos from the atmospheric neutrino background. Muon
energy has traditionally been determined by measuring the specific energy loss
(dE/dx) along the muon's path and relating the dE/dx to the muon energy.
Because high-energy muons (E_mu > 1 TeV) lose energy randomly, the spread in
dE/dx values is quite large, leading to a typical energy resolution of 0.29 in
log10(E_mu) for a muon observed over a 1 km path length in the IceCube
detector. In this paper, we present an improved method that uses a truncated
mean and other techniques to determine the muon energy. The muon track is
divided into separate segments with individual dE/dx values. The elimination of
segments with the highest dE/dx results in an overall dE/dx that is more
closely correlated to the muon energy. This method results in an energy
resolution of 0.22 in log10(E_mu), which gives a 26% improvement. This
technique is applicable to any large water or ice detector and potentially to
large scintillator or liquid argon detectors.