Saturday, March 5, 2011

White House Honey Ale: Maybe there’s hope for Obama, after all

image AllahPundit at notes that El Presidente has taken up a new hobby and, unlike Golf, at least this one keeps him in the house.  As I mentioned to my significant other when I embarked on the hobby of homebrewing: “Honey, at least it keeps me off the streets!”

AllahPundit notes that the FoodArama blog post detailing the Brewer in Chief’s first batch doesn’t include the recipe.  That’s too bad, because I’d like to compare it against my Honey Wheat Ale, which I’ve gotten down to a near science over the last ten years:

Recipe type: Partial Mash
Batch Size: 5 gallons
Starting Gravity: 1.056
Finishing Gravity: 1.008
Time in Boil: 60 min.
Primary Fermentation: 7 days
Secondary Fermentation: 7 days
Additional Fermentation: 3 weeks bottle carbonation
  • 3 lbs. dry wheat malt extract (55/45)
  • 3 lbs. fireweed honey
  • 1 lb. 2 row pale malt
  • 1 1/2 lbs. wheat malt
  • 1/2 lb. honey malt
  • 1 1/2 oz hallertau hops (60 min)
  • 1/2 os hallertau hops (last 5 min)
  • 1056 American Ale yeast

Single step mash of the grains in 3 quarts of water at 152 for one hour. Sparge with 6 more quarts at 170. Add this to 3 gallons of water along with the extract and honey and boil for one hour using the listed hop schedule. (Irish moss, aerate, and yeast pitch per your own style.)

The beauty of this recipe is that even rank amateurs can be successful with it. The key is making sure your honey is pasteurized. Natural honey is loaded with all sorts of microbes that turn a promising beer into a wheaty malt vinegar (don’t ask me how I know that).

Allahpundit is right, though. This is a frothy ale, and Hallertau hops do add some extra bitterness to the brew. If you want to reduce the bitterness and get more sweetness out of the honey, cut the first hopping to 3/4 oz and don’t add them until 30 minutes into the boil.

If you don’t have the equipment to do a partial mash, you can replace the grain with another 3 lb can of light malt extract and you’re good to go.

Extra Point: Homebrewing snobs afficianados say that you can’t do screw top bottles and achieve bottle carbonation without a bottle bomb disaster. Oh yes, you can. Simply let your primary fermentation go for four days and your secondary fermentation go for five. Your beer will clarify as well as a wheat beer can after nine to ten days and it’s time to go into bottles. Just make sure your caps and bottles are properly sanitized and use a well sanitized bottling bucket. Let your brew sit for seven to ten days and refrigerate. You’ll get about two cases of the finest wheat ale you’ve ever tasted and, if you’re like me, you’ll be willing to put your beer against any in the country, including the one made by a dude named Barack Hussein Obama.

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