Brew #3 – White House Honey Ale

Back in late October, I made a batch of honey ale using the White House Honey Ale recipe with my buddy, Dan, and my wife, Michelle.

For those of you who don’t know what this is, Obama’s staff was petitioned to release the recipe for the homebrew they have been making in the White House. They actually released two recipes: one for a Honey Ale and another for a Honey Porter. For both of these recipes they use honey from the White House garden, but that’s besides the point.

Here’s the recipe in it’s full glory:

White House Honey Ale Recipe

Brew Day

We purchased the ingredients at my local hombrew store, Beer and Winemakers’ Pantry. It was my first time there, and I was quite impressed with the selection they had on hand.

When we got back to the house, we unpacked the ingredients and began to brew.

We started by steeping the specialty grains at 155°F for 30 minutes. After the steeping was complete, we added our 6.6lbs of LME and brought the wort to a boil. Once boiling, we added our first round of Kent Goldings and skipped the gypsum, since our water is hard enough. Half way through the boil we realized that we forgot to buy honey at the homebrew store! Michelle was nice enough to run to the store to grab this while we continued to brew. Michelle returned and we added the Fuggle hops at 44 minutes, and honey at 45. We then let the wort boil for another 5 minutes and cooled it down in the kitchen sink.

Once the wort cooled, we added it to the carboy, topped it off to reach the 5-gallon mark, pitched the yeast, and called it a day. The O.G. of this batch was 1.062 @ 78°F.

Picture of us with our honey ale.

Dan and I with the honey ale. Michelle’s behind the camera. :)

Fermentation

When I went to go to work the following morning, I checked the carboy for activity and couldn’t believe how active the yeast were overnight!

An image of the honey ale needing a blowoff

Oh, my…

There was so much krausen that it overflowed out of the airlock and all over the temperature controlled freezer. I placed a sanitized blow-off tube on the carboy and learned my lesson to use a blow-off tube every time.

Image of the honey ale with a blowoff tube.

Much better!

After a primary fermentation of 5 days, and a secondary fermentation of a little over 2 weeks, the beer was ready to bottle.

Taste Notes

The beer poured with a thick head of foam that retained for quite some time. The aroma was rich and sweet, with a subtle hop note from the late addition of Fuggle hops. It had a medium malt flavor with a hint of mild bitterness from the Kent Goldings hops, but finished with a floral sweetness from the clover honey — it was really quite smooth and full flavored beer.

The White House Honey Ale poured into a glass

Look at that thick foam head!

Brew Stats

Brew Name White House Honey Ale
Brew Number #3
Anticipated O.G. 1.062
Actual O.G. 1.064 (Adjusted)
Anticipated F.G. Unknown
Actual F.G. 1.017 (Adjusted)
Alcohol by Volume (%) 6.18%
Notes This was a fun and easy brew.
Rating 3.00 of 5
General reaction from others Good, but not as good as the Irish Red (#1).
How to make it better? It’s a good beer, but the floral honey notes and sweetness can be a bit overwhelming. Perhaps it would be better if the honey was replaced with a more mild-flavored honey, rather than clover honey? Agave nectar may be a good substitute.
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