I am sitting in my living room watching the election night coverage on MSNBC and thinking about beer. It’s actually not much of a stretch because I have been thinking a lot about the President of the United States and beer.
Beer You Can Believe In
President Barack Obama is not actually brewing beer, but his surrogates in the White House kitchen did ferment two different beers—a so-called White House Honey Ale and a White House Honey Porter. The recipes are available online, following a spirited online petition drive, at the White House’s official site. Check them out.
Reviews of the beers have trickled in. The New York Times enlisted the assistance of the good folks over at Brooklyn Brewery to sample the Honey Ale. As I have read a few reports of these brews I come across as less excited about the prospect of brewing my own. Why? The ingredients seem a little heavy on the sweet with not enough hop bittering to even things out. Brewed with honey from the White House’s resident bees—thank you First Lady—there is a lot of fermentable sugar for both the yeast strain to digest. The hops used are also not high in quantity and mild in nature, reflecting the British origins as opposed to more bitter American hops that are in vogue right now.
Northern Brewer, my supplier of homebrew supplies, even has kits available for those wanting to try their hand at executive privilege. Maybe the forthcoming Honey Blonde that is rumored will satisfy my craving for less sweetness and a little more hop forwardness. We can hope for change!
Scottish 60 Shilling
My most recent beer—a Scottish 60 Shilling ale recipe kit—is out of the bottle:
Mild. Very mild. According to iBrewMaster this batch should have come in at about 20 IBU and 2.8% ABV. I have no reason to disagree with those numbers because this beer is really mild. Almost too mild. The maltiness of the beer is not offset enough by hop bitterness. In essence, the beer is not balanced well enough.
Dry Irish Stout and the Innkeeper
The next beer, which I have to bottle this weekend, is a Dry Irish Stout recipe kit. I reduced the amount of time the hops were to be boiled to bring the bitterness down. My hope is that it highlights the malt profile a little more. I tend to like my stouts to be light and finish very clean, with little or no aftertaste on the palate.
The funny thing about this beer is that it went crazy when I came home from vacation. Why? Our house’s furnace was set at 56 degrees for 10 days and went up to 64 the day we came home. The rise in temperature reanimated the yeast and it started bubbling away again. I love how alive and unpredictable this entire process can be sometimes. I really do feel like a mad scientist.
This weekend I am going to make a return to the Innkeeper recipe kit. I had favorable impressions about this beer the first time around, so I am interested to see if I still like the profile or if my tastes are being redefined in a certain direction.