White House releases home brew beer recipe

White House Homebrew

After President Obama announced that he has been drinking beer made from home beer brewing kit, beer geeks have been asking for the recipe.

Jay Carney, President Obama's White House spokesperson, announced on Twitter that the secret White House beer recipe would be released if 25,000 people would sign an online petition requesting the recipe. Beer fans started to sign the petition immediately and it didn't take long for the requisite number of signatures were gathered.

The White House released the recipes for the two home brews on Saturday and here is my analysis of them.

Both beers use a special honey that was gathered from the White House aviary. These beers have one ingredient that most home brewers without political connections will find hard to find, White House honey. According to the White House blog, this is honey from the first bee hives in White House history. Don't worry, you can still use your own honey, and if it is local, you can brag about your beer as well.

As a side note, a beer mixed with honey is generally called Honey Beer. When mead, is made with malt it is usually called a braggot. In general, my definition is if there is more than fifty percent honey, it is a braggot. If the majority of the fermentables are malt, it is a beer with honey. Most honey beers are 20% or less honey. The reason being that honey is completely fermentable and, like wine, generally is dry with a thin body.

White House Honey Porter

I will not add the directions since you can find more accurate instructions for extract beer brewing on this site.

  • 2 (3.3 lb) cans light unhopped malt extract
  • 3/4 lb Munich Malt (cracked)
  • 1 lb crystal 20 malt (cracked)
  • 6 oz black malt (cracked)
  • 3 oz chocolate malt (cracked)
  • 1 lb White House Honey
  • 10 HBUs bittering hops
  • 1/2 oz Hallertaur Aroma hops
  • 1 pkg Nottingham dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup corn sugar for bottling

This is a relatively standard American Porter recipe. Other than the Hallertaur hops, it is similar to many Porter recipes with the addition of honey. I would change the recipe slightly to use either British or American hops. Fuggles or Willamette.  I am also not sure that you really need the aroma hops as they seem to clash with the honey. If my featured ingredient is honey, I would want the aroma to be honey, not floral hops. But, to each his or her own and feel free to do as you wish.

White House Honey Ale

  • 2 (3.3 lb) cans light malt extract
  • 1 lb light dried malt extract
  • 12 oz crushed amber crystal malt
  • 8 oz biscuit Malt
  • 1 lb White House Honey
  • 1 1/2 oz Kent Goldings Hop Pellets
  • 1 1/2 oz Fuggles Hop pellets
  • 2 tsp gypsum
  • 1 pkg Windsor dry ale yeast
  • 3/4 cup corn sugar for priming

This is a little more like a British Pale Ale rather than an American version since it is using British hops. This will give the beer an earthy character rather than the citrusy character characteristic of American Pale Ales. I also wouldn't use the gypsum unless it is required by your water (ask your local home brew shop).  You could substitute an American hop such as Cascade or Galena to get that more traditional West Coast Pale Ale profile.

The Verdict

All-in-all, these are pretty run of the mill beers that should pose no problem for even beginning home brewers. Temperature control is very important, so try to ferment between 68 - 72°F. Also, be sure to use my expanded instructions for extract brewing for a better result when brewing extract beers.

I will create an all-grain version of this as soon as I have a free fermentation vessel and post the results here along with the recipes so you can compare the White House home brew recipes with my modifications.