November 11, 2012

Four More Beers!

A lot has happened since we brewed up our batch of White House Honey Ale: Superduperstorm Sandy ravaged our home turf, leaving both the 2JB HQ and 2JB Annex dark and cold; and President Obama was reelected to four more years of residence at the homebrew-friendly 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

So with everything more or less back to normal in NJ, we sanitized the 2JB rig and a few dozen empty bottles, and got down to the people's business of bottling up our beer.

The first thing we noted when taking the lid off the ale pail: the brew looked good and smelled great. The second thing we noted, after sampling a bit of it: even flat and at room temperature, it tasted great, with a slightly sweet flavor and a slightly bitter finish. No matter what you may think of Obama's policies or politics, there's no denying that he and his staff know what they're doing beer-wise.

Another note: when we racked the beer into the bottling bucket, the yeast left behind was a nearly solid and perfectly flat plug at the bottom of the bucket; when bottling, we noticed little-to-no detritus floating in the brew. Whether this is due to the recipe, the specific yeast we used, or the fact that the Sandy blackout meant it sat for a little longer in a little colder space, we do not know.

So we did our thing, and in about an hour there were 45 bottles ready to go. (It's kind of a shame we didn't end up with the more-symbolic batch of 44, but you bottle the amount of beer you have, not the amount of beer you wish you had. And why would anyone wish for one fewer bottle, anyway?) Now it's fizzing up in the 2JB HQ basement, and we'll be able to lift an ale to the chief by Thanksgiving, with hopefully a few left over for Inauguration Day.

October 22, 2012

Ale to the Chief 2012

Four years ago, Nahum and I celebrated the election of Barack Obama by brewing up a batch of black and tan beer, a seemingly appropriate way to toast the new president. And while we'd discussed doing the same for the 2012 election season, the White House went ahead and presented us with an even better option.

The White House staff, in order to find good uses for the honey being produced by the First Lady's on-site beehive, created honey ale and honey porter recipes to be brewed for the Obamas. In September, they made the recipes public, and we had our orders from the Brewmaster-in-Chief.

Of course, the recipe for White House Honey Ale calls for 1 lb. of honey from the White House hives. Since the Secret Service would not take kindly to 2JB stopping by 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., we made do with some local NJ honey.

 Aside from that, we stuck pretty close to the presidential directives for brewing honey ale. The biscuit malt had a nice aroma as it steeped in 1.5 gallons of water. Interestingly, the addition of a pound of light DME and 6 lbs. of light malt extract...did not lead to a particularly light-looking or light-tasting wort.

Of course, it might have been the pound of honey that darkened things up. And it was certainly the Kent Goldings and Fuggles hops that made it all smell so nice.

After a surprisingly quick brew (I guess they're pretty busy at the White House and don't have 3 hours to kill on homebrewing), we cooled it down, pitched the yeast and sealed up the Ale Pail. The pre-fermented brew was very tasty, and I have high hopes for what we'll get post-fermenting.

In 2 weeks, it will be time to bottle, and time to vote. We'll do both, and hope for the best on all counts.