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Adjusting the hops in NB White House Porter Recipe

I brewed a 5 gal batch of WH Porter and like all of my NB kits, it turned out great. It’s a little too bitter for my tastes, but otherwise, it’s great. Any suggestions on how I can adjust the hop additions to reduce the forward bitterness?

Bittering comes from the First additions to the boil kettle… To reduce that… less hops. Try cut them in half… See where it ends up at.

Before making any changes can you advise how old the beer is? Bitterness will fade with time. Of course if it’s overly bitter it will remain that way.
Looking at the hop schedule you have:
1/2oz Nugget at 45 mins
1/2oz Nugget at 30 mins
1/2oz Hallertau at ‘end of boil’
The Hallertau is not contributing much to IBU so I would leave that alone. Hard to tell how much to use in bittering hops. Nugget is on average around 10% AA. And 1/2oz at 45 mins isn’t a lot. If it’s too hoppy try cutting the 45 min addition to say, .4oz.
Not sure about your process but oxidation can also lend to bitterness. Just a thought.

Thank you! I’m skeptical that it may have gotten oxidized as it didn’t have a lot of headspace in either primary or secondary. The fermentation temp was about 65 degrees and I didn’t touch the carboy at all except to move it to secondary.
I think I’ll follow your suggestion to reduce the hops for the 45 min boil to .4oz. What do you think about eliminating the 45 minute hop addition all together?
Thanks for the quick response!

Oh, I forgot to answer your question. It went into primary on Thanksgiving 2020

Head space has more to do with the secondary… Since you had little in each… IF it is O2-ed, then it becomes timing and process…
Timing… You need just a bit of yeast to in the secondary to scrub the O2 from racking…
Process… there must have been enough “splashing” or such, to allow O2 to be absorbed by the brew…

I have brewed that kit about five years ago and don’t recall bitterness being an issue at all. It was very good beer. So I am thinking water chemistry or pH might be your issue. What water did you use/modify and do you monitor pH of your mash?

When i do a secondary i do it at about a week at the tail end of fermentation so the O2 gets cleaned up. Im not sure oxidatioin causes bitterness. I’ve found bitterness issues more from hops or yeast. If the beer is young it can seem bitter from yeast still in suspension

That WH porter was Barack Obama’s recipe ? Maybe he liked more bitterness. Wondering if he still brews

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I brewed this kit years ago and found it to be a very balanced and even somewhat malt forward beer as expected for the style. Unfortunately that was before I started using BS so I don’t have any notes saved on it.

Having said that we don’t all perceive bitterness the same way which is why some folks detest an IPA.

I’d start with minor adjustments to the 45 minute addition but if you don’t use it at all you’ll have a very sweet porter on hands. Maybe you’d like it? Your 30 minute addition is more for flavor and likely doesn’t add much bitterness and your third is just for a little aroma.

I don’t generally feel that oxidized beers are more bitter but minimal head space isn’t the only consideration. Racking to the secondary is probably the primary culprit, with the bottling process being the second biggest opportunity for oxidation. Your process during those two operations is very important for your finished product.

I don’t know if Barack brewed…I think he requested that they brew beer for him. If I recall correctly he purchased a honey ale kit and asked the white house chef to make it using honey from the hives located on the WH grounds. I believe the first time revolved around a medal of honor recipient’s request to have a beer with the president…

That honey ale is believed to be the first beer brewed in the White House but could just be the first one documented.


Wasn’t Jimmy Carter a brewer? Or maybe just his brother Billy. I know Carter legalized home brewing. Anyone have the Billy Beer ricipe?

No, but like me, he “lusted after beer in his heart” :joy:


Along the same lines, chloramine can give a medicinal bitterness to homebrew. Are you @Bilixi123 using tap water?

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I used store bought bottled water. I neglected to point out that the wort was bitter before I pitched the yeast and put it in primary. From what a lot of you are saying; bitter is subjective and reducing the hops in the 45 minute boil will take off some of the bitterness. Don’t get me wrong, this kit and the beer is totally drinkable and the texture, body, smell is really good. I am definitely buying another kit when I finish the 30 or so bottles I have.
Thank you to all who chimed in on my post as I appreciate the feedback from more seasoned home brewers. Y’all have a great weekend! :grinning:

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How did you weigh the hops to measure the 1/2oz for each addition? It’s been a LONG time since I brewed a kit but the hops always came with whole ounce additions.
I would also suggest that you start using a brewing software program. There’s free ones online it not interested in a bought product. It will allow you to input the recipe, show you some numbers, and adjust a recipe for your taste. You could put the recipe in, see what the IBUS are, and adjust it for the next time.

Store bought water…
Perhaps the “stuff” that needs to be in that water was lacking… So then pH is wonky… as some may perceive it…

I just checked my Billy Beer can…
Made in Cold Spring Mn… No recipe… :grin:
So this one is a basic “crank out mass quantities” style brew from those days… Sold alot of beer from there…

If Billy Carter was around today he’d be pissed. People were upset he was making a buck being the presidents brother. At least he was doing something useful by selling beer. Just sayin


“In 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed HR 1337, legalizing homebrewing at the federal level and giving Carter the unlikely distinction of homebrewing hero. The law took effect on February 1st, 1979,”

I had a sixer of Billy beer, only one was opened (that was enough) A while back I checked Ebay to see what they were worth. About $2 a can so I just tossed them. Wasn’t worth the aggravation of packing them up and shipping them. I think Billy beer was contract brewed allover the country.

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