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AHA/Surly Wort Giveaway recipe ideas?

On Feb. 12, Surly is hosting an AHA event and will be giving away 5 gallons of wort to ticket holders (only $5!). I bought a ticket, and the email included the following description of the wort:

“Surly Brewing Company will provide a slightly tart, oaked pale base wort that will be conducive to a variety of fermentation and aging processes. The malt bill primarily consists of Simpson’s Golden Promise malt, accentuated by Weyermann Wheat Malt, Weyerman Acidulated Malt, and Grain Millers Flaked Wheat. The wort will be further acidified and oaked through mysterious processes designed by Surly’s brewing team. Bittering hops will be minimal, with IBUs estimated at 10-15.”

Thoughts on what kind of beer style would work with this wort? I am a pale ale/IPA fan, and am not sure I can make that style with IBUs of only 10-15. I suppose I could dry-hop the heck out of it and hope … ? I don’t care for sours or other Belgian styles, and it kind of seems like that kind of wort.


Specific gravity would’ve been helpful…IBU’s are a bit high, but it could make a killer Berliner Weisse, but if you don’t like sours, I guess that doesn’t help.

This is an interesting one…hmmmm.

It does seem like a good candidate for a sour/belgian/something I don’t like beer. I’m wondering how tart/oaky would work with a Scottish ale yeast? Low IBUs, maybe beef it up with an extract addition if it’s weak gravity. Also, I’m now curious how they oak it pre-fermentation, and how that works out…

You know what this sounds like? Someone messed up their mysterious process of kettle souring, and they’re giving away the wort instead of dumping it. I like making sours, and I’d never start with a wort like this. How oaky is it? How tart is it? What’s the pH? OG? How was it mashed? Might make for a great saison, if it weren’t for the oak character. Maybe darken it up a bit with some special B or some dark candi sugar and go for a flanders-style red beer?

I’ve had oaked saisons that are quite good, actually, but like everything else that’s down to personal taste.

I agree with @uberculture. I would steep some speciality malts and use a Scottish or Irish ale yeast.

Sure, oak has its place in a saison… But how oaky is it? Is it going to be a subtle bit of oak in passing, or is it going to taste like chewing on an oak log once its fermented out? Hard to tell prior to fermentation. I guess where I’m scratching my head is the claim that it’s conducive to lots of fermenting and aging options, but it seems like most of the decisions have already been made. You wouldn’t make a wort like this without a specific goal in mind, and then to turn around and give it out? Sounds odd…

Maybe Todd sabotaged a batch before leaving town… one last middle finger from the Axe Man.

Ha! Thanks all for the thoughts. I may end up throwing in some IsoHop to boost the bitterness, ferment with London III, and dry hop with a ton of Galaxy and El Dorado – maybe a hazy, juicy monster will result.

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