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Monday, January 14, 2013

Bitter Sweet Symphony

I created a Bitter Sweet Symphony
iTunes Genius playlist to listen to
It needed A LOT of editing
Every couple is suppose to have a "song" and I assume most of the time it's probably some happy-sappy love song.  That's not the case for Bonnie and I.  We first started dating in December of '97 while going to University of Puget Sound in Tacoma Washington. This happened to be right around the time when a little song called Bitter Sweet Symphony started getting airtime on the main alternative station I listened to. There was something about that song that we both really identified with which lead to it getting some pretty heavy playtime on my computers playlist.  It soon became apparent that it was our song, which was fortunate as given the time and young love it was something that could have gone very wrong.    Bonnie notes: "I have a lot of memories associated with that song and time in our lives; eating your special sandwich from the sub (the student union building), snuggling in the worlds smallest bed, hanging out in your dorm room etc."

So what does any of that have to do with beer?  Here's the story, I'd been thinking of retooling the BIG IPL recipe for a while, really spinning the concept of a Single/Double IPL into a new beer, but had not really been inspired by anything. Well, one day I was in the car listening to an old CD and rockin out to Bitter Sweet Symphony (which I often do) when it hit to me.  Bitter Sweet Symphony would be an incredible name for a beer, especially a hop heavy one like an IPL.

As soon as I had the name recipe ideas started flying through my head; would it be a IPA or IPL? Double of Single? What about an American Double Stout? For a while I had narrowed it down as a single IPL with the hop schedule of Sydnie IPA with the grist of BIG IPL scaled down.  That idea pretty much hit a brick wall one evening while I was enjoying a pint of Surly Abrasive.  The massive Citra flavor and aroma hit me like a freight train - Bitter Sweet Symphony needed to be a Citra forward IPL.  I knew that I had tons of Citra stockpiled so I hit the internet to see if I could any reasonable Abrasive clone recipes to use as a foundation to build Bitter Sweet Symphony from.

Cracked my last on hand can of
Abrasive to drink during cool-down
I found what looked like a pretty successful attempt on the Northern Brewer forum and with the notes on Abrasive on Surly's website I started to nail down what I wanted to do. I also reviewed the Surly Furious Pro Series Recipe to gain insight on Surly beers.  For base grain I would use the 2-Row I had on hand with a generous helping of Golden Promise.  I'd also included a couple pounds of oat to give it a smooths mouthfeel. To pull a little of my personality and brewing style into the beer I decided that instead of including Crystal malts, which would have been in the form of Crystal 20L, I would use a dash of Carared and in place of the brewers sugar I would use Rice to bump the ABV while keeping it light.  

Days before brewing I came across an interesting discussion on late hopping and the concept behind whirlpooling. The basic premise is to add hops at flame-out whirlpool and let sit for 80 minutes.  I wasn't fully on board with adding 80 minutes to my brewday but figured I would give it a shot with 30 and slowly creep up from there depending on if I'm pleased with the results.

If you saw the horrible chill plate setup that I jerry-rigged together for the 34 brewday you'll be pleased to know that I have gone back and made a few adjustments.  I'm still not fully where I want to be and will soon be picking up a router speed control to slow the flow of fluid through the pumps.  Shawn uses one on his chill plate setup.  Once in place I should be able to have more control over the temperature of the wort. 

I will now leave you with a little entertainment that helped inspire this post.  Recipe and pictures after the break as always.



Bitter Sweet Symphony
Double Oat IPL
Type: All Grain
Date: 1/6/2013
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal
Brewer: Scott Bennett
Boil Size: 7.28 gal
Asst Brewer: BrewDog - DG
Boil Time: 75 min
Equipment: SNB Brewhouse (Keggle and Cooler)
End of Boil Volume 5.72 gal
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.6 %

Beer Profile
Measured Original Gravity: 1.091 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.017 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 9.4 %
Bitterness: 107.4 IBUs
Est Color: 5.8 SRM 


9.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)
5.25 lb Golden Promise (1.7 SRM)
2.00 lb Oats, Malted (1.0 SRM)
1.00 lb Minute Rice (1.0 SRM)
0.50 lb Carared (20.0 SRM)

1.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] - First Wort 75.0 min
1.00 oz Warrior [15.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min
1.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] - Boil 20.0 min
2.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] - Whirlpool Steep 30.0 min

6 Pint Starter of American Lager Yeast (White Labs #WLP840)

Dry Hop Schedule 

4.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] - Dry Hop 9.0 Days
1.00 oz Amarillo [8.50 %] - Dry Hop 9.0 Days

10.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 mins)
1.00 tbsp PH 5.2 Stabilizer (Mash 60.0 mins)
1.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 15.0 mins) 

Mash Profile
Mash In Add 5.50 gal of water at 167.2 F 152.0 F 60 min <-- Note to calculate the water need to mash I removed the rice from the qua
Sparge Step: Batch sparge with 1 step (3.8 gal) of 168.0 F water
Mash Notes: Simple single infusion mash for use with most modern well modified grains (about 95% of the time).


From Surly
STYLE: Double Oat IPA
MALT: 2-Row, Golden Promise, Oats, Lite Crystal
SUGAR: Brewers Crystals
HOPS: Warrior, Citra
YEAST: English Ale
OG: 19.5° Plato
ABV: 8.8% v/v
IBU: 120ish


The Surly Furious Recipe calls for a Sacch’ Rest: 153° F for 60 minutes (http://www.northernbrewer.com/documentation/allgrain/AG-Furious_Pro_Surly.pdf) which would produce a medium bodied beer. Aim for 152° F for 60 minutes 


Some of my key components
to my yeast starters

All mixed together
Water shutoff valve
5.5 gallons of water
Temp mill setup
Double milled for your enjoyment
Did the recipe on my vacation so
I didn't have access to a printer
What I like to see in a hoppy beer
I'm having an issue with my false
bottom leading to grain escaping
which clogged my pump requiring
me to manually recirculate
This picture doesn't do justice to
the incredible color of the wort
Tossed a grain bag to keep any grain
that might escape out of the boil
Slightly better cooling setup
Still needed an ice bath
Active fermentation within 3 hours

1 comment:

  1. I like the song. Great name for a beer. Based on the recipe, I think I would love this beer.


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