Jump to content
Mr.Beer Community
Sign in to follow this  
minimaliszt

IBUs

Recommended Posts

Theoretical (i.e. calculated IBUs) doesn't necessarily always translate into "real" (perceived) IBUs, right? Obviously it would depend on the flavor profile of the beer, but is there a certain amount of leeway we should consider when putting together a recipe?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"minimaliszt" post=253780 said:

Theoretical (i.e. calculated IBUs) doesn't necessarily always translate into "real" (perceived) IBUs, right? Obviously it would depend on the flavor profile of the beer, but is there a certain amount of leeway we should consider when putting together a recipe?


IBUs are IBUs. Perceived bitterness is related to IBUs, but also depends on the amount of unfermentable sugar in the brew.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To try to amplify what bpgreen said, the International Bittering Units don't change. Therefore, IBUs are IBUs.

What does change is our perception of them, based on the other ingredients and the volume of those ingredients.

Malt is sweet, and not all of the sugars get fermented. So having a high malt bill, or a malt bill high in unfermentables will result in a less bitter beer than some other recipes, even if the IBUs of both recipes are the same. Our taste buds are perceiving it as less bitter, even though the IBUs are identical.

Pale ales seem bitter because the malt bill makes them so. But a malty Oktoberfest could theoretically have the same IBUs as a pale ale and seem maltier and less bitter. The amount and types of malt used in the Oktoberfest sort of override the bitterness.

I guess it's a fine point, and I don't really care for splitting hairs, but since discussions revolve around these terms, it's important to understand that the distinction you've made between "theoretical" or "calculated" IBUs and "real" or "perceived" IBUs isn't real. IBUs are what they are, even if a beer doesn't seem bitter.

I think if you continue down that road of thinking, you're liable to fall into the same situation as the people who order two Big Macs, a large order of fries, and a diet soda, and think they're cutting back on calories.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I want to piggyback a little off of what Dave said and try to illustrate it to help make sense.

One thing which I think some people don't always do...but they should...is research their ingredients fully before or during their recipe building. Through my own experience, I have built many a recipe with a 0.55 BU:GU ratio and thought it would be balanced. In reality, the final product was way too sweet. So, it's important to research your ingredients.

EXAMPLE A)
You want to build a beer with a twist. You're contemplating normal American 2-Row versus something like Honey Malt. 1 Lb of each ingredient (by itself) is going to yield a 1.014 OG. Therefore...if that's all you had...and added 7 IBUs...you'd think each one would be balanced. 14:7...0.50 BU:GU ratio. But when you delve into looking at them, the Honey Malt is going to be a bunch sweeter.

EXAMPLE B )
I tried a new beer that I created called CAPTAIN HAVOC (because I wanted to use this yeast). It is near the end of conditiong with the following ingredients:

2 Lb 14 oz Briess CBW Golden Light LME
1 Lb Caramunich III

1 oz German Spalt (3.5AA) at 60 minute boil

White Labs Cry Havoc - as Ale (WLP862)

OG - 1.049
IBU 26.6
My final BU:GU ratio was roughly 0.51

Again, you would think this should be "balanced". But the caramelly sweetness of the Caramunich III really, really exceeds in this recipe. The Cry Havoc yeast brough out some of the fruit notes, but didn't accentuate them on the bitterness end.

===============

I think it's important to read through the grains/extracts, the hops, and the yeasts to see what is going to contribute what. If you have a very sweet grainbill and add in a yeast which accentuates the grain moreso than the hops...it doesn't matter if the IBUs are on point. If you're leaving a lot of sugar unfermented, you're going to get a lot of sweetness.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's interesting which things come through in the end. The last couple beers I made were my first exploration in boiling hops, and each tasted considerably more bitter from the tap before fermentation than after. They both taste nicely balanced now, just not nearly as hoppy as I had anticipated based on how they tasted before pitching the yeast. Like you said, the yeast I used must have accentuated those particular malts, or spit out flavors that compete with the hops. The beauty of this, anyway, is just how unpredictable it can be.

Basically my first thought upon tasting last night was, "more hops," but not necessarily because it needed it...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...