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Old 11-22-2008, 12:50 PM   #1
StunnedMonkey
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Default What's the point of 284 IBU's? (IIPA)

I'm brewing an Imperial IPA tomorrow, specifically based upon the Mike McDole Pliny the Elder recipe. Frankly, I don't have all of his bittering hops varieties (Warrior, Chinook, Simcoe, Columbus). I do have plenty of Warrior and Columbus so I'll just use these for the bittering addition. (I'll also use Centennial and Columbus for flavor and aroma at the end, and again for dry hopping.) I do have plenty of Warrior and Columbus to duplicate his calculated IBU's of 284 (!!!) but I swear I've read that anything much over 100 really isn't useful or detectable. Is there a point to going all the way for 284? I hate to monkey too much with an award winning recipe, but that's a ton of hops.

An unrealted question as well, the recipe calls for 1.5 pounds of corn sugar. Does it matter what point in the boil this is added, so long as it's prior to the last 15 minutes or so?

Full grain billfor those who care:

16 lb 2-row
.5 lb Crystal 40
.5 lb Wheat
1.5 lb corn sugar

Est OG 1.083

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Old 11-22-2008, 01:13 PM   #2
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You are right that shortly after 100ibus your taste buds will stop picking up the excess bitterness. I think if you are doing a beer around 200ibus it's just dick waving, anything that violently bitter is brewed exclusively for bragging rights.

That said, if you do brew this you better bring it to a meeting, Pliny is perhaps the best beer I have ever had.

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Old 11-22-2008, 01:55 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Tonedef131 View Post
That said, if you do brew this you better bring it to a meeting, Pliny is perhaps the best beer I have ever had.
Well I'm definitely brewing it, but no way will I guarantee that it'll actually taste anything like Pliny. Of course, I've never actually had the good fortune to taste Pliny the Elder, so I'd never know. SWMBO and I are hoping to get out to Northern California after the first of the year, and if so we'll make a stop at Russian River.

However I'll definitely bring a sample to a meeting no matter how it turns out, even if it tastes like ass. In fact I'll bring several bottles if it tastes like ass.
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Old 11-23-2008, 07:11 PM   #4
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I brewed this today, with the grain bill shown above. I ended up using:

2 oz Warrior (15.4) 75 minutes
2 oz Columbus (12.2) 50 minutes
3 oz Centennial (8.0) 2 minutes
2 oz Columbus (12.2) 2 minutes

I'll dry hop with 2 oz Centennial and 1 oz Columbus.

Total boil was 90 minutes. Calculated IBU's were 189, or about 100 less than the original recipe spec'd. The OG was 1.082. (I'd estimated 1.083.) There was a startling amount of trub and even leaving a bunch behind in the kettle there's still a huge amount settling out in the carboy. After racking to a secondary for dry hopping and then kegging, I'll bet I only get about 4-4.5 gallons from the 5.75 gallons I had in the kettle after the boil.

The only mishap was that when I was moving my wort chiller around the hose popped off the quick-disconnect and shot a cup or so of cold hose water into my 85 degree wort. Not really an ideal occurrence. If the beer ends up sucking I guess I can use that as an excuse. It's always nice to have a built-in excuse.

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Old 11-23-2008, 07:32 PM   #5
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Well, I for one have had stuff over 200 on tap and it wasn't at all pleasent. I really didn't notice a differance than the under 200 beers. My 2 cents.

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Old 11-23-2008, 07:51 PM   #6
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It's just a calculation - not to be taken literally. When Pliny was subjected to GC/MS it had a whopping 68 IBUs.

It's not about the IBU - it's about how the hops are utilized through different points during the brewing process.

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Old 11-24-2008, 09:58 AM   #7
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I have Hop Hammer from brewing classic styles on tap right now and it is excellent. I followed the receipe to a T with the whole pound of hops. It is not too much and has the most incredible nose with the seven ounce dry hop. My understanding is it is all about the hop pairing. Jamil says the aau of the hops you use is not as important as the right quantity and variety. I just entered it in the Palmetto open, we'll see how the judges like it. It was very well received at my clubs last meeting. Derek

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Old 11-24-2008, 10:35 AM   #8
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I have Hop Hammer from brewing classic styles on tap right now and it is excellent. I followed the receipe to a T with the whole pound of hops. It is not too much and has the most incredible nose with the seven ounce dry hop. My understanding is it is all about the hop pairing.
Well, it's obviously too late for me to follow the bittering hop additions, but I still have time to get a couple of ounces of Simcoe to accurately recreate the dry hop addition. I have enough Columbus and Centennial.
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