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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > IBU tune in
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Old 01-12-2009, 04:35 PM   #1
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Default IBU tune in

As a new brewer, I have no idea of how to tune in my IBU's. I have no idea of 20, 40, 60, 80. I don't know what I like or where to start for bitterness.

For now, I am going to brew a 20 IBU IPA and also a 40 IBU IPA to see which way I want to go.

For home, I'd like a low IBU sipping beer that everyone will like in general, plus another beer that pushes my IBU limit, but still good.

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Old 01-12-2009, 04:52 PM   #2
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20 and 40 won't qualify for an IPA but they'll be nice pale ales.

You might want to hit the closest well stocked liquor store and see about getting some micros that list their IBU values (many of them do). That will let you try single bottles without the possibility of disliking an entire batch.

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Old 01-12-2009, 05:04 PM   #3
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This Gravity Units/IBU's chart is really helpful for seeing how hops and gravity units will relate to each other..



Also, this Basic Brewing Podcast will give you something to think about...John Palmer sort of re-tracts his definition in HTB in light of some info he got...

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March 20, 2008 - What Is an IBU . . . Really?
John Palmer, author of How to Brew, shares information from a conference that challenged his concept of what defines an International Bitterness Unit (IBU).

http://media.libsyn.com/media/basicb...3-20-08ibu.mp3
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Old 01-12-2009, 05:23 PM   #4
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Thanks.

I have to work 2 ends of the scale here. My wife wants to play it safe, so I have some general cream ale on the go, but I like a challenge, so I'll be pushing the IBU's to my max, whatever my max is.....

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Old 01-12-2009, 05:25 PM   #5
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you might wanna check out Biermuncher's "outer limits" IPA recipe..It's the outer limits because it fall off that chart.

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Old 01-12-2009, 05:31 PM   #6
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But, the key is balance not what the IBUs are.

As an example, a maibock with an OG of 1.063 and IBUs of 26.8 is not the least bit hoppy. It's malty, as a matter of fact. But, a cream ale with an OG of 1.052 or so would be "correct" with IBUs of 12. Neither one is bitter, and neither one is unbalanced. An American amber with an OG of 1.056 and IBUs of 30 is not bitter, either. Not at all.

You have to consider the IBU/SG ratio, and balance it. It's a balance of malt and hops, not just how many IBUs are in a specific beer. Some crystal malts can help a beer taste sweeter, so you need more IBUs so that it's not cloying. A crisp beer like a cream ale doesn't need more IBUs to balance it, since it's comprised of lighter malts.

Just loading up a beer on IBUs will make it unbalanced- but making the beer balanced for the style it is will give you good results.

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Old 01-12-2009, 06:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
Just loading up a beer on IBUs will make it unbalanced- but making the beer balanced for the style it is will give you good results.
I'll stay in the balanced region for now, but will also push into the slightly hoppy zone to see which way I want to go, or gauge how far.

I'll lock in the alcohol level around 6.0%v to start, and I have a recipe for 20 IBU and one for 40 IBU, just to gauge malty vs hoppy.

If I like the 40, then I'll have to try Outer Limits. Looks interesting at 60 IBU. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f69/bms-...its-ipa-87310/

I even found a recipe for 100 IBU IIPA, but that's a way off, if ever. I expect it is probably too extreme, but it does look interesting.
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Old 01-12-2009, 06:26 PM   #8
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what type of commercial beers do you enjoy? do you like redhook's esb? do you like a sammy boston lager? do you like stone ruination? those are kind of all over the scale of hoppy beers, while still all having in my opinion good hop flavor, beyond just mellowing out the sweetness of the wort. not knowing what you like, or what you consider too hoppy, or not hoppy enough makes it difficult to tell you how much ibu's to go for.

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Old 01-12-2009, 06:34 PM   #9
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If you're looking to make a specific style of beer, such as the IPA that you mentioned, the BJCP style guidelines are a good place to start. They'll give you the rang of IBU's as well and starting and finishing gravity in order to get you in the ballpark. Then you can tune from there according to your personal taste.

http://http://www.bjcp.org/2008styles/catdex.php

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Old 01-12-2009, 06:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chainsawbrewing View Post
what type of commercial beers do you enjoy? do you like redhook's esb? do you like a sammy boston lager? do you like stone ruination? those are kind of all over the scale of hoppy beers, while still all having in my opinion good hop flavor, beyond just mellowing out the sweetness of the wort. not knowing what you like, or what you consider too hoppy, or not hoppy enough makes it difficult to tell you how much ibu's to go for.

Interesting. I am from Canada and did a quick search on some commercial beers.

When I lived out east, the local favorite commercial beers - the home brew clones come in at about 15 IBU, 5%v. But living out west, the clones for western beer favorites show 40 IBU, 5%v.

I seem to like the 40 IBU beers better, seem to have more 'fullness' to them.

Thanks for your help.
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