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Old 12-29-2011, 12:10 AM   #1
freakish
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Default max ibu limit in 2gal v 10gal?

Howdy!

im pretty new to brewing and i have a question that i cannot find being directly answered.

No matter the boil size, no matter the gravity of wort, is my maximum ibu possible 100-120?

So its scientific fact that you can only get 100 ibu's no matter if its 20 oz's in 2 gallons or 20 oz's in 10 gallons (given the amount of malt/fermentables is 1:1)? I dont get how you can only extract a finite amount of 'bitterness' no matter the amount of water used.

Sorry if im talking circles around myself, using incorrect terminology, and/or sounding like a fool.

Thanks!

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Old 12-29-2011, 12:27 AM   #2
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Bitterness in beer is imparted by hop alpha acids which have been isomerized to a soluble form by boiling. Unboiled alpha acids are dissolved in the hop oils, and not soluble in water. You can only dissolve so many of these alpha acids in water, in the same way that you can only dissolve so much salt in water.

The maximum amount of isomerized alpha acids that can be dissolved in wort is debated, but it's true that the human taste threshold for bitterness is only around 100 IBU, so even if a beer may calculate out to be 200 IBU, there's no way for us to taste the difference between that beer and another at 110 IBU.

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Old 12-29-2011, 12:42 AM   #3
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i guess what it comes down to is can i make a 2.5 gallon wort 200 ibu's then dilute with 2.5 water to make it 100 ibu... but it sounds like i cant since it doesnt matter how MUCH water you start with, water cannot be more bitter than 100ibu-bitter.

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Old 12-29-2011, 01:33 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freakish View Post
i guess what it comes down to is can i make a 2.5 gallon wort 200 ibu's then dilute with 2.5 water to make it 100 ibu... but it sounds like i cant since it doesnt matter how MUCH water you start with, water cannot be more bitter than 100ibu-bitter.
There have been other threads on this matter, and I think the jury is still out. The last I could remember, is that there are some examples where wort can hold a lot more than 100 IBUs, but fermented beer seems to limit the amount of IBUs to some where in the region of 100. If that is the case, you may be able to brew a 5 gallon 100 IBU beer with a 2.5 gallon boil.

I know I'm not really answering the question, but until someone shows me that wort limits the IBUs to around 100, I'm going to continue to believe the beer calculators.
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