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Old 09-15-2008, 12:29 AM   #1
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Default IBU scale question

Hello, being relatively new to homebrewing and drinking a wide variety of beers once foreign to me I have some questions about this IBU scale. I understand what its supposed to do but here lately drinking some different beers I have to question what Im not understanding with it. Anyways tell me what im not understanding right here- I got a few 6 packs of the Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale the other day which I really liked, I looked on their website and seen that it is classified as a IPA with 42 IBUs, my impression of it was very green and bitter, I loved it. Now today on my way to PA I found some 750ml bottles of Rogue Double Dead Guy Ale in virginia at a gas station, so I bought 3 of them since I have yet to try this beer. I really enjoyed the rogue too but it was alot smoother than the anniversary ale, even at 9 percent alcohol. The rogue to me was not bitter at all, yet it has 72 IBUs so says the bottle. So what am I missing here? If the IBU scale is supposed to give you a idea of how bitter a beer is before you drink it, or brew it how can one beer be so bitter at 42 ibus and another 200 percent smoother at 72ibus? thanks for any info.


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Old 09-15-2008, 12:33 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by JBrady View Post
Hello, being relatively new to homebrewing and drinking a wide variety of beers once foreign to me I have some questions about this IBU scale. I understand what its supposed to do but here lately drinking some different beers I have to question what Im not understanding with it. Anyways tell me what im not understanding right here- I got a few 6 packs of the Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale the other day which I really liked, I looked on their website and seen that it is classified as a IPA with 42 IBUs, my impression of it was very green and bitter, I loved it. Now today on my way to PA I found some 750ml bottles of Rogue Double Dead Guy Ale in virginia at a gas station, so I bought 3 of them since I have yet to try this beer. I really enjoyed the rogue too but it was alot smoother than the anniversary ale, even at 9 percent alcohol. The rogue to me was not bitter at all, yet it has 72 IBUs so says the bottle. So what am I missing here? If the IBU scale is supposed to give you a idea of how bitter a beer is before you drink it, or brew it how can one beer be so bitter at 42 ibus and another 200 percent smoother at 72ibus? thanks for any info.

Well, the key is balance. The Rogue Double Dead Guy (if it's 9% ABV) has alot more malt to balance out the 72 IBUs. There is a chart around here that shows the IBU/SG ratio which can explain why something with so many IBUs doesn't taste hoppy to you. I'll see if I can dig it up.


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Old 09-15-2008, 12:35 AM   #3
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Ah I understand now Yooper, thanks
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Old 09-15-2008, 12:46 AM   #5
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Before you get too comfortable in your understanding of IBUs listen to this basic brewing podcast.

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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).

Click here to listen
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Old 09-15-2008, 12:52 AM   #6
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thanks, im gonna listen to that podcast right now. Thanks for the scale yooper, got it saved on my computer now.


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