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Bitter Beer Face or Why the Bitter Beer

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Matt Up North

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This is a general thing that I have found with a lot of beer commercially sold. When they make an IPA it is super bitter hoppy and not aromatic hoppy. Instead of taking and making a balanced beer with maybe 2/3 of the hops in the bitter and the rest in aromatic, they are making it 90% bittering.

For example, if you are looking for 65 IBU's, look into putting 40 as a bittering addition at 60min. Don't put 60.

Moving away from the IPA, there are many people out there trying to bitter the hell out of all of their beers just to continue on the trend (or to stand out...meh). It always amazes me to sit down and drink something where it is way overpowering bitter.

I just had a flight at the Bear Republic. It was enjoyable. They make a bunch of different beers from Lagers to Okoberfest to IPA to Imperial Stout. I did the smaller flight of 13 instead of 16 (skipped their specialty barrel aged beers). Some of them were less memorable, some more so. I noticed a few though that were just over bitter. Malty, sure.

I get the same thing from a bunch of other breweries as well and just don't understand why they do it. Now everyone has their own taste buds, but I prefer mine to be able to enjoy a couple beers and not get overpowered by bitter hops.

 

BigEd

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I get the same thing from a bunch of other breweries as well and just don't understand why they do it.
They do it because there is a market for it. It seems like what you are running into are highly hopped beers that don't have the malt body to support the bitterness. Call it the hops Arms Race if you will but lots of drinkers want ever increasing hop punch and the breweries are there to make products to sell. I'm with you in that to me a lot of these brews with the combination of high alpha hops and weak malt presence creates little more than an alpha acid delivery system.
 

ArcaneXor

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Most of the breweries who make high-IBU IPAs also make many other craft beers across a range of styles. And ultimately, what's so wonderful about home brewing is that you can customize your own recipes however you please until you end up with a drink that is perfect for your tastebuds.

I enjoy IPAs a lot and don't mind them bitter, but I also drink a lot of lighter beers like Wits and Koelsch that have little hop bitterness, flavor and aroma. If I had any requests for commercial beers, it would be less high alcohol brews and a larger variety of full-flavored beers in the 4-6% range in styles that aren't commonly available in the U.S.
 

Sir Humpsalot

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If I had any requests for commercial beers, it would be less high alcohol brews and a larger variety of full-flavored beers in the 4-6% range in styles that aren't commonly available in the U.S.
I'd like that as well.. but the reality is, when I see a 4%ABV six pack for $6 and I can get something twice as strong for the same price... well.. it's hard to justify...
 

SumnerH

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I'd like that as well.. but the reality is, when I see a 4%ABV six pack for $6 and I can get something twice as strong for the same price... well.. it's hard to justify...
Huh what? You shop for beer by the ABV? That just seems weird to me; I look for things that look tasty. If you want ABV, get a bottle of vodka and have a shot at the start of the night or something.
 

culaslucas

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wtf? where can you get a 6 pack for $6? Any craft beer out here in CO is $8-$12/er
 

TwoHeadsBrewing

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I feel this way too, but I understand it is only my personal taste. When I brew my beer, it's balanced...that's how I design my recipes or tweak other's. However, variety is the spice of life and I enjoy a good bitter brew every now and then. More importantly, since I am not the only beer drinker out there, is that some people prefer beers that favor bitterness over maltyness. Nothing wrong with it, just personal taste. And breweries market to that segment, just as much as they market to any other. I guarantee you almost every brewery out there has a hefeweizen, a lager, a pilsner, brown ale, or cream ale that is a "crowd pleaser". Light on the hops, featuring the malt, and goes down smooth. But to forget about the bitter american stout, or the super-hoppy IPA, or an over the top barleywine would be a fatal mistake in a craft brewery.
 

Sir Humpsalot

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Huh what? You shop for beer by the ABV? That just seems weird to me; I look for things that look tasty. If you want ABV, get a bottle of vodka and have a shot at the start of the night or something.
I guess you're right. I wouldn't avoid it because it's low ABV... I just wouldn't buy it more than once. I buy barley wines because I don't have to age them for 6 months to a year like my homebrew. With lower ABV beers, I don't have that problem, so I'm far more likely to buy a single 6er, drink it, and sit down to try and figure out a clone....

wtf? where can you get a 6 pack for $6? Any craft beer out here in CO is $8-$12/er
Well, I paid $7 tonight, but it was for a 6er of Big Foot Ale, so I don't mind so much. I guess most of the ones out here are $7-10...
 

brewthunda

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Huh what? You shop for beer by the ABV? That just seems weird to me; I look for things that look tasty. If you want ABV, get a bottle of vodka and have a shot at the start of the night or something.
I know I shop for beer with an eye for ABV. I like to drink 2-4 beers in an evening and be able to relax with a mild buzz. 4% beer won't do that for me at all - I might as well be drinking 0% beer and save the calories. I usually look for 6%-8% beers. I also enjoy heavier beers and know that a 4% brew will most likely be too watery for me. The ABV is a good indicator of what an otherwise unknown beer will be like.
 
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Matt Up North

Matt Up North

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Bear Republic Tasting Flight. $1.50 per 3oz glass and 16 possible though I only did 13! I will admit though I only tasted them as I had to drive home, so I had about a pints worth. They range from 4.1%abv all the way to 8.3%abv.


 

BrewDey

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I agree on the bitterness...some bitterness is good, but mainly what I look for in an IPA is that feeling that you've had a pine tree glazed in grapefruit juice shoved down your nose.

In terms of ABV, this is one of the reasons beer is so great. There is so much variety that you can pick what suits your mood. Sometimes I like sipping a pint of 8-9% RIS, and other times I feel like quaffing half a dozen cream ales. I don't discriminate!
 
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Matt Up North

Matt Up North

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I agree. I am just annoyed by how so many people seem to think that bitter makes an IPA or Pale Ale great, it makes it hard to find a beer I really enjoy often. Yes, it is a personal taste, but apparently it isn't because everyone is making a beer in that style. I actually have found out that I am as much a hop head as the rest of you. I just like my hops to be pure aroma and very little bitter. When I went to the Double IPA fest for beer week here I tasted a good 50 beers and found maybe 5 that were balanced well between the bitter and the aroma.
 

Irish1225

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bought a 6er of redhook EBS for a few more bottles to get enough for my next batch. tastes just too bitter for the underlying flavor. i see what the OP is saying.

if there isn't enough flavor/malt/sweetness underneath that bitterness, it's like taking a white castle and putting gourmet dijon mustard on it and calling it good.
 

McKBrew

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Beer is no different than any other extreme foods. Just as people want to try a hotter hot sauce, some people like to try super bitter beers, sour beers, etc.... Luckily there are plenty of options in the craft brew market, and there is that balanced example you are looking for. If you have a poor beer selection in the area, you'll have to make it yourself.

It's all a matter of preference.
 

CBBaron

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In my opinion you cant over do either one, aroma or bitterness. I have not found IPAs to usually be overly bitter and under late hops. There are occasions but it is not the norm. I have found that a bottle that has sit on the shelf for a while will decrease in hops aroma before the bitterness decreases noticeably. This can lead to IPAs without enough aroma.

And I do like the other extreme also. I make atleast 1 malty beer and 1 roasty beer for every hoppy beer. So while I enjoy extreme hop head beers I am not one that is constantly looking for the hoppiest beer available.

Craig
 

Joos

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you could say the same thing about maltiness.Some brewers way over do bochs.Thats why i make my own:D
 

fastricky

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Yeah, I remember when some British brands advertised with that whole 'bitter face' campaign... I don't know who they were referring to exactly but it couldn't have been a PNW IPA style 'cause IMHO if you are critical of that style you just don't get fine beer. 2 cents y'all!
 

fastricky

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Bear Republic Tasting Flight. $1.50 per 3oz glass and 16 possible though I only did 13! I will admit though I only tasted them as I had to drive home, so I had about a pints worth. They range from 4.1%abv all the way to 8.3%abv.


Damn that be some good stuff right there!! :mug:
 
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