High gravity IBUs

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anotherbeerplease

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I have brewed several very high abv stouts, 12-14% and I usually place the IBUS around 80-90 or more. I don't think you can get much more than 100 IBUs...
None of my brews have tasted overly bitter after a bit of ageing.

But seeing recipes for Belgian beers, which I love, typically IBUs for 9-10%+ beers are around 20 or 30. And Belgains don't taste overly sweet to me.
So now I am formulating my next stout recipe and I am wondering if I should back off on the IBUs? What is the difference between a 100 IBU imperial stout vs a 30 IBU strong belgian quad when they are at similar abv and neither taste overly bitter or sweet (to me)?
 

day_trippr

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As you have gathered many Belgian recipes are fully fermented and quite dry and really exist in their own space. If you were intending to create a dry Irish style stout there may be some relevance to be appreciated, but sweet heavy stouts are their own paradigm, and typically require much more balance in the bittering department...

Cheers!
 

Alan Reginato

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Do you like it bitter or sweet? That's really up to you.

OG:BU ratio isn't the best way. I found out RBR is a lot better, specially with high ABV and low FG, like Belgians.

Other thing that I don't have seen in the internet, stouts with low or none crystal malt, the roasted stuff counts for FG, but isn't sweet, in fact, for anything with husk, it tastes bitter...
 
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anotherbeerplease

anotherbeerplease

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I like it balanced, so far the high gravity stouts I’ve made have been 80-100 IBUs which works just great, especially since I age them. But the next yeast I’m using is a mix of WLP545 and WLP099 both of which can do 85% or higher attenuation and beer smith says fg may be as low as 1.006 on a 1.2 og.

I may back off the grains a bit to keep Abv from getting too high, but nevertheless it has me wondering why the Belgians can get away with such a great and balanced taste with just 20-40 IBUs
 

Holden Caulfield

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But seeing recipes for Belgian beers, which I love, typically IBUs for 9-10%+ beers are around 20 or 30. And Belgains don't taste overly sweet to me.
Unlike stouts, high gravity Belgian beers like Quads, Dubbels, and Trippels use a lot of candi-sugars/syrups (15%) that are nearly 100% fermentable. Also, the Belgian yeasts are highly attenuative so these beers finish with relatively low gravities and crisp finishes. For example, Westmalle Trippel starts with an OG of ~ 1.080 and attenuates down to ~1.010 for an ABV of ~9.5%.

I’m using is a mix of WLP545 and WLP099
While WLP545 is highly attenuative, it is a Belgian strain and will provide significant Phenolic flavors characteristic of Belgian beers. This would not be appropriate in a stout. That said, if you want it that way, then go for it. If you want to dry out a high gravity stout you may be better served mashing for a very, very long time at around 147 and using a highly attenuative, alcohol tolerant ale yeast that is not Belgian. You could also use some table sugar in place of the malt - not sure how "traditional" this is.
 
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anotherbeerplease

anotherbeerplease

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Ok thanks for the input, my previous stouts have been done with WLP500 so maybe that is more of a Belgian Quad but I don't really make it with that intent of making a Belgian beer.

I have made this 4-5 times over the years and it has never come out overly bitter after a bit of ageing, even at 80-90 IBUs. And yes my mash temp is 146 for an hour then ramp to 156 for 30min. I then do a reiterated mash because I use so much grain.

The one change I am making this year is to switch to WLP 545 + 099, this may ferment out even further and this is where I am starting to wonder if I need to back off the hops. My confusion is that I have never really seen bittering as counterpoint against FG, you always hear about bitterness against OG (BU:OG) but considering how great the high grav belgians taste despite their high FG I am starting to think of maybe cutting the hops. I just don't want to end up with a beer that is too sweet.
 
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anotherbeerplease

anotherbeerplease

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Do you like it bitter or sweet? That's really up to you.

OG:BU ratio isn't the best way. I found out RBR is a lot better, specially with high ABV and low FG, like Belgians.

Other thing that I don't have seen in the internet, stouts with low or none crystal malt, the roasted stuff counts for FG, but isn't sweet, in fact, for anything with husk, it tastes bitter...
Thank you, I did not know about this
 
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