IBU

July 15, 2010

I’ve been writing about tasting here recently, and this weekend is the Portland International Beerfest 2010, of which my husband really wants to go. He has been on a sour beer kick recently, and I’m counting six that are going to be there.

But what would I like? Well, since I don’t like most beers because they are too bitter, I look for the IBU rating to help guide me as to what beers I might find drinkable.  International Bitterness Units (IBU) is a measurement of 1 mg of isomerized hop oils per liter of beer, so beers that used a lot of hops have a high IBU. And since I don’t like beer due to bitterness, I gravitate towards really really low IBU beers, which includes wheat beers, and, apparently, sour beers. I’m guessing that the bitter hop flavor interferes too much with the sour flavor.

I should note that IBU measures how much hop oil is in beer, but it doesn’t really reflect how bitter the beer might truly be. This is because there are other things that can make the beer bitter (dandelions, orange peel), and then things like sugar or perceived sweetness can balance out the bitterness. For instance, malt is not completely fermentable, leaving a sweetness, and alcohol is also perceived as sweet. If two beers are at 50 IBU, but one is 5% and the other is 8% alcohol, the 5% alcohol is going to taste more bitter. However, usually if a beer is at 75 IBU or higher, regardless of the alcohol content, it is thought of as being a very hoppy beer.

I tire of beer at the festival, there is cider and mead! Local Wandering Aengus Ciderworks should be there with their excellent Wanderlust and Cherry Anthem Ciders, both on tap. JK Scrumpy is one of my favorites, who will be pouring their Orchard Gate Gold. And cider powerhouse Crispin Cider is suppose to be there with their Artisanal Honey Crisp and The Saint. I’m also glad that Mountain Meadows Mead will be back up from California. I’ve sampled and bought their cranberry mead, which they will have with them this time along with the agave mead.

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4 Responses to “IBU”


  1. […] and my anti-hop low IBU tastes stuck to just a few beers. Here are my tasting notes in order of which I tasted […]


  2. […] for Gilgamesh Mamba. This beer is made with black tea, tangerines, and no hops, so there is zero IBU.  I sort of had mixed feelings about this beer, as black tea contains tannins, so it had an […]


  3. […] Framboise, which was described as an raspberry farmhouse ale from France with 6.2% ABV and 10 IBU. I found it quite pleasant, and my husband said it was very balanced between the fruit and the […]


  4. […] them, were listed in order of brewer with a description, and then they had them all graphed out by IBU by […]


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