Joined: 12 Dec 2010 Posts: 10545 Location: Ottawa, Canada
Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, German Pils, Belgian Dubbel, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter
Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Belgian IPA
Link Posted: Wed May 16, 2018 1:21 pm Post subject:
5. Do the formulas used (ie Tinseth) for each differ drastically?
I'll offer the following comment on the above:
Even if they did, I don't think it matters.
There are about half a dozen ways to calculate bitterness in beer. Tinseth is one of them. It doesn't matter which of them is 'correct' as that's subjective, especially with hop forward beers where it's more about hop flavours added late to the boil and/or steeped instead of pure bitterness. What matters is taste and how harsh or clean the bitterness is. No calculator can tell you that. For example, you can make a RIS that (on paper) is 100 IBU that tastes a lot smoother and less bitter than a Blond Ale that (on paper) is 20 IBU. It's very subjective. (Those example numbers may be a bit of a stretch, but you get the idea).
I basically ignore IBUs for anything but beers where only straight 60 min additions are added, things like my light lagers, or a Kolsch, and so forth. But again, the hops matter too so for delicate beers like this I tend to go for noble hops and they're very clean tasting. If I was to use 'harsh' hops, I may want to use less hops.
For american style hop forward beers, I don't even look at where the IBU numbers end up.
I guess what I'm saying is that IBU isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I find far too many brewers focus on it as a 'target' when that's backwards. The 'target' should be how the beer tastes. Numbers only tell a small part of the story and especially with IBUs I find there are a lot of caveats. I think someone new to brewing would be well served to completely ignore it until they get a feel for when and how the number is meaningful. I see far too many times people mentioning "I don't like high IBU beers" and I just shake my head as it's all relative. It makes as little sense as someone who says "I don't like dark beers".
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