Joined: 12 Dec 2010 Posts: 10936 Location: Ottawa, Canada
Drinking: Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle, Mild, Pliny the Younger, Belgian Dark Strong, Weizen, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter
Link Posted: Wed Feb 02, 2022 1:32 pm Post subject:
Kal, I am curious on your thoughts on the importance of the BU:GU ratio?
It's just a way to indicate bitterness units to gravity units (BU:GU).
Different styles of beer will have different IBU ranges and gravity ranges. So different styles of beer will therefore have different BU:GU ranges too. Feel free to track/look at them if they're important to you, just like any other style guidelines. It's just another way to track if you're interested.
I don't really pay much attention to it, at least not directly. I do care what my original gravity is and to some degree what my IBU is (depending on the beer) so I suppose I look at it 'indirectly'. It's just a different perspective.
The American IPA recipe where you first posted this question has a 59:58 ratio, or nearly equal (1.0). That's often where IPAs end up because that's what the style is, what people like. A wheat beer by comparison may starts at 1.050 with an IBU of only 15 and would be 15:50 or 0.3. Again, what people expect/like for that style, usually.
If I make an imperial IPA with higher gravity, the tendency is to also make the bitterness (IBU) higher as that's what people like in that style, to keep the BU:GU close to 1 or even higher. For example, you may not like an IPA that starts at 1.065 and only has a bitterness of 20-30 IBU. You may find it's too sweet or unbalanced. Or maybe you would. That's up to you.
It's only one number however. You have to look at the big picture. You may be brewing an NEIPA which tends to have a lower IBU range than an American IPA so you're may end up below 1 for that and like it that way. Completely up to you really.
So how important it is is completely a matter of perspective. Depends on the person. There's no right or wrong answer.
For what it's worth I find IBU to be misleading. It doesn't account for flavour. Some hops are harsher than others (for example) so you may like 20 IBU in a light lager when hop "X" is used but find 15 IBU of hop "Y" in that same light lager to be too 'harsh' even though the IBU is lower.
At the end of the day what a beer tastes like is all that matters. Numbers can be used to explain beers, but they shouldn't be the driving force that defines the beer. Your tastebuds should do that. You don't taste numbers so be careful to not go down the slippery slope of only looking at numbers when brewing.
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