Author Topic: What is the highest IBU level that can be tasted?  (Read 13358 times)

Offline redbone

  • BeerSmith Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 36
  • Karma: 0
What is the highest IBU level that can be tasted?
« on: March 01, 2009, 02:22:41 PM »
I've heard in the past that anything above 100IBU's can't be tasted.  Is this true?  The first and only IPA that I brew (because I love it so much) calculates out to be 150+ IBU's.  I'm wondering what the highest level of IBU's are that can be tasted so I can know if I'm just wasting some money on too many hops.

Thoughts?

I'm attaching my recipe just in case anyone wants it.  Man... it really is good stuff.

suthrncomfrt1884

  • Guest
Re: What is the highest IBU level that can be tasted?
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2009, 02:42:43 PM »
The scale only goes to 100, but I believe you can still taste it.  I've had a few beers that were actually labeled as 120+IBU. 

karst

  • Guest
Re: What is the highest IBU level that can be tasted?
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2009, 08:50:39 PM »
IBUs are calculated by the formula

IBUs= Hop Wt in oz x % Alpha Acids in hop var. used x Utility factor (based on boil time and some other factors will range from 30% to <5% typically) x 7489 (a factor that converts metric to US units)

The product of these 4 numbers is divided by volumn of wort.

There may exist some upper limit but due to soluability of isomerized alpha acids in wort but it exceeds 100 IBUs.

Try to sample some IIPA examples look for the following Imperial IPAs:

Russian River Pliny the Elder, Three Floyd's Dreadnaught, Avery Majaraja, Bell's Hop Slam, Stone Ruination IPA, Great Divide Hercules Double IPA, Surly Furious, Rogue I2PA, Hoylan's Hopsickle, Boulevard's Doublewide IPA


Although these beers are a showcase for hops they still maintain drinkability.
We have made a clone of a couple of these with IBUs calulated at 150+.  As for how we humans percieve these high levels you can decide for yourself.  Most experienced beer judges consider 100-120 their upper limit with 5 IBUs as the smallest variation that can be detected (they could determine 75 IBU beer was hoppier than an 70 IBU sample of the same beer).  There are some tricks to making hop bitterness more or less perceptable.  Adding sulfate ions (gypsum) to the brewing liquor is common.  I know a brewer in Colorado who swears that he can brew a 30 IBU beer that will seem more bitter than a 45 IBU beer.


deerelk4x4

  • Guest
Re: What is the highest IBU level that can be tasted?
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2009, 09:13:38 PM »
Another good beer to try, if you are wanting to sample 100+ IBU beers, you could try Arrogant Bastard by Sierra Nevada??(I think that is who makes it.)

Offline Wildrover

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 480
  • Karma: 5
Re: What is the highest IBU level that can be tasted?
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2009, 08:50:59 AM »
I think arrogant bastard is made by Stone. The same company that makes Rumination

karst

  • Guest
Re: What is the highest IBU level that can be tasted?
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2009, 03:04:31 PM »
Wamt to add the following references

http://www.beersmith.com/Help/estimating_bitterness_tech.htm

as well as

https://my.johnihaas.com/cmsdk/content/bhg/research/pdf/06_bitterisbetter_Schoenbe_MfB.pdf

Judging these 120+ IBU Imperial IPA raises the question "When does a high hopped wort stop being beer and become Hop Tea" ? 

For a simple demonstration compare Dogfish Head 60 with DFH 90 and DFH 120.  It will give you some idea how other things such as alcohol and residual sweetness effect your perception.