Beer School

What is IBU?

What is IBU? How is a beer’s bitterness measured? Should I drink a beer with a high or low IBU? Find the answers to this and more in this article about the International Bitterness Unit.

What is IBU?

If you’re a beer drinker, you’ve probably noticed the abbreviations “ABV, SRxM and IBU” on beers or beer cans. And even in our Beer Guides! These beer acronyms are a key part in describing a beer. In this article, we are going to focus on the bitterness of beer or IBU.

Read more: 3 Need-to-Know Beer Acronyms: ABV, IBU and SRM

What is IBU?

The IBU of a beer is a number that measures a beer’s bittering compounds (hops), like isomerized and oxidizeds alpha acids, polyphenols and more chemicals that make your beer bitter.

full-frame-shot-of-beer-hops

 

What does IBU stand for?

IBU stands for International Bitterness Unit used for measuring how bitter a beer is.

What is IBU scale?

The IBU scale that typically goes from 1 to 100, however, it can exceed far beyond 100–like… a thousand. Don’t believe us? Check out some of the hoppiest beers ever brewed.

What is a low IBU?

A low IBU would be a number less than 20. This contains little to no presence of hops in the beer–meaning the beer probably isn’t very bitter. If you’re not a huge fan of hoppy or bitter beers, try to find a beer with a lower IBU.

What IBU is considered bitter?

A beer with an IBU of over 45 is considered to be a bitter beer.

What is the IBU of…

Typically, each beer style has a certain “IBU range” – if you like hoppier, more bitter beers, you’d try a beer with a higher IBU, like:

Bitter beer Styles: High IBU Beers
Low Bitterness Beer Styles: Low IBU Beers

If bitterness isn’t quite your thing, try a light or crisp and clean beer with a lower IBU like,

  • Light lagers, which typically range between 5 – 10 IBU
  • Hefeweizen – < 15 IBU
  • Gose – <12 IBU
Medium Bitterness Beer Styles: Medium IBU Beers

Some beers can go both ways or fall somewhere in the middle, like:

Now that you’ve learned about the bitterness of beers, take that knowledge and find a beer style or flavour profile you like!

How to Find a Beer You’ll Actually Like

 

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