Char­ac­ter­is­ing Your Beer: Know How To De­scribe It

Rules For The Modern Man - - Rules For The Modern Man -

IN­TER­NA­TIONAL BIT­TER­NESS UNITS

IBU in­di­cates the hop bit­ter­ness in beer, on a scale of 0-100, though some beers may ex­ceed this num­ber. Al­though the in­dus­try stan­dard ap­plies across the board, the use of malt in a beer af­fects the bit­ter­ness tasted. Thus, a beer with a lower IBU score may taste more bit­ter than one with a higher score, but more malt.

BEER COLOUR

The Stan­dard Ref­er­ence Method is used by brew­ers to spec­ify beer colour, rang­ing from two for pil­sners to over 40 for im­pe­rial stout. Beer colour can sug­gest the type of beer you’re drink­ing, as most lagers have straw or honey colours while ales are gen­er­ally darker. The colour comes from the roasting of the malt, not colourants.

SPE­CIFIC GRAV­ITY

Grav­ity refers to the den­sity of beer ver­sus wa­ter. It’s de­pen­dent on the amount of sugar in the wort, and in­di­cates al­co­hol con­tent. The orig­i­nal grav­ity refers to the value be­fore fer­men­ta­tion, while the fi­nal grav­ity is its value af­ter. The dif­fer­ence be­tween the two is known as at­ten­u­a­tion, and beer grav­i­ties tend to in­crease post­fer­ment­ing.

MALT FLAVOUR

Malt aro­mas, depend­ing on its source and the prepa­ra­tion process, can range from burnt, charred cof­fee to honey and fruit. It’s made from bar­ley or wheat, and gen­er­ally used to counter the hop bit­ter­ness in beer. The roasting process used in stouts such as Guin­ness gives the beer a caramelised bit­ter­sweet taste.

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