Can anyone tell I'm working on my computer all day? Sorry for the frequent posts - they break up the monotony of writing my dissertation.
Here's the deal with "bitterness" in an "ordinary bitter." There are a couple of factors here - most important is the concept of "perception of bitterness." In a low gravity style of beer, a few IBUs go a long way. Therefore, "ordinary bitter" often seems quite bitter, because the IBUs are unencumbered by a heavier body, alcohol, or more powerful flavor components. Put the same IBUs in an imperial stout, a brown ale, or even a fuller-bodied ESB, and you'll hardly tast the bitterness at all.
Also, many "ordinary bitters" have wonderfully strong hop AROMAS and FLAVORS. This isn't bitterness.
A perfect example of this idea is from a particular American IPA I know most of you love - Three Floyd's Alpha King. In my book, this is the reigning champ of hop AROMA and right up there as far as hop-flavor goes, but I can name several that are actually more BITTER.
I love IPAs and Pale Ale's that really explode in your schnoz. An example that comes to mind is Otter Creek Pale Ale - which has a delightful and strong hop aroma, but is on the lower end for bitterness.
I truly believe that "bitterness" itself has a "flavor." This is distinct from what most people consider the "flavor components" of the hops. For example, I am personally less fond of high cohumulone hop varietals, because I perceive a lingering "smacking" sort of bitterness on the back of my tongue.
The best way to appreciate the relationship between IBUs and beer styles is to start homebrewing and experiment! Oh - and a great way to satisfy a craving for a super hoppy IPA is to make your own! You'll be surprised how easy it can be to make a pretty damn good IPA.
One more thing - my previous post with the order of hop-bitterness in beer styles is just a rough general guide. Most brewers call their beers whatever they like. And certainly - many would probably disagree with my order. Check out the link in my previous email. You'll be astounded by the wide range of IBU values for given styles. As you might expect, there is quite a bit of overlap between styles.
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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Lyle on 2001-08-15 12:25 ]</font>
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Lyle on 2001-08-15 12:26 ]</font>