Unless you’re brand new to beer (nothing wrong with that though) you know that hops are measured on a scale of bitterness. IBUs, International Bitterness Units, measure the bitter alpha acids from hops that are isomerized and dissolved during the boil.
Some beers, like Hefeweizens, have IBUs of 10-15 while Double IPAs will go to 80+ IBUs.
Randy Mosher’s Tasting Beer: An Insider’s Guide to the World’s Greatest Drink has a great graph in chapter four that shows the relationship of IBUs to Original Gravity (think the amount of alcohol in a beer. Yes, it’s more complicated than that but now’s not the time.). What I noticed that was generally the hoppier the beer, the more Original Gravity, OG, is has. Mosher describes why a lot better than I am able to.
So looking at the chart I came to this hypothesis: if you enjoy a certain beer, wouldn’t you enjoy a beer with a similar hoppiness-to-OG?
I challenge you to try this experiment. Ladies Hefeweizen lovers – try a Doppelbock. Pale Ale fans (like myself) – try a Maibock. And IPA buffs – try an Irish Dry Stout.
Beer Advocate says there are five categories to reviewing a beer: appearance, smell, taste, mouthfeel and overall. I believe each one represents a certain percentage of satisfaction towards the overall pleasure you get from drinking a beer. Of these, taste is the most important.
My problem is that I don’t know how to properly taste a beer.