Author Topic: Do IBUs change over the life of the beer?  (Read 958 times)

Offline trapae

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Do IBUs change over the life of the beer?
« on: July 09, 2016, 02:07:51 AM »
 Just wondering if anyone knows the answer to this. I keg my beers and there is a definite change in hop character that occurs  throughout the beers life, but does the actual IBU change from say first tapping the keg until the last pint?

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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Do IBUs change over the life of the beer?
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2016, 03:50:00 AM »
Yes, the IBUs decrease wth time. Do a web search for the Delgleish curves on beer aging.

Or read this, found a graph.
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Offline MDixon

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Re: Do IBUs change over the life of the beer?
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2016, 11:22:25 AM »
I would have thought they might decrease, but after googling as suggested actually came up with this post from 2011
http://homebrew.stackexchange.com/questions/5000/how-much-hop-bitterness-dissipates-with-time
which discusses this research paper
http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S0100-40422000000100019&script=sci_arttext

For discussion here is the post linked above. Seems a bit aggressive on the decrease, but also notes the numbers are not precise. I'd credit the author of the post if I knew who mdma from Norway was.

Quote

Paraphrasing from Fundamentals of Beer and Hop Chemistry (text below), 2/3 of the hop bitterness in wort has a half-life in excess of 5 years, and the remaining 1/3 as a half-life of 1 year. From that, I've made a table showing the amount remaining over time. The total column shows the percentage of bitterness compared to the total at the start:

months  cis-    trans-  total
0   68.00%  32.00%  100.00%
3   65.68%  26.91%  92.59%
6   63.45%  22.63%  86.07%
9   61.29%  19.03%  80.31%
12  59.20%  16.00%  75.20%
15  57.18%  13.45%  70.64%
18  55.23%  11.31%  66.55%
21  53.35%  9.51%   62.87%
24  51.53%  8.00%   59.53%
30  48.08%  5.66%   53.74%
36  44.86%  4.00%   48.86%
48  39.06%  2.00%   41.06%
60  34.00%  1.00%   35.00%

So, if you leave a beer for 1 year, it's IBUs will have decreased to 75% of its original value. For example, an 80 IBU beer will have 60 IBUs after 1 year.

Here's the relevant part of the text:

Quote
The ratio of the isohumulones depends on the reaction conditions. In the wort medium it is normally 68:32 in favour of the cis-compounds. However, the cis-compounds are much more stable (half-life >> 5 years) than the trans-isomers (half-life of ca. 1 year) during the course of time. This affects, obviously, the cis:trans ratio and has significant consequences with respect to taste and flavour stability.

Of course, other variables do come into play, so these figures can't be taken as exact, But then, as we all know, that's how it is with brewing. Our malt isn't exactly the color on the label (usually a range of values), and hops aren't the bitterness on the pack since they degrade from the get go. So, although not exact, these figures should offer a good estimate.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Do IBUs change over the life of the beer?
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2016, 11:27:30 AM »
I have seen those references. There was also one somewhere that pointed out the ratio is less for short boils times,  more trans than Cis, so late hop beers will have less bitterness stability.
Jeff Rankert
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Offline trapae

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Re: Do IBUs change over the life of the beer?
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2016, 02:28:30 PM »
 Thanks for the  info and links. Didn't realize it would be that much decrease. As for "late hop beers will have less bitterness stability",  that sure makes conceptual sense to me because I feel that the hop flavor (which I know isn't bitterness but is a function of hopping), from dry hopping seems to be the first to dissipate in my mind. 
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Offline MJK

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Re: Do IBUs change over the life of the beer?
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2016, 11:55:14 PM »
YEP
I tend to brew beers that get better with age. Stouts, Scotch, Quads.
I bitter them up figuring I'll loose some.

As for American Pale Ales, the rule of thumb is drink em when you got em.

Nice chart mdixon. Thanks

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