Been brewing in San Diego for over 7 years now, and I am a hophead. I am primarily an IPA and Pale brewer with an emphasis on the hop administration. More than ever I have been offended by the subjective nature of IBU claims by breweries. It has become a marketing byline and I don’t understand it. Claims of over 100 IBUs and even 1000 IBUs have me perplexed, and as a BJCP competition entrant and educated beer drinker
, I am at a loss when I read such nonsense on a bottle, especially when the experience is something much different than what is being claimed. Sometimes I think, “If that’s 100+ IBU’s my homebrew must be 1,000,000 IBU’s.” Lovibonds, ABVs, volumes, etc. are all specific, measurable metrics. According to the definition of IBUs, the scale tops out at 100. There are ways to calculate your IBU’s. Why then is it possible to exceed the scale? Why can’t the IBU information help me decide what beer I want to buy rather than tricking me into some marketing scheme? Maybe if a brewery claimed an ABV of 5% and I find out it’s 10%, or rather the “man” finds out, there may an issue legally, taxing, etc. But, I think the reason the fluctuation in the IBU standard is that there is no enforcer, and thus the marketers have used it to their advantage, but again, if it really doesn’t educate me as a buyer, and in fact misleads me, then it no longer holds value and is just a gimmick. I don’t believe in gimmicky beers. My ramblings are done, but hopefully we all can stand up for standardizing some of these “measurable” claims – to help educate buyers, to help educate brewers, and ultimately, to aid in the substantiation of claims of the brewers’ product.