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Attempting The 1000 Ibu Benchmark

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unco_tomato

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Hey Guys,

I'm looking for some more experience IPA experts to weigh in and help me out here, as the brewing software I use (Beer Smith) will likely get a bit confused when it comes to hop absorption in the boiling phase of this monolithic brew.

OK, so I've essentially got a basic IPA recipe I use regularly, and that is working with my usual 60-63% efficiency using BIAB. It goes something like the following:

(23L Batch)
38L Water (Calcium Sulphate and Yeast Nutrient added)
6.5KG Marris Otter
0.5KG Caramunich II
0.5KG Dextrose (added after 5 days of primary)
150G Cascade - 10 Mins
150G Galaxy 10 Mins
100G Amarillo 10 Mins


From that recipe (my typical hop burst IPA with simple body and fruity flavours) I usually end up with around 8% alcohol and 110 IBU. Do you think this grain bill will be enough to carry the 1000 IBU beer I've got planned? Or should I work on getting a "double-mash" and ditch the sugar? or perhaps keep the grain bill the same, but add more sugar later on in the fermentation?

Also, has any one here brewed anything close to 1000IBU before? With my typical IPA recipe (above) using the "bursting" method I end up with nearly a kilo of hop slurry at the end of boil. I think the hop slurry in this 1000 IBU beer I've got planned (will require over 4KG of hops) could end up weighing around 10KG, if not more. At the moment I've got the plan of using a grain bag inside a 35L Fermenter, transferring my wort to the fermenter as normal, then removing the bag and as much of the slurry as possible along with it. Do you think this could work?

Obviously the other problem is the amount of water lost to the slurry. How do I account for this? Does anyone have hop absorption calculations that are accurate at this quantity?

At this point I'm comprehending just starting the batch with an extra 5L of water and hop(p)ing for the best, though I'd kind of like the beer to be successful, and not just some freak experiment (if that is even possible).

Anyway, I will take and appreciate any guidance or advice you have to offer.

P.s. Almost forgot, does having a wort this high in alpha acids affect yeast health? I assumed it would, but it's hard to say how it will turn out if I ensure yeast are as healthy as possible before pitching.
 

GalBrew

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Well, 1000 is a lot of BUs. You may well have to use some sort of hop extract, in conjunction with your hops to be able to brew this beer. Perhaps you could also use the french press method to make your own hop extract and add that to the brew. You will end up with less beer lost to sludge that way.
 

unco_tomato

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Hmmm, I think that is some good advice there Adam, will definitely take that on board.
 

MaestroMatt

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I seem to remember reading some scholarly information that suggests perceived bitterness has a ceiling at a certain IBU limit (certainly well below 1000IBU). After that, they suggest flavor and aroma are the only real benefits for continuing to hop to that level. I'll see if I can find the article.

I certainly don't have experience brewing to 1000IBU (if such a thing is even possible), but I would think you would need a MUCH more robust beer than what your 8% beer can supply. You are going to need a very solid malt backbone to support that level of hopping. I would be heading to the (Imperial?) Barley wine side of recipe formulation to be on the right track.

I personally wouldn't waste the hops but good luck to you! :)
 

Where's Jim?

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I seem to remember reading some scholarly information that suggests perceived bitterness has a ceiling at a certain IBU limit (certainly well below 1000IBU). After that, they suggest flavor and aroma are the only real benefits for continuing to hop to that level. I'll see if I can find the article.

I certainly don't have experience brewing to 1000IBU (if such a thing is even possible), but I would think you would need a MUCH more robust beer than what your 8% beer can supply. You are going to need a very solid malt backbone to support that level of hopping. I would be heading to the (Imperial?) Barley wine side of recipe formulation to be on the right track.

I personally wouldn't waste the hops but good luck to you! :)

I also recall reading something of the sort. I think I remember reading that the threshold of the human tongue tops out at around 120IBU. I'd love to read the article you have in mind if you can find it.

I would also imagine that the solubility of iso-alpha-acids tops out at some point well below 1000IBU as well - similar concept to how you can only dissolve so much sugar in so much water.

Interesting never the less. Good luck :icon_cheers:

EDIT: in regards to the yeast health - I imagine yeast would be affected negatively also as their cell walls are coated by hop acids/oils (not sure on the specifics) making it harder for them to reproduce and perhaps take in goodies. If I'm not mistaken, hops act as a preservative by coating the walls of bacteria that may be present, unfortunately yeast is also a victim to that process.

Best wait for someone with more knowledge to chime in though!
 

unco_tomato

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Thanks Maestro, I was thinking I may need to double my grain bill also, but wasn't sure as I've never even come close to attempting a 4-5KG hopped brew.

I think I'll double up on the Marris Otter, add around 100g of wheat, 2-3KG of Pilsner Malt and keep the Caramunich the same. Unfortunately at work right now so can't fiddle with the exact numbers, but I guess I'd be aiming for 14% or so? In that case I may actually have to age this beer for quite some time too in order to let any harshness mellow. Perhaps turn it into a Barley Wine recipe instead of an IPA?

@ Jim,

I think I remember reading about the solubility of iso-alpha-acids in an old issue of BYO. From memory you're right, and I think perhaps an interview with Mikkeller revealed the same thing, with them saying their 1000IBU beer isn't actually that high, it's just what the software said it should hit. Either way, ever since trying their 1000 IBU last year I've wanted to give it a try myself.
 

manticle

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I believe both taste/palate perception and actual solubility of Isomerised alpha into wort will limit you to way under 1000: maybe under 100 from memory.

However hops contribute more than bitterness (and bitterness comes from compounds other than isomerised alpha) so your super IIIIIIIIIIPA may still have some discernible difference to an ordinary IIIIIPA.

Up to you whether you think that will be a good difference.
 

unco_tomato

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@Manticle,

But isn't the ability to taste any difference in a 100 IBU beer and a 40 IBU beer dependent on the hops used? A 100IBU Beer made with Saaz would taste milder than a 40IBU Beer made with Magnum I would have thought. So surely dependent on the hop variety used, you can actually taste differences in hops used above and below 100IBU?

I understand your point though Maniticle, which I think is "why bother going above 100IBU with your chosen hop variety as you likely won't taste a difference, and if you do it won't be worth the $200+ of extra hops added". If that is your point, I guess I'm just doing it because I want to :p and ever since trying the Mikkeller 1KIBU I've wanted to make my own.

Anyway, the point of this thread was to try to get as close to the 1K IBU mark as possible, so I'll keep it updated with my progress as I read more into it, and eventually come brew day, expect some photos.
 

Muscovy_333

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Horses for courses.
Do you plan on consuming it or is it just for shits 'n giggles because you can?

You may need extracted hop oils to get up that high.
Is it possible that the hop oils would seperate from your aqeous phase. I.e oil and water?
 

Whiteferret

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Hey Guys,

I'm looking for some more experience IPA experts to weigh in and help me out here, as the brewing software I use (Beer Smith) will likely get a bit confused when it comes to hop absorption in the boiling phase of this monolithic brew.

OK, so I've essentially got a basic IPA recipe I use regularly, and that is working with my usual 60-63% efficiency using BIAB. It goes something like the following:

(23L Batch)
38L Water (Calcium Sulphate and Yeast Nutrient added)
6.5KG Marris Otter
0.5KG Caramunich II
0.5KG Dextrose (added after 5 days of primary)
150G Cascade - 10 Mins
150G Galaxy 10 Mins
100G Amarillo 10 Mins


From that recipe (my typical hop burst IPA with simple body and fruity flavours) I usually end up with around 8% alcohol and 110 IBU. Do you think this grain bill will be enough to carry the 1000 IBU beer I've got planned? Or should I work on getting a "double-mash" and ditch the sugar? or perhaps keep the grain bill the same, but add more sugar later on in the fermentation?

Also, has any one here brewed anything close to 1000IBU before? With my typical IPA recipe (above) using the "bursting" method I end up with nearly a kilo of hop slurry at the end of boil. I think the hop slurry in this 1000 IBU beer I've got planned (will require over 4KG of hops) could end up weighing around 10KG, if not more. At the moment I've got the plan of using a grain bag inside a 35L Fermenter, transferring my wort to the fermenter as normal, then removing the bag and as much of the slurry as possible along with it. Do you think this could work?

Obviously the other problem is the amount of water lost to the slurry. How do I account for this? Does anyone have hop absorption calculations that are accurate at this quantity?

At this point I'm comprehending just starting the batch with an extra 5L of water and hop(p)ing for the best, though I'd kind of like the beer to be successful, and not just some freak experiment (if that is even possible).

Anyway, I will take and appreciate any guidance or advice you have to offer.

P.s. Almost forgot, does having a wort this high in alpha acids affect yeast health? I assumed it would, but it's hard to say how it will turn out if I ensure yeast are as healthy as possible before pitching.

The longer the boil the more IBUs dont put all of it in at 10 min put some in at 60 min to get it up higher even though said threshhold might be reached first.
 

unco_tomato

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Horses for courses.
Do you plan on consuming it or is it just for shits 'n giggles because you can?

You may need extracted hop oils to get up that high.
Is it possible that the hop oils would seperate from your aqeous phase. I.e oil and water?
I plan on drinking it (assuming of course it is palatable).

I'm not sure if the oils will separate from the water, surely it would just be that oil eventually ceases to be extracted from the hops as they reach a near-equilibrium? Not sure though as I've not read too much about it (hence why I'm on here).

If I was to use extracts, I'd imagine there could be residual oil that may became insoluble, not sure though.
 

Dazza88

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brew a beer of 110 ibu with bittering additons only. continue to boil your 110 ibu beer to a ninth of its original volume. and add a shite load of flame out hops.

a 1000ish ibu beer. maybe.
 

MHB

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Just for fun, lets look at what you proposed putting in your brew
Use all the hops and get maximum utilisation, lets be generous and say you get 30% utilisation (AA of the hops into the beer) and say the average AA of your hops was 10%
400g of hops @ 10% = 40g of Alpha Acid, utilisation of 30% = 12g or 12,000mg dissolve that in 23 Litres of beer and you have 521.7 mg/L
So even if you did both the impossible and the improbable in the same brew you would be just over half way to your target.

There is a limit to the solubility of Iso Alpha Acid, its about 100 IBU (depending on how its measured) really its just a whisker over 90mg/L
The IBU is by definition a measure of the Iso-Alpha Acid in solution in the finished beer, measured by a well tested method as described in the EBC Analitica, anyone claiming to make beer over 100 IBU is lying (or grossly ignorant, or working for an ad agency...)
I have no doubt the beer will be monstrously hoppy, make you a deal, brew the beer, send me a sample and I will have the bitterness measured and will post the result, I got $50 says you wont crack 90 IBU.
Not trying to be a grump, just sick of the neck deep bullshit being talked about IBUs and a really big fan of reality based thinking.
Mark
 

Tony

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Agreed.

I have played with making beers up around the 300+ IBU (theoretical) mark with about 600g of hops in a small 20 something liter batch, and its no hoppier or bitter than a beer made to 80 or 90 IBU and using realistic, less expensive amounts of hops.

It has been proven there is a limit to the bitterness a human can perceive, and a limit to the amount of bitterness than can be dissolved into a beer, and i really do believe that there is a limit to the amount of flavor and aroma compounds that can be put in a beer too.

Im all for pushing the envelope and trying new things, but 1000 IBU???

Its like me saying i think i will go drive my diesel 4WD at 1000 km/hr today........... i can try......... but i will be disappointed.
 

manticle

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@Manticle,

But isn't the ability to taste any difference in a 100 IBU beer and a 40 IBU beer dependent on the hops used? A 100IBU Beer made with Saaz would taste milder than a 40IBU Beer made with Magnum I would have thought. So surely dependent on the hop variety used, you can actually taste differences in hops used above and below 100IBU?

I understand your point though Maniticle, which I think is "why bother going above 100IBU with your chosen hop variety as you likely won't taste a difference, and if you do it won't be worth the $200+ of extra hops added". If that is your point, I guess I'm just doing it because I want to :p and ever since trying the Mikkeller 1KIBU I've wanted to make my own.

Anyway, the point of this thread was to try to get as close to the 1K IBU mark as possible, so I'll keep it updated with my progress as I read more into it, and eventually come brew day, expect some photos.
My point isn't why bother at all.

My 1st point is along the lines of part of what MHB said above - IBU is a measurement of isomerised alpha acid in solution and there is a finite limit which is well under 1000. Secondary to that is taste threshold of bitterness which also supposedly has a finite limit - this is what may lead to the question 'why bother' IF (and only if) IBU based bitterness is all hops provide.

However:

My second point is that while the above may be true, there are other compounds in hops that influence beer flavour so even if you don't/can't hit 1000, you may still get a different beer to one that uses less hops that still hits either the theoretical or the measured limits.

The third point is that only you can tell whether that difference is worth it. The concept to me is up there with someone suggesting making an 1.120 OG beer with only 10 IBU. I like beers with harmony - they can be malt forward, hop forward or yeast/ester driven but everything works together. Your suggestion is like getting 7 million super hot chillis to make a curry and seeing if you have enough potato to make it work. I love chilli but I wouldn't in my wildest dreams believe that I can make a good dish by doing that.

It may work for extreme hop lovers and you are presumably one - people who will happily drink hop juice and not worry if anything else exists to complemet. Being your beer, it doesn't matter what my take on the concept is though.

In summary - you won't/can't get 1000 actual IBUs in any beer, you can stick 4kg of hops in it and it may be different from 2kg, 1 kg, 500g or 80 g and only you can tell if it's a good move or not.
 

kevo

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Righto - excuse my ignorance - never used them - do hop extracts need to be boiled or can they simply be added to a wort or fermented beer?

Would it be possible to add the hop extract post-fermentation to avoid issues with yeast health, but bump up the IBUs?

Just a thought...

Everything I've read/heard says a 1000 IBU shouldn't be possible (and probably not terribly enjoyable) but would be cool to see if it -or something similar- can be achieved.

Kev
 

manticle

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Depends if it's iso hop extract (eg just bittering) or flavour hop extract.

Not sure about tetra-hop extract - I vaguely recall that's similar to iso but UV resistant/skunk proof.

Pretty sure there will still be a limit as it's about one compound/chemical in solution and there's only so much you can put in. Imagine dissolving salt in water - eventually you put so much in that no more can dissolve.
 

mxd

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Its like me saying i think i will go drive my diesel 4WD at 1000 km/hr today........... i can try......... but i will be disappointed.
terminal velocity will assist, wheres there's a will there's a way :)
 

Charst

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Also, Mikkeller has a 1000 IBU beer. Maybe you should check it out.
I had this in a tasting paddle at the localTap house. Couldn't finish it. First beer I couldn't finish. Like Hop porridge, not Drinkable at all. Good luck if you want to make it though it's your beer. There is a hop bursting episode of basic brewing that may help.
 

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