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Beer Basics

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Beer Styles
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Glossary

Comparing Beer Styles: Bitterness

Sweet. Bitter. Sweetness in beer comes from the malt, and of course too much of anything is a bad thing. So, hops or other ingredients are used to balance against the malt. Hop bitterness is quantified using International Bitterness Units, or IBU's. Too much sweetness would be too cloying, while too much bitterness would cause a rapid inversion of glass. The world of beer styles contains compromises that tend in both directions.

Beer Style Family

Bitterness (IBU)

Abbey Ale

15 - 30

Amber Lager

19 - 29

American Ale

10 - 60

Belgian and French Ale

12 - 47

Bock

18 - 39

Dark Lager

14 - 33

English Ale

10 - 60

German Ale

12 - 58

Lambic

3 - 22

Pale Lager

6 - 30

Pilsener

23 - 45

Porter

20 - 42

Scottish and Irish Ale

9 - 36

Specialty Beers

5 - 30

Stout

17 - 87

Strong Ale and Barleywine

28 - 100

Wheat Beer

3 - 50

 

Click on a beer style family name to learn more.