Friday, 5 September 2014

Drinking a real 1000 IBU beer

I've read a few times about beers with 1000 International Bitterness Units, though I don't think any of the claims have stood up to analysis. The highest level I know of is a beer with 323 IBU from the Pitstop brewery.

I believe the level of isomerised alpha acids you can get to dissolve is around 100mg/L making it very difficult to get above 100 IBU. But it seems if, like the man from Pitstop, you add hop extract you can get the level higher. Which is something my thoughts turned to when I got my hands on a solution of 30% isomerised alpha acid.

In our hands is placed a power greater than their hoarded gold
A simple calculation of how much I needed to add to beer to get to an iso-alpha acid concentration of 1g/L was all I needed to do to get to 1000 IBU.So that's what I did. I won't name the poor innocent beer I violated this way, but its IBU level will have been no more than 30 before I added the extract. Once I was happy it was well mixed it was time for a drink.

I took a careful sip and I must admit I can't really describe the taste as awesome. I can describe it as shockingly revolting though. This was just concentrated bitterness, no other flavours or aromas just pure, unmitigated bitterness. The only thing it reminded me of was the intensity of awfulness in my mouth when I first tried to eat lime pickle, though I dare say that was mild and flavoursome in comparison.

Still, I'd made up the drink so I had to try again. The second sip was still extremely bitter, though my obviously overloaded taste buds reacted with less horror this time . So I had a swig, which tasted much the same. There was still some of the beer left but I didn't see the point in drinking any more. I'd drunk the 1000 IBU beer, and it had tasted pretty much as you'd expect. So I chucked the rest and to try and rinse my mouth of the iso-alpha acids I had a half of the unadulterated beer. After what I'd been drinking before I'd expected it to taste of nothing, but in fact as it mingled with the iso-alpha acids in my mouth it tasted really bitter, but at a more bearable level.

I went to bed after that and you'll be pleased to hear my tongue didn't dissolve in the night. I don't think I'll be doing this one again though.


14 comments:

  1. The point of these things isn't to enjoy them it's to prove you're tough enough to handle them. When the fat lad on Man V Food eats hot wings that are "10 billion trillion on the Schoville scale" he isn't actually enjoying the experience. When a group of lads in a late night curry house all order "the hottest one you do, pal" they don't actually enjoy eating it.

    The point is to prove your masculinity. Respect, you made it and drank it. You proved you can handle it/ You are, in my view, more manly than Dredgie, Brown, Tandleman all put together. You the man.

    It is now up to other bloggers to meet your challenge. Those that don't are fairies.

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    1. Good point, I hadn't thought of it like that. I can remember a mate of mine telling me about when he ordered a phall with extra chillies and had tears streaming down his face as he forced it down his neck. 'What a twat' I thought, and now years later I'm just as big a twat.

      Still, it's given me and idea for a new line on the profile.

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  2. If you put it in a very malt forward and sweet beer the bitterness might have blended better. I don't know the base beer you 'improve', but at 30IBU it will only have had enough malt to balance the 30IBUs, not 1000.

    So, I urge you to try it again, but with a beer designed for extreme bitterness. (Not that I'm not impressed already, of course).

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    1. I'm not sure what would balance with 1000 IBU - unfermented malt extract maybe?

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  3. Lime pickle is delicious, but you have to eat it atop spicy curry

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    1. It was a mistake that the first time I tried it was eating it on its own.

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    2. I absolutely adore lime pickle and often eat it straight out of the jar. Conversely, I'm not very fond of high IBU beers.

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    3. I eat lime pickle now when it comes with with poppadoms, thought I still wouldn't eat it straight out of the jar. When I first tried it the intentisty of the sour flavour was just too much, which I guess is why the intense bitterness of the 1000 IBU beer reminded me of it.

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  4. We had a cask of Pitstop's 323IBU, 8% beer "The Hop" at Egham, 4 years ago.

    http://www.worldrecordacademy.com/drinks/bitterest_beer_world_record_set_by_The_Hop_by_Peter_Fowler_101609.htm

    We didn't sell all that much, as the hops appeared to emulsify the beer, and it poured [gravity served] like milk. Left to stand for several hours, a small amount of beer could be seen at the bottom of the glass.

    The tickers bought a few, and the rest went back to the brewery AFAIR.


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    1. I should have known you'd had it at Egham! Doesn't sound too appealing though.

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  5. Nice idea. Did you try Mikkeller's 1000 IBU beer? I know Steel City have done some crazy IBU beers before!

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    1. No, I haven't had any 'mega' IBU beers before. I suspect those ones would at least have the benefit of strong hop aroma rather than just pure bitterness.

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  6. Excellent idea. I knew that there was a limit to 'real life' IBU levels but this answers the question as to what happens when you overhop a beer. I've had the Mikkeller 1000 IBU and found it rather good. I don't know what IBU it would really clock in at but despite being very hoppy, to me it's a proper beer not a gimmick

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