When you first started to get into craft beer, you may have begun to notice acronyms such as IBU, SRM, and ABV. These acronyms are actually very easy to understand and can be useful by offering you more information about your favourite craft beers. They can help guide you when looking for a new beer to enjoy, and by knowing what they mean you’ll have a better understanding of the science behind your favourite brew.
Here’s a breakdown of these popular beer acronyms:
ABV (Alcohol By Volume)
Most people know what ABV means, but it doesn’t hurt to include a brief explanation. Put simply, ABV gives a good indication of how strong the beer is (whether it’ll just give you a bit of a buzz, or knock you on your butt).
Quite literally though, it means how much alcohol is in the beer by liquid volume. Most beers hover around 4% to 6% ABV, but beers such as our Cafe Del Bastardo can be as high as 11.9%.
Fun fact: The world’s strongest beer has an ABV of 67.9%. Stronger than most whiskeys!
IPA fans know this one like the back of their hands. Calculating IBU is a way of measuring a beer’s specific bitterness levels, which helps you know more about what kind of taste to expect from the beer. An important thing to remember though is that it’s used to measure bitterness, NOT hoppiness. Hops can definitely add bitterness to a beer, but brewers can choose to balance hops with sweet malted grains to bring down the IBU.
Knowing what the IBU of a beer is can still be super helpful though by allowing you to search out beers with the bitterness levels you enjoy the most. Our Naughty Neighbour APA for example has 38 IBU, while our Head Stock IPA has 80 IBU. Both are hoppy and assertive, but Head Stock has a little over double IBU compared to Naughty Neighbour!
These two acronyms are not ones you may normally come across, but when you do it’ll be good to know what they mean!
SRM (Standard Reference Method), is a color system used to identify finished beer and malt color. The lowest range (1.0 – 3.0 SRM) means that a beer is a pale yellow color, while the highest (20.0 SRM) means that a beer is black in colour.
LVB (Lovibond) on the other hand measures the color of grains. Invented in 1883, this was the popular way of measuring colour until SRM came along in 1950. Our Kentucky Bastard for example has an LVB of 65.
Hopefully these acronym explanations will help you understand the science behind the beer and lead to an even better drinking experience. Education is key in this ever-evolving industry– enjoy the journey!