International Bittering Units (IBU)

The International Bittering Units scale, or simply IBU scale, provides a measure of the bitterness of beer, which is provided by the hops used during brewing.

Bittering units are measured through the use of a spectrophotometer and solvent extraction.

The apparent bitterness of a beer is subjective to the taste of the drinker and the balancing malt sweetness of the beer this is not always an accurate measure of the "hoppiness" of a beer. But, generally speaking, beers with IBUs of less than 20 have little to no apparent hops presence.

Beers with IBUs from 20 to 45 are the most common and have mild to pronounced hops presence. Beers with IBUs greater than 45 are heavily hopped and can be quite bitter.

Beer Style and IBU Ranges
Beer Style IBU Range
Altbier Hybrid* 24-30
American Dark Lager 14-20
American Lager 5-15
American Light Lager 8-17
American Premium Lager 13-23
American Wheat 10-17
Barley Wine 50-100
Belgian Brown Ale 15-25
Belgian Dubbel 10-25
Belgian Tripels 14-25
Berliner Weisse 3-6
Bitter, Extra Special 30-35
Bitter, Ordinary 20-25
Bock Lager 25-28
Bock, German Lager 20-30
Bock, Helles (Pale) Lager 20-35
Brown Ale 15-20
Brown Ale, American 25-60
Brown Ale, English 15-25
California Common 33-45
Cream Ale Hybrid 10-18
Dopplebock Lager 17-27
Dortmunder/Export Lager 23-29
Dunkel Lager 16-25
English Mild 14-20
English Old/Strong Ale 30-40
Fruit Beer Hybrid Varies
German Hefeweizen 10-16
Herb and Spice Beer Varies
Beer Stylee IBU Range
Imperial Stout 50-80
India Pale Ale (IPA) 40-60
Kolsch Hybrid 20-30
Lambics 11-23
Light Ale 10-15
Marzen/Octoberfest Lager 22-28
Munich Dunkel Lager 14-24
Munich Helles Lager 18-25
Pale Ale, American 20-40
Pale Ale. Classic 20-40
Pale Ale, English 20-40
Pilsner, Classic Lager 35-45
Pilsner, Czech Lager 35-43
Pilsner, German Lager 30-40
Porter 20-60
Porter, Robust 25-40
Rauchbier 20-25
Saison 20-30
Scotch Strong Ale 25-35
Scottish Brown 5-20
Scottish Export 15-20
Scottish Heavy 12.17
Scottish Light Ale 10-15
Smoked Beer 20-30
Stout, Dry 30-35
Stout, Sweet (Cream) 15-25
Vienna Lager 18-25
Weizenbock 10-20
Weizen 13-17

*Hybird Beer: Brewed with either lager or ale yeast.