Difference between IBU and EBU.

Thu Jun 11, 2009 11:07 am

I haven't found anything substantive in my research to give me a clear definition between IBU and EBU. Is it European Bittering Units vs International Bittering Units? Doesn't make much sense to me.

Any input is appreciated.

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Re: Difference between IBU and EBU.

Thu Jun 11, 2009 11:28 am

they're identical. ebu was established by the European Brewery Convention.
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Re: Difference between IBU and EBU.

Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:21 pm

IBU refer to the North American (ASBC) way of specifying bitterness. While they are intended to convey perceived bitterness they are roughly equivalent to mg/L isomerized bittering principal per Liter of beer. To measure them one puts 10 ml of beer into a centrifuge tube transferring it in a pipet that has been dipped in octanol (to flatten any foam), adds 1 mL 3N HCl and 20 mL spectrophotometric grade iso-octane and shakes vigorously for 15 minutes. The bittering materials will be extracted into the gasoline (iso octane). Sometimes a sludge forms and centrifugation for the minimum time required to separate the gasoline phase is employed. A sample of the gasoline phase is put in a 1 cm cuvette and its absortion measured at 430 nm against iso-octane with a minute amount of octanol. The absorption multiplied by 50 is the IBU value.

In Europe the EBC procedure is almost identical except that no octanol is involved, 0.5 mL of 6N hydrocloric acid is used, the shaking is done with 3 small glass balls added and the sample is always centrifuged for 3 minutes before the reading is taken. Measurement is in 1 cm at the same wavelength and, again, the absorption is multiplied by 50 to give the BE (Bittereinheiten) - at least that's what it's called in German but Analytica EBC is also in English (where it probably called EBUs) .

Because the absorption decreases pretty quicly with time at the completion of extraction the EBC reported value will, in general, be a litttle smaller than ASBC reported value unless the beer requires centrifugation. For all practical considerations the two systems should give the same results.
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Re: Difference between IBU and EBU.

Thu Jun 11, 2009 5:53 pm

One has an "I" and one has an "E", dumbass....

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Re: Difference between IBU and EBU.

Fri Jun 12, 2009 12:58 pm

Mylo wrote:One has an "I" and one has an "E", dumbass....Mylo

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Re: Difference between IBU and EBU.

Fri Jun 12, 2009 4:30 pm

Reminds me of a joke. What's the difference between a fox and a pig? About 4 beers. :drink

It was funnier when a friend of mine told me this dressed as a pirate at a halloween party.
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Re: Difference between IBU and EBU.

Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:32 am

It is an old topic, but let me make some correction because I have found link even from Wikipedia (Beer measurement) to the post of "ajdelange" that have several mistakes.
Isooctane is not gasoline. It is a hydrocarbon.
When determining bitterness with the method of ASBC or EBC you have to use a centrifuge to separate the isooctane phase and beer sample. This is important especially in case of beers with higher bitterness (above 50 IBU), where the amount of supernatant (i.e. isooctane) tends to be less. At higher IBU values (above 60) even dilution of the sample may be necessary.
A simple spectrophotometer is not suitable, only UV spectrophotometer because the measurement is done at 275 nm (NOT 430! - this is for measuring color). Due to this, you need a cuvette made of quartz (simple one will give false results).
The method of EBC is identical, uses isooctane just like the ASBC method! (The only difference is the concentration of hydrochloric acid - 3N vs. 6N - but it doesn't matter.)
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