Building a "balanced" beer using the BU/GU ratio
The BU/GU Ratio of a beer stands for bitterness units (IBUs) divided by the gravity units. As a brewer, it helps you determine the amount of bitterness balanced with the sweetness of your beer.
Have you ever brewed a beer and noticed that it didn't quite seem like it was "balanced"? Maybe it tasted too sweet, or even too bitter. Believe it or not, there is a useful tool called the BU/GU ratio that can help you with this.
The BU/GU Ratio of a beer stands for bitterness units (IBUs) divided by the gravity units. As a brewer, it helps you determine the amount of bitterness balanced with the sweetness of your beer. The higher the BU/GU ratio, the higher the bitterness. Conversely, the lower the ratio, the lower the bitterness (and higher the sweetness).
In terms of a ratio, you should ideally be aiming for :
- 0.25-0.35 for wheats
- 0.4-0.8 for the most ales
- and greater than 1.0 for IPAs.
The graph below gives you an indication of the range of IBUs to gravity units that you should be aiming for. Green is obviously better, with red being less desirable.
It's worth noting that these aren't strict rules that you should brew every beer by! Rather use the BU/GU ratio as a guideline when brewing your beers. It will help you get your beer in the correct ballpark for the given style you are trying to achieve.
Brewfather is my choice of brewing software - I love the flexibility that it gives me and its simple interface. If you look closely on the style charts that come with Brewfather, you'll notice that it already has the BU/GU ratio built in. It's a handy way of balancing your beer when building a recipe!
I hope you've found this article helpful - happy brewing!