Acronyms are something that really get my goat on a daily basis at the ol’ day job. Someone calls looking for information pertaining to the A.C.H.R.G.P.C…. Uhhhh, what the hell does that mean!?! And why does this person think everyone they talk to would know what that means? I am an admin assistant answering a phone, not an A.C.H.R.G.P.C. specialist… if that even exists…
In beer geek speak there are several acronyms. But fear not, I am going to decode a few of them for you so the next time they come up at your favorite watering hole you will know what the beer acronyms mean instead of wondering if it is a medical condition, or a type of accountant, or part of your car’s emission system.
The first one is A.B.V. I am sure many of you already know what A.B.V. is, but I have been pretty surprised by how many beer drinkers have no clue about this one. A.B.V. is Alcohol By Volume. Basically, it’s how strong alcohol wise the beer is. This is one of the most important things to pay attention to for your own safety and for your party’s longevity. Think about if you didn’t know what this meant and you were slammin’ down Bent Brewstillery’s Dark Fatha (11.7% A.B.V.) like it was Lucid Air (4.5% A.B.V). Every one Dark Fatha is like drinking two and a half Airs! If you don’t pace yourself with the higher A.B.V. beers, you could be in for a rough night and an even rougher morning!
Next Up; IBUs. Some mornings after having too much fun at a taproom the night before, “Ibu…” is all I can manage to mumble to my wife as I am holding my head praying for the sweet relief from a few ibuprofens. That is NOT what we are talkin about here.
IBU(s) stands for International Bittering Unit(s). This is the measure of bitterness of a beer from the alpha acids released by the hops in your beer. This can be used a bit as a rule of thumb for you to estimate how hoppy a beer is going to be, but remember there are other factors that can counteract this estimation. Like, how balanced the beer is with maltiness or other sugars like honey, etc. Theoretically you could have two beers with the exact same IBUs, but one could be SUPER HOPPY and one could be very well balanced and not too crazy hoppy. But, generally a higher number of IBUs = hoppier while a lower number would be less hoppy.
The final one is SRM. This stands for Standard Reference Method. SRM determines color of a beer by measuring the amount of a specific wavelength of light that passes through the beer. I’ve always thought this one was a little silly. It’s kind of like a weather guy telling you it’s raining while you are outside wearing your goulashes in a steady downpour. I can see this stout is black… I can see this nut brown is brown… But then again, if you are just reading a beer review you would be able to understand a bit better the color of this beer if you understand this measurement. As well, you can’t see through cans at the beer store!
Low SRM = lighter colored beer; Higher SRM = Darker colored beer. For instance, a Pilsner may clock in at about 3 SRM, an English Brown Ale may clock in at about 15 SRM, and an Imperial Stout may clock in at about 40+.
Well, there you go. A few acronyms so you can keep up with those beer geeks that are living life way too fast to use whole words! Hit the taprooms and show em what you got!