For years, I've learned that acids taste sour and bases taste bitter. Recently, I've read in "The Beer Bible" and various beer sites that the hops in beer, which are acidic, cause beer to have a bitter taste.

So my question is, is it true that the acid in hops make beer bitter? And if true, does this mean that (Arrhenius) acids aren't necessarily sour tasting, but sometimes bitter?

Alternatively, is there some kind of chemical reaction between hops and beer that make beer more basic, hence the bitter taste?

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    $\begingroup$ While there is certainly quite a bit of chemistry involved here, you might get a more general and tailored answer at Beer, Wine & Spirits. It might be a bit too broad here, but - as a non-specialist - I would be hesitant to vote on that reason. $\endgroup$ – Martin - マーチン Mar 20 '18 at 5:47
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    $\begingroup$ It doesn't. Then again, acidity and sour taste are pretty much the same thing; basicity and bitter taste, not so much. There are many compounds which are neither very acidic nor very basic, yet taste way more bitter than any base. $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Mar 20 '18 at 5:48
  • $\begingroup$ Well that all acids taste sour should be taken with a grain salt. As for not all salt are tasting salty :) $\endgroup$ – Alchimista Mar 20 '18 at 10:41
  • $\begingroup$ Beer has a moderately acid pH, 4.0-5.0 would be typical. Sour is based on pH not total acid content, many acids are weak acids, or are soluble in small amounts (like fatty acids), and some like lewis acids can have a pKa above 7.0 (meaning they buffer to a basic pH) because acids are defined by their effect on protons and hydroxide ions not by pH. Alpha-acids are compounds in hops that are isomerized by boiling for an extended time, one hour is a typical, cold soaking hops does not add alpha-acid related bitterness. $\endgroup$ – Max Power Jul 11 '20 at 4:48

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