DIPA v10 - Cloudwater

India Pale Ale (IPA) – Beer Style

IPA stands for India Pale Ale, and as you may have guess India has a lot to do with the style that it is.

Origin

It was developed in the UK around 1780 to be sent out to India, it wasn’t until 1835 it was named East India Pale Ale. The standard pale ales sent out couldn’t handle the long trip out and would spoil. In order to make the beer last the journey additional hops were added, which have antibacterial properties.

Myths

There are at least 3 myths surrounding IPA, so here’s the truth (as I know it at least).

  1. IPA was invented by the brewer George Hodgson. He was one of the early exporters of pale ale to India, however there’s no evidence that he invented a new beer style. It was till at least 40 years after he was exporting until the name IPA was coined. Obviously this doesn’t prove it wasn’t him however there are examples of other brewers selling pale ales at the same time, and it’s highly likely that they were highly hopped and of similar %. It’s certainly up for debate at least.
  2. IPA was exported to british troops.  The troops tended to prefer porter, and continued to drink it until the lat 1800s. The pale ale drinkers tended to be the middle and upper class europeans, civil servants and officers.
  3. Alcohol and hops were added to make the beer last the journey. The beers were not particularly strong for the time, 6-6.5%. On top of that it was actually thought that lower alcohol beers (around 4-4.5%) would make the journey better, but they were made at a higher % so that the brewer would receiveo a tax rebate upon export which was only applicable on beers over a gravity of 1055. There is evidence that they realised that hops provided some antibacterial qualities to help the beer last it’s journey by the 1760’s.

Development & Sub Styles

IPA is certainly king of the craft movement and today we tend to encounter 3 different varieties:

  1. English IPA
  2. American IPA
  3. Double/Imperial IPA

There are also a few sub-styles coming through including dark, fruit and wheat.

English IPA

Characteristics

Aroma: Moderate-High floral, earthy & fruity. Moderate caramel or toasty malt.

Flavour: Medium-High hop flavour (similar to aroma). Low-medium malt flavour (similar to aroma).

Balance: More hoppy than malt.

Body: Slightly dry, medium body. Smooth.

Finish – Medium to high bitterness.

Colour: 8-14° SRM

Alcohol by Volume: 4.5-7.5%

Bitterness: 40-60 IBU

Seasonality: All Year

Food Pairings: Due to the crisp dryness they tend to work with strong, bold foods. Strong or spicy food & sweet deserts.

Examples

India Pale Ale – Goose Island, IPA – Fuller’s, Veda – Three Hills Brewing.

Veda #2
Veda #2 – Three Hills Brewery

American IPA

Characteristics

Aroma: Intense hop aroma; citrus, floral, pine or fruity. Low malty sweetness. some fruity esters can be present along with some alcohol notes.

Flavour: Medium-High hop flavour (similar to aroma). Low-medium caramel/toasty malt flavour (similar to aroma).

Balance: More hoppy than malt.

Body: Medium dry, medium body. Smooth.

Finish – Medium-very high bitterness.

Colour: 6-15° SRM

Alcohol by Volume: 5.5-7.5%

Bitterness: 40-70 IBU

Seasonality: All Year

Food Pairings: Works with a lot of food, burger’s are particularly good.

Examples

Two Hearted Ale – Bell’s Brewery Inc, Bear State – Thornbridge Brewery, Elvis Juice – BrewDog.

wp-image-127946678jpg.jpg
Elvis Juice – BrewDog

Imperial IPA

Characteristics

Aroma: Intense hop aroma; either English or American in style. Low malty sweetness. some fruity esters can be present along with some alcohol notes.

Flavour: High hop flavour (similar to aroma). Low-medium caramel/toasty malt flavour (similar to aroma).

Balance: More hoppy than malt.

Body: Medium-high dry, medium body. Smooth.

Finish – High-absurdly high bitterness.

Colour: 8-15° SRM

Alcohol by Volume: 7.5-10%

Bitterness: 60-120 IBU

Seasonality: All Year

Food Pairings: Very rich foods

Examples

90 Minute IPA – Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Wyoming Sheep Ranch – Buxton, DIPA Series – Cloudwater (DIPA v10 shown below).

DIPA v10 - Cloudwater
DIPA v10 – Cloudwater

References

Tasting Beer: An Insider’s Guide to the World’s Greatest Drink – Randy Mosher

Four IPA myths that need to be stamped out for #IPAday

Another nail in the IPA myth

BJCP Style Guidlines – IPA

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