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Beer Styles: IPA (India Pale Ale)


jhlurie
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Rather than disucssing beers scattershot, or collectively (both approaches seem futile, in different ways), I think it makes sense to try and discuss them by TYPE.

Lets start with IPAs. I've always liked the ones I've tried, but I don't know enough about them. Educate me. What distinguishes this style, who makes the best, where did it come from, why is it called what it is, etc?

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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This article on the Beer Advocate website claims that they oversaturate the beer market. Not in my market, at least. It also says that they are higher in alcohol (I believe it) but also overly hoppy (I've never really noticed that with the ones I've had, but maybe I've been lucky).

This seems to indicate the situation is a mess, in their opinion:

Today, India Pale Ales can be found all over the world with varying degrees of hop, malt and alcohol levels. Very few are even close to what the early IPA used to be. The "IPA" mark can also be found on numerous beer labels throughout the world, seemingly regardless of its contents. American brewers are one the biggest culprits of this by becoming notorious for pushing the limits of acceptance and lambasting the palate in an attempt to make the strongest and/or hoppiest beers possible. On the flipside many brewers, world-wide, will brew a more mild ale and call it an IPA, when in fact it is a Pale Ale. Although not 100% true to style, the American-style IPA has come into its own as an unofficial style and partially meets a niche crowd of beer drinkers who crave hops. These insane hardcore tribesmen of the humulus lupulus (hops) call themselves ... "hop heads.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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It also says that they are higher in alcohol (I believe it) but also overly hoppy (I've never really noticed that with the ones I've had, but maybe I've been lucky).

LUCKY to have a NOT hoppy IPA?!? Blasphemy!! :shock:

Actually, I do know that an IPA should have a malty backbone, but I love the ones that scream HOPS. And fresh, floral hops at that. I had one IPA at a tasting that was so hoppy it tasted like how fresh marijuana smells. Very green and floral.

But then again, I guess I could be called a 'hop head'. :raz:

Born Free, Now Expensive

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If you have the chance, get your hands on the Diamond Knot Brewery's IPA and Industrial IPA.

Awbrig, I have had Dogfish Head's other beers such as Raison D'Etre and have been meaning to check out the 60 min, 90 min, and 120 min IPA. I hear they are great. Here is a quote from their Web site:

60 Minute IPA

A session I.P.A. brewed with Warrior, Amarillo and Mystery Hop X.

Bottle-conditioned 6-packs and draft available.

6% ABV 60 IBU

90 Minute IPA

An Imperial I.P.A. brewed to be savored from a snifter.  A big beer with a great malt backbone that stands up to the extreme hopping rate.  Bottled in 12 ounce/4-packs and on draft and cask. 

9% ABV 90 IBU

Thanks to all of you who helped to vote Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA

the 2003 Champion in the RealBeer.com Battle of the Beers!

Click here for complete results of this year's competition

120 Minute IPA

Too extreme to be called beer? Brewed to a colossal 45-degree plato, boiled for a full 2 hours while being continually hopped with high alpha American hops, dry-hopped daily in the fermenter for a month and aged for a month on whole leaf hops, 120 Minute IPA is by far the biggest IPA ever brewed! At 21% abv and 120 IBU's, you can see why we call this the Holy Grail for Hopheads!

Release date: May 1, 2003, very limited availabilty 

21% ABV 120 IBU 

Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!

-Freakmaster

I have two words for America... Meat Crust.

-Mario

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Those of you in DC must try the Imperial Pale Ale from Capitol City Brewery in Shirlington. It is awesome and IMHO knocks the spots off DFH's various x minute IPA.

They tap this puppy every Thursday and serve it until it runs out. It will not be listed on the chalkboard. (stealth beer by word of mouth). It's 9.5% so go easy.

Delicious though this is, it is a variant of the true IPA style, being stronger and darker than the true style. Other American IPAs tend to be more agressively dry-hopped than a "classic" IPA. This is probably due to the fact that most people prefer to drink them at a cooler temp than the British would serve them, so the aroma of the kettle hops are somewhat suppressed.

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Anyone try Stoudt's American Pale Ale? I've had it once or twice and found i really liked it, although it's not all that easy to find.

Yield to Temptation, It may never come your way again.

 --Lazarus Long

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Those of you in DC must try the Imperial Pale Ale from Capitol City Brewery in Shirlington. It is awesome and IMHO knocks the spots off DFH's various x minute IPA.

They tap this puppy every Thursday and serve it until it runs out. It will not be listed on the chalkboard. (stealth beer by word of mouth). It's 9.5% so go easy.

Delicious though this is, it is a variant of the true IPA style, being stronger and darker than the true style. Other American IPAs tend to be more agressively dry-hopped than a "classic" IPA. This is probably due to the fact that most people prefer to drink them at a cooler temp than the British would serve them, so the aroma of the kettle hops are somewhat suppressed.

In the DC area, you MUST try Tupper's Hop Pocket, sister brew to Victory Hop Devil, and also as good an IPA as is made in the US. It's made by Old Dominion Brewery in Ashburn, VA, a brewery that just doesnt known how to make a mediocre beer. A great brewery.

Rich Pawlak

 

Reporter, The Trentonian

Feature Writer, INSIDE Magazine
Food Writer At Large

MY BLOG: THE OMNIVORE

"In Cerveza et Pizza Veritas"

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Labatt's IPA was my father's beer of coice when I was growing up, and that's the first Beer Memory I have. I loved it.

It was hard, almost impossible to find in my home town---hardcore Ex territory with a Bleu minority. A depanneur special-ordered it for Daddy and his paper mill superintendant.

Does Labatt still make an IPA? Is it any good, or is this yet another Fond Childhood Memry?

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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Maggie,

Your father has good taste. Labatt India Pale Ale was an early award winner (1878, gold medal at the International Exposition in Paris). But Labatt doesn't seem to make it anymore, or if they do, they don't mention it on their website. (Which is actually quite hilarious, in a very Canadian way. You are cautioned, "You must be of legal drinking age to enter this website.") But one of their regional brands (Keith's in the maritimes) does make an IPA.

Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"
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  • 10 months later...

It's so good to be an active hophead again. We're enjoying the best supply of beer that we've had in a long time, after beers from Lloyd and our recent shopping trips up north.

I've always wanted to taste Hop Hazard by River Horse Brewing Company, for the name of it if nothing else! It lived up to my hopes. The label claims that brewing this beer was a balancing act. Their challenge was achieved in my opinion. Usually I prefer beers that are considered by some to be somewhat imbalanced, leaning toward the hoppy side. Maybe my taste is developing about this balance thing. If this truly has a "malt rich base," this is my kind of malt/hop flavor profile. At any rate, it is dry hopped, with a lovely hop bouquet, medium bodied and smooth, and has a good, clean finish. Are other River Horse beers this good?

Another yummy one was Shipyard IPA. It had been so long since I had this beer, I forgot how good it is. It is single hopped (Fuggles), so it's interesting in an educational way, as well as good, to taste this hop flavor. This may sound weird, but I thought it tasted earthy and clean. It was crisp and citrusy, with good bitterness. Does anyone know if this Fuggles IPA is the only IPA that Shipyard makes? Shipyard ales are among my favorites.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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Hi Susan, how's the beach down there?

Fuggles is Shipyards only IPA, but I have to say I prefer Chamberlain and the Prelude (available Xmastime only). It's a bit dicey up here, beer-wise, in that there a LOT of great micros and the competition is fierce. I thought nothing would pry me away from D.L. Gearys Pale ale and his Hampshire Special, but what a difference a couple years makes. I'll report back when I perform rigorous testing of all contestants!

Johnnyd :laugh:

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Hey... A Mainiac! Hello!

The beach is awesome right now. It's been in the 80's, sunny, with comfortable humidity. We've had very little rain which is great for enjoying the outdoors, but a little scary for threat of fires; however, so far so good.

Thankss for your reply about the Fuggles IPA. I don't know Chamberlain or Prelude, but sounds good. I might PM you about a trade of some kind, for a taste of those next winter, in case you are interested. I don't know WTF I could send you from FL, but it may be worth a discussion. You're in a great beer area, with actual competition. That I envy, but I do not envy your weather. :smile:

Please do report back after your rigorous testing.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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Ah, yes. History is that back in the day the British pale ales for the Indian Empire were made stronger and given more hops to protect them on their long journey. They are characterized by the high hop bitterness, aroma, and alcohol content. That is a quickie version of why they are IPA's. I'm sure someone else can chime in with a link or a longer story.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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