IPA – the most popular type of beer

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IPAs initials stand for India Pale Ale. It’s a classic English top-fermented beer with a name coming from an adventurous journey. In India it was too hot to brew but the British Empire still wanted to supply themselves with this kind of cold beverage, so they decided to ’import’ the beer from Britain. This was a tough task as you might guess because it was a six-month-long odyssey from Britain to India and most beers became skunky on the road. In the late 1700’s George Hodgson, a London brewer exported a very strong pale ale that was made with significant hop usage at higher alcohol levels, that preserved the drink’s freshness. This IPA prototype (namely the October Ale) not only survived the long road journey but it turned out to be tasty and well-crafted that suited the Indian climate gently.

Hoppy character and bitter taste both define the IPA types and their colour ranges from rusty red to bronze. Many English versions contain no spices, though some brewers of spiced winter seasonal ales slap “Winter Warmer” on the label. Those that are spiced, tend to follow the “wassail” tradition of blending robust ales with mixed spices before hops become the chief “spice” in beer. American varieties may have a larger presence of hops both in bitterness and flavour.
There’s still a debate about NEIPA – whether it is a style or not, because not all NEIPAs fit into the American IPA category. NEIPAs are Double or unfiltered IPAs that’s been strongly hopped. When you brew a NEIPA, you would like to end up with a beverage that is hazy and juicy with floral and fruity flavours.

Let’s see how many IPAs are on the market and some brewing tips from a home brewer

AMERICAN IPAs are flavorful and bitter. This beer is more on the noble hop side, while still being easy to drink. East coast IPAs are well-balanced beverages with a bit more noticeable flavours, West coast IPAs have simple, straight forward malt profiles, one-dimensional styles with a very dry finish.

+ The pronounced and scratchy flavor of the beer is not for everyone. You can brew a lot more sophisticated and elegant IPA or APA if you use a low cohumulone (max 18%), but high oil content hops for aroma hopping (do this for a maximum of 10 minutes) and dry hopping (max 3 days) in larger quantities (3grams/liter for aroma hopping and 6grams/liter for dry hopping).

BELGIAN IPAs are sweet IPAs with high alcohol content made with Belgian yeast. The high amount of added sugar and the continental hops (German and Slovenian) are the traditional highlights of this beer.

+ Any type of Belgian yeast can be used in its making.
+ Use of light-colored base malt is recommended.
+ Conditioning this beer inside a bottle is traditional and we also recommend it. 
+ You can put extra twists into it during hopping but this type is traditionally made with European yeasts.
+ Adding sugar during the boiling process is a must with this type. You can use any kind of sugar, and you should always work with high alcohol value and alcohol tolerance Belgian yeast and a short, 2-month bottle fermentation process.

BLACK IPA – it’s a fairly new category. Black-coloured IPA without the burnt taste that usually comes with Stouts or Porters. It’s only similar to those in color.

+ There are many ways of brewing it but the most elegant way is to add grated roasted grain during mash out. Why is this important? Black IPA is dark colored, but it mustn’t taste like roasted coffee like a Stout. You can achieve this by soaking the broken malt in water inside a bag for 10 to 20 minutes. (The bitter taste will come from the shell of the grain.)

DOUBLE IPAs are traditionally made with double the number of ingredients than its younger brother, the simple IPA. Although it’s not twice as strong, you can still feel the massive amounts of alcohol in its rich taste.

+ combine the Double IPA with any type of Belgian IPA to get Belgian Double IPA. The only thing you have to do is use different yeasts and hops that go hand-in-hand with them. For example: for a Belgian Double IPA, use highly fermentative Belgian yeast

Same as Double IPA but with English hops.

Practically, the first type of IPA ever made. The beer that the British Empire used to export to its Indian colonies was brewed to be stronger so it would not spoil on its long sea voyage. They intended to dilute it once it arrived but this never actually happened.

+ Alcohol content should be between 4% and 6%
+ Use Maris Otter as the base malt. Adding English caramelized malt carefully is acceptable until 20%. Using English yeast can elevate the enjoyment value

IPA made with local ingredients mixed with white grape must.
+ during fermentation, you can add pressed grape juice to taste, but the amount shouldn’t exceed 15% of the total amount of beer you started with

If you add hops to any red based beer, you’ll get Red IPA.
+ Use Münich malt in 100% and caramelized malt in 30%
+ Red X malt is especially good for this type

Rye based IPA but not 100% of it is rye.
+ the rye not only adds spicy flavor, but a slight sour note too

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