India pale ale, so named because it had to endure long sea voyages from breweries in England to outposts on the fringes of the British empire, had to be a high gravity, well hopped brew to enable it to last the voyage and not spoil. Although there are some fine examples still brewed in the United Kingdom, Liberty Ale (brewed in the United States by Anchor Brewing Company, San Francisco, CA) is a particularly well- balanced brew.

The Brewers Association (US) offers the following style parameters:

English-Style India Pale Ale

” …are characterized by medium-high hop bitterness with a medium to high alcohol content. Hops from a variety of origins may be used to contribute to a high hopping rate. Earthy and herbal English-variety hop character is the perceived end…”

“The use of water with high mineral content results in a crisp, dry beer, sometimes with subtle and balanced character of sulfur compounds.”

“This pale gold to deep copper-colored ale has a medium to high, flowery hop aroma and may have a medium to strong hop flavor (in addition to the hop bitterness)…”

“Fruity-ester flavors and aromas are moderate to very strong. Diacetyl can be absent or may be perceived at very low levels. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures.”

“(English and citrus-like American hops are considered enough of a justifying separate American-style IPA and English-style IPA categories or subcategories. Hops of other origins may be used for bitterness or approximating traditional American or English character.)”

“Original Gravity (ºPlato): 1.050-1.064 (12.5-15.7 ºPlato)

Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato): 1.012-1.018 (3-4.5 ºPlato)

Alcohol by Weight (Volume): 4-5.6% (5-7%)

Bitterness (IBU): 35-50

Color SRM (EBC): 6-14 (12-28 EBC)”

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The BJCP offers the following style parameters:

14A. English IPA

Aroma: A moderate to moderately high hop aroma of floral, earthy or fruity nature is typical, although the intensity of hop character is usually lower than American versions… moderate caramel-like or toasty malt presence is common. Low to moderate fruitiness, either from esters or hops, can be present. Some versions may have a sulfury note…”

Appearance: Color ranges from golden amber to light copper, but most are pale to medium amber with an orange-ish tint.”

Flavor: Hop flavor is medium to high, with a moderate to assertive hop bitterness. The hop flavor should be similar to the aroma (floral, earthy, fruity, and/or slightly grassy)… The malt should show an English character and be somewhat bready, biscuit-like, toasty, toffee-like and/or caramelly.”

“Finish is medium to dry, and bitterness may linger into the aftertaste but should not be harsh.”

History: Brewed to survive the voyage from England to India. The temperature extremes and rolling of the seas resulted in a highly attenuated beer upon arrival. English pale ales were derived from India Pale Ales.”

“Modern versions of English IPAs generally pale in comparison (pun intended) to their ancestors. The term “IPA” is loosely applied in commercial English beers today, and has been (incorrectly) used in beers below 4% ABV.”

Vital Statistics: OG: 1.050 – 1.075

IBUs: 40 – 60 FG: 1.010 – 1.018

SRM: 8 – 14 ABV: 5 – 7.5%

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Commercial Examples:

Freeminer Trafalgar IPA

Hampshire Pride of Romsey IPA

Burton Bridge Empire IPA

Samuel Smith’s India Ale

Fuller’s IPA

Brooklyn East India Pale Ale

Shipyard Fuggles IPA

 

American-Style India Pale Ale

From The Brewers Association (US)

“American-style India pale ales have intense hop bitterness, flavor and aroma with high alcohol content. The style is further characterized by fruity, floral and citrus-like American-variety hop character.”

“The use of water with high mineral content results in a crisp, dry beer.”

“This pale gold to deep copper-colored ale has a full, flowery hop aroma and may have a strong hop flavor (in addition to the hop bitterness). India pale ales possess medium maltiness and body. Fruity-ester flavors and aromas are moderate to very strong.”

“(English and citrus-like American hops are considered enough of a distinction justifying separate American-style IPA and English-style IPA categories or subcategories. Hops of other origins may be used for bitterness or approximating traditional American or English character.” (See English-style India Pale Ale – above.)

Original Gravity (ºPlato): 1.060-1.075 (14.7-18.2 ºPlato)

Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato): 1.012-1.018 (3-4.5 ºPlato)

Alcohol by Weight (Volume): 5-6% (6.3-7.5%)

Bitterness (IBU): 40-65

Color SRM (EBC): 6-14 (12-28 EBC)

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And the BJCP  parameters for “American Style – India Pale Ale” :

14B. American IPA

Aroma: A… citrusy, floral, perfume-like, resinous, piney, and/or fruity character derived from American hops… Some clean malty sweetness may be found in the background, but should be at a lower level than in English examples.”

Appearance: … medium gold to medium reddish copper; some versions can have an orange-ish tint.”

Flavor: …should reflect an American hop character with citrusy, floral, resinous, piney or fruity aspects.” “…Malt flavor should be low to medium, and is generally clean and malty sweet although some caramel or toasty flavors are acceptable at low levels.”

“Medium-dry to dry finish. Some clean alcohol flavor can be noted in stronger versions. Oak is inappropriate in this style. Some sulfur may be present if sulfate water is used, but most examples do not exhibit this character.”

Mouth-feel: Smooth, medium-light to medium-bodied mouth-feel without hop-derived astringency, although moderate to medium-high carbonation can combine to render an overall dry sensation in the presence of malt sweetness. Some smooth alcohol warming can and should be sensed in stronger (but not all) versions. Body is generally less than in English counterparts.”

History: An American version of the historical English style, brewed using American ingredients and attitude.”

Vital Statistics: OG: 1.056 – 1.075

IBUs: 40 – 60+ FG: 1.010 – 1.018

SRM: 6 – 15 ABV: 5.5 – 7.5%

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Commercial Examples:

Stone IPA

Victory Hop Devil

Anderson Valley Hop Ottin’

Anchor Liberty Ale

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Three Floyds Alpha King

Harpoon IPA

Avery IPA

Founder’s Centennial IPA