American IPA

Glassware: Shaker pint
  • USA
  • Ale
  • ABV = 5.5 – 7.5% (Normal to elevated)^
  • IBU = 40-70
  • SRM = 6-14

A moderately-strong, hop-forward and bitter pale American ale

Stronger and more highly hopped than American Pale Ale. Compared to English IPA, is more hop-forward, has less body and less “English” character from the malt, hops, and yeast (less caramel, bread, and toast; more American/New World hops; less yeast-derived esters). Less alcohol than a Double IPA, but with a similar balance.

Appearance:

  • Colour^ = Gold to amber
  • Clarity = Generally clear, although dry-hopped versions may be hazy

Key Aromas & Flavours:

Aroma
  • Malt = Low to moderate; clean and grainy
  • Yeast = None to low; fruity, if present
  • Hops = Moderate to high; citrus, floral, pine, resin, spicy, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, melon, etc (Many versions are dry-hopped and can have an additional fresh hop aroma; this is desirable but not required. Grassiness should be minimal, if present.)
  • Other = A restrained alcohol note may be present
Flavour
  • Malt = Low to moderate; clean and grainy, with light caramel or toast possible
  • Yeast = None to low; fruity, if present
  • Hops = Moderate to very high; citrus, floral, pine, resin, spicy, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, melon, etc
  • Perceived Bitterness^ = Assertive
  • Other = A very light, clean alcohol flavour may be noted in stronger versions
  • Balance = Towards the hops (bitterness and flavour), with malt in support
Aftertaste/Finish

Dry to medium-dry finish; residual sweetness should be low to none. The bitterness and hop flavour may linger into the aftertaste but should not be harsh.

Mouthfeel:

  • Body = Medium; smooth
  • Carbonation = Medium
  • Alcohol warmth = A very light, smooth alcohol warming is not a fault

Characteristic Ingredients/Processes:

  • Malt = Two-row or pale ale malt (Note: any use of crystal/caramel malts should be restrained, as high amounts can lead to a sweet finish and clash with the hop character)
  • Yeast = American or English ale yeast with a clean or lightly fruity profile
  • Hops = American or New World hop varietals

Historical Development:

A modern American craft beer interpretation of the historical English IPA, brewed using American ingredients and attitude. The basis for many modern variations, including the stronger Double IPA as well as IPAs with various other ingredients.

The first modern American craft beer example is generally believed to be Anchor Liberty Ale, first brewed in 1975 and using whole Cascade hops; the style has pushed beyond that original beer, which now tastes more like an American Pale Ale in comparison.


Commercial Examples:

Lagunitas IPA, Stone IPA, Firestone Walker Union Jack


^Sourced from the Cicerone Certification Program’s International Certified Beer Server Syllabus.
All other information is sourced from the BJCP 2015 Style Guidelines.


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