What is IPA Beer?
What is IPA Beer?
India Pale Ale (IPA) is a well-known beer type and is equally loved throughout the globe due to its hoppy, and fruity beer style. Usually, the recognition of this bear is associated with significant focus on hops. The taste and quality of this beer is greatly dependent on the selection of right hop variety according to taste, and preferences. IPA beer is specifically defined and related to the presence of hops. Based on its importance this article is mainly focused to highlight what is an IPA beer, best IPA beer, IPA beer meaning, double IPA beer, what does IPA stands for in beer, what makes a beer an IPA, and beer IPA meaning.
In the ancient times by the end of 1700s some British people were shipping beer across the empire and were in need to get a good preservative to avoid beer spoiling. Hops are natural preservatives and they hypothesized and experimented that specific ale formation can easily survive across the whole journey from Atlantic, or Indian ocean. Thus, India pale ale name is specifically given to IPA due to this reason and consumers does not have to think what IPA stands for beer. Although, the origin of IPA is English but modern improvement in its taste and style is attributed to the efforts of American craft breweries (West Coast IPA).
IPA is a beer having fermented bottom ale, but the word India does not indicate the origin of this beer from India. The taste of IPA beer is greatly dependent on the type of hops being used and taste may be like earthy, flowery, grassy, tropical fruits, citrus, pine, and honey-like. The bitterness of IPA is strongly related to the hops but generally it is known as summer beer due to its refreshing taste.
Usually IPA beer has goldened to copper-colored texture, but color variation is possible in certain situations. Its bitterness ranges between 40-60 IBU and in some cases it may exceed 100 IBU due to high amounts of hops used for making IPA beer. While, alcohol contents of IPA are variable between 5.5-7.5%. However, brewers can maintain more or less alcoholic contents as per their preferences. Therefore, consumers should have proper idea whats an IPA beer, and what is IPA beer mean.
The modern transformation of IPA was started with the specific West Coastal style type of IPA. It was regarded as a bitter bomb around a decade ago but now it has been introduced to the mainstream of beer brewing. Nowadays, there has been a significant improvement in the IPA beer styling and is being consumed as more refreshing, measured, and varied beer around the globe.
Types of IPA Beer
There are different types of IPA beer as many brewers are continually trying to improve the taste, bitterness levels, and texture of IPA beer. However, some famous IPA beer types are explained below.
- Alcohol-Free IPAS
This type of IPA beer does not have any alcohol contents and offers purely an IPA taste. Such kind of beers are brewed with special kind of yeasts and is being consumed by a good number of people across the globe.
Usually, the brewing of white IPA is done by using wheat malt but there is a good emphasis of hop variety being used for making this beer.
It is more intense and stronger type of IPA having high alcohol and hop contents. Some people like to have very intense taste, and they can easily achieve this taste by making the right choice, and amount of ingredients.
This beer contains less and very lighter alcohol contents only 3-4% and was originally brewed in England for port and factory workers so that their work capabilities are not affected after taking beer. Generally, consumers can see various IPA descriptions in a craft brewery or beer store and these sessions are indicating lower levels of alcohols in IPA and can be preserved for longer consuming sessions. Here the word double shows the presence of more alcohol contents and generally more hops are used to add stronger taste to IPA. Sometimes, triple session term is also used and is an indication of even stronger ABV bar raisers and it may be around 10%.
This is very trendy and young styled beer offering fruity, juicy, and cloudy taste. The taste of New England IPA beer is not bitter due to late addition of hops.
This beer is well known due to heavy hopping and pronounced character of malt. This is somewhat sweeter, and full-bodied beer and offers amazing taste to the hop lovers.
Geographically, this kind of beer is closer to the US hop farms and is more experimental, bitter, and hoppy.
These are very rare but delicious IPA beer styles and are commonly available at innovative and small craft breweries. Black IPA beer is sweet but has dark color because it is made by using darker malts.
- Rye IPA
This beer type is specifically contributed to the presence of rye added to malt. The resultant profile still retains the aggressive flavor of hops and spiciness of rye. Both these ingredients are favorable to amplify citrusy and flavor of piney hops; thereby adding more complexity to malt. The use of rye style IPA beer is subsequently increasing in different parts of the world and is especially good for those who love to enjoy stronger flavors.
- Milkshake IPA
This IPA beer has opaque and deeply hazy texture and good resemblance to milkshake. Moreover, it has tiny, and well-defined milky sweetness that is developed due to lactose (milk sugars). The presence of these sugars also causes the creation of creamy mouthfeel and amazing taste. Most often, milkshake IPA beers are made by using tropical fruits thus offering vibrant colors and the whole palette of flavors.
Why IPA Beer is Expensive
Mostly IPA beer is expensive than another type of beers due to addition of expensive hops. IPA beer is brewed by using more hops than any other style of beer and its brewing also involves an extra step known as hop stuffing. This process needs different equipment and requires much effort and care therefore, this is the main factor affecting the price of IPA beer.
However, a lot of things are greatly dependent on brewers and distributors as craft breweries use more high quality, and high-value ingredients during their craft brewing processes. Taste development is greatly dependent on experience of brewers and in their in-depth understanding about all these processes. Experiencing making of various IPA beer types is helpful to have good taste according to your understanding. However, proper understanding about what is IPA in beer, what is an IPA beer mean, and what does IPA beer stands for is crucial to make and enjoy IPA beer.
Right Selection of Ingredients to Make IPA Beer
IPA beer is all about having the desired type of hops, but its quality and shelf life is significantly dependent on timings, quantities and accurately following the procedures. The bitterness must be ensured by using clean, recommended and contaminants free Galena, Nugget, and Magnum that can easily provide the right amount of alpha acids in the right way.
Hop extracts can also be used by using specific syringes but bittering without using vegetal matters should be avoided. This is an efficient way of adding a good amount of alpha acids and reduces the requirements of using an obscene number of specific hops.
Sky is the only limit for selecting the hop materials such as dry hops, aroma hops, and flavor hops. Therefore, selection of right hop type, and variety requires sound experimentation, skills, and knowledge. Single malt and single hop type beers are significantly important for the identification of individual hop characteristics. Brewers can also mix different types of single malt, and single hop beers to enjoy combination of different IPA beers.
Hop bursting is essentially a useful way for introducing intense hopping aroma, and flavor without taking any risk of harsh bitterness. Selection of high amount of alpha acid-containing hops is an excellent option for late kettle additions and for skipping the charge of bitterness in altogether conditions. Some exceptional candidates for bursting of hops includes specifically potent varieties such as Sorachi Ace, Simcoe, Mosaic, El Dorado, Citra, Calypso, Bravo, and Apollo.
Consideration of low bitterness taste is an ideal approach for beginners as high bitterness is not preferred by many people. While, various brewers have been trying to make IPA beer more and more bitter for the sake of classy taste. Whereas, now the trend is being changed and brewers are making IPA beers with different levels of bitterness.
Selecting the right amount and right use of malt is essentially helpful to prevent the scoring of IPA beer. Although, the use of crystal malt is preferred by many brewers but use of lighter hand and light malt is significantly recommended. Addition of smaller portion of Munich and base malts (flavorful) is helpful to avoid sacrificing crispness.
Another hallmark of IPA is its drinkability, but high octanes can adversely affect the sticky sweetness of the beer thus causing distraction of judges and drinkers from intensive hoping characters. Double IPA beers and different kinds of stranded strengths of IPA beers can provide benefits due to substitution of simple sugars (dextrose) from malt base.
Water is a major component of IPA beer and is significantly important to determine shelf life and quality of IPA. However, brewer’s dependent on extracts for using fermentable malt sugars do not have to worry about adverse effects. However, the use of the right amount of water, and malt is most critical factors and should never be overlooked. The use of contaminants free water especially treated with reverse osmosis must be preferred to avoid spoilage and reduced shelf life. A little amount of gypsum can also be added to make outstanding IPA beer.