Beer Types – India Pale Ale

Ok, hands up Indian drinkers – how many of you actually knew that there is a type of beer out there named after our country? India Pale Ale – I only came to know about this type of beer sometime in 2006-07. It was first brewed in England in the 19th century. The first known use of the expression “India pale ale” comes from an advertisement in the Liverpool Mercury  newspaper published January 30, 1835. Before January 1835, and for some time after this date, this style of beer was referred to as “pale ale as prepared for India”, “India Ale”, “pale India ale” or “pale export India ale”.

They are made with more hops and have stronger malt backbones. As a result, they are heavy, bitter beers with a strong citrus character. Considered to be best when accompanied by: spicy food, seafood, greasy food.

Here’s Beeradvocate‘s definition of IPAs :First brewed in England and exported for the British troops in India during the late 1700s. To withstand the voyage, IPA’s were basically tweaked Pale Ales that were, in comparison, much more malty, boasted a higher alcohol content and were well-hopped, as hops are a natural preservative. Historians believe that an IPA was then watered down for the troops, while officers and the elite would savor the beer at full strength. The English IPA has a lower alcohol due to taxation over the decades. The leaner the brew the less amount of malt there is and less need for a strong hop presence which would easily put the brew out of balance. Some brewers have tried to recreate the origianl IPA with strengths close to 8-9% abv. Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 4.0-6.5%

The image I have featured here is Fuller’s IPA – only fair to go with a British beer.

Double India Pale Ales (abbreviated Double IPAs or DIPAs) are a strong, very hoppy style of pale beer. Also known as Imperial IPAs (or IIPAs), these beers have high amounts of malt and hops. Double IPAs typically have alcohol content above 7% by volume. IBUs are in the very high range (60+). To add to the confusion however, is the fact that American “regular” IPAs (most notably the Ballantine IPA of Newark, NJ) long had an ABV of 7.5% and 70+ IBUs. Ballantine products were regularly available from the mid 1930’s through the 1980s.

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