India Pale Ale

India Pale Ale
A bottle of Fuller's IPA

India Pale Ale or IPA is a style of beer within the broader category of pale ale. It was first brewed in England in the 19th century.[clarification needed]

The first known use of the expression "India pale ale" comes from an advertisement in the Liverpool Mercury newspaper published January 30, 1835.[1] 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".



IPA descends from the earliest pale ales of the 17th century. The term pale ale originally denoted an ale which had been brewed from pale malt.[2] The pale ales of the early 18th century were lightly hopped and quite different from later pale ales.[3] By the mid-18th century, pale ale was mostly manufactured with coke-fired malt, which produced less smoking and roasting of barley in the malting process, and hence produced a paler beer.[4] One such variety of beer was October beer, a pale well-hopped brew popular among the landed classes, who brewed it domestically; once brewed it was intended to cellar two years.[5]

Among the earliest known named brewers whose beers were exported to India was George Hodgson of the Bow Brewery, on the Middlesex-Essex border. Bow Brewery beers became popular among East India Company traders in the late 18th century because of the brewery's location and Hodgson's liberal credit line of 18 months. East Indiamen transported a number of Hodgson's beers to India, among them his October beer, which benefited exceptionally from conditions of the voyage and was apparently highly regarded among its consumers in India.[6] Bow Brewery came into control of Hodgson's sons in the early 19th century, but their business practices alienated their customers. During the same period, several Burton breweries lost their European export market in Russia because of new tariffs on beer, and were seeking a new export market for their beer. At the behest of the East India Company, Allsopp brewery developed a strongly hopped pale ale in the style of Hodgson's for export to India.[7] Other Burton brewers, including Bass and Salt, were anxious to replace their lost Russian export market and quickly followed Allsopp's lead. Likely as a result of the advantages of Burton water in brewing,[8] Burton India Pale Ale was preferred by merchants and their customers in India.

Demand for the export style of pale ale, which had become known as "India Pale Ale," developed in England around 1840 and India Pale Ale became a popular product in England.[9] Some brewers dropped the term "India" in the late 19th century, but records indicated that these "pale ales" retained the features of earlier IPA.[10] American, Australian and Canadian brewers manufactured beer with the label IPA before 1900, and records suggest that these beers were similar to English IPA of the era.[11]

Hodgson's October beer style clearly influenced the Burton Brewers's India Pale Ale. His beer was only slightly higher in alcohol than most beer brewed in his day and would not have been considered a strong ale; however, a greater proportion of the wort was well-fermented, leaving behind few residual sugars, and the beer was strongly hopped.[12] The common story that early IPAs were much stronger than other beers of the time, however, is a myth.[13] Moreover, porter shipped to India at the same time survived the voyage, and common claims that Hodgson formulated his beer to survive the trip and that other beers would not survive the trip are probably false.[14] It is clear that by the 1860s, India Pale Ales were widely brewed in England and that they were much more attenuated and highly hopped than porters and many other ales.[15]

Great Britain

The term IPA is common in the United Kingdom for low-gravity beers, for example Greene King IPA and Charles Wells Eagle IPA. IPAs with an abv of 4% or lower have been brewed in Britain since at least the 1920s.[16] Some British breweries brew a stronger, American-style IPA. Examples are Meantime Brewery IPA, Dark Star APA and Freeminer Trafalgar IPA.

In 2002, Caledonian Brewery Deuchars IPA took the title of CAMRA Supreme Champion Beer of Britain at the GBBF in London. Also in this year, Hopdaemon Brewery Skrimshander IPA became a Kent Beer Festival Winner. Skrimshander is brewed with Kentish Fuggles and Goldings Hops.

United States

American IPA

In the USA, IPA is considered by some to be a distinct variant (though there isn't universal agreement), sometimes termed "American IPA".[17] IPA has a long history in the USA with many breweries producing a version of the style.[18]

Several current examples of American IPAs are Sierra Nevada Torpedo, Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA, Bells Two Hearted Ale, Dogfish Head's IPA series, Stone IPA, Russian River Blind Pig IPA, Abita Jockamo IPA, and Alaska Brewing's Alaskan IPA. A number of American IPAs are brewed with a single hop variety or a blend of varieties including Cascade, Chinook, Centennial, Columbus, Simcoe, Amarillo, Tomahawk, Warrior, and Nugget.

Belgian-Style IPA

The Belgian-style IPA attempts to marry the American or English style IPA with traditional Belgian style ales. There are two approaches toward this style: one can increase the quantity of hops in a traditional Belgian-style ale, or one can ferment an American IPA with a Belgian yeast strain. Brasserie d'Achouffe's "Houblon", brewed in Achouffe, Belgium, is a popular example of what they call a "Dobbelen IPA Tripel". Flying Dog's "Raging Bitch" is a popular American example of a Belgian-style IPA.

Double India Pale Ale

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 aforementioned Ballantine IPA of Newark, NJ) long had an ABV of 7.5% and was 70+ IBUs; It was a product that was actually regularly available from the mid 1930's through the 1980s.

There are some brewers that believe the name should be San Diego Pale Ale, since the style most likely started near San Diego, California[19] – specifically a Double IPA brewed in 1994 by Vinnie Cilurzo, then head brewer of Blind Pig Brewing Company of Temecula, California (now brewmaster at Russian River Brewing Company).[20] Cilurzo claims he "accidentally" created the style by adding 50% too much malt to his mash tun. He then "corrected" this mistake by adding 100% more hops. This is up for some debate, however, as the local San Diego Pizza Port brewery claims to have been brewing "the original San Diego IPA",[21] since 1992 when they opened their brewery (two years before Cilurzo and Blind Pig). Still others attribute the creation of this style to Rogue Ales, a microbrewery in Newport, Oregon, and its I2PA beer, brewed in 1990.[1]

Northern California breweries such as Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Lagunitas and Russian River as well as those in the San Diego area have taken to the Double IPA style (DIPA), including Stone Brewing Company, Green Flash, Oggi's Brewery, Alpine Beer Company, Alesmith, Ballast Point Brewing Company, and Port Brewing Company, etc. The style is extremely common in Oregon, with DIPAs produced by most microbreweries, including Rogue Ales, Deschutes Brewery, Hair of the Dog Brewing Company, Full Sail Brewing Company, Ninkasi Brewing Company, Beer Valley Brewing Co., BridgePort Brewing Company, Laurelwood Brewery. Delaware's Dogfish Head carries a double IPA in its 90 and 120 minute batches. Some DIPAs are now even made in Denmark, Belgium, and Norway.[22][23][24]


  1. ^ Brown, Pete p 426. "Hops & Glory: One Man's Search for the Beer That Built The British Empire"
  2. ^ London and Country Brewer, Anonymous, 1736, pages 38-43.
  3. ^ London and Country Brewer, Anonymous, 1736, page 73.
  4. ^ Foster p. 13 and Daniels p. 154
  5. ^ Cornell p. 97-98
  6. ^ Cornell, p. 98
  7. ^ Foster, p. 26
    Cornell, Martin. p. 102
  8. ^ The water of Burton on Trent contains a very high concentration of sulfate which accentuates the bitterness of beer. See Daniels, Foster and Cornell.
  9. ^ Daniels, p. 155
    Cornell, p. 104
  10. ^ Foster, p. 65
  11. ^ Daniels p. 157-58
    Cornell, p. 112
  12. ^ Foster p. 17-21 discusses the hopping rate; Daniels p. 154 discusses the high level of fermentation.
  13. ^ Foster, p. 21
  14. ^ Myth 4: George Hodgson invented IPA to survive the long trip to India
  15. ^ Daniels, p. 156
  16. ^ Brewing records. London Metropolitan Archives: Whitbread and Barclay Perkins. 
  17. ^ BJCP style guidelines
  18. ^ Jackson, 210.
  19. ^ > News > Metro > Peter Rowe - Some believe bitter brew should be renamed to reflect San Diego roots
  20. ^ Lew Bryson. "Real History of Beer". Retrieved December 26, 2008. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Nørrebro North Bridge Extreme". Retrieved February 23, 2010. 
  23. ^ "Struise Mikkeller (Elliot Brew)". Retrieved February 23, 2010. 
  24. ^ "Nøgne Ø #100". Retrieved February 23, 2010. 


  • Brown, Pete. "Hops & Glory: One man's search for the beer that built The British Empire" Pan Macmillan: 2009
  • Cornell, Martyn. Amber, Black and Gold Zythography Press: 2008.
  • Daniels, Ray. Designing Great Beer Brewers Publications: 1996.
  • Foster, Terry. Pale Ale Second Edition. Brewers Publications: 1999.
  • Jackson, Michael. The World Guide to Beer. Ballantine Books: 1977. ISBN 034527408.

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