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Thread: Imperial or Double IPA's

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    South east U.k.

    Imperial or Double IPA's

    On a recent trip to a couple of belgian breweries, (for research! lol) I bumped into the a couple of guys from the US, they were harping on about this style of beer.

    I gather big hop rates, big beers, mmm very american me thinks!

    Anyone got a style guide, with some pointers to which current brews define the style??

    Are they being brewed with ESB yeasts, or normal ale yeasts?

    any pointers most welcome, as I'm sure this is the place to ask...


    slurp n burp!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Eugene OR
    From the NEW BJCP style guidelines:

    14C. Imperial IPA

    Aroma: A prominent to intense hop aroma that can be derived from American, English and/or noble varieties (although a citrusy hop character is almost always present). Most versions are dry hopped and can have an additional resinous or grassy aroma, although this is not absolutely required. Some clean malty sweetness may be found in the background. Fruitiness, either from esters or hops, may also be detected in some versions, although a neutral fermentation character is typical. Some alcohol can usually be noted, but it should not have a "hot" character.

    Appearance: Color ranges from golden amber to medium reddish copper; some versions can have an orange-ish tint. Should be clear, although unfiltered dry-hopped versions may be a bit hazy. Good head stand should persist.

    Flavor: Hop flavor is strong and complex, and can reflect the use of American, English and/or noble hop varieties. High to absurdly high hop bitterness, although the malt backbone will generally support the strong hop character and provide the best balance. 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. No diacetyl. Low fruitiness is acceptable but not required. A long, lingering bitterness is usually present in the aftertaste but should not be harsh. Medium-dry to dry finish. A clean, smooth alcohol flavor is usually present. Oak is inappropriate in this style. Some sulfur may be present if sulfate water is used, but most examples do not exhibit this character.

    Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium-light to medium-full body. No harsh hop-derived astringency, although moderate to medium-high carbonation can combine to render an overall dry sensation in the presence of malt sweetness. Smooth alcohol warming.

    Overall Impression: An intensely hoppy, very strong pale ale without the big maltiness and/or deeper malt flavors of an American barleywine. Strongly hopped, but clean, lacking harshness, and a tribute to historical IPAs.

    History: A recent American innovation reflecting the trend of American craft brewers "pushing the envelope" to satisfy the need of hop aficionados for increasingly intense products. Category may be stretched to cover historical and modern American stock ales that are stronger, hoppier ales without the malt intensity of barleywines. The adjective "Imperial" is arbitrary and simply implies a stronger version of an IPA; "double," "extra," "extreme," or any other variety of adjectives would be equally valid.

    Comments: Bigger than either an English or American IPA in both alcohol strength and overall hop level (bittering and finish). Less malty, lower body, less rich and a greater overall hop intensity than an American Barleywine. Not necessarily as high in gravity/alcohol as a barleywine. A showcase for hops.

    Ingredients: Pale ale malt (well-modified and suitable for single-temperature infusion mashing); can use a complex variety of hops (English, American, noble). American yeast that can give a clean or slightly fruity profile. Generally all-malt, but mashed at lower temperatures for high attenuation. Water character varies from soft to moderately sulfate.
    Vital Statistics:
    OG 1.075 - 1.090+
    FG 1.012 - 1.020
    IBUs 60 - 100+
    SRM 8 - 15
    ABV 7.5 - 10+%

    Commercial Examples: Dogfish Head 90-minute IPA, Rogue I2PA, Stone Ruination IPA, Three Floyd's Dreadnaught, Russian River Pliny the Elder, Moylan's Moylander Double IPA. Stock ales include examples such as Stone Arrogant Bastard and Mendocino Eye of the Hawk.

    As a personal note: I REALLY suggest the use of noble hops in an I2PA. When you start "pushing the envelope" this high, even the most mellow hops can wear you down fast. JMHO.

    Mike Bennett

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    South east U.k.

    cor, I thinks most of the answers are there...

    so quickly, as well.

    Thanks again,

    slurp n burp!

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