Everything you need to know about IPA beers

What is an IPA beer?

IPA – India pale ale, is a style of beer that fits within pale ales. Originally, this is an English style of beer. The beers are characterized by quite a bit of bitterness, both in head and aftertaste. Many Dutch breweries, due to the increase in popularity of beer in America, started brewing these hoppy beers. A well-known Dutch brewer who markets IPAs is


. They brew with the beer styles such as the IPA New England, IPA Imperial Double New England, and the IPA Triple New England.

What does IPA mean?

IPA stands for: India pale ale, and was discovered in Britain. Briefly, British sailors, while sailing to India, had barrels full of beer and hops. Hops were a preservative in those days. The hops in the sailors’ beer sat there for so long that the fruity flavor in the hops almost completely disappeared, leaving a bitter-tasting beer. So at that time, the (British) IPA was born. Malty, bitter and one-sided in flavor. These days, IPAs come in a variety of styles and have long since gone beyond a bitter taste. Today, by experimenting with different hop varieties, they often have a fruity character.

The different styles of IPA

IPA American

The American IPA is the American version of the classic English style IPA. It is characterized by flower and fruit aromas extracted from American hops. It is stronger in hops than the English IPA. On the palate Citrus and tropical fruit with notes of resin and pine and sweet malt in the background.

IPA Imperial Double

Imperial Double IPA is an IPA but stronger and hoppier. Lots of Malt and Hops are used in this style and alcohol levels as quickly reach eight percent and more. Imperial double IPAs have a smooth mouthfeel and have a bitter and hoppy character.

IPA New England

The New England IPA is a relatively new IPA style that originated in Vermont, USA, in the New England region. New England IPAs have a full creamy body with intense fruit and hop flavors and aromas. The bitterness is also often softer than in “normal” IPAs. The full creamy body is achieved through heavy dry-hoping, The beer is then not filtered or pasteurized so it keeps that cloudy creamy (hazy) body.

IPA Double Milkshake

The Double Milkshake IPA is a variation of the double IPA where lactose sugar is added. More spices and often fruit are also added to the beer. The lactose gives you a full-bodied and cloudy beer that is less dry and bitter than other IPA styles. It is a creamy, sweet and strong hoppy beer. Because it is a double IPA, extra hops are used.

IPA Double New England

New England Double IPA (NEDIPA) are known for cloudy (hazy), fruity and bitter. A larger amount of malt and hops are used than in the “regular” NEIPA, which also results in a higher alcohol percentage. New England Double IPAs have a smooth mouthfeel and a tropical, fruity character.

IPA Triple New England

Triple New England IPA Is an Extra heavy variant of the IPA. Even more Hops and Malt is used than in a double IPA. This makes it even stronger and hoppier, and high alcohol levels are reached, often exceeding nine percent. These IPAs are strongly bitter and hoppy.

IPA Quadruple

Quadruple IPA is the strongest (heaviest) version of the IPA. Full of hops and malt and alcohol levels as high as 11 percent and above. Like the triple IPA, these are strongly bitter and hoppy beers.

New Zealand IPA

While the guidelines for the New Zealand IPA beer variety have yet to be written, brewers are experimenting and literally inventing the style. New Zealand IPAs have a somewhat easy-to-drink character compared to the other variety such as the American IPA. They often have an alcohol content of 6% or lower and a mild bitterness which makes for an overall well-balanced beer. They can therefore be compared to American Pale Ale.


IPAs brewed with oat flakes or oat milk have a smooth mouthfeel. Often they also have fruity hop aromas for tropical flavor.

Milkshake IPA

Milkshake IPAs (also called cream IPAs) do not contain milk and you should not shake them. Lactose IPAs are nicknamed “Milkshake” because of the sweetness the milk sugar adds to the beer. It is common (but not mandatory) to add fruit or vanilla to these IPAs to further enhance the effect. With low carbonation, these usually end up as a fruity milkshake, super smooth like a milk stout, but much lighter in flavor and color.

Fruited IPA

Adding fruit to beer is a risky procedure, but IPAs handle it reasonably well. Brewers enhance all that fruit flavor coming from the hops by adding pureed fruit to the beer during brewing. With fruity IPAs, you want to add fruit puree to the beer, not fruit juice. It makes for better flavor and shows that the brewer is not taking shortcuts.

What alcohol content is in an IPA?

The alcohol content of IPAs ranges from 4.5 to 13 percent.

Where do you store an IPA?

7 to 10 degrees. So in your refrigerator (or basement if the temperature is right)

IPAs belong in this temperature range. The colder the temperatures, the more bitterness you taste. But be careful. If you store an extra-hoppy pale ale, you need to keep it on the warmer side to not just taste the bitterness and experience other flavors.

What does an IPA taste like?

An IPA is characterized by bitterness. Again, this can vary by style in quantity. Today’s IPAs often contain a more fruity character as brewers experiment with different hop varieties.

IPA beers and food

Beers support and enhance the flavors of food. An IPA beer is powerful, complex and an often distinct beer. This one goes well with less complex, flat dishes:

  • Chinese, bitterballen, pizza, spare ribs and hamburgers!
  • Tapas dishes
  • Spicy and curry dishes
  • Sharp cheeses such as blue cheese or aged goat cheese


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