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The IPA debate

You either love them or hate them. It’s one of the most loved styles of beer and the most hated. For the fan it’s hoppy goodness that fills our fermenter and line the stores shelf with what seem to be a never ending selection of them. It’s the flavors and aromas and that unmistakable bitterness that makes IPA’s great and makes them hate by some… The biggest complaint from people who hate IPA’s is they dont like hoppy beers. So I asked a few IPA haters what IPA’s have you tried and 9 times out of 10 they only tried 1 and from that 1 bad experience they dont like IPA’s. They say I don’t like hoppy beers and steer clear of an Ipa. I decided to dig alittle deeper into this love hate for the style and took two beers one Founders all day IPA 42 ibu’s and Pilsner Urquell 39 ibu’s and let people that hate IPA’s try both of them with out telling them what either beer if the two beers were. Of course they automatically assume they were trying two different IPA’s So I told them they were both lagers . First the all day IPA it’s alittle low on the Ibu’s compared to some others but still a hoppy beer. Then I let them try Pilsner Urquell only 3 ibu’s difference between the two beers of course each beer has different hops. To my surprise 9 out of 10 liked both beers saying they would drink either of them again and liked both beers. I had to ask a question which beer did you think was hoppier than the other. To my surprise they pick Pilsner Urquell as the hoppier beer out of the two. So now it was time to reveal the two beers to them and not telling them the ibu’s of each beer. I showed them both beers and and asked my final question which beer did you think was the hoppy one you picked. 8 out of 10 picked Founders all day IPA. Just seeing The word Ipa made them assume it was the one they thought was the hoppier beer. When in blind taste test they picked Pilsner Urquell as the hoppier beer Then I revealed the Ibu’s to them and every one was shocked that both beers they would try again and one was a Ipa. This coming down to the conclusion that it’s not IPA’s and the hoppy beer they hate. Just that they tried one and they didn’t like it and thought every IPA are the same after that due to the name IPA. So I’m not near done with this experiment and would like to hear from fellow brewers and friends what makes you love or hate IPA’s

You lost me at Pilsner Urquell. Decideldly NOT an IPA so I feel no need to read further.

The point was it only 3 ibu difference than founders all day IPA. Yes it’s not a Ipa Dannyboy. Had your read alittle further you would read that two…

It’s just an “apples vs oranges” situation @damian_winter. Pick another comparison. I have friends who don’e like the bitterness of my favorite pilsner but they love my “IPAs”. I get where you’re going but…


My sister in law, who is a beer drinker, says “IPAs smell like soap and I’m tired of them.” So her main gripe is the aroma which we are all striving for. Floral to a fault.
In the tiny college town where I grew up there sprang up a brewery 10 years ago.
Owner, “Those kids love the IPA.”
Me, “Why do you think that is?”
Owner, “It’s stronger than our other beers.”

My personal take is that i grew up in a “Never Bitter” world. In this world I did not even know what I was drinking but it was called beer and these beers were interchangeable and alcohol was the main driver (laughs). Now that I am a home brewer I not only get to create the bitter world (the world is bitter… for realz) I get to truly feel the effects of hops. I am convinced there is a lot more to hops than bitter, flavor and aroma. Just like tequila makes me sick no matter how much I drink. Hoppy beer sends me somewhere else and that somewhere else is the place I want to be right now.

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Part of the reason I don’t like IBU as a way to characterize beer. Yes, it’s a data point. But so incomplete, there’s so much more that you need to describe the characteristics of a hoppy beer.


It’s one of my favorites too Dannyboy. I realy thought it was a good choice because it show cases Saaz hops. What I found interesting is blind taste test they said Pilsner Urquell was the more hoppy beer. Yet seeing them they thought they pick the Ipa as the hoppy one because it said IPA. To continue this little experiment what two beers would you choose to compare

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Iknowright like 300 beats per minute is what makes a dance track great. Kidsthesedays wassupwiththaa.

I get where you’re coming from now. Point taken.

I was a one time an IPA-hater. I think it was sculpin that put me there. I still think sculpin is nasty but it’s been 5 years or more since I had one so who knows what I’d think now?

I’m not sure what two beers I’d use but I doubt Urquell would ever occur to me. Having said that it proved your point.

42 IBU is a pale ale. IPA’s start around 60 IBU right? My most recent ones are 80-90 but still not overly “bitter” IMHO.

Ok, so maybe I’m monologing here, but 42 IBU… what does that actually mean? A measure of isomerized alpha acids, sure. But bitterness? How many IBUs in a raw hop pellet? Technically zero. Pop one in your mouth… does it taste bitter? Must not, zero IBUs. Why is your face turning red? No, it can’t be bitter. Toss one in a glass of water for a few minutes. Drink it. Is it bitter? Can’t be, zero IBU.

Not sure what my point is, other than IBU not being the whole story. :confounded:


I don’t hate IPAs but I hate the way the name is tossed around. Slap the word IPA on any old pale ale and hopefully get a boost in sales. Been away from the brewery for a couple weeks and getting tired of the selection in this town. I can’t find a maibock and it’s May. This town has two breweries and 4 package stores. No freaking sours either. I’m getting cranky

Aren’t you in Colorado? For goodness sakes, find some crooked stave to bring home, if for no other reason the bottle dregs are great for mixed fermentation. Stat!

I had hoped to visit crooked stave on my way in but didn’t get a chance. I’m stuck in this mountain town that doesn’t have a great selection. There is also Casey Brewery in Glenwood which is close but limited hours. I’m babysitting three grandkids my daughter is holding me hostage.


Me my self like ipa. But the name i dont like. I call it hoppy beer. Love the hop taste. But over the top hop ipa. Not my true fav. Lots of people here on the island hate ipa. The way it taste. Included my wife. So i brew for her. Heffeweisen. Or a saison. She loves them.

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I’ve made a 180 since I first started seriously drinking beer-about 12 years ago. My first favorite IPA was Marble. Then I discovered Hop Wallop by Victory. Wow! The flavor was punch you in the face good. Then EVERYBODY started producing IPAs and the race was on to see who could come up with the most bitter, mouth puckering, nasty tasting mess. I think bragging about “loving” a certain IPA became akin to “loving” to eat hotter and hotter peppers. It was a manly thing, an “I can handle it” sort of macho thing. At least it seemed that way in my circle. It seemed every IPA I tried left this huge bitter aftertaste in the back of my mouth that was really unpleasant. So I just stopped trying them. Then I discovered Belgians, Hefes, Saisons, etc. and I’ve just never wanted to return to IPAs.

My nephew brought me and IPA the other day to try called “Tropicalia” by Creature Comforts (supposedly one of the most popular sellers at our local beer store). After one sip I felt like I had chewed a grapefruit peel that was doused in sulfur. Dumped it. But in the end, I feel like I’ve given IPAs a chance-except I’ve never brewed one myself. But I do get Damian’s point. I think we are definitely influenced by names, advertising, and hype. Very interesting thread.



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I like them but there was a time that I got tired of them. Brewed IPAs often to the point I got sick of them. Now I’m looking forward to making one but just one probably and on to something else.

Funny how the IPAs now rarely resemble the original English IPAs The first ones I ever did had only European hops, no Pacific Northwest hops like most you see now. I’m not complaining because I prefer the citrusy taste.

With the million of them out there it’s kind foolish to paint them all with a broad brush. Anyone who says they don’t like them should stop at a decent beer store that has “build your own” six packs and try a bunch of different ones.


A couple weeks ago a friend an I visited a very good brewery that started out trying to focus on farmhouse style beer which they still make some very good ones and Bret sours. The place had a large crowd of IPA drinkers. The brewer who was serving that day gravitated to us because we we’re drinking and discussing his sours. I asked him when they started brewing IPA. He was kind of embarrassed about it and said they needed the money.

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Good stuff in this thread! It’s interesting what people’s perception of hoppy and flavor is when they first start down the craft beer road. It’s obvious that palates develop over time based on the numerous references to “gateway IPAs”. I’ve got a buddy that absolutely loves Caribou Slobber and asked me to brew a kit that he’d had sitting around. We only used the LME out of it along with new steeping grains from the recipe and some hops we had in stock which were not part of the kit design but similar. The beer was very flavorful and actually 10 IBUs lower than the CS kit but he perceived the beer as being on the edge of too hoppy. My takeaway is that all the stats about a beer are just numbers and the end game is to please the palate. I’d bet you can find or make a beer in any style that someone will like even if they profess to hate the particular style. Since beer is love, the heart wants what it wants. :joy: The inverse is probably true as well.

When I and my circle discovered craft beer, we too were on the hoppier is better bandwagon. Same when we got into brewing. Some our first original recipes were pretty one dimensional and in excess of 100 IBU’s (calculated) and higher alcohol. Loved them though! As we’ve gotten more into it, tastes are changing amongst the group. Even though we still enjoy them occasionally, we’ve moved away from a regular diet of the hop monster beers to ones that are more balanced (BU:GU) and multi-layered in both flavor and aroma, both commercially and what we make.


The first IPA’s I tried was Summit IPA in a blue labeled bottle… Wasn’t bitter, had a wonderful hop aroma… Well, now they don’t make it, in fact, they replaced it with 2 or 3 variations that just wasn’t what I enjoyed…
Next was Missoula Brewing company, the one with an Antelope on the label… Now that was kicking it up many more notches… Its changed, too
Now, I know there are as many ways to brew an IPA as there are breweries out there, and then add another million more variations. It seems the hops keep changing, too many are just plain bitter… session IPA? This IPA style is just been beaten’ to death, the resurrected and beaten’ some more!
I do brew an IPA, keeping it somewhat dry, I like Cascades, Centennial, and really don’t vary far from them any more… 6.7-7.2%. I’m not changing, and I don’t try much of packaged IPA’s also… Hop lift by Third street brewery is an excellent choice now.
See, I know what “I” perceive one to be and I’m good with that… I won’t let commercial/advertisements tell me they have the one I need to drink… So as the mass public drinking them for the title, thats a bummer, and as for the IBU indicator leading a blind horse down the road… its a way over rated way to sell beer… See, I didn’t add much to the thread! :sunglasses: Sneezles61

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Actually can’t think of a style I don’t like. The house I’m staying out is top heavy on barrel aged stout and BW and IPA. I snuck in some Nameste and a Tivoli Helles. They were like “that’s refreshing”

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