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American Double / Imperial IPA


The origin of the American Imperial IPA came about when a Southern California brewer accidentally added too much malt to the mash. Since wasting a whole batch of beer didn’t sound like the greatest idea, instead he decided to add a surplus of hopsin efforts to counterbalance the excessive amount of malt already in there. And what was the result? A strong, hop forward, magnificent beer that is still around today.

An American Imperial IPA can also be called a Double IPA, for it uses double, sometimes triple, the amount of hops used in a traditional American IPA. The term imperial comes from the Russian Imperial Stout, which is a brew also known for its high ABV. However, Double IPA has become the preferred name of the brew in the US. Compared to a typical American IPA, Imperial IPA's are darker in color, more bitter, and have a higher ABV.

Once an American IPA reaches an ABV of 7% or higher, it is in American Double/Imperial IPA range. Imperial IPA's creep towards some of the strongest ales as far as alcohol content is concerned, and gathers most of their flavor from the hops. Although heavy in both hops and malt, for balancing purposes, Imperial IPA's offer a bitter hoppy taste, rather than a strong malt flavor. If the malt flavor were more prevalent than the hops, the brew would be more like an American Barelywine.

This American double beer is boldly flavored, medium bodied, hoppy, complex, fruity, spicy, piney, and so much more. The brew ranges in color from deep gold to medium amber and typically has an ABV between 7-12%. The best American Imperial IPA's are balanced in hop bitterness and malt sweetness with complex fruity, hoppy, and malty layers that emerge and evolve as the beer warms in a tulip glass.

The robust flavor of American Imperial IPA's make it pair well with grilled meats, barbecue, beef dishes, and grilled salmon.

We are excited to feature a number of American Imperial IPA beers in our Beer of the Month Club!

Breweries Producing American Double / Imperial IPA