Are IPAs an acquired taste?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by RayzTheRoof, Nov 19, 2013.

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  1. RayzTheRoof

    RayzTheRoof Initiate (47) Oct 14, 2013 New York

    Relatively new to craft beer, but I found that I really don't enjoy IPAs. I feel like I can't handle too much hops and end up always thinking, "cool, this tastes like a tree." Just curious if anyone felt like I do but eventually came to love them.
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  2. jimmah120

    jimmah120 Meyvn (1,053) Feb 21, 2012 Minnesota

    First IPA I ever had was Surly Furious: I hated it.

    Guess how that turned out.
    eppCOS, DevilsCups, dzyneguru and 8 others like this.
  3. Das_Reh

    Das_Reh Disciple (333) Mar 25, 2013 Florida

    I was more or less the same way. Then again taste is completely subjective, so if you don't like something, don't worry about it. I'd also look into finding IPA's that have a more cutrusy, fruity flavor than a piney, grassy or earthy hop flavor. If possible, see if you can find the IBU rating of a beer; the lower the IBU rating, the less perceived bitterness there will be.

    Also, your palate WILL develop and mature over time. I used to -HATE- stouts and porters, now they are some of my favorites and I get frequent cravings for black, roasty beers :slight_smile:
  4. koopa

    koopa Poo-Bah (2,059) Apr 20, 2008 New Jersey

    Yup they are. Most people don't like overly bitter beers at first. This can include both IPA's and overly roasty dark beers. Most people do tend to adjust to them and begin craving them at some point though.
    Anderbrau_IPA likes this.
  5. Hoppsbabo

    Hoppsbabo Champion (890) Jan 29, 2012 United Kingdom (England)

    No. When introducing friends to the wonderful world of beer I always start them off on something with loud, obvious flavours.
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  6. koopa

    koopa Poo-Bah (2,059) Apr 20, 2008 New Jersey

    Most people don't like overly bitter beers at first. This can include both IPA's and overly roasty dark beers. Most people do tend to adjust to them over time and begin to crave them eventually.
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  7. BethanyB

    BethanyB Zealot (524) Jun 20, 2013 New York

    In my experience? Yes, but it didn't take long for me to acquire it. As was mentioned earlier, most people are a bit taken aback by bitter beers at first, but the more of them you drink, the less you notice the hop bitterness and the more you notice the hop flavor. At least, that's the way I look at it. I'm a big American IPA fan. I love my C-Hops. Once you start being able to pick out hop flavors and qualities in IPAs that you like, you may find yourself craving them like carbs. It's 5:53 in the morning here, and I can smell those C-Hops now. Mmm...refreshing. :slight_smile: a lot of people will recommend easing into IPAs via pale ales ( many overlap in terms of style), and this is what did it for me although the process wan't intentional. Lagunitas Sumpin' Sumpin' is an APA that many would classify as an IPA. But it differs from Lagunitas Hop Stoopid IPAVin that it has this bright, slightly sweet and very fruity quality that will turn your attention away from the bitterness (which is prominent) and towards other interesting IPA qualities. I also recommend Sixpoint Bengali Tiger as a good place to start. Avery Maharaja is a IPA with some caramel and buttered toast flavors that balance things out very well. I've only seen it sold in bombers.
    eppCOS, DrDaves49, dawg1969 and 3 others like this.
  8. BethanyB

    BethanyB Zealot (524) Jun 20, 2013 New York

    Your "tastes like a tree comment" makes me think you'll want to stay away from anything pRticularly "resinous" at first. Again recommending Lagunitas Sojn' even though it's labeled as an APA. If you figure you don't like the citrusy stuff (which can often be a bit piney) I would start looking at trying some English IPAS. Just curious, have you had Sierra Nevada Pale Ale? Did it taste like a tree for you? Just trying to get a sense of your "woodsy" tolerance level :wink:
    dawg1969 and MartinVanBrewin like this.
  9. fredmugs

    fredmugs Meyvn (1,484) Aug 11, 2012 Indiana

    It was for me. My friends used to get pitchers of Two Hearted and I would have to nurse them. Now Two Hearted is pretty much a session beer for me.
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  10. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,945) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

    There are plenty of great beer flavors even if you never develop a taste for IPA of any kind. That said, try them 17 times and you may get that love/craving I have.

    If you still don't like them there are over 90 other styles that aren't hoppy.
  11. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,505) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    No, not anymore.

    When IPAs went from being overly bitter to beers with dominant tropical fruit flavors. For example, when IPAs evolved from Stone Ruination to Stone Enjoy By. Or Victory Hop Wallop to Victory Dirt Wolf.

    IPAs like Dirt Wolf, Enjoy By, or the insanely popular Heady Topper are easy to like. IPAs are the best selling style within craft beer now, this didn't happen because they're hard to enjoy. Non-hoppy lagers on the other hand I do believe are an acquired taste....
    Aestro, Hoppsbabo, HjaltiB and 3 others like this.
  12. Providence

    Providence Crusader (747) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    It seems like they may be, but my wife went right from drinking Stella to DFH 90 min with no in between, so it's certainly not the case for everyone.
    GoldenChild and LeRose like this.
  13. pitweasel

    pitweasel Initiate (0) Jun 11, 2007 New York

    BEER is an acquired taste. And when I did end up starting to enjoy beer myself, it took a while for IPAs to grow on me. But I had friends who would always let me try their beers without having to commit to a whole bottle/pint myself, and that's how they ended up winning me over.
  14. mmoseleyfm

    mmoseleyfm Initiate (0) Apr 7, 2006 Massachusetts

    I'd wager it varies from person to person. I remember (in the wayback machine) my first real craft brew in 2000, SA Octoberfest (not to implicate myself, but I may or may not have reached the age of alcohol majority at that point) and I thought it was so bitter I could barely finish a bottle (amazing to think about it when I can drink something like 90 min now without batting an eyelash). But at the same time there was something strangely addictive about it. I fell back on milder (as far as hop flavor/bittering) styles like Wachusett Nut Brown Ale, that was a favorite brewery of ours because it was started by fellow alumni, and Long Trail Brown. I think I went on to darker beers from there like Otter Creek Stovepipe Porter, Sam Smiths Oatmeal, etc. And then I spent a semester in London, where I came to appreciate real bitters served in real pints at the correct temperature. From there on out I followed the hop trend with the US craft trends.
  15. beercanman

    beercanman Initiate (0) Dec 17, 2012 Ohio

    It was for me. Now I crave them. Good luck
  16. 5thOhio

    5thOhio Zealot (509) May 13, 2007 South Carolina

    Isn't everything besides mother's milk an acquired taste?
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  17. azorie

    azorie Champion (892) Mar 18, 2006 Florida

    I been drinking for a long time 40+ . My first IPA was an English IPA. It was ok and while it was hoppy its not really in the same league as American IPA and boy my first West coast IPA took a few layers off my teeth. I still do NOT enjoy them 20 years after I tried the first 1. I like hops, but many are too piney for me. Grapefruit and others are not quite as bad, but IF I do have 1 for food reasons or whatever its usually one and done.

    That all said MANY love them, and no matter what my opinion is, I doubt the popularly of them will wane anytime soon. unless the hop crops all die out...I think its where you start at in beer. I used to think swill lagers were too biter. IE I disliked beer from the 1960's until I found German imports and dark lagers. I did find I enjoyed BASS PA on my first cruise to Portsmouth, UK. I been hooked on those limits to my hop life. Then I find Sam Adams nobile pils a few years ago. I love that blend of in your face hops, but its not piney. Still I usually only drink 2 at one time, as I enjoy porters best for my cheap go to beer. I prefer Belgians and balance but they are not cheap here.

    So drink them all and enjoy and take your time, you will figure it out. You do not need us to tell YOU, what beers you enjoy.:grinning:

    doowhat likes this.
  18. StuartCarter

    StuartCarter Initiate (0) Apr 25, 2006 Alabama

    there are so many different beer styles encompassing such a huge variety of aroma and flavour, why sweat over liking just one of those styles? Go out, sample lots, and keep returning to IPA. You will work out soon enough if the style is for you or not :slight_smile:
    azorie likes this.
  19. DarkDragon999

    DarkDragon999 Aspirant (255) Feb 13, 2013 Rhode Island

    For me, yeah. I drained poured a bunch of them early on and I came back to the style later on and I liked them quite a bit. Basicially, I was trying all the popular styles but IPAs and eventually I was forced to go back to IPA's because I tried everything else. It was a good decision and now I like them. Still not one of my favorite styles though.
    thesherrybomber likes this.
  20. Kanger

    Kanger Zealot (521) Sep 3, 2013 New York

    There are so many different hops with different flavor profiles. There are plenty of IPAs that don't taste like trees.
  21. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Zealot (547) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts

    It took me several years to get into them. I hated IPAs early on, largely because I was drinking either really crappy ones from breweries like Coopers Cave and Davidson Bros. in my hometown, or really hoppy/bitter ones like Smutty Finest Kind. I finally got it when I drank fresh Sierra Nevada N. Hemisphere Harvest Ale. Wasn't just straight bitter in my face, but had nice balance and flavors from both the malt and hops. Since then I've devolved into a total hophead and now crave the most bitter beers I can find, but it definitely took some time to find the right gateway beer to IPAs.
  22. JuicesFlowing

    JuicesFlowing Poo-Bah (2,233) Jul 5, 2009 Kansas

    For the longest time I appreciated hop bombs, but would only drink them on occasion. I'm just now starting to seek them out more and more. There are certain kinds of hops I hate though. I prefer my IPA to taste like a pine tree .
  23. TheNightwatchman

    TheNightwatchman Devotee (494) Mar 28, 2009 Pennsylvania

    They are. It's tough to go to something as hoppy and bitter as an IPA if you've never had anything similar before. It took me a good few months of craft drinking before I started to get a taste for IPAs.

    Granted some people just never gain a taste for them, and there's nothing wrong with that. Everyone has a different palate, and will enjoy different flavors.

    You also have different types of IPAs. Some are more pine flavored, and others more tropical and fruity. Some are in between. I tend to lean towards the more tropical and fruity flavors, but I appreciate the piney ones as well, and enjoy them.
  24. micromaniac129

    micromaniac129 Initiate (0) Nov 1, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Coopers cave beer does suck bad. We stop now just for sodas on out way to LP
  25. BrettHead

    BrettHead Zealot (504) Sep 18, 2010 Nebraska

    Since when is Lagunitas Sumpin' Sumpin' an APA? Lagunitas themselves describe it as half ipa, half wheat beer. I'd call it an IPA. 7.5% and 64 IBU does not equate to an APA. Cheers.
  26. MartinVanBrewin

    MartinVanBrewin Initiate (0) Jun 20, 2011 Texas

    My first IPA was Lagunitas Hop Stoopid...Great beer in retrospect, but BIG mistake if I had any plans of "easing my way" into the style. If you're still wanting to give IPAs a go, try pairing it with a meal that has a bold or spicy taste. Like a jalapeno burger, or some kind of dish with curry.
    azorie likes this.
  27. kabritz

    kabritz Initiate (157) Aug 1, 2013 Quebec (Canada)

    My enjoyment of Heady rose to a new level when my buddy tried it for the first time and said it tasted like liquid marijuana. He's looking forward to our next drive down to Burlington to pick up "that weed beer."
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  28. APBT91

    APBT91 Initiate (0) Apr 12, 2013 North Carolina

    my first ipa was flying dogs Snake dog ipa. wasnt much into it the first couple of sips but kept going, about half way through the beer i new i found a style i would always love.
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  29. anticipation23

    anticipation23 Initiate (0) May 2, 2013 Wisconsin

    I actually only drank IPA's for about 3 or 4 months after I turned 21, which is when I obviously really started to get into craft, and loved them so I'd say not for everyone. Bitter was a flavor I thought was standard in a good IPA, turns out that isn't necessarily the case and my palate was just oversensitive to the higher concentration of alpha acids in most of the IIPA/IPA's I was trying. Then once I tried more and more IPA's the bitterness in each started to differentiate slightly on my tongue, I tried better examples (Pliny, Illumination, Heady) and started paying attention to what went into each brew. That helped me learn to better distinguish what hops gave what flavor profile to each beer, and now I actively seek out IPA's that I am fairly certain I will like based on what hops are used/style/brewer. I think I would attribute my palate change to the transition from AAL to craft rather than acquiring the taste for more resinous, intensely hopped beer.
  30. doowhat

    doowhat Disciple (357) Feb 22, 2009 Arkansas

    I wasn't terribly fond of IPAs at first, but the higher abv kinda trained me to like em. I found that I could catch a decent buzz after just a couple of these things. And you know, after your tongue gets a little numb they start tasting better. I'm a stickler for higher abv beers...more bang for the buck I guess, also I get too full drinking low abv beers. I say try several different ones before giving up, plus maybe try imperial IPAs.
  31. CraftFan5

    CraftFan5 Champion (890) May 14, 2013 New Jersey

    Sound like OP and I are in the same boat. I can still barely tolerate a bitter IPA, but I guess I'm starting to appreciate them a little bit. I'm at the point where I can differentiate between a good IPA and a not so good one, so even though I might not enjoy an IPA, I can at least detect when I'm having a well crafted one. The first IPA I truly, truly liked was Stone Enjoy By... Give it a try.
    atomic and Roguer like this.
  32. keithmurray

    keithmurray Meyvn (1,374) Oct 7, 2009 Connecticut

    Yes, they are.
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  33. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Zealot (547) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts

    Every beers tastes like wet cardboard. It's incredible how bad the beers are. But their new restaurant is always busy. Boggles the mind.
  34. brureview

    brureview Poo-Bah (2,161) Jan 20, 2012 Massachusetts

    Which IPAs have you tried? Perhaps you should look for a less hoppy IPA. I would suggest Worthington White Shield. You may enjoy more bready, malty, more floral, less intense IPAs.
  35. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado

    Since beer is an acquired taste [if you don't think so - just remember your first beer being the most vile thing you tasted up to that point of your life], then IPAs are an acquired taste.
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  36. GardenWaters

    GardenWaters Initiate (0) Jan 8, 2012 Illinois

    Funny, I started out drinking nothing but IPA's (about 2 years straight), and hated anything that was not "in-your-face" with hops. I neglected numerous others styles as a result because I found them "boring". Now, I can hardly drink IPA's anymore. I find myself longing for more balanced brews. I realized that hops were not the only component of beer, and found out that I enjoy tasting malts as well.
  37. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (4,843) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Moderator Society Trader

    Yes and no. If you don't like a pine-flavored beer, then floral and citrus IPAs might be easier. My first IPA ever was Enjoy By, and I immediately loved it, so acquired or not, you may just not like IPAs - which is fine. However, I would recommend trying a couple different styles of IPAs: contrast Red Hook Longhammer against Dogfish Head 60 minute, for example. Both pretty easy-going and accessible, but with different flavor profiles.

    However, personal palate aside, there's no doubt that there is some acclimatization to hoppier beers. If you don't find a lighter, easier-going IPA that you like, you're probably not going to like any of them. Conversely, if you find one you DO like (or even a hoppy pale ale), the more of it you drink - or beers like it - the more likely you are to find that the bitter hoppiness is no longer offensive to your palate (or at least, AS offensive).

    Cheers, and enjoy whatever you're drinking! :slight_smile:
    thesherrybomber likes this.
  38. LeRose

    LeRose Meyvn (1,436) Nov 24, 2011 Massachusetts

    That's interesting, Providence. My wife spits IPA's out all the time, but likes 90 Minute. She does not like 60-minute at all. She doesn't even like Hoponius Union. which is an excellent IPL, but hardly "over the top".

    For me, OP, Ruination was the Eureka moment when it comes to this genre. Either it was timing and persistence (I kept trying IPAs and just didn't get it), but Ruination was the game changer where I understood what it was all about. Thing is, there's tasty ones that are yes extremely hopped but nicely balanced, and there's crappy ones that are totally one-dimensional.

    But there are plenty of styles - don't sweat it, just try them once in a while until the awakening happens.
    Providence likes this.
  39. Cory-WC

    Cory-WC Initiate (0) May 31, 2013 Florida

    What helped me develop my love for IPAs was starting with the ones that have the more citrusy notes in them. Founders All Day was the one in particular that really got me into them. As I experimented more and more, I found the other subtleties more appealing. Good luck!
  40. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,934) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
    Society Trader

    I just wonder if people who are first exposed to IPA's actually eget the opportunity to enjoy a fresh world class one? I probably drank 50-100 average/supar crafted and not-so-fresh IPAs before I realized the world of difference between fresh hops and top made ones.
    dedbeer likes this.
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