How many sub-styles of IPA should exist on BA?

Discussion in 'BeerAdvocate Talk' started by JackHorzempa, Jul 19, 2019.

  1. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,091) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    There has been a fair bit of discussion on this topic in a Pilsner thread so I figured I would start this thread to divert that discussion to this thread.

    At the moment below are the IPA sub-styles that exist on BA:

    American Brut IPA

    American Imperial IPA

    American IPA

    Belgian IPA

    English India Pale Ale (IPA)

    New England IPA

    In past BA thread discussions there have been a lot of discussion of American IPA sub-styles:

    · West Coast American IPA

    · East Coast American IPA

    · Midwest American IPA

    · Vermont American IPA

    · Others?

    Needless to say there are strength variants like Session IPA, DIPA, TIPA which could be applied to all sub-styles.

    Do you think that the IPA sub-styles should be expanded on BA or is the present list acceptable for you?

    I am thinking that maybe it would be a good idea to list the varying strength categories since from a ranking perspective is it fair to compare a Session iPA like Founders All Day IPA to a higher strength beer like Russian River Pliny the Elder (a DIPA)?

    As to the various regional differences I listed above (i.e., West Coast, East Coast, Midwest, Vermont,…) perhaps a consolidated sub-style of American IPA is sufficient?

    I personally have varying views on these regional IPAs, with some example beers listed below, but maybe they are sufficiently similar?

    · West Coast American IPA: Firestone Walker Union Jack

    · East Coast American IPA: Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA

    · Midwest American IPA: Bell’s Two Hearted (pretty similar to a West Coast IPA for my personal palate)

    · Vermont IPA: Alchemist Focal Banger

    I personally think it is fair to have a separate category for a Juicy/Hazy IPA (BA prefers the nomenclature of NEIPA) with the understanding that these beers need to have qualities beyond just being hazy such as a low-moderate bitterness accompanied with a soft mouthfeel.

    So, fellow BAs bring out your whips and express your thoughts. It would appear that this ‘horse’ is not dead, yet?

    Cheers!
     
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  2. officerbill

    officerbill Aspirant (295) Feb 9, 2019 New York
    Society

    I'm glad I don't drink IPA's, it's too complicated. :grin:
    BTW what's the difference between New England IPA & Vermont IPA, maple syrup?
     
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  3. loebrygg

    loebrygg Aspirant (221) Jun 4, 2016 Norway

    American IPA
    English IPA
    DIPA
    Belgian IPA

    I'm satisfied with that
     
  4. StoutSnob40

    StoutSnob40 Poo-Bah (2,392) Jan 4, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    What if it's a New England DIPA?
     
  5. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,091) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    A Juicy/Hazy (NEIPA) IPA beer should have a number of qualities like I detailed above: "low-moderate bitterness accompanied with a soft mouthfeel".

    If a brewery wants to make a hoppy (i.e., more bitter) IPA than that should be something other than a Juicy/Hazy (NEIPA) IPA. For example the beer I gave as an example of a Vermont IPA of Focal Banger has about 80 IBUs.

    Cheers!
     
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  6. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,457) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Society

    In the past few weeks I've seen references to German IPAs which are unique because of the use of German malts and hops to give them their own taste character. I had one and it was good, but not great (kind of like the English IPAs). I suppose if we have English IPAs, then we can have German IPAs, then Austrailian IPAs, and then New Zealand IPAs, and then .....

    Maybe the source of the ingredients should not be a factor when creating a sub-style, ragardless of whether it has its own unique taste. Let's drop the country of origin in the name and just create IPA sub-styles based on taste descriptors (juicy hop, mellow hop, bitter/sharp hop).
     
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  7. rozzom

    rozzom Champion (835) Jan 22, 2011 New York
    Trader

    Brooklyn IPA - it's like a NEIPA but a lot better. So should have it's own category I think. Also NEIPA should be subdivided. I want to know if I'm about to drink dross - so MA NEIPA would be helpful
     
  8. officerbill

    officerbill Aspirant (295) Feb 9, 2019 New York
    Society

    Okay, thanks. TBH until your lists I didn't realize just how many IPA variations were out there.
     
  9. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,511) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
    Society

    Good luck with that.

    Look at the reviews for Fire, Skulls, and Money, for example.

    Calling that a NEIPA is darn near laughable. That is a bitter beer. Even the brewer says, "Inspired by a trip to the west coast." Yet, it is classified as a NEIPA here, to the point that it is down-rated... here is one quote from a review:

    "Juicy and bitter and bitter and bitter. Blech. This is garbage, especially when you are getting cans of Tree House, Trillium and Other Half....Not a fan of the back end spicy bitter thing."

    I can't blame the reviewer... This reviewer was expecting this to be a NEIPA, it seems. This is the fault of whoever decided to re-classify this beer from AIPA to NEIPA.

    What we have now is a mess. If it is hazy with "juicy" aroma, it is a NEIPA, even if it is 9.5% ABV and bitter as hell.
     
    #9 MNAle, Jul 19, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2019
  10. tone77

    tone77 Poo-Bah (5,847) May 20, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Society

    I'm comfortable with the styles we currently have, although I would like to add a Session IPA style for any IPA's that are 5% or less abv.
     
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  11. islay

    islay Aspirant (276) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota
    Trader

    Tough one. I definitely think less is more here; it's just a matter of how much less.

    I strongly believe New England IPA needs to go because way too many non-New-England IPAs are being jammed into the "style," including beers that predated the style's existence and aren't a part of its lineage. Also, now that the vast majority of newly released IPAs are at least somewhat hazy in appearance and somewhat juicy in aroma and flavor, "NE" increasingly is becoming a superfluous and misguided prefix ahead of "IPA" (i.e., many modern non-New-England IPAs have enough NEIPA influences to be mistaken for them). If the people adding beers were directed to use "New England IPA" very sparingly, only when they're quite certain that there would be almost universal agreement that the designation applies, and otherwise to use "American IPA," and a large proportion of the many past mistaken classifications were corrected, I could accept it as a separate style.

    Brut IPA seems like a temporary fad that lacks the longevity to be granted a style; give it at least a few years to distinguish itself (I'm dubious).

    There's no need to distinguish West Coast, East Coast, and Midwest; those are mere historical regional variations, as happens in many styles. They're more accents than dialects, let alone independent languages.

    I think searchable tags are appropriate here. For instance, the style for a beer could be "American IPA," and then it can be given a tag of "New England IPA."
     
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  12. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,674) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    I'll let the Bros and Admins decide that. My head doesn't need to explode. :wink:
     
  13. TheIPAHunter

    TheIPAHunter Poo-Bah (1,999) Aug 12, 2007 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    These threads drive me nuts, and I say that with all due respect to you, sir. How many sub-categories do we actually need? I'd prefer to keep it simple. I think the beer world is in love with trying to over-complicate things. Cheers!
     
  14. Sabtos

    Sabtos Poo-Bah (6,694) Dec 15, 2015 Ohio
    Society Trader

    There really should be:

    Milkshake IPA
    Sour IPA

    Dunno why you'd want that crazy shit mixed in with "American IPA"
     
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  15. Sabtos

    Sabtos Poo-Bah (6,694) Dec 15, 2015 Ohio
    Society Trader

    Oh, and there should not be a Brut IPA. A couple of those were made for a few months and we make a category for it, but these other IPAs have been around for years and nothing? Brut IPA was barely different from regular anyway. Passing gimmick to try to start a new fad that didn't catch on.
     
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  16. jasonmason

    jasonmason Initiate (168) Oct 6, 2004 California

    Completely agree on this. This will (likely) fall into the Black/White/Brett/Sour/Milkshake IPA boneyard of short-lived trends. A few will probably still stick around, but not enough to necessitate their own style. Maybe "Experimental IPA" as an umbrella? Just because I think "Current fad IPA" would be a tough sell...

    Also agree regarding the West Coast/East Coast/Midwest IPA classifications. West Coast IPA is basically American IPA; there are far fewer stylistic differences between a Stone IPA and a DFH 60 Minute than there are between either of those and a true NEIPA.

    To me, less is better. I see it as American IPA (including all regions), Hazy/NE IPA, Double IPA (clear or hazy, and including triple IPAs), Session IPA, and Experimental IPA. Let the reviewer parse out the individual variations under the large umbrella, rather than creating a bunch of really little umbrellas.
     
  17. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,605) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Society

    At what point do we just call everything that someone deems to be somewhat hoppy an IPA? I'd like to dial some of these back.
     
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  18. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,511) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
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    Wait... isn't it appropriate for all those beers with all the tropical aromas and flavors to have little umbrellas? :wink:
     
  19. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,091) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    I suppose we all have our own individual thoughts here.

    As I posted in the OP:

    I am thinking that maybe it would be a good idea to list the varying strength categories since from a ranking perspective is it fair to compare a Session iPA like Founders All Day IPA to a higher strength beer like Russian River Pliny the Elder (a DIPA)?

    Cheers!
     
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  20. TheIPAHunter

    TheIPAHunter Poo-Bah (1,999) Aug 12, 2007 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    I'm not saying that I don't respect the thought process. It just reminds me of my days in upper management, and I'll leave it at that. Cheers, brother!
     
  21. Sound_Explorer

    Sound_Explorer Poo-Bah (1,678) Dec 29, 2013 Washington
    Society

    American IPA
    American Double IPA
    American Triple IPA
    NE Style IPA
    Belgian IPA
    English IPA

    Brut can die a quick painful death, never been impressed by any of them. I would just like the Triple added as Imperial/Double should just be Double.
     
  22. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (3,478) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Society Trader

    In regards to strength, I would like to see an ability to double-categorize IPAs in regards to style and strength, i.e. American IPA; DIPA or NEIPA; TIPA or NEIPA; Session. This would allow more specific searches for beer of interest for users and reduce the clutter and debate on whether a drink belongs within a specific categorization or within a specific strength designation.

    I cannot speak to if Beer Advocate's systems are developed to offer this, but this is the method I would like to see moving forward.
     
  23. jasonmason

    jasonmason Initiate (168) Oct 6, 2004 California

    Personally I'd prefer if Triple IPA was rolled into the American Barleywine classification...but that's just me.
     
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  24. eppCOS

    eppCOS Savant (958) Jun 27, 2015 Colorado
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    I don't know why I'm responding... maybe it's the beer talking:
    I'd be down for +1 for a session IPA and a +1 for Black/Cascadian IPA (dammit!)

    On the latter, I maybe am one of 5 people here who actually appreciates and mostly misses them.
     
  25. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,310) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    I tend to lump things together, so I wouldn't be opposed to two categories:

    American Pale Ale
    English Pale Ale

    Note the lack of "India." I'd even take it a step further and remove things like American Blonde and Amber and place those beers in the pale ale category. Old-school American C-hop IPAs would go in the American category rather than the English (as is often the case here). Honestly, I was considering including NEIPA as a third category, but the current execution and debate about it here pushes me to consider it a total mess.

    Having said that, I don't have a problem with the ways things are, and while I don't really get much benefit from the various IPA categories on BeerAdvocate, I do get some benefit from brewers labeling their product with terms like IPA, blonde or NEIPA.
     
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  26. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (6,083) Sep 24, 2007 Northern Mariana Islands
    Trader

    "Double" and "Triple" can go away. They aren't double or triple anything. If a beer is 7.9% or lower, it's an IPA. If it's 8% or up, it's an Imperial IPA.
     
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  27. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (6,083) Sep 24, 2007 Northern Mariana Islands
    Trader

    No. IPAs and Barleywines are not the same thing. No.
     
  28. jasonmason

    jasonmason Initiate (168) Oct 6, 2004 California

    I know. I agree they're not the same. I just don't know what to do with so-called Triple IPAs.

    I think a lot of what is called Triple IPA should just be called Imperial IPA, and that trying to make divisions out of them just ends up in confusion. If I had it my way it would just be Session > Single > Imperial. Though I know a lot of people won't agree with that.
     
  29. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,310) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    Adding to the above, any pale ale with fruit in it would be classified as a fruit beer.
     
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  30. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,511) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
    Society

    I don't have a big problem with a plethora of styles. What I have a problem with is misuse of the styles, whether that is by the marketing department of the brewery or by BA members who don't know better.

    The purpose should be to help us know what we are buying. (At least that should be one purpose).

    EDIT to add... The styles should also be distinct at some level. IOW, there should not be complete overlap between or among styles. For example, if a Session IPA style is identified, how is that different from an APA? Less hop / malt balance? Thinner body? There are many other examples as well.
     
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  31. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,863) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Trader

    I’d rather see them split by abv, and that dubious as well.

    Under 5 - session
    Up to 8 - ipa
    8 plus -DIPA.

    As an example a beer 6.2 to 7.7 can be altered with wheat, malt, yeast, a single hop, fresh hop, a combo hop, lactose, fruit, whatever. There’s so many permutations in this single IPA category to stagger anyone. Then add that number to session and DIPA, it could get to be ridiculous.

    A 7% ipa could come from Cali, from MI, from PA, but they’d all be an ipa no matter what concoction the brewer threw in there.

    Then what do you call a 6.2 abv designated PA from the brewer?

    It counters everything I just posted above as an Ipa, but an ipa is still a pale ale. The lines get so weird, and our need to catalog everything can get tiresome. To the extreme you could have 50 styles of ipas if you really start to pick.

    Then there’s the brewers designation.
     
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  32. Gajo74

    Gajo74 Poo-Bah (2,131) Sep 14, 2014 New York
    Society Trader

    Have you suggested an edit for style under the beer tools? The other day I had a Pilsner that’s labeled German Pilsner on BA, even though the can clearly says Bohemian Pilsner. I suggested an edit; hope to see the change.
     
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  33. Gajo74

    Gajo74 Poo-Bah (2,131) Sep 14, 2014 New York
    Society Trader

    Should Milkshake IPA be its own style?
     
  34. SierraNevallagash

    SierraNevallagash Devotee (452) Sep 23, 2018 Maine
    Trader

    About an hour and a half in either direction.
     
    #34 SierraNevallagash, Jul 19, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2019
  35. jasonmason

    jasonmason Initiate (168) Oct 6, 2004 California

    Nope. Maybe under “Experimental IPA”.
     
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  36. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,551) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
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    Substyles of a substyle? Zero. IPA is a substyle of Pale Ale as far as I'm concerned. Hardly any are from India anyway.
     
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  37. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (688) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Trader

    For the sake of setting expectations I would put forward these divisions of IPA;

    English IPA - malt forward, UK hops (fuggles, cluster, kent golding, etc) that tend to lend an earthy, floral, herbal flavor
    West coast IPA - moderate malt body, well hopped with the hops that made the west coast famous (c-hops, willammette, etc) that impart piney, dank, herbal and citrus peel flavors
    North East IPA - adjunct heavy malt bill in pursuit of full, pillowy body. Juicy/tropical fruit flavors from modern hop varieties and heavy emphasis on late hop additions.
    American IPA - a sort of catchall category for all of those that don't fall into the above categories. Would include many of the modern IPAs from all over including the mass of slightly hazy IPAs that aren't designed to taste almost like juice.

    White/Black/Brut/milkshake would all be variations on any one of the above style, obviously certain examples would be more likely (milkshake neipa, black wc ipa) than others.
     
  38. Mindcrime1000

    Mindcrime1000 Crusader (767) Apr 30, 2016 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    I think of beer classifications in much the same way as I think of rock music classifications. It gets carried away. It isn't enough to say speed, thrash or death metal. On wikipedia, there are five subcategories of death metal, five subcategories of Grindcore (itself an offshoot of other genres), and, you get the point. Things get subdivided to the point the categories become meaningless--forest for the trees if you will.
     
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  39. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,551) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
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    Imperial can go away too. Look at the ABV and decide for yourself if it's high or low.
     
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  40. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (6,083) Sep 24, 2007 Northern Mariana Islands
    Trader

    Nah, it's a convenient shorthand that denotes a strong beer. Double and Triple tells us nothing.