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

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

  1. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,037) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    This could work.

    Fire Skulls and Money tasted like a New England IPA to me. Plus it's only 50 IBUs, and uses all new-age hops.

    The hop bill is Citra, Mosaic, Galaxy and Nelson.

    They may have just meant that they visited a brewery on the West Coast that influenced the beer, not that it necessarily is a West Coast IPA.

    I completely agree in that New England IPA should at the very least be its own category.

    It's so far removed in flavor, aroma, mouthfeel, and appearance than other IPAs.

    If it wasn't, brewer's all over the country wouldn't have spent the last few years copying Trillium/Tree House and slapping the word "New England" on their labels.

    I also think this would work.

    Trillium Dialed Up is considered a New England Triple. This beer has virtually nothing in common with something like Sierra Nevada Bigfoot.

    I also think this proposal could work.

    I prefer New England Metal. It's softer and more mainstream.

    For comparison, New England IPAs have over 7000 entries, American Imperial IPA has over 15000, and American IPA has over 36000.

    Granted that's not exactly fair given the amount of time the others have been being brewed.


    Great topic @JackHorzempa given the recent discussions on the forums.

    As others have stated, I think it should simply come down to what we NEED. Given it's a review website, and users read these reviews trying to see how a specific style is rated, and users are encouraged to review to style, style nomenclature is important.
     
    meefmoff likes this.
  2. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,595) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Trader

    If you thnk it is better for consumers to have a confusing, contradictory, illogical grouping of wayyyyy too many names works better as a consumer guide than a simple, small, easy to understand group of style names, I disagree. We "experts" can't even figure out what the names mean, or figure out what system creates them, let alone consumers being able.

    Hoppy Pale Ale, with ABV, IBU's, and a brief description of the beer's taste notes on the label is better IMO. I picture a system of taxonomy with Hoppy Pale Ale and thirteen other categories with easy to understand names. I could see a debate about how far to cut back on names and how simple to make them so consumers' benefit. I think fourteen categories total is adequate.

    Always surprised to discover folks think the fix for a system that has so many confusing names it is useless to consumers is to make more names.
     
  3. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (688) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Trader

    I think that having more than one category would be useful to consumers. If I want a NEIPA I'm going to be let down by a west coast style IPA and vice versa. My personal preference is for less styles of hoppy pale ales than there are currently so I don't think I'm personally advocating for a more complicated system than is currently in place, but I don't think it's especially useful to consumers to put them all in one category either. Obviously there is a certain amount of information on any given label but it's getting harder to understand what terms like 'juicy' or 'hazy' are actually going to deliver. I definitely agree that there could be a heavy pruning and consolidating of styles, but I do think to be a useful guide for beers a person isn't familiar with in the modern US beer market there is a need for a fair number of styles
     
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  4. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,092) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    To circle back to one paragraph in my 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)?"

    It makes no sense to me to describe both All Day IPA and PtE as being the 'same beer type' (e.g., Hoppy Pale Ale). Those two beer brands are drastically different and to lump them together from a ranking perspective does not make sense.

    Cheers!
     
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  5. MNAle

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

    I haven't had one since they started canning it and broadly distributing it from their new brewery. Maybe it is different. My review was 2 years ago, and was a original Decorah brewery bomber. It was quite bitter and piney. BA style description for NEIPA says, "without bracing bitterness"... While the word "bracing" is vague, the FSM that I drank was very bitter. If that is a NEIPA, then what IS the difference?
     
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  6. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,037) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Yup.

    How many people have friends that said they hate IPAs then tried their first New England IPA and said, "Oh wow, I didn't know IPAs could taste like this?"

    If I buy Trillium's DDH Congress Street IPA and then pour it and it's clear, amber in color, scathingly bitter with Cascade hops and 90 IBUs...well, I'm going to be pretty pissed.

    Exactly.

    We don't lump a Helles and a Festbier (pale Oktoberfest) into the same category. And personally I feel there's less difference between those two styles than there is between All Day IPA and Pliny the Elder.

    Gotcha.

    I didn't have Toppling Goliath before distribution to MA, but I've heard when they expanded many of their IPAs became more turbid and juicy. Maybe that's why we had such different experiences?
     
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  7. MNAle

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

    Maybe I'll have to pick up a 4 pack and give it a try.
     
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  8. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,330) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Trader

    2, cold and warm.
     
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  9. Hoppsbabo

    Hoppsbabo Champion (877) Jan 29, 2012 United Kingdom (England)
    Trader

    The English IPA demonination is really the American idea of the English IPA. Jesus, the American English India Pale Ale! British brewers don't limit themselves to just British hops, they really are very eclectic and have been for ages.
     
  10. thesherrybomber

    thesherrybomber Aspirant (276) Jun 13, 2017 California
    Society Trader

    Examples?
     
  11. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (688) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Trader

    I would just say that it's that way with any regional/national style designation. It's not meant to limit the region just to attach a point of reference
     
  12. Hoppsbabo

    Hoppsbabo Champion (877) Jan 29, 2012 United Kingdom (England)
    Trader

    St Austell Proper Job. But most of it is on cask.
     
    thesherrybomber likes this.
  13. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,595) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Trader

    This is true. But does it really matter? The average American consumer likely has no idea what the distinction is or is supposed to be. I doubt it adds to their confusion.
     
  14. riegler

    riegler Initiate (88) Apr 30, 2015 Iowa

    This!!!

    They have classified 8 of TG's hoppy beers as NEIPAs on this site specifically because they are hazy in appearance. Just going off the description on BA, Sosus is greater than 100 IBUs. Not exactly what you would call low bitterness. It is unfortunate, because TG's beers never used to look like that and as I recall, they still had that huge burst of hop aroma. They decided to change the appearance of the beer just to hop on the haze train. I still buy a ton of their beers because I much prefer some bitterness in my IPAs. I almost sort of laugh every time I pour one of their beers in my glass. Almost like, "ok let's see how opaque they made this batch":grin:
     
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  15. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (688) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Trader

    I think the average user of this site has some idea what it means, and considering that it's often a term used on labels, having it as a style makes it easier for someone who discovers that really enjoy (or don't) the style to find (or avoid) more examples.
    I can definitely get behind a culling of the substyles but I would think there are at least the distinction between English (or maybe "traditional") and American (or possibly "modern") IPAs. The broad style makes up a lot of my beer consumption but I don't usually enjoy the examples labeled as English/British, with their more prominent malt flavours and subtler hop flavors
     
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  16. Sabtos

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

    TG's IPA bombers have been hazy for years, possibly as long as TH has been around (someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I've got old as hell pictures of King Sue and stuff just completely opaque). Also Clark likes to say that NEI in NEIPA stands for NE Iowa...
     
  17. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,595) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Trader

    I think it's good we give proper consideration of the utility of each style, and sub style, and sub sub style, etc., I think it's good to add our thoughts to the conversation as you've done here.

    I like you carefully chose the terms "average user" and "some idea" to describe the level of knowledge on (arguably) the most knowledgeable beer consumer site. I like that we can infer from it what the level of awareness is for the vast majority of the beer community, who aren't BA's.
     
    bluejacket74 likes this.
  18. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (688) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Trader

    Well I think I should add that to the actual average beer consumer this whole site would be somewhere between confusing and educational. We are tremendous dorks about beer and while the site shoulda be accessible to everyone we don't need to dumb it down completely
     
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  19. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (688) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Trader

    Just looked at some numbers out of curiosity and there are currently over 63,000 IPAs (goes up north of 80,000 when you include apa) listed in the current database. Three of the styles (Brut, Belgian, and English) have less than 2000 entries each, Brut has less then 1000.
    Not sure what that means but it does indicate to me that the could be some consolidation, although I'd still argue fur the English sub style because I find the distinction useful when making purchasing decisions. And we all know (say it together now); it's all about ME :grin:
     
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  20. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,595) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Trader

    I make a distinction between creating a system of taxonomy for beers that is accessible, logical, and a better way for consumers to use beer style names as a purchasing tool, and dumbing it down. Maybe that's just me. Cheers!
     
  21. jasonmason

    jasonmason Initiate (168) Oct 6, 2004 California

    Ok, but let's back up a second; we're discussing how beers are classified on this this site, not by packaging or some industry standard. If a customer is looking at BA before making a purchase, that problem should already have been avoided had they read the beer's descriptions and reviews. If the information is readily available but the consumer chooses not to utilize it...well, caveat emptor.
     
  22. Hoppsbabo

    Hoppsbabo Champion (877) Jan 29, 2012 United Kingdom (England)
    Trader

    Acknowledging that this is an American website and people are probably referring to American-made English style IPAs. Just remarking that while the American IPA has been sub-divided into multiple categories the humble English IPA remains an old monolith, which isn't the case in England. By the by, really.
     
    cavedave likes this.
  23. MNAle

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

    As long as I've been buying TG bombers (first one in 2015), they have all been at least hazy, and most actually turbid (and most, frankly, ugly brownish orange ... to the point that I attributed all those bright orange juice photos to Adobe & Co).
     
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  24. MNAle

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

    So, are they brewing NUIPAs? (Northumberland IPAs) :wink:
     
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  25. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,037) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Right.

    I was simply stating that there's major differences between a West Coast IPA and a New England IPA.

    So I wouldn't want those all lumped into the same category here on Beer Advocate. Because a good West Coast IPA would be penalized if it was labeled in a ubiquitous "American IPA" category because it would be pitted against the heavily favored/higher rated New England IPAs.
     
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  26. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,642) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew

    I'm all in favor of adding more styles in general, and reviewing things on a regular basis.
     
  27. riegler

    riegler Initiate (88) Apr 30, 2015 Iowa

    They've been hazy for a while now, but they've definitely upped the haze factor in the past few years. They were absolutely not comparable to what Trillium was putting out as far as haziness goes. This was back when they were self distributing and you only got a TG drop every couple of months, even in Iowa. They definitely had some batch variation where the color wasn't always the same, but now they are consistently hazy. Not that I care, I still love their beers. Just sort of makes me chuckle.
     
  28. Amendm

    Amendm Zealot (506) Jun 7, 2018 Rhode Island
    Society

    I'm in favor of AIPA having a West Coast sub style, Alpine's Bad Boy and many beers from Stone come to mind. The East Coast has their NEIPA.
     
  29. bwarner2015

    bwarner2015 Initiate (50) Mar 25, 2016 Connecticut

    Add a Session IPA category.
    Remove English and Belgian categories, and call it European IPA.
    Remove Brut IPA.. not necessary at all.
    I can't come to a conclusion with NEIPA. It can get confusing on what belongs in the NEIPA category vs the other categories. I mean, Heady Topper is categorized as a NEIPA, and I really don't think it belongs there. I think it should be in the American Imperial IPA category.
     
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  30. MNAle

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

    Belgian IPA has more in common with American IPA than it does with English IPA.
     
  31. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,092) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    I agree with you here. Heady Topper (100+ IBUs) is by no means a 'NEIPA' type beer.

    Cheers!
     
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  32. islay

    islay Aspirant (276) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota
    Trader

    Toppling Goliath never has brewed a New England IPA, to my knowledge. In fact, Toppling Goliath has become a great litmus test to check if people understand what are and aren't NEIPAs. Yes, the appearance of many of its IPAs, while always somewhat hazy and sometimes quite hazy before NEIPAs existed, seems to have become murkier in the last couple of years. Arguably some of its beers have become juicier as well. That's an industry-wide phenomenon, far from limited to Toppling Goliath, and it stems from modern customer expectations that do source to New England IPAs or at least their Vermont IPA predecessors. But Toppling Goliath IPAs still stand out most for a grass/hay-like quality and tend to be pretty darn dry, without the residual sugars that are a hallmark of actual NEIPAs. Also, most of them have significant bitterness both in the form of high IBUs and experienced bitterness. The fact is, sadly (in my opinion), that most American IPAs being released in 2019 are both hazy and at least somewhat juicy. And while those are features that are found in NEIPAs, they are also features that now are widely found outside of NEIPAs and long occasionally have been found outside of NEIPAs (in fact predating NEIPAs by decades). I also find it laughable that hops like Citra and Mosaic, which originally were popularized in West Coast IPAs before NEIPAs existed, are being mentioned as evidence that beers are NEIPAs and not WCIPAs.

    For the thousandth time, there have been hazy West Coast IPAs for decades; The Alchemist was imitating exactly those beers with Heady Topper, Focal Banger, and the other earliest Vermont IPAs from which NEIPAs later spun off; and there are scores of American IPAs that lately have adopted some (but not all, and usually in muted form) NEIPA-like features that decidedly are not NEIPAs but clearly often are confused for them. To use haze or even "juiciness" as the determining factor for "New England IPA" displays historical ignorance and massively excessive breadth, and it falsely turns a large majority of newly released IPAs, as well as many tweaked classics, into NEIPAs.
     
  33. islay

    islay Aspirant (276) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota
    Trader

    The East Coast also has their "East Coast IPA."
     
  34. Sabtos

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

    Disagree with almost everything stated here, but especially this part.

    Trill and Tree House IPAs can be quite dry.

    I never got much if any grass or hay out of TG IPAs.

    Residual sugars being a hallmark of NEIPAs...not something I hear...barely ever. Juiciness comes from the unique yeast used, especially Tree House. I don't find their beers to be sweet at all. Just perfectly fluffy and nicely balanced, for what they are. And a number of TG IPAs have been pretty, pretty juicy.
     
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  35. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (688) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Trader

    Well that's exactly my point, I think that lumping everything currently in the various ipa and apa categories into a single "hoppy pale ale" category doesnt create a more useful taxonomy at all. The only thing it creates is a simplified style chart that leaves one with a massive amount of variety that has to be deduced from brewery marketing and trial and error. I would call it dumbed down because it's only function is to create less reading by conveying less information
     
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  36. Hoppsbabo

    Hoppsbabo Champion (877) Jan 29, 2012 United Kingdom (England)
    Trader

    The best Englishy IPA I ever had was from a little pub in Alnwick!
     
    MNAle likes this.
  37. MNAle

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

    The style description on this site for NEIPA is very vague, and doesn't really help this discussion.

    The style description from BJCP may be more helpful, since they tend to draw better boundaries, identify defining characteristics as well as faults in order to guide the judges.

    We can agree or disagree about the relevance of BJCP to other than competitions that are focused on judging to style, but given the confusion about what is and what isn't a NEIPA, I think it can be helpful. (Link is in the above paragraph, BTW.)

    Here are some excerpts:

    Aroma:
    "Intense hop aroma, typically with fruity qualities (stone fruit, tropical fruit, and citrus are most commonly present) reflective of newer American and New World hop varieties without being grassy or herbaceous. Clean, neutral malt in the background, potentially with a light bready sweetness without caramel or toast."

    Flavor:
    "The perceived bitterness can be somewhat low to medium-high, often being masked by the body and finish of the beer. The hop character in the aftertaste should not be sharp or harsh. Low to medium malt flavor, generally neutral, sometimes having a bready, grainy, lightly sweet flavor. Noticeable toast or caramel flavors are a flaw. Fermentation character is neutral to fruity, but as with the aroma, supportive of the hops. Off-dry to medium finish. Creamy, starchy, or sugary-sweet flavors are inappropriate, although a high ester level and lower bitterness may give the impression of up to moderate sweetness."

    Comments:
    "The style is still evolving, but this style is essentially a smoother, hazier, juicier American IPA. In this context, ‘juicy’refers to a mental impression of fruit juice or eating fresh, fully ripe fruit. Heavy examples suggestive of milkshakes, creamsicles, or fruit smoothies are beyond this range; IPAs should always be drinkable. Haziness comes from the dry hopping regime, not suspended yeast, starch haze, set pectins, or other techniques; a hazy shine is desirable, not a cloudy, murky mess."

    History:
    "Brewers are continuing to innovate and evolve the style, with the style trending towards a less bitter presentation to the point of making a mockery of the term “IPA”."

    (oops... a little editorializing slipped into the History section!)

    Style Comparison
    "Compared to American IPA, New England IPA has a fuller, softer mouthfeel, a more fruit-forward late hop expression, a more restrained perceived bitterness balance, and a hazier appearance. Many modern American IPAs are fruity and somewhat hazy; if they have a dry, crisp finish, at most medium body, and high perceived bitterness, these examples should be entered as American IPAs."
     
    #117 MNAle, Jul 22, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
  38. Amendm

    Amendm Zealot (506) Jun 7, 2018 Rhode Island
    Society

    Lets drop American IPA and have all USA original IPA sub styles listed as separate styles, each with a Double/Imperial version;
    West Coast=Clear-slight haze...
    East Coast=Hazy...
    NEIPA=Tubid juice bomb...
    Brut=Missing something...
    Milkshake=No thanks...
    etc....
     
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  39. rudzud

    rudzud Poo-Bah (6,688) Apr 28, 2010 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    I'm not a fan of regional differentiation but I'd really like to see 'Sour IPA' on the list as opposed to just having to generic list it as 'american wild'.
     
    Amendm likes this.
  40. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,595) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Trader

    Or it relies on standardized, easy to understand, simple terms on a beer label, rather than inexact style names and inexact, illogical guidelines that are debated endlessly here because even us experts don't know or can't agree on them or what they mean. It puts the info in a place for the consumer to use it in a way that helps them. It would make the system more user friendly. The system now is one to make as many categories as possible so there can be as many entries as possible in brewing contests, not as a consumer guide that helps sell beer.

    I allowed you to have the last word when, in past, you accused my comments that were reductio ad absurdum of being straw men. I allowed you the last word when you accused me of saying things about children in bars I didn't say, mean, or imply. Here, have the last word again. I'm out. Cheers!
     
    #120 cavedave, Jul 23, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2019