Ranking well-known IPAs

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by butterygold, Jan 23, 2023.

  1. butterygold

    butterygold Devotee (319) May 12, 2020 Spain

    I came across this article, which ranks 8 'wildly popular' IPAs. I've had most of these, and I more or less agree with the results, though I think Alpine Nelson would be my number 1.


    I once did a blind taste test with Stone, Sculpin (which used to better, I think), Founders Centennial and SN Torpedo (which is the order in which they finished). My wife agreed with 1 and 2, but SN was third and Founders fourth for her.
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  2. jonphisher

    jonphisher Grand Pooh-Bah (3,074) Aug 9, 2015 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Reading the jai alai part really made me regret not buying the month old stash I just came across…I think this post has convinced me to buy it this week some time if I venture out, thank you @butterygold :beers:
  3. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Grand Pooh-Bah (3,069) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I would have been interested in knowing:
    • What were the packaging dates of those 8 beers.
    • What specific steps did the author/taster take to cleanse his palate between beers.
  4. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Grand Pooh-Bah (3,069) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    It has been my very consistent experience with Jai Alai that the hop aroma/flavor 'drops off a cliff' very quickly with this beer. I personally refuse to buy it if it is over a month old.

    Please let us know your thoughts here.

  5. MadMadMike

    MadMadMike Savant (1,144) Dec 11, 2020 Florida

    Good read! We get really fresh Jai Alai -and its interesting variants- here in South Florida.
    There’s always a can or six in my fridge.,.
  6. jesskidden

    jesskidden Pooh-Bah (2,969) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    From the intro:
    That's beyond oxymoronic - it's just contradictory. :grin: There's no "surge among classic beer drinkers" for those beverages, whether one reads that to mean a drinker of "classic beers" or not.:stuck_out_tongue:
  7. defunksta

    defunksta Pooh-Bah (2,428) Jan 18, 2019 North Dakota
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Completely agree. This one is drink within a month or else.
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  8. defunksta

    defunksta Pooh-Bah (2,428) Jan 18, 2019 North Dakota
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    An interesting list with some of the great IPAs. Hard to rank but I agree with Alpine Nelson, Jai Alai, Stone IPA, Two-Hearted, and Sculpin topping the list. All of them are top-tier and probably hard to rank.
  9. Amendm

    Amendm Pooh-Bah (2,093) Jun 7, 2018 Rhode Island
    Pooh-Bah Society

    "Slightly bitter" !!??, they almost lost me during the first paragraph. The reviews were interesting. Cheers.
  10. tone77

    tone77 Grand Pooh-Bah (4,091) May 20, 2009 Pennsylvania

    I have reviewed all 8 of these beers. My ranking based on my scores:
    1. Alpine Nelson
    2. Ballast Point Sculpin
    3.TIE Bell's Two Hearted and Cigar City Jai Alai
    5. Alesmith IPA
    6. Stone IPA
    7. TIE Lagunitas IPA and Night Shift Santilli
  11. o29

    o29 Savant (1,129) Sep 29, 2020 Texas
    Society Trader

    The article is referring to GF's Nelson, but let's remember that this is not the same beer as Alpine's version.

    If we're talking Alpine's Nelson then I think that wins here, but otherwise I'm taking Two Hearted or Stone if it's within a few months or Jai Alai if it's within 6 weeks. Sculpin is an honorable mention but historically it was priced a bit higher than the other options. If I'm on a budget, I'm going Lagunitas (in the past this would have been Hop Stoopid but RIP).
  12. ChicagoJ

    ChicagoJ Grand Pooh-Bah (3,881) Feb 2, 2015 Illinois
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    We get six of these in Chicago and I've had the current version of Alpine Nelson (never had or heard of Night Shift).

    My personal preference, assuming all are within a month old:
    1. AleSmith IPA
    2. Stone IPA
    3. Lagunitas IPA
    4. Ballast Point IPA
    5. Alpine Nelson
    6. Bells Two Hearted
    7. Something else
    8. Cigar City Jai Alai
    Staying near the 6-7.5% ABV range of the article (No DIPAs), I'd add the following Eight among year-round beers that I enjoy and buy regularly when I find fresh:
    • Beachwood Amalgamator (7.1%) - Long Beach, CA
    • Fat Heads Head Hunter (7.5%) - Middleburg Heights, OH
    • Firestone Walker Union Jack (7.0%) - Paso Robles, CA
    • HopNuts Hopathon IPA (7.0%) - Las Vegas, NV
    • Revolution Anti-Hero (6.7%) - Chicago, ILL
    • Spiteful IPA (6.2%) - Chicago, ILL
    • 3 Floyds Zombie Dust APA (6.5%) - Munster, IN
    • Tighthead Longsnapper (6.0%) - Mundelein, ILL
  13. bubseymour

    bubseymour Grand Pooh-Bah (4,374) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    I can see Jai Alai as #1. That beer never disappoints for a shelfie IPA and IMO it’s not falling off as fast as I used to remember from years ago. I have mixed love for Two-Hearted, it never tastes quite as good out of a bottle for me as it does on tap which it always seems outstanding (even checking dates). Same goes for DFH 90 min.
  14. thebeers

    thebeers Grand Pooh-Bah (5,151) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    An American IPA ranking from someone who doesn’t like bitterness. Writers gotta write, I guess. :rolling_eyes:
  15. dele

    dele Crusader (478) Mar 13, 2019 Massachusetts

    No kidding. "The downfall is that the finish is so aggressively bitter and hoppy that it takes away from the rest of the fruity flavors."

    That's not a downfall, it's exactly what a well made IPA should be like. Aggressively bitter and hoppy, with any fruit flavors as byproducts of the hoppiness. People should drink what they want, and clearly lots of people share this writer's preferences, but they should find a new style name to describe their tastes instead of commandeering the IPA label.
  16. thebeers

    thebeers Grand Pooh-Bah (5,151) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    At first I assumed the writer was younger and may have come of age when NEIPAs were already popular, which would certainly color one’s perspective of what IPAs are “supposed” to taste like. Just like my being an American of a certain age colors my expectations in comparison to a British Boomer — I prefer piney and citrus bitterness to tea-like bitterness in IPAs. That said, the author of this piece looks old enough to be young Gen X or at least old Millennial.
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  17. butterygold

    butterygold Devotee (319) May 12, 2020 Spain

    Your post inspired me to revisit some old tasting notes.

    I think I would go:

    1. Nelson
    2. Stone
    3. Alesmith
    4. Sculpin
    5. Jai Alai
    6. Two-Hearted
    7. Lagunitas
    8. *Never had Night Shift

    The only one I wouldn't go out of my way to drink is Lagunitas - and I love some of their beers, like Hop Stoopid and Sucks.

    To your list of every-day, available IPAs, I would add Westbrook, Georgetown Bhodi and Bear Republic Racer 5.
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  18. BillAfromSoCal

    BillAfromSoCal Pooh-Bah (1,559) Aug 24, 2020 California

    I read these blind test results out of curiosity rather than as a buying guide. I will say that I have never had a JaiAli that I did not totally enjoy, although, based on comments here I wii pay more attention the canning dates. most of my beer ratings fall sort of close to the averages but I certainly see lots of reviews where the perceived flavors make me think the reviewer has a creative imagination. Therefore, i don’t put a huge emphasis on tasting details like those of the blind test.
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  19. BillAfromSoCal

    BillAfromSoCal Pooh-Bah (1,559) Aug 24, 2020 California

    mmmmmm…Racer 5. Widely available, affordable, and a tasty example of a classic WC IPA
  20. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Grand Pooh-Bah (3,069) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Are you able to find fresh Racer 5 in your area?

  21. BillAfromSoCal

    BillAfromSoCal Pooh-Bah (1,559) Aug 24, 2020 California

    I find it on tap, tasty but with an unknown keg date, and the bottles tend to be in the 3-7 week range, as I recall.
  22. TheIPAHunter

    TheIPAHunter Grand Pooh-Bah (5,000) Aug 12, 2007 California
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    They're ranking beers that don't truly exist anymore, so the entire premise is invalid.
  23. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Grand Pooh-Bah (3,069) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Waaaay different from the Racer 5 at my local beer retailers.

    You are very fortunate in this regard.

  24. butterygold

    butterygold Devotee (319) May 12, 2020 Spain

    Which ones do you mean?
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  25. KevinSkywalker

    KevinSkywalker Initiate (55) Jun 8, 2022 California

    The same could be said about almost every ipa not being the same version as it used to be. Pliny, Dogfish head, Founders, Fat Heads almost everybody started canning and scaling up production just like the Green Flash Alpine. I notice once a brewery starts doing those 15 packs of cans of any beer the quality goes down hill.
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  26. Domingo

    Domingo Grand Pooh-Bah (3,884) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    Personally, I think Lagunitas IPA has never been better. Their distro is better so the bottles/cans/kegs have been fresher, too.
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  27. OfficerVZdiver

    OfficerVZdiver Aspirant (297) Jan 1, 2022

    Hmmm, I think I’ve only had 5 of those 8 beers, and if I had any more they must of not put a big impact on me cause if don’t remember.
    -I agree with Jai Alai. It’s pretty much my go to when I want a good IPA, and it’s always available where I’m at. The White oak version one time was my all time fav beer
    -Sculpin I love when I want a good (hit me hard) IPA but they stopped distributed where I live. I remember liking it better than the regular Jai.
    -Cannot go wrong with Bells. Two Hearted always tasted good to me and make sure to have some in my fridge. Also a good one to introduce my friends to IPAs
    -I remember when I was in San Diego I went to the Stone tap room by Padre Park. I had an IPA there and remembered thinking (this is the best beer I’ve ever had). I had another beer there and changed my mind to that one. Unfortunately I lost my notes of the names of those beers and haven’t found them. Stone IPA is good too but no where near the ladder
    -I’ll have a Lagunitas if there are no other IPAs on taps. They have it at the Casino bar I go to and as long as I’m gambling I get it for free (and of course tip). Nothing great about it just standard (not dissing Lagunitas I love their Imperial Red)
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  28. o29

    o29 Savant (1,129) Sep 29, 2020 Texas
    Society Trader

    Respectfully disagree. What has happened to Nelson after Green Flash's acquisition of Alpine is not the same as a diminishment in quality you might see resulting from an increasing scale of production IMO. GF tried to reconstruct Nelson and most agree that even in its current state it's only the same beer as Alpine's in namesake. Russian River and Fat Head's, on the other hand, seem to be doing just fine.
  29. KevinSkywalker

    KevinSkywalker Initiate (55) Jun 8, 2022 California

    I agree with you. I just feel like a lot of IPAs are not what they used to be. Maybe I shouldn't have said Pliny because it does still taste the same.
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  30. MrOH

    MrOH Pooh-Bah (2,989) Jul 5, 2010 Malta

    4 of the 8 are readily available here, the rest I can get if I look, but I only ever have Two Hearted in the fridge
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