Session IPAs Under 5%

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by pro45, Dec 11, 2017.

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  1. matthewp

    matthewp Aspirant (220) Feb 27, 2015 Massachusetts

    I don't think that session IPA's (and low ABV beers in general) need to taste bad, its just harder for breweries to make really good ones. As mentioned a key to a good session is that it doesn't get boring after a few or more. I've had 3 session IPA's that I recall at home on draft. The first one was Firestone Walker Easy Jack which was also mentioned in this thread. It is definitely a good beer but it did become boring about halfway through the keg. I've tried other similar beers which were good on the first beer but your realize that it lacks depth after having it again. Since then I've had two other sessions, Banded Horn Wheat & Potatoes and Deciduous Littles. Both of those beers were still good until the keg kicked.

    Perhaps the problem as well is for breweries that make big IPA's its hard for them to scale it down. I've had a session IPA from Mystic Brewing in MA which made a really excellent session IPA Echo. In their case their expertise is more in making Saison's so they are used to lower ABV beers. I believe the Echo was also more of a hoppy saison than truly an IPA or at least they used some yeast more typical to Saison's which gave it an interesting twist. They make an incredible Table Beer that is in the low 4% range as well.
  2. jmosborn

    jmosborn Initiate (0) Jul 30, 2011 Michigan

    Arcadia Cheap Date - 4.5%
  3. moshea

    moshea Initiate (0) Jul 16, 2007 Michigan

    Bells two hearted is almost 65% stronger than All Day, that is a bug jump
  4. moshea

    moshea Initiate (0) Jul 16, 2007 Michigan

    Remember, the concept of "session" beer is still a bit new to American Craft beer and our definition is evolving.

    I do agree with you and the Brit concept of "session" beer though.
    LuskusDelph likes this.
  5. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Initiate (0) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona

    Bells is 7%
    All Day is 4.7
    Bells is only 33% stronger.

    For me the flavor is more important and 33% is fractional least for me.
    moshea likes this.
  6. moshea

    moshea Initiate (0) Jul 16, 2007 Michigan

    #46 moshea, Dec 14, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017
    zstef99, eppCOS and AZBeerDude72 like this.
  7. Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse

    Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse Initiate (146) Jul 20, 2016 Indiana

    This is probably my favorite beer 5% or below. One of the few hoppy beers I think to be "sessionable" in all senses of the word. Unfortunately, the ABV is a bit high, and it isn't technically classified as a session IPA.

    I know you don't get MT in New York, but try some if you ever get the chance. Otherwise, if you're a homebrewer (or know someone who is), they'd posted the recipe online at one point. I'm sure its out there somewhere.
  8. Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse

    Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse Initiate (146) Jul 20, 2016 Indiana

    Not to call you out specifically, because this misconception is dangerously common. Yes, your math is correct in terms of how much alcohol is actually in the beers themselves, but how much accumulates in your body during a "session" is a different matter entirely. Below is an article that does a good job explaining it:

    The whole thing is worth a read, especially for those on this site, but I've pulled the gist of it and pasted below:

    "I did some math for you: A 12-ounce beer of 4% strength contains about 1.4 alcohol units. Let’s say you’re drinking only one beer per hour—you’re probably not, but for simplicity, let’s say you are. In that case, your body processes 1.0 units and leaves 0.4 to begin laying down that gentle buzz. Have another beer the next hour, your body handles another unit, and the excess goes to 0.8, and it accumulates from there. The next hour, you’re at 1.2 units excess. It’s a neat (if oversimplified) way to measure intoxication.

    Now, a 12-ounce beer of 5% strength has about 1.8 units. That leaves 0.8 after your hour of your body doing what it does. After another beer and another hour, you’re at 1.6. The next hour, you’re at 2.4—that’s double the excess alcohol, and it only continues to accumulate.

    Obviously the difference is further exaggerated if we were to compare proper session beers lower than 4%—as they should be—and beers stronger than 5%—like most of today’s novelties."
  9. pro45

    pro45 Initiate (0) Sep 11, 2016 New York

    I'll try some of these suggestions. Some, however, like Modern Times, are not available.
    Oatsmobile, Night Shift, Easy Jack I'll try and seek out. Thanks!
  10. Devonator265

    Devonator265 Initiate (0) Dec 5, 2017 New Jersey

    Where did you go to school? Two Hearted is roughly 50% stronger than All Day:

    4.7% ABV * 150% = approx. 7.0% ABV
  11. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Initiate (0) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona

    I was thinking the outcome had to do with amount burned verse stored over time or something and thought it came out that %, as stated above it accumulates differently and messed up my guess. I was not thinking straight math on this sorry about that more in my head than I wrote.
    moshea likes this.
  12. jhavs

    jhavs Poo-Bah (1,948) Apr 16, 2015 New York
    Society Trader

    Here is another example of a low ABV session IPA. I like it a lot:
    Austin St. Rally out of Portland, ME. We bring a keg of it to a lake house every summer. Perfect for drinking for extended time periods.
  13. meb3476

    meb3476 Initiate (196) Apr 1, 2013 Massachusetts

    Rally from Austin street is the best I've had
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    DISKORD Initiate (0) Feb 28, 2017 South Carolina

    Try a Pale Ale.

    Session IPA = watered down Pale Ale
    MeBeerGood likes this.
  15. matthewp

    matthewp Aspirant (220) Feb 27, 2015 Massachusetts

    To make this clearer (maybe):
    4.7 is 65% of 7 => 4.7/7
    7 is 48.9% greater than 4.7 => 7-4.7 = 2.3 2.3/4.7 is .489...
    So having a Bell's is liking having nearly 1 and a half All Day IPA's.
    AZBeerDude72 likes this.
  16. pro45

    pro45 Initiate (0) Sep 11, 2016 New York

    Just tried Jim Is Workin' Hard on tap from Singlecut. Damn, this was quite good!
  17. MrJellybean

    MrJellybean Initiate (0) Jun 18, 2016 New Jersey

    Golden Road's Wolf Pup was rather impressive!! Down to Earth (21st Amendment) was my first love for a session IPA.
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  18. Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse

    Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse Initiate (146) Jul 20, 2016 Indiana

    Despite being macro now, Ballast Point's Even Keel is damn good for only 3.6%. And at ~$10 per six, it's not too outrageously priced, either. Plus, it's available nationwide now. Haven't had it in a couple years, though.

    Also, Jibe from Green Flash is pretty enjoyable IMO.
  19. TheBricenator

    TheBricenator Devotee (469) Nov 13, 2007 Oregon

    I agree with a lot of what has been said already here about this style, good examples, etc. so I'll keep it short with one additional really tasty and well made example of this tough-to-nail style that I haven't seen mentioned here yet; Sixpoint's Lo-Res. I got my hands on one of the 8-packs here locally and I thought it was a tasty, well-balanced example of a Session IPA. Cheers!
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  20. MDDMD

    MDDMD Poo-Bah (2,172) Jun 4, 2011 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    Lawson’s Super Session #2 and #8 are probably the best I’ve had. Albeit not readily available.
  21. matthepanther

    matthepanther Initiate (0) Aug 21, 2017 Ohio

    just drink a pale ale - space station middle finger, zombie dust, bells two hearted, etc. Stuff goes down like water if your used to 7-8% IPA's
  22. CrimeDog

    CrimeDog Initiate (0) Dec 31, 2015 New York

    Maybe Lo-Res by sixpoint....

    Besides from "sessions" I like to go to 12th of Never for longer sessions....
  23. lic217

    lic217 Champion (874) Aug 10, 2010 Connecticut

    My favorite session IPA is little Heaven by Two Roads Brewing Company. However, I still do not love the beer. I do not like session IPA's.
  24. ZebulonXZogg

    ZebulonXZogg Zealot (569) May 5, 2015 Illinois

    Founders All Day IPA is the best one I've had and IMHO it's not very good at best. (On tap at the brewery.) Stick with DIPA's and let the other guy drive.

    I recommend Revolutions Un-sessionable!
    #64 ZebulonXZogg, Dec 23, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2017
  25. Loughran

    Loughran Initiate (0) Sep 11, 2009 Massachusetts

    Simply put Notch Brewing in Salem MA is the quintessential brewery specializing in Session beers. The ranges of styles they do at 4.5% and under are flavorful. I would definitely them out..
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  26. cl3

    cl3 Disciple (328) Aug 16, 2013 Wisconsin

    I came here to say exactly this. How do they pack so much flavor into a 4.8% IPA? Every other session IPA I've had seems a little watery, but this one absolutely does not.
    SpiderMilkshake likes this.
  27. eppCOS

    eppCOS Poo-Bah (1,624) Jun 27, 2015 Colorado

    FW Easy Jack and OB Pinner IPA are the only ones I can easily get and enjoy during the summer, for yard work, watching long sports games, etc.... when I'm feeling like a homer and need nostalgia, then I order up a shipment of HA Tuna (extra) pale ale, 4.7% but tastes like something to me. Good luck finding your low ABV love.
    Otherwise, I'll add in a +1 for Fuller's London Pride (below 5). Got hooked on it at Red Lion in Chicago over the last several months...
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  28. marquis

    marquis Champion (802) Nov 20, 2005 England

    Love London Pride more every time I drink it. It's 4.1% on cask although 4.7% in bottle.
    Fuller's class it as a Premium Bitter,their session beer is Chiswick Bitter.
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  29. southdenverhoo

    southdenverhoo Devotee (403) Aug 13, 2004 Colorado

    do that math for marquis's Greene King IPA example, where the beer is 3.6% ABV and the session is described as "10-12 pints" and said pints are Imperial i.e. 16.9 oz...

    the hypothetical English pub session participant walks out of the Dog and Duck schnockered, is my hypothesis, even if the "session" is 4-5 hours.

    in other words, they get at least as drunk on session beers as we do on our non-session beers, we just drink fewer beers (and probably more glasses of ice water) in the process.
  30. deleted_user_1111368

    deleted_user_1111368 Initiate (0) Feb 21, 2016 Delaware

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  31. pro45

    pro45 Initiate (0) Sep 11, 2016 New York

  32. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (2,008) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    First, an Imperial Pint is 19.2 US fluid ounces, not 16.9 (16.9 oz is 500 ml).

    Using an on-line BAC calculator, a 200 lb male drinking 10 Imperial Pints of 3.6% ABV beer would have a BAC of ~0.16% after a 5 hour session. That same person drinking 6.5% ABV IPAs over the same 5 hours would leave with approx the same BAC (actually, 1 point less, ~.15%) if he drank 6 US pints (or 5 Imperial Pints).

    Both would require ~ 5 additional hours to reach the legal driving level in the USA and ~8.5 hours to reach 0% BAC. (Think about that the next time you stay out until 2:00 am and expect to go to work the next day :wink:)
    #72 MNAle, Dec 25, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2017
  33. TrojanRB

    TrojanRB Poo-Bah (1,578) Jul 27, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    It’s ironic...You could use your exact same argument against NEIPA’s....they certainly aren’t balanced....but you used them as an example of a session beer.

    I agree they’re drinkable...but that’s a very different thing from sessionable.
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  34. jakecattleco

    jakecattleco Poo-Bah (2,472) Sep 3, 2008 California
    Society Trader

    Won't work for the OP, but another vote for MT Fortunate Island. It's a staple in my beer fridge.
  35. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,688) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Didn’t mean to make Dipas sessionable, they’re not , they are just easy to drink.
    TrojanRB likes this.
  36. Giantspace

    Giantspace Champion (848) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Bitter American was my favorite and then it was replaced with a horrible beer..

    Stone Go To is my favorite now. $8.99 for 6x16oz......

  37. HorseheadsHophead

    HorseheadsHophead Poo-Bah (2,226) Sep 15, 2014 New York

    I just drank a Lawson's Super Session #8. It's actually remarkable. One of the most impressive session IPAs I've ever had. Still a little on the thin side, but it tastes like you're drinking carbonated grapefruit juice.
  38. southdenverhoo

    southdenverhoo Devotee (403) Aug 13, 2004 Colorado

    I am given to understand that this is considered a good thing, for a beer?
  39. SpiderMilkshake

    SpiderMilkshake Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2017 Virginia

    Well, this technically isn't a session (though it has "session" on the label) but I've enjoyed it in a session before. XD Pretty balanced and drinkable.
    And it does meet the ABV numbers you suggested, so if you can find it I'd suggest having at it:
  40. Superheatnsubcool

    Superheatnsubcool Initiate (0) May 31, 2016 Washington

    If you ever come to WA, I have to nominate Fremont Session Pale Ale at 4.5% abv and 50 IBU. Made with 2-Row Pale, White Wheat, C-15 and Dextrapils malts and Citra, Ekuanot and Simcoe hops.

    It’s got really great tropical fruit aroma and flavor, with just enough bitterness. The grain bill provides a nice balance, and the mouthfeel is never thin.
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