What is the difference between an IPA and an APA?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Ironstutz, Jan 18, 2015.

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  1. Ironstutz

    Ironstutz Initiate (0) Aug 12, 2014 New York

    Trying to understand the difference. Is is just the brew process? Number and types of malts and hope used? Would love some info, thanks guys/gals
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  2. PSU_Mike

    PSU_Mike Initiate (0) Sep 6, 2013 Pennsylvania

    Pale ales are more balanced between hops and malt. IPAs are more hop forward.
  3. lambpasty

    lambpasty Initiate (0) May 3, 2013 New Hampshire

    I've wondered htis myself, and as far as I've seen mostly it's that one is called IPA and one is called APA. To state the obvious, IPA's are usually more bitter and hop forward while APA's usually have their bitterness a bit more subdued and favor the malt backbone more. That said, I have had malty IPA's and hop-forward APA's, so the line's fuzzy.

    Both being ales there's isn't generally anything terribly different in the basic way they're brewed, and I don't believe I've seen a stringent guideline on what makes one APA and the other IPA other than what the brewery decides to call it.
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  4. 1eyed_jack

    1eyed_jack Initiate (0) Dec 19, 2012 Illinois

    I've wondered this too.

    Zombie Dust for instance is listed as an APA but at least in my opinion it is much more hop forward.
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  5. gonzo000

    gonzo000 Initiate (0) Feb 9, 2014 Massachusetts

    What is the difference between an APA and an IPA?

    One letter.
  6. Greywulfken

    Greywulfken Poo-Bah (5,377) Aug 25, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    IPAs seem to run a percentage or two higher abv-wise, too, in my experience...
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  7. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,540) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    If you haven't been to the style definition page on this site, here's a link to get you started. http://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/style/

    Dividing lines between similar styles are very hazy, and it doesn't help that within the IPA category are American IPAs and English IPAs. It all comes down to ingredients and whatever style name (within reason) that the brewer wants to put on the label.
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  8. Ironstutz

    Ironstutz Initiate (0) Aug 12, 2014 New York

    Thanks guys, all great answers and I guess more or less what I was thinking. Good to know I am not the only one who finds this to be a pretty vague difference between the two, although perhaps the total hop palate possibly being a determinant. Good stuff
  9. marquis

    marquis Champion (812) Nov 20, 2005 England

    Pale Ale is the family name and these can range from modestly hoppy to intensely hoppy.The hoppier ones tend to be called IPAs but it's a spectrum with no clearly defined lines.The goalposts seem to have been moved, beers which were once considered IPAs are now often treated as just APAs.
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  10. Redneckwine

    Redneckwine Initiate (0) Dec 3, 2013 Washington

    Kind of like asking, "What's the difference between a stout and a porter?"... And we all know how that ends up.
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  11. Shluffy

    Shluffy Initiate (0) Aug 19, 2013 Wisconsin

    I can't distinguish any meaningful differences anymore. Yeah, I'm sure there are some IPAs and APAs you could line up next to each other and taste some consistent differences, but there is so much variety even within each style, that I don't think you can really even nail down guidelines for each individual style anymore. It's really however the brewer wants to brand it at this point
  12. Phocion

    Phocion Initiate (0) Aug 5, 2005 Minnesota

    See sections 10A and 14B for more info, but this is a good description of the technical differences: http://www.bjcp.org/docs/2008_stylebook.pdf

    There is a little overlap on both, however. APAs are listed at 30-45 IBUs while American IPAs are 40-70. ABVs range from 4.5-6.2% (APA)/5.5-7.5% (American IPA). In cases of stronger or more flavorful APAs or lighter American IPAs the difference is often simply whatever the brewery chooses to label the beer as.
  13. egoo33

    egoo33 Initiate (196) Apr 18, 2010 Illinois

    I feel that IPA's are more hop centric and hop forward but like most styles there is a hybridization and blurring of styles
  14. Ironstutz

    Ironstutz Initiate (0) Aug 12, 2014 New York

    Great answer!
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