I have sampled a lot of them over the years and was pondering one day exactly what I look for in an IPA style beer and what properties and flavours I like best in them. Now the BJCP Style Guidelines recognized three major IPA classes, being British, American and Imperial. I can’t really say which style I prefer as they all have different properties that I like.
My favourite part of Imperial IPA’s is the bready, biscuity malt profile they present, often with some nice caramel that isn’t as apparent in the other styles, yet the high alcohol means most nights are one and done with these. The lower alcohol IPA’s often showcase the hops a little more and give a nice bitter kick that can be very pleasant to me (especially tangerine and mango flavours and aroma), but sometimes they overpower the malt where pretty much all you can taste is bitter hops and I dislike that out of balance flavour. For British IPA’s it’s often the opposite problem where I am missing that bitter kick in the pants observed in most American IPA’s which is what makes them so unique.
To answer my own question, I would say I like mine with bready malt, with mostly a mango and tangerine hop juiciness with caramel in the middle and finally a somewhat dry piney or herbal grapefruit finish (but not crazy bitter, more like a swift kick in the pants that doesn’t injure you). My current local IPA favourites are Four Winds IPA and Central City IPA (both regular and Imperial) and of course the experimental Juxtapose Brett IPA by Four Winds is incredible but not always available year round. In the USA, Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA, Deschutes Fresh Squeezed, Caldera and Oskar Blues are my go to’s when there isn’t something new I am trying.
What flavours do you prefer in your IPA’s? What is your go to IPA? Please leave a comment below and engage in the discussion.
10 thoughts on “Craft Beer Question – What flavours do you prefer in your IPA’s? ”
I like beers that include Nelson Sauvin hops from the antipodes, they have a tropical sweetness. I haven’t settled on a ‘favourite’ but I do keep coming back to Founder’s All Day IPA.
I know 8 wired has some nice Nelson Sauvin hopped IPA’s, both fresh and pellet that were quite nice. I like that they use a lot of hop varieties from New Zealand.
I have 2 x hop wireds in my ‘cellar’ nom nom nom! 🙂
For me English IPA’s just don’t do much of anything for me. I would probably drink a Pale Ale before an English IPA. I prefer the huge 100+ IBU monsters but I do like some balance for sure. I don’t really have a preference on what fruit flavour is in my IPA as long as it imparts a nice flavour and aroma. I do like a good caramel malt base. I can not pick a favourite IPA as I tend not to drink the same beer all that often. I just love IPA’S!
I like the 100 IBU monsters too, but Green Flash Palate Wrecker and Stone Ruination go a bit to bitter for me to enjoy, however more balances versions like Hop Therapy by Russell are real treats!
Haha. Now I want a Palate Wrecker
I must prefer citrus notes in my IPAS, especially those that are present in citra and mosaic hops. I also like hops that provide a pine flavor but prefer those with a malt balance.
Also, malts that provide a creamy mouth-feel tend to balance out some of the monster IBU hopped versions and I like those as well.
To sum up, it’s the balance of well hopped IPAS that I am looking for, whether the balance is via citrus notes or malts, either works for me. Some that come to mind are Lagunita’s Hop Stoopid double IPA, Four Winds IPA (on the pine side). Granville Island Shipload of Hops and my current favorite, Deshutes Freshly Squeezed IPA.
Yeah, Deschutes really nailed it with Fresh Squeezed especially for a year round beer!
I wish I’d stopped to think about this more than I have… Stand by…
Lately I have been enjoying Mosaic hops, they seem to have been allowing brewers to play around a little more with flavours. The New Belgian Rampant IPA I had the other day really showcased this hop variety as did the Swing Span Amber Ale from GIB.