What Is A Double IPA?

Double IPA, often abbreviated as DIPA or Imperial IPA, is a bold and assertive style of beer that has captured the imaginations of hop enthusiasts and beer connoisseurs alike. Building upon the hop-forward characteristics of its predecessor, the India Pale Ale (IPA), double IPA takes things to the next level with higher hop intensity, increased alcohol content, and amplified flavors.

Defining Double IPA

Double IPA, as the name suggests, is a stronger and more intense version of the classic India Pale Ale style. While there is no strict definition for what constitutes a double IPA, it is generally characterized by its higher alcohol content, typically ranging from 7.5% to 10% alcohol by volume (ABV) or higher. Double IPAs are also known for their bold hop character, with pronounced flavors and aromas of citrus, pine, tropical fruit, and resinous hops. This elevated hop presence is achieved through the use of large quantities of hops in both the brewing and dry-hopping stages, resulting in a beer that is bursting with hoppy goodness.

Brewing Process

The brewing process for double IPA is similar to that of traditional IPA, with a few key differences that contribute to its stronger flavor and higher alcohol content. Double IPA is brewed using pale malted barley as the base malt, along with specialty malts to add complexity and balance. The malt bill is designed to provide a sturdy backbone to support the intense hop character of the beer. During the brewing process, hops are added at multiple stages, including the boil, whirlpool, and dry-hopping stages, to extract maximum flavor and aroma from the hops. Dry-hopping, in particular, is a crucial step in the brewing process for double IPA, as it adds layers of hoppy goodness without contributing to excessive bitterness.

Flavor Profile

Double IPA is renowned for its bold and complex flavor profile, which showcases the full spectrum of hop flavors and aromas. The beer typically exhibits intense citrus, pine, tropical fruit, and floral notes, with a resinous and dank character that lingers on the palate. Despite its high hop content, double IPA is often well-balanced, with a sturdy malt backbone that provides sweetness and body to counteract the bitterness of the hops. Some double IPAs may also exhibit subtle malt flavors of bread, biscuit, caramel, or honey, adding depth and complexity to the beer.

Enjoying Double IPA

Double IPA is best enjoyed fresh to fully appreciate its vibrant hop character and complex flavor profile. It is typically served in a tulip glass or snifter to concentrate the aromas and allow for proper swirling and sniffing. Double IPA pairs well with a variety of foods, including spicy cuisines, grilled meats, sharp cheeses, and rich desserts. Its bold flavors and high alcohol content make it a great choice for sipping and savoring on its own, or as a pairing for hearty meals and flavorful dishes.

Double IPA represents the pinnacle of hoppy goodness, with its bold flavors, intense aromas, and higher alcohol content setting it apart from other beer styles. Whether enjoyed as a stand-alone sipper or paired with food, double IPA offers a sensory experience that delights the palate and stimulates the senses. So, the next time you're in the mood for a hoppy adventure, reach for a double IPA and prepare to be transported to a world of bold flavors and hoppy delights. Cheers to double IPA, a true testament to the creativity and innovation of craft brewers everywhere!