Take Your IPA Up a Notch: The Bold Flavors of Imperial IPA

Imperial IPAs, also known as Double IPAs, are a style of that has been popularized in recent years. These beers are characterized by intense hop aroma and flavor, a full-bodied mouthfeel, and a higher content than their American counterparts. Imperial IPAs are the perfect choice for hardcore hop lovers looking for an intense beer experience.

First off, it's important to note that Imperial IPAs are much stronger than traditional American IPAs. The Brewer's Association defines Imperial IPAs as having an ABV of 6%-8% and above, while traditional American IPAs typically range from 5%-6%. This higher alcohol content contributes to the bold flavor of thee beers and can often produce a warming effect on the drinker.

In terms of flavor profile, Imperial IPAs have quite a bit going on. The hop aromas and flavors tend to be very high and can range from piney or citrusy notes to tropical fruit or floral tones. The bitterness of these beers is usually quite noticeable but not overly aggressive. The character is usually subdued compared to the strong hop profile, though some styles may feature more complexity in this area.

These powerful beers aren't for everyone – they pack quite a punch! But for those looking for an intense beer experience with lots of flavor, an Imperial IPA is sure to satisfy your taste buds. They're great for sipping on their own or pairing with big flavors like spicy foods or charcuterie boards. From American-style DIPA's to Belgian-style Tripels, there's something for every hop lover out there when it comes to Imperial IPA's!

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What is an Imperial IPA?

An imperial IPA, also known as a double IPA, is a strong and intense variant of the India Pale style. Clocking in at 6.0-8.4% ABV, this beer presents hop aromas and flavors that are much more intense than regular IPAs, while sill maintaining an enjoyable balance between bitterness and malt sweetness.

The appearance of imperial IPAs ranges from straw to medium amber, with a full-bodied texture, creamy head and good clarity. Traditional versions typically have an assertive bitterness that can range from strong to intense; however, some renditions feature more juicy flavor profiles with less character.

Due to the high alcohol content of imperial IPAs, these beers can be surprisingly smooth despite their intensity. The combination of high hop character and full body make them great for pairing with spicy foods or complex dishes that need a strong beer to stand up to them. Imperial IPAs are also well known for aging well over time, allowing for some interesting flavor changes as they mature in the bottle or keg.

The Origins of the Name ‘Imperial IPA'

An Imperial IPA (also kown as a Double IPA) is an India Pale Ale that has been brewed with an extra high alcohol content. This style of beer was first brewed in the late 1700s for shipping to the court of Catherine the Great of Russia, and was given the name “Imperial” to reflect its imperial strength. The higher alcohol content also makes it more flavorful and gives it a fuller body than traditional IPAs. It generally has a bigger hop aroma and flavor, as well as a higher bitterness level. The term “Imperial” has since been adopted by craft brewers to differentiate their stronger beers from regular IPAs.

The Origin of the Term ‘Imperial' in Beer

The term “imperial” is used to describe a special kind of beer that is higher in alcohol and has more intense flavors than the original style of beer. Imperial beers are usually darker, fuller-bodied stouts or porters, and were originally brewed for export to the Russian Imperial Court during the 18th century. The name “imperial” comes from this historical connection – imperial brewers wanted to signify that their beers were fit for a royal court. Today, imperial beers are brewed all over the world and are enjoyed by beer lovers everywhere.

The Quality of Imperial Beer

Imperial is a good beer, offering a robust flavor with a light hop presence. It has a pale malt/corn and light earthy hop flavor profile, which makes it smooth, crisp and clean. The low ABV of Imperial makes it an easy-drinking beer that is still flavorful and refreshing. Overall, Imperial is an excellent choice for those looking for a flavorful beer with a lower alcohol content.


In conclusion, Imperial IPAs are a bold and flavorful style of IPA with a higher alcohol content than traditional American IPAs. They are characterized by their dark color, intense hop aromas and flavors, and a strong bitterness that balances the malt sweetness. Imperial IPAs have become increasingly popular in the scene, as they offer drinkers an elevated experience with more complexity of flavor and a much higher ABV than traditional IPAs. While some may find Imperial IPAs too hoppy or bitter for their tastes, those who enjoy an assertive beer will likey find them to be a delightful indulgence.

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Thomas Ashford

Thomas Ashford is a highly educated brewer with years of experience in the industry. He has a Bachelor Degree in Chemistry and a Master Degree in Brewing Science. He is also BJCP Certified Beer Judge. Tom has worked hard to become one of the most experienced brewers in the industry. He has experience monitoring brewhouse and cellaring operations, coordinating brewhouse projects, and optimizing brewery operations for maximum efficiency. He is also familiar mixology and an experienced sommelier. Tom is an expert organizer of beer festivals, wine tastings, and brewery tours.