The Bitterness of IPAs

When it comes to beers, one of the key characteristics that sets them apart is their bitterness. The strong, taste is what many enthusiasts love about IPAs, but it's not for everyone. If you prefer a less bitter IPA, there are ways to adjust the recipe or choose a beer that suits your taste buds.

First, let's understand why IPAs are known for their bitterness. The bitterness in IPAs comes from , a key ingredient in beer. Hops are flowers that contain alpha acids, which contribute to the bitterness. Brewers use different types of hops and adjust the amount and timing of their addition to achieve the desired level of bitterness.

Now, let's explore some techniques to reduce the bitterness in IPAs. One approach is to choose a specific style of IPA that tends to have a less bitter flavor profile. New England Style IPAs, West Coast IPAs, and English IPAs are known for their fruity flavors and lower bitterness compared to other IPAs. These styles often have a more citrusy or tropical fruit taste, which can be more appealing to those who are not fans of intense bitterness.

Another technique to reduce bitterness is to adjust the boiling time of hops during the brewing process. Typically, hops are boiled for a certain amount of time to extract their flavors and bitterness. By cutting down the boiling time, you can reduce the amount of hop oils infused in the beer, resulting in a less bitter taste. For example, if a recipe calls for boiling hops for 30 minutes, you can try reducing it to 15-20 minutes.

If you're looking for an IPA with low bitterness that is readily available, consider trying Sierra Nevada's Hazy Little Thing. This beer offers a solid option with a mild hop flavor and minimal bitterness. While it may not be as hop-forward as some other IPAs, it still provides enough flavor to keep things interesting.

It's worth noting that bitterness is not the only factor that contributes to the overall taste of an IPA. The balance between bitterness and sweetness is also important. Brewers often use a measure called the BU:GU ratio (Bitterness Units to Gravity Units) to assess the balance in a beer. Different beer styles have different recommended BU:GU ratios. For example, an American IPA typically has a ratio of 0.95, while an Red has a lower ratio of 0.56.

IPA bitterness can be adjusted by choosing specific styles that are known for their lower bitterness, adjusting the boiling time of hops, or selecting beers with lower bitterness levels. Whether you enjoy the intense bitterness of traditional IPAs or prefer a milder flavor, there's an IPA out there to suit your taste. Explore different styles and experiment with brewing techniques to find the perfect IPA for you. Cheers!

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Are IPAs Supposed To Be Bitter?

IPAs (India Pale Ales) are generally supposed to have a bitter taste. Bitterness is a key characteristic of this beer style and is achieved by using a higher amount of hops during the brewing process. Hops contain compounds called alpha acids, which contribute to the bitterness in beer.

The bitterness in IPAs comes from the alpha acids in the hops, which are released during the boiling of the wort (the liquid extracted from malted grains). The longer the hops are boiled, the more bitterness they impart to the beer. This bitterness is balanced by the sweetness of the used in the brewing process.

However, it is important to note that the level of bitterness can vary among different types of IPAs. Some IPAs, such as West Coast IPAs, are known for their intense and highly bitter flavor profile. These beers often have a higher hop-to-malt ratio, resulting in a more pronounced bitterness.

On the other hand, New England Style IPAs, also known as hazy or juicy IPAs, tend to have a softer and less bitter taste. These beers focus more on hop aroma and flavor rather than bitterness, giving them a fruity and tropical character.

English IPAs, another variation of the style, also have a more balanced profile with a moderate level of bitterness. They often exhibit more maltiness and earthy hop flavors compared to their American counterparts.

While bitterness is a defining characteristic of IPAs, the level of bitterness can vary depending on the specific style of IPA. It is always a good idea to check the description or ask the brewer or bartender for more information about the bitterness level of a particular IPA.

Which IPA Beer Is Less Bitter?

One IPA beer that is known for being less bitter is Sierra Nevada's Hazy Little Thing. Here are some reasons why it is considered to have low bitterness:

1. Flavor Profile: Hazy Little Thing IPA is crafted to have a balance between hop flavors and bitterness. It focuses more on hop aroma and fruitiness rather than overwhelming bitterness.

2. Hop Selection: Sierra Nevada carefully selects hops that provide a milder bitterness profile. They aim to create a smooth and approachable IPA for those who may not enjoy intense bitterness.

3. Hazy Style: Hazy IPAs, like Hazy Little Thing, typically have a softer and less bitter taste compared to traditional West Coast IPAs. The haze in these beers comes from suspended hop particles, which contribute to a smoother mouthfeel and less perceived bitterness.

4. Consistency: Sierra Nevada is known for its quality and consistency in brewing. Hazy Little Thing is no exception, as it maintains its low bitterness profile across different batches and is considered a reliable choice for those seeking a less bitter IPA.

If you prefer an IPA with a lower level of bitterness while still enjoying hop flavors and aromas, Sierra Nevada's Hazy Little Thing is a great option to consider.


The bitterness of an IPA can vary greatly depending on the style and brewing techniques used. Different types of IPAs offer unique flavor profiles, ranging from intense bitterness to more fruity and less bitter options.

To reduce the bitterness in an IPA, one option is to decrease the boiling time of the hops. By boiling the hops for a shorter duration, fewer hop oils will be infused in the beer, resulting in a less bitter taste.

If you prefer a low bitterness IPA, Hazy Little Thing by Sierra Nevada is a popular choice. While it may not have an overwhelming hop flavor, it still offers enough complexity to keep things interesting. Additionally, this beer contains very little hop bitterness, making it a great option for those who prefer a milder taste.

When comparing IPAs to other beer styles, the BU:GU ratio can provide valuable insight. For example, an American IPA typically has a higher BU:GU ratio, indicating a stronger hop bitterness. On the other hand, styles like Irish Red Ale and Irish have lower ratios, resulting in a less bitter taste.

The bitterness of an IPA is a key characteristic that sets it apart from other beer styles. Whether you enjoy the intense bitterness of a West Coast IPA or the more fruity and less bitter flavors of a New England Style IPA, there is a wide range of options available to cater to different taste preferences.

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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.