About Imperial IPA

About Imperial IPA
Imperial IPAs, or double IPAs, are deep gold to deep amber in color and range in alcohol from 7.5-10%. These beers are medium-to-full bodied and are distinguished by prominent American hop aromas, flavors and an abrasive, lingering hop bitterness. These intense hop characteristics should be balanced by a rich malt backbone. Depending on the varieties of hops used, a wide range of flavors including tart citrus peel, pepper and earthy, pine-like flavors and aromas may be encountered. These ales represent a challenge to brewers in terms of balance and drinkability, and have exploded in popularity in recent years with many craft breweries producing a version of the style. Noteworthy examples of this style include: Moylan’s Hop Craic XXXXIPA, Rouge IP2A Imperial India Pale Ale, Stone Ruination IPA and The Alchemist Heady Topper.

Top Picks for Imperial IPA

Samuel Adams Rebel Rouser IPA
96 points
Old gold color. Herbal aromas and flavors of herb muffin, citrus scone, mango chutney, and pine blossom with a slightly chewy, lively, fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, complex, long finish displaying notes of peppered yams and greens and mint cream on fruit cake finish. A remarkably balanced, robust, and drinkable Imperial IPA that sets a benchmark for the category.
Knee Deep Brewing Co. "Hop-Trio" Triple IPA
96 points
Golden amber color. Citrusy, herbal aromas and flavors of lemon pepper, mango yogurt, raisin bread pudding, and fresh herbs with a chewy, tangy, finely carbonated, fruity medium-full body and a tingling, complex, very long finish with nuances of honeyed grilled pineapple, spiced tangerines, arugula, and mixed peppercorn finish. A rich, superbly fruity, complex, and balanced triple IPA.
Bear Republic Brewing Co. Cafe Racer 15 Double IPA
95 points
Amber color. Aromas and flavors of tropical fruit chutney, lemon herb muffin, and pine needle and cone with a chewy, racy, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity full body and a warming, elegant, long finish with touches of cedar and peppercorns finish. A superb imperial IPA with tons of flavors, style and balance.
Awards: 2017 Top 2 Best Imperial IPA
Knee Deep Brewing Co. "Lupulin River" Double IPA
95 points
Bright old gold color. Curious, savory aromas and flavors of roasted mango and root vegetables, radicchio, spiced nuts, and pinecone with a supple, vibrant, finely carbonated, fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, involved, very long finish with notes of coconut cream, herb-pepper muffin, and sweet potato and plantain finish. A superbly smooth and elegant balanced DIPA with shocking crushability.
Aviator Brewing Company HorsePower Double IPA
94 points
Amber color. Aromas and flavors of nut brittle, caramelized citrus and stone fruits, and banana creme brulee with a chewy, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a warming, compelling, medium-long finish revealing notes of salted nuts, buttered roasted corn, and endive finish. A delightfully balanced and savory IPA.
Deschutes Brewery Hop Henge Imperial IPA
93 points
Brilliant gold color. Aromas and flavors of pine cone and needles and grilled citrus and root vegetables with a satiny, tangy, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, intriguing, long finish conveying notes of tangerine custard, peppered greens, honeyed mint and radish, and chai finish. A vibrant, flavor-packed Imperial IPA that is nicely approachable and balanced.
4 Noses Brewing .44 Magnum Imperial IPA
93 points
Brilliant old gold color. Boozy aromas of caramelized dried apricots and pineapple, buttered herb pizza crust, fruit salad, and orange jelly with a supple, crisp, effervescent, fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, interesting, long pepper jelly, reduced lemon, starfruit, and praline finish. A solid IPA with buckets of bitterness buttressed by fruit.
Samuel Adams Rebel Raw Imperial IPA
93 points
Hazy golden amber color. Herbal aromas of toasted herbs, pine sap, and char-grilled tropical citrus with a chewy, racy, effervescent, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, subtle, long pineapple-mango custard, rapini, and toffee finish. A rich, chewy juicy IIPA with lots of tropical goodness.
COOP Ale Works Alpha Hive Double IPA
92 points
Gold color. Aromas of dried citrus and mint, waxy orange blossom honeycomb, and grilled herb baguette with a chewy, lively, effervescent, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a warming, elegant, long spiced tropical fruits and melon, rapini, and pine needle finish. A brawny, chewy IIPA that will satisfy hop heads.
HopLore Milford Ditch TIPA
92 points
Dusty gold color. Interesting aromas and flavors of cannabis, grilled mangos and concord grapes, bunt cake, and szechwan button with a round, lively, dryish medium-to-full body and a long finish evoking accents of pepper, pine and coca leaf tea, honeyed grapefruit and kumquat peels, and white chocolate pretzel finish. A supple and satisfying IIPA with a few interesting flavor twists.