American IPA

Glassware: Shaker pint
  • USA
  • Ale
  • ABV = 5.5 – 7.5% (Normal to elevated)^
  • IBU = 40-70
  • SRM = 6-14

A moderately-strong, hop-forward and bitter pale American ale

Stronger and more highly hopped than American Pale Ale. Less alcohol than a Double IPA, but with a similar balance.


  • Colour^ = Gold to amber
  • Clarity = Generally clear; light haze allowable

Key Aromas & Flavours:

  • Malt = Low; clean and grainy
  • Hops = Moderate to high; citrus, floral, pine, resin, spice, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry or melon
  • Yeast = None to low; fruity, if present, otherwise clean
  • Other = A restrained alcohol note may be present
  • Malt = Low; clean and grainy, with light caramel or toast possible
  • Hops = Moderate to very high; citrus, floral, pine, resin, spice, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, or melon
  • Yeast = None to low; fruity, if present
  • Perceived Bitterness^ = Assertive
  • Other = A very light, clean alcohol flavour may be noted in stronger versions
  • Balance = Towards the hops (bitterness and flavour), with malt in support

Dry to medium-dry finish and a hoppy, bitter aftertaste with supportive malt


  • Body = Medium; smooth
  • Carbonation = Medium
  • Alcohol warmth = A very light, smooth alcohol warmth is optional

Characteristic Ingredients/Processes:

  • Malt = Two-row or pale ale malt (sugar additions are acceptable; any use of crystal/caramel malts should be restrained)
  • Hops = American or New World hop varietals
  • Yeast = American or English ale yeast with a clean or lightly fruity profile

Historical Development:

A modern American craft beer interpretation of the English IPA. The basis for many variations, including the stronger Double IPA as well as IPAs with various other ingredients.

The first modern American craft beer example is generally believed to be Anchor Liberty Ale, first brewed in 1975 and using whole Cascade hops; the style has evolved beyond that original beer, which now tastes more like an American Pale Ale in comparison.

Compared to English IPA, American IPA has less caramel, bread, and toast flavours; uses American or New World hops and has a more hop-forward balance; a cleaner fermentation profile, lighter body and slightly higher strength.

Commercial Examples:

Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale, Cigar City Jai Alai, Firestone Walker Union Jack

^Sourced from the Cicerone Certification Program’s International Certified Beer Server Syllabus (Version 5.0)
All other information is sourced from the BJCP 2021 Style Guidelines

Discovering Beer is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Cicerone® Certification Program.

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