What’s the Difference Between "Pale Ale" and "IPA"?

Unless you’re a beer expert, you might not know the difference between Pale Ale and IPA
What’s the Difference Between "Pale Ale" and "IPA"?


"IPA” stands for India Pale Ale, a hoppy style of beer that falls under the pale ale category.

Pale ale is a type of beer that is brewed with mostly pale malts for a more equal malt-to-hop ratio. It’s made with a warm fermentation process, which keeps the product at temperatures usually between 59 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. The greater amount of pale malts causes the beer to have a lighter color and flavor.

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“IPA” stands for India Pale Ale, a hoppy style of beer within the pale ale category. Double IPAs, also called Imperial IPAs, are a much hoppier style of IPAs with alcohol content above 7.5 percent by volume.

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Pale ale originated in England, as early as 1703, when it referred to beers made with coke, a processed form of coal, which produced an amber- or copper-colored ale. Today, though the term “pale ale” technically covers several styles of beer, including IPAs, bottles labeled as pale ales usually contain a lighter, brighter end of the spectrum.

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The term “India Pale Ale,” however, was first used in an advertisement printed in Australia’s first newspaper in 1829.

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Different countries make different styles of pale ale. The American pale ale we drink today was developed around 1980 and tends to be cleaner and hoppier, while British versions are more malty, buttery, aromatic, and balanced.

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American IPAs are normally brewed with characteristically American hops, like Cascade, Centennial, Citra, Columbus, Chinook, Simcoe, Amarillo, Tomahawk, Warrior, and Nugget.

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