Is IPA Stronger Than Regular Beer?

Amber-hued India Pale Ales lend a distinct flavor compared to other beer and often reign popular for those seeking a more unconventional style of drink. Craft brewers cite characteristics such as IPA's smooth mouthfeel and uniquely bitter taste as reasons for the adoration, according to MasterClass. For those that like it, it's a strong, extremely recognizable beverage. Due to its unique composition and brewing process, some even say that you should IPAs drink warm to optimize their flavor profile (per Beer & Brewing). 

But what is it exactly about an IPA that actually sets it apart from other beers? Well, beer as a whole offers a wide breadth of choices, with each lager, ale, and stout offering a new sensation for each consumer's palate. While there are a lot of characteristics that make an IPA stand apart, what people might label as its defining trait is its distinguished alcohol content. 

What makes an IPA different than other beers?

Since more than a few people are averse to the flavors of an IPA, it might be wise to tackle what exactly makes it different than a traditional lager. Draft Mag credits the main difference between a lager and an India Pale Ale to the amount of hops inside each. Brewers use a whole lot of the highly aromatic plant to make IPA which is what yields its satisfying floral scents and complex, bitter flavors. Since lagers are brewed with fewer hops, they have a much crisper taste and are usually also lighter in color.

In addition to the difference in hops levels, brewers don't filter IPAs as heavily as lagers, which typically means they have more nutrients in them. Lastly, IPAs are also fermented at much higher temperatures than lagers per Draft Mag which makes for big changes in their ABV. 

Aside from lagers, IPAs also yield a much different experience than other micro-brewed pale ales, according to MasterClass. Although the two are similar as far as fermenting processes and are usually both amber in color, their differences lie in taste and (once again) alcohol content. IPAs are still much hoppier than pale ales and have a higher ABV. And as far as that alcohol content goes, an IPA doesn't just defeat its other pale ale friends — it trumps almost every other type of beer.

India Pale Ales: just how strong are they?

One big difference between most IPAs and other types of beer is the alcohol content. Although the numbers vary wildly per drink according to Draft Mag, on average, yes, IPAs have higher ABVs than most any other lager, porter, and even other pale ales. According to Brew Dog, it just so happens that craft beverages like IPAs tend to be on the stronger side compared to most other classic styles of beer

Getting into the specifics, Draft Mag says traditional lagers usually average in at about 5% ABV, while some double IPAs can go as high as 10% or 15%. With its warm fermentation process and the extra hops in each drink, you can expect most IPAs to be about one to two times stronger than most macro-brewed drinks. The higher ABV means many fans of craft beer tend to drink their ales slower, enjoying both the aromatics and complex flavor in each sip (per Beer & Brewing). So remember to read the label on your can before consuming your next beverage so you know exactly what you're in for.