Of all the different styles of craft beers in the U.S., India pale ale (IPA) continues to dominate the charts as one of (if not the) most preferred styles out there.
To achieve a brew that will entice even the loudest of naysayers out there, you need a perfect balance: the right hops, the right malts, the right steps, and the right serving temperatures.
Learn to brew the perfect IPA by following these eight tips!
8 Tips to Brew the Perfect IPA
1) Use “super-alpha” hops to get the right level of bitterness in your brew.
To get the IBU (International Bitterness Units) level you’re looking for, try using Galena hops, Magnum hops, or Nugget hops.
A quick rule of thumb is to match the ideal IBU measurement of the IPA style you’re trying to brew:
- American IPA IBU: 50-70
- English-Style IPA IBU: 35-63
- Imperial IPA IBU: 65-100
- New England IPA IBU: 50-70
2) Blend several single malt and single hop (SMaSh) beers together to figure out how each hop will affect the taste.
SMaSh beers consist of one kind of malt and one kind of hop.
By making SMaSh beers and mixing them together before you brew your batch, you can get an accurate picture of how each hop tastes and how the ingredients mix together.
3) Don’t use too many crystal malts (specialty grains) to add color or flavor to your brew.
Don’t get crystal crazy with your brew. Try to aim for 5%, but when it comes to crystal malts, less is more.
4) To keep your hops from getting too bitter, try hop bursting.
Hop bursting is when you add generous amounts of hops (ideally “super-alpha” hops) in the final 15 minutes of the boil.
Your goal is to have a low level of bitterness.
5) Add dextrose sugar to your kettle to make your beer dryer.
6) Ready to mash? Use the single temperature infusion style and keep your mash temperatures low.
The single temperature infusion style is a very simple mashing method where you mix (i.e., infuse) all of the crushed malt with hot water to obtain a temperature of 150-158° Fahrenheit.
Lower mash temperatures will make your wort very fermentable.
7) Add dry hops after the batch is finished fermenting to balance the late kettle hops.
Dry hopping is when you add hops to your brew after the wort cools down. Make sure to use “aroma” or “flavor” hops with low alpha-acid ratings during this process.
8) Finally, serve your IPA brew at the right temperature for its style! (Fresh is also best.)
The ideal serving temperatures per IPA style include:
- American IPA: 50-55° F
- English-Style IPA: 45-50° F
- Imperial IPA: 50-55° F
- New England IPA: 45-55° F
And there you have it: the perfect IPA!