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What Are India Pale Ale & Imperial IPA Beer?

Learn about India Pale Ale and Imperial IPA, two beers you can brew at home, from home brewer Chris Cuzme in this Howcast video.


Hi, my name is Chris Cuzme. I am a long-time member and current president of the New York City Home Brewer's Guild. I've been home brewing since about 2001, and I love it. I'm crazy addicted to it, and I'm happy to share it with you today. I'm also part of the New York City Degustation Advisory Team which I formed with my partner, Mary Izett, I'll be showing you how to home brew today. Cheers!

What is an Indian Pal Ale? Basically, back in the day when England was trading spices with India, the sailors needed beer for their trip. Hops and alcohol act as a preservative. In order for the beer to last for that trip, they hyped up the alcohol content, they hyped up the hop content, and the sailors drank this to and from India. When they got back to the mainland they were like, ""Wow, what is this swill on the mainland? We want our strong stuff from the boat."" So they started making Indian Pale Ale, and it was called Indian Pale Ale.

If America has a beer that we invented, or that is ours to claim, it is the Imperial IPA. You know, we are very excited about the hops we have, the citrusy and piney hops that we have from the Cascade Mountains in the Northwest, and we crave the Imperial IPA.

Imperial is a term that was used when the Russian tsarists came over to England and they loved the stouts and porters there so much they ordered some to be sent back to them. And so they created this giant shipment and made them stronger so that they would last the trip through the Baltic Sea and get to Russia.

So that term we've always used for bigger beers, by bigger I mean bigger in alcohol content. So we decided to do that to an IPA because we're so excited about our hops. So, Imperial IPAs are strong, sweet, hoppy; there's a bouquet of blissful wonderness, and we're proud to have that ours.

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