Current commentary:Double IPA's Revisited
This commentary is revisiting the topic of Double IPA's. About a year after my original commentary, the Double IPA festival was held again at the Bistro in Hayward. Due to all the misconceptions, confusion, and lack of definition of what a Double IPA exactly is, they put together a description and style guidelines as follows. The following text is taken from the handout developed by the Bistro
Double "Imperial" IPA
Aroma: An extremely rich hop aroma is mandatory! Typical "Double IPA's" use American hops and has aromas such as pine, citrus, and floral. No malt should be detected in the aroma. Some higher alcohol aromas (peppery, spicy) are common. No diacetyl should be present in the aroma.
Appearance: Golden straw to copper in color. Clarity can be bright to cloudy depending on the brewer's clarifying techniques. Due to the large quantities of hops used in a "Double IPA", you may find some of these beers to be cloudy due to the large portion of hop protein left in the beer.
Flavor: Hops should be the predominant characteristic in a "Double IPA". Two to three times the amount of hops are used in this beer as compared to a standard IPA. The hop flavor undoubtedly should be strong, but still clean. Unpleasant hop bitterness should not be detected. Intensely fruity hop flavors should be layered throughout the beer. These flavors include floral, piney, citrus, grassy, and possibly a slight earthiness. No diacetyl should be present. Also remember to taste the foam. It should carry much of the same hop flavor and bitterness as the actual beer does.
Mouthfeel: Medium to full body. A slight warming may be present in the mouthfeel from alcohol, but it should not remind you of a barley wine. The aftertaste should be dry and lingering as the beer passes down your throat.
Comments: Although the beer should be drinkable with some signs of malt showing, your overall impression should be HOPS! This is not a beer for the average beer drinker. The malt in this beer is only there to keep the bitterness and hop flavor in check.
Ingredients: Lots of American style hops such as cascade, centennial, tomahawk, columbus, chinook, simcoe, and amarillo should be used. Pale malt, munich malt, caramel malt, and carapils malt are commonly used. The use of roasted malt (caramel) should be kept to a minimum so the beer does not end up tasting like a barley wine. Yeast strains should be clean yet able to ferment to a higher alcohol level. Moderate clean fruity esters are acceptable.