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CraftBeer For All 21+

What is an Imperial India Pale Ale?

An Imperial India Pale Ale is a style of IPA that has increased bitterness, hops and overall alcohol content. It is most commonly brewed in the United States and appeals to craft beer lovers who desire more creativity and novelty in their brew of choice.

We should be honest and disclose that beyond flavor experimentation, people really gravitate to the Imperials for the increased alcohol content. Think about it, drinking just one Plane Over Car Over Bridge Over Boat from Trillium at 12% is roughly the equivalent of drinking three mass market brews from Coors or Miller.

Despite the equivalency, the pricing of Imperial IPAs does tend to skew higher. One great exception is Fort Hill Brewery's Jigsaw Jazz, a 9.3% DIPA that can be acquired for $10 per six pack (12oz cans).

Traits of an IIPA

Types of Imperial IPA

We're expanding our definition of what an Imperial IPA truly is. As such, we want to include Double, Triple, Quadruple and even Quintuple into the fold.

Double IPA

Yes, we realize that Double IPA is a bit redundant when referring to Imperial IPAs. However, with the advent of the Triple IPA and Quadruple IPA, to say nothing of the Quintuple IPA, we feel it best to delineate the space between the craft beer styles and allow Imperial IPA to incorporate them all.

The typical ABV range of a Double IPA is 7-9%.

Commercial Examples of Double IPAs

Triple IPA

To be honest, we prefer Triple IPAs to Doubles. We feel as though the flavors pop a bit more on the former than the latter. The hop character also makes quite the leap between the two craft beer styles.

The typical ABV range of a Triple IPA is 9-10%.

Commercial Examples of Triple IPAs

Quadruple IPA

Much like their Belgian-style counterparts, the Quadruple IPA gets boastful with its intense flavors and truly thick mouthfeel. Our favorite is the aforementioned Plane Over Car Over Bridge Over Boat. If you have the chance to sample one, we highly suggest you do.

The typical ABV range of a Quadruple IPA is 10-12%.

Commercial Examples of Quadruple IPAs

Quintuple IPA

The rarest of all India Pale Ales, Quintuple IPAs are as scarce as they are hopped, which is to say extremely. According to Beer Chronicle, Karbach's 5th Anniversary Quintuple IPA , "It’s brewed with 5 different hop varieties, 5 different types of grains, and 5 different fermentables. It’s a beer they brewed to honor their fifth anniversary, and it’s completely ridiculous. "

The typical ABV range of a Quintuple IPA is 12-15%.

Commercial Examples of Quintuple IPAs

Imperial IPA FAQs

What makes a beer a Double or Triple IPA?

The hop and malt profile of the IPA, as well as the brewing process is what makes an IPA a Double or Triple IPA. Homebrew Academy describes a great way to brew a Double IPA if you want to learn more.

What is the difference between a Double IPA and a Triple IPA?

The difference between a Double IPA and a Triple IPA is generally 1-2% of alcohol content. Ingredients and brewing methods vary from brewer to brewer, so ABV measurement is the only real way to describe the difference between the Double and Triple India Pale Ale.

Is Triple IPA bitter?

Yes, Triple IPAs can be bitter. They can also be pillowy and soft.

Is there a Quadruple IPA?

Yes, craft beer brewers make Quadruple IPAs.

Is there a Quintuple IPA?

Yes, craft beer brewers make Quintuple IPAs.

Article Sources

Commercial Examples

  1. Double Sunshine (Lawson’s Finest Liquids)
  2. Heady Topper (The Alchemist)
  3. Ruination 2.0 (Stone Brewing)
  4. Hoptimum (Sierra Nevada)
  5. Pliny the Younger (Russian River Brewing Company)
  6. Triple Citra Daydream (Other Half Brewing)
  7. Triple Ecstasy (Widowmaker Brewing Company)
  8. Death By Lightning (Third Moon Brewing)
  9. Mixed Culture (Foam Brewers)
  10. Most is Most (Anchorage Brewing Company)
  11. Plane Over Car Over Bridge Over Boat (Trillium Brewing Company)
  12. Resurrection By Tickle (Levante Brewing)
  13. Sector 5 (The Veil Brewing Company)
  14. 5th Anniversary Quintuple IPA (Karbach Brewing Company)

Pairs Well With

  1. Bulgogi
  2. Cobb Salad
  3. Pulled Pork Tacos


  1. Tulip Glass
  2. Teku Glass
  3. Nonic Pint Glass


styles, Ale, India Pale Ale, North American