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Imperial / Double IPA

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Imperial IPA

Craving a super hoppy, high-alcohol beer? Give Imperial IPA a try. Also called Double or Triple IPA, Imperial IPA is a strong, intensely hoppy and often sweet type of traditional India Pale Ale. It's a recent invention by American microbrewers who, no doubt, wanted to push the envelop to create one of the strongest beers on the market.

Imperial IPA characteristics run the gamut from classic pale ale to almost a barley-wine flavor. Its color ranges from pale to black. Since there are so many varieties of Imperial IPA available, discovering your favorite may take some time, but that's half the fun!

Imperial IPA should be robust and alcoholic with a noticeable hop profile. In fact, this beer is so hoppy that it's not for the faint of heart. Because of the extra bitterness, you probably won't find Imperial IPA served at college keg parties. Instead, it's an all-American brew best appreciated by seasoned beer enthusiasts.

How your Imperial IPA tastes all comes down to its brew. Expect varied flavors like citrus, stone fruit, floral, spice, resin, pine, berry, melon and tropical fruit. Any maltiness is usually constrained, with these beers instead favoring instead toasty or caramel flavors. Most Imperial IPAs boast a dry to medium-dry finish with bitterness right at the finish.

Since Imperial IPA is just a strong version of India Pale Ale, it pairs well with a variety of foods. Try it with complex, robust flavors like Mexican, Indian or Cajun cuisine. It's also nice with grilled meat, roast beef sandwiches and fatty fish. You can even drink Imperial IPA with rich desserts, including cheesecake, carrot cake with extra icing and crème brulée.

For the best presentation, serve Imperial IPA in an IPA glass, tulip, or snifter. Let's be honest, though — you're just going to crack open a bottle straight from the fridge.