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Floating hop matter
Floating hop matter

Brewing an English IPA

Previously in this series of articles on How to brew different Styles of Beer? we covered Brewing an Altbier, this time the Beer Style comes from the ‘Pale English Beer’ category in the BJCP 2014 Guidelines and is the style of an English IPA.

Grains 1/2: Maris Otter Pale malt, Crystal Light 45L malt & Torrified Wheat
Grains 1/2:
– Maris Otter Pale malt
– Crystal Light 45L malt
– Torrified Wheat

In the following sections we are going to examine different aspects of this style such as its background, the style guidelines, ingredients used, sample recipes, brewing process, and finally the outcome of brewing a batch of this beer.


There are a number of variations on the history of how this style came about and how it derived its name of India Pale Ale. The generally accepted account is that around the late 18th and early 19th century paler beers were being brewed in England thanks to the production of lighter and less roasted malts due to kilns being coke- rather than wood-fired.

At this time India was part of the British Empire and beer brewed in and around Burton-upon-Trent started to be exported to the Indian sub-continent. These Pale Ales were brewed slightly stronger and often left for 6+ months in barrels before even being loaded onto ships.

Grains 2/2: Amber malt & Chocolate Wheat malt
Grains 2/2:
– Amber malt
– Chocolate Wheat malt

To help them last the journey they were often dry-hopped prior to leaving port which meant the resulting beer being off-loaded and drank at the destination was generally hoppier than when it first set off.

Although IPA’s gradually fell out of favor they did see a resurgence in the latter 20th century and can be found common place in the UK nowadays plus exported examples can be enjoyed around the world.

Commercial examples of this style include Freeminer Trafalgar IPA, Fuller’s Bengal Lancer IPA, Worthington White Shield, Ridgeway IPA, Emerson’s 1812 IPA, Meantime India Pale Ale, Summit India Pale Ale, Samuel Smith’s India Ale, Hampshire Pride of Romsey IPA, Burton Bridge Empire IPA, Marston’s Old Empire, and Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA.


In the BJCP 2008 Style Guidelines all the IPAs were grouped together in their own ‘India Pale Ale (IPA)’ category (see here). In the revised 2014 Guidelines the English IPA has been moved into a new category along with other English-originating Pale beers as follows:

BJCP 2014 BJCP 2008
Category 12: Pale English Beer
14: India Pale Ale (IPA)
Styles 12A: English Golden Ale
12B: Australian Sparkling Ale
12C: English IPA 14A: English IPA
14B: American IPA
14C: Imperial IPA

In the new guidelines the vital statistics of the English IPA are as follows:

  • Original Gravity (OG) = 1.050 – 1.075
  • Final Gravity (FG) = 1.010 – 1.018
  • Alcohol By Volume (ABV) = 5.0 – 7.5%
  • Bitterness (IBUs) = 40 – 60
  • Color (SRM) = 6 – 14

The only change from the 2008 guidelines is a drop in the lower range of color from 8 to 6 SRM.


Hop selection
Hop selection

According to the BJCP 2014 Guidelines the following are characteristic ingredients used in the brewing of an English IPA:

  • Malts: Pale ale malt.
  • Hops: English hops are traditional, particularly as finishing hops.
  • Yeast: Attenuative English ale yeast.
  • Water: Some versions may show a sulfate character from Burton-type water, but this is not essential to the style.
  • Additions: Refined sugar may be used in some versions.


Below are some recipes for 5 gallon batches of English IPA from leading authors in the homebrewing community together with some analysis on how they comply with the style guidelines:

– India Pale Ale –

Source: Wisdom for Home Brewers
Author: Ted Bruning & Nigel Sadler

Yeast starters
Yeast starters
(Conan on left)


  • 13.2 Lb Pale malt
  • 5 oz Crystal malt
  • 2.5 oz Challenger hops (bittering – 70 mins)
  • 1.25 oz Goldings hops (bittering – 55 mins)
  • 1.25 oz Goldings hops (aroma – 0 mins)


  • Mash @ 149 deg F (65 deg C) for 60 mins
  • Boil for 70 mins
Yeast ready to pitch
Yeast ready to pitch


  • OG: 1.060
  • FG: 1.017
  • ABV: 5.7%
  • IBU: Not specified.
  • SRM: Not specified.


  • Malts: Pale malt assumed to be Maris Otter or similar. Actual Crystal malt not specified so recipe is rather vague.
  • Hops: Challenger is derived from the German Northern Brewer hop variety but Goldings is English so partially within style.
  • Yeast: Not specified but assumed to be an attenuative English yeast.
  • Statistics: Gravities and alcohol content are within style but bitterness and color would need calculating to check prior to brewing.

– Shepherd Neame IPA clone –

Source: CloneBrews
Author: Tess & Mark Szamatulski

Measuring mash pH
Measuring mash pH


  • 10 Lb British 2-row Pale malt
  • 7 oz British Crystal 55L malt
  • 4 oz Torrified Wheat
  • 3 oz British Amber malt
  • 1.2 oz Target hops (bittering – 90 mins)
  • 0.5 oz East Kent Goldings hops (flavoring – 15 mins)
  • 0.5 oz East Kent Goldings hops (aroma – 1 min)
  • 0.5 oz East Kent Goldings hops (dry-hopping)
  • Wyeast 1275 Thames Valley Ale yeast or Wyeast 1968 London ESB yeast


  • Mash @ 151 deg F (66 deg C) for 90 mins
  • Boil for 90 mins
Mash runnings
Mash runnings


  • OG: 1.057
  • FG: 1.013 – 1.014
  • ABV: 5.5% (bottled version is 6.0%)
  • IBU: 39
  • SRM: 10.5


  • Malts: British base and specialty malts that are to style.
  • Hops: UK hops that meet the style guidelines.
  • Yeast: Southern-English yeasts so are to style given Shepherd Neame is brewed within the County of Kent.
  • Statistics: Everything is within style except that the bitterness is one point below the lower end of the range.

– Vatted Stale IPA –

Source: Radical Brewing
Author: Randy Mosher

Measuring Original Gravity
Measuring Original Gravity


  • 14 Lb Maris Otter Pale Ale malt
  • 2 Lb Biscuit/Amber malt
  • 3.0 oz East Kent Goldings hops (bittering – 60 mins)
  • 1.5 oz East Kent Goldings hops (flavoring – 30 mins)
  • 5.0 oz East Kent Goldings hops (aroma – 5 mins)
  • English Ale yeast


  • Mash @ 149 deg F (65 deg C) for 90 mins
  • Boil for 90 mins
Dry hopping
Dry hopping


  • OG: 1.085
  • FG: 1.020 – 1.028
  • ABV: 7.5-8.5%
  • IBU: 90
  • SRM: Not specified.


  • Malts: Base and specialty malts are within style.
  • Hops: Hops are all within style though no dry-hopping regime.
  • Yeast: Specific yeast variety not specified but general direction is to use an English Ale yeast.
  • Statistics: The Starting and Finishing Gravities are both too high with the alcohol content range only just squeezing into the top of the style guidelines range. Bitterness is 50+ percent too high for the style but with this recipe it would appear that the author is looking at trying to replicate how the beer would have been brewed originally as opposed to being to the modern style guidelines.


Floating hop matter
Floating hop matter

The recipe chosen for brewing this batch of English IPA was the Shepherd Neame IPA clone with the primary reason being that this is my favorite commercial English IPA from the UK.

Below is the actual recipe that I went with:

  • 11 Lb Maris Otter Pale malt
  • 8.0 oz British Crystal Light 45L malt
  • 4.0 oz Torrified Wheat
  • 3.2 oz Amber malt
  • 2.2 oz Chocolate Wheat malt
  • 1.3 oz Target hops (bittering – 90 mins)
  • 0.5 oz East Kent Goldings hops (flavoring – 15 mins)
  • 0.5 oz East Kent Goldings hops (aroma – 1 min)
  • 0.5 oz East Kent Goldings hops (dry-hopping – secondary for 7 days)
  • ‘Conan the IPA’ yeast

Modifications from the original recipe are upping the Maris Otter by 1 Lb to adjust the Original Gravity to allow for the efficiency of my system. The original recipe stipulated Crystal 55L but I only had British Crystal 45L so this was tweaked. The Chocolate Wheat malt was added for color adjustment and to assist head retention. Finally the bittering hop addition was increased by 8% to adjust the IBUs.

Brewing process steps
Brewing process steps

For choice of yeast I wanted to try ‘Conan the IPA’ which I had obtained from a fellow homebrewer – this yeast is used in the very popular Heady Topper IPA which is brewed by The Alchemist Brewery in Vermont, USA.

For the process itself the mash temperature was dropped 1 degree to help adjust the fermentability of the wort and hence the Final Gravity.

The 5 gallon batch of beer was brewed following these steps:

  • Charcoal filtering the borough water and leaving it to stand overnight in order to vent off the chlorine.
  • Measuring out and milling the grains, also measuring out the hops and Irish Moss.
  • Sterilizing the fermentation equipment.
  • Heating the strike water to 152 deg F before mashing-in (adding the grist to the hot water).
  • Mashing for 90 mins at 150 deg F for the Saccharification rest so the starches convert into sugars (pH 5.4).
  • Raising the temperature to 168 deg F to mash-out for 10 mins to stop enzymatic activity i.e. halt the conversion of starches to sugars.
  • Removing the grain bag.
  • Boiling for 10 mins to allow time for the hot break to clear.
  • Continue boiling for 75 mins with the bittering hop addition.
  • Add flavoring hop addition and Irish Moss at 15 mins to help clear the beer.
  • Add aroma hop addition for the final 1 minute of the boil.
  • A yeast starter was prepared comprising of 8 oz of DME (Dry Malt Extract) in two liters of water and placed in a flask on a stir plate together with one packet of yeast.
  • Yeast nutrient was added to the wort once it had been cooled.
  • Wort was aerated with Oxygen (60 secs) via a diffusing stone connected to an O2 tank with a regulator.
  • Yeast starter was decanted prior to pitching into the wort so that most of the spent wort did not go into the beer.
  • Primary fermentation was at 68 deg F for one week in a temperature controlled freezer.
  • The beer was racked off the trub (sediment) into the secondary fermenter and held at 68 deg F for a second week as well as dry-hopped before cold crashing with gelatine for additional clarity.
  • Beer was force carbonated to 2.3 volumes of CO2 after cooling the beer to 36 deg F.


Brewing temperature profile
Brewing temperature profile

According to the style guidelines an English IPA should have the following characteristics:

  • Appearance: Color ranges from golden to deep amber, but most are fairly pale. Should be clear, although unfiltered dry-hopped versions may be a bit hazy. Moderate-sized, persistent head stand with off-white color.
  • Aroma: A moderate to moderately-high hop aroma of floral, spicy-peppery or citrus-orange in nature is typical. A slightly grassydry-hop aroma is acceptable, but not required. A moderately-low caramel-like or toasty malt presence is optional. Low to moderate fruitiness is acceptable. Some versions may have a sulfury note, although this character is not mandatory.
  • Flavor: Hop flavor is medium to high, with a moderate to assertive hop bitterness. The hop flavor should be similar to the aroma (floral, spicy-peppery, citrus-orange, and/or slightly grassy). Malt flavor should be medium-low to medium, and be somewhat bready, optionally with light to medium-light biscuit-like, toasty, toffee-like and/or caramelly aspects. Medium-low to medium fruitiness. Finish is medium-dry to very dry, and the bitterness may linger into the aftertaste but should not be harsh. The balance is toward the hops, but the malt should still be noticeable in support. If high sulfate water is used, a distinctively minerally, dry finish, some sulfur flavor, and a lingering bitterness are usually present. Some clean alcohol flavor can be noted in stronger versions. Oak is inappropriate in this style.
  • Mouth-feel: Smooth, medium-light to medium-bodied mouthfeel without hop-derived astringency, although moderate to medium-high carbonation can combine to render an overall dry sensation despite a supportive malt presence. A low, smooth alcohol warming can and should be sensed in stronger (but not all) versions.
  • Overall: A hoppy, moderately-strong, very well-attenuated pale English ale with a dry finish and a hoppy aroma and flavor. Classic English ingredients provide the best flavor profile.

How did my batch of English IPA turn out?

Measuring Final Gravity
Measuring Final Gravity

Post-boil the Original Gravity fell short of the target by 4 points. With some beers it would be possible to continue boiling for longer to allow for some more evaporation but with an IPA this would impact the flavor and aroma too much by losing too many of the volatile hop oils. Instead I opted to heat up 0.5 Lb of organic sugar with some water then once it had been cooled down the mixture was then added to the primary fermenter.

The beer was dry-hopped with pellet hops and after a couple of days I was concerned that the hop matter was not dropping to the bottom of the carboy. This seemed to be because there was still some fermentation activity which was preventing them from dropping out of suspension but as this slowed, and with some very gentle movement of the carboy, they did drop over the next few days and during the cold crash with the aid of gelatine the beer cleared nicely.

Here are the actual vital statistics:

  • OG: 1.060
  • FG: 1.018 (1.021 at start of secondary fermentation)
  • ABV: 5.5%
  • Bitterness: 47.8 IBUs*
  • Color: 10.9 SRM*

* calculated via BeerSmith software.

The tasting notes are as follows:

Dark orange in color with a thin white head. A light hoppy aroma. Flavor is bitter and tropical fruit. Low to medium carbonation with a medium body.

English IPA sampler
English IPA sampler

When the beer was first bottled it tasted rather vegetal from the hops but after about a week this disappeared to leave a great English hop aroma and flavor. This was my first IPA that I have brewed and I m pleased with the end result. I had hoped to hit the 6% ABV of the Shepherd Neame IPA but with a Final Gravity of 1.018 rather than 1.014 this meant it fell short by 0.5% though still remained within the style guidelines.

This beer is being entered into the first round of the National Homebrewers Competition 2015 so we shall see how it scores…

What’s Next?

In my next article in this series I will be examining Brewing a Brett Beer which is in the ‘American Wild Ale’ category so please check back for that article to be published.

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