Four Shades of Pale Ale

I’m not one to discriminate when it comes to beer, but my all time favorite, my go to beer is always of the “pale ale” variety. I love the crisp, bitter and hoppy flavors. It is a bold beer, but simple in it’s conception, making it a great starter beer for you home brew beginners

When setting out to make your own Pale Ale brews, check out the few subtle distinctions between the different pale ales, and see which one is the right one for you.

Four types of pale ale

 Pale Ales – The name says it all: pale. So it goes without saying (but I’m going to say it anyway) that you want to use light malt and lots of hops. For the pale ale beers (think Sierra Nevada), where the bold hops will blend smoothly with low to medium maltiness bringing out the high hops bitterness that we Pale Ale lovers are drawn to.

 English India Pale Ales – There is nothing worse than sailing the dangerous seas from England to India only to arrive with a cargo full of stale beer.  But thanks to a little extra hop to help preserve the beer on long voyages, the British found a way to keep their beer fresh from port to port. And the IPA was born, and it was good. Just a little more hop for your buck, and you’ve got a delicious IPA with hints of earth and spice, mixed with plenty of hop bitterness.

 American India Pale Ales – So the English started adding a little extra hop to their brews, and I’ll give you one guess as to what American brewers did to make the American IPA stand apart from the British. If you said “add a lot more hops”, then you are correct. Not to be outdone in the hops department, the American IPA is aggressively hoppy, with hints of grapefruit and less malty flavors.

 Double IPAs Just in case the British thought of coming back with an even hoppier beer than the American IPA, American decided to double down and make the double IPA with, you guessed it; more hops! Sometimes even triple the hop, as well as plenty of malt for balance and flavor. This IPA has extreme hoppy highs, and deep malty lows.

beer and hops

Colorado’s largest selection of hops

Castle Rock Homebrew Supplies in Colorado has all the hop for your pale ale brew. Stop by and check out our vast inventory of hops, yeasts, malts and grains. We’ve got over 70 varieties of hops along with homebrewing guides, equipment and of course expert advice to help your next brew. Here’s to a long and hoppy life. Cheers!


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