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21A - American IPA >>

21B - Specialty IPA

ABV: 5.5-9%
OG/FG: 1.05-1.085/1.01-1.018
SRM: 25-40
IBU: 50-90

Overall Impression

A beer with the dryness, hop-forward balance, and flavor characteristics of an American IPA, but darker in color. Darker malts add a gentle and supportive flavor, not a strongly roasted or burnt character.


Dark brown to black color. Clear, if not opaque. Light haze allowable, but should not be murky. Light tan to tan head, moderate size, persistent.


Moderate to high hop aroma, often with a stone fruit, tropical, citrusy, resinous, pine, berry, or melon character. Very low to moderate malt, possibly with light chocolate, coffee, or toast notes, as well as a background caramel sweetness. Clean fermentation profile, but light esters acceptable.


Medium-low to high hop flavor, same descriptors as aroma. Low to medium malt flavor, with restrained chocolate or coffee notes, but not burnt or ashy. The roasted notes should not clash with the hops. Light caramel or toffee optional. Medium-high to very high bitterness. Dry to slightly off-dry finish, with a bitter but not harsh aftertaste, often with a light roast flavor that can contribute to the dry impression. Low to moderate esters optional. Background alcohol flavor optional.


Smooth.Medium-light to medium body. Medium carbonation. Light creaminess optional. Light warmth optional.

Style Comparison

Balance and overall impression of an American or Double IPA with restrained roast similar to the type found in Schwarzbier. Not as rich and roasty as American Stout and Porter, and with less body and increased smoothness and drinkability.


Debittered roast malts. Any American or New World hop character is acceptable; new hop varieties continue to be released and should not constrain this style to the example hop characteristics listed.


An American IPA variantfirst commercially produced by Greg Noonan as Blackwatch IPA around 1990. Popularized in the Pacific Northwest and Southern California of the US starting in the early-mid 2000s, and was a popular fad in the early 2010s before fading into obscurity in the US.


Most examples are standard strength. Strong examples can sometimes seem like big, hoppy porters if made too extreme, which hurts their drinkability.

Commercial Examples

21st Amendment Back in Black, Duck-Rabbit Hoppy Bunny ABA, Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA