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Old 04-17-2011, 03:13 AM   #1
hatfieldenator
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Default IPA vs APA Whats the difference really??

I feel as if these two styles can be essentially the same beer. IPAs don't have to super bitter (consider 60 min for example, fairly mild bitterness$. At the same time APAs are allowed to be fairly bitter too. It seems as if you could call a beer by either name.
I bring this up after receiving feedback from my APA entry in the HBT comp. Each judge thought it might be too bitter for the style, one even suggested entering it as an IPA. If I were to do that it would actually be on the low side of bitter for an IPA, so it really seems as if it's simply personal preference? The BJCP guidelines for each style sound fairly similar to me. It seems like there's a lot of overlap in the style.
I'm interested in hearing others feedback.

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Old 04-17-2011, 03:23 AM   #2
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To me, ABV, flavor, and aroma separate IPA from APA...

All three are higher for IPAs (usually)

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Old 04-17-2011, 03:27 AM   #3
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good point. Sierra Nevada pale ale is on the bitter side and could almost pass for an IPA. I made an apa a couple weeks back that was pretty much the same recipe as my IPA, I just cut back a little on everything but the hops. the IPA would be higher in abv obviously but not too much difference otherwise

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Old 04-17-2011, 03:29 AM   #4
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Agree with AZ_IPA on this one. Since ABV is higher, IBU is also higher to balance - but IBU is the obvious one. I think it's easy to tell the brews that fall on either end of the spectrum, but where you draw the line in between can get a little tricky. There's some overlap between APA and IPA in the BJCP guidelines, right around the 40 IBU level.

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Old 04-17-2011, 03:33 AM   #5
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I was looking in Designing Great Beers to see what the difference is. OG for an APA is 1.044-1.056 and bitterness of 20-40 while the OG for an IPA is 1.050-1.070 with a bitterness of 40-60.

I have had some APAs that had more perceived bitterness than IPAs. I think its more likely due to a grain to hop imbalance. When you drink Torpedo IPA you know the bitterness is there, but it is excellently balanced with more grain.

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Old 04-17-2011, 03:34 AM   #6
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Also, traditionally IPAs are lighter in color and body (usually mashed lower) and APAs generally are a little darker and have a little more body from higher crystal amounts and usually higher mash temp.

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Old 04-17-2011, 03:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NPK View Post
When you drink Torpedo IPA you know the bitterness is there, but it is excellently balanced with more grain.
That's a good comparison. I think of SNPA as more "bitter" than Torpedo, even though SNPA lists IBUs at 37 (& 5.6% ABV) and Torpedo at 65 (& 7.2% ABV)
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Old 04-17-2011, 03:46 AM   #8
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My APA recipe I'm referring to had an IBU of around 41, so as mentioned above that seems to be where the overlap is. I think the next time I brew this I'm going to employ a continuous hopping technique to help decrease the bitterness a bit. Hopefully this will bring me down to the 30 or so range in IBIs and fit the style a little better.

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Old 09-17-2011, 05:21 PM   #9
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I think there is certainly a fair bit of overlap, and overall, I agree with what has been said.

One obvious possible difference IMO is the yeast. What we know as an IPA in this day and age is different from what it used to be. The beer was being shipped from England to India, and I would assume not with California or other American yeast, but with an English yeast, which is notably different.

Today, we use all sorts of yeasts to make what we call an IPA, but could we use any other yeast than an American or California to make an APA? I think not, but there may be differing opinions.

Here's one that I did that I feel could go either way. It's got the caramel, and also WLP California V yeast. Didn't get too low in gravity, and the residual sweetness was very pleasant; notable caramel. I generally identified it as an American Pale Ale FTR, but perhaps it was too bitter?

% LB OZ Malt
82% 10 0 American Two-row Pale
8% 1 0 Munich Malt
8% 1 0 Caramel/Crystal Malt - 20L
2% 0 4 Special B Malt

Batch size: 5.0 gallons Original Gravity: 1.065

Color
10° SRM / 20° EBC
(Gold to Copper)

hops
use time oz variety form aa
boil 60 mins 1.5 Columbus info pellet 15.4
boil 15 mins 0.5 Cascade info pellet 3.2
boil 15 mins 0.5 Centennial info pellet 10.0
boil 1 min 0.5 Cascade info pellet 5.5
boil 1 min 0.5 Centennial info leaf 10.0
Dry 2 weeks 1 oz centennial leaf

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Old 09-17-2011, 05:35 PM   #10
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this has been bugging me for awhile as well. lots of people, (some on here) talk about brewing a session ipa with an ABV around 4.5%.
IPA is my favorite style and i think it is a little crazy to call anything with such a low abv an ipa. a hoppy apa, sure, but not an ipa.
i know it is an argument of semantics as many have pointed out, but these guidelines are there for a reason.
in my own head, it seems as odd as saying "i am striving to find that perfect recipe for a session barleywine with around 5% alcohol"
am i alone in my frustration with this?

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