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One of the recent trends I've noticed is that breweries are starting to come out with Triple IPAs. (In fact, there's a triple IPA week in the Seattle area.) But what exactly distinguishes the Triple IPA from a Double IPA?

[Note that this was not included in IPA and variants question, nor is it discussed in the IPA vs. DIPA sweetness question.]

Edit: This is decidedly NOT the same as the question regarding dubbels vs. tripels (which are Abbey-style Belgian ales, and remarkably different in style from a double or triple IPA).

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A bit obvious, but it's just about more malt and hops (which results in higher ABV and IBU levels, off course).

Particularly, I don't see it becoming a new style, as our palate has a limit when it comes to tasting bitterness and even smelling hop oils. I think we have already reached this limit sometime ago when Imperial IPAs were conceived. So, anything beyond that seems like a silly obsession to me, and probably the best that one can get from a "triple IPA" is to come up with a good Imperial/Double IPA with (maybe) more alcohol, nothing more.

PS: Dogfish's 120 Minute IPA would be a quadruple IPA, then?

  • That's what I suspected. Thanks for the info! And yeah - 120 minute certainly is something else entirely... – maxwelldeux Feb 28 '16 at 22:59
  • Regarding 120 Minute IPA... I wouldn't think so. While it is a ridiculously strong beer, Dogfish Head simply calls it an IPA, so I would respect that. The "120 minute" is only a reference to how long they boil the wort while hopping, and is not a good indicator of a "double", "triple", "imperial", or other informally variated IPA style. – object88 Mar 4 '16 at 22:47
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The beer judge certification program style guides seem to imply they are the same. You can get more details at bjcp.org. The text below is from the 2015 guidelines double IPA category, 22A.

Comments: A showcase for hops, yet remaining quite drinkable. The adjective “double" is arbitrary and simply implies a stronger version of an IPA; “imperial,” “extra,” “extreme,” or any other variety of adjectives would be equally valid, although the modern American market seems to have now coalesced around the “double” term.

  • I can understand that, thanks. But with brewers marketing a "triple IPA", it seems to imply that they are trying to make a distinction from a double IPA. I know that both double and triple IPAs would be judged together and are usually categorized together (like they are on Ratebeer, for example). But would would the distinction be for a brewer? – maxwelldeux Feb 26 '16 at 22:01
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    I assume just more alcohol than a double if the same brewery made a double and a triple. – Joel Feb 26 '16 at 23:03
  • That was my thought, too. I just haven't seen someone come out and say that explicitly. – maxwelldeux Feb 26 '16 at 23:05
  • I tend to think that is a double is an IPA turned all the way up, then a triple is the same turned up to 11. It's an informal style that brewers use to indicate that this one is "one more "... And the drummer exploded during the brewing process. – object88 Mar 2 '16 at 2:56

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