Distinguishing IPA & Pale Ale Differences

IPA vs Pale Ale

Pale Ale is a style of beer that is very popular around the world, and is consumed the most in different countries around the globe. The method used to make pale ales is warm fermentation, and as this beer uses pale malts, the final product is light in color. There are many different ales in the pale ale family, depending on their strength, aroma, and taste. One such style of beer is India Pale Ale, or IPA. Many people remain confused between Pale Ale, or American Pale Ale, and IPA because of the perceived similarities. However, despite similarities, there are differences between pale ale and IPA that will be highlighted in this article.

What is Pale Ale?

Pale beer is a kind of beer that is made from lighter malts and is also called bitter beer, being golden in colour. The reason for this beer being named pale ale is that the malts used to ferment this beer are lightly roasted. This beer also has roughly equal malt to hop ratio. In the early 18th century, the water supply in the city of Burton on Trent was salty as the salts dissolved from the nearby mountains, requiring the breweries to add a higher amount of hops to their ales. The higher quantity of hops meant the pale ale could be kept fresh for a longer time, as hops are natural preservatives.

What is IPA?

The story behind the origins of IPA is quite interesting. British citizens and troops posted in India as part of the British Empire remained deprived of the pale ale that was manufactured in England, as it could not survive the long journey on ships. Most of the pale ale sent to India got spoiled because of the heat and humidity during the long and arduous journey. To make the beer survive the harsh heat and humidity, manufacturers in England added alcohol and hops to the pale ale, making it difficult for the organisms to grow inside the bottles and spoil the beer. The story of IPA would have ended with the end of the British rule in India, but a ship carrying these IPA casks wrecked, and the bottles had to be sold in England. People in England loved the bitter taste of this style of beer, and it became a style of beer on its own rather than being a sub-style of pale ale.

What is the difference between Pale Ale and IPA?

• Pale ale is the most popular beer style in all parts of the world.
• It was created by some breweries in England by making use of coke to roast barley rather than using wood for this purpose. The name pale ale comes from the use of pale malt to make this kind of beer.
• IPA was created to supply pale ale to British troops and citizens posted in India.
• Ordinary pale ale could not survive the harsh and arduous journey by ship, so brewers added alcohol and hop to make the ale last longer.
• A shipwreck forced traders to sell IPA in England where it was liked very much by the people. This meant that IPA developed into a style of beer on its own.

Key Takeaways

  • Pale Ale is made from lighter malts and has an equal malt to hop ratio, while IPA has added alcohol and hops to make the ale last longer.
  • IPA was created to supply pale ale to British troops and citizens posted in India, and gained popularity in England after a shipwreck forced traders to sell it there.
  • Despite similarities, the main difference between Pale Ale and IPA lies in their ingredients and the reason for their creation.
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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