What is a dark IPA called?

Answered by Robert Dupre

A dark IPA is commonly referred to as a Black IPA or Cascadian Dark Ale. These beers are characterized by their dark brown to black color, which sets them apart from the traditional pale and golden hues of a regular IPA. The name “Black IPA” may seem contradictory since IPAs are typically associated with lighter, hop-forward beers. However, the term is used to describe the combination of the IPA’s hoppy profile with the darker malts used in brewing.

Now, let’s dive a bit deeper into the characteristics of a Black IPA. Unlike stouts or porters, which often have strong roasted or burnt flavors, a Black IPA maintains the hop-forward balance and dryness of a regular IPA. The dark color comes from the use of darker malts, such as black malt or chocolate malt, which add complexity and depth without overwhelming the beer with roasted character.

The flavor profile of a Black IPA typically showcases a harmonious blend of hop bitterness and flavors from the hops, such as citrus, pine, or floral notes. The dark malts may contribute subtle hints of chocolate, coffee, or caramel, but these flavors should not dominate the beer. The goal is to achieve a balance between the hoppy bitterness and the malty sweetness, creating a unique drinking experience that combines the best of both worlds.

In terms of appearance, a Black IPA will have a dark brown to black color, often with a frothy tan head. The beer may appear opaque, especially when held up to the light. However, upon closer inspection, you might notice a deep ruby or mahogany hue shining through.

When it comes to food pairings, the hop-forward nature of a Black IPA makes it a great companion for bold and spicy dishes. The bitterness can help cut through the richness of fatty meats or cheese, while the hop flavors complement the flavors of grilled or roasted foods. Personally, I find that a Black IPA pairs exceptionally well with charred burgers, spicy barbecue chicken, or even a hearty chili.

Now that you know about the style and characteristics of a Black IPA, you can confidently order or brew one yourself. Whether you prefer the name Black IPA or Cascadian Dark Ale, this dark and hoppy beer is sure to satisfy your cravings for a unique and flavorful drinking experience. So go ahead, give it a try and explore the depths of a dark IPA!