12. SPECIALTY IPA

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INTRODUCTION TO SPECIALTY IPAS

Specialty IPA isn’t a distinct style, but is more appropriately thought of as a competition entry category. Beers entered as this style are not experimental beers; they are a collection of currently produced types of beer that may or may not have any market longevity. This category also allows for expansion, so potential future IPA variants have a place to be entered without redoing the style guidelines. The only common element is that they have the balance and overall impression of an IPA (typically, an American IPA) but with some minor tweak.

The term ‘IPA’ is used as a singular descriptor of a type of hoppy, bitter beer. It is not meant to be spelled out as ‘India Pale Ale’ when used in the context of a Specialty IPA. None of these beers ever historically went to India, and many aren’t pale. But the craft beer market knows what to expect in balance when a beer is described as an ‘IPA’ – so the modifiers used to differentiate them are based on that concept alone.

Entry Instructions

Entrant must specify a strength (session, standard, double); if no strength is specified, standard will be assumed. Entrant must specify specific type of Specialty IPA from the library of known types listed in the Style Guidelines, or as amended by the BJCP web site; or the entrant must describe the type of Specialty IPA and its key characteristics in comment form so judges will know what to expect. Entrants may specify specific hop varieties used, if entrants feel that judges may not recognize the varietal characteristics of newer hops.

Entrants may specify a combination of defined IPA types (e.g., Black Rye IPA) without providing additional descriptions. Entrants may use this category for a different strength version of an IPA defined by its own BJCP subcategory (e.g., session-strength American or English IPA) – except where an existing BJCP subcategory already exists for that style (e.g., double [American] IPA).


12.1. White IPA

A fruity, spicy, refreshing version of an American IPA, but with a lighter colour, less body, and featuring either the distinctive yeast and/or spice...

12.2. Red IPA

Hoppy, bitter, and moderately strong like an American IPA, but with some caramel, toffee, and/or dark fruit malt character. Retaining the dryish...

12.3. Brown IPA

Hoppy, bitter, and moderately strong like an American IPA, but with some caramel, chocolate, toffee, and/or dark fruit malt character as in an...

12.4. Rye IPA

A decidedly hoppy and bitter, moderately strong American pale ale, showcasing modern American and New World hop varieties and rye malt. The balance...

12.5. Belgian IPA

An IPA with the fruitiness and spiciness derived from the use of Belgian yeast. The examples from Belgium tend to be lighter in colour and more...

12.6. Black IPA

A beer with the dryness, hop-forward balance, and flavour characteristics of an American IPA, only darker in colour – but without strongly roasted...

12.7. Double IPA

An intensely hoppy, fairly strong pale ale without the big, rich, complex maltiness and residual sweetness and body of an American barleywine....

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