Before we can understand what a Double IPA is we should first take a look at the History Of the Imperial IPA.
History of The Imperial IPA
The first double IPA seems to have been brewed by Vinnie Cilurzo (Owner of Russian River) back in June of 1994 for the now closed Blind Pig Brewery of Temecula, California. This was followed two years later with Rogue releasing I2PA in 1996 and Stone followed two years later with their 2nd Anniversary IPA in 1998. It first appeared under its own category at the Great American Beer Festival in 2003.
What is an Imperial IPA (Double IPA)
In simplest terms, a double or Imperial IPA, (they’re actually the same thing) is an IPA kicked up a notch. The American Brewer’s Association defines an Imperial IPA as an IPA with colour that is straw to medium amber, 6.0%-8.4% alcohol, with hop aromas and flavours that are very high, but not aggressively bitter. Among brewers the general consensus is that a double IPA is an IPA with amplified aromas, flavours, and alcohol. The hops are more aggressive both in aroma and flavour, and the alcohol is typically above 7 percent, though this is not a formal rule, since the BA says it can go as low as 6%. So calling an IPA an imperial or a double is really up to the discretion of the brewer.