English IPA


English IPA



It should come as no surprise by the recipes listed on our website that India Pale Ales (IPAs) are by far our favourite style. We've brewed nearly as many of these hop forward beers as all other styles combined. We're not alone in this regard: Since 2011 IPAs have been the most popular style of craft beer in America, and they don't appear to be giving up that spot any time soon. As of 2020 the style has evolved and expanded to include nearly two dozen sub-styles ranging in strength, grain bill, level of hop bitterness, the types of hops used, yeast flavour profile, and more.

The very first IPAs started off in England as strong Pale Ales characterized by an increased helping of English hops coupled with higher alcohol. English yeast lends a fruity character to the flavour and aroma, offering a contrast to the earthy and floral English hops. Different from its American counterparts, the English style strikes a balance between malt and hops for a more rounded flavour. Vastly different from many of the American IPAs we all know and enjoy today.

There is an age-old incorrect story that the English IPA style was invented in the late eighteenth century by English brewers who discovered that increased hopping rates helped their beer survive the long sea voyage to India. While it's true that hops have a natural preservative quality, it isn't true that the style was specifically created for shipment to India. What was being sent was simply a Pale Ale beer that was already being brewed in England at the time. The dryer style proved to be popular due to the hot Indian climate and eventually (more than 50 years later) in England the beer started to be advertised as "Pale Ale as prepared for India", which eventually morphed into the "India Pale Ale" name we know today. For details around on and more, read the first few chapters of the book IPA: Brewing techniques, recipes, and the evolution of India Pale Ale by Mitch Steele (former brewmaster at Stone Brewing). A must-own for any IPA lover.

Every once and a while we like to step back in time and brew an English IPA to remind ourselves what spawned the IPA beer style we enjoy today. We've gone through various malt, hop, and yeast variations over the years when brewing our English IPA, but the recipe below is the one we enjoy best. It is a true classic representation of the style.


What makes an IPA an 'English' IPA?

It's interesting to note that there is actually little difference if you compare the BJCP 2015 vital statistics of American and English IPAs:

  • IBU: American 40 - 70, English 40 - 60
  • SRM: American 6 - 14, English 6 - 14
  • OG: American 1.056 - 1.070, English 1.050 - 1.075
  • FG: American 1.008 - 1.014, English 1.010 - 1.018
  • ABV: American 5.5 - 7.5%, English 5 - 7.5%

The main difference lies not in the numbers but the choice of ingredients and what flavours they bring to the beer. An English IPA can and should be brewed with English ingredients which usually means:

  • English base malts such as Maris Otter that add biscuity flavours instead of the more flavour neutral domestic 2-row preferred by American brewers that want the hops up front and center. English IPAs tend to be more on the balanced side with a distinct, often bready, malt character to compliment the hops. While English IPAs are still hoppy up front, they often have a caramel malt body with a smooth, dry finish.
  • English yeasts which tend to throw more esters and flavours than the classic American counterparts. This line has certainly blurred over the years with the introduction of new (American) IPA sub-styles such as New England IPAs which often call for the use of fruity English yeasts. We've tried many English yeasts in our English IPA and enjoy the crisp mineral qualities that Wyeast 1028 London Ale (or White Labs WLP013 London Ale) adds when coupled with our higher sulfate water adjustments so it's our top pick for this style. The result is dry and thirst quenching.
  • English hops such as TargetFuggle, and East Kent Goldings which add subtle earthy, spicy, peppery, and floral flavours. Much more delicate when compared to the bold pine, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, melon, and citrus flavours that American and other New World hops bring to the table.

Brew up a batch and let us know how you like it!


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English IPA

Size: 12 US gallons (post-boil @ 68F)
Mash Efficiency: 95%
Attenuation: 81%
Calories: 199 kcal per 12 fl oz
Original Gravity:
1.060 (style range: 1.050 - 1.075)
Final Gravity: 1.011 (style range: 1.010 - 1.018)
Colour: 12.4 SRM (style range: 6 - 14)
Alcohol: 6.4% ABV (style range: 5% - 7.5%)
Bitterness: 54 IBU (style range: 40 - 60)

18.5 lb British Maris Otter malt (2.5-4L) (86.7%)
0.75 lb British pale (or white) wheat malt (1.5-2.4L) (3.5%)
0.75 lb British amber malt (18-32L) (3.5%)
0.75 lb British crystal malt (40L) (3.5%)
0.6 lb British crystal malt (90L) (2.8%)

3 oz UK Target hops (8.9%) - added during boil, boiled 60 min [41.7 IBU]
Whirlfloc tablet (Irish moss) - added during boil, boiled 15 min
4 oz UK Fuggle hops (4.9%) - added during boil, boiled 10 min [12.2 IBU]

4 oz UK East Kent Goldings hops (6.4%) - added immediately after boil

Wyeast 1028 London Ale yeast or White Labs WLP013 London Ale yeast
(~670 billion cells [6-7 fresh packs] or an equivalent starter)

Dry hop: 
4 oz UK East Kent Goldings Hops (6.4%) - added to fermenter near end of fermentation, steeped 3 days

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Notes / Process

  • Add 500mg potassium metabisulfite to 20 gallons water to remove chlorine / chloramine (if required).
  • Water treated with brewing salts to our Hoppy flavour profile: Ca=110, Mg=18, Na=16, Cl=50, SO4=275 (Basically Randy Mosher's ideal Pale Ale numbers with slightly less sulfate). For more information on how to adjust your water, refer to our step by step Water Adjustment guide.
  • 1.25 qt/lb mash thickness.
  • Single infusion mash at 150F for 90 mins.
  • Raise to 168F mashout temperature and hold for 10 mins.
  • ~90 min fly sparge with ~5.6-5.8 pH water (measured at mash temperature).
  • Boil for 60 minutes, adding Whirlfloc and hops per schedule. Lid on at flameout, start chilling immediately.
  • Cool the wort quickly to 66F (we use a one-pass convoluted counterflow chiller to quickly lock in hop flavour and aroma) and transfer to fermenter.
  • Aerate or oxygenate the chilled wort to a level of 8-10 ppm dissolved oxygen. For more information refer to our Aerating / Oxygenating Wort guide.
  • Pitch yeast and ferment at 66-68F (wort temperature). We use modified stainless fermenting buckets in wine fridges.
  • Add dry hops once fermentation is nearing completion (i.e. 5 points from final gravity) and raise the temperature to 70-72F. In our case we simply turn off the fermenting fridges and allow the beer to naturally rise to room temperature. Steep hops for 3 days while fermentation finishes. Assume fermentation is done if the gravity does not change over ~3 days.
  • Before packaging you may optionally rack to a brite tank (we use 5 gallon glass carboys) that has been purged with CO2 to avoid oxygen pickup, add 1 tsp of unflavoured gelatin dissolved in a cup of hot distilled water per 5 gallons of beer, and allow to clear for 2-3 days. Gelatin may "round off" some hop flavour / aroma so we tend to skip this step with hop forward beers like this. As well, the less you handle the beer through racking and potentially expose it to oxygen, the better.
  • Package as you would normally. We rack to kegs that have first been purged with CO2, and then carbonate on the low side (around 2 volumes of CO2) to minimize carbonic bite and let the hop and malt flavours shine through. We chill the kegs to near freezing while carbonating at the same time in a 6-keg conditioning fridge. After ~1-2 weeks at serving pressure the kegs will be carbonated and ready to serve. Like all hop forward beers this IPA is best consumed fresh so feel free to raise the CO2 pressure temporarily to 30-40 PSI to carbonate fast over a 24 period, and then turn back down to serving pressure. Some hop bits will have invariably made their way into the keg during transfer so we use a Hop Stopper Keg Edition filter to ensure that hops do not clog the dip tube and/or end up in the glass. Force carbonating at high pressure and using a Hop Stopper filter allows us to serve this beer 24 hours after kegging. There's no need to wait a few days for any hop bits that made their way into the keg to first settle out.

For detailed brewing instructions, see our Brew Day Step by Step guide.


Questions? Visit our English IPA forum thread


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Pictures / Videos

Interested in seeing what we're brewing right now? Follow us on Instagram for pictures and videos of our brewing activities as they happen.

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Time to make a massive starter - check out the manufacturing date on the yeast! (Old stuff, assuming near zero viable yeasties so going to give this one a good 4-5 days). Any guesses to what I’m making? Hint: It’s hoppy, English, 1.060 OG, and not a recipe I’ve published (yet) as I’m still tweaking. Whoever guesses right first wins worldwide infamy. 😉 🍻 . shop.theelectricbrewery.com 👈 New shop with over 150 new products and discounted shipping . #theelectricbrewery #electricbrewery #electricbrewing #homebrewing #homebrewingonly #homebrew #homebrewery #brewing #craftbeer #beer #dohomebrew #homebrewer #nanobrewery #picobrewery #pilotbrewery #homebrewporn #buildingabrewery #brewery #basementbrewery #controlpanel #brewday #yeaststarter

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Checking in on the WY1968 yeast starter spinning away in the basement brewery. The yeast was almost a year old so it took a good 16 hours before there was any signs of life, but as expected it’s fermenting away well now. You can tell by the frothy head and raised temperature. When done the head will drop and the colour will be much lighter. I’ve never had concerns using yeast that was over a year old as long as it was stored cold a starter is made. Making an English IPA this weekend: A classic throwback style and a good reminder of where all these NEIPAs I’m drinking now originated. I think this’ll be my final tweak at the recipe so hope to have it up on the site in a few weeks. Cheers! 🍻 . shop.theelectricbrewery.com 👈 New shop with 150 new products and discounted shipping . #theelectricbrewery #electricbrewery #electricbrewing #homebrewing #homebrewingonly #homebrew #homebrewery #brewing #craftbeer #beer #dohomebrew #homebrewer #nanobrewery #picobrewery #pilotbrewery #homebrewporn #buildingabrewery #brewery #basementbrewery #controlpanel #brewday #yeaststarter

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Brew day done and another Hop Stopper 2.0 success! Nothing left in the kettle other than a couple cups wort that was sponged up by the 11oz of hops. Love it! No need to whirlpool, no need to wait. Locked in those 0 min hop additions by chilling as fast as possible into the fermenters. Link below for more info.🍻 . Visit shop.theelectricbrewery.com 👈 Our new shop with 150 new products and discounted shipping . #theelectricbrewery #electricbrewery #electricbrewing #homebrewing #homebrewingonly #homebrew #homebrewery #brewing #craftbeer #beer #dohomebrew #homebrewer #nanobrewery #picobrewery #pilotbrewery #homebrewporn #buildingabrewery #brewery #basementbrewery #controlpanel #brewday #ipa #englishipa #hopstopper

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