General Question

bishoff11's avatar

What does the acronym "IPA" stand for in the context of "IPA beer?"

Asked by bishoff11 (25points) January 10th, 2008

I can’t find this info after looking at one trillion IPA beer websites.

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6 Answers

smart1979's avatar

It stands for India Pale Ale.

IPA is a version of Pale Ale, which is beer brewed with pale colored malt, and typically more hops for a sharp, clean bitter taste.

Back in the 18th century, beer brewed in Britain was shipped around in barrels via ocean, but when they starting shipping the barrels to India, the beer would spoil because of the rapid temperature changes, and the distance of the voyage. They discovered that by adding extra hops (a main ingredient in beer known for giving beer a pale complexion) mixed with alcohol could increase the time it would take before the beer would spoil. Therefore, this extra hoppy type of pale ale was nicknamed India Pale Ale due to it being brewed specifically for its voyages to India.

gooch's avatar

That is correct India Pale Ale

bishoff11's avatar

I have consumed India pale ale but I never connected the two – anyway, India pale ale is one type of IPA beer, so “India pale ale is an India pale ale beer? Redundant?

rosedog's avatar

Technically, it’s not an acronym. Acronyms are words rather than just a collection of letters – like SCUBA, NAFTA, NATO, etc vs. abbreviations like ATM, HTML, etc. IPA is an abbreviation, unless people go around saying that they drink `ippa’ beer.

yoursharona's avatar

Well, no – technically IPA is an initialism, and initialisms and acronyms are two different types of abbreviation.

Just saying.

emmettronan's avatar

Actually, you’re both right—to an extent.
According to, “initialism” is:

1) a name or term formed from the initial letters of a group of words and pronounced as a separate word, as NATO for North Atlantic Treaty Organization; an acronym.

2) a set of initials representing a name, organization, or the like, with each letter pronounced separately, as FBI for Federal Bureau of Investigation.


3) the practice of using initials or forming words from initials.

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