Pale Ale Vs. India Pale Ale

Diving into the vault for this one.  Which one do you like?  Do most of us really know the difference? Do most of us know that in both of these styles there are still subcategories?  It’s almost like music, as time goes on they keep adding new styles until it’s all just plain too confusing.  I found the one of the quickest explanations on 2baSnob.

Pale Ale – As in the English Bitters, there are varying styles of paleales. They all share a pronounced hop flavor and aroma with low tomedium maltiness. There is also a good deal of fruity esters. Among the types of pale ales are the English, the India (IPA), and the American. English have a dry character usually due the high sulfate content of the water. The India Pale Ale is usually stronger and hoppier because the higher alcohol content and hop acids acted as a preservative on the long boat journey from England to its colonies in India. The American is usually amber in color and has a bit more maltiness flavor than the other two. When brewing pale ales, fresh, quality hops is a necessity.”

To start off I’m taking 4 beers.  Two Pale Ales and two IPAs.  Both from the popular craft brewers Stone and Smuttynose.  Granted i did drink these beers some months ago so I’m only going to be going on what I wrote down.  I guess something is better than nothing.


The nose comes off with some slight toastyness and some grassy spicy esters.  Tasting it the malt plays a big part.  A light caramel and toffee and a well balance from the hops with some spice and earthiness.  Very drinkable.


Hops come through on the nose at first with strong grapefruit and some pine.  There is a bit of caramel and toffee in the background.  Smelling this you would think it would be really bitter.  Taste gives you much of the same.  However the malt comes in to even out the pine and make it much less bitter than the nose would suggest.


Comes out with caramel and grapefruit with a hint of pine.  The taste follows the nose, however the pine is more prevalent on the tongue.


This IPA is much like the Shoals Pale Ale only stronger.  So the Grapefruit and the pine come through more and there is more caramel malt flavor to balance everything out.

As i’ve once said I love Pale Ale’s and IPA’s.  I like all four of these tending to lead more towards the IPA’s mainly because I like the more assertive flavors.  Wither way I urge you to try these, try everything for that matter.  Get out of your beer comfort box and enjoy.  You never know what you might find.



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