Citrusy, resiny, and bitter, the American Imperial IPA is an aggressive beer—and a rich one. This style grew out of the demand for hoppier beers at the start of the American craft beer revolution. As IPAs were brewed with more and more hops, the amount of grain needed to balance out the bitterness increased. The results were IPAs that were so extreme that they took on the moniker Imperial, which was previously reserved for only the biggest stouts. Here's how to brew one of your own.
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With their hopped-up intensity they easily overwhelm most foods and seem harsh and astringent with many dishes that can stand up to them. For my palate they're a bit too bitter and boozy for sweet dishes and add too much fuel to the fire for spicy. But that doesn't mean you should take double IPA out of your pairing toolbox altogether.
When I think of Dan Carey at New Glarus Brewing Company, I picture him working on his lovely, juicy Raspberry Tart and his pretty-darn-perfect Staghorn Oktoberfest. Double IPA just doesn't come to mind. But Dan Carey's latest small-batch Thumbprint series beer isn't kidding around; it's a seriously hoppy double IPA with an ABV of 9%.