IPA – U.S. Open Beer Championship Categories

Category 9: English India Pale Ale/IPA
Color: Gold to copper
Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium malt flavor should be present
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is medium to high, and often flowery. Hops from a variety of origins may be used to contribute to a high hopping rate. Earthy and herbal English-variety hop character should be perceived, but may result from the skillful use of hops of other origin.
Perceived Bitterness: Medium to high
Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery flavors are moderate to very high. Traditional interpretations are characterized by medium to medium-high alcohol content. The use of water with high mineral content results in a crisp, dry beer with a subtle and balanced character of sulfur compounds. Diacetyl can be absent or may be perceived at very low levels.
Body: Medium
Additional notes: Non-English hops may be used for bitterness or for approximating traditional English hop character. The use of water with high mineral content may result in a crisp, dry beer rather than a malt-accentuated version.
Alcohol by Volume: 5.10% – 7.10%
IBU: 35-63
Color SRM: 6-14

Category 10: Imperial India Pale Ale
Color: Gold to copper
Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. Haze created by dry hopping is allowable at any temperature.
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to high
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is very high. Hop character should be fresh and evident, derived from any variety of hops. Hop flavor should not be harsh.
Perceived Bitterness: Very high but not harsh
Fermentation Characteristics: Alcohol content is medium-high to high and evident. Fruity-estery aroma and flavor is medium to high. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
Body: Medium to full
Additional notes: This style of beer should exhibit the fresh character of hops. Oxidized or aged character should not be present.
Alcohol by Volume: 7.30% – 10.60%
IBU: 45+
Color SRM: 5-13

Category 11: Triple IPA
Color: Gold to copper
Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. Haze created by dry hopping is allowable at any temperature.
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to high
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is very high. Hop character should be fresh and evident, derived from any variety of hops. Hop flavor should not be harsh.
Perceived Bitterness: Very high but not harsh
Fermentation Characteristics: Alcohol content is medium-high to high and evident. Fruity-estery aroma and flavor is medium to high. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
Body: Medium to full
Additional notes: This style of beer should exhibit the fresh character of hops. Oxidized or aged character should not be present.
Alcohol by Volume: 9.5-18%
IBU: 65+
Color SRM: 5-13

Category 12: American India Pale Ale/IPA
Color: Gold to copper
Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. Hop haze is allowable at any temperature.
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low-medium to medium maltiness is present in aroma and flavor
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is high, exhibiting floral, fruity (berry, tropical, stone fruit and other), sulfur/diesel-like, onion-garlic-catty, citrusy, piney or resinous character that was originally associated with American-variety hops. Hops with these attributes now also originate from countries other than the USA.
Perceived Bitterness: Medium-high to very high
Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery aroma and flavor may be low to high. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
Body: Medium-low to medium
Additional notes: The use of water with high mineral content may result in a crisp, dry beer rather than a malt-accentuated version. Sugar adjuncts may be used to enhance body and balance. Hops of varied origins may be used for bitterness or for approximating traditional American character.
Alcohol by Volume: 6.30% – 7.60%
IBU: 50-70
Color SRM: 6-14

Category 13: Light IPA(under 120 Calories) 

Category 14: Brut IPA
Brut IPA is pale in color and has abone-dry body with fruity hop aromas. Think of a sparkling glass of dry Champagne but with fruit-forward hop aromas.

Category 15: Fruit IPA
Should be judged on the balance of the sweetness or tartness of the fruit and hops and malt of the IPA.

Category 16: West Coast IPA
West Coast IPAs are aggressively hop forward with a lighter malt body. Hop aroma and bitterness, often lingering and palate crushing are the signs of the more extreme versions of this style. Use the ‘C’ hops in abundance.
Alcohol by Volume: 5.0% – 7.0% beyond this would be considered a double IPA
IBU: 60 +++
Color SRM: 3 – 10

Category 17: New Zealand IPA
New Zealand IPAs can only use  New Zealand hops. Must list the hop or hops used in this IPA
Alcohol by Volume: 6.00% – 7.60%
IBU: 50-75
Color SRM: 6-14

Category 18: New England/Juicy/Hazy IPA
Color: Straw to deep gold
Clarity: Low to very high degree of cloudiness is typical of these beers. Starch, yeast, hop, protein and/or other compounds contribute to a wide range of hazy appearance within this category.
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to low-medium malt aroma and flavor may be present
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium-high to very high hop aroma and flavor are present, with attributes typical of hops from any origin
Perceived Bitterness: Medium-low to medium
Fermentation Characteristics: Low to medium fruity-estery aroma and flavor may be present, but are usually overwhelmed by hop fruitiness. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
Body: Medium-low to medium-high. Perceived silky or full mouthfeel may contribute to overall flavor profile.
Additional notes: Grist may include a small amount of oat, wheat or other adjuncts to promote haziness. Descriptors such as “juicy” are often used to describe the taste and aroma hop-derived attributes present in these beers.
Alcohol by Volume: 5.0% – 7.4%
IBU: 35 – 75
Color SRM: 4-7

Category 19: New England/Juicy/Hazy DIPA
New England IPAs are more balanced with a sweet maltiness and richer colour showcasing a more subtle hop exhibiting tropical fruit and citrusy juicyness from hop varieties like Galaxy, Mosaic and Citra leading to a sweeter character. Generally cloudy and with subtle yeast flavours coming through unlike in other IPA style; they are smoother even at higher ibu levels as they are late or dry additions balanced against caramel malts and mouthfeel from yeasts and proteins.
Alcohol by Volume: 7.5-11.0%
IBU: 50-100
Color SRM: 4-7

Category 20:  Specialty IPA
So many brewers like to put their on touches to IPAs. Thus, these ales do not fit into the traditional India pale ale style according to the definition from the Association of Brewers. The “Out of Bounds IPA” category will let the judges use just their taste buds to determine which ale gets the gold.