Massive Gravity: Best High ABV IPAs


Massive Gravity: Best High ABV IPAs

The Imperial Pale Ale style has been a showcase for many craft brewers’ best work and has proved a perennial bestseller. With modern brewers leaning on laboratory-precise methods to push yeast to its limits, we’re seeing a glut of great IPAs moving into new ABV territory, bringing the bruising hops bitterness we love along with a punishingly high alcohol content to match. Here, we look at six IPAs that press the ABV envelope while bringing it on the taste front.


hopslamBell’s Hopslam Ale, 10% ABV

Hopslam was the first real heavyweight IPA I tasted way back when, and it still holds its own in an increasingly crowded field. Each year’s release is highly anticipated, so you have to act fast to secure yourself a case or two. Your effort will be rewarded with a bright, grapefruity and very drinkable ale with a fresh piney aroma and plenty of florals and fruit courtesy of a heavy dose of Simcoe hops.


Other Half All Green Everything, 10.5% ABVall green

This triple IPA has an intensely resinous and faintly animalic aroma that belies the nice balance of hop-forward bitterness and tropical fruit sweetness on the tongue. It’s a dry beer, and one that handles its higher alcohol content very well, without coming off as overly boozy. Definitely among the best (and most hyped) IPAs coming out of New York.


Maharaja_11_19_10-03Avery The Maharaja, 10.8% ABV

Big and earthy with loads fresh-squeezed orange and amazing champagne-like body, The Maharaja is one of Boulder’s Avery Brewing’s best offerings. It hits up front with a huge and complex bouquet of hops and lingers with a tart bite and alcohol warmth. Exhibiting an excellent balance of vibrant green hoppiness and a dark caramel malts, The Maharaja warrants at least one try.



Madtree Galaxy High, 10.9% ABV

This Cincinnati brewery has really touched on something with Galaxy High. The marriage of Australian Topaz and Galaxy hops gives this beer a potently dank aroma with underlying fruitiness of apricot and orange rind. It’s also got a beautiful and subtly sweet crackery malt base that hold it all together. Definitely worth picking up when you can find it.


Evil Twin Brewing Molotov Cocktail, 13% ABVMolotov_Banner

At this level of alcohol content, this one goes off about like its namesake. The hop flavor is of a much darker timbre than others on the list, having a more vegetal quality matched with candied citrus notes. There’s something really satisfying about the mouthfeel too; it coats the tongue and your glass, and warms you to the core with every sip- almost a meal in itself. With a subtle bed of port-like sweetness overgrown with tangled masses of bitter green hops, Molotov Cocktail is a beer that’s certain to leave an impression.


120 minDogfish Head 120 Minute, 15-20% ABV

The Dogfish Head 120 may not be the tastiest beer on this list, nor is it economically feasible for most to treat this like just another beer, given its cost by the bottle is more than many a six-pack. However, the extreme nature of its gravity- my last bottle clocked in at 18%- demands a certain respect. It’s got a deeply pine-like aroma and an undercurrent of brown sugar that accompany a truly boozy feel. For those that like barleywine but wish they could pump the brakes a bit on the sweetness, this might hit the spot. At all events, its definitely a prime example of the brewer’s art from one of America’s most prominent craft brewers and well deserving of a sampling.


Did we overlook your favorite? Let us know what’s good in the comments below.