Why do IPAs Taste So Bad? (13 Reasons Beer Drinkers Hate Them)

The IPA is the most popular craft beer style in America, but some people can’t stand them. What makes IPAs taste so bad to some beer drinkers?

Some people think IPA beer tastes bad because of its bitterness. Others may dislike IPAs because they’re either too heavy, too fruity, or too expensive. Others may not like them because they think all IPAs taste the same, or that they don’t like the taste of beer in general. Still others may steer clear because IPAs specifically lead to hangovers.

Keep reading to learn the thirteen reasons people – even regular beer drinkers – might not enjoy IPAs.

13 reasons why people do not like IPA beer

Among the loyal IPA fanatics and enthusiasts are beer drinkers that detest the style with every fiber in their being. Their reasons are legitimate, but they might not dislike IPAs after all. Some of them might need to try an IPA in a different environment or style.

Why do people dislike IPAs? Are they just being unoptimistic or close-minded?

Here are thirteen reasons people don’t like IPAs:

  1. They don’t taste like beer
  2. They’re heavy and you can’t drink too many at once
  3. You had a poorly made IPA
  4. They’re very bitter
  5. The first IPA you tried was expired
  6. They give you a hangover
  7. You don’t like hops
  8. You’re allergic or sensitive to hop flowers/oils
  9. You prefer light beers
  10. They’re too fruity
  11.  You tried a sub-style you didn’t like
  12. They’re too expensive
  13. They all taste the same

Some people just don’t like IPAs, and that’s okay. There are plenty of reasons to not like them just as there are reasons to love them. It seems as if beer drinkers either love the hop-forward style or hate it.

Keep reading to explore the various reasons people don’t like IPAs.

They don’t taste like beer

It’s common for some beer drinkers to try their first IPA and claim that it “doesn’t taste like beer.”

It’s true that IPAs are vastly different than “traditional” beer styles, but to say they don’t taste like beer is a mischaracterization. Since IPAs are a favorite among a large sum of beer drinkers, perhaps it would be wiser to instead claim that IPAs taste different from other beer styles.

If this is you: Try picking up a Pale Ale instead of an IPA to start – still lots of hop flavor but not as over the top!

They’re heavy and you can’t drink too many at once

IPAs can weigh heavily in your stomach after you drink them. Understandably so; they’re full-bodied ales with complex flavor and aroma profiles and hop oils.

This can cause that bloated feeling you get from drinking a lot of beer. At the same time, however, IPAs are meant to be enjoyed in their entirety. The style offers so much to our senses that chugging down an IPA is not only difficult but also not the point. 

If this is you: Look for a Session IPA which is the same basic style and profile as an IPA, just a bit smaller. Less alcohol, fewer calories, and less filling!

You had a poorly made IPA

If you had a bad IPA the first time, it’s completely reasonable to say that you don’t like them.

Sometimes, breweries are forced to keep up with IPA trends and, in turn, produce a lackluster IPA. If the first IPA you try is a bad one, you may find yourself wary to pick up another one.

If this is you: Try more IPAs from different breweries or do some research to discover examples of ones that others enjoy.

They’re very bitter

Bitterness can be a huge turn-off for beer drinkers. And IPAs have a lot of it.

Some people do not like bitter flavors, and others are not genetically equipped to handle bitterness. It’s likely that neither of these groups will enjoy bitter IPAs. 

If this is you: There are sub-styles of IPAs that are less bitter, such as the New England or English IPAs – consider trying one of these types.

The first IPA you tried was expired

It’s one thing to try a bad IPA on your first go-around. It’s another to try one that’s expired.

Even the best beers in this style can taste bad if they’re old, improperly managed, or stored. 

If this is you: Freshness matters in IPAs, so try one that’s relatively new in its lifespan or isn’t six months off the canning line or older.

They give you a hangover

When drunk in excess, all alcohol can lead to a hangover, but many people report that IPAs are more likely culprits than other types of beer.

On average, IPAs have higher levels of alcohol than other beer styles as well as a greater concentration of hop oils. Some styles have additional yeast and gluten that may trigger a reaction in drinkers.

If this is you: Look for a Session IPA which is the same basic style and profile as an IPA, just a bit smaller.

Want to know more about why IPAs might lead to headaches or hangovers? Check out this article.

You don’t like hops

If you don’t like IPAs, there’s a good chance it’s because of the flavor.

If you don’t like the flavor of an IPA, it’s probably because you don’t like hops. While other ingredients – malt, yeast, water profile, and other additions like fruit – are contributors, hops play the most significant role in the taste of IPAs. These flowers and their oils make up almost all of the flavor and aroma of IPAs and could be the reason you don’t like how they taste.

If this is you: Substyles of IPA all have different flavor profiles. If you don’t like one – try another! American IPAs, New England IPAs, English IPAs, and more!

You’re allergic or sensitive to hop flowers/oils

Plant allergies are common, and hops can cause allergic reactions in some beer drinkers.

If you like hops and the taste of IPAs but can’t stomach them, you might be sensitive to the hop flower or its oils. If you notice blotchy skin, a swollen or itchy throat, or a swollen tongue, you might be allergic to hops.

If this is you: Beer might just not be your thing – try drinking wine or cider instead. (Some places even brew hops-less beers, but they’re harder to find.)

You prefer light beers

If you step into the realm of IPAs after only drinking light beers, there’s a fair chance you’ll be overwhelmed by the complex and potent flavors that come along with the beer style.

Mass-produced light lagers emphasize drinkability with light flavors and low ABV. These characteristics are the opposite of an IPA’s and can deter those that haven’t experienced a wide variety of beer styles.

If this is you: Try picking up a Pale Ale instead of an IPA to start – still lots of hop flavor but not as over the top!

They’re too fruity

If you’ve ever tried an IPA and said to yourself, “this taste like pineapple juice, not beer,” then you might be drinking the wrong style of IPA.

New England IPAs are less bitter with strong citrus or tropical notes. These characteristics could drive people away if they’re looking for a strong beer.

If this is you: If you are a fan of danker flavors and more bitterness, try an American or West Coast IPA instead.

You tried a sub-style you didn’t like

As we mentioned, some sub-styles of IPA aren’t for everyone. English and Juicy IPAs are sweet and taste less hoppy and bitter than American IPAs.

The trick to finding the perfect IPA is narrowing down the style that best appeals to your taste buds and bitterness tolerance. 

If this is you: If you tried a style you didn’t like, don’t count out IPAs just yet; try a different variation.

They’re too expensive

One of the biggest claims to IPA infamy (and other craft beer styles, too) is that they’re too expensive.

Compared to mass-market brews, IPAs require more attention to detail, a diverse pool of ingredients, and, sometimes, more time to produce. These factors can drive up the price of IPAs and keep people from enjoying them. 

If this is you: Go to a bar and order a beer you know you like and ask for a sample of an IPA that you think you might like. This way, you can only buy the ones you know you’ll love!

They all taste the same

If you’ve only had two or three IPAs, it’s easy to say that they all taste the same. There are subtle and not-so-subtle differences in each one.

The sub-styles of IPAs taste wildly different from each other. American IPAs are clean and crisp with loads of bitterness and hop flavor. Hazy or Juicy IPAs are more aromatic and fruity, with less bitterness and a thicker body. 

If this is you: If you think all IPAs taste the same, try different variations of the style. You’re bound to find something exciting!