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Alpha King - Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub

Not Rated.
Alpha KingAlpha King

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

5,269 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,269
Reviews: 1,683
rAvg: 4.26
pDev: 9.15%
Wants: 869
Gots: 604 | FT: 22
Brewed by:
Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub visit their website
Indiana, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  6.66% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
A bold yet balanced American Pale Ale with slight caramel sweetness and aggressive citrus hoppiness. This is our flagship beer.

68 IBU

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-23-2000)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,269 | Reviews: 1,683 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Dantes:
Photo of Dantes
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Package: 12 oz. longneck, crowned brown bottle (and draught). No date information or ABV indicated. Typical 3F mascot, much like Alpha Klaus. Blurb describes this as a classic American Pale Ale and as bottle-conditioned.

Cost: $8.99 per 6-pack at Shop-Rite

Presentation: Poured into a Shaker pint glass at ~45º

Appearance: Pours a typical amber, with a slight haze and some particulates in the body. The head is barely off-white, sticky, and medium-loose in texture, resolving down to an opaque skim with little lacing.

Smell: A vibrant, citrus hoppiness erupts from this cascade powerhouse. Definitely has the aroma of an IPA, as it lacks any real malt or biscuit in the nose. Promises a no-holds-barred hop-attack.

Taste: Assaults the palate with a phalanx of hop-warriors marching across the tongue. The hops lean more toward the grapefruit side of the spectrum rather than the piney; but there are some Pine-like notes. As it warms, the malts begin to peek out just a bit, likely scared by the hoppy centurions. Not very complex, but pretty good. Not much else to describe, as this all about the hops. I do seem to remember preferring the draught for its better balance. Finishes crisply and short.

Mouthfeel: A bit heavy on the carbonation and a bit thin on the palate. The limited number of draught samples I’ve had were much better in this respect.

Drinkability: Nice but not amongst the best of its kind. Maybe I’m not enough of a hop-head, but I prefer a little balance, especially in something called a pale ale. Still, I’ll be buying this on occasion, especially since Brutal Bitter has become so expensive.

Backwash: I was amazed and thrilled when this showed up in my very average local store. I didn’t even know it was coming to NJ. I’m also hoping that this appears in draught at my local watering holes. It’s been some time since I’ve had this (I bought a case about 18 months ago at Shangy’s). Somehow, I remember those examples as being more pleasantly drinkable, with better balance, and a fuller flavor. Perhaps these are very fresh. Also, although the Bros. don’t like this, I have to review this as an IPA rather than a Pale Ale. If I were honest, I’d have to rate this low as a Pale Ale, as it really doesn’t deliver those flavors. I noted at the time of my Ithaca Pale Ale review that it couldn’t possibly compare to SN’s Harvest and 3F’s Alpha King and I think that still stands. Still, this is fine beer that I’m happy to have in NJ.

Dantes, Mar 08, 2005
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.93/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The labeling on the six-pack caught my with the crazy looking king on it to begin with,poured a hazy-yellow color with extreme hoppy mown grass smell.Taste was a little piney,with definent hop overtones.Alittle malty in the background but in my opinion not quite balanced enough,a decent beer but maybe a bit overated.

oberon, Feb 13, 2003
Photo of RoyalT
3.58/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – This one poured a nice, clear orangish-brown with a huge, puffy, retentive head.

Smell – The sharp, East Coast hop profile seems to have a bit of pine. This was a welcome surprise. I can pick up some light grain as well but clearly this is a hop-dominated APA.

Taste – The hops came out big at the taste but did not show a lot of depth, leaving this flavor profile a bit unbalanced. The malts were light and overmatched.

Mouthfeel – This one was somewhere between light and medium-bodied and didn’t hold up well to the big hops, but the bitterness was just wonderfully done.

Drinkability – This is a light, easy-drinking APA that I thought could have used a bit more depth.

RoyalT, May 15, 2005
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.6/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Juniper! The second I open this bottle my hot and humid kitchen becomes an alpine mountain side. I love it!

This could be dangerous, however, because sometimes beers with a juniper nose of this magnitude have an overly juniper or gin like taste. This is not something that I tend to enjoy since I am not, never have been, and god willing never will be a gin drinker. This doesn’t necessarily kill a beer for me but it does reduce its drinkability.

Thankfully, the Alpha King delivers a taste of intense hops and chilled citrus instead of juniper berries. I’m not sure how the good folks at Three-Floyds struck this balance, offering an uber bold scent while maintaining a smooth cool taste, but they did.

Also to its benefit, this beer is hyper drinkable. Despite its relative strength, I could polish off a sixer in a sitting and enjoy it.

This just might be the best APA I’ve ever had. If it’s not, it’s darn close.

DaPeculierDane, Sep 20, 2005
Photo of DanGeo
4/5  rDev -6.1%

DanGeo, Jan 07, 2014
Photo of tectactoe
3.94/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy copper color with a small, off-white head that settles pretty quickly and doesn't leave too much lacing behind. Aroma is pretty strong and pungent right from the start; peppery, earthy, and raw, dirty hops come up and smack your nostrils hard. Heavy, heavy malt backdrop on this one, almost so much that it's hard to refer to it as just a "backdrop" - it's nearly as strong as the hops. Just front the nose, this one smells a little stronger than 6.66% ABV, I'm picking up some slightly warm alcohol notes behind everything else.

Alpha King hits the palate and seemingly evaporates in my mouth. Slick and medium bodied with a boat-load of carbonation that starts to fizzle away as soon as it touches my tongue. Pungent grapefruit rind is the first flavor to pop into my head - raw, bittersweet, and certainly unadulterated. Some spicy, herbal, and leafy hops dance around the thick malt underlaying, full of ever-so-slightly toasted caramel malts. White pepper crowds the aftertaste, finishing alongside a light bitterness. A sweet, bready flavor sits heavy on all edges of the mouth - noticeable even minutes after having taken a sip. As strong as the hop punch is, the malt is nearly as dominant in this beer.

A nice tasty concoction of malt and hops, heavy on both and not holding back from much. Doesn't taste much like an APA, rather I think this one is more deserving of a malty IPA title. Either way, it's pretty drinkable and goes down easily. Maybe a tad overrated in my opinion, but good nonetheless.

tectactoe, Feb 10, 2013
Photo of ricke
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Reddish amber color, slightly hazy. A rather big off-white head dissipates quite fast and leaves some chunky lacings.

S: Big hop character - grapefruit, mango, lemon peel. Grass, pine-needles and hop resins. Plenty of malt as well. Some fudge, chocolate and rye bread. Very nice smell.

T: Despite massive hop flavors, the taste seems balanced. Exotic fruits (grapefruits, mango), solid backbone of sweet, caramel-like and nutty malts. Some bready notes. Floral hop flavors, resins and grass. A very fresh hop character overall. Great! gentle note of chocolate. The bitterness in the finish is quite big, but manageable. Lingering notes of juicy malts and more hop resins.

M: Medium body, very crisp, slightly dry in the finish.

D: A quite astonishing APA. Considering the amount of hop aromas and flavors in this one, it could easily go head to head with an IPA. And despite all of the hops, it still feels well balanced.

ricke, May 08, 2009
Photo of TCHopCraver
4.28/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes on 10/12/10. Thanks to TCGoalie for this bottle.

A: AKPA has an amber color when not held to light and a ruby-orange color when held to light. I find it to be a beautiful hue. A light khaki head sits at a finger and a half from a medium pour into a snifter. A full-covering film retains nicely, with scallion-like circles residing in it. Sleek, stringy carbonation bubbles move at a mezzo pace up the glass. The lacing is so good - sticky with fine hieroglyphic patterns all over the glass.

S: Big citrus aromas of orange, grapefruit, and a hint of lime blend with a subdued caramel malt presence and a dry, biscuity yeast scent. A dry, piney hop aroma also emanates from the beer.

T: Those dry, piney hops ride my palate for the length of the sip, supported by grapefruit and an inkling of caramel. The caramel sweetness and an orange flavor linger on my tongue past each swallow, then are trumped by grapefruit and pine hop dryness that has serious staying power. I am pretty astounded by how dry and bitter AK is. It is certainly the the king of PAs in term of bitterness, so much so that it almost tastes like it was aged in oak barrels.

M: In a word: puckering. The feel is medium bodied overall with just about the right carbonation. The bitterness sort of turns the MF into a one-dimensional feel.

D: I will be seeking this out again. This is the second Three Floyds beer that I have imbibed, and I am blown away so far. I knock this down just a notch because the bitterness detracts from session-ability a little bit, which I find to be a key component of a pale ale.

TCHopCraver, Oct 24, 2010
Photo of OhioBobcat
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

OhioBobcat, Jan 08, 2014
Photo of jono0101
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

jono0101, May 18, 2013
Photo of FLASH
3.5/5  rDev -17.8%

FLASH, Jul 06, 2012
Photo of MaxT
4/5  rDev -6.1%

MaxT, Jul 28, 2013
Photo of brownbeer
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

brownbeer, Feb 14, 2014
Photo of JudgeRoughneck
3.4/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Thin head evaporates to surface mottling over dark, brownish-amber beer. Nose is fruity and piney hops. Alpha indeed. This beer is straight up bitter. It may be the bitterest beer I've ever had. Deeply resinous with bigearthy/ cinnemon in finish. Mouthfeel is thick and sticky.

This is a well-made brew but not my style. I'm way more into FFF's Gumballhead, which I consider an IPA also (though it is wheat-based), and showcases Amarillo hop flavor beautifully.

JudgeRoughneck, Jul 20, 2006
Photo of kaimcm
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A: nice hazy orange honeyed body with a bubble dusting on top. soapy white ring around the edge.

S: buried, but dank herbal hop profile, dry grass, plenty of orange/grapefruit and citrus. a dense nose of hops that smells wet and fresh.

T/M: dry and grassy up front, followed by a medium body and a touch of sugar. grapefruit, citrus, soft and stinky cheese. more husky grain and bread. finishes with a lingering dryness and grainy mouthfeel. coating but coarse. carbonation is crisp and lively.

D: very enjoyable. very very enjoyable. 6% is a bit high for such a drinkable and flavorful brew. wish i could get all the time, would be happy to purchase repeatedly. cheers.

thanks jamie.

kaimcm, Aug 13, 2007
Photo of JJH79
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

JJH79, Aug 25, 2013
Photo of Schlais
3.75/5  rDev -12%

Schlais, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of cjn40277
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

cjn40277, Nov 14, 2014
Photo of TheDudeAbides88
3/5  rDev -29.6%

TheDudeAbides88, Jul 13, 2014
Photo of weatherdog
3.73/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass

It pours a amber reddish color with a small off white head, medium lacing and low retention.

The nose is a nice fairly balanced blend of orange, grassy hop aromas and some sweet toffee like malt aromas

The taste is much less balanced and more hop forward as I expect. Grassy hops dominate with just enough orange citrus to make me feel like I'm not chewing on the lawn. The bitterness is fairly harsh and resiny which I do not always appreciate. On the backend some vegetal flavors emerge which isn't so great and not what I usually remember. I know this is a fresh bottle as well.

Mouthfell is ok, some dryness because of the lasting bitterness. Drinkability is good for an APA. Overall I have always enjoyed this beer as something that is sometimes available in places that have a bad selection, and that's about where I'll keep it.

weatherdog, Jan 25, 2012
Photo of tbryan5
4.49/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to griffeyb for sending me this one to try.

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip.

A- 1.5 - 2 finger head that steadily dissipates. Deep, rich copper. Almost red in color. Lots of lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- The light fruit aroma hits up front but is immediately followed by the gorgeous hop aroma that is characteristic of an APA. It is very pleasant.

T- Same as the smell. The sweet fruit is up front followed by the bitter hop characteristics. They mesh really well here though.

M- Light to medium carbonation. It coats the tongue for a second after every sip. Even more so ad it warms slightly.

O- Excellent APA. If I could get this around here I would definitely pick this up again. And as a side note, three floyds bottle artwork really jumps out at you. Truly a great beer...

tbryan5, Apr 18, 2013
Photo of Dabeel
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Dabeel, Jun 04, 2014
Photo of SanFranJake
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

SanFranJake, Oct 03, 2013
Photo of ajkiser12
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%

ajkiser12, Nov 27, 2012
Photo of delaced21
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

delaced21, Mar 03, 2014
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Alpha King from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
95 out of 100 based on 5,269 ratings.