Alpha King - 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

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Alpha KingAlpha King

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1,717 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,717
Hads: 5,820
rAvg: 4.27
pDev: 7.73%
Wants: 918
Gots: 927 | FT: 29
Brewed by:
3 Floyds Brewing Co. visit their website
Indiana, United States

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

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-23-2000

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

68 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,717 | Hads: 5,820
Photo of legalpete19340
4.65/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Poured mahogany with less than a finger of head that disappeared almost immediately.

S: Pineapple, apple cider, pronounced grain and malt.

T: Wow. Lots of pineapple and tropical fruit, but the malt holds it back from being overly sweet. The middle comes and goes with a long bite of bitterness and aspirin. When you expect the end to bite, it doesnt. Its smooth and smacks of rye bread and oily hops.

M: Just the perfect type of medium with a little fizz.

O: Best pale ale of my life. So easy to drink and every sip was enjoyable. This is a legend. (555 characters)

Photo of Gehrig
4.65/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I swung by the stellar Neil St. Piccadilly this morning for some wares, since I hadn't done any ardent sampling in weeks. Great timing on my part. In addition to nabbing what should be some nice winter beers and more, it was a treat to see that they had some Three Floyds selections. I hadn't tried a new pale ale in quite some time, and this was just what the beer doctor ordered.

Alpha King made a magnificent first impression on the eyes and nose. Two pillowy fingers of white froth lay atop a clear burnt orange body, coating the Ommegang glass with decorative lacing--beautiful. I'm not kidding when I say that, after opening Alpha King, I stood at the counter in my kitchen and sniffed the bottle for a full minute. When I judge a beer's aroma, I do so out of the glass, but it starts for me out of the bottle. Holy crap! It's flush with citrus hops, loaded with tangerine and orange, and doesn't fade as it warms. Wow.

It's listed as a pale ale, but is at least as much an IPA given the heavy hop taste, that bitter flavor, that I love. Yet it's also smooth and creamy as a good pale ale. Both styles are represented well, incorporating fruit and hop bitterness, all with some malt heft. Very nice, even with a slight flattening near the end.

This is not to be missed, a fabulous pale ale that I'd contend is more IPA than APA. Regardless, hop lovers shouldn't be disappointed after enjoying this, a genuine treat and the best in what few Three Floyds wares I've had the good fortune to sample. It won't be the last time. Outstanding. (1,544 characters)

Photo of JDK
4.65/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to the Anderson's in Lima, OH for getting this back in stock for me!
Poured a cloudy amber color with a 1 finger head that slowly disappeared.
Nice lacing that clung to the sides for quite a while
Sweet hoppy smell with light citrus
Medium mouthfeel, not overly carbonated and has a nice lingering grapefruit aftertaste.
Very good ale overall, definately one of my favorites! (388 characters)

Photo of mophie
4.65/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ahhh, now this is what an APA is supposed to be. Golden orange color with a thick white head that lasts throughout. Floral aroma and knock-you-on-your-ass grapefruity hoppiness. Delightful. Now I am a huge Sierra Nevada fan, but this definitely tops their pale ale. Nicely done! (278 characters)

Photo of williamherbert
4.66/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Cleary and glassy amber/orange color. Nice but brief foamy white head. Looks like triaminic.

Serious pine-oil hop aroma. Bitter but also flowery sweet. Really perfect. West Coast hops are sweet smelling and inviting. Perfect sweet-bitter balance.

Major blast of bitter, woody hops and a splash of alcohol. A little burn on the way down. Very strong. Hop flavor is sweet at first, then bitter. Slaps with the bitter, but mellows out at the end.

Remains on the tongue after the swallow. Thick and a tiny bit fizzy but goes down smooth. It's a superior beer. (558 characters)

Photo of kmo1030
4.67/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

cloudy dark copper color. a little hard to coax a good head out of this, but i got an adequate one. it quickly dissipates leaving some sticky lacing. ridiculously grapefruity piney hop aroma with a slightly spicy malt character. this taste is as excellent as i could have hoped for. it kicks you in the teeth witha boat load of fruity hops, that are then backed up by a light caramel slightly fruit malt flavor. really achieves a non "hop water" taste that many very hoppy beers have (not that i am not a fan of that sometimes too, but for a beer to achieve greatness it's needs some balance). fizzy medium sticky resinous body that really adds to the experience. a really excellent beer that i'm really glad i had a chance to pick up. (735 characters)

Photo of wailingwench
4.67/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I initially have a problem with anything from Indiana. Syracuse vs. Indiana, 1987, Keith Smart, need I say more? This beer almost made up for those last 3.4 seconds. Randomly tried at The Raven, Oswego, NY.

Foam Factor: Cloudy yellow with some orange highlights. Thick yellow tinted head present throughout.Mesmerized by the dry hops that were floating in it. They captivated me and commanded me to drink more. Of course I complied. A beer that talks to me is a beer worth drinking.

Skunk Factor: Bold and complex. Hops initially overpower. As Alpha warms, floral, citrus, and a hint of something pine chime in.

Tongueland: Tongue was happy. Blunt and bold hop offering at first, but like the aroma, taste became more complex. Finished rich, dense, and well balanced at the end.

Bender: At 7%, whoo hoo. I had the intention of just trying one of these before going with Black Forest for the night. Well, I never made it to the Forest as I detoured staright into Hopland. In addition, I was on my way home to Buffalo. This beer convinced me to get a hotel room and stay over so we could become better friends. (1,121 characters)

Photo of dmarch
4.67/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with an amber color. Grapefruit comes through in the aroma and in the taste as well. It's labeled a pale ale, but I might go as far as to call it an IPA. It's a wonderful beer with a wonderful hop character. I hope I find more of it around here. (251 characters)

Photo of SykDoc
4.67/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at Charlie's while in Munster for DLD '09 and took notes.

Poured into a pint glass. It pours an nice amber color with no visible sediment. An off-white 1 inch head forms and slowly reduces to good lacing.

The aroma is, as expected, primarily grapefruit with nice doses of pine in the background. Definitely hoppy.

The taste was exceptional with significant components of pine, as well as citrusy flavors, primarily grapefruit. And the hops shall set you free.

This was a very smooth pale ale. There is the sensation of a slight spice, which seems to come from the carbonation. It is medium bodied and has a pleasant dryness at the finish.

Overall, this is a very good beer and is well balanced. The flavors complement each other nicely and are definitely highlighted by the carbonation and smoothness. (824 characters)

Photo of beernut7
4.67/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First thing that came to mind: "Holy crap what a great beer!" Huge citrus aroma leading to a refreshing and extremely drinkable, well-bodied ale. The intense spicy citrus hop profile is awesome with an aggressive, but not oppressive, bitter bite. Up on/near the top of the line. (281 characters)

Photo of ColdPoncho
4.67/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Lovely amber body, medium light tan head with exceptional retention.

S - Light grapefruit hops, and a moderately complex profile of bitterness which is hard to place, but it's subtle and really great.

T - Hop forward for sure, bitter grapefruit and the rest, but there is a nice biscuity malt profile along with it. Very good.

M - Very smooth, medium-full body, moderately drying. Great feel, perhaps a bit drier than I'd prefer

O (D) - Excellent beer. It lives up to its reputation. (491 characters)

Photo of dickroop
4.67/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I found this long-sought, much-heralded beer at Bigby's Pour House in Addison, IL. What a find, and not just a bottle but on tap.

Served clear, coppery with puffy 1-finger head. It had outstanding lacing that draped down the sides of the glass, foreshadowing a rich experience.

A powerful nose, with grapefruit rind, some floral aspects, but most of all sawmill pine resin. It was resin so fresh that you could believe you were next to a pine tree in the woods or in the mill.

Hops overwhelm malt flavor - you know it's there, expressed as sweetness, but I was hard pressed to dissect the flavor. Sips produce a clean bitter finish, followed by a grainy, bitter aftertaste.

Carbonation produces a lively mouthfeel that leads the way to enjoyment of hops. Some stickiness.

Drinkability is good, a great flavor treat. (820 characters)

Photo of edmundfitzoil
4.67/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Alpha King poured from a 12 oz. brown bottle into a standard pint glass on the eve of our move to Florida.

The beer poured a very deep, reddish amber with a finger of thick off white head that left fine lacing around the top of the intial pour. The beer's nose was quite nice: big and bigger piney and spicey hops.

How do I catergorize the flavor of this beer? Seems unbelievable that this is an American Pale Ale, but my first thought is how good this spicey, hoppy beer would be with pizza. Upfront spicey hoppiness with a warming, subdued aftertaste. The spiciness wasn't as prevalent with the second sip, which hinted at various citrus juices. Later, a light maltiness barely peeks through. No alcohol to be found anywhere in the beer, and even at 6.0% ABV. I'm thinking about sessioning this one. A creaminess appears further into the glass. Alpha King is a medium bodied, hop bomb that is super drinkable. Believe the hype about this one. (950 characters)

Photo of trevorwideman
4.67/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass, thanks to demcorhip for this as part of a really great trade.

Pours with a 1/4 inch of head, dissipates to a thin lace that hangs out for the duration of the glass. Deep blood orange colour, unfiltered with mild carbonation. As I put the glass to my nose I began to laugh because the nose was everything and more than I expected, this just smells insanely good. Tons of sweet and spicy oily hops, mild citrus, but more floral and fruity. There's a hefty malt backbone there as well. nothing hidden here, just pure flavour that is extremely inviting.

Taste is just wow. It's times like this that I'm most thankful for my sense of taste. Enormous hop presence, grapefruit, orange, licorice, herbs with a lovely light caramel/honey backbone and some toasted malts. Bitterness is pleasant and not overbearing, that said, it's still a hophead beer, the balance definitely leans towards the juicy hops. Sticky and a little oily in the mouth with a dry finish that goes on forever. This is absolutely the hoppiest APA I've ever had, and it's welcome. I'm feeling a very lucky man to be drinking this right now, it's like an elixir to cure all my ills. (1,188 characters)

Photo of brewdoc75
4.67/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tried to find this when I was in Chicago this week, but nobody had it in bottles. I was told there was something wrong with the bottling lines and it would be a few weeks. My last night there I stopped at the Hopleaf and sure enough they had it on tap.

A-Golden-yellow-orange in color. Nice white fluffy head.

S-Beautiful bouquet of hops. Floral is the best description I can give. Plenty of citrus aromas. I even get a slight grassiness, but in a good way. The malts are there too with a faint sweetness.

T-This beer slams you with the glory of the hop, but not in a bitter aspect. The beer is really not that bitter at all, but the hops do really come out. I got a lot of citrus flavors like orange, tangerine and grapefruit. Additionally there was a nice fruity, ester component. The malts added a slightly biscuty-sweet backbone to the hop flavors. Really flavorful for a APA.

M-Crisp and clean. Reasonable carbonation.

D-A really good APA. Really it seems like an IPA in the hoppy flavors, but not the bitterness. It reminds me a lot of Two Hearted Ale in its hop bouquet. Really drinkable, but the price may turn me off a bit (6 bucks a pint). Hopheads must try. (1,175 characters)

Photo of atrus138
4.67/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Sportstime Pizza. Reddish bronze color, with a thin white head that disappeared before too long. Slightly hazy. Moderate lacing. Smell is a wonderful harbinger of what is to come. VERY hoppy, mainly citrus. If I thought that the nose was hoppy, it was nothing compared to how it actually tasted. This bad boy is like a hop bomb. Amazing. The hop flavors actually come at you harder and faster after you swallow, kind of like when a roller coaster goes down the first big hill. Thicker on the mouthfeel than most pale ales, though this is definitely a good thing. With such a low ABV, this is easily sessionable. One of my new favorites, especially when I'm craving hops. (689 characters)

Photo of deereless
4.67/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Medium copper, thin layer of head - 4.00, S: Wonderfully hoppy aromas, hard to believe this is a pale ale and not and IPA, bubble gum, lemon zest - 4.75, T: Grapefruit along with some earthy hops, nicely balanced with a medium malt, slightly on the side of green, extremely flavorful - 5.00, M: 4.50, D: This is one finely crafted beer, solid all around, hopheads will delight in this brew, I would make this part of my regular rotation if it was more readily available - 4.50 (479 characters)

Photo of whendeathsleeps
4.68/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Not sure why I haven't reviewed this yet.

A- Pours a beautiful translucent amber color, two finger billowy head, awesome retention, nice lacing throughout, this beer is straight up beautiful.

S- Juicy orange and grapefruit, pineapple, earthy pine, a little malt sweetness.

T- Grapefruit upfront, more pineapple, caramel sweetness, biscuity malt provides great balance. Every sip flip flops these flavors around, great complexity.

M- Smooth, nice carbonation, excellent. Perfect for the style.

O- Perfect balance, great mouthfeel. Hard to find any faults with this beer. I suggest everyone try it. (601 characters)

Photo of Spider889
4.68/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Live review from the bottle, I bought this six pack on my second trip into Chicago. I was apprehensive about having to carry this and three bombers the 10+ blocks and train transfer back to my friend's apartment, but now I am so happy I forced myself to carry the extra beer. This is one of the truly exceptional Pale Ales out there today.

I love the label art, it's bold, graphic, and impressive with shiny gold inlays on the label. The beer was poured into my Duvel tulip (I am really excited that my Lost Abbey tulip should arrive tomorrow!) The beer is a crystal clear red agate color - with glowing hues of ruby, amber, and caramel. I got a one finger white head that had really good retention, and the lacing is superb for a pale.

The aroma is mostly softer pine - sort of like the difference between a Douglas Fir and a Blue Spruce - both smell like a pine tree, but the spruce is far more aromatic. The softer fir notes are mingled with citrus - red sweet grapefruit with floral aspects similar to clover honey.

The taste is also mostly pine - but the bitterness is well in check, this is a pale ale after all. The hop character might rival an IPA though - as it is bold and complex. Resinous pine sap and crackery malt provide body and sweetness to the hop bitterness.

The mouthfeel is very creamy, though the carbonation is medium to high. Visible bubbles are coming off of the etching on the glass. The finish is slightly slick, but not too bitter, nor does it overstay its welcome.

I found this beer very amiable, and incredibly drinkable. The best Three Floyd's offering I have had to date, and I think I have to include Dark Lord in that statement as well. (1,675 characters)

Photo of Halcyondays
4.68/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz. bottle,

A: Deep cloudy amber, with a thick white head which lasts the glass long.

S: Piney hops mostly, some citrus, but also toffee malts make an appearance, very balanced.

T: The taste is exceptional. This is by far my favorite American Pale Ale, as Tony Kornheiser would say - "That's it, that's the list!" I love Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, but this is its superior. Delicious pink grapefruit coats the tongue, with a perfect malt backbone to hold it together. Fabulous.

M: Chewy bitterness, citrus hops abound, that extra kick of hops at the end adds to its smoothness and helps keep its body together through the finish.

D: The greatest APA that i've tried so far, it's just a shame I can't get it very often, an American craft brewing classic. (768 characters)

Photo of Biggness
4.68/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is another beer my wife brought me home :) This beer pours a dark bronze with a very light head. The smell is not overpowering but what I can catch I get nuts and alcohol. The inital taste is nutty! Beautifully nutty and the it follws with malts. A very nice beer and definatley something I could drink all night if it was more readily available on Long Island (365 characters)

Photo of number1bum
4.69/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to BeerTruth for this one.

Pours a slightly hazy amber with one finger of light beige head. Head diminishes slowly leaving just a thin film of lace. Some blotchy stick hugs the glass as it goes down.

You don't have to get too close to catch a whiff of this one. Awesome hop aromas of citrus, pineapple, pine and some floral notes. Smells like hop nectar and I can't wait to taste it. What else should the smell do other than make you want to drink it? Divine.

Taste is a wonderful journey of complex hop deliciousness. Starts out super fruity with some sweet malt there, as well. Then comes the pine, some more grapefruit and in creeps some hop bitterness. Finishes slightly bitter with the malt backbone coming back into the picture to provide some balance. Taste is definitely dominated by hops, but it's oh so good.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied and a little bit chewy. Carobnation is very subdued, and overall it's very smooth and almost too easy to drink. Awesome. (986 characters)

Photo of willjschmidt
4.69/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: A dark amber hue with some orangish undertones.

S: Lots of glorious floral and piney hops!

T: A damn good IPA (this really is an IPA, don't let the name on the bottle fool you), one of the better ones that I've had. This brew if bursting with delicious hops and has probably the most juicy fruit that I've ever encountered in an IPA. Orange, grapefruit, mango, you name it, it's in here. It's all balanced very well with a solid malt backbone and is finished off with just the right amount of bitterness.

M: Smooth, medium-bodied, and goes down easy.

D: An excellent beer, eminently drinkable and thoroughly enjoyable. This would quite possibly be my go to beer if I happened to live in Three Floyds distribution area. (774 characters)

Photo of Rogorama
4.69/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewpub. Kind of a three floyds forgotten gem here. The flagship beer that we don't have too often, we forget how good it actually is. The hops are balanced absolutely perfect with a slight citrus aftertaste. the 6.66% ABV is also a nice touch from the boys (and girl) over at three floyds. Just a great beer! (323 characters)

Photo of wedge
4.7/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle conditioned APA. Pours hazy orange color - creamy medium dense head recedes into thin bubbly white sheet. Smell is fresh: citrus and fruity hops, light sweet malts. Taste is fantastic: big hops yet very well balanced with sweet malts...nice and smooth. Crisp and rich with a dry hop finish. This is a great IPA (it IS an IPA isn't it?), it should definately please the hop-heads. Very tasty indeed...too bad its so hard to find in the NE (available in RI though). Excellent. (481 characters)

Alpha King from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 1,717 ratings.