1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Alpha King Pale Ale - Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub

Alpha King Pale AleAlpha King Pale Ale

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

4,239 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4239
Reviews: 1646
rAvg: 4.27
pDev: 9.13%


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:
3 Floyd’s flagship beer, Alpha King is a big American pale ale that pours a deep amber with a creamy head. This ale is brewed with Centennial, Cascade, and Warrior hops giving it an intense citrus aroma and a crisp hoppy finish.

68 IBU

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-23-2000)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Ratings: 4,239 | Reviews: 1,646 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of pheurton
pheurton

Pennsylvania

4.28/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

burnt copper with a foamy white head, which recedes yet remains ever present. spectacular lacing. pungent grapefruit aroma. carbonation is a perfect level. silky smooth. lightly sweet fruity malts hold up to a powerful hoppiness that is never too bitter. highly drinkable. this was the beer that got me started years back, and i will always have a special place for it in my heart. love it.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2003 23:46:45 | More by pheurton
Photo of mikeys01
mikeys01

Colorado

4.47/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 12oz bottle from a 6 pack I picked up in Indy a few weeks ago. I've been dying to try some of the 3 Floyds beers and I have not been disappointed in the least. The alpha king pours out a subdued orange/light copper color, topped with a healthy head that's just a bit off white. The carbonation in my Alpha King was very present, not lacking at all as I have heard some say in the past. Aroma is a curious blend of grapefruit citrus and pine resiny hops, with just a bit of sweetness and malt creeping in. Taste is very boldly hoppy, but surprisingly malty as well. Much more balanced than I expected, the bitterness of the hops blends well into a caramely malt sweetness and a bit of piney hop flavor is left of the back of your tongue with the nice crisp finish. Very drinkable IPA, well crafted.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2003 00:40:33 | More by mikeys01
Photo of Gasp100
Gasp100

Delaware

4.6/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow, this really took me by surprise. I was picking up a barrel of Brooklyn Lager for Thanksgiving and I decided to get something for myself to cover the few days before. I grabbed an expensive 6 of Victory Storm King and this because I remembered the Three Floyd's name. Damn, this is great beer. Pale Ale my ass --- maybe because most others Pale in comparison. The appearance was a burnt amber color with a nice deep tan head. lacing throughout the entire pint all the way down. The smell was floral and hoppy with a nice sweetness with a hint of good things to come. Bam, the taste just smacked me in the face. Flowers, a little grassy but very bright with a serious bite. I'm writing this after my second bottle; if I start the review the same sitting (or day) I can tell it's a winner. The mouthfeel was extremely crisp with a slight citrus twang, but definitely not that syrupy taste that sometimes lingers. This lingered on for a good long while, some of the maltiness crept back in on the tale end. I believe this is very drinkable because I've already decided to start my 2 beer a weekday limit tomorrow... This is right up there with Hop Devil (I know, IPA category but similar in character). I will A-B these one of these days.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2003 23:07:38 | More by Gasp100
Photo of winomark
winomark

Missouri

3.98/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a nice deep amber with a substantial light tan head. Crystal clear.

Aroma: Wonderful hop bitterness and citrus. Malt makes a tiny appearance.

Taste: Hoppiness is present throughout with some malty richness filling in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Coating, flavorful and nicely bitter. Lingering, dry finish.

Drinkability: A great beer. Hoppier than most Pale Ale's, but who cares! A staple in my fridge. Seek this one out.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2003 15:42:24 | More by winomark
Photo of Stubbie1
Stubbie1

Connecticut

3.9/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Rust orange is the color of this beer. It is topped off with an OK head that left to spotty lacing.

Aroma is sweet pine. Hints of sticky grapefruit are present and yes and hops are present. There is very little malt to notice in the aroma.

The taste is a touch of malt then the pine twang of the hops joins in to the end. I thought I was drinking an IPA for a moment. There is a hint of alcohol mixed in on the taste. I didn’t think it was too overpowering but I did get a strong hint. There is a bit of dryness on the finish.

I enjoyed this beer, it didn’t kick me out of my shoes but it is good. It has a nice flavor and (IMHO) with a decent punch to it.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2003 16:04:05 | More by Stubbie1
Photo of DrunkMcDermott
DrunkMcDermott

Illinois

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

Enjoyed on tap at Three Floyd's brewery.

Ah, the firstborn child of Nick & Co's "Not Normal" brewing philosophy. It's almost damning with faint praise not to call it an IPA (in which case, it'd rate second to 3F's own Dreadnaught. At our homebrew club meeting at the brewery, it felt as though we were swimming on the US's entire hop production for the year. Tangy citrus hop flavor will give you a buzz long before the alcohol can work its magic. An inspiration to every amateur or pro brewer to "go BIG, or go home!"

Serving type: on-tap

11-17-2003 16:00:33 | More by DrunkMcDermott
Photo of GCBrewingCo
GCBrewingCo

North Carolina

3.93/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The bottle was incredibly full. When it was opened it barely hissed carbonation at all. The head was not very big and fell back pretty quick, but left lacing on the glass. The aroma is citrus and malt. The flavor is malty and not as bitter as I had remembered on past tastings. The mouthfeel is just as expected and the drinkability of this beer is very high.

I have no idea why the bottle was so full and the carbonation so low, but Alpha King is an old favorite and highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2003 22:34:01 | More by GCBrewingCo
Photo of nomad
nomad

Kansas

4.58/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Funny I follow your review, John-boy...

Poured a very murky and very ruddy amber-tan. Showed miniscule carbonation fighting to support a very thin head, some bits of stain, and some sloppy lace.

Smelled of sweet grapefruit and a little pine, but in a big, sticky, and sweet way, as caramel notes tickled about. Tasted of sweet grapefruit and prickly pine with hearty bitter tones, yet was also quite juicy. Had some thin caramelly flavors washing about, but I couldn't help but return to those highly tasty hops of that succulent 3 Floyds style. Simple and tasty, it had creamy notes in the finish and was not as drying as you’d think.

Very thin mouthfeel, and very easy to drink by flavor, alcohol content, and mouthfeel, I could throw this down easy, yet it is good enough to be slowly savored. A toned down little cousin of the vaunted Dreadnaught.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2003 04:06:31 | More by nomad
Photo of GreatPondBrewer
GreatPondBrewer

California

3.9/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just a decent all around pale ale. Deep copper color with an off-white head and a decent amount of lacing. Smell was judiciously garnished with piney hops as if the brewers merely dropped dripping hop cones into the boil. To me it was a somewhat raw unrefined smell that was not balanced exceptionally well by any malts. Taste was very true to style with more hops although a tad on the citrus side in the taste with a cracker like malt taste and a fair bit of alcohol punch. Much more alcoholic than expected for a pale ale so this is not what you would call a session beer, but a nice way to mix things up and kick your taste buds around a bit. The unrefined hops make it something to drink towards the end of the night when you are ready to not taste anything else.

Serving type: on-tap

11-03-2003 04:35:35 | More by GreatPondBrewer
Photo of SheepNutz
SheepNutz

Kentucky

4.1/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a tulip-style glass. It pours a deep bronze color with one finger of head. There is a good amount of lacing left down the sides of the glass. The smell hints at pineapple and grapefruit, with a good dose of hops as well. A very full smell. The taste starts a little sweet and malty, but ends with a fury of hops. This brew reminds me of Burning River, because both are pale ales that have lots of IPA characteristics. The body is fairly thick and strong for a pale ale. The drinkability is really good for a 7.25% brew. A fantastic pale that works anytime!

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2003 06:07:20 | More by SheepNutz
Photo of WVbeergeek
WVbeergeek

Ohio

4.3/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours a copper amber tone with a nice sized off white cream hued head leaves nice appeasing rings of lacing, not bad at all. Aroma: First thing that hits me is the grapefruit like citrus hop tone with a rich malty barley presence this beer is a big pale ale at about 7%abv I think this one smells absolutely wonderful. Taste: Rich balance between the full hop bitterness some pine cone like and earthy tones available to the palate the juicy robust malt backbone also is here teasing the taste buds just so good. Mouthfeel: Medium body not sticky but texture just enough to let the sweet maltiness and hop oils run across the palate with some consistency. Drinkability: Freaking amazin' so damn drinkable perfect with a sixer and a ball game on the tube just one of those beers, I personally love the Dreadnaught but this is so damn good and palatable for a flagship beer they better never touch the recipe.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2003 03:13:03 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of bditty187
bditty187

Nebraska

4.6/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Tawny-golden brown hue, slightly off-white head, about a finger in size. The head lasted for a moment, faded to a tight cap that lasted throughout consumption. Laced very well. Damn lovely nose, hoppy(!)… acidic, bold grapefruit, hints of pine… very distant caramel malt. Powerful. This is the Alpha King of all Pale Ales, the bitterness is not as assertive as the bouquet would indicate; it is might tasty though. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it is bitter. The maltiness plays more that a secondary roll, I’d say the relationship of malt and hops is 40/60. Yes, the hops steal the show, grapefruit rinds, acidic, zesty, vaguely piney. Flowery too. Savor this one, it’s hoppy enjoyment and complexities only seem to grow… better! Medium body with light carbonation helps produce a silky smooth mouthfeel. So easy to drink, you’d never realize how high the abv is. I snagged a six-pack in Des Moines, now I wish I bought more. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2003 19:53:25 | More by bditty187
Photo of Gusler
Gusler

Arizona

4.28/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A stuporous deep copper color as it sets in the glass adorned by a massive and semi-creamy off white head, and after dissipating the resultant lace a velum like sheet conceals the glass perfectly. The hops produce a marvelous floral aroma at the front, sweet malt in the middle, fresh crisp ending to the nose with a semi-sweet malt start and the middle a moderate feel on the taste buds. Finish is lenient in acidity with the hops dynamic in their spiciness, “WOW”, they make your whole sensory system sit up and take notice, dry and long lasting aftertaste. Ranks in my top ten all time favorite “Pale Ale” category, need to get another order in for this magnificent beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2003 16:15:33 | More by Gusler
Photo of yen157
yen157

New Jersey

3.63/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hazy orange-brown body, almost iced tea-like. Topped by a sticky, chunky head. No missing the big, citrusy hop aroma with mild, but noticeable, hints of banana esters. I’m not talking about hefeweizen, but they’re there. Great hop taste and bitterness which is kinda implied by a name like “Alpha King. Usually with a hopping like this one would expect to find a sticky malt body, but remember this is a pale ale not an IPA. The malt provides precarious balance to the big hop flavor and assertive bitterness. The hop flavor is rather complex and changes throughout the mouthfuls. There is a little apple late in the finish. Looking back on this brew, it seems like this is about as close to a big, homebrewed PA as you are going to find out there with the hops, haze, and esters. This is one beer I wish would come to the Garden State.

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2003 00:19:53 | More by yen157
Photo of BierReise
BierReise

Florida

4.1/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle fresh from the brewery. Beautiful copper colored ale with a thick frothy head. Big piney citrusy hoppy aroma which smells like a good amount of Cascade but I could be wrong. None the less, fantasticly hopped. Smooth body with a bitter slightly dry finish. Terrific flavor with nice blend of malts and hops. A bitter pale but fantastic and nearly an IPA in my opinion. Delicate lacing. Wish I had more of this.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2003 22:43:24 | More by BierReise
Photo of cerevisiaephilus
cerevisiaephilus

Michigan

4.75/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

OHHH...me gusta esta cervesa! Its very good. The nose and taste screams Hops, hops hops. Malt malt malt. (In that order) Huge grapefruit bitterness that the malt attempts to balance, but has a hard time doing so, however it has a nice maltiness that isn't lost to the hops. The head was a bit small and the carbonation was low, but I think this was good as an overcarbonated hoppy beer tends to burn ones tongue pretty good.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2003 03:23:02 | More by cerevisiaephilus
Photo of marc77
marc77

California

4.25/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Lightly turbid dark copper hue. Topped by a solid, stiff, cream white head that leaves steadfast Belgian lace. The aroma is comprised of pronounced pink grapefruit with sprinkled with hints of acidic lemon zest. Overshadowed, non descript light lovibond caramel malt tapers the pungency slightly and couples with understated hints of pine to lend a sweet, sappy spruce counterpart to the dominant citrus character. Obviously hop driven and very welcoming aromawise. Brusque snap of simple caramel sweetness initially in flavor is nearly overrun by a barbed, yet agreeable melange of grapefruit flesh and barely burnt biscuit. A suggestion of candied lemon surfaces mid palate along with rounding hints of toffee, and manages to facilitate a lingering, rich, nearly balancing malt presence. A balmy, grassy, dry hop derived component surfaces late and extends the lemony citrus theme in a fresh lemongrass like nature. A bit skimpy in body to support the pervasive hop character, but certainly passably dextrinous in mouthfeel. Finishes with a deceptively light and balanced mix of clean hop bitterness and stately caramel sweetness. Alpha King is a unique and highly enjoyable American brew. Its overall flavor profile precariously teeters between an American pale and a northwest IPA, but manages to find balance. The quintessential sugared grapeftuit impression is there, but never becomes cloying. Reminescent of a Hop Ottin / Liberty Ale hybrid. Superlatively drinkable, and ominously so at that.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2003 01:49:17 | More by marc77
Photo of beerguy101
beerguy101

California

4.38/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Medium gold color. Medium head. Aroma is hoppy and malty. A medium bodied pale ale. Nice citrusy floral hops, balanced by sweet crystal malts. Great malt and hops flavors that are different and distinct, yet still well balanced. Very tasty. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and kind of dry. Aftertaste is slightly bitter. VERY nice beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2003 17:30:18 | More by beerguy101
Photo of Tballz420
Tballz420

Minnesota

4.13/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This one pours out a copper color with a good sized, slightly-less-than-white head on top. Great lace trail. One wiff of this garden-like beer will smack you with hops, with a touch of ginger scent in there. As for the taste it is completly dominated by a kick of hops. Spicy hops. Not much else to say except that if you like hops this is a good one to seek out.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2003 03:16:27 | More by Tballz420
Photo of clvand0
clvand0

Kentucky

2.9/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a dark amber color with a medium head and little lacing on the glass. Tons of floaty stuff in the glass - almost scary how much there is. Lots of hops in the aroma as well as a grassy and citrus smell. The flavor was mostly hops with some grass and citrus tastes thrown in, just like in the aroma. The finish is ... you guessed it, hops. Not a bad beer. Not the easiest drink, but I may have another sometime down the road.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2003 14:46:05 | More by clvand0
Photo of Seumas
Seumas

Ontario (Canada)

4.75/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

That massive whack of hops is what gets you. Yeah the body is really good: heck, 7.3 percent alcohol and alcohol never shows up in the taste profile. It's bitter, but not massively so, and while others have noted some sweetness, I never noticed it. Give me this over Arrogant Bastard any day.

Serving type: on-tap

09-13-2003 04:56:34 | More by Seumas
Photo of UnionMade
UnionMade

Colorado

4.43/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a medium amber color, kind of looks like an english bitter or pale ale. Light misting of head that remains throughout the entire pint. Sticky cobwebby lacework. Very nice.
Aroma is hugely floral and hoppy, massive hops aroma. Tons of aroma hopping with something really high alpha. Citric, a touch grassy, akin to sticking your nose in a bag of raw hop pellets. Very nice, though. Solid malts coming through from behind, providing a slightly toasty sweetness with moderate esters.
Flavor is not as hoppy as i expected, and malts really come through well. Great balance, the likes of which I was not expecting. Solid malts to balance the powerful hopping. Mild fruitiness, with a bit of toasted maltiness. A hint of toffee. Very drinkable, with a smooth carbonation mingling with the agressive rough hop bitterness.
I'm impressed with this beer, as much as i thought i wasn't going to like it.

Serving type: bottle

08-29-2003 18:24:33 | More by UnionMade
Photo of steelreign
steelreign

New York

4.4/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hop heads rejoice! This one will dominate you and make you beg for more of those delicious flowering cones! Hops, hops and more hops are in the aroma, predominate in the taste, and are present in the finish. Not nearly as bitter as you may expect. Very smooth and luxurious mouthfeel - I love this beer! I dare say on par with Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale and then some! Recommended!

Serving type: bottle

08-28-2003 02:53:01 | More by steelreign
Photo of Jarod
Jarod

Pennsylvania

4.33/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Non dated bottle

This beer poured amber/orange colored that was clear and well carbonated. It created a creamy beige colored foam that lasted the whole way to the last sip and more. The consistency of the foam was watery (as it moved fairly well), thick, sticky and creamy. It created a sheet like lace on the sides to about ½ way down the glass then slowly broke into a spotted lace to the bottom of the glass. The aromas were dominated by hops, fresh (just harvested), then aromas of grass, citrus (grapefruit), pine trees and sap, and some malt soon began to mix in to the nose of the beer. The flavors that rolled over my tongue were also dominated by hops. Tastes of dry hops, fresh hops, pine needles, floral hops, fresh grass, citrus fruit (grapefruit), and some malt at the end. The aftertaste was mainly of hops, some citrus, some fresh, with malt tones, but light. Semi dry appeal and not overly bitter. The body was on the light to medium side. I did notice that as I came to the finish and the beer was allowed to warm, it became thicker and the malt flavors seemed to become more pronounced. This is a really good Pale Ale, good flavors, and very pleasing to the senses. A really good example of the style it is brewed in. A must get.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2003 19:37:14 | More by Jarod
Photo of ngandhi
ngandhi

Illinois

3.98/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

AK is an ultimate pale ale. Hops completely dominate this beer, but the wonderful brewmasters at Three Floyds have managed to create a flavor unlike anything I'd previously encountered. Usually, AK is too much beer for me. It's very busy with strong notes of grapefruit. Some mango on the nose. On tap, I notice an even greater complexity of flavor with mango on the nose and palate. Both tap and bottle have a medium body (a little fuller than most pale ales) that I guess is supported by some (otherwise unnoticeable) presence of malt.

The bottled version is a bit drier than the tap (not that that's a bad thing). In fact, it reminds me of the saison style of beer. I wish I had some Fantome saison to with me so I could be more accurate in my comparison, but Alpha King does call on a lot of that dry saison flavor. Maybe a little Dogfish head too.

The finish is long, especially on the back of the tongue.

If you give it time and try to work your nose and tongue through it, this is a commendable, complex brew. For everyday drinking, I would prefer Gumball Head Wheat or Robert the Bruce Scottish.

Relax, relax.
ng

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2003 04:14:16 | More by ngandhi
Alpha King Pale Ale from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
95 out of 100 based on 4,239 ratings.