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

Alpha King Pale AleAlpha King Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,249 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4249
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
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Ratings: 4,249 | Reviews: 1,646 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of DeFaz


3.93/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

It's no wonder that many beeradvocaters, if that's a word, admire this beer. It has a nice appearance--typical pale ale color but with very nice lacing and head retention. It's got the hop presence of an IPA but is labeled as an APA. The smell is not outstanding at all, and while the hop profile really is quite nice, the one-dimensional malt character (oversweet caramel) contributes an odd and unappreciated balance to all of the hops. The mouthfeel is the strong suit here--despite all of the super-sweet caramel flavors, it's not sticky and the thickness and carbonation are near spot-on. While I very much enjoyed this brew, I can't say it quite lives up to its hype.

Serving type: growler

01-09-2014 02:30:52 | More by DeFaz
Photo of jimmah120


4.31/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

served out of a growler

this is a very tasty pale ale. hoppy like an IPA, but not typically so. sweet woody malts, pine tree and earth bitterness, dark fruits and toffee syrup. smell is very hoppy, feel is lightly carbonated and milky.

my first 3F beer, and it was excellent

Serving type: growler

04-18-2013 07:13:02 | More by jimmah120
Photo of BradtheGreat7


4.36/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This particular Alpha King review was taken from a brown growler filled at Ashland Beverage Center who had it on tap(I ended up drinking 3 total growlers full lol) though I've had many bottles of this as well. Poured into a nonic style pint. May I add that this specific FFF tap handle art is out of this world. Pure eye candy.

A - deep amber and I mean the deepest of glowing dark amber. Creamy white head sits atop and the ring of creamy lace stays around the entire experience leaving excellent stick to my nonic glass.

S - Big whiffs of fruitiness. A fruitiness that only comes from FFF. Some grapefruit, but smacks of mango and tangerine. Caramel like malt backbone provide the sweetness with a small touch of spice. Great aroma really starts things off in a class manner.

T - flavor is out of this world good. Caramel sweets and a faint toffee. Bready biscuit flavored malt balance nicely with a quick rush of grapefruit and pine like hops. Next is the sweet fruitiness of soft mango and orange with a hint of pineapple. Not as gushing with it as other FFF styles, but still very much present. These are the flavors I crave and FFF always deliver.

M - Medium bodied with a grand thick texture for a pale ale. Smooth and flows brilliantly while coating every inch of the palate with flavor. One of the smoothest 6.6% abv ales you'll ever find.

O - one of my all time favorites. From day one Alpha King was a classic and deserving Halloffamer. It's by far the 2nd best American pale ale ever produced IMO and I'm sure everyone knows who make the #1 APA. Yep, FFF hold both of those 1 and 2 spots in my book. Simply remarkable what they do with Alpha King and Zombie Dust. Both are clear cut winners and both a must try. If you have access to this then you should be enjoying it. It's top shelf good. I just wish we'd get the bottles of this on a regular basis here at home. Ill buy this anytime I see it. A well balanced world class APA that's ridiculously tasty and fulfilling? Indeed. FFF brewing a liquid like Alpha King = pure Class. Pure genius.

Serving type: growler

04-18-2013 04:40:58 | More by BradtheGreat7
Photo of Steasy66


3.85/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Deep amber, nice head retention
S- floral, citrus, hint of malt
T- Citrus hops, hint of malt, bitter finish, would prefer a bit more malty
M- Very undercarbed, probably because this is a taproom growler pour
O- Good beer, worth a try, need to try this from a bottle to really give it a fair shake.

Serving type: growler

03-05-2012 03:12:59 | More by Steasy66
Photo of AleWatcher


3.78/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Growler shared by my non-BA friend Brian... He may as well be a BA, as he makes an appearance at every tasting I host!

Dark copper body. Small light tan head. Kinda weak retention an lacing this time around... But I'll chalk that up to the glassware!

Smells a little chalky, with some caramel malts. A good dose of hops provide some nice grapefruit notes.
The flavor has a good bitterness at the backend.

Body is medium and feels a tad undercarbed.

Overall-- still a good beer, but this is nowhere near as good as my past experiences with this one.

Serving type: growler

12-11-2011 19:42:58 | More by AleWatcher
Photo of Beerdregs


4.88/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked up a growler the night before the XV party last weekend.

A: amber color with a orange hue. Carbonation was muted after a week in the growler but still grew a 1 finger head after an aggressive pour. As I am drinking it leaves a modest lacing down the glass.

S: Smells of piney grapefruit. Don't pick up any malt but don't fault them on this based on their hop forward reputation.

T: resinous citrus hop flavor with a modest but good balance of malt sweetness backing it up. Does not have an overly aggressive back of the tongue bitter.

M: This is a growler so again the carbonation is somewhat muted. I enjoy this though as it makes a somewhat dry beer a bit more slick.

O: This is my favorite pale ale style. This is the brewery that started the midwest craft revolution and for good reason. This is a wonderfully balanced beer and hopefully someday will be a session beer that I can enjoy at my local watering hole here in Minnesota!

Serving type: growler

11-19-2011 21:20:49 | More by Beerdregs
Photo of titosupertramp


4.45/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drinking thanks to BaconIsLife.

A: Dark copper with two fingers of white head. There's a lot of lacing around all sides of the glass.

S: Citrus, pine and sweet caramel malts. Man, this is a great smelling beer.

T: Man, this is a great tasting beer. The citrus and pine are pretty well balanced. The bready, caramel malts put up a decent fight, but are soundly outmatched. Love it.

M: Creamy mouthfeel. Bitter and dry.

O: I like Alpha King a lot. If you're after a hopped up pale ale, this has to be high on your list.

Serving type: growler

10-15-2011 01:02:11 | More by titosupertramp
Photo of deadonhisfeet


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

Beautiful clear dark copper color. Nice fluffy head with good retention. The beer has a punchy nose offering pine, flowers, citrus and ginger(?).

Nice malty backbone well-balanced with loads of hops. The flavors are IPA-like. Some biscuit and cookie, but predominantly citrus. Very very dry with a good biting finish.

It's hard to find anything wrong with this beer, unless you just don't like hops. If I could get this stuff all the time (I can't), it would probably be one of my regular go-to beers. It's a big, bold, flavorful, hoppy-as-heck American pale ale.

Serving type: growler

09-17-2011 17:44:06 | More by deadonhisfeet
Photo of Bendurgin


3.7/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a growler of this as an extra from Sean. Thanks homey, I owe you for this. Poured into a pint glass. Pours amber with a finger of creamy beige head that seems to be lasting nicely with some sticky lace along the collar.

Hints of caramel come through in the aroma with some candied orange in the the finish. Real nice citrus hop aroma in the finish. The flavor mirrors the aroma on this one, a little bit of caramel on the pallet with candied orange and canteloupe rounding it out.

The body is light and the carbonation holds up nicely in the growler. Overall this one is pretty rock solid. Glad to have a growler of this bad boy.

Serving type: growler

09-16-2011 03:22:20 | More by Bendurgin
Photo of andrewinski1

New Hampshire

3.95/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Ben for sharing! Poured into a pint glass. There is a white fluffy head on a copper colored slightly hazy body.

The aroma has nice melon and a bit of hoppy spice.

The tast starts nice dry and with some cucumber and pine. The finish is nice and crisp. There is only a bit of light malt sweetness.

This is very nice and drinkable with good crisp carbonation.

Serving type: growler

09-16-2011 03:22:03 | More by andrewinski1
Photo of NODAK


4.05/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Has a fairly piney aroma....quite hoppy for an APA. Smells quite a bit like a west coast IPA.

Pours a very amber color, clear, with a nice fluffy head.

The immediate taste upfront is of pine tree hoppiness, though it isn't all that powerful as I'd have thought compared to the aroma. In the middle, there's a spicy malt character that doesn't quite match the malt but is definitely there. The bitterness definitely comes through in the end though, as a resiny pervasive bitterness that goes through the finish and lingers a while. More bitter than your standard APA...perhaps on the level of certain IPA's.

I enjoyed it quite a bit, as I was in the mood for a hoppier beer and this definitely fit the bill, especially for style. I was also impressed with how thick this beer was for the style.

Serving type: growler

06-28-2011 02:11:21 | More by NODAK
Photo of strikertown


4.1/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Sean(Sean9689) for sending me the growler. I won his LIF, and it was received in excellent condition.

A-Not so much pale, but more of an light orange coloring with a small head that dissipated quickly to a thin lacing. Looks very enticing.

S-I am not sure if this was a cause of being in a growler for a couple weeks (I didn't drink it right away), but the aroma was faint although pleasant. Floral citrus but just not much of it.

T-This beer tastes more along the lines of an American IPA. Very bitter and citrusy hoppy. Added in was a decent malt backbone that led to some perceived sweetness. It sort of took on a pineapple flavor with the citrus and sweetness mixed together.

M-Has a solid mouthfeel that is not small and not big but rather right in the middle which makes this an easy drinker, IMO.

O-Overall I am still surprised that this is listed as an American Pale because it is similar to other IPAs I've had with decent body and a strong bitterness with citrus hops. This is a beer I could drink a whole lot of and be content.

Thanks again to Sean9689, for an excellent beer. I will definitely be seeking this out when i am in the distro area.

Serving type: growler

04-24-2011 05:19:58 | More by strikertown
Photo of tsatem


4.2/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a growler into a pint glass, thanks to calbertb2

A - Copper with a slight reddish tint and a nice two finger head, which stays around a little while but leaves some lacing as soon as it recedes. Some floaties as well.

S - I get pine off of this first with some citrus behind that. Lots of hops, with malt sweetness supporting it the whole way. Surprising hop presence for a pale ale and not an IPA. Nothing extraordinary, but it smells great - very well balanced.

T - I get more malt here than in the nose, but the hops immediately follow. Very close to the nose otherwise. Again, a little more hoppy than I would expect a pale ale to be. Very well balanced resulting in a kind of sweet, slightly bitter malty finish

M - A little bit flatter than I was expecting from the pour, but generally agreeable. Definitely very smooth with a nice lingering finish that continues to ask for another sip.

D - Extremely drinkable, had no problem finishing most of a growler by myself. The finish leads me to keep drinking more and more. There's nothing too special about it, but when I finish my glass I realize how good it was and pour another. I'd definitely like to get some more of this. One of the better American Pale Ale's I've had, holding its own with a lot of IPA's.

Serving type: growler

01-20-2011 00:43:42 | More by tsatem
Photo of beerman207


4.8/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I LOVE alpha king - period. So...when my local beer store sent out an email that they had it on growler - I certainly added another stop to my grocery list this week.

A: Pours a dark orange with a fluffy head that has almost some hints of tan in it as it just slowly tapers off to a beautiful skim. This is what all pale ales should look like.

S: Wow. Like walking in a forest of pine trees. Citrus could fill the room. Smells sweet as well.

T: Hops up front, malt to mellow out. The perfect combination. Doesn't get much better than this

M: Creamy and easy to swig. A lot more balanced than the bottle - much more mellow.

D: I have a whole growler waiting for me tonight. I believe this will do the trick and the abv is just right.

Serving type: growler

10-31-2010 00:24:53 | More by beerman207
Photo of IdrinkGas


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

A: Amber color with little head and almost no lacing.

S: Mostly grapefruit, but I also pick up tropical fruits and pineapple. Terrific aroma!

T:Tastes almost exactly replicates the smell which is really nice.

M: Smedium body, good carbonation, with a refreshing mouthfeel.

D: Its got a great taste, the ABV isn't too high, and its quite a refreshing beer. Its a great summer type beer that I would consider highly drinkable.

I was unimpressed when I had this from a bottle but in a growler it was GREAT!!

Serving type: growler

08-09-2010 22:18:42 | More by IdrinkGas
Photo of Beerandraiderfan


4.3/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

An all around classic. Had this beer on a trip back through the midwest. Was very surpised to see how well it poured, the hoppy aroma, and the hoppy taste. I guess comparitively, the last almost decade or so since I first had it, beers have become hoppy to the extreme, but this is a classic balanced version that hopheads should still be able to appreciate. Delicious. . .

Plenty of hop character, enough malt. Its nowhere near as pungent as it seemed over a decade ago, but it still holds a special place, and is a legitimate high end pale ale still to this day.

Serving type: growler

12-23-2009 20:59:17 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of hooliganlife


4.22/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a growler. floral hop scents up front. slightly malty with bitter hop finish, more towards the citrus. very floral and slightly sweet. smooth in the mouth with light carbonation, probably because i poured it straight into the glass. very drinkable!

Serving type: growler

09-22-2008 00:11:16 | More by hooliganlife
Photo of GOBLIN


3.7/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Three Floyds Alpha King

F=6 ?

Poured into pint glass

A: Dark amber to brown in color as carbination slowly rises to the top of glass

S: Meh . . . nothin' really

T: Ok, again . . . Nothin' exciting. Not bad but rather boring

M: Medium-sized feel. Good bitter finish

O: Was kinda excited to try my first 3F offering but Alpha King is a boring beer. Just not fun to me. Not sure what the hype is about. I won't be back.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2014 00:27:05 | More by GOBLIN
Photo of BeerandWhiskeyHQ


4.44/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy, Deep Caramel, Amber color, excellent lacing, small-slightly off white head
Not overpowering, subtle, piney hops, slight malt, crisp and clean
Crisp and refreshing hops notes, light malt, citrus, floral with some fresh fruit notes weaving in and out
One of my favorites from 3 Floyds, it often gets overshadowed by Gumball head, but just like I said with Zombie Dust, this is the better pint.


Serving type: bottle

04-09-2014 14:08:21 | More by BeerandWhiskeyHQ
Photo of Murphious


3.5/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I was hoping this would be a better beer, but was slightly disappointed. Slight head and not much if any residual lacing. The aroma was nice, slight citrus but not much else. Flavor was nothing special, a generic IPA. Maybe the batch was old...? Seemed to taste a little ’medicine-y’ at the finish.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2014 03:15:39 | More by Murphious
Photo of mabermud


3.93/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my first time drinking a Three Floyds beer. I am a West Coast/NW IPA type of guy, so this is a first. My first impression was, it's alright. After have a few more drinks I began to appreciate the beer. I will be receiving some other Three Floyds in a couple of trades and am looking forward to tasting some of their other higher rated beers. The difference between the brewing is noticeable. SoCal IPAs are hoppy and NW IPAs are more subdued, but more complex...This APA can fit the mold.

This is a solid beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2014 01:41:12 | More by mabermud
Photo of mlhyatt


4.04/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into tulip glass

Thanks to brewzma for this!

A- a dark red with a very frothy head. Looks almost like a cream.

S- citrus hops with a little but of pine and sweetness to it. Hints of grape as well.

T- a lot of honey taste with hints of citrusy hops and pine. Aftertaste has a strong pine taste like eating grass or flowers , but in a good way.

M- very very thick for a pale ale. Especially on the back end. Slight carbonation but nothing too fizzy in the mouth which is strange for how carbonated it was when i poured it.

O- overall, this is good. Smooth and delicious. The hops aren't over powering and the hops blend really with the malt. Not the best pale ale but very good.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2014 03:56:35 | More by mlhyatt
Photo of VelvetExtract


4.16/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours darker than I would have expected. It's coppery. Head is an off-white growth. It retains quite well, keeping most of its height throughout. Consistent lacing rings.

S-Pine and citrus without a doubt. Grassy as well. Also some caramel malt and bread. Assertively hoppy upon each sniff. More IPA than anything else.

T-Chewy pine and grass with a bunch of candied oranges and grapefruits. Some caramel and bread crust. Straightforward but well built.

M-Bitter and dry. Medium bodied. Drinks quite easily. Aftertaste is moderately long lasting.

O-I have always wanted an Alpha King. Finally got the go-ahead on this one. I found it to be an above average IPA/Pale Ale hybrid but not much more than that.

Serving type: on-tap

04-02-2014 23:54:05 | More by VelvetExtract
Photo of dbrauneis

North Carolina

4.26/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served on-tap at Sergio's World Beers in Louisville, KY

A: Pours a very lightly hazy medium golden honey orange in color with light to moderate amounts of active visible carbonation and significant amounts of copper highlights. The beer has a finger tall dense foamy light beige head that slowly reduces to a thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Strong aromas of citrus/grapefruit zest, citrus/orange rind, and herbal hops over a light aroma of slightly sweet grainy malts.

T: Upfront there are light flavors of slightly sweet grainy malts with a touch of caramel malts as well. That is followed by the just shy of moderate flavors of the hops - citrus/grapefruit zest, citrus/orange rind, and herbal. Light amounts of lingering bitterness are observed.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly sticky and hints of dryness in the finish.

O: This is a wonderful beer that I thoroughly enjoyed and really appreciated trying after looking for it during my travels over the last couple of years. Definitely one I wish I had easier access to and that I could enjoy more readily. Highly recommend and definitely in my top 100 of all time.

Serving type: on-tap

03-31-2014 02:53:24 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of 1000lbgrizzly


3.83/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Hazy almond shell brown, solid stream of bubbles. Off-white head with stellar retention, polka dotted lacing. A little dark for a 'pale ale' but enticing nevertheless. Plus that head....

S: Pine resins and citrus. Clean and clear.

T: Nose plus mild malt sweetness. Tasty.

M: Medium bodied, creamy. Fine carbonation.

O: Really nice, good hop presence and balanced by malts. But if I've gone out of my way enough to find it, there will probably be it's better version (Zombie Dust) available, too.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2014 06:21:55 | More by 1000lbgrizzly
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Alpha King Pale Ale from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
95 out of 100 based on 4,249 ratings.