Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Alpha King - 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Alpha KingAlpha King

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,749 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,749
Hads: 5,988
Avg: 4.26
pDev: 16.67%
Wants: 935
Gots: 1,069 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Alpha King Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,749 | Hads: 5,988
Photo of Mora2000
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Pellinore1 for sending me this bottle. I had been wanting to try this for quite some time.

The beer pours an amber color with a white head. The aroma is heavy on the citrus hops with some bready malt and sugar notes.

The flavor is bread and oranges. The orange is both juicy and pithy and is very well done. Low bitterness.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

 380 characters

Photo of woodychandler
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

LesleyH recently included this as an extra (!) in a box of CANs he was trading to me and my mouth flew open when I saw it. I have NO idea why I never reviewed it until now, but I am grateful for the opportunity.

From the bottle: "Alpha King is an American Pale Ale with a bold citrus hop character. We brew all our beers for our own demanding tastes. If you're unwilling to compromise on your beer, we urge you to try it."

My pour was as aggressive as Nick would have wanted, I am sure. I ended up with a finger-and-a-half of rocky tawny head with retention like a bad guest: it would not go away. Color was a deep coppery-amber with NE-quality clarity. Now, before I say, "BUPGOO!", imagine putting this in kids' hands ... How about a box of matches to go with? Even after all of that thinking and typing, the head was still hanging in, leaving behind the kind of lacing that will require a jackhammer to remove later. Nose had the kind of upfront hops intensity that seared my nostrils! Really, it was big on piney hops and underlain with caramel malt sweetness. This should be an air freshener, especially for my classroom. Mouthfeel was creamy, exploding with hops initially and then letting the malt get a chance. I amend my initial take on the mouthfeel to "oily". Man, they squeezed those hops for all that they were worth! Once more, I began to hear my Hops Monkey screeching for his Jones. F**k! I rue the day Victory Hop Devil touched my lips and sent me down the road to Perdition. I am a Hops Junkie, nay, a Hops Fiend and every time I wean myself off the hops, a beer comes along to pull me back in. Finish had the hops that I crave and although the malt tried to assert itself, I was focused on dem hops, baby. S**t, what can I hock in this dump and get some scratch? I need to be on the road, like tomorrow if not sooner, so I can score some more of this! Hey, man, is it normal to itch like this? My skin is crawlin'. Dig, my neighbor across the way deals in hops, so maybe I can cop a taste to hold me over. He lets me buy a pellet at a time, just to dissolve under my tongue. Yo, lemme get a hit of some Columbus or some Amarillo, bro. He's down, but I gotta hit the source (again). This tongue-poppin' bottle-swiilin' nonsense ain't makin' it. I gotta get a hit offa the tap, baby!

 2,302 characters

Photo of smakawhat
4.41/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap into a sampler 4 oz. taster at Pizza Paradiso Dupont. Way overdue for reviewing this one.

A good basic amber copper, with light light tan to off white color and leaving a solid collar. Good lacing on this drink while finishing, and fairly crystal clear very nice.

Aroma jumps out. Wonderful juicy orange with a nice sweetness. No hop bitterness noticeable, with a little white grass. It's very pleasant and inviting.

Palate is rich and full on first sip. Wonderful mix of mild wood hop and orange and tangerine citrus. Light hints of grapefruit with a spritzy hop feel and character. Palate is juicy matching the hinted bouquet.

Juicy. Full. Stupid easy to drink, and full of flavor. A great touch of juice and spicy finish quality. This is either way better on tap, or I had an old bottle cause this is nothing like I remember it.

Old review - bottle (4)(4)(3.5)(4)(3) ---

Poured into a pint glass resembling a really nice golden/brown color body that is clear. Cream off/white head with fairly tight bubbles and some minor visible carbonation. Real good head retention.

Standard bouquet but a good one. Simple citrus grapefruit with a sweetness and hop aroma. Very nice.

Upon drinking first comes a very hoppy front more in the standard of an American IPA, with a good finish. I keep forgetting this is suppose to be a pale ale but it sure doesn't feel like one. This is quite an okay drink but nothing here I would desperately want to have for an APA.

 1,479 characters

Photo of Billolick
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, with no freshness dating. Pours dark auburn, cloudy and with a few chunks swirling around. Rich, creamy, tiny bubble head and leaving quality lacing. nose is richly, malty and resiny hop filled. Full bodied nectar. Citrus hops explode on the palate. Deeply flavorful. High quality brew,seek out and enjoy. Cheers!

 330 characters

Photo of Gavage
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear amber / orange in color with a 1" head that produced some mild lacing. The aroma is very hoppy, which gets your tastebuds ready for the initial taste. The hops are all over this one, as malt and fruity tones balance this out well. This really leans towards the IPA scale with bitterness and bite, but doesn't go overboard.

The mouthfeel was smooth and the finish was too. The bitterness and fruitiness lasted a short while on the tongue. This was a medium bodied brew that had nice carbonation levels. Very drinkable and could easily be a session brew for any hophead.

 578 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.95/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance - Deep golden amber body that looks darker than it really is. That sounds strange, but when it pours it looks amber, but held up to the light, it's closer to a golden body. Nice white head, nice lacing. I expected this to be paler.

Smell - Floral and pine hops. Some citrus. Biscuit malts and some sweetness back it up. Interesting hop profile, but not over the top.

Taste - Hop flavor of predominantly pine up front, but it fades quickly to a toasty and slightly sweet malt base. The finish goes back to the pine hops and a slight earthiness. Not too bitter in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Heavy for an APA. Medium carbonation and slick on the tongue. The flavors hang around, but it feels just a bit sluggish.

Overall - Nice flavors, none over the top. Complex hop profile, even if it isn't in-your-face. Not really what I expected from such a high rated APA. In some ways, it's good that a beer as balanced as this is so highly rated on BA. But I'm not looking for balanced. As an American craft beer drinker, I want extreme everything.

 1,090 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.07/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an amber color, quite clear except for a few large floaties. Forms a thin beige head that does not stick around too long. An immediate aroma of American hops wafts from my glass. Notes of lychee, grapefruit & other citrus fruits are in the nose, it smells slightly sweet & nectar like, there is a hint of caramel malt here as well. Ooh, quite bitter; this beer finishes with a drying intense bitterness. Overall this beer is only slightly sweet, it has a light body & is focused entirely on the hop component. The hops are over the top, but perhaps it is missing some hop flavor. There is lots of bitterness, but it feels like it is missing some balancing hop nectar flavor. Underlying the hop attack there seems to be some nuttiness, as well as some caramel notes. This beer is all about the hop attack, not much malt here, so if you don't like hops stay away. Luckily I do like hops so this beer is just fine. Perhaps a bit too unbalanced for an everyday drinking beer, but every once in a while is nice.

 1,012 characters

Photo of DoubleJ
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

We're back to continue the Third Unorganized Invitational. Eight crazy nights in eight crazy beers, and Alpha King is #6 in the lineup. Is this the alpha of pale ales? On to the beer:

Pours rich copper into a pint glass, good clarity in the body, topped off by a creamy, one cm thick head which drops to a thin lacing on top. At first, the aroma is dominated by fresh hops. Eventually, it evens up to a mix of tropical fruit juice, caramel, bread, and some juicy hop leftovers.

The first thing I notice is the light mouthfeel when I was expecting something a little heavier. Maybe my judgement is clouded from drinking so many high ABV brews recently. At least there's no annoying carbonation. That's okay though, as long as it tastes good. Certainly more hop dominate, though not terribly unbalanced. The hops are herbal, juicy, citrusy, and resiny in this brew. Subtle biscuity notes pop up from time to time. This could pass as an IPA.

My first Three Floyds beer is a good one. But is this going to be enough to take the title of being the best in the T.U.I.? Only two more beers left, we'll resume tomorrow night.

 1,122 characters

Photo of Mebuzzard
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper, hazy, amberish body. Head is huge, good retention.
Smell erupts with pine and hints of citrus. Smells like an IPA. Some toffee and malt can be detected as well.
Taste is a very crisp pine/citrus PA. The IPA smell is counteracted by the presence of malt and some rich yeast flavors just under the surface. Very delicate.
Feels a bit thin for an IPA, which is why this is a PA. Good drinking. Wish I had another (cool label)

 441 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Received in trade from phisigben, thanks for the opportunity.
Pours a deep clear copper color with a big fluffy white head that slowly dissipates to a wisp of foam on top. Smells of citrus, lots and lots of grapefruit fresh from the produce isle. a bit of toffee, bread and a hint of caramel malt are buried deep underneath. Taste is citrus and resinous with bits of bread and malt barely breaking onto the scene. Long lingering hop bite in the finish is there but never harsh. Medium to light body with a moderate level of carbonation with a smooth resinous mouthfeel. This is a very nice beer, but to call this a pale ale is a bit of a stretch. I would drink these a lot more often if they were more available in my area.

 724 characters

Photo of tempest
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep orange and garnet color. White lacing but no real head retention. Smells of sweet fruity malts with a touch of alcohol as it warms. Plain bitter taste with rich esters and malts. Bit a of caramel. Just the right carbonation and body here. Pretty tasty and easy drinking. Nicely balanced

I am, however, a little confused with this beer. It tastes very similar to Pride and Joy Mild and I wonder if it wasn't mislabeled. I bought a 6'er of P&J and found 2 Alpha King bottles in it. I figured someone had just pulled a switcharoo with a couple bottles from an Alpha King 6'er. Whatever, this is good beer.

 610 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
4.68/5  rDev +9.9%
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 yourefragile
4.43/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle from a fresh six pack acquired in a trade, poured into a nonic.

Haven't had this in over two years, or whenever I was last able to buy this in PA. I remembered loving this so I'm excited to see how my memory holds up. Pours a clear copper color with a massive rocky off white head that has great retention and impressive strings of clumpy lacing. Aroma is very rich, full of bready malt and grapefruit hops like an IPA, impressive balance. Hop bitterness grabs you from the beginning, unusual for an APA but is supported by a strong biscuit malt backbone and finishes slightly sweeter with smooth citrus hops. Medium thick body with moderate carbonation and a smooth dry finish result in a very hoppy, drinkable APA. Not quite as impressive as I remember, but still the class of APAs.

 799 characters

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.06/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish amber hue with a respectable foam topping. Lacework going down the glass in an epic way leaving foam rings like clumps of styrofoam on the glass.

Aroma bright and hoppy with some floral, fruity elements, a bit of caramel and ale yeast fruit. Fresh and hoppy smelling this bottle is under a month old.

The taste has fresh hops, with pine, citrus, herb, and melon elements. A bit of fuggles type action perhaps with the tea like and herbal element. Floral, nicely bitter. Tasty. Well carbonated ale, not overly bitter but certainly fooled some blind taste subjects into thinking it was a west coast IPA. It is tasty, and has good bones, which is to say the recipe is quite good. If the price was right and I could get this all day, I would.

 764 characters

Photo of liamt07
4.6/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Wow. Got my hands on this from AJacob81, cheers dude, I've been waiting to give this a shot for quite some time.

Poured from a bottle into a tulip pint glass. My first ever 3F beer, and boy oh boy, was I impressed. Pours a deep orange/ruby red, with a very thin layer of head. Disappeared pretty quick to leave almost no head and minimal lacing; the bottle wasn't dated, no idea how fresh this is. Smells of citrus hops right off the bat, pretty grapefruity I'd say. Taste is right there too, quite hoppy and bitter up front but that sweet warming malt comes in there to finish it off nice and a bit dry. Medium-high carbonation, but doesn't affect the drinkability on this one. Wish I had a six pack of this stuff, it kicks ass and is ridiculously drinkable.

 761 characters

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.77/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've had this a number of times but never had the occasion to review it. This review is based on a some I had on draft at the Map Room. Poured an orange/amber with a thin head that faded to a ring that stuck around. Smells of fruity apricot, cherry, a touch of rhubarb, with citrus as a top note. The taste is beautifully balanced and fruity,similar flavors as those found in the aroma, with cherry, vanilla, and citrus being especially pronounced. Nice hoppy bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is smooth, perfectly carbonated, a little rich. My absolute favorite session beer.I would have this around all the time if it were available in my area.

 648 characters

Photo of Zorro
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 Oz bottle Sampled through the efforts of SS 05 BIF and Meathookjones.

Pours a chill hazed copper to red colored ale with a good off white head.

Smell is very hoppy with a tart edge to it like a SNPA. Mild citrus and pine aromas with a slight soapy edge to it.

Taste is mild with almost nothing but caramel and slight astringent bitterness in the first taste. Very subtle flavors here, caramel and butter glide like a ghost across your tongue while the herbal bitterness dries out the palette just leaving a slight woody after taste.

Mouthfeel is good.

Quite a hoppy brew but it is so smooth that you almost wonder if you really are drinking something milder. Very subtle and easy to drink beer that will satisfy the hophead and the Macro drinker equally well.

 777 characters

Photo of Gobzilla
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured an amber brown with yellow highlights and a thin head that left very little lacing.

S: booze malts and mild hop aromas with hints of citrus fruit and caramel.

T: nice mild piney sweet hop flavor with bready notes with hints of booze and citrus. The final taste is that of ice tea.

M: medium body with light carbonation and a sweet mild bitter finish

D: pretty decent pale ale from FFF I'm glad I have more on the way. I'm itrested to see how it taste a little more fresh.

 485 characters

Photo of HopHead84
4.07/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A great extra from a generous BA knocks off an unlisted want. A vigorous pour yields a 1 finger head. Dark reddish brown with minimal lacing. There is a nice floral hop aroma with a trace of citrus. The taste is well balanced, with a small and sweet malt backbone balancing out the astringent hops. The beer is medium bodied with good carbonation, and I want another.

 367 characters

Photo of biegaman
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured an awesome tawny, sunset orange with a slow moving head - took a second to start up then (like bread in an over) slowly raised to the perfect spot, and just leveled off and would keep for the tasting. A very nice semi-clouded shade. Thorough lacing too. Explosive aromatics. One of the most full bouquets I've encountered with any style. And lively too, quite vibrant. Mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth, drinkability is at a super high level. A polished mouthfeel leaves the flavour almost undetectable for a second, then you can feel the hops come back and coat your mouth. A great deal of citrus character. Different hops come out but the malt is blended in well enough it keeps this beer level without interfering with the hops. In other words, this taste and smells (and well overall, just plain IS) ultra hoppy - but it doesn't feel like it! Immense job with their flagship beer. A big, huge thanks to HogTownHarry!

 926 characters

Photo of weeare138
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appears a copper/amber with a two finger off white head that retains a foamlike state for more than a few minutes. Lacing is webbed through the glass with a chunky clinginess.
Smells of ripe grapefruit, sweet caramel malts, and a touch of pine.
Taste is of a beautiful mix of hops, malt, sugar, bitterness, and overall citrus that is so well blended that I'm not sure how this isn't really an IPA.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a swirl of citrusy hops that dominates the tastebuds but does not dare sting in the smooth, malty mix.
Drinkability is great. What 7.35%? Down at least 3 or 4 of these in one sitting with no problem. This doesn't even creep, it's just outright amazing for an APA....uh, make that the "King" of APA's.

Finger licking good.

 758 characters

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

Thanks to korguy123 for this beer!
Tasting notes from 8/10/10
Poured in to Duvel tulip

A - Cloudy amber colour with an orange glow and one finger of thick cream coloured head.

S - Bitter hops up front with grapefruit and tangerine notes and a nice sweet caramel backbone. The nose is more of an IPA than a pale ale.

T - Follows the nose but the malts are more present in the palate and dominate the flavour with a sweet caramel taste. The hops are there too with a nice citrus flavour but they are not dominant enough to get any specific flavours out of them. If I tasted this blind I would bet money that it was an IPA.

M - Medium body, lightly carbonated.

D - An excellent beer but there are definitely better out there

 730 characters

Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a slightly cloudy dark golden yellow, nice carbonation, tiny head, not much lacing though.

S - Scents of hops, sweetness, slight caramel.

T - The taste is sweet, but pretty hoppy for an APA. Nice clean finish.

M - Medium body.

D - Very drinkable. This is a very tasty APA, more of a slight IPA flavor to me. Totally different than a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Glad I got a chance to try some.

 411 characters

Photo of Duff27
4.23/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Dark, cloudy, copper/ruby. Half-inch head that recedes. Ample, ample lacing. Wow, the King is a brute/beaut.

S- Floral hops.

T- The taste, oh man the taste. if there was ever such a style called DIPA Light (not IPA/APA) then Alpha King would be top tier there as well. Caramel, grapefruit and other assorted citruses. Got the alcohol bite of a strong IPA/weak DIPA.

M- Medium+ mouthfeel for the style. Leaves a hop bitterness in your mouth that makes you salivate.

D/O- It would be a blast to have 2 or 3 of these in a night but the way that these go down - so would you, in my opinion. Great great APA. Cheers Three Floyds.

 631 characters

Photo of John_M
3.9/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled a the recent 3 Floyd's event at the Brick.

The beer pours a copper amber color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is an interesting melange of hoppy citrus (naturally and sweet malt, except this beer has a very perfumy, sweet and spicy hop aroma. Flavors replicate the nose.... hmmmm.... while undenialbly tasty, this beer is definitely on the sweet side for a pale ale, and has a light alcoholic bite in the finish. The considerable hoppy bitterness tames the sweetness somewhat, but this beer is still dominated by sweet malt. Otherwise, the beer is medium bodied, with smooth, bitter finish. Drinkability is pretty good, but the sweetness and slight alcoholic bite in the finish detracts just a bit from the beer's drinkability.

This is a solid beer, no doubt, but I can't say it's one of my favorite pale ales or beers from 3 Floyds.

 859 characters

Alpha King from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 1,749 ratings.