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

Not Rated.
Alpha King Pale AleAlpha King Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,952 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,952
Reviews: 1,669
rAvg: 4.26
pDev: 9.15%
Wants: 842
Gots: 503 | FT: 23
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: 4,952 | Reviews: 1,669 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of thirdeye11


4.33/5  rDev +1.6%

Managed to pick up 2 of these while on my most recent trip to Indiana, shipped back to me by Bobby91w from Crown Liquors in Carmel.

Presentation: Poured from 12oz bottle into Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a beautiful deep burnt orange color, darker than I expected. One finger head that sticks around for a couple minutes. Some bubbles linger the whole time and lacing on the glass is pretty good too.

S: Smell is awesome. Caramel malts, lightly balanced by hops, very sweet in the nose, almost floral. I'm really liking this one. Reminds me of a barley wine in some respects.

T: Taste is superb. The lightly bittering hops are extremely well balanced with the caramel maltiness. It's ALMOST too sweet, but really right on the edge so it's just right. This is a nice balance and combination.

M: Carbonation is spot on, but missing some creaminess and hoppy oils. It is nice and sticky though. Very well done.

D: Hurt a bit by the sweetness and weight, but I could drink it all night regardless. Not as drinkable as say SNPA though.

Really glad to have gotten this, if it was readily available in my area it would be a staple in my fridge. I'll be sure to get some again.

05-30-2009 01:28:36 | More by thirdeye11
Photo of KBomb


4.1/5  rDev -3.8%

Rich bronze color, two fingers of frothy head. Good lacing.

As you lift the glass towards your face you experience the sensation of walking into a pine forest and falling face first into a pile of sap. Big pine hop aroma wafts off of Alpha King.

Taste is dominated by bold hop flavor, well to the bitter side of average. A variety of citrus and pine flavors accent the bitterness. A solid malt backbone gives the flavor shape and contrast-- a pleasant touch of sweetness. Taste has a surprisingly clean finish.

Mouthfeel is a little slick. Its a bit of a heavy brew, and even thought the AVB isn't too high-- the extreme flavor and moderately heavy weight makes me hesitate to open a second bottle.

A very impressive pale ale (or IPA or DIPA, whatever you want to classify it). Elite in class and execution.

05-29-2009 14:08:02 | More by KBomb
Photo of baggio


4.33/5  rDev +1.6%


This is supposed to be one of the best apa's out there. Let's see if it can stand up to the hype.

A: Amber colored with a creamy head and quite alot of lacing.

S: Caramel, Pine, Grass, Exotic fruit. Very fresh!

T: Exotic fruit, Pine, Caramel, Bitter hops, Caramel, Hint of bread.

M: Solid malt base with a kick-ass bitterness at the end. Feel very refreshing and quite balanced even tho the ibu's must be quite high!

This is a very good APA. Probably one of the best i've ever tried.

05-27-2009 19:21:05 | More by baggio
Photo of callmescraps


3.68/5  rDev -13.6%

This is my first FFF beer, so I'm pretty excited. I will note, however, that I think the bottle looks like shit.

Appearance - A deep amber color with a little bit of foamy head. It doesn't look like most APA's, but it's nice. Pretty good lacing.

Smell - First thing that comes is the nice citrus hops. Plenty of grapefruit up front, with some orange peel almost. Then some pininess seems to show up as well. There is definitely some caramel and burnt sugar hiding behind it all. We're sure this isn't an IPA?

Taste - Some nice hop citrus. A real strong caramel maltiness. Also some bread that you often get in an APA, which was sort of unexpected but not unappreciated. There is some pine bitterness on the end which is nice. It's pretty well balanced between that malt, the breadiness (biscuit? sure) and the citrus followed by bitterness. There's a burnt roastness that is just lingering around and sort of dampening the experience a bit.

Mouthfeel - Frankly, a little thin. Not a ton of carbonation, it's very light and just sort of disappears.

Drinkability - Goes down easy. It's nice and balanced, I could have several of these no problem.

This is a pretty good beer. Goes down smooth and easy, but not knocking my socks off. Not sure how fresh the bottle was, so I'd be interested in trying a super-fresh one. That said, I think it's good as is and am not sure there's much it could do to really blow me away. Still, I'd gladly have it again, and could see working it into a nice rotation if it was more widely available.

EDIT 2011- Still not terribly impressed. There is an unexpected nuttiness to this beer. Also, the appearance is not the best. Head dissipates so quickly. Decidedly thin. I know this one is fresh, so this beer is definitively not my cup of tea.

05-19-2009 02:05:51 | More by callmescraps
Photo of bwd110


4.38/5  rDev +2.8%

12 oz bottle poured into tumbler.

A: Pours a deep golden brown, almost a true copper - just a bit darker. 1" off-white head, nice full lacing.

S: Whoa, that's a lot of hop nose for an APA! Smells delcious, bit of grapefruit hues, some breadiness from the malt, but hops dominate here. A nice undertone of piney, grassy hops as well.

T: This is an ipa, period. And a damn fine one at that. Fairly well balanced, hops do run wild all over this one, big citrus initially, finishes with a nice pine bitterness. Malt backbone is sturdy and balances out the brew well, but it is more earthy and biscuity than sweet.

M: Nice medium body, the malt base provides a very smooth and enjoyable experience. No carbonation zap, finishes bitter and crisp.

D: If available at home, I could see this as a regular session beer.

My first impression of FFFs, and a good one. Maybe a little misclassified, but I'm never disappointed by a good hoppy beer.

05-15-2009 02:00:29 | More by bwd110
Photo of dismal


4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Had this for the first time on tap at DLD and just had to pick some up because I like it so much. Pours a very nice copper, almost reddish orange color that looks really nice. Has about a one finger white head that doesn't stay around to long and leaves little lacing down the glass. The aroma is piney hops, grapefruit? and caramel. Pretty good smell to it. Taste is really great. Piney, bitter about halfway through but not nearly as bitter as some other beers which is good in this particular beer. Also their is fruit in there as well, grapefruit? Overall the taste is great and has a nice mouthfeel to it. Very drinkable as well, not a low ABV but not high either. I could drink this all night for sure.

05-13-2009 05:09:37 | More by dismal
Photo of 0110x011


4.28/5  rDev +0.5%

Bottle courtesy of Younger35. Always a pleasure to trade with the man.

A - pours a surprisingly dark red, bordering on brown. Not particularly pale, but pretty none the less. Thin, one-finger head falls pretty fast, but leaves a nice ring of lace behind.

S - Caramel malts and tropical fruits. Quite malty compared to the hop-emphasized west coast pales I'm used to. The hop profile is noble in nature, leaning on the herbal and piney side.

T - far more hop presence on the palate, with a bit more citrus presence, along with the herbal & pine notes. Nice caramel & fruity malt presence. Exellent balance.

M - medium body, fuller than expected. Fine carbonation keeps it smooth. Medium finish.

D - Very high. I wish I could get this fresh over here!

This is a very interesting beer. Straddles the line between a pale ale and ipa, and does it quite nicely. A fine brew indeed. Thanks Dan!

05-13-2009 03:10:34 | More by 0110x011
Photo of bulletrain76


3.25/5  rDev -23.7%

Draught at The Red in Santa Cruz. Black with a dense tan head. The aroma is super chocolate powered; leaning a little toward the dark side, but still milky and creamy. The flavor takes that and adds in a roasted bitterness that doesn't completely blend, but works out alright. The body is a little thin, but pretty smooth. This is a really nice smelling beer, with a pretty good flavor to back it up, but the chocolate and roasted malt don't seem to gel as well as they could

05-11-2009 23:30:20 | More by bulletrain76
Photo of stoutfiend27

North Carolina

3.65/5  rDev -14.3%

12 oz bottle thanks to beerad666 poured into nonic

a-rusty copper color...little to no head at all..sort of disappointing...oh well

s-citrusy hop nose...malt backbone...a little lackluster imo and i was really looking forward to this

t-more like the smell..cirtusy and a little piney hops and bitterness with a little to big of a malt backbone for me

m-good mouthfeel...was oily and had nice carbonation and prickly

d-a couple a night and then i would probably move on to dales pale ale or something

overall a nice pale ale but i think its lacking in a few departments

05-09-2009 22:41:18 | More by stoutfiend27
Photo of PDXHops

South Carolina

3.13/5  rDev -26.5%

Thanks to BitterPachyderm for this 12 oz bottle, poured into an oversized snifter.

An aggressive pour directly into the middle of my snifter coaxes 1/4 inch of head that doesn't stick around for long. Surprisingly dark body- kind of a hazy deep copper/amber/orange combo. Just a hint of lacing. Disappointed in the lack of head and lace.

Smells of (stale?) refrigerated hop pellets, with lots of general bready sweetness. Some caramel and citrus, but mainly sweetness. A bit weird for an APA.

Tastes pretty good, although not as hoppy as I was hoping for. As in the nose, lots of general bready and malty sweetness. Some caramel, some citrus and hints of (faded?) piny bitterness.

Moderate-low carbonation. Could definitely use some more zip to help scrub some of the sweetness away. Medium body.

Overall impression: It's OK, but disappointing as I was expecting a hophead's delight and instead got a very sweet (and flattish) brew. Older bottle, maybe? If I get a chance to try it again and have a different experience, I'll adjust my review/ratings accordingly.

05-09-2009 18:23:43 | More by PDXHops
Photo of RyanC84

South Carolina

4.58/5  rDev +7.5%

A: Rich cooper color. Small white head that leaves minimal lacing.

S: Citrus and piney hop aroma backed up by nice caramel malt.

T: Taste, just like the smell, is a wonderful citrus hop blend. It's balanced out nicely by the caramel malt.

M & D: Medium bodied with light carbonation. Wonderful mouthfeel on this one making it extremely drinkable. Will satisfy your hop fix but backs it up with the smooth malt to turn this one into a great session beer. Wish this was readily accessible.

05-08-2009 21:51:11 | More by RyanC84
Photo of eyncognito


4.28/5  rDev +0.5%

APA, IPA-who cares? Not me.
Pours a rich copper/amber with orange tint. Head disappears rather quickly leaving a lingering halo. Smell is a wonderful mix of lemon zest, grapefruit, oily pine, and healthy dose of caramel malt.

Taste is the same, no surprises. Slighly oily, resiny pine hops, big citric punch or grapefruit, zest, caramel malt-even slightly doughy in the middle. Finishes with a nice bitter kick, but no bite (don't know how fresh this bottle is though). A moderate dryness balances out the ample sweet malt. Slightly astringent.

Mouthfeel is on the lighter end of medium with light carbonation. For a beer this pleasantly bitter it is so round, so smooth. Three Floyds always kills me in the mouthfeel/carbonation department-something that I think gets overlooked in favor of their hop-centric approach to many styles. I could drink this a lot. Unfortunately I can find good APAs for less money-I'm looking at you SNPA and Lake Louie Arena Premium. Regardless, this is a well put together brew that pushes the limits of hop hearty American Pale Ales.

05-08-2009 21:34:15 | More by eyncognito
Photo of nuggetnectar01


4.15/5  rDev -2.6%

Pours a copper color with a one finger head.

Caramel, malts, some floral notes, citrusy.

Slightly sweet upfront with a mild bitter hop taste that follows.

Fresh, Crisp, and refreshing with decent carbonation.

I could guzzle down quite a few of these, there delicious.

05-08-2009 21:07:09 | More by nuggetnectar01
Photo of ricke


4.33/5  rDev +1.6%

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.

05-08-2009 19:08:09 | More by ricke
Photo of aglose45


4.58/5  rDev +7.5%

Thanks to Yetiman420 for his generosity; a truly great BA. Poured from a bottle into my DFH curved pint glass.

A: Pours a dark reddish-brown with a 3/4 inch thick, off-white, head that dissipated over the course of about a minute or so.

S: Pineapple up front, then I picked up some piney hops. This beer is very clean smelling. There is a sweet/ breadiness note in their as well. As I moved through the beer, about 3/5 of the way, I picked up a note of mint. Near the end of the glass I picked up a hint of grapefruit on the nose.

T: There is a bit of orange/ piney hops up front, followed by a bit of sweet pineapple, but this doesn't last too long before giving way to a very small amount of caramel malts which then gives way to a very nice clean bitter finish. It's so amazing that this beer has the complexities that it does, and then it hits a wall and finishes with a dry, bitter, clean finish. Wowing! Great 'til the last drop.

M: Minimal stickiness/ oiliness from the hops, but it finishes dry - which is nice. The carbonation is amazing for the style. While this beer has a lighter body overall, it is more of a fuller body when regarding pale ales, but I think the body is just how it should be.

D: The drinkability of this beer is through the roof! This beer is excellent, has great flavor, is refreshing and has a decently low abv (6%). I could drink this beer anytime and anywhere.

05-05-2009 16:18:30 | More by aglose45
Photo of treyrab


4/5  rDev -6.1%

Thanks to jac5084 for bringing this out a few months ago. Reviews are from March notes. Poured from the 12oz bottle into my tulip glass...

A: Pours a glowing orange copper with a half finger off-white head. Pretty hazy as I was expecting it to be much clearer. Pretty still looking as well with not much carbonation at all in the look.

S: Smell is very sweet with a lot of caramel, toffee and citrus. The hop presence that I was expecting was not there as much as I would have thought. Rather, it smelled a tad aged with some sweet caramel balanced by some faded cascade hops.

T: Taste is fairly nice and sweet with some nice C hops that are on the verge fading. Some sweet caramel and toffee also comes into play.

Overall, for a pale ale I was expecting a more hop profile, as this was more a light barleywine.

05-05-2009 02:02:39 | More by treyrab
Photo of ClockworkOrange


4.35/5  rDev +2.1%

A 12 ounce bottle poured into my nonic pint glass. Appears a hazed deep copper color with about two fingers of sticky creamy light ecru foam. The head leaves a moderate lacing on the inside of my glass as I sip my way to the bottom. Smells and tastes of fresh fruity citrus such as lemon, grapefruit and orange peel, sweet caramel glazed biscuits, and a welcome bitterness. A few notches above medium in both body and carbonation. Excellent drinkability, this is probably epic on cask.

05-03-2009 04:26:32 | More by ClockworkOrange
Photo of TPatuto


4.38/5  rDev +2.8%

A - Reddish, Golden, Amber... somewhere in there. Translucent. Good 1/4 inch head that sticks around for a good minute or two.

S - Good hopa aroma. Citrus: orange peel, grapefruit, pine, all well balanced.

T - Hops don't overwhelm the malt. In fact theres a real good balance in this one. Hint of sweetness midway through. Good clean finish with a wonderful bitterness expected out of an APA.

M - Medium bodied. Great level of carbonation.

D - Yes. Definitely drinkable and enjoyable. Sessionable for sure. But enjoyable one at a time. A great place to start.

05-02-2009 02:39:43 | More by TPatuto
Photo of SykDoc


4.7/5  rDev +10.3%

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.

05-01-2009 01:22:51 | More by SykDoc
Photo of MacDomer


4.58/5  rDev +7.5%

Can't believe I haven't reviewed this one. It's one of my standbys. Shame on me. But, nevertheless, a good one to finish off the night.

Pours a hazy burnt orange-gold, with a light off-white head. Head doesn't last for long - it was a wuss pour, so chalk that up to me. The cap sticks around a while though. Great lacing. The nose is citrusy and has a fresh hoppy aroma, but it's not a hop bomb. In addition to the hop flavor, there's good malt backing, and as a result this is pretty balanced. It's smooth and drinkable.

04-29-2009 05:49:25 | More by MacDomer
Photo of LordAdmNelson


4.55/5  rDev +6.8%

A- A nice light amber color. Really nice and surprising in a pale ale. About an inch or so of off-white head. Laces moderately. Good retention on the head.

S- This just blew me away the first time I had it. A blast of citrus hops followed by a light malt sweetness (almost caramel-y). The hops are just out of control (grapefruit, orange zest, floral hops).

T- Good stuff. Again, hoppy and fruity. A little pine that was absent from the nose comes through. Nicely balanced with the malt. Hoppier than most APAs, but just great. This will probably replace SN as my go-to APA. Not the most mind blowing beer I've had (although the nose was probably among the most appealing), but one of the most enjoyable and well put together brews I've had.

M- A little light, smooth, clean. Moderate carbonation. Slight dry finish.

D- Great--I could definitely make a great session out of this.

Totally surprised by this one. I had heard it was good, but I didn't quite understand how good it is. Thought it would be an underwhelming run-of-the-mill APA. Shame on me for doubting FFF.

04-29-2009 04:35:29 | More by LordAdmNelson
Photo of tr4nc3d


3.78/5  rDev -11.3%

Pours a murky amber like color with an off-white one finger head. Great lacing left behind.

Nice citrus grapefruit smell with some floral notes, piney grassy like hops. Faint caramel/honey like malt smell.

Slight hop bitterness comes upfront, with the citrus flavor peeking through giving it a semi-sweet taste, the hops are dominating though and stay throughout the beer, leaving it a slightly dry hop finish.

Mouthfeel is crisp and light bodied with a refreshing taste.

I had this on tap and that tasted better. I ended up buying a six pack of this and taking it home with me.

04-28-2009 18:09:13 | More by tr4nc3d
Photo of Buschyfor3


4.33/5  rDev +1.6%

20oz draft on-tap at Rich O's in New Albany.

A: Deep amber-orange body - really dark for a pale ale. Pours a thin white head that quickly dissipates.

S: The hops are really prominent up front, giving off a tangy, citrusy aroma. I am also picking up a caramel-like sweetness, rounded out by a faint malt profile.

T: When I took my first sip, I thought the waitress might have mixed up our order and brought me Three Floyd's Dreadnaught IPA because this beer has a pungent, hop bitterness that dominates the flavor profile like what I expect from an IPA. There is a really tart, citrusy grapefruit flavor. This tart, bitterness lingers over into a malty finish that is ever so slightly sweet like brown sugar or caramel, and a touch grainy like toasted wheat bread. However, the hops dominate the flavor profile, and the aftertaste is uniquely hoppy and citrusy.

M: Very light bodied even though this beer looks dark. Medium carbonation is decently crisp.

D: 6% ABV means I could definitely finish another 20oz draft with my meal without any problems.

Really I was kind of surprised by this beer. It was alot darker and alot more like an IPA than I expected - in fact, my friend sampled the beer and remarked by calling it a half-IPA, and I think that nails this beer on the head. Not that it was bad, I was just expecting this beer to have more of a malt profile to better balance the play on hops. Not a bad beer by any means and one I would have again.

04-25-2009 05:12:21 | More by Buschyfor3
Photo of Yetiman420


4.9/5  rDev +15%

Picked this up tonight in the cold section at a bottle shop in Highland IN and an consuming in my Munster hotel room Dark Lord Day eve.

Poured in a clear 10 oz plastic cup. Not much head. A dark copper color - darker than what one would expect from a pale ale.

Exceptional pale ale aroma - citrus hop aroma and a touch of bread from the malt.

Flavor is clean and fruity with high hop bitterness.

Halfway through, I'm swirling to generate a head. Interesting that the head is a very light tan. A reflection on the darkness of this pale ale. Not to the point of detracting, but certainly worth noting for a pale ale.

One of the best.

04-24-2009 23:06:24 | More by Yetiman420
Photo of hopman333


5/5  rDev +17.4%

Cannot belive I have never reviewed my all time favorite beer. Being from Chi town I remember tasting the very first batches of this beer on tap at The Hop Leaf in Andersonville. My friend's and I were blown away. Keep in mind that 10 -11 year's ago, there were no really big beer's like this. The floral and citrus flavor that is derived from this beer was mind blowing. We would drink pitcher after pitcher... And the alpha king on the tap handle looked very alluring, you knew you were in for a treat.

Forget about the look's and the lacing with this one. The only thing you need to know is the superbly balanced malt and hop ratio... Yes this is a hop bomb, however in a very gentle sort of way... The aroma just wreak's of floral and citrusy hop's galore, in addition to the Belgian Caravienna malt's that hide in the backround. It's fine touches like the different malt and hop blend's that push this beer above and beyond greatness...

Drinkability is off the chart's. I could and have drank a case of these when I'm on a bender.
Sure you will have a hangover but you will have a good time knocking them down

I'm trying to keep this review simple. This beer just kick's ass. But don't take my word for it. Go out and get some and see for youre'self. All in all, one of the best brew's ever made. Do not miss this one...

04-15-2009 21:00:46 | More by hopman333
Alpha King Pale Ale from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
95 out of 100 based on 4,952 ratings.