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Alpha King - 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

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Alpha KingAlpha King

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5,444 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,444
Reviews: 1,705
rAvg: 4.26
pDev: 9.15%
Wants: 887
Gots: 703 | FT: 24
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,444 | Reviews: 1,705 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of OneDropSoup
4.43/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had Alpha King before, but a buddy of mine picked this particular bottle up from his recent trip to Indiana. Thanks, sean0505!

Poured into a tulip pint: Reddish-brown with some golden-orange highlights under two fingers of very light tan head, thick, sticky, lumpy. Drops to an island, but retains well.

Very fresh smell of slightly cooked orange & grapefruit, some tea leaves, a little burnt sugar, & some biscuity malt in the background. Resinous & "close," fresh. Just great.
Not quite as "hoppy" as I remember it -- like, I remember it smelling like a bag of pellets before -- but still pretty awesome.

Taste is citrus up front, the orange & grapefruit again, that cooked sugar followed by a tea-like dryness, moving into a sort of woody, even toasty malt profile. Finishes moderately bitter, piny, with a little booze presence. Goes through motions after the swallow, malty, biscuity, woody, sugary, piney again. Good stuff.

Medium-bodied, smooth with a little bit around the edges, slightly sticky in the aftertaste.

Great stuff, a slightly different animal from what I remember -- the green & resinous character is overshadowed by citrus & pine this time around, falling a little more in traditional American IPA territory. Still damn fine, & easily quaffable -- I could drink this all evening.

Photo of bigdonniebrasco
2.63/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: Light amber-copper color. Clear body, filtered, average carbonation. Inch head of white retains better than average.

Smell: Some piney hops, some floral qualities, but not in the skillfully dry-hopped sense of delicacy. This doesn't have a real strong nose. Some sweet carmelized sugar scents from the malts. Oranges.

Taste: Some light citrus notes, orange and piney hop flavors. Not a real substantial malt base, some dry biscuit and carmel flavors. Not very different than the masses of pale ales out there. This tries to breach the PA - IPA boundary, but doesn't really commit to either. Only the slightest bitterness in the finish. I can't reccommend this beer because it doesn't have any direction.

Mouthfeel: Medium to low carbonation. The body is light and easy to quaff, but doesn't really offer any substance.

Drinkability: Not difficult to drink, but not interesting enough to make me want another. Just because this brewery makes some real gems, doesn't mean that everything it makes is good, or even competent.

Photo of domtronzero
3.93/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Slightly murky orange copper with the standard, average-lasting whitish head. Little lacing.

S - Piny citrusy hop aroma. Slight caramelly malt sweetness. Otherwise clean.

F/M - Piny/citrusy hops, slight malty sweetness, caramelly and bready. Medium-high bitterness, clean, dry finish. Slightly oily with a slight astringency in the finish. Medium body, moderate carbonation.

D - Good, clean, dry finish. Refreshing and easy drinking, but the astringency is a little distracting.

Photo of tewaris
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to dvelcich (Dan) for this extra!

66 IBUs
12 oz bottle with no freshness date poured into a Samuel Adams "perfect pint" glass. I was assured of its freshness by Dan.

Appearance 4.5/5
Poured clear and deep amber, to the extent of seeming light brown; there was sediment in the bottle that might have caused the beer to a look a little murky. Moderate off white head with moderate retention and fantastic lacing.

Aroma 4.5/5
There is a great balance between malts and hops in the nose that is almost reminiscent of Arrogant Bastard, although weaker. Smells like sweet candy at times with malts upfront, and at times like a typical IPA, with strong hop presence. The malt aroma is toasty and caramelly, the hop aroma is classic American hops: piney and herbal...

Taste 4/5
Like the aroma, the balance is excellent. Even though the malts are certainly more prominent than AIPA's, the flavor is still dominated by hops; however, the malts add a definite sweetness. Riding on this sweetness is a zesty bitterness from the hops, that stays even after the medium-long finish. The finish is the only downside, taste wise, and is a tad too sweet.

Mouthfeel 3.5/5
Medium body, medium carbonation; this ale seems to coat the mouth at times. This beer cannot be called refreshing, and is a little too big for its own good.

Drinkability 4/5
I would like to have a more drinkable Pale Ale. Yet, I will seek out this one again because styles aside, this is a very good beer. However, as I said before, is reminiscent of the quintessential American Strong Ale to me.

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

Served on-tap in a clear pint glass at Clark Street Ale House (Chicago, IL).

A: Rusty amber with tightly-bubbled 1-finger off-white head with supreme stickiness and crusty lace down the glass.

S: Resiny hops with touches of pine sap and orange citrus prove too much for the staunch pale and caramel malts

T: Strongly resin hops with earthy character dominate. Orange and pine are big contributors too. Pale and caramel malts mostly provide body to the brew but do also give some sweetness. Very bitter in the finish from the resiny hops.

M: Excellent medium-full body for the style with low-average carbonation and just the right balance of stickiness and smoothness.

D: A very good APA although the resiny character is a bit overpowering in the on-tap format.

Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.83/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my favorite mason jar.

A - Pours a nice dark amber color with some ruby red hints and a sticky and dense .5 inch head. With some nice off-white colors and a couple of medium sized bubbles spread around.

S - Aroma is of fresh grassy and resiny hops. Some slight pale malt aroma comes through with slight sweetness and a bit of caramel. Mostly the piney hop resin comes through after some more investigation. Nice toasty character to the malt mingles well with the piney hop resin.

T & M - Wow. Absolutely delicious mix of malt grain earthiness and sweetness with the tingly piney and citrus like character of the hops. This APA is near perfection in my book. There is very good balance between the pine and citrus spectrums of the hops themselves but also they work so well with he nice grainy and bread-like qualities of the malt. Fresh baked bread flavors as well as some nice slight caramel sweetness. Nice crisp and clean flavors work well with each other to create a nice balanced APA that still has some nice hop edge to it.

D - Delicious and drinkable APA. Quite hoppy for the style but am a fan of the Hops. ABV is perfect and flavors work well together. Good job FFF.

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

Poured from 12oz bottle into Tulip.

A. Poured a nice 1+ finger head. Good retention. Solid lacing. Nice copper orange color.

S. Smell is sweet delicous hops. Smells better than a lot of IPAs. Citrusy and piney hops. Some caramel malt lying beneath the hops.

T. Taste is very smooth. The citrus piney hops are balance agains a swee malt backbone. I would say this one of the best APAs out there. Nice showcase of hops balanced well with malt.

M. Medium bodied. Medium carbonation. Nice mouthfeel. Lingering bitterness.

D. Reviewing this beer after a 3 year void of Alpha King from Iowa. This bottle brought from Wisconsin. This is a damn good beer. I think this is pretty much the style guideline for an APA.

Photo of jpmclaug
3.15/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into my Black Butte pint glass. I got this in a generous BIF box from sopernicus.

A - Orange/Brown body with a small off white head

S - A light citrus hop aroma but not much. A hint of sweetness. I remember this smelling better when I had it on draft in Chicago.

T - Light hop flavor with a bit malt backbone. I could have sworn this was more hoppy when I had it on draft as well. A bit of a citrus hop bitterness but mostly sweet malt notes.

M - medium bodied with a fair amount of carbonation

D - I think this bottle may be old but it isn't dated so I have no clue. A decent pale ale but not nearly as hoppy and delicious as I remember when I had it in the past. Hopefully I'll have a chance to try this again.

Photo of Landfill21
2.9/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A friend left this in my fridge so I endulged today.

Poured into a pint glass. Poured into a dark amber/copper color with a finger head that laces down the glass as you drink.

Has a piny smell, not too strong.

Has a balance taste of hops and some fruits.

Has a medium mouthfeel with perfect amount of carbonation.

I personally don't like IPA's so I marked it as a low drinkablity.

Photo of TCgoalie
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The pour is quite dark for a pale ale showing a dark copper-amber color. Off white head crowns the brew and recedes to a film covering the liquid. Some lines of lacing glide down the glass, but not a lot sticks to the sides.

I was expecting more out of the smell, especially after having Gumballhead and Dreadnaught. The smell is an understated malty-pine. It is tough to get more out of the smell, but there is a bit of citrus aroma.

Ah, the taste is excellent. A very nice balance of hops and caramel malts with a good mix of complexity. The hop bite shows pine, orange, peach, and lemon which develop over 5 to 10 seconds.

The combination of malts, hops, and carbonation really hit the spot with this medium bodied pale. The aftertaste is a pleasant bitter leaving the mouth a clean and dry.

This is a great pale ale, maybe not the most drinkable due to its bitterness...but it is a great drinker for hop heads. It has the taste like an IPA making it my favorite Pale to date.

Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

As an avid FFF fan, this is one I've loved a long time. Poured from a fresh bottle into a snifter.

A: Beautiful Head that goes up to about a 1/2 and inch, and dies down slowly, leaving a film of soapy bubbles on top throughout. Deep Reddish Brown Color that is consistent in the heart of the beer to the sides.

S: Signiture Hops of FFF come out first, that fruity, tropical smell mixed with just the right amount of American Malt character. How a Pale should smell, not overly hoppy but a hop/malt balance that is very good.

T: Bold Tropical fruit, Hop, and caramel front with a malty grain middle finishing elegantly with a nice tight bitter finish. Wonderful, you can't ask much more of a beer in this style, and this sets the bar for all other pales, which I have found none that could take this down yet. Great balance.

M: Medium bodied and well carbonated. Very nice. I would love to see what this beer would be like on cask one day.

D: Excellent. A solid pale that is both complex and refined as well as being one you could have three or more of and not be starting to turn to the dark side. Awesome, and what a flagship beer, it really shows you just how awesome FFF is as a brewery.

Photo of DNICE555
4.88/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured out of a bottle into my pint glass. I've had the dreadnaught which blew my mind and I have a Dark Lord in my fridge. This will be my second FFF offering.

A - A darker golden color with an off white head.

S - Hops, floral aroma, citrus, just as nice as my college GF.

T - Nice level of hops for a pale ale. A subtle piney bitterness with a citrus sweetness to balance it out

M - Smooth, Crisp, Refreshing

D - Probably the best Pale Ale I have ever had. Very well done. I have loved their ipa and pale ale, cant wait to crack open the dark lord.

Photo of Chaney
4.88/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've always told people in the past that if the world were going to end tomorrow and I had to pick one beer for the higher power to save, it would be this one!

A: I can't get enough of that caramel/orange, frothy, hopfest before my eyes. About a 1/2 inch beautiful head and nice, yet subtle retention throughout the session.

S: Whenever I stick my nose down in that glass on this one, I immediately detect that signature FFF hop profile that everyone talks about. It has this very fresh, ultra clean cotton scent (maybe it's the filtered water), and mango, grapefruit, orange to boot.

T: I was walking out of a Whole Foods market one day after buying a pomegranate Lychee Green Tea and after the first sip, I paused in my tracks and said to myself, "This.is.Alpha.King!" Yes, to my mind and tastes, this tastes like pomegranate upfront, followed by the other ingredients that I also got on the nose. Whenever I take a sip, I like to just hold it there and absorb the taste and aroma at the same time. Candy elements such as Pixie Stick dust and the caramel center of a Payday bar are also present.

M: The coating on the palate (and glass) are fantastic, the sweet caramel thickness is remarkable, and the bubbly carbonation is second to none!

D: It's not every day that a beer gets it's own competetion named after it ("Alpha King Challenge" at the Great American Beer Festival). That speaks volumes as to the respectability of this amazing brew. It has always and will continue to be.... my favorite beer.

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

First off, a huge thanks to ptwnbwlr for this great extra. Cheers!

Appearance - Pours a surprisingly dark mahogany into my SA Perfect Pint. About a finger of tan head is achieved, which quickly dissipates leaving little lacing.

Smell - Citrus, hops, grapefruit, slight caramel malt. Overall bitter grapefruit and hops! And lots of it!

Taste - Very similar to the nose. A wave of bitter grapefruit citrus flavor begins with the initial taste which lends to slight pine, and an interestingly sweet caramel backbone. Quite tasty.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, damn creamy, moderate carbonation.

Drinkability - I'm quaffing this sucker as I type. I freaking love Three Floyd's and was pumped when I saw ptwnbwlr gave me a couple extras from them! Cheers!

Photo of pokesbeerdude
3.95/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks goes out to yeahnatenelson for this as an extra! 12oz. Into a New Belgium globe.

A: Pours a deep copper color with a khaki head, not quite half an inch that recedes to a thick, dense cap with gobs of sticky lacing. Slightly cloudy, and a decent amount of bubbles moving through the glass. Maybe a little on the dark side, but looks nice.

S: Hops, resinous, high AA hops, maybe a little more towards the citrus side, but definitely resiny, if blindfolded, this would scream IPA to me. This may fall into the one dimensional hops category, but that's okay, I like it. Just a hint of sharp alcohol, very faint, but still there. Nice on the nose here.

T: Interesting, not really what I expected, the hops are there, and a good sweet dark bread malt profile falls underneath that, I'm detecting a bit of a burnt flavor, maybe just a bit, but definitely enough to notice. Then its pretty much straight into bitterness with a few citrus and minty notes from the hops. I'm not sure what hop provides the minty flavor, but I've experienced it in a few Scandinavian beers, not sure if I like it, just seems odd. Alcohol note on the end. Overall pretty darn tasty.

M: A little towards the heavy side, finishes about right not too dry or too sweet, but there is a bit of perceived dryness from the alcohol which is a little strong. I don't know why its so noticeable in this 6% beer, but it definitely is.

D: I could drink a few of these, really a tasty beer, nice flavors, a bit in your face but I like it. Overall nice beer that could be a session if it was on draft. Glad I finally got to try it!

Thanks Nate!

Photo of mdaschaf
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to korguy123 for this one!

A: Pours a dark amber/copper with a chunky white head that dissipates down to a a small layer of bubbles on the top of the beer. Amazing lacing for the duration of this beer.

S: A lot of citrus and nice floral aroma. Also get some grapefruit and a hint of strawberries with some malt right at the end.

T: A really nice hop characteristic that plays well with a malt backbone. Very balanced between those two. Also get some lemon, a little caramel, and surprisingly a hint of mint.

M/D: Medium bodied and extremely drinkable. It may be one of the easiest beers to drink that I have ever had. This is a great beer and I need to get my hands on some more of it.

Photo of chaz410
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep orange amber body. It's nearly sap like in body color and has a nice finger length white froathy head.
Smells of huge pine and citrus notes, more like an ipa than a pale ale but still nicely balanced by some subtle caramel malts and some nice roasted character. Hops really play out more than anything, dominating by grapefruit and pinneapple with pine notes and some grassy notes.
Taste is similar to the smell but the intensity of the hop bitterness is much more subdued and the malt character is stronger. Still very balanced and not overpowering at all.
Very drinkable and very smooth.

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

Poured a cloudy orange, good head.

Obviously hop notes in the smell, but the maltiness surprised me.

Fresh grapefruit in the taste, accented by a roasted note that is quite like coffee.

Crisp mouthfeel.

A well balanced beer - as much roasted maltiness as I've ever seen in an APA, but it works to good effect.

Photo of camp0474
3.95/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice copper amber color with a frothy tan head.

S: Citrus and pine hops covering some faint but detectable sweet malt.

T: Solid balance of hops and malt. Citrus notes and the sweet malt blend well. Well balanced even with the upfront hops.

M/D: Medium body which is very drinkable. Good amount of fine carbonation. Bitterness from hops at the end.

Overall this well balanced beer is very drinkable.

Photo of NealVsBeer
4.55/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Golden brown with a tiny bit of tan head.

S - Floral and citrus hops dominate the smell.

T - Very smooth, citrus and piney hops. Well-balanced.

M - Nice and smooth. Medium-bodied.

D - One of the best APAs I've had so far. I'll drink this any day.

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

poured into a pint glass


A nice reddish brown. a small amount of head.


the first thing I smell is hops. citrusy hops with a little pine.


slight bitterness from hops but the malt flavor smooths it out. a subtle caramel in the malts. less hoppy that I thought it would be from the initial smell. I'm (currently) not a fan of really hoppy beers like IPAs, but this seems like it would be a great starter beer to the hoppier ales. I actually enjoy this one.


about medium bodied. not thin at all. it goes down smooth.


very drinkable. could be good with both a meal and just sitting and relaxing with family and friends. i will definitely enjoy drinking this 6 pack over the weekend.

Photo of glazeman
3.83/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter

A: Wow, for a pale ale, I am quite surprised at how dark in color this beer is. The pour yields a dark, dark, amber colored beer with a ½ finger off-white head. The head has moderate retention and some nice lacing.

S: The nose is pretty one-dimensional with pine being the dominant smell. There's also a little bit of apple cider at the start.

T: A nice contrast in the hop profile as compared to the Bell's Two Hearted I just had. This beer is almost all piney hops whereas the prior was almost all citrusy hops. Nice amount of pine and a tad of malty sweetness at the start. Lots of bitterness at the finish.

M: A bit thin for my liking. Also the aftertaste and carbonation weren't quite as high as I would have liked.

D: Pretty good drinkability, although this beer isn't as exciting or interesting as I would like in order to drink several of them...I feel like I would get bored.

Photo of Macky20
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Have several bottles of this thanks to generous extras in trades, this is a great beer, so keep 'em coming!

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass. One finger head that is a bit splotchy, and somewhat thin. Amber color with a reddish tint.

Smells primarily of a pine, citrus (grapefruit is what I'm picking up on) and an extremely attractive hop bite.

The taste is the best thing about this beer (good thing right?) Even though this doesn't seem like a high IBU beer (probably so for a Pale Ale though)... there is a hop explosion that immediately calms itself right after hitting your taste buds. The aroma acccurately represents this beer... and it has everything, regarding tastes, that I love in my IPA's.... and again, this is a Pale Ale. Pleasant bitterness left on the tongue.

Mouthfeel is appropriate, if anything a bit thin. You can almost always tell by the pour and the head what it will feel like in the mouth (I'm no professional, but just from my own experience) When the head was a bit thin, I expected the feel in the mouth to be a bit thin also. It is nothing that dramatically changes the beer IMO though.

Drinkability is fantastic... low ABV... hop kick of an IPA, goes down pleasantly and smooth. It's probably a good thing I can't get these in NC... It would certainly be one of my "go to's" during football season!

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

Thanks to HosP for this one.

Poured from the bottle into a standard pint glass, a nice cloudy amber colour with a small white head, slight lacing. Has a nice sweet hoppy smell, some malty caramel in there...very, very nice. Taste is out of this world. Malty up front with a long lasting bitter finish. Nice weight, not thin and not syrupy...near perfect. I absolutely loved this beer. It really lives up to its hype, this also came to me from Indiana so it was super fresh. I would no doubt have this beer again....and again, and again.

Photo of magnj
3.9/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

From my mental notes.

A - Deep amber body, 1 finger head.

S - Mildly hoppy aroma of the more earthy variety, classic pale and caramel malts detectable.

T - Well hopped for an APA but still appropriate, earthy hops, well balanced. Not real sweet but rather a bit bready malt-wise.

M/D - Medium to full body, easy to drink, but I can find similar examples of the style locally.

Alpha King from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 5,444 ratings.