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Alpha King - Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub

Not Rated.
Alpha KingAlpha King

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

5,350 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,350
Reviews: 1,687
rAvg: 4.26
pDev: 9.15%
Wants: 874
Gots: 634 | FT: 24
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:
A bold yet balanced American Pale Ale with slight caramel sweetness and aggressive citrus hoppiness. This is our flagship beer.

68 IBU

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-23-2000)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,350 | Reviews: 1,687 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of wyattshotmaker
4.43/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured into a pintr,this beer is a deep amber.smell is citrusy hops backed by a bit of biscuity sweetness.taste is big citrusy hops with a slight bit of earthiness.biscuity and caramel malt provides the back bone for this beer.medium bodied moderate carbonation,coupled with supreme balance makes this beer incredibly drinkable.

along with southern star pinebelt pale,this is probably my favorite APA.

Photo of dfranks
3.68/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured Three Floyd's Alpha King Pale Ale into glass and first noticed its nice citrus smell. Hints of grapefruit which is different and nice. Amber color with a small head. I do believe I noticed the grapefruit in the taste as well. Overall a pretty good beer, nothing that I would go out of my way to get but would like to try again...

Photo of GJ40
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sample from a 12oz bottle in a standard pint glass. Purchased for me by OnTheRoad while in Chicago on business.

A - Amber with excellent clarity and a small beige head.

S - Lots of piney hops with a touch of caramel and biscuits.

T - Piney and citrusy hops with a nice lingering bitterness. The malts provide a nice caramel flavor. It's got all of the hops of a great west coast beer but with a complimentary malt presence that almost makes me think balance is good. This is a very complex and balanced American Pale Ale.

M - A moderate consistency and carbonation with very fine bubbles.

D - Very flavorful yet well balanced. This was my first taste of anything from Three Floyds and it didn't disappoint.

Photo of Reaper16
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle served into a tulip glass

Pours a "Wow, this is dark for an APA" shade of caramelized sugar-looking brown with lighter orange at the bottom of my tulip, near the stem. The eggshell-white head provides a pretty contrast. Though the foam quickly recedes to a small ring, the lacing makes a uniform wall down the glass.

"Oh, f***." Pardon the curse word, but that's exactly what I said when I first brought my nose to the lip of the glass. The pungency of the hops in this beer make for a very IPA-like aroma. Grapefruit abound, with generic sour fruit scents following behind. There is malt sweetness present, but I can't help but linger on the hop aromas.

I had some concerns based on the smell of this beer. I was worried that it was going to be one of those really-balanced IPAs masquerading as an APA. After many swallows, I'm not sure what to think. Yes, the hoppiness of the beer is the defining characteristic; grapefruit, grapefruit and an astringent, grassy quality hit the tongue hard. There is a juicyness that hints at orange in addition to the grapefruit... I'm not sure that explains my meaning well. Beyond the aggressive hop flavors there is a quick shot of flavor on the sides of the tongue that feels like a squirt of pure juice. But this beer is not all hops. The grainy quality on the back end and the malt sweetness that asserts itself at all stages of the drink (once you get used to the grapefruit rush) provide some welcome balance. Don't get me wrong -- this is very hoppy -- but I'm not sure that it goes beyond the realm of APA, despite what some objectors may say.

Mouthfeel is perplexing, actually. Some drinks I find it a touch too thick, other times I don't notice it at all. I'm going to score it as "good" because it is never prohibitive, no matter what I may think of it at the time. I have never thought anything regarding this beer's drinkability other than how excellent it is. I am a hophead, and this is the kind of beer that keeps me coming back for more. I had to be careful not to consume the entire glass before I could finish this review.

Alpha King is superb. It has supplanted Schlafly Dry-Hopped APA as my favorite beer in the style. It has tremendous hop flavor -- enough that I would take an Alpha King over a number of fine IPAs. This beer makes me weep bitter tears over the fact that Three Floyds does not ship to Missouri as of yet.

Photo of dpodratsky3
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Awesome, large, bubbly head that laces the side of the glass all the way down. A cloudy, dark amber color.

S: Super hops! Very pungent, very floral, and a hint of citrus.

T: Just like the smell a very strong hop presence. It gives way to some citrusy notes and a nice maltyness than balances out the heavy load of hops. Overall a very balanced beer, especially considering how hoppy it seems at first.

M: Medium bodied, with a crisp combination to go along with the hops.

D: A pint goes down easy, but not a beer than makes you want to have too many too quickly. The malts balance out the bitterness and make it much easier to take another swig.

Notes: Definitely a beer for hop lovers, one of the hoppiest, although most balanced ales I have had. Reminds me of sweetwater 420, but with much better balance with the malts. A go to for a hop fix.

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

Deep turbid amber color, with a decent head. The smell is complex as well as the taste, very spicy, high combination of different hops. The spiciness is combined with high bitterness. I could feel it building up as the beer went down. Light body, clean with a medium to high carbonation.

This one can quench your hop thirst, with a unique and well balanced mix of hops.

Photo of azorie
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well its a damn fine APA, I for one am glad its not a Dales clone, meaning its not really an IPA in a APA wrapper.

A: Looks like it could be an Oktoberfest beer by the pour, its amber cooper colored with a nice rich creamy head that lasted about 5 minutes.

S: wow nice, fruity pine, grapefruit hops hits you at first. Those 3 hops blend quite well but not so overpowering its in the IPA range.
I get bread from the malt, and yeast, some clove like highlights also.

T: wow I can tell I am going to wish I lived closer to this place soon. This knock Dales PA, in the dirt, too bad I have to mail order to get this. ok its hoppy but balanced perfectly to style.
Its got a very bread and clove like front end and that is complemented by those hops.

M: medium body, crisp. has a bite.

D: well I only bought 2 but I wish I had bought more.

Photo of beerwolf77
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I found this on tap at a hidden gem of a beer bar 30 minutes out of town. Lucky me. It pours a rich amber orange color with two inches of creamy off white head. The aroma is spectacular. Hops are at the forefront but sweet malt and citrus fruit are major players as well. Then I take a sip. I took a double take after I swallowed. This tastes much more like an IPA then just a pale ale. The flavor is very hoppy but, not a hop bomb at all. The malt is well balanced with the hops making for a super drinkable beer. There is a orange peel sour/sweetness that comes out as well. The mouhfeel is awfully pleasant. Medium body with a nice creamy texture. This is a top beer on my list. I spent the entire night enjoying one after another. I will be visiting my this bar again. A 30 minute drive is nothing to enjoy a drink with "the king"

Photo of mikey711
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a perfect pint glass

A: amber with a little bit of orange. Head is very slightly off white and two fingers thick. Lacing is very good.

S: nice pine notes with a bit of biscuit sweetness. Floral hops present as well.

T: Nice malt backbone with a smooth hoppy finish. The sweetness is caramel and biscuity with some nice bitterness.

M: Very well balanced, a slight bit a creaminess. Good but not great.

D: Very easy to drink and quite refreshing.

Photo of gameface23
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Amber/copper with a great sized head. Some lacing was left, but not a huge amount.

S: Somewhat subdued citrus & pine hops with a caramel sweetness.

T: Really well balanced and drinkable. I was expecting a hop bruiser, but I was surprised by how easy going this one is. There's a great amount of hop flavor, but it is definitely backed up with malt and body.

M: Simply awesome. It's nice and full, smooth and silky.

D: This is a really good beer. I wish that I didn't have to trade for it. If it was distributed in my area, it would absolutely be a beer that I would buy again and again.

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

This is one of the last beers I have left from my Three Floyds haul via a trade with another beer lover out in Indiana. I'm looking forward to it as I've heard nothing but good things!

Alpha King pours like a beaut! A deep, dark amber golden color with a nice inch or so of sticky head. Lots of happy little bubbles shooting upwards make for a nice visual treat.

Smell is strong lemon and orange citrus. Some sweet pineapple followed by what I can only describe as a Lemonade/Iced Tea combination. The aroma is certainly making the first sip most appealing.

Wow! A pale ale? I've had IPAs that have done much less for my hop cravings! Alpha King is a very balanced beer, yes, but its also got a nice dose of hop bitterness, lots of sweet juicy citrus and more than one has come to expect from the good ol' American Pale Ale. Love it.

I'm imagining this flowing directly from the tap at the brewhouse in Munster into my 20 oz. imperial glass on a hot day. One day...one day.

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

On tap at Birreria Paradiso in Washington, DC. This is actually the third time I had this beer in the last week (first on cask and then bottled), which is a rare occurrence in these parts unless one is Paradiso-bound.

Appearance is in a narrow amber/copper range, more or less in keeping with the style if a bit dark. (I actually thought I was doing a preliminary review of an IPA as I scribbled notes at the bar; only when I left did I realize my error.) Normally I'm pretty oblivious to anything other than aroma and taste, but I can't help but notice some gnarly lacing as I proceed.

The olfaction detects citrus and pine to an agreeable degree; I wouldn't classify the aroma as 'intensely' hoppy, but floral lupulin certainly dominates the nose. It's almost as if a game of olfactory brinkmanship is going on: were this beer any more fragrant I'd be using words like 'burst' and 'explosive' to describe the aroma, but it keeps itself in check. This is probably my favorite aspect of the beer. It's kind of delicate, actually.

I'm a bit let down by the flavor, given my favorable assessment of the nose: citrusy, sure, but there's a pronounced grassiness that I find mildly objectionable and that I can't get past. Is it a cross-section of intermingling hop varieties that yields said flavor component? Perhaps a single hop variety is the culprit? At any rate, this grassy, almost horsy, flavor characteristic lends itself to an unrefined quality in this beer. This isn't necessarily a negative, but I keep thinking it's a bit rough around the edges, at least taste-wise. Also, made note of a passive biscuity malt presence, all the more a background factor due to my ambivalence regarding the lupulin performance.

Carbonation is moderate, allowing for a smooth but lively interaction with one's grill.

Drinkability is on the high side: little, if any, alcohol was perceived as I imbibed.

All in all, this is a better beer than I may have indicated in this review. I seem to have fixated on one (perceived) flaw that shaped my overall interpretation of the beer, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't mind having one from time to time.

Photo of kegger22
4.43/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark amber with a respectable head. A good citrus aroma, strong, but not overbearing. The taste was a sweet grapefruit and I had no bitter aftertaste, excellent. Feel is smooth with a nice body for an APA. I could drink a half dozen of them. Everything good about an IPA, but kept none of the bad. My first taste of a 3Floyd's effort, I'm impressed.

Photo of auroracrisis
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Brooklyn pint glass. Pours a hazy orangish brown. Very good looking, it reminds me of darker caramel. The head of it is probably 1/4 of an inch and quickly dissipates into various sized bubbles.

Smells like a perfect blend of piney and citrus hops. The smell is so balanced between the two. There is a little sweetness but not much.

The taste is much like the smell, delicious. A great belnd of hops at first then after a second or two later there is a bite from the hops. In the background of all of the hops is a malty sweetness. The aftertaste is a tad bit bitter but the sweetness of the matls prevail.

Mouthfeel is great for this style. The malts chalk up to a wonderful amount of thickness that most APAs don't have. It's mouthfeel is definitely it's strong suit but that's not to say that everything else isn't up to par, this is just it's best characteristic in my opinion.

Drinkability is high. The flavors are just strong enough to keep you coming back for more and the ABV allows you to pound these beers but not be abliterated after a six pack of them in one night.

Photo of steadydose
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle recieved in a trade, poured into a pint glass. A vigorous pour produced a 3 finger fluffy khaki cap, that has some staying power. Lacing collects on the side, nice.

The aroma is nice and sweet, candy like fruitiness, bready, as the beer warms up light hints of caramel and butterscotch. I would have liked more hop aroma too come through.

The taste starts with good sweetness and finishes with firm bitterness that lingers. Piney, cirtusy hops. I could taste a little tangerine with a grapefruit bitterness on the finish. This is one of the hoppiest pale ales I have ever had. It's really good, nice mix between the hops and malt, with a slight edge going to the hops.

Mouthfeel is good, silky smooth, full mouthfeel. No complaints here.

The drinkability of theses pale is outstanding. I wish I had more of these and I could easily see myself drinking a 6er of these in a night, if I had regular access to this beer. I had trouble not drinking this too fast while trying to take tasting notes. Get some!

Photo of paco1029384756
3.9/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear orange color with a small white head.

Scent of citrus and hops with a hint of caramel. A good, simple scent with a good hop presence.

Taste of citrus, bitter flowery hops, and a hint of caramel. Finishes fairly hoppy and lasts for a decent amount of time.

Mouthfeel is light bodied and fairly smooth with good carbonation.

Photo of NewGeneric
3.83/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this as part of a tasting session with a buddy a while back. Poured an amber color with white foamy head that left decent lacing. Smelled of citrus hops, malt and caramel. Tasted of earthy hops, malt and caramel. Smooth, but slightly overcarbed. Could drink more.

Photo of mothman
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into Sierra Nevada Tulip Pint Glass

Pours a 1/r finger of dark beige head. Retention not the best, nor the lacing. Color is an extremely hazed orange caramel brown.

Aroma: Initially, I get some caramel, then comes the hops and citrus. Pine and floral hops are well complimented with mango and peaches. Wow, this is really good coming from a Pale Ale. Almost gets a 4.5.

Taste: Right off the top I get the citrus and hop blend. Nice mango and peach flavor mixed in with a big pine flavor, backed up with some floral hops. Then the caramel malts come into play and balance things out a bit. For a pale ale. this deserves the 4.5 I am giving it.

Mouthfeel: Has a nice bite to it, but a little creamy from the malts. Somewhat balanced, but the hops are a bit dominate. Medium bodied along with a lower level of carbonation.Ends with a slight dry hoppy aftertaste.

Overall, this pale ale is great. I think it is really hard for a brewer to brew a pale ale that tastes very good, but FFF did a great job. This one went fast and even the family enjoyed a few samples.

Photo of jrallen34
4.38/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I drank this from the bottle into a chalice.

The beer poured amber in color with a weak small white head and poor lacing.

It smells hoppy with citrus and spice, but the hops are a sweer smelling hops.

This is an IPA at its core but incedibly drinkable. Its sweet but hoppy and bitter.

Photo of tronester
4.28/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a pint glass. Red/Orange in color with a creamy tan head. Super fine carbonation bubbles. Smell is a blast of Pacific Northwest hops. Taste is well balanced, caramel malt, piney, citrus hops, and a nice bitter finish. Super creamy mouthfeel, great drinkability. An excellent APA, tastes more like an IPA though, but it doesn't matter what the classification, it's great.

Photo of bfields4
4.18/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark amber border line brown with a lacy head.

Caramel, toffee and maybe even a little light roasted coffee aromas outweigh the light pine hops. This nice balance leans a little to the malty side.

The taste doesn't disappoint after the wonderful smells either. A very malty rich stickiness offsets the light grapefruit hops. Very complex brew.

A very well crafted beer. Medium to slightly heavy bodied with the rich malty backbone the light carbonation is a nice touch. Somewhat reminds me of a light barleywine.

Photo of bryanbrick
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Another great beer received in my first trade ever with d0b. He caressed me and really made me feel like he cared. Such a gentleman.

From a 12oz bottle with no apparent freshness dating.

A pretty amber, cat's eye color with a parchment head that perks right up and will come back with ease the beer pours about a ½ inch head but remains stiff throughout.

The nose here is something special. It has so much more than the American Pale Ales that I've had previous to this experience. The hops and malt are both turned way up; the surprise is not the hops though. Everyone is doing that these days; the surprise is the malt bill. Almost pushing the Amber category here. Full of crème brulee crust, coffee bean, hollowed out grapefruit halves and plenty of hazelnut candy filling. But the nicest thing is that it does all this without all the unnecessary sugary/sweet notes.

That same malt bill gives way, ever so apprehensively, to the hops on the palate. First you taste all the caramel and butterscotch, then comes this wave of bitterness that is something like juniper berries and burnt meats. The hops become very aggressive from the mid-palate on and take on a sort of metallic lean that is a touch off putting for my "balance is everything, hops will only get you so far" pallet. That being said this is still enjoyable and would be more of a Fall/Winter beer for me.

Side note-This reminds me of some of the more Amarillo based hop bomb/nightmares I've had in the past. Wonder what they are using here

The mouthfeel is slick and polished, seemingly seamless. With the exception of the bitter metallic streak this is one sexy feeling beer. Sort of weightless and gliding over the tongue, it feels kind of like how cotton candy feels as it melts, just without all the sugar and the sticky lips.

I really don't know if I could have more that 1-2 of these in anyone setting. The aforementioned metallic aspect builds to a point where it becomes cumbersome and annoying. I just wish it step out of the way and leave this otherwise well crafted beer alone.

Photo of kels
4.8/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

It's quite surprising that I haven't reviewed this beer yet. It is definitely one of my favorite every day beers. Review is on a pour into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a lovely toasted reddish brown with slight golden highlights. The liquid is slightly opaque, hazy, and shows good amounts of carbonation feeding a 2 finger foamy, rocky, cream-colored head. The head fades and retains solidly at a full finger or more, with tons of thick lacing blanketing the glass all around.

Smell: Smell is full of citrus and pine hops with the slightest hint of toasted grains/malts coming through. The smell comes through slightly sweet, slightly buttery.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Taste bursts with hops for an APA - toasted, dry grains and super-sticky grassy and grapefruity hops. The bitterness of the hops hangs in the back of the throat. The aftertaste reveals hints of caramelized malt and the slightest indication of alcohol. Feel is moderate, with enough carbonation to spread the flavors throughout the palate and keep the feel bright and refreshing. Stickiness remains in the aftertaste.

Drinkability: So high...this is one of those beers that's good whenever, wherever and with anything. I realize Three Floyd's take on most of their beers is hoppier than traditionally done, but they do hops very well - possibly best.

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

Cask at Clark Street Ale House in Chicago. Surprisingly dark amber pour with a cream colored head. Piney hops dominate the aroma of coarse, but some malt also. Taste has some nice caramel covered apple, citrus and the hops. Smooth mouthfeel, just enough carbonation, hand pull helps this of coarse. Finish is not overly bitter. Not a frequenter of pales, but this is the best American pale I've had. Three Floyds hop heavy style obviously works well with this.

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

Another want down.

A: Poured a mostly translucent copper color with a finger of white head. Only spotty lacing which was kind of surprising.

S: A nice big blast of hops. Candied sugar as well. Very sweet smelling. The hops are massive but the malt is as well. Just from the nose I would think this is around 10%.

T: Just a really nice hop blast tempered by a ton of sweetness. One of the most balanced pale ales that I have ever had. It almost has a touch of tobacco in the back.

M: A little on the thick side but damn who cares for the amount of flavor they packed into this. Carbonation is a little on the low side as well.

D: Again one of those beers that pisses me off I cannot simply go to a store to get. Probably the single best pale ale I have ever had.

Alpha King from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
95 out of 100 based on 5,350 ratings.