Alpha King - 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Alpha KingAlpha King

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

5,726 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,726
Reviews: 1,755
rAvg: 4.26
pDev: 9.15%
Wants: 917
Gots: 894 | FT: 28
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: 5,726 | Reviews: 1,755
Photo of gdogalishus
3.87/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Serving from a bottle into a tumbler.
Serving temperature 46 degrees F.
pH measured 4.51
Alcohol content measured was 7.8% by residual extract method

Significantly higher alcohol content measured than that quoted for this beer... double checked the measurements.
Alpha King poured nicely into the glass and resulted in a rather typical pale ale in appearance. Very clear with a 3/4 to 1 inch head of fluffy bubles with a ever so slight green hue in the head. The bottle claims that this beer is bottle conditioned and that is the reason for the slight haze in the beer. I didn't notice the haze at all and can read this review through the tumbler. The head dissipated quickly in the glass. Low carbonation almost vanished by mid glass. The color was a hint dark for a pale ale, but not out of the ordinary.
The aroma was distinctively hoppy. Flavor was an initial maltly sweetness for a brief moment, then a rush of hop bitterness that spread across the entire mouth and throat. The mouthfeel was a little more thick than I expected, but I didn't notice until after the third or fourth swallow.
I feel this beer is a perfectly acceptable example of an American Pale Ale and Three Floyds deserves the praise and recognition they recieve for this beer. I will drink this again.

Photo of Vipsanius
4.62/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Just got in a couple of six packs of this much heralded beer. After trying a few glasses, I found my Orval chalice to be the most rewarding (pint glass and others just didn't do it justice). The appearance is a fairly transparent amber color with a little bit of a red tint, very small off white head but with surprisingly decent lacing, however.

Floral and citrus hops dominate the aroma, which also has some sweet caramel malt, piney hop and dark fruit undertones.

The taste is as hoppy as a bunny rabbit on caffeine pills but in a very controlled and balanced sort of way. Not insanely out of control with the hops like some pale ales I've had. This is by far the widest range of flavors I've had from an APA to date. There's no one taste really dominating the others but a lot going on there. Citrus hops, floral hops, small amount of piney hops, which is good because a little goes a long way, vanilla, pomegranate (wth), honey, plum and many other flavors. Also, there's a surprising amount of malt flavors that come through and leave a very nice aftertaste.

This beer is velvety smooth going down and has just the right amount of carbonation. The alcohol is somewhat noticeable but not too bad considering the percentage.

Overall, a great and very drinkable American Pale Ale and definitely the first one I would recommend to someone interested in trying out the style. A great APA, in my mind, should also be a good session beer and this one certainly is...just be careful with the alcohol % as it can sneak up on you.

Photo of Schwarzbart
4.31/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Honey orange amber color. The bottle said there may be some sediment, but mine was very clear with no sediment. Hardly any head and very little lacing.
Smell: Lots of nose to this one with smells of papaya, mango, raison, orange, grapefruit, orange rind, lemon, clean lemon grass hops. The malt gives it a grainy quality. Awesome.
Taste: Lots of grassy hop flavor with slight grapefruit on the tongue. Aftertaste is all grass. As it warmed the hops seemed to get more leafy and earthy tasting. Not as flavorful as the nose indicated and a little peppery, but a good tasting APA that is bordering an IPA.
Mouthfeel: Carbonation and mouthfeel is prickly and jumpy at first and slowly smoothes out. As the beer warms it is less prickly and more smooth. Good mouthfeel.
Drinkability: Easy to drink and one of the best APA's.

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

I rate the taste here on the basis of the category of American Pale Ale. It clearly is exceptional in its category, and stands head and shoulders above Sierra's like brew. To say the taste is anything less than explosive is not giving it a fair shake, IMO. The taste is strong, yet balanced, loaded with flavor on the sides and back of the tongue. The obvious downside is that most people just aren't always in the mood for a pale ale, and if that's the case you shouldn't reach for this beer (thus the 4 I give it for drinkability). That's not a statement of the beer, so much as the beer drinker and knowing their mood.

Either way, I was shocked to see this in the liquor store down the road, having no idea this was distributed in NJ. When I went to the liquor store to get a few bags of ice for a NYE party and came back with ice plus a 6 pack of this and a Dogfish Head Raison that I had run out of, I was forced to go with the explanation that this is the top ranked APA and I couldn't pass it up. While dubious, the wife understood. In any event, the high ranking is well warranted and I'm damn glad I got this beer.

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.

Photo of wingnutter
4.03/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a surprising golden amber color. Little to no head, but I pour slowly and tilted to minimize head.

Smells like an IPA. Hops, slight floral notes...

Tastes hoppy but a bit bland upon first sip. Not much more than hops going on. Not much malt to compliment the hops yet.

After letting it warm up for 10 minutes after the first sip, Im now getting some maltiness. I guess it was a bit too cold and that masked the taste a bit. This is a good APA. Sweetness is now backing up the bitter hops. The taste is something I can only describe as "delicate". Strong hops, but balanced nicely, making it a nice and friendly drinking beer. Smooth as hell. After a few more minutes, I taste a twinge of grassiness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is light but not whimpy. Ive been drinking alot of IPAs and DIPAs lately, so maybe Im just used to heavier beers recently. Its a good mouthfeel, just not very big.

Definately recommended, but not sure if its worthy of its rating at the best APA.

Photo of RedwoodGeorge
3.84/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

You know, I was a bit dubious when I tasted this "pale ale" from Three Floyds as it sure tastes like an IPA to me. Now that I see it listed as 7.3% ABV (even though the 3F website lists it as 6% ABV) I'm even more tempted to consider this a misclassified IPA and deduct points because it deviates from the APA style. Tempted, yes but it's such a good beer I'm going to cut it some slack - after does it really matter what they call the beer if you like it?

The pour is surprisingly uninspired - not much carbonation to speak of, no real head an no lacing on the glass. The beer itself is a deep golden brown that hints of the caramelized malts to come.

The smell is very inviting with lots of resinous hop notes. The beer smells piney and floral with some herbaceous odors as well. The taste is quite wonderful - lots of strong malts to balance the hops and bring a real robustness to the brew. The hops are large and in charge with assertive bitterness and a strongly floral flavor (very "East Coast") Big doses of Centennial hops with a peppery spiciness as well as a strong complex herbal flavoring. No citric notes to be found, the hopping seems quite similar to Stone's IPA.

Mouthfeel is disappointing especially for a bottle conditioned ale. I can only hope that this particular bottle didn't have enough residual sugar for the yeast to carbonate with. Mouthfeel is a little on the oily side without enough effervesence to cleanse the palate. Bitter finish to the drink but not overpowering (if you're a hop head)

In many ways I'm very pleased with this beer and I can understand why it's a crowd favorite. For a "Pale Ale" it's got a tremendous amount of personality with both a strong malt body and a powerful hop finish. This'll please and impress any IPA fan but will also likely scare way any drinker of lighter brews. Personally the hop combination isn't my favorite (it's a bit too floral) but it's quite well crafted and something I'd look forward to drinking again.

[Thanks to IrishRedRock for sending this westward in a trade...]

Photo of AltBock
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle with a very interesing picture on the front and information about beer on the side. It said that this is their flagship beer and it was bottle conditioned.

Appearance: Poured a clear light copper color with a very small head of white foam that dissipated fast after the beer settled. But it did leave some lace around the mug though.

Smell: It had a strong aroma of citrus fruits, like grapefruit, plenty of bitter hops and some pine in the background.

Taste: It had a pleasant strong taste of spicy citrus bitter hops. That's it, nothing else but the spicy citrus fruits and the hops. Very Good!

Mouthfeel: Although that strong citrus bitter hops lingers around in the back of your mouth for a while, it still goes down nice and smooth. I still don't believe that this beer clocks in a 7.35% ABV, I sure as hell didn't feel it.

Drinkability: Let's just say I can understand why this beer is considered their flagship beer. Keep up the good work 3 Floyds!

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

12 oz, longneck, brown bottle.

This pale ale poured a clear, coppery color with creamy, light tan foam. The smell was dominated by hops! But there was a touch of caramel malt in the nose as well. The taste was bitter hops and some citrusy hops balanced by a good maltiness. The finish was dominated by the hops (both bitter and citrus). The mouthfeel wad dry and hoppy with medium body and modest carbonation feel. The dry malt flavor and the hoppiness lingered in the finish. This was a very nice, American pale ale, and the high ABV is hidden well.

Photo of jhammerly
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I finally acquiried this brew during a roadtrip to John's Grocery in Iowa City. I must say it was worth the wait. To be honest though, I think I was attracted to the beer due to its artwork on the label more than the beer itself. Labeling once again pays off for the brewery. This was a delightful treat.

Poured into an imperial pint glass from the bottle, I received a near perfect pour. An orangish amber body with an off-white two-fingered head. A wonderful aroma of citrusy hops with a hint of pine (can someone please market this aroma as an air freshener?). The hop flavor just coats the tongue and lingers there for awhile. It is strong, but not overpowering. If not for the high ABV, this could be a nice session beer because it isn't heavy and it is very drinkable.

Photo of orsulacp
4.02/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer poured a clear amber with a decent size slight off white head. The smell is dominated bye the hops but there is a decent amount of malt coming through. The hops were citrus and the malt was bready. I thought I smelt chocolate but my wife said I was insane. Slight bitter taste at first then the malt washes this away, then a slight bitter taste is left on the tongue. This beer is refreshing, the low carbonation and medium mouthfeel usually don't support this but it did here. Very good beer.

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

Ahh, the elusive Three Floyds beer are always a treat (I'm stuck on the West Coast) and this was no exception.

The beer poured a rich orange hue and had a nice tan head. The aroma was a pungent burst of citrus and pine. The maltiness was a light caramel sweetness with some dextrins adding to a hearty mouthfeel for a pale ale. The hops were bold, but well balanced by the malt. Carbonation was right on.

This is an excellent beer that I would never pass up if I saw some in front of me. It's on par with the Bell's Two Hearted ale, which in my opinion really puts it in the category of IPA, albeit on the milder side of American IPAs.

Photo of arguemaniac
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice chestnut amber with a foamy head that leaves a sticky, sprawling lace. An outstanding aroma featuring floral and citrus hops with some maltiness in the very background. The flavor is dominated by an incredibly tasty citrus hop spice with some sweet, fruity malt notes that balance very nicely. In fact, a toasted, caramel malt flavor comes through very noticeably as well. The mouthfeel is quite smooth with a subtle carbonation tang.

This is easily the best pale ale I’ve tasted since having tried the American pale ale examples produced by Legend and Sierra Nevada. As many other BA’s have observed, it certainly is a lot hoppier than your typical American pale ale, but, as most of those BA’s have also pointed out, who cares, it’s fantastic!! Highly recommended

Photo of beermanbrian
4.59/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Copper color with an off white sticky head but who cares how it looks with that awesome smell. All citrus hops. Probably out of the range of a APA and more like an IPA but so what, it's a great beer. Taste shows more of the hops bitterness but there is plenty of malt to balance it out. Dry finish for this full bodied beer. Very drinkable beer, my wife and I flew through a case of this. Would recommend for any hop head out there but my guess is that you've already had it.

Photo of Lnedrive14
4.57/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to the one and only Beerpanther - purveyor of beer extraordinare. And a helluva good guy.

I will start of by saying that I've had this beer before, and from what I remembered I kept thinking it was misclassified, and that it was really more of an IPA. Well, it isnt. This here, folks, is just one damn fine pale ale.

A: Pours a reddish amber with a small white head, which dissipates quickly leaving a ring of lacing around my pint glass. It's a very earthy looking beer - i feel it is what a good homebrew should look like.

S: Whoa hops gallore! Maybe the smell is why I thought it was an IPA. Some definite spiciness and alcohol presence in there. Some kind of fruit, maybe pomegranite in there as well.

T: Oh, so good. So good. Hops hit immediately, but they receede quickly and the sweet apple flavors dominate. Also some pear and nectarine in there. It's quite a fruity beer, but it is definitely the sweetness of the fruit that overshadows any other flavors.

M: Silky smooth. I can't really image a Pale Ale feeling better than this.

D: So easy. The sweetness really makes this an easy to drink pale ale. It is just perfect. The hope are prevelent, but not overwhelming to the point where I only want one or two.

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

Poured from the bottle into a pub glass.

Appearance: This beer is a very nice dark amber. The head was a towering whiteness very fluffy it had major staying power.

Smell: This beer is massively juicy with citrus and hop maddness.

Taste: This is a great tasting beer. There is a fantastic citrus base. This base explodes into hoppy madness. Just fantastically spicy. The beer does have a small malty assist.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: This beer is full bodied. Nice carbonation helps the brew slide down. This is one of my favorites.

Photo of semihobo
3.9/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

After hearing so much about Three Floyds, I picked some up on a road trip to Chicago and brought it home with me.

Odd looking label, I guess "alpha" probably refers to alpha acids. Good name. Pours with a slightly off white, large, dense head. Color is a beautiful ruby / amber. The color is entrancing, and bubbles rising slowly to the top round out the appearance.

Smell is hoppy for an APA, as citrusy as they say on the label. Fruity and lemony, very inviting. The fruit scent is enhanced by some sweet malt notes that take a backseat to the hops.

The taste is certainly not that of a "classic" APA. It's all hops, potent and citrusy with a pleasant bitter finish. There is a subtle malt background, but this is quite the hophead take on an APA. Interesting, and the hops are tasty, but the imbalance is a bit extreme. Points for creativity, though. Alcohol is well masked in the taste, although there's no denying its effect.

Mouthfeel is a little thin, although the carbonation is pleasant. About average. Very dry finish, in a good way.

This brew suffers on the drinkability. Not so much the high alcohol, but the one-dimensional taste. An interesting take on an American Pale Ale, not the classic advertised on the bottle but quite tasty. Still, more like an IPA or DIPA, and after one I'm ready for something else.

Photo of Xadoor
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a copper orange colour with a big foamy head. Lots of lacing in the glass. Citrus and floral hop aroma. Flavour is full and bold, almost approaching an IPA. Slightly bitter and dry finish. Higher alcohol is only slightly noticeable. Very drinkable beer, particulary with a meal.

Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.97/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had never heard of Three Floyds before I was up at the New England Beer Festival and told a few people there that I might be heading to the midwest (the trip's off now, but that's another story) sometime around Christmas. Everyone's telling me "You have to pick up some Three Floyds" or "Do what you can to get your hands on the Alpha King". I didn't know what the big deal was, but two weeks ago, the liquor store in my town got this and a few of their other brews in from Indiana. Needless to say, I was pretty excited, but cautious if the beer could live up to the hype...

...today, I write this review with no caution in my voice, and undoubtedly one the best beers I've ever had in my hand. Yes, it's that freaking good! Poured out a nice orange-amber color with a slight haze/transluscence, and had a bouquet whose only rival is another Pale Ale which I adore (in Sierra Nevada). The head could have been a bit higher, but the full citrus and pine scents kick in nicely and intermingle wonderfully with the dry hops that make this pale ale different from any I've had before. One sip after that won me over - there was so much going on and it almost seemed like an orgainzed mess, but somehow, all of it fit together beautifully. Flavors are wonderful up front and they linger on top of the hops as I swished around the beer and swallowed it ever so slowly. Not having any time, or lots of time between sips didn't matter as the aftertaste was wonderful in itself. Neither heavy nor watery, there was very little malt aftertaste and the beer just danced around on my tongue. It's not often that I forgot that I'm drinking this early in the game!

The lacing could be a bit better, but everything else about this brew makes up for it. It's a lot to take in, even down to it's strong finish, and unlike any Pale Ale I've ever had. Floral notes can also be detected in it's taste, and it's not as buttery as the runner up from northern California is. That being said, this beer is unique, bold, and was worth all of the hype and advance word of mouth. Three Floyds could change the name of this brew to just "King" - I am certain that few, if any, would beg to differ...

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

Excellent looking copper/orange beer with a minimal head. Murky and nice...

Aroma is good. Filled with hops, floral, citrus... but never overpoweringly so.

Taste is wonderful. Wonderful punch of hops and a touch of pine. Mellows out to a nice touch of malt. Great beer.

Mouthfeel is very good, as well.

Nicely done.

Photo of ChiSox05
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

smell: hops across the board, floral with fruits all paired with citrus. put it in a tulip or wide wine glass and got strawberry-banana-kiwi smells, all the while sugary ruby red grapefruit as the base. great, strong hop scent, but not aggravating in the least, floral.

noticeably clear, amber/orange beer, in a pint glass poured a stout, off-white head that held up well. unique bottle art, looks great

the aftertaste is when the malt finally shows itself with a warm buttery biscuit flavor over most of the tongue. before that, the malt seemed to lead one hop taste to the next. hops are citrusy and oily. Mouth smacking fresh bitterness stays on the sides of the tongue with faint spiciness.

oily, smooth, balanced bitterness on sides of tongue, spiciness in aftertaste with some dryness, clean, crisp, fine carbonation

so drinkable that 3Floyd's can't make enough of it. 7.35% alchohol isn't believable if not for warmth and adding to your good mood after finding this. dry APA with a hop backbone that shows in every characteristic of this stuff, can't get enough of it lately. session king.

Photo of Franchise
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a nice dark amber, with a nice white lace that sticks to the side of the glass. The smell is citrus, hops, and lemons and flavored with a sweetness of honey and the faintest hint of vanilla. The taste is great, it has a nice bitter kick from the hops as well as some great lemon flavor that is brought out by the honey. The mouthfeel on the palate is very clean. Great beer overall glad I was able to get my hands on this beer, I will def go back to it again.

Photo of roan22
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've heard wonderful and amazing things about this beer and I was so excited to try it. When I poured it out, the appearance of the famed Three Floyd's Alpha King was not so pale, it was sort of a hazy, reddish-brown. But it was frothy and lacey on the glass. The carbonation appeared appropriate.

Not sure exactly how fresh this bottle was because the label fell off at some point between the cold case and my kitchen, and I couldn't find it (picked it up at the foodery). The smell is rich, intense, wonderful cascade hops, just right.

The taste was truly exceptional, and got even better as the beer warmed a tad. It tasted lovely; pine and citrus hops yet balanced perfectly by malts. It tasted surprisingly pale, the darker color is truly deceiving. The freshness and drinkability was ultimately the crown jewel of this beer. Its so rich, balanced and flavorful; truly is as good as everyone says it is on BA.

Photo of cheers2beers
4.55/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter from the bottle. Can't tell if the guy on the bottle is a merman or a goblin of some sort.

Appearance: Pours a wonderfull bronze and honey hue. Nice head that did not grow too large and settled into a small layer of lace on top of this gorgeous liquid.

Smell: Hop and floral aromas mix right off the bat. As I keep smelling I detect very sweet apples almost like a crumb cake or struedel, very delicious. Great balanced aroma.

Taste: Very strange in that the hops are definitely there yet they are not. Balanced and yet etheral hop blend. Some slight citris rind, toast, apple mead, and an alcohol content that is superbly hidden.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium with average carbonation. Lightly syurpy and very pleasant.

Drinkability: WARNING! This beer has the potential to put you down for the night if you are not careful. I could easily drink 3-4 and not even realize it. It was a true pleasure to put this offering from FFF between my cheek and gums.

-cheers2beers-

Photo of sacfly
4.62/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a slightly hazy golden orange color. Off white head with medium bubbles. Smell is a wonderful sweet citrus, orange and grapefruit.

First taste: hop flavors balanced very well with the malt. Just the right amount of crystal malt without being too sweet. Just the right amount of citrus and pine without being too over the top. Pine comes out more in the bitter aftertaste.

A quite tasty APA. I have waited for a long time for this and it did not disappoint. Just saw this is 7.35%ABV??? Wow. Never would have guessed.

Alpha King from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 5,726 ratings.