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Alpha King - Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub

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Alpha KingAlpha King

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

5,283 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,283
Reviews: 1,686
rAvg: 4.26
pDev: 9.15%
Wants: 870
Gots: 609 | 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: 5,283 | Reviews: 1,686 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of instrumentality
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is the last of a 6-pack I purchased somewhere between 6 and 9 months ago, but the first bottle I've actually reviewed. I remember thinking this beer was good but highly overrated initially, but maybe I'll appreciate it more now.

Glassware: Stone Imperial Russian Stout tulip glass.

A: A bit of foam oozed out of my bottle when I first opened it, so I quickly poured the contents into my glass before I lost anything significant. The off-white head began at about a finger and a half width, then quickly settled to a swirly lace encircled by a thin off-white halo. Beneath this is a translucent copper liquid full of tiny bubbles.

S: Even with a slightly congested nose, the aroma from this beer is fantastic: bitter pine and grapefruit mixed with sweet tangerine and slightly burnt toffee. I'm immediately reminded of 3F Dreadnaught, which also smelled amazing.

T: One sip and all of the odors I encountered hit my palate at once: pine, grapefruit, tangerine, and burnt toffee. Unlike in other beers where the flavors seem to evolve from one to the next from the time the liquid hits my palate to the time it escapes down my throat, the balance of flavors here is incredibly even throughout. I'm not sure if the beer's changed or if I have in the several months since I had the rest of this batch, but whatever it is, the change is for the better.

Over time, the bitter grapefruit flavor begins to become slightly more prevalent, but it's never overbearing.

M: Upon entry, there's a burn of alcohol and grapefruit. This is followed by...an absence of the burn of alcohol and grapefruit. Not much else going on here...and it makes what's left feel almost watery. Slight bitter aftertaste.

D: This is beer is very easy to drink. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale has been my go-to beer for yaers, but this one is less bitter and has a much more complex and soothing flavor. Too bad I'll probably never see this beer on tap in California, let alone matching the overwhelming availability of SNPA.

instrumentality, Mar 07, 2007
Photo of TheBeerBaron14
4.65/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I found this beer while in Illinois (PLEASE BRING YOUR BEER TO MISSOURI!!!). This might be the finest drinking pale ale I have consumed that was not called an APA or IPA.

A-a nice copper hazey color to it.

S-Like walking through a forest of Hops, very citrusy and piney.

T-It has an nice hop characteristic on the front of the tonuge, but finishes with a smooth malty flaor.

M-Nice and light, yet full.(huh?)

D-The 6% aspect says "I should only have 2-3" the taste says "I should have 6-7"

Good Job Three Floyds!!!! Now please bring it to MIssouri so I can help out the environment by not driving to Illinois to purchase this beer.

TheBeerBaron14, Mar 01, 2007
Photo of Nipitato
3.83/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a six pack at Chuck's Wine & Liquors in Chagrin Falls, OH.

A: Dark russet copper. Thin off white head. Brilliant clarity.

S: Strong intense grassy hoppy aroma, which is also slightly citrusy. Sweet malty background notes also come through.

T: Strong hoppy grapefruit flavor with a lingering aftertaste. Sweet malt is detectable towards the back end. Not caramel if anything a little toasty. Bitterness is also clearly present and prominent.

MF: Medium. Soapy, nearly cloying mouthfeel. Overall a smooth finish without astringency.

D: A muscular in your face hoppy pale ale. If I didn't know what I was drinking I would say it was an IPA. That being said it grew on me. I'll get it again when I am back in Ohio - too bad 3F does not get out to Massachusetts.

Nipitato, Feb 28, 2007
Photo of JDK
4.7/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to the Anderson's in Lima, OH for getting this back in stock for me!
Poured a cloudy amber color with a 1 finger head that slowly disappeared.
Nice lacing that clung to the sides for quite a while
Sweet hoppy smell with light citrus
Medium mouthfeel, not overly carbonated and has a nice lingering grapefruit aftertaste.
Very good ale overall, definately one of my favorites!

JDK, Feb 28, 2007
Photo of drinknewbelgium
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

pours dark with a great head that lasts with the entire beer smells citrus and hops tasts citrusy with strong hop content with the perfect balance feels full and goes done smooth could drink these all night

exceptional beer drink one if you can get your hands on it

drinknewbelgium, Feb 25, 2007
Photo of TheBungyo
4.43/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to czoch for the trade!

This pours a nice burgundy caramel color. Head is minimal and I wish it was more assertive. nose is candied grapefruit and caramel and it smells great. Almost too hoppy for a pale but dear lord I love it.

Taste starts off with hop bitterness, rind of orange, lemon, caramel, and finishes with grapefruit. This would definitely be a respected IPA. I'm conflicted here. I know a pale shouldn't be this hoppy but it tastes so damn good. Honestly I don't buy many pales becauseI just don't find them interesting. This on the other hand is wonderful, the malt is upfront but the hops still conquer them. I really am enjoying this beer.

Bottom line, this pale rocks if you love hops. I think it's more of an IPA than a pale but I love it in spite of that. I know for a fact I would buy this alll the time if I could.

TheBungyo, Feb 25, 2007
Photo of mikesgroove
3.88/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy burnt amber, with no real large head. What was there faded quickly but left a film of gooey, drippy lace skimming on the top, lots of eddys and swirls rounding about on it. Deep dripping lace down the glass, and a bit of a bubble stream coming up from the bottom. Smell was big and strong. Big citrus players here, lots of orange and grapefruit. Very sweet smell, like orange sherbert or candy. Very nice and plesing to the nose, smells like it will be a winner. Taste struck me as odd, after all the sugary itrus in the smell, none really came through in the taste. There was a strong bitter hop presence, providing lots of IBU's however it was more of a pine,resiney type of hops, rather then the sweet candy orange that came through at first. Nice and crisp, clean, very dry and long lingering finish, leaving a taste of burntor raosted pine for several minutes after a sip. Goes down very smooth and clean, not overally carbonated, and not syrupy either. A nice IPA, and a good call from Three Floyds.

mikesgroove, Feb 24, 2007
Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.93/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - this APA pours a burnt umber, dark brownish/ruddy red color with a thin than head that fades quickly to a lacing, several streams of swift carbonation keep it afloat

S - wow, a nice big floral hoppy aroma, with a strong sweet background of a caramel/brown sugar type scent, with also some slight citrus undertones

T - an amazing flavor, again big floral hoppiness, but it tastes much more mellow than one would expect, the citrus that the bottle mentions is present but takes a backseat to the floral taste, the sweetness from the nose is extant, however has diminished further into the background

M&D - smooth and highly palatable with a manageable bitterness, nice mouthcoat and easy down carbonation, all in all a great APA, probably one of, if not the best i've had to date

sinstaineddemon, Feb 21, 2007
Photo of umustdrink
4.03/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Hazy orange yellow color with a good amount of carbonation rising up through the beer. Also a very interesting microscopic sediment cloud suspended perfectly in the center of the beer. Head is offwhite small bubbles, settles at a nice film. Lacing coats everywhere the beer touches.

S - Mostly a bitter orange hop aroma with an interesting spice background, coriander and cayenne pepper.

T - Good hop-malt balance here, a sweet spicy background with both of the spices mentioned above.

M - Consistency is thin and oily that allows for lots of taste to linger long after you swallow.

D - Very fine APA, with interesting herbal/spicy notes in the taste. Not the best I've had but it is very good.

umustdrink, Feb 21, 2007
Photo of schusterbauer
4.88/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

went in with skepticism, and was quickly put in my place. this may very well live up to the hype of being the best APA out there.

thick, cloudy orange-brown color with a big head and lots of sticky lacing. smells like fruit preserves, orange juice, hops, herbs, caramel. tastes like herbal tea, natural fruit juices -- cherry, orange, grapefruit, peach...; tons of hops, but they're nicely blended with bread and malt flavors. this is complex, which is something i don't normally associate with the style. robust in the mouth, but very smooth, and very refreshing. this could be guzzled by the gallon, the only obstacle being the abv.

schusterbauer, Feb 20, 2007
Photo of Newglarusguy
4.72/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my mug stein, ah what a beautiful thing.

Appearance: This ale pours a wonderful deep orange cloudy expierence.

Smell: Glory, wonderful, superb, it smells of citrusy hops predominatly Cenntennial, Cascade & Warrior Hops.

Taste: Excellent, nothing like it around I've tasted, and I've tasted plenty of APA's before but anyway it tastes of again citrus hops a dinty hint of malts in there to balance the equasion of this fine brew, but this is definently a hop lovers brew I tell you what.

Mouthfeel: It's like everything you've ever asked for in a ale, great taste, great smoothness and all of the above it's like premium heaven washing around your mouth.

Drinkability: Near perfect and that's all there is to it.

Newglarusguy, Feb 19, 2007
Photo of kajerm
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a stunning red-amber with fine lacing carbonation. Smells like a great big citrusy ball of hops, but it's not as boring as it should be at this stage in my hoppy American beer-drinking life. The floral and citrus notes just balance so nice...

And it don't taste too bad neither. Hoppy as hell, but if you didn't know that, then you didn't look up "alpha acids" on wikipedia before you bought this beer and you're getting what you deserve. It tastes like citrus, grass, and mounds of bittering hops. Yes, it's another American-style hop bomb, but Three Floyds has taken a single-minded style and just nailed it completely. The mouthfeel is crisp, with a strong carbonation that complements the hop profile. It's crisp and refreshing, and I could see myself knocking back a bunch of these. Hell, I just did.

kajerm, Feb 17, 2007
Photo of balconybrew
3.8/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a flute. Amber with orange and red hues. Large head rose and fell slowly. Small bubbled head fell and left lacing on the sides. I smell oranges and grapefruits. Definate "c" hops. Same taste as aroma hits you, then leaves a grapefruit hop bitterness as an aftertaste. Mouthfeel is good and bubbly with a dry finish. A clean drink that you could have more than one of...

balconybrew, Feb 14, 2007
Photo of Tyrawlings
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap poured into a pint glass.

A: Amber with orange hues. Fluffy white one fingered head takes it sweet old time dissolving into a nice soft mirco bubble layer on the the top of the serving. Sticky spider web like lacing crawls all over the glass.

S: Aromatic floral and citrus. Pine sap. Yeast and sweet malt. Wet earth.

T: Big citrus and pine hops are followed by a medicine like bitter hop bite and grapefruit. A malt wave kicks in and balances the beer out perfectly. The beer finishes with a clean and leafy or tea like aftertase.

M: Clean and smooth. Medium carbonation. Slick but drying mouthfeel.

D: This is one extremely clean and refreshing brew. Drinkability is off the charts. A session beer for hopheads and a regular in my refrigerator. Highly Recommended.

Tyrawlings, Feb 13, 2007
Photo of techdiver
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, deep amber color with minimal head that dissipates quickly.

Nice hoppy grapefruit nose.

Taste reflects the nose, with a bit of complexity. Finishes with emphasis on grapefruit.

Mouthfeel is medium to heavy with a need for more carbonation.

Drinkability is good, easy to savor a few of these.

techdiver, Feb 11, 2007
Photo of Jwaks
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving: 12oz bottle

Small, lonely bubbles journey upwards through a translucent amber colored brew to a flat patchy off-white head that forms a ring just below a bit of gaunt white lace.

Loads of citrus, lemon, grapefruit, and lime are on the nose backed-up by a bit of sweet mild malt. The aromas scream "hops!"

Disarming malts join forces with sharp piney hops which easily flow over the palate, each offers no prepareation for the deluge of citrus on the mid palate that launches a continuing onsaught as nutty malts retreat on the finish to reveal refreshing astringent lemon and slowly retreating juicy, citrus flavors. The grip on the slightly dry finish is awesome, much better than another other pale ale I've had the pleasure of tasting.

Mouthfeel is excellent, this beer handily coats the mouth without much fizzy carbonation to alter the flavor. Punishing hops and a slightly dry finish keep drinkability from being exceptional, a bit more malt balance would make this perfectly drinkable.

Whatever this may be, a PA - IPA hybrid, an ESB or a true IPA it doesn't matter, it's one great beer.


Jwaks, Feb 08, 2007
Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.6/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my Dogfish Head pint glass.
Pours a very dark amber brown color. It has a frothy head that quickly recedes and leaves lots of nice lacing on the side of the glass.
Smell is very piny hops with some grassy undertones.
Taste is much the same, except with a good amount of hop bitterness to it. Mouthfeel is crisp with a good amount of bitterness. This has a decent about to maltiness and pretty full mouthfeel.
This is a highly sessionable beer which doesn't get old after drinking a few.

FtownThrowDown, Feb 07, 2007
Photo of GPHarris
4.6/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

a - poured a one finger thick off-white head into a snifter. the body is a dark amber color with a light haze. the head leaves a bubbly lace throughout with light sheeting, it only takes a light swirl to really agitate the head again.
s - hops! grapefruit and pine with a little malt hint.
t - orange zest is the dominant flavor but it has a little grassy taste with some malt in the finish.
m - it's bubbly, smooth and creamy all at the same time. it is so clean it leaves zero aftertaste or lingering on the tongue immediately after the sip.
d - this is superb. i could drink this beer all night long. if there is a better APA out there i haven't had it and they've really done something if it's better than the alpha king. this alpha king is the alpha male of APAs.

GPHarris, Jan 30, 2007
Photo of jjayjaye
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours amber orange with a small light tan head that fades fairly quickly. A film of lace when agitated, fades to a lingering washed pattern. A dominant citrus hop aroma with an underlying earthiness. Creamy while hopped, with a nice amount of carbonation that adds to a very satisfying complexity. Tastes somewhere between an IPA and a Pale Ale. Enjoyed it. Thanks JH!

jjayjaye, Jan 27, 2007
Photo of kimcgolf
4.38/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured to a hazy reddish-orange with thin off-white hhead that lingered well and left good lacing along the glass. Nice strong aroma of grapefruit citrus, with a hint of grassy hops. Taste followed along the citrus vein. A tangy mouthfeel led to a dry bitter finish, much more like an IPA than an APA. A most enjoyable beer!!

kimcgolf, Jan 27, 2007
Photo of markgugs
4.6/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass
- sent to me graciously by BA member "cardsmith"

Honestly, this beer disappeared so quickly I'm not sure I can even review it, but let's see what I remember.

A: poured beautifully, a delicious-looking copperish orange color, a nice 2-finger head and instant lacing. I can tell right away it's going to be stellar, especially when I stick my nose down to get the...

S: ...wonderful aroma emanating from this brew. It's all very subtle, yet enticing at once. Some floral aroma, a nice pink grapefruit and certainly some piney smells.

T: Wow. Just, wow. Seriously, this beer disappeared so quickly, the flavors are just complex enough, and just subtle enough that it's damned near chuggable. There is without a doubt a gorgeous piney overtone to the beer (from the Centennial hops?) as well as some wonderful malted undertones. Utterly delicious. I could drink this all night.

M: Again, just nothing at all wrong with this beer. It feels "right" in your mouth and bigger than usual gulps are real easy, too easy in fact.

D: As I just mentioned, this is an all day, all night beer. One of the most drinkable I've yet encountered. Even my burps taste good.

Highly recommended.

markgugs, Jan 24, 2007
Photo of jasonjlewis
4.43/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got in a trade with David Eddie.

Nice head that has good retention. I poured this beer into a pint glass.

Smell of glorious hops. MMM. Hoppier than most pale ales. Hoppier than certain IPAs. Very nice hoppy taste, but not one dimensional at all. Pale malts come into balance. A little bit of caramel, but not as much as other pale ales. Brewed more like an ipa, but it's not. It's just a stronger pa. Tastes like centennial hops rather than cascade, however different than westcoast brewers like stone and alesmith's cascades.

Decent mouthfeel. A nice sessionable beer. MMM.

jasonjlewis, Jan 21, 2007
Photo of Grundle20
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The color is copper with an orange shift to it. There's quite a bit more haze than I remember there being but I'm drinking this beer awfully cold. The head is tan in color and about a quarter inch in size, with mediocre retention and lacing.

The scent is strong and pleasing with big notes of apricot, caramel, and pineapple.

Taste and Mouthfeel:
For an American pale ale this beer falls on to the malty side of the spectrum. The strong scents don't really translate to strong flavors as the malts dominate the hops in this beer. Not to say the hops aren't present because there is a minor note of apricot. The body is malty and smooth with some bitter orange rind sting in the fore. The finish is moderately clean leaving a pure aftertaste.

It's not quite as refreshing as other American pale ales but it's a very savory beer. It's a good balance of flavor versus substance.

Bottom Line:
This is my favorite beer of all time possibly but this is certainly not my favorite bottle of this beer I've ever had. The hops didn't present themselves as much as they usually do and the beer drank a little flat, possibly an old bottle.

Grundle20, Jan 20, 2007
Photo of DrMalt
4.68/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Acquired in a trade with Demcorhip.

Expectations were high, shouldn't have read about it before I tried it.

Shared a 12oz bottle (thankfully friend enjoyed as much as I ).

Poured a somewhat hazy amber with hints of orange & a medium sized frothy head.

Taste was definitively APA with loads of hop bitterness, but for me without some of the sometimes "off" bitterness that others can bring. I was surprised by the unique & impressive hop flavours that this beer brought to an APA.

Mouthfeel was good & I think because of the balance of the brew. Malt vs. hop.

Drinkability was simply outstanding. I have always enjoyed drinking APA's for their drinkability & thought it would be hard to top a Liberty or Red Seal Ale. But for my palatte this tops em' all.

My sense is the other BA's that tasted & reviewed this must know a thing or two. Just a great rendition of an APA!

DrMalt, Jan 13, 2007
Photo of Absumaster
4.55/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got this from a trade with dogfooddog.

An amber, brown beer with a small head and very little visible carbonation.

Smell is near perfect, very hoppy with grapefruit and lemon smells, citric. It is all very fresh and pleasant. After the first hop explosion there is a nice malty smell that is also a bit wort-like (mash).

Taste is bitter, citric and grapefruit, with some piny flavors. Very fresh and pleasant to drink, from now on this is my favorite beerstyle, easy to drink, low in alcohol and high in taste. The hop is backed up by the maltiness, which comes alive when my tongue gets used to the bitterness. Body is medium and gives a nice balance to the bitterness. The beer is not sweet and sticky. Aftertaste is piny and grapefruit bitter which is lingering and even my burps taste good.

This is one of the best beers I have ever tasted! Thanks dogfooddog!

Absumaster, Jan 12, 2007
Alpha King from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
95 out of 100 based on 5,283 ratings.