1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

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

Alpha King Pale AleAlpha King Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,246 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4246
Reviews: 1646
rAvg: 4.27
pDev: 9.13%

Brewed by:
Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub visit their website
Indiana, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  6.66% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
3 Floyd’s flagship beer, Alpha King is a big American pale ale that pours a deep amber with a creamy head. This ale is brewed with Centennial, Cascade, and Warrior hops giving it an intense citrus aroma and a crisp hoppy finish.

68 IBU

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-23-2000)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Alpha King Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,246 | Reviews: 1,646 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of RoyalT


3.58/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – This one poured a nice, clear orangish-brown with a huge, puffy, retentive head.

Smell – The sharp, East Coast hop profile seems to have a bit of pine. This was a welcome surprise. I can pick up some light grain as well but clearly this is a hop-dominated APA.

Taste – The hops came out big at the taste but did not show a lot of depth, leaving this flavor profile a bit unbalanced. The malts were light and overmatched.

Mouthfeel – This one was somewhere between light and medium-bodied and didn’t hold up well to the big hops, but the bitterness was just wonderfully done.

Drinkability – This is a light, easy-drinking APA that I thought could have used a bit more depth.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2005 22:41:15 | More by RoyalT
Photo of tapman


3.58/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I get that the 3Fs make decent brews, but why the hefty price tag for the big bottles? Oh well, as for their more affordable Alpha King...

Pours rusty-red and orange hues towards the lighter bottom of the glass. Not much head at 1 finger, but the lacing sticks with it pretty well.

The aromas are citrus and grass with hints of pomegranate for that not-too-sweet fruitiness.

I believe the hops I'm getting are cascade, the most abundant American hop unless I am mistaken then please tell me. Earthy/grassy tartness with a bit of an alcohol sting. There is a sea-saltiness that compliments the bread-like malt back.

The carbonation is crispy. Overall the beer is creamy and smooth with a stingy finish.

Quite decent. I could enjoy 2-3 of these before the taste buds need a break from being worked so hard. I look forward to trying the $17 bottles one day, but for now this will do just fine.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2007 19:16:31 | More by tapman
Photo of charlzm


3.58/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed 04/25/08/.

Pours a hazy medium gold with a two finger, white (light yellow?) head.

Aroma is soapy.

Flavor is restrained but interesting. Some caramel maltiness and strong but smoothly bitter. Juicy, whistle-whetting brew.

Well balanced, very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2008 01:45:59 | More by charlzm
Photo of Soneast


3.58/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a slightly cloudy, orange color, with a pretty thick head that lasts quite awhile, leaving a lot of suds on the glass.

The aroma consists of a lot of citrus character, most notably orange and pineapple, but there is also a light graininess and maybe even caramel notes in the aroma.

The flavor starts out with some nice hop flavors of the citrus variety but then the beer gives up a lot of sweet malt character, mostly caramels and brown sugar. Some may call this well-balanced but for my money, it is too sweet for an APA.

Alpha King does have a very good mouthfeel, nice and creamy, and finishes well, but overall I thought the sweetness of the beer was a bit much. It is possible to bring out a lot of hop aroma/flavor without making a bitter beer, unfortunately FFF's decided to leave just a bit much residual sweetness which I think ruins the hoppy character. The beer isn't bad for what it is, but it is not a great APA, IMO.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2009 17:39:30 | More by Soneast
Photo of trxxpaxxs

New York

3.58/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a nice translucent deep honey gold. There is about one and a half fingers of off-white head that settle nicely along the top of the beer. There is a decent amount of lacing as it drinks.

S: The nose is is mainly light sweet malt, some citrus hops, and that familiar FFF yeast note.

T: It starts out with some malt character up front. It's actually a bit musty. I wonder how long this bottle has been sitting on the shelf. I get a bit of herbal tea and the citrus hops come on the the middle and last until the finish. That distinctive FFF flavor is totally evident.

M: Light to medium bodied beer. There is a bit of heft, more than I was expecting for an APA. The flavors hit the palate and shift off. Only a bit of lingering bitters.

O: This is a pretty good beer, but It's not quick what I imagined it to be. This particular bottle seems a bit old, but without any bottle dates, it's hard to know when it was brewed. I'd like to try this again, but when I know it's a fresh bottle.

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2012 23:30:13 | More by trxxpaxxs
Photo of Jredner


3.6/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Citrusy hop aroma, but it is muted. Copper/tea colored with a finger thick white head. very quaffable. Nothing revolutionary here just a good malt base followed by ample hopping that leaves a mildly sweet malty beer that finishes citrusy and grapefruit bitter. Very solid if you like lots of hops.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2006 20:28:47 | More by Jredner
Photo of FtownThrowDown


3.6/5  rDev -15.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2007 23:08:24 | More by FtownThrowDown
Photo of ATPete

New Jersey

3.6/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle
no date on the label, received in a recent trade.

Pours a hazy reddish brown color with a mediocre small white head and minimal sticking. A mellow nose of resinous hops and pine, musty pale malts lay balanced in the nose but overall its aroma doesnt necessarily strike me as inviting. Sweet malt character, brown sugar, big notes of grapefruit and orange peel. Lively bubbles, coating medium body and a long lingering bittersweet aftertaste. Good drinkability, but i was expecting so much more from this beer, possibly i got an old bottle, and i would love to experiment with Alpha King again but until that day, im unimpressed.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2009 16:31:58 | More by ATPete
Photo of nhindian


3.6/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Victory tulip. Bottle provided by UMNbeerhunter, thanks Joe!

Hard to determine a date for this as Three Floyds refuses to code their bottles...

A - A steady pour yields a dark orange beer with 1-fingers worth of creamy head. The head has low retention, quickly dissolving into speckles dotted on top of the beer. I can't seem to see much carbonation in this beer, but it does lace nicely.

S - The smell is mild and not over-the-top. Light hops release a faint aroma of pine and citrus, but there is also a strong malt presence in this beer as well. Subtle notes of baked bread.

T - In the taste, the hops aren't as pronounced, and there is actually a tight balancing act between the hops and the malts. The first word I first used to describe it were 'unoriginal'. It's a taste that isn't reflective of other Three Floyds beer and is just a bit bland. The finish is moderately long and a bit bitter.

M - The mouthfeel is medium heavy with good carbonation despite the absence of streams in the glass. Leaves a slight coating in the mouth but little to remember it by besides the bitter finish.

D - Drinkability is moderate. As I look back on the notes, I describe it as inoffensive but not very inspired or worth seeking out. A standby in Three Floyds rotation, it wouldn't be hard to find something comparable in local shelves.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2011 23:07:21 | More by nhindian
Photo of PCampbell


3.6/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass. Pours a nice dark amber color with a long lasting off-white thick head.

Has a very nice pineapple / mango smell to it on first whiff. A little bit of sweet malt in the background. Upfront it tastes hoppy malty with a light malt flavor to balance it out. Has a medium amount of body and carbonation to it to round it all out.

A very nice pale ale overall, worth getting if you like pale ales.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2011 14:59:30 | More by PCampbell
Photo of ehammond1

3.6/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle (2011)

Acquired via online
Thanks, www.archerliquors.com!

Dark caramel auburn with a tight, light khaki colored head that eventually leaves splotches and lines of lacing down the glass. This beer is gorgeous.

The aroma is particularly sweet, dominated by honey, sweet and sticky toffee and caramel, and some pine and citrus hop components. Not nearly as pungent, bright, or clean as I hoped and have found in other hoppy Three Floyds offerings. I expected great, I was given slightly better than average.

The flavor is similar to the aroma, with bready, malty, and sweet components leading the way. The hops present in the way of a relatively high bitterness, especially for a pale ale. Great drinkability, however.

Medium to full bodied with ample carbonation.

Highly drinkable, somewhat bitter, bready, and sweet pale ale.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2012 23:14:15 | More by ehammond1
Photo of bishopdc0


3.6/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this as a trade extra.

Poured into my new Belgium tulip. The beer is pretty dark almost brown. with a decent size head. the head is thick creamy and hugs the glass.

The nose is hops first with a solid malt back. The hops are pungent earthy and piny. I don't get citrus.

The taste matches the nose. Hops first earthy and pungent. After the initial hop flavor the carbonation comes in and pale and lightly roasted malts mix in. As the carbonation subsides the hops present themselves again as a earthy bitterness.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2012 03:02:19 | More by bishopdc0
Photo of mfnmbvp


3.6/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, no bottled on date present, but I doubt this was the freshest bottle of Three Floyds Alpha King that was available. Poured into a Boulevard tulip.

A - Poured an obnoxious three and a half fingers of creamy fluffy beige colored head with excellent retention that sits on top with a root beer float like appearance and a very nice looking ruby / burnt sienna orange colored body.

S - Pine needles. Fresh lemon. Oranges. Nice lively array of hop smells going on here.

T - Hoppy. Fruity. Floral. Sweet iced tea kind of taste that I have become accustomed to in pale ales and IPA's. Tastes good, but like I have said before, a lot of Three Floyds beers are way way way too over carbonated, and this beer is no exception. Very overly carbonated to the point where it is distracting.

M - Sticky, piney mouthfeel with the lingering taste of green apple sugars. I love hops, and I think this is a wonderful tasting beer, but like I said it is just too damn carbonated and bloating for my liking.

Overall, a decent tasting American pale ale, but I definitely feel this beer is over-hyped, and there are many much more subtle and complex APA's to be had. I think I would personally rather drink the New Holland Hopivore or the Grand Teton Sweetgrass APA instead. Still a decent year-round beer from Three Floyds, but being their landmark beer, I would probably choose something else of theirs like the Three Floyds Arctic Panzer Wolf.

Three Floyds Alpha King ---3.5/5

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2013 06:43:10 | More by mfnmbvp
Photo of yen157

New Jersey

3.63/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hazy orange-brown body, almost iced tea-like. Topped by a sticky, chunky head. No missing the big, citrusy hop aroma with mild, but noticeable, hints of banana esters. I’m not talking about hefeweizen, but they’re there. Great hop taste and bitterness which is kinda implied by a name like “Alpha King. Usually with a hopping like this one would expect to find a sticky malt body, but remember this is a pale ale not an IPA. The malt provides precarious balance to the big hop flavor and assertive bitterness. The hop flavor is rather complex and changes throughout the mouthfuls. There is a little apple late in the finish. Looking back on this brew, it seems like this is about as close to a big, homebrewed PA as you are going to find out there with the hops, haze, and esters. This is one beer I wish would come to the Garden State.

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2003 00:19:53 | More by yen157
Photo of oakbluff

Manitoba (Canada)

3.63/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Born on date- who the hell knows? Pours out a cloudy copper with minimal head - some soapy lacing. Smell is nothing to write home about- some fading hops. Taste- quite spritzy which surprised me given the lack of head. Grassy hops with a soapy aftertaste. Malt is solid- tobacco and solid caramel flavours. Its quite tasty, but doesn't blow me away. Maybe its the age- I can't imagine I have a bottle at its peak of freshness. First time trying, so I risked the purchase in my excitement not knowing its age. The hops are there, just in weird muted kind of way. given the rep of FFF, I was expecting more. Truthfully, pass the SNPA, as this pale ale doesn't match the benchmark classic american pale that is Sierra Nevada. I would love a chance to try fresh on tap or bottle. Until they date these suckers, I can't cut any slack.

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2007 00:58:41 | More by oakbluff
Photo of mrmanning

Ontario (Canada)

3.63/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark orange body, almost a reddish colour. Head is a foamy white, and thick. Aromas are hops like crazy, pine, citrus, malt. taste is lots of hops, but not overpowering, subtle citrus and some mild malt that balances it out nicely. FInish is smooth, crisp, and the 6.5% is not noticable. I wish I could get more.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2010 15:13:49 | More by mrmanning
Photo of kalkavekkian


3.63/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tried this for the first time and liked what i found.
A- Clear golden- orange with light head.
S- Fruity hops, slightly spicy.
T- Sharp citrus hops and grains. Nicely bitter. Stone ipa-like, but not quite as harsh.
M- Strong carbonation.
D- Good drinkability with the abv a non-factor.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2010 20:31:48 | More by kalkavekkian
Photo of mondegreen


3.63/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz into a DFH Signature Glass

Pours a reasonable clear amber with a dense, quickly receding head. Not much lacing.

Not much going on with the nose. A little spicy hops, a little sweet malt. I'm wondering if I got an old bottle. What is there smells nice.

Flavor is somewhat grassy. Sweetness and a touch of booze in the middle. Big bitter finish.

Mouth is medium thin and pretty crisp. Highlight of the beer for me.

Somewhat disappointed. I've heard such great things about this beer, but I'm finding it to be kind of blah. I'm on the third of a six pack, so it isn't just one bad bottle. FFF needs to start bottle dating, especially for these hoppy brews. Not sure if this is old or what. I had a friend bring this back from Indiana for me, but based on this experience, I will not try this beer again until the FFF starts dating bottles.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2011 02:55:07 | More by mondegreen
Photo of Scotchboy


3.63/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from brew3crew, not sure on the age. Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint.

A: Dark orange bordering on copper, with lots of carbonation and some good off-white head lacing.

S: Ok smell, hop forward with some hints of fruit and floral notes. Grain and malt underneath, not too sweet but its there.

T: Again, not loving it but its above average, especially on the hop side. The floral hops are up front with some juicy fruitiness, and there is some bitterness on the front as well but overall it mixes well and the malt backbone mellows it out.

MF: Average mf but good carbonation. Besides that, its light and more wet than dry on the finish.

O: Pretty good pale ale, but I'm underwhelmed (though I had high expectations). Not something I'd search out again but nice to try once. Hope my bottle was fresh and an accurate representation of this beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2011 18:01:58 | More by Scotchboy
Photo of Avantyawn

New York

3.63/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Amber , brown, modest head

S: Wet Hay. Brown Sugar , toffee, Orange Rind , cane sugar,burnt popcorn, complex , heavy , and very sweet smelling, sugar dominates

T: Sugary malt , graininess, almost a bit of rye , faint hops , but the flavor is heavy and sweet. Slight bitter ending, but it never quite breaks through the sweet malt.

M: Very heavy mouthfeel for this style, a bit sugary and heavy. not entirely refreshing.

O: Overall, maybe this 6er was old, as its my first time trying this and it was a bit disappointing, albeit a good beer. It has a complicated taste, but it just doesn't move me or refresh me very much. I'd like to try this fresh on tap as I suspect this beer can / should be better than this.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2011 02:33:04 | More by Avantyawn
Photo of macrosmatic


3.64/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to Irishace9 for this bottle! Reviewed from notes. Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Russian River pint glass.

A: Pours a deep copper, mildly hazy, with a 1.5 finger white head. Visible carbonation on the low side.

S: Light grassy and pine hops, sweet bready malts with a touch of caramel.

T: Follows the nose, with the addition of some citrus rind hops. But the caramel and toffee malts seem more dominant than the nose would suggest. Moderate bitterness for an APA in the hang.

M: Heavy body for an APA, moderate alcohol presence, and decent carbonation.

O: Honestly, too much caramel malt and too big of a beer for the claimed style. It's a somewhat above average IPA, I think. But FFF misses the target here.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2013 22:15:00 | More by macrosmatic
Photo of bjoyce12


3.65/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good solid APA. Maybe not the best I've tried(Stoudt's and Flying Dog come to mind), but not a bad choice. In fact, I'd say a definite solid choice. Pours cloudy golden. Nice hoppy aroma, not too strong. Hoppy without being bitter in taste, nice and clean and crisp. Its best quality may be that it is very drinkable. Smoothness is its second best.

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2007 02:45:32 | More by bjoyce12
Photo of SaCkErZ9


3.65/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks go out to SPLITGRIN for this one.

Served from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Clear, bronze color beer is dispensed and topped with a one finger sized, white head that dissipates rather abruptly into a light film, with large bubbles on top. Looks like a glass of sweet tea.

Aroma is fruity and piney. Orange juice and caramel. A nice malty background on this one. Pretty aromatic. Perhaps more citrusy than anything else. Not bad.

Not quite as hoppy as the aromas would lend. Possibly due in part to some dry hopping. Slightly bitter. Flavors consist of a caramel maltiness as well as some fresh grain and malt flavors. Decent amount of hop flavor as well.

Finishes dry and is light bodied. Certianly nothing wrong with this one but nothing mind blowing either. I would recommend this as a nice, solid, everyday beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2008 19:48:34 | More by SaCkErZ9
Photo of stoutfiend27

North Carolina

3.65/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle thanks to beerad666 poured into nonic

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

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

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

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

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

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

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2009 22:41:18 | More by stoutfiend27
Photo of Irish212


3.65/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark carmel color with an inch of head which partially disolves leaving a thin layer of lacing.

S: Hops with a good amount of citrus as well.

T: Very sweet with a strong amount of Hoppiness.

M: Above average carbonation and a fair amount of stickiness.

D: Doesn't seem like a Pale Ale, but is a nice one none the less.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2010 01:43:05 | More by Irish212
Alpha King Pale Ale from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
95 out of 100 based on 4,246 ratings.