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

Alpha King Pale AleAlpha King Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,280 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4280
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
Ratings: 4,280 | Reviews: 1,646 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of John

New York

5/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one of my favorite beers. Beautiful rocky head, great citrus aroma, unfiltered copper color, awesome hop finish. Nice malt balance.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2001 13:37:32 | More by John
Photo of Brent


4.2/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hops had a great citrus aroma, but I was a little disappointed that the citrus did show up in the finish, which seemed a little on the harsh, quinine-like side.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2001 09:21:52 | More by Brent
Photo of BeerAdvocate


4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz brown long neck with no freshness date to be found.

Appearance: Dark amberish orange with an awesome off white head ... rocky, dense and sticky all over.

Smell: Lots of citrius and a sweet floral aroma. Clean in the nose with hints of malt and fruity esters also.

Taste: Medium bodied with a slightly chewy and textured mouth feel, nice mellow malt flavour holds up to a huge pile of juicy citric hop. Hop bitterness is great ... not too much though enough bite to be assertive. Mild fruity esters and a faint caramel malt are in the backround. Lots more hop flavour in the finish, slowly fading and letting a lightly toasted malt taste through.

Notes: Well built and one of the best ales in the US. Hop character is above the rest ... a must buy.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2000 00:00:01 | More by BeerAdvocate
Photo of VelvetExtract


4.16/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours darker than I would have expected. It's coppery. Head is an off-white growth. It retains quite well, keeping most of its height throughout. Consistent lacing rings.

S-Pine and citrus without a doubt. Grassy as well. Also some caramel malt and bread. Assertively hoppy upon each sniff. More IPA than anything else.

T-Chewy pine and grass with a bunch of candied oranges and grapefruits. Some caramel and bread crust. Straightforward but well built.

M-Bitter and dry. Medium bodied. Drinks quite easily. Aftertaste is moderately long lasting.

O-I have always wanted an Alpha King. Finally got the go-ahead on this one. I found it to be an above average IPA/Pale Ale hybrid but not much more than that.

Serving type: on-tap

04-02-2014 23:54:05 | More by VelvetExtract
Photo of dbrauneis

North Carolina

4.26/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served on-tap at Sergio's World Beers in Louisville, KY

A: Pours a very lightly hazy medium golden honey orange in color with light to moderate amounts of active visible carbonation and significant amounts of copper highlights. The beer has a finger tall dense foamy light beige head that slowly reduces to a thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Strong aromas of citrus/grapefruit zest, citrus/orange rind, and herbal hops over a light aroma of slightly sweet grainy malts.

T: Upfront there are light flavors of slightly sweet grainy malts with a touch of caramel malts as well. That is followed by the just shy of moderate flavors of the hops - citrus/grapefruit zest, citrus/orange rind, and herbal. Light amounts of lingering bitterness are observed.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly sticky and hints of dryness in the finish.

O: This is a wonderful beer that I thoroughly enjoyed and really appreciated trying after looking for it during my travels over the last couple of years. Definitely one I wish I had easier access to and that I could enjoy more readily. Highly recommend and definitely in my top 100 of all time.

Serving type: on-tap

03-31-2014 02:53:24 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of Swettenham_Shire


3.54/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Currently on tap in the Pint Room (Dublin, OH). First time trying this pale ale from 3Floyds.

A: copper color with minimal head
S: simple citrus smell; expected more hops
T: expected better; I've had other pale ales that compare to this
M: very smooth and drinkable
O: good, but not extraordinary; maybe I just don't like pale ales that much, but being a 3Floyds brew I had to try it

Serving type: on-tap

03-21-2014 20:20:57 | More by Swettenham_Shire
Photo of DeFaz


3.93/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

It's no wonder that many beeradvocaters, if that's a word, admire this beer. It has a nice appearance--typical pale ale color but with very nice lacing and head retention. It's got the hop presence of an IPA but is labeled as an APA. The smell is not outstanding at all, and while the hop profile really is quite nice, the one-dimensional malt character (oversweet caramel) contributes an odd and unappreciated balance to all of the hops. The mouthfeel is the strong suit here--despite all of the super-sweet caramel flavors, it's not sticky and the thickness and carbonation are near spot-on. While I very much enjoyed this brew, I can't say it quite lives up to its hype.

Serving type: growler

01-09-2014 02:30:52 | More by DeFaz
Photo of BeerImmediately


4.46/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nonic pint served up at the brewery - my first 3F.

Pours deep amber with a 1-2F off white head. Great lacing!

Good balance in the aromas - nice mix of earth, caramel malts, and citrusy hops.

Flavors are virtually all hop-forward. Grapefruit skin leads the way, with some orange pith, and kiss lemon zest. Could've used a touch more sweetness for my taste, but he'll, I'm a sweet tooth. MF is awesome ... Clean, and crisp as hell for the ABV.

Killer APA, no doubt

Serving type: on-tap

09-19-2013 00:57:36 | More by BeerImmediately
Photo of donkeyrunner


4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

@ Girl and Goat, Chicago IL

Dark honey color with a thick head. Kingly lace and retention.

Immersive grapefruit and wet grass aroma. So good.

Tastes like grapefruit juice. Lots and lots of hoppy grapefruit goodness with very little bitterness. Nice carmelized malt background. Sometimes I wonder why I love grapefruity beers but don't drink regular grapefruit juice. It has no alcohol, vitamin C, and it's cheaper. Beer is beer.

My first ever Three Floyds on tap. It's not something you forget.

Serving type: on-tap

09-17-2013 18:47:02 | More by donkeyrunner
Photo of DrinkSlurm


3.79/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from tap into nonic pint at the brewery. Deep caramel color with a nice foamy head. Piney hop and sweet caramel aroma. taste is bitter hops with some sweet caramel finish. For me the bitterness is just too much. Its actually way too bitter for my likes; which is the norm for FFF. Huge malt and bitter profile - and lots of people like that, just not me. Good brew for sure, I just don't get the hype on this one.

Serving type: on-tap

09-13-2013 03:58:16 | More by DrinkSlurm
Photo of macher0


4.6/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Winos In Bowling Green

A. Dark copper/medium copper color. Excellent lacing. Frothy egg-shell color head that sustains very well. Translucent.

S. Very nice fragrance of citrus, grass, pineapple, and resin. Very balanced. Very pleasant.

T. A very balanced taste that follows the nose. A combination of resin/grass and citrus/tropical fruits. Awesome. A nice peppery tingle on the tongue from the freshness. Moderately bitter.

M. Very smooth. High carbonation. Full bodied.

O. This serves as my standard for a pale ale. There are a few better, but many-many that are worse. Of course it is better fresh, but can hold up over time. I love the complex balance of hops: citrusy and resiny. I would keep this in the fridge 24/7 if always available. I see a 6er here and there a few times a year.

Serving type: on-tap

06-28-2013 21:17:53 | More by macher0
Photo of Rope


4.3/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A copper brown, with a finger white head that leaves excellent lacing.

Light floral pine, followed by a buttery malt.

Strangely, I found it to start with the malt, move to the bitter side of the hops, then to the floral, then to the buttery side of the malt.

Not as crisp as I was hoping, there is a heavier presence than expected.

A flavorful APA that does not end the night.

Serving type: on-tap

05-21-2013 16:07:41 | More by Rope
Photo of magictacosinus


4.29/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was the first beer by FFF I got to try on my recent trip to Chicago. It didn't disappoint! Poured into a tulip glass at the Map Room, located on the lower west side of town. Review is from my notes.

The color is a strong orange-amber color, topped with a large 3 finger of head that eventually dies down to a small ring, yet never seems to let go. Carbonation is very light, in spite of the large head. There's a ton of lacing on the glass, which is always appealing. The color emits a syrupy, slightly viscous texture. It may be the tulip here, but this doesn't look quite like any pale ale I've seen to date.

The aroma is filled with toasted graininess, oranges, plums (?!), and loads of dried citrus loaded underneath the beer. The graininess and lightly sweetened malt character definitely seems to be the focus here, but I've heard here and there that FFF is known for their wild hopped concoctions regardless of the style. Indeed, the hops here have a slight dried character atop the malts, but rather than remaining as a stereotypical "citrus" profile, they seem to meld with the malt backbone to provide juicy fruits from plums (still bewildered there), apricots, maybe a light dash of melon. Pretty awesome stuff in that respect.

The flavor consists of an initial malt creaminess and thickness, only to end in a citrus dry finish with all of the aforementioned fruits. This becomes ever more present as it warms up, but there is, from the very beginning, a syrupy, sticky texture that enhances the fruit profile. It's jammy at the finish, maybe a little floral, but it's definitely an orange-based, lightly caramelized malt combo that works in a very balanced manner. The beer is also very well carbonated, which further promotes balance and gives this its juicy texture.

What perhaps may be the most "normal" of easy to find FFF offerings, it's still quite different from pale ales that I'm used to. This isn't your cascade-focused pale ale here! The maltiness is very hearty, and combined with the very pleasant range of hops, it's far more juicy and zesty as a result. I really enjoyed this – its balanced nature could make this *the* go-to pale ale in my fridge year-round if I could only get this out West. Glad I got to try it at least!

Serving type: on-tap

05-01-2013 04:18:46 | More by magictacosinus
Photo of jimmah120


4.31/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

served out of a growler

this is a very tasty pale ale. hoppy like an IPA, but not typically so. sweet woody malts, pine tree and earth bitterness, dark fruits and toffee syrup. smell is very hoppy, feel is lightly carbonated and milky.

my first 3F beer, and it was excellent

Serving type: growler

04-18-2013 07:13:02 | More by jimmah120
Photo of BradtheGreat7


4.36/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This particular Alpha King review was taken from a brown growler filled at Ashland Beverage Center who had it on tap(I ended up drinking 3 total growlers full lol) though I've had many bottles of this as well. Poured into a nonic style pint. May I add that this specific FFF tap handle art is out of this world. Pure eye candy.

A - deep amber and I mean the deepest of glowing dark amber. Creamy white head sits atop and the ring of creamy lace stays around the entire experience leaving excellent stick to my nonic glass.

S - Big whiffs of fruitiness. A fruitiness that only comes from FFF. Some grapefruit, but smacks of mango and tangerine. Caramel like malt backbone provide the sweetness with a small touch of spice. Great aroma really starts things off in a class manner.

T - flavor is out of this world good. Caramel sweets and a faint toffee. Bready biscuit flavored malt balance nicely with a quick rush of grapefruit and pine like hops. Next is the sweet fruitiness of soft mango and orange with a hint of pineapple. Not as gushing with it as other FFF styles, but still very much present. These are the flavors I crave and FFF always deliver.

M - Medium bodied with a grand thick texture for a pale ale. Smooth and flows brilliantly while coating every inch of the palate with flavor. One of the smoothest 6.6% abv ales you'll ever find.

O - one of my all time favorites. From day one Alpha King was a classic and deserving Halloffamer. It's by far the 2nd best American pale ale ever produced IMO and I'm sure everyone knows who make the #1 APA. Yep, FFF hold both of those 1 and 2 spots in my book. Simply remarkable what they do with Alpha King and Zombie Dust. Both are clear cut winners and both a must try. If you have access to this then you should be enjoying it. It's top shelf good. I just wish we'd get the bottles of this on a regular basis here at home. Ill buy this anytime I see it. A well balanced world class APA that's ridiculously tasty and fulfilling? Indeed. FFF brewing a liquid like Alpha King = pure Class. Pure genius.

Serving type: growler

04-18-2013 04:40:58 | More by BradtheGreat7
Photo of Fux


4.53/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Golden copper with a small foamy white head
S: Smell is hoppy, fruity, with oranges, mangos. There is also a solid malty base, mainly biscuit, toasted bread aromas.
T: Taste is also very hoppy, with floral flavors. Also sweet and loads of exotic fruits.
M: Sharp attack on the palate. Very good carbonation very well balanced by the sweetness. Finishes dry, very refreshing.
O: A very nice pale ale. Refreshing, also tasty and well balanced.

Serving type: on-tap

04-01-2013 21:51:20 | More by Fux
Photo of smakawhat


4.43/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap into a sampler 4 oz. taster at Pizza Paradiso Dupont. Way overdue for reviewing this one.

A good basic amber copper, with light light tan to off white color and leaving a solid collar. Good lacing on this drink while finishing, and fairly crystal clear very nice.

Aroma jumps out. Wonderful juicy orange with a nice sweetness. No hop bitterness noticeable, with a little white grass. It's very pleasant and inviting.

Palate is rich and full on first sip. Wonderful mix of mild wood hop and orange and tangerine citrus. Light hints of grapefruit with a spritzy hop feel and character. Palate is juicy matching the hinted bouquet.

Juicy. Full. Stupid easy to drink, and full of flavor. A great touch of juice and spicy finish quality. This is either way better on tap, or I had an old bottle cause this is nothing like I remember it.

Old review - bottle (4)(4)(3.5)(4)(3) ---

Poured into a pint glass resembling a really nice golden/brown color body that is clear. Cream off/white head with fairly tight bubbles and some minor visible carbonation. Real good head retention.

Standard bouquet but a good one. Simple citrus grapefruit with a sweetness and hop aroma. Very nice.

Upon drinking first comes a very hoppy front more in the standard of an American IPA, with a good finish. I keep forgetting this is suppose to be a pale ale but it sure doesn't feel like one. This is quite an okay drink but nothing here I would desperately want to have for an APA.

Serving type: on-tap

03-28-2013 23:34:24 | More by smakawhat
Photo of SlothB77


3.48/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

12 ounce bottle poured into glass

A: Dark copper with half a finger of milky white head, viscous and a little rocky.

S: Grapes, passion fruit and cut grass.

T: Slick sour taste, toast and honey. Lemony sour mixed with hedgerow.

M: Medium-body, medium carbonation, acidic, slick, sour and bitter.

O: This is a little too sour for my taste, but I am more of a fan of IPA's than I am of pale ales.

Serving type: nitro-bottle

03-20-2013 00:07:15 | More by SlothB77
Photo of Rainblows


4.34/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Had on cask yesterday at the FFF brewpub. 10 oz pour into a nonic pint, amber colored with a beautiful whitish head that laced the whole way down. Smooth mouthfeel, almost undercarbed. Hops are almost understated yet balanced making Alpha King an easy drinker compared to Zombie Dust. One of my favorite regular bottlings from FFF, a treat to have on cask!

Serving type: cask

02-27-2013 22:22:56 | More by Rainblows
Photo of Rogorama


4.69/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewpub. Kind of a three floyds forgotten gem here. The flagship beer that we don't have too often, we forget how good it actually is. The hops are balanced absolutely perfect with a slight citrus aftertaste. the 6.66% ABV is also a nice touch from the boys (and girl) over at three floyds. Just a great beer!

Serving type: on-tap

02-09-2013 20:03:05 | More by Rogorama
Photo of Docrock


4.26/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Served on cask at Three Floyd's in an Imperial pint glass

A - deep orange brown in color with a nice thick 1"+ head. The lacing was so sticky it looked like there was masking tape inside the glass. The head dissipated to a nice 1/4" cap that remained there for the entire time.

S - a couple different citrus notes, grapefruit, orange peel, some earthiness and a bit of pine.

T - the pine and earthiness dominates over the citrus. Nice malt balance.

M - the carbonation is nice and the balance of hop and ABV is really spot on.

O - finally reviewed after drinking on - tap previously and in bottle several times. On cask seemed to really accentuate the carbonation, it was really smooth. This beer is always available but when I saw it on cask I had to give it a try, we'll worth it and as Three Floyd's "everyday" beer, its always a good solid option.

Serving type: cask

01-27-2013 04:05:09 | More by Docrock
Photo of elNopalero


4.31/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This pours a golden amber. There’s’ an orange marmalade aroma and a bready toasted biscuit note which contrasts with the hop aroma. I find a similar orange marmalade flavor that’s dryly bitter with pine and orange peel on it. Nicely carbonated with a bitterness that lasts.

Serving type: on-tap

01-20-2013 10:03:23 | More by elNopalero
Photo of SerialHiker


4.79/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This thing is awesome, a total must have...a perfectly balanced pale ale, yummy caramel malts, delicious citrus hops...fluffs up so nicely on the palate...can't believe I'm here at the brew pub...one ff the tap is all i need, this would go so well with a round of disc golf...having a bit of a beergasm...

Serving type: on-tap

01-16-2013 20:41:44 | More by SerialHiker
Photo of GameFreac


4.61/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Wino's in Bowling Green, KY. Poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a beautiful golden orange color with 2 fingers of a white head.

Smell: Smells of sweet hops, malt, pine, and grapefruit.

Taste - Taste mirrors the nose. Everything is so balanced.

Mouthfeel: Perfect for the style.

Overall: The best pale ale I've ever had. So good.

Serving type: on-tap

09-29-2012 20:48:31 | More by GameFreac
Photo of barczar


3.89/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazy caramel copper color with a dense quarter inch tan head that quickly dissipates.

Aroma is heavily pine and citrus pith, with caramel malt sweetness and floral hop notes.

Bready, toasted malt forms the backbone of the beer, with underlying grapefruit pith and spruce flavors adding intrigue. Mint surfaces at the finish, with grassy and herbal tones. Bitterness is slightly dominant.

Body is moderate, with slightly high carbonation and a somewhat dry, crisp finish.

Overall, a fairly complex pale ale. Balanced to the extremes. But it's a little too bitter for my tastes. Just not my style.

Serving type: on-tap

09-26-2012 21:56:50 | More by barczar
Alpha King Pale Ale from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
95 out of 100 based on 4,280 ratings.