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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.

4,255 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4255
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: 4,255 | Reviews: 1,646 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of The_1084

4.33/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a deep copper, almost amber color. Had about a 1.5 finger head that had nice retention and left a good amount of lacing. Lots of activity visible in this beer.

S - Presents the aroma of citrus hops with hints of pineapple, grapefruit, and apple.

T - A strong taste of citrus fruits with grapefruit leading the way from start to finish.

M - A crisp beer with a clean finish and moderate carbonation; could easily drink several of these in one sitting.

O - One of the better pale ale's I have drank and would gladly drink more of these in the future.

Serving type: on-tap

08-16-2012 23:17:37 | More by The_1084
Photo of TheRealBigC


4.2/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is quite the hoppy pale ale. Alpha King is a pretty appropriate name, as it has the properties to be the top APA out there. There is enough malt to balance the beer out, and a touch of citrus, but it's clearly all about the hops which absolutely dominate the palate. So, it can be a little pungent and I recall not wanting to take big sips, but at the same time I could easily have a couple of these in a sitting.

Serving type: on-tap

07-30-2012 23:59:06 | More by TheRealBigC
Photo of socon67

New York

4.55/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First Three Floyds, on tap at the Map Room in Chicago.

A - Amber pour. Decent foam retention and lacing is impressive as it webs the glass.

S - Scents of fresh tropical fruit and oily hops. For an APA the scent of fresh hops is more typical of a DIPA.

T - Crisp flavor that brings out more of the sweet fruit flavor than the bitterness of the hoppy bite. Makes this so well balanced that I felt this is what makes this a top shelf beer.

M - Easily sessionable, and with such a crisp feel and smooth balance, you would want to drink plenty of these. Can't imagine better.

O - Easily the best american pale I've had. Three Floyds gets plenty of hype but a beer like this makes the attention justified. Loved this one.

Serving type: on-tap

07-27-2012 16:22:47 | More by socon67
Photo of spark3148857


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

On tap at Three Floyds:

AP: Amber with mahogany tones, creamy off white head.

AR: Pungent hops, some citrus with a heavy dose of earthy and piney aromas.

TS: Slight citrus hops but most bitterness comes from earthy and piney flavors, dry.

MF: Great smooth mouthfeel that coats the mouth.

OV: A well crafted APA verging on IPA that brings lots of great hop bitterness to the table.

Serving type: on-tap

07-25-2012 03:01:51 | More by spark3148857
Photo of MortarPestle


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

Appearance: Dark amber with an off-white head that provided excellent lacing down to the bottom of the glass.
Aroma: A big nose of citrus and florals, the malt fights it way through.
Taste: The flavors of grapefruit and juniper are everywhere, nice malt sweetness to balance the hops, with a big hoppy finish.
Drinkability: Nice balance of flavors and paired nicely with a traditional Hoosier tenderloin.
Notes: Served on tap in a pint glass. Dark atmosphere made it a little difficult to judge appearance.

Serving type: on-tap

05-10-2012 01:52:58 | More by MortarPestle
Photo of kylehay2004


4.45/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes over Thanksgiving 2011. Ordered this as my fish and chips arrived at the brewery.

A: two finger off white head on a copper and crimson body with nice lacing

S: grass, citrus and floral which comes across as very fresh with some caramel malts in the background.

T: Follows the nose well with grassy and pine hop bitterness with citrus (mostly pineapple) hops flavors on a bready and caramel malt body.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation. Fairly standard for the style.

Overall: Its fairly clear that FFF has this genre locked up however this is may actually be an IPA or one in disguise.

Serving type: on-tap

04-25-2012 00:34:06 | More by kylehay2004
Photo of soju6


4.23/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Served a rich copper color with a good head and lots of lacing.

S: Aroma of citrus with some caramel and fresh grain.

T: Taste of citrus and caramel with some fresh grain. A nice bitterness and a clean finish.

F: medium body, smooth and somewhat creamy. Very nice balance

O: Excellent beer, a very solid pale ale. Definitely good for more than one. Well worth a try.

Serving type: on-tap

03-07-2012 03:34:14 | More by soju6
Photo of Steasy66


3.85/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Deep amber, nice head retention
S- floral, citrus, hint of malt
T- Citrus hops, hint of malt, bitter finish, would prefer a bit more malty
M- Very undercarbed, probably because this is a taproom growler pour
O- Good beer, worth a try, need to try this from a bottle to really give it a fair shake.

Serving type: growler

03-05-2012 03:12:59 | More by Steasy66
Photo of AnnArborJoe


4.45/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From notes. Numerous samples: tap and cask at FFF, bottle, growler.

A - Clear amber, sticky head lots of lacing.

S - light on the malty, complex hop aroma (mostly citrus, some pine).

T - bold hops, slight hint of sweet from the malt. Complex flavor from the hops with a perfect amount of contribution from the malt.

M - medium bodied, good carbonation, clean and crisp.

O - excellent. Perfect APA.

Serving type: on-tap

02-03-2012 15:47:51 | More by AnnArborJoe
Photo of zeledonia


3.9/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Nova Wine Bar in Hudson, Wisconsin.

Clear medium amber with really dense 1-finger yellowish tan head. Good retention, great lacing. A bit of visible bubbling.

Smell is excellent. Crisp grassy hops with some solid grapefruit and pine character. Has a really nice snap to it that is quite refreshing. Light bready malt fills in the gaps. This is the kind of beer that I sniff and can't help but say "Mmmm".

Taste is much more bitter than anything else. A bit disappointing given the smell. Malt support is there, slightly bready but mostly providing a base. I don't get much from the hops other than the bitter kick. Hopped up, more like an IPA than an APA in my opinion. Finishes bitter and crisp, fading slowly. The smoothness of the finish is what saves it for me. I want more variety in the flavor.

Medium-light body, carbonation is average. Body works just fine with the beer.

I find this to be a good, hoppy pale ale. I wish the taste had more than the heavy dose of hop bitterness. But I could smell it all day, and I definitely don't mind drinking it.

Serving type: on-tap

02-02-2012 03:51:09 | More by zeledonia
Photo of WillCarrera


4.35/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the 3F brewpub. Poured into a nonic pint glass.

A- Pours a clear amber color with a finger of super sticky tan head. Excellent lacing.

S- Lots of citrus and some pine as well as a slightly grainy, sweet amber malt.

T- Big hop profile, citrus and pine as well as a clean, freshly-cut-grass bitterness that fights against a sweet amber/caramel malt that has a bit of a grainy feel to it. Flavors are very well integrated.

M- Medium-bodied, good carbonation, has a smooth feel with a crisp, clean finish.

O- A pretty damn good pale ale. I'll have to pick up a sixer of this next time it hits my local shop.

Serving type: on-tap

01-29-2012 05:11:29 | More by WillCarrera
Photo of Hopdaemon39

New York

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

On tap from Clevelands own Bier Markt- served in a pint glass. Had a one finger head and great retention and lacing. Poured a dark copper color with its foam being a sort of bone-white. Smell makes it immediately apparent that this is a fiendishly hoppy beer- I smell the citrusy notes that I've come to associate with cascade hops. That taste measures up to the smell- hops from beginning to end and rounded out with a nice medium light body. The mouthfeel is wonderful as well- a little oily from the hops and medium carbonation make it very drinkable. I would get this all the time if it was available to me.

Serving type: on-tap

01-10-2012 01:53:59 | More by Hopdaemon39
Photo of Treebs


3.9/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on draft at the Yardhouse in Glenview. Served in a pint glass.

A: Pours a clear amber color with some lighter straw notes around the edges. A one finger bubbly white head forms on the pour and subsides to thin film. Leaves some sticky lace behind.

S: Slighty malty with nice high hop presence. The main note is grapefruit and with a subtle floral component mixed in.

T: The taste follows the nose, but with the hops more amplified. The oaty malt provides a nice backbone for the citrus hop flavors with a slight flowery sweetness.

M: Light to medium bodied with a sticky mouthfeel to it. Nice bubbly carbonation though and the finish is slightly bitter.

O:This is definitely more hopped up than I remember from years past. It drinks more like an IPA than a pale ale, but is still a delicious and hoppy brew.

Serving type: on-tap

12-16-2011 15:45:11 | More by Treebs
Photo of AleWatcher


3.78/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Growler shared by my non-BA friend Brian... He may as well be a BA, as he makes an appearance at every tasting I host!

Dark copper body. Small light tan head. Kinda weak retention an lacing this time around... But I'll chalk that up to the glassware!

Smells a little chalky, with some caramel malts. A good dose of hops provide some nice grapefruit notes.
The flavor has a good bitterness at the backend.

Body is medium and feels a tad undercarbed.

Overall-- still a good beer, but this is nowhere near as good as my past experiences with this one.

Serving type: growler

12-11-2011 19:42:58 | More by AleWatcher
Photo of MarkBlackout


4.93/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I love Alpha King. It was one of the first craft beers I really got into when living in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, around 2003. There was a liquor store down the street that had 3-4 craft beers and this was one of them. (Another was a spoiled sixer of Abita Turbodog I bought once. It was AWFUL. Pure soy sauce!). I loved Alpha King from the start, and still do. I drank it when I was at the brewery way back then, before the brewpub existed and it was just a well-lit factory atmosphere. Some old-timers were drinking their Light Lager offering and eating some potato chips they had brought. It ruled. Citrus, caramel malt, a bit sticky, excellent. I had it on tap at MacNiven's during lunch (a liquid lunch in my case).. to celebrate the end of my first semester at grad school. I also had Bell's Sparkling Ale, which I was less impressed by but still enjoyed. Indianapolis is a good beer city. We have lots of good options.

Serving type: on-tap

12-09-2011 01:10:53 | More by MarkBlackout
Photo of Koufax21

New Mexico

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

Had this on tap at 3 Floyd's Brewpub. Pours a dark amber color with 1" of an off white colored head. Smells of big grapefruit and pine. Tastes of big citrus and fruit flavors. Big grapefruit here. This has got to be a borderline IPA. I've had many IPA's that couldn't hold up to this one. Great beer. I wish I could get it where I'm at.

Serving type: on-tap

12-03-2011 20:58:34 | More by Koufax21
Photo of notchucknorris


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

On tap at Pizza Port Carlsbad

A: Beautiful reddish amber color with a nice one finger tan foamy head.

S: Big citrus hop notes with some hints of tropical fruit underneath. Definitely some mango there.

T: Great juicy citrus hops upfront tempered by some slightly bready malts and finished off with a nice peppery hop resin bite. A bomb pale ale. I would love to get more of this stuff.

Serving type: on-tap

12-02-2011 23:15:57 | More by notchucknorris
Photo of jegross2


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

Reviewing a cask-conditioned Alpha King from Three Floyds.
Score: 95

Drinking a fresh, cask-conditioned pint of one of my absolute favorite brews of all time.

Appearance: Pours a hazy, dark reddish-brown amber with three fingers of foamy cream-colored head that sticks around quite some time. Falls somewhere between opaque and translucent, but closer to opaque. Excellent lacing. 5/5

Smell: Roses. Floral, grapefruit and citrus hops. A little honey. Lots of malty, hoppy sweetness in the aroma. 4.5/5

Taste: Huge grapefruit citrus bitterness. Malty-sweet backbone. Hints of berry flavors too. Absolutely refreshing. Finishes with sweet oranges and hops bitterness. Yum! 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Light-medium bodied, medium-plus carbonation. Finish is surprisingly dry for such a malty mid-palate beverage. 4.5/5

Overall: Alpha King is one of my favorite beers of all time. The cask-conditioned version of this brew is much maltier and less hops-aggressive than the bottled version that I have had a thousand times over. How do I know? I had a side-by-side taste test at the bar. This is one to seek out!

Recommendation: If you have not had a six pack of this stuff, go buy one already. For those who have had Alpha King before, I absolutely recommend seeking out the cask-conditioned version. I am about as big of a hop-head as they come -- I have a well-known soft spot for IIPA's -- but cask-conditioned Alpha King's creamy malt-for-hops tradeoff is absolutely divine. Alpha King is the best year-round American Pale Ale (sorry Sierra Nevada!).

Pairings: Medium-cooked hamburgers. Particularly the ones they serve at Kuma's Corner in Chicago. Also probably pairs well with an earthy salad with feta and walnuts. Could really add some kick to spicy foods.

Cost: $9.99 for a six pack, or $7 for a cask-conditioned 16 oz pour.

Serving type: cask

11-26-2011 05:47:07 | More by jegross2
Photo of Beerdregs


4.88/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked up a growler the night before the XV party last weekend.

A: amber color with a orange hue. Carbonation was muted after a week in the growler but still grew a 1 finger head after an aggressive pour. As I am drinking it leaves a modest lacing down the glass.

S: Smells of piney grapefruit. Don't pick up any malt but don't fault them on this based on their hop forward reputation.

T: resinous citrus hop flavor with a modest but good balance of malt sweetness backing it up. Does not have an overly aggressive back of the tongue bitter.

M: This is a growler so again the carbonation is somewhat muted. I enjoy this though as it makes a somewhat dry beer a bit more slick.

O: This is my favorite pale ale style. This is the brewery that started the midwest craft revolution and for good reason. This is a wonderfully balanced beer and hopefully someday will be a session beer that I can enjoy at my local watering hole here in Minnesota!

Serving type: growler

11-19-2011 21:20:49 | More by Beerdregs
Photo of osusullins


4.88/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is my go-to beer. I can't express how much I love this one. Whether you want to call this an APA or an IPA it suits either label. Just pure hoppy brilliance.

The beer pours a beautiful deep orange with a nice white head.

The nose is almost all hops. Lots of pine with some subtle grapefruit. As a hop-head, the smell just makes me want to dive right in, and I usually do just that.

The taste does not disappoint the nose. Hops is what you smell, and that is exactly what you taste. Tons of pine and citrus bitterness. Some malt shows up on the back end, but the palate is pretty hop fried by that point. lol.

This is the flag ship beer of my favorite brewery. I love this beer. Top 10 favorite of mine definitly. Thanks, FFF.

Serving type: on-tap

10-30-2011 04:03:14 | More by osusullins
Photo of titosupertramp


4.45/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drinking thanks to BaconIsLife.

A: Dark copper with two fingers of white head. There's a lot of lacing around all sides of the glass.

S: Citrus, pine and sweet caramel malts. Man, this is a great smelling beer.

T: Man, this is a great tasting beer. The citrus and pine are pretty well balanced. The bready, caramel malts put up a decent fight, but are soundly outmatched. Love it.

M: Creamy mouthfeel. Bitter and dry.

O: I like Alpha King a lot. If you're after a hopped up pale ale, this has to be high on your list.

Serving type: growler

10-15-2011 01:02:11 | More by titosupertramp
Photo of deadonhisfeet


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

Beautiful clear dark copper color. Nice fluffy head with good retention. The beer has a punchy nose offering pine, flowers, citrus and ginger(?).

Nice malty backbone well-balanced with loads of hops. The flavors are IPA-like. Some biscuit and cookie, but predominantly citrus. Very very dry with a good biting finish.

It's hard to find anything wrong with this beer, unless you just don't like hops. If I could get this stuff all the time (I can't), it would probably be one of my regular go-to beers. It's a big, bold, flavorful, hoppy-as-heck American pale ale.

Serving type: growler

09-17-2011 17:44:06 | More by deadonhisfeet
Photo of Bendurgin


3.7/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a growler of this as an extra from Sean. Thanks homey, I owe you for this. Poured into a pint glass. Pours amber with a finger of creamy beige head that seems to be lasting nicely with some sticky lace along the collar.

Hints of caramel come through in the aroma with some candied orange in the the finish. Real nice citrus hop aroma in the finish. The flavor mirrors the aroma on this one, a little bit of caramel on the pallet with candied orange and canteloupe rounding it out.

The body is light and the carbonation holds up nicely in the growler. Overall this one is pretty rock solid. Glad to have a growler of this bad boy.

Serving type: growler

09-16-2011 03:22:20 | More by Bendurgin
Photo of andrewinski1

New Hampshire

3.95/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Ben for sharing! Poured into a pint glass. There is a white fluffy head on a copper colored slightly hazy body.

The aroma has nice melon and a bit of hoppy spice.

The tast starts nice dry and with some cucumber and pine. The finish is nice and crisp. There is only a bit of light malt sweetness.

This is very nice and drinkable with good crisp carbonation.

Serving type: growler

09-16-2011 03:22:03 | More by andrewinski1
Photo of dhollar2


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

I've had this in bottles and on tap at Three Floyds in Munster, IN. Pours a dark amber with an off-white head. Smells of piny, citrus hops and caramel malt. Taste is of high-alpha citrus hops with assertive bitterness and is beautifully balanced by rich caramel malts. It's really more of an IPA than an APA, but I like to give 3Floyds the benefit of the doubt. I love this beer. It's been my go-to for years and is a must-try for anyone.

Serving type: on-tap

08-17-2011 17:45:52 | More by dhollar2
Alpha King Pale Ale from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
95 out of 100 based on 4,255 ratings.