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Alphalpha - Ithaca Beer Company

Not Rated.
AlphalphaAlphalpha

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

215 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 215
Reviews: 142
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 11.76%
Wants: 68
Gots: 27 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Ithaca Beer Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: almychristopher on 12-30-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 215 | Reviews: 142 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by BeerTruth:
Photo of BeerTruth
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%

This beauty uses organic barley malt, NY cascade hops, and local alfalfa honey. Nice!

750 ml bottle poured into the appropriate Ithaca Excelsior! tulip glass. Batch# E!013

Pours a foggy rustic gold hue with a big three finger fluffy off-white head that takes its sweet time settling down. Super sticky chunky lacing clings to the sides of the glass, maybe it's because of the honey ;) Superb looking brew, simple as that. Smell is a sweet blend of fresh clementine oranges and crisp grapefruit. Honey, bready malts, and grass tickle the nose with a touch of sweet butter as well. Taste starts off with gritty earth and grass with a splash of orange and lemon zest. Midway the honey and malt balance out the big hop presence. Aftertaste is bitter and sweet, pretty much what this beer is all about. Lots of complex flavors that truly shine when the beer starts to warm up a bit. Medium to full body with a chewy feel and lively crisp carbonation. There's a touch of alcohol here and there with this brew, but nothing too crazy. Another wonderful addition to the oh so lovely Excelsior! line-up. Keep brewin' em and I'll keep drinkin' em. Good stuff, get it while it's fresh!

p.s. - I'd take this over Hopslam anyday

BeerTruth, Jan 04, 2009
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%

I Have been wanting to try this beer for awhile,I always missed it when in western NY before,Iam glad to finally get my hands on it.Poured into an imperial nonic a hazed orange tinged lemony color with tight formed pillow-like one finger white head that left a solid ring of lace as it settled slowly.Fresh citric hops really hit home during the pour,I could smell it a few feet away,light alcohol sweet zing in there as well.Sharp citric hops up front on the palate,citrusy at the beginning with a sharp bitter edge in the finish,the alfalfa honey does provide some underlying sweetness as well as some alcohol induced sweetness to balance the beer out somewhat.I like this beer because it's not an overly sweet alcohol laden DIPA,the hops are the main focal point of the beer as it should be.

oberon, Mar 01, 2012
Photo of boston2bburg
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%

Beautiful 750 bottle, received as a Christmas gift from my dad.

Hazy golden body with ample white head, good retention and clumpy lacing.

Gorgeous aroma of piney, floral hops, reminiscent of a rougher, woodsier Simcoe crossed with a super Willamette. Solid biscuity malt backbone which melds well with an exotic honey sweetness. Citrusy in the mold of Grand Marnier.

The honey is very well done, giving sweetness and floral character while drying out the finish just enough to not detract from the full bodied base malt's contribution. Everything is in balance; not typical of most Double IPAs. Leans towards the strong English IPA range in character.

Nice and warming, doesn't wear out the palate, yet keeps you interested. Awesome beer.

boston2bburg, Jan 19, 2011
Photo of steelerguy
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%

A - Poured deep gold with healthy head and plenty of carbonation. Lot of lacing as the level dropped but some head remained throughout.

S - Lots of citrus and pine hops with a hint of sweetness from the malt.

T - Lots of alphas up front, smooth malt middle, a little sweetness and alcohol warmth on the finish. The honey add some nice complexity but I think a touch more darker caramel malt would have been nice.

M - Nice and dry, you do get some alcohol warmth but nothing harsh. Nice tingle from the carbonation.

D - Quite drinkable, high on the IBU and alcohol but not hard to finish a 750 ml bottle.

steelerguy, Jun 01, 2009
Photo of Billolick
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Large bottle, green foil and capped, batch E! 013. Pours cloudy/hazed darker apricot/drownish amber. The head is long lasting, large, light khaki, settling to merangue, persistant thick blobs of fine bubble lace and skads of tiny bubble sheeting, world class look to this one. Delicate, but faint minty hop nose. Soft and inviting in the mouth. Simply delicious DIPA, the hops dont smack you in the face, but instead steadily accumilate on the palate and add up to a healthy, yet somehow still soft grapefruity and yummy blast. Underneath the hoppy notes, ride a steady sidenote of malty goodness. Complex yet subtle with quality craftsmanship abounding. Well done Ithaca, more high quality brew from NY State. Hoppy beer/DIPA lovers go get some and enjoy. $11.99 from DeCicco's in Adsley, NY.

Billolick, Jan 03, 2010
Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -2%

Thanks to exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a cloudy yellow color with a huge white head. The aroma is citrus and grassy hops. The flavor is very bitter with some grassy, spicy and piney hops. After getting citrus in the aroma, it was all but absent in the flavor. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Mora2000, Mar 23, 2010
Photo of kingcrowing
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%

750ml bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a cloudy deep amber color with a light thin bubbly white head.

Taste is a bit of honey and light malt. Lots of cascade hops here as well. All comes together to make this super drinkable and so tasty! Seek it out.

kingcrowing, Nov 15, 2009
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.83/5  rDev +18.4%

This beer is a testament to what bottle conditioned brews can do...keep in mind it's from 2008 according to my label and batch number is E!019 hop character is still banging. A bit subdued but hops still explode I'd love to try this fresh this is my second bottle of the same batch and it's been great. Pours a murky golden peach color with a bright white head foam is effervescent and thick with tiny bubbles due to the bottle conditioning. Usually stale hops straight up offend me, in this case the nose is rich with hop essence including pine,citrus, and herbal grassiness. It's lively more than 2 years after the bottling date what gives? How did this beer not go hop stale on me. Every other hoppy IPA or pale I come across is much better fresh this just seems awesome right now, next batch I will seek fresh. Flavor with the yeast brings a great nutty character to the party with the hop flavor still blasting with citrus/pine, and earthy/herbal tones great brew. A double honey bitter according to the website, great. Creative juices were flowing I love this stuff. Mouthfeel has effervescence and strong ample bitterness with some resinous hops going on. Drinkability overall is challenging compared to most other brews and really a whole new experience that I can't get enough of. Go for it. I love this stuff and I'm willing to do more of the coffee beer that they make that's still in stock outside of the Burgh, Ithaca Eleven was awesome I can't wait to age some Ithaca 12.

WVbeergeek, Apr 26, 2010
Photo of tugg407
4/5  rDev -2%

tugg407, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

acurtis, Aug 09, 2014
Photo of asabreed
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%

25.6 oz. bottle into a Brooklyn tulip.

Appearance: A beautiful dusky, mildly hazy, orange color, with a lot of retention going on, in addition to a bubbling head with every pour. With light coming through, this is a pretty radiant-looking brew.

Smell: I have a feeling that there will be more breweries trying to brew with alfalfa honey. Even the earthy and sweet aroma you can tell is different from esters and sugars and malt. There's a distinct, I don't know, maybe pureness, if you will, coming from a lot of the sweetness here. A caramel and earthy note that mingles insanely well with the cascade hops, imparting some fresh, wet, crystallized marijuana aromas along with nice bitter orange and minor grapefruit notes.

Taste: Thankfully, as I was hoping, the honey does something wonderful here with the hops. I don't know exactly how to describe it, however. But what's here is the freshness; I feel like the beer was made recently, and I just got a growler of it and poured it into a glass. But the honey is sweet, fresh, flowery, earthy, and though it meshes well with the pungent and also seemingly fresh cascade hops, the balance is pretty nuts here. Pungent, lip-smacking, balanced, and delicious. A lot to admire here.

Mouthfeel: It seems like Ithaca has a good control of how they deal with the carbonation, and this is no different. I wasn't sure exactly what to expect with the honey going on, but it does a good job of balancing everything here, and I imagine whatever yeast they're using is the trick, though I could easily be wrong here. But it maintains a good creaminess overall, with microscopic carbonation merging to make it champagne-like.

Drinkability: Very, very impressed by this beer. Every small batch brew they brew has been something I seek out. Thankfully I live close, which means I'm extremely excited for Thirteen when it's here. They're a small operation, but they seem like they're growing, and for good reason.

asabreed, Dec 10, 2010
Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%

Thanks goes out to the old man of LUMancha for this fine Ithaca offering.

Pours a hazy yellowy orange color, nice n cloudy with a stark white head that retains very well and leaves very nice thick lacing.

Nose reeks of cascade hops. There is some slight honey in the nose, but most of it is lost in the sweetness of the malt profile in the smell.

Taste is very fine. This is certainly one of the better hop centered brews on the east coast, can tell you that right off the bat. Cascade hops are defenitely showcased, and for the bitterness and piney flavor that this beer is showcasing, there has to be boatloads of them in here. A bit of citrus in here as well. Lacking the typical toned down spicey hop flavor most EC IPAs "showcase". Very refreshing. The malt profile is balanced very nicely, maybe a slight bit soft for the amount of hops in here (can't beleive im saying this about an EC IPA. hahaha) As the finish approaches some slightly unchecked bitterness arises and a very dry finish enhances this. Honey comes out a bit more on the aftertaste, but the hops still linger dominantly.

Mouthfeel is pretty much right where it should be as far as viscosity, but is a touch drier than I would like. Carbonation is pretty well done.

Drinkability is good for the most part. A slight bit of unchecked bitterness and extremely dry finish hampers it a bit, but as far as the abv, incredibly well hidden.

Overall this is a fine DIPA, especially being from the east coast. This is very similar to many IPAs found on the west coast. Big props go out to Ithaca for growing some balls (unlike most east coast breweries) and brewing a real DIPA. I am continually impressed with Ithaca and the Excelsior! series especially. A fine brewery they got there in Lumtown, fine indeed. Thanks again Lum!

AKBelgianBeast, Feb 14, 2009
Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%

Bottle shared with Dan at Pizza Plant, and others. This is not an on-the-mark DIPA because of its understated hop bitterness. Its still an enjoyable beer, with the slightly tangyness and honey hitting up front, some Cascade bitterness washing over the palate in the finish, and building up over a few samples. More of an IPA in its perceived bitterness. A cask appearance.

Sammy, Jan 21, 2011
Photo of jh1982
4/5  rDev -2%

jh1982, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of augustgarage
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%

Thanks to northyorksammy for sending this my way! Batch El019. Poured from a 750mL bottle into my Dogfish Head oversized snifter.

Rich cloudy gold liquid with a humongous stand of foam which recedes to a dense two-finger cloud of off-white burbling merengue. Thick sheets of lacing reach out towards the center of the glass. Superior retention.

Aromatics burst forth with waves of fruit (peach, apricot, pineapple) and flowers (violets, chamomile, more)...backed with a gentle sweetness and light yeast phenols.

Clean and spicy palate entry, herbal and grassy (as you would expect from the alfalfa), with a brisk pomelo-kissed bitterness. Delicate complexities come forward in the finish which is dry yet still possessed by honey and hard to disect floral notes.

Medium-bodied, effervescent, and faintly oily. Crisp and refreshing.

A unique grassy/floral ambrosia, rather unlike any example of the style I've thus far sampled. You can tell great care went into this bottle, and I feel grateful to have the opportunity to empty it.

augustgarage, Mar 30, 2011
Photo of tempest
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%

I didn't realize how much people dig this beer. I thought it was nice and fairly interesting, but not terribly special. The beer did hide it's strength well, while still having enough character to be slowly sipped. I enjoyed the clean nutty biscuit malt flavor that was complimented by a touch of honey. The hops, frankly, seemed subdued, with dry citrus punch flavor that didn't really stand out. Overall, an interested and tasty beer. But this cost like $15, and there are better options at that price.

tempest, May 10, 2010
Photo of Alieniloquium
4/5  rDev -2%

750 mL bottle poured into an Ithaca Excelsior! tulip. Thanks to GrindFatherBob for both the bottle and the match glassware. Nice.

Appearance - Hazy yellow body with a nice white head. The head settles without a lot of lacing, but the glass gets some sticky foam clinging to it.

Smell - Pine hops and a lot of sweet honey and light malt aroma. Smells nice, but very sweet.

Taste - Pine again, a bit grassy, but it's quickly overwhelmed by the sweetness. It's a nice, light sweetness from the honey, so it doesn't taste like a malty IPA, just a slightly sweet one. I get some booze in the finish, which is strange for only 8.5%.

Mouthfeel - A little thick, but not too thick. Makes for nice lingering sweetness to balance the slightly bitter finish. Not so high carbonation makes it feel a bit heavier.

Overall - Nice, not on my favorites list, but nice. The honey lends itself nicely, although I'd still go for an IPA with no sweetness at all.

Alieniloquium, Jul 18, 2011
Photo of jdaddy
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

jdaddy, Oct 25, 2013
Photo of Gmann
3.73/5  rDev -8.6%

Out of a 750ml foiled and capped bottle. Pours a light honey golden color, fairly clear, with tons of carbonation bubble racing to the top. The head equals or surpasses Duvel. Big and rocky, just won't dissipate, pure white, super chunky lacing...beauty. The aroma is of a honey malt, quite bready. Aroma reminds me of a munich lager. Hops are kind of weak in the aroma, slightly grassy. The taste is sweet with honey and heavy with bready malt. Quite a full body for such a light looking brew. The hops seem only to be there to add a grassy flavor to the brew, not much hop flavor detected. Enough to offset the malt but lacking for the style. Perhaps the hops faded. Solid moderate body with fizzy carbonation, drinks well. The grassy hops do help offset the malty breadiness and sweetness. Again, drinks very well. Seems to be more focused on the honey malt than the hops. A touch more floral hop flavor and this would be excellent.

Gmann, Apr 10, 2010
Photo of FrankyLikesIt
5/5  rDev +22.5%

FrankyLikesIt, Dec 14, 2011
Photo of dtx00
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

dtx00, Sep 01, 2012
Photo of brandoneast
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%

Medium blonde with a touch of haze and a frothy collar of foam. The initial pour filled the glass with funky, like gym socks and toe jam aromas; very off putting. Those smells quickly died down and then opened to aromas and flavors of orange zested creme brulee crust, honey chevre, orange candy slices, mint, and wheat crackers. The Cascade hop bitterness came through and helped balance some of the initial senses. The honey added a nice kiss to the mouthfeel and it finished quite well, kind of like HopSlam but leaving extremely dry.

brandoneast, Jun 28, 2010
Photo of sfr26
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

sfr26, Mar 03, 2014
Photo of akorsak
4/5  rDev -2%

A 750 mL bottle purchased at the brewery a month and a half ago.

A: The DIPA is rather light, a translucent straw-brown color. The first pour yielded two and a half fingers of craggy white head. As the head receded, extensive lacing was left behind.

S: The nose has a very sweet hop edge, enjoyable but one can tell that it is bitter. I'd liken the aroma to that of a clementine, rind included. Plenty of caramel and biscuit malt balances things out.

T: When the ale was cold, a generally hoppy bitterness pervaded it. As it warmed, caramel malts, slightly more roasted than normal (but not quite a black IPA), delivered a big taste. Coupled with that, so as to not downplay it, is a bold hop profile. The hops are oily and resiny, dripping with boozy heat and citrus. Grapefruit, clementines and orange rind all make an apppearance, along with pine and pepper. The alcoholic heat is a little intense, a strong side effect of the big hop profile. The last pours of the bottle, including yeast, have a vegetal flavor that further sets up the hoppiness. A strong hoppiness leaves a lasting flavor. A nice ale that benefits from the lack of filtering.

M: The mouthfeel is focused on the hops, bold and oily. That being said, the malts don't shy away from the limelight, adding dark caramel malts.

D: I enjoyed tasting the ale as it warmed, moving from blindingly bitter to bold and balanced. This may be the only bottle I have tonight but I'm enjoying the slow pace.

akorsak, Oct 26, 2009
Photo of Luweezy
2.5/5  rDev -38.7%

Luweezy, Jun 11, 2013
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Alphalpha from Ithaca Beer Company
91 out of 100 based on 215 ratings.