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Alphalpha - Ithaca Beer Company

Not Rated.
AlphalphaAlphalpha

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BA SCORE
91
outstanding

222 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 222
Reviews: 143
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 12.04%
Wants: 70
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:
Beer added by: almychristopher on 12-30-2008

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 222 | Reviews: 143 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Levich
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up a 75cL bottle of this one on a recent trip to visit my sister in Ithaca. This is part of the "Excelcior!" Series, Batch E!039. Poured from the bottle into a goblet.

The color is light amber with whispers of red. The head dissipates very quickly even in a his is part of the Eceglass with etching, however, a light film of white foam is left for the duration of drinking.

Upon opening the bottle, I got a hint of yeast on the nose, but that was soon overpowered by the hoppy aroma of an IPA. It is floral and grapefruit with hints of sweeter citrus.

The initial sip is smooth at the front moving to a bitterness toward the end. It's more subtle than expected and actually does have a herbal grassy undertone that grows more detectable as more sips are taken. After about half of a glass, a honey sweetness becomes present on the front, with the hoppy finish still intact. The Alphalpha is not as bitter as one might expect in a double IPA, but there is a characteristic hoppy finish.

The mouthfeel is rather smooth with minimal, fine carbonation. However, it does have enough body and has a distinct creaminess.

Overall, this is a decent beer. The distinct flavors are subtle, but I guess that is what makes it good. The folks at Ithaca Beer Company took a great style and tweaked it just enough to make something different while keeping the feeling of the original.

I would like to put this in the cellar if I get back to Ithaca soon!

Photo of aerozeppl
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The bottle says it is a double honey bitter and if you get DIPA out of your head it is a much better beer.

A: It was the first really nice day in upstate NY and the way the sun went through my glass and highlighted the golden honey color was nothing short of magic. A finger of white head with a good amount of lacing.

S: Lots of sweetness. A touch of hops but nothing overwhelming. Very nice earthy grassy smell as well.

T: Really hard to describe this one. It had a nice sweetness with a decent amount of hops to balance it out. A little bit of an spiced note. Very earthy again. Little touch of lemongrass as well.

M: Medium bodied. Well carbonated. A little bit sticky in the back of the throat.

D: I have had this beer a few times and I am finally getting around to reviewing it. A great beer but a poor DIPA which it is not. Ithaca made a new category for this one and it is tasty.

Photo of dukedevil0
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Alex (MasterSki) for having me over for drinking anything he wanted to "get rid of" before his trip to Europe. Ha, get rid of good beers, I'm in! Batch E!013

A: Pours a pale yellowish-orange color with a decent amount of white head and lots of lacing on the glass.

S: Smells interesting - honey, sweet hops, citrus, orange, some candi sugar, slight maltiness bringing up the rear

T: Very similar to the smell, the sweet honey comes out a lot in the flavor with a sweet hops, citrus, orange, light candi sugar, light malt in there too

M: Full bodied, but the carbonation definitely goes a lot into the head, but this goes down smooth

D: I like the flavor and the sweetness isn't too much, no alcohol really in the flavor so i think the drinkability is high

Photo of rhinos00
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a tulip glass. Batch E!013

A- Pours a murky, apricot color with hues of brown in between. Produced three fingers width of frothy, white head. Laced the glass nicely.

S- Getting a bit of floral hops in the nose along with a bit of sugared sweetness from the honey. In the background there is a constant aroma of grassy type hops.

T- The honey was evident in this beer. However it was not overdone and was used as more of a component in this beer instead of as the main ingredient. Nice amount floral and grassy hops, but again not too overpowering. Decent amount of bitterness in the finish.

M- This one had an awesome mouthfeel. Very similar to when I had Hopslam on cask. Medium bodied, but had a full, creamy feel to it. Fantastic.

D- Alcohol was not a factor here. This one goes down the hatch pretty easily.

Overall, I'm hesitant to call this one an IPA/DIPA and I'm not sure if the brewers wanted it to be classified as such (see the bottle). While there were certain flavor profiles similar to an IPA/DIPA this was more about melding the flavors together rather than showcasing bittering hops. IMO the honey was a bit underplayed, but still a great beer.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch #E!019 poured from a 750ml bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a light gold color, with a large white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains floral hops, honey, caramelized malts and some citrus.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of honey, citrus and caramel. Then a strong but not over-powering hops presence quickly follows. The malt character is hearty and provides a very good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly hoppy.

M: Smooth and very crisp, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, good kick, very good representation of style, I was skeptical about the honey but it brings a nice variation your standard 2IPA and makes this beer worth drinking for a long time.

Photo of ColForbinBC
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL champagne style bomber poured into a snifter; batch E!019

Pours a cloudy pale orange/apricot color with heavy golden accents. The paper white cap rises to fill the snifter and recedes slowly, leaving large chunks of lace all over the place.

Floral, grassy hops on top of a bed of sweet biscuity malt. Honey is ever present and becomes more apparent as it warms.

Sweetness prevails on the palate. Sweet honey only enhances the lightly toasted biscuity malt and doughy yeast. Grassy, floral hops with a touch of lemon have their place up front and in the finish. A moderate rush of bitterness in the finish is very welcomed. I will say that the onslaught of hops isn't really on par with most DIPA's.

Decent carbonation with a light-medium body and a sticky, chewy presence from the honey and the hops. The finish is dry and bitter.

High drinkability here. A lighter body with a hop profile that isn't overly aggressive lends itself to an easy drinker. The crisp, bitter, dry finish is nearly perfect. Just wish the hops were a little more unruly.

Photo of younger35
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received this brew from my #1 gal BeerTruth. Got this not long ago and have been pretty damned excited to try it. Drank from my Stone India Pale Ale tulip.

Batch# E!011

Appearance- Pours a hazy orange with a huge two finger bright white head that is super fluffy. The head never really recedes smaller than maybe a half finger, leaving rings and rings of lacing that remind me every sip.
Smell- Loads of Cascades jump out of the bottle upon opening. Super fruity and citric from the start with bits of grapefruit, tangerines and candied orange. Slightly floral as well with a bit of lilac and lavender. Lightly sweet biscuit, a bit of brown sugar and light bubblegum finish the nose.
Taste- Mmm... Deliciousness here. Slightly bitter with a refreshing burst of the usual suspects including some light grapefruit pith, orange rind and lemon peel. Not a lot of pine is present but enough to give it a light early grassy twang. Some candied sugars and red licorice add a light bit of sweetness. As does a bit of upstate New York Alfalfa honey (I totally got that because I'm a honey connoisseur, not cause it says on the bottle). Finishes lightly fruity with a touch of subtle roast.
Mouthfeel- Medium body with a nice crisp bite and semi dry finish.
Drinkability- This is only my 2nd Excelsior brew and so far Ithaca is 2 for 2. It's not overly bitter yet nicely hoppy and fruity. Brews with honey in them are hit or miss with me and more times than not it's a miss. Not with Alphalpha. They apparently used just enough to give it a slightly dry finish and help prop up the Cascade goodness. Big thanks for your generocity Adam!

Photo of cvstrickland
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to daddy Lum for this jewel lovingly nestled in a fat trade crate: From Batch E!013...

The crowned Champagne-style 750 ml arrived yesterday, and chilled overnight in the fridge the brew pours bright golden amber with a thick cap of bright white foam atop. The head is creamy-smooth and glossy and leaves broad rings of fine webby film at the sip lines of the passing drink. The foam relaxes lazily, in no hurry to go anywhere, the fine head the epitome of sticky clinginess as it lies against the sides of my gold-rimmed Maredsous goblet. Subsequent supplemental pours to the glass really jack up the carbonation display, leaving cloud-shaped wallops of 3-D foam protruding from the interior surface.

Crisp, grassy, lemony citrus and succulent floral honey greet the nose right away and are quickly reinforced with a pinch of orangey zest and a splash of alcohol that hides in plain sight, only thinly disguised as juicy golden apple. A bit of mild toffee sweetens the aroma just a touch.

The taste is caramel-candy sweet with a rich medium toasted malt backbone-- just before a sweeping hoppy dryness desertifies the palate. Stiff bitterness is balanced nicely with a dollop of dark honey, but an assertive grassy hoppy dryness lingers in the aftertaste, pleasantly parching the drinker and commanding him to take another sip. I obey. Alcohol is a muted, mildly appley-pineappley flavor component of Alphalpha; the booze is coolly refreshing, drying on the palate, and warming in the belly. This super-duper Excelsior! brew is fresher, hazier, drier, more bitter, and increasingly grassy as the drink progresses. Excellent!

The drink is crisp and medium-bodied and punishingly-quaffable given the significant 8.5% ABV. Lum, no worries, homey! Hops aplenty remain!

Photo of stakem
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle split with some friends and poured into a pint glass. This brew appears a clear golden orange color with some faint particulate stuck hanging in suspension despite a careful pour. A finger of creamy/fluffy yellowish stained head appears and holds strong. Thick patchy lace holds in a webbing pattern along the glassware.

The smell of this brew is herbal with hops and spiked with a sweetness of honey. The aroma includes a very fresh scent of something like garden herbs - basil maybe but overloaded with lots of honey. As it warms, it picks up a light fruit quality which seems to be a mix of esters and hops.

The taste is also herbal with hops that impart an orange rind flavor. Just like the nose suggested, this brew even tastes like fresh herbs from a garden, sweet basil and an overload of honey. There is a modest bitterness included which keeps the residual honey sweetness in check.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. The mixture of herbal qualities and honey made for a pairing of flavors and aromas that really worked well together. This is a nicely done, easy drinking beverage with well hidden alcohol. This might be the most forward honey flavored brew I have had. I think the listing of DIPA here might be misleading. The entire time I was drinking this, it felt like a hearty ESB. People drinking this expecting DIPA might be let down but as-is, it was quite enjoyable.

Photo of sybilyang
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Wow you better like hops. The beer was very bittery-puckery. There was a very solid bite on the back of the palate. The very carbonated mouthfeel helped that, but I would recommend pairing this with some very fatty foods just to cut the bitterness.

The hops were however, more floral then you would imagine- not just straight bitterness. A good food beer. A little too strong for straight drinking by itself IMHO.

Photo of NorthsideFred
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the most fascinating beers I've ever tasted. This is the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of beer.

My first pour was into my SN pint glass (which, by the way, is quickly becoming one of my favorite summertime glasses.) Chaos and confusion quickly ensued...

A: This is beutiful. The beer poured a magnificent, crystal clear, light orange, with nice white lacing. As I began taking notes, I also looked at previous reviews, and was shocked to read that it was bottled conditioned and that many stated it has a cloudy appearance.

I immediately pulled out a tulip glass, into which I poured the second half of the bottle. The appearance is much cloudier.

S: Both glasses smell identical - pine: sweet and sticky with a hint of bitterness.

T: So smooth. Very nice. This beer continues to improve as it warms up. I'd say it keeps opening up and improving until just before it hits room temperature.

M: Medium bodied and nicely carbonated.

O: Very tasty. The first pour is awesome. The second pour has the same nice scent, but is thick with sediment. Not bad, just different. You'd never guess the two pours came out of the same bottle.

Photo of joepais
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Israel for sending this along.
Bottle shared among friends poured into tulip glasses produced a two finger white head, which leaves behind great lace. The body of the brew was a clear (didn't stir up the dregs in the first glass) apricot to gold yellow.

It was amazingly fragrant tons of cascade hops aroma filled my head. The flavor of honey hits your lips first then followed by a nice hop bitter finish a great IPA in my book. It had a medium feel in my mouth with good carbonation for the tongue.

Very drinkable we polished of or glasses rather quickly and was left wanting more. Another good brew from Ithaca

Photo of EgadBananas
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very cleverly named brew!

Golden honey in color, light white finger of head, laces nicely..

Aroma is slightly bitter, with some malts present. Citrus dominates the aroma.

Taste is nice and complex, starting with bittersweet citrus up front, followed but an interesting spicy herbal profile, a touch of honey and a lovely, balanced malty finish.

Good feel; slightly creamy, pushing more medium in body. Carbonation was present and pleasant.

I was very pleased with this offering, and would easily put the whole 750 away myself. Excellent drink.

Photo of rfgetz
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazed gold color with bg puff of prickly white head. Smell is of freshly dried grains, hints of sweetness, nice floral and earthy hops charachter backed by a mild orange scent. Upon touching the tounge, the beer is dry, forward with the touch of mild orange and honey, almost herbal like quality to it as well. backs into a fresh grain and biscuty taste as it finishes. Medium bodied, active carbonation, dry. A nice beer that doesnt try to be too aggressive and turns out right.

Photo of seeswo
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch E!029.

Pours orangey-brown with a nice white head. Smells distinctly of cascade hops and honey. Flowery and a touch piney with slightly orange and grapefruit hops. The taste is exactly the same, a blend of malted barley, a strong cascade bitterness and a honey sweetness for balance. Comes together really, really nicely and is a fantastic representation of the cascade hop. Good medium body and medium carbonation. I am surprised by how much I like this beer, but it is really good. Better than Flower Power to me, this beer has a nice hop profile and a great combination of honey and malted barley to bring it together. If anything, maybe just a touch sweet for some. In that sense, it reminds me of Hopslam.

Photo of ngeunit1
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a cloudy bright orange color with a thick covering of frothy white head. The head fades very slowly down leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of sweet honey, caramel malts, and some grassy hops. There is also just a bit of yeast in the background.

T - Starts off with a mix of sweet honey and grassy hops and bitterness. Soon after a bit of caramel malts come in to balance. Through the middle, a bit of bready yeast flavor comes through with some more bitterness. The finish is a mix of honey and hops with some bitterness that lingers.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth and a bit syrupy. The finish is a nice mix of sweetness and bitterness.

D - Very drinkable. Smooth and fairly well balanced. The honey flavor is at a really nice level and balanced with the rest of the flavors extremely well.

Photo of Seanibus
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Peculiar but delicious. It is at once strong and restrained.

Pours a hazy golden with a medium head. The aroma is powerful - a big puff of hoppy aroma as soon as the cap pops. In the glass, the smell is strong and syrupy, with a golden taffy-like malt.

The flavor is the surprise - where a traditional DIPA starts in the front of the mouth, this beer happens in the middle and back, with a syrupy slick malt and an odd herbal perfume, like sucking on a stick of rosemary. The bitterness is sneaky and herbal, coming around the side of the mouth and arriving quietly at the back of the tongue.

The mouthfeel is thick and slick and surprisingly dry. There is a menthol-like finish that lingers long after the beer is gone.

A tasty and unusual DIPA in a field crowded with good examples.

Photo of Billolick
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of dtx00
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of sfr26
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of oldp0rt
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of metalgdog
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of soze47
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of DmanGTR
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Alphalpha from Ithaca Beer Company
91 out of 100 based on 222 ratings.