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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:
Photo of younger35
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%

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!

younger35, Jan 27, 2009
Photo of cvstrickland
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%

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!

cvstrickland, May 13, 2009
Photo of stakem
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%

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.

stakem, May 27, 2011
Photo of sybilyang
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%

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.

sybilyang, Oct 29, 2010
Photo of NorthsideFred
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%

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.

NorthsideFred, Jul 13, 2011
Photo of joepais
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%

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

joepais, Apr 18, 2009
Photo of EgadBananas
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%

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.

EgadBananas, Oct 10, 2010
Photo of rfgetz
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%

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.

rfgetz, May 24, 2010
Photo of seeswo
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%

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.

seeswo, Aug 21, 2011
Photo of ngeunit1
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%

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.

ngeunit1, Jul 13, 2011
Photo of Seanibus
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%

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.

Seanibus, Feb 06, 2011
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 dtx00
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

dtx00, Sep 01, 2012
Photo of sfr26
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

sfr26, Mar 03, 2014
Photo of jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

jaydoc, Dec 03, 2013
Photo of oldp0rt
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

oldp0rt, Sep 23, 2012
Photo of metalgdog
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

metalgdog, Nov 12, 2012
Photo of soze47
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

soze47, Apr 01, 2013
Photo of DmanGTR
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

DmanGTR, Jan 29, 2013
Photo of joe1510
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

750ml

Batch E!013

My man Lum sent me this bottle as an extra, that generous bastard! Alphalpha struts around with a sunset orange body. There's enough haziness to make it nearly impossible to see through the glass but it's not milky. The head snapped to attention at two fingers and held tight with a crazy looking bubbled but meringue-like head. Patchy, crackly lacing adorns the glass after each gulp.

Crazy citric aromas comes from everywhere in this IPA. The hoppiness leans mostly toward orange with the fruit, candied peel and oil are all present. I've never had alfalfa honey before but it brings a touch of sweetness to this brew that's also reminiscent of oranges, although slightly musty. Rich caramel brings up the rear in a big sort of way. There's some floral hoppiness throughout but the orange citric qualities rule the roost. The more this beer warms the more nose candy it throws down. The honey adds great character.

Alphalpha is one unique IIPA. Not only is all the orange present that the nose showed off but the hoppiness takes on the flavor of lemon peel as well. All that caramel the nose was flaunting turns into more of a toasty breadiness that I prefer to the huge caramel for flavor. The finish snaps with moderately bitter lemon juice. The honey adds a touch of sweetness and some more citric depth.

The mouthfeel fits this particular IIPA nearly perfectly. The body is a hair over moderate in weight and the carbonation brings along a snappy finish. The bitterness grows with each drink and peaks at moderate maybe even a little over.

For a big IIPA Alphalpha drinks like an IPA which I could see becoming rather dangerous. The lemon brightness on the finish and hoppy bitterness keeps the glass tipped more often than straight.

This is another stellar brew from the up and comers over at Ithaca. I've wanted to try this unique IIPA since I first heard about it a long time back. Thanks for the hook up Lum!

joe1510, Jun 14, 2009
Photo of WDJersey
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

WDJersey, Mar 21, 2013
Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Poured from a 750ml bottle into my large snifter tasting glass. Pours a light pale color, with a huge head forming immediately...frothy and off-white. Head retention is excelent, once it dissipates for the most part, it remains as froth resting over the surface. Lacing is outstanding...again, frothy and sticky.

Aroma is crisp, citrus, hops, and malts. Amoungst the citrus notes, there some other definite fruits coming through, possibly grapefruit?

Flavor is great, refreshing, and enjoyable! Light and crisp mouthfeel off the bat, moving over to a slightly more malty and heavier finish...but ending only slightly dry. Carbonation is high. Loads of citrus/grapefruit/and hops...and a tiny bit of booze. A very nice DIPA from Ithaca, very impressed!

ShadesOfGray, Jun 04, 2010
Photo of trxxpaxxs
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

trxxpaxxs, Apr 24, 2014
Photo of dwoolley1
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

dwoolley1, May 29, 2013
Photo of CrellMoset
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Bottle courtesy of bmanning, just received today as part of a great trade with a great trader. Batch E!013, poured in to a 22 oz. snifter.

Appearance: A light honey orange amber, hazed and blurry, and full of varied carbonation - from fine, crystalline carbonation that races up the center of the glass (only visible when held to the light) to moderate-sized effervescence that slides up the curvature of the snifter towards the head to huge bubbles that nest with one another and cling to the sides of the glass. The head is about an inch to an inch-plus high, far foamier than many DIPAs - that is, it's full of huge bubbles, sponge-like, with above-average retention but even better lacing than I would expect from how the center sort of caves in, tossing and spewing large curtains all over the sides of the snifter. An impressive looking brew.

Aroma: I'm all over the place on this one. A strong, sweet, clove-like underpinning - might it be honey? 8-ball says ... - that supports all of the best aspects of pure, unadulterated Cascades. Spice. Hay. Oranges. Grass. Lemons. Generic herbal-ness. Sweet, overwhelming floral notes, that sort of "essence of flower" that you know is quite literally the lupulin dripping off the freshly-harvested hop cone. It's a little more straight forward here than in the taste, but it's still very solid.

Taste: A very herbal, floral, earthy hop profile mixed with a very simple, high, and relatively sweet hop profile makes for a deceptively simple but delicious brew. Let's start with the hops, obviously showcased here. As I mentioned, they're very herbal and earthy, with tons of hay and grass (what DOES alphalpha taste like anyway?), mint, and faint thyme, though lemon, orange, and faint grapefruit aren't far behind either. It's almost like ... wait a second, lemme check the bottle ... yep! New York-grown Cascade hops. The Cascades here are used to their fullest extent - they provide not only a moderate bitterness, but also a full range of citrusy and leafy and spicy and herbal hop notes. I must ask - were any other hops used in this one? If this is a single hop brew, color me thoroughly, thoroughly impressed. The malts are a little simpler, but provide a great underpinning. Biscuity and relatively dry despite the honey addition - complimented well by a minerally water - there's hardly any if any roast at all. It's balanced, simple, straightforward, and augments all the right notes.

Mouthfeel: Fluffy, smooth, a little slick, with a medium body and enough carbonation to provide a good amount of lift to keep any of the residual sweetness from being sticky or cloying and not too much that it thrusts any of the singular (to some) hoppiness in your face. The only downside might perhaps be that there's enough carbonation here that - in a body of this thickness - the result can at times be a little uneven and explosive, but that's only a downside to some.

Drinkability: I wanted to drink this one fast because it was a DIPA (or, a Double Honey Bitter according to the bottle - a new style? Probably not yet), and I had no idea how long ago it had been brewed - to be perfectly honest, I haven't researched Ithaca's batch-numbering system. Nonetheless, this one tasted crisp, fresh, and wonderful - could have been brewed yesterday for all I know.

A few points: One, I think this is perhaps the best use of Cascades I've ever had the pleasure of sipping. Normally, when I have a beer I know to be Cascades-only (CO), I can tell right away - it has a distinctive leafy-citrus-spicy flavor that is undeniably unique. This one had me guessing though - surely, there must be something else in here? Chinook? Columbus? Nope. Just pure, unadulterated, fresh, (I assume) whole cone Cascades. Good for Ithaca for squeezing every last drop of goodness out of a hop variety that has been done to death by so many, and yet that so many have done far less with.

Two, the 8.5% is nowhere to be detected. 8.5% is (I suppose) on the low side or near average for a DIPA, but it's not like there's a huge amount here to hide it - one hop and a simple malt base. You can feel it ('cause it does it's thing), but you don't see it comin'.

Third and finally, I suppose a combination of the above points needs to be made. This is a simple beer, on paper. It's one hop. One malt. One addition. And yet it manages to showcase a slew of notes that intermingle with one another to present a whole new slew of notes. It goes to show you what a good brewery can do with a small array of weapons.

This was the only Ithaca Excelsior! series brew I had yet to obtain, and I'm thrilled to have had the chance. Ithcaca is making some amazing brews right now - Old Habit, Brute, and Ten are some of the best brews out there - and I'm glad that some truly East Coast breweries are stepping up, branching out, and even dominating some of these styles. Good for them, and - truly - good for us.

CrellMoset, Jan 09, 2010
Alphalpha from Ithaca Beer Company
91 out of 100 based on 215 ratings.