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Alphalpha - Ithaca Beer Company

Not Rated.
AlphalphaAlphalpha

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

223 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 223
Reviews: 143
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 11.79%
Wants: 71
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: 223 | Reviews: 143 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jjayjaye
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow..another lofty Excelsior series endeavor! Sooo glad that team-Ithaca can put it together like this.

(Go with the words from IBC on this one...trust me!) Pours a cloudy pale golden amber color with a huge stiff off white head that decomposes like an ice cream float. You've gotta know that cloudy means 'standby for goodness'. A seriously nice amount of Belgian lacing enjoyed with each mouthful, some 3-D. The smell is intense, aggressive and suggests that a ton of quality ingredients went into this bad boy. The soft freshness of the pour comes from the honey-side of things. Behind all that is an intense grassy resin. The mouth feel is complex...bursts of the resin characteristic finishes cleanly...as if dampened by the honey. Very drinkable...the oily resin character builds up as you get closer to the visible 'chunky goodness' awaiting at the bottom of the vessel. This interpretation is an example of preserving all of the classic 'expectations of style' while revealing TOTALLY imaginative ways of getting you there! If you have ANY idea of what i'm talking about, then it's 'scoring points'...highly recommended.

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.12/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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!

Photo of sideshowe
5/5  rDev +22.9%

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

Pours a very hazy, apricot color with a large, fluffy, white head that leaves big, splotchy, areas of thick lace. Retention is good.
The smell is honey, oranges and a mixed floral aroma.
The taste is a gentle blend of the smell with a bitter hop bite.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth and dry at the end.
Drinkability is good. ABV is up there so a full bottle is a bit much but it's very nice on a warm summer day.

Mine is from the same batch as early (1/09) reviewers so I'm unsure how old this is or how it might have changed. There are hops still present but I don't see how this can be called a DIPA so I'm not reviewing as if it is. It is a good beer worth drinking, even from this batch. Even fresh I doubt this was intended to be a DIPA, even an east coast one. I don't know what to call it.

Photo of BeerTruth
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Photo of scootny
4.01/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clean whit head that has decent retention and good lacing. Pale gold that grows murkier as the yeast starts to mix in. Smell is lightly alcoholic with honey and lots of hops and this from a bottle from 2008 (E!09) Taste is honeyed and light bodied malt. Yeast add a bit of dough. Clean firm bitterness from the NY state Cascade. Tingly mint lingers, light crackery bits as well. Feel is smoothly carbonated with a light creaminess. Lighter than you might think from the abv. Crisp and quenching. This is a superb bottle conditioned hop bomb. It ages better than you might think. Cant wait to update this with a review of fresh. Had this with a mushroom carpaccio and maple mustard tempe sandwiches from the Cinnamon Snail in NYC. Yum

Photo of steve8robin
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this in my first BIF. Let's give it a go. 750ml...

A: Dark iced tea honey colored with a humongous 2 inch white head that fades at a decent pace. Good.

S: Sweet malts upfront blended with floral hops. Dark fruit caramel and iced tea in the middle with some lemon and grassiness on the backend. Good.

T: Very bitter honey upfront. An interesting caramel lemon blended with candi sugars and some dry hoppiness on the backend. Good.

M: Medium body with a medium carbonation. Very good.

D: This goes down once you get past the bitter wall. Good.

All in all, I like this brew. I've tried a couple Ithica brews to date and it seems like they make good brews, but so far from what I've tried, not great brews. Definitely worth trying if you like bitter beers with a good balance of sweetness.

Photo of ritzkiss
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, batch E19, shared by bobsy on a fine sunny afternoon in April.

Pours a cloudy golden with a three plus fingers of airy head, almost looks Belgian.

Nose reveals a hefty floral, grassy and citrus bouquet. A sort of fresh-cut hay grassy note is strongest, I imagine it to be alfalfa. Hints of lemon and orange rind, floral bouquets. A fairly hefty malt sweetness as well.

Takes a little bit to adjust to this unique offering, not a typical DIPA by any stretch. Grassy, citrus, floral hopping (a'la the nose), almost Belgian-y esters, hefty malt sweetness, honeysuckle, moderate bite, dry finish, light herbal spiciness. The sweetness was a little too dominant for me, resulting in a little to hefty of a body. A little lighter and the fresh-cut hay and citrus would take you to a summer place you would not want to leave. As it is, a good offering whose uniqueness makes it worth a try - Ithaca is usually a good bet to try anyways!

Photo of IBUnit63
3.81/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch E!013. It was around for a while before it hit Boston shelves so the hops may have faded quite a bit, but let's gizzit a toss into the Duvel tulip.

Well, it sure pours nicely. 2 fingers of eggshell/buttery head tops a rustic, organic honey-colored hazy body. Carbonation is prevalent but it moves very slowly...a testament to this deal's viscosity. Head retention is clutch - it has a strong proofed bread dough look. This is quite thick indeed.

Although fresh from the fridge there's a slight metallic tinge, the grapefruit hops in this show no signs of being thoroughly faded out. Partially? Most likely - less pulp than rind. Malt smells grainy - is that the organic thing? No, no...that's meat...actually there's a little bit of salt developing. I get the smell of honey a little bit, but it needs some warmth.

So far the taste matches the scent - slightly salty and metallic but what's prevalent is the grapefruit rind and a little bit of faint pulp. The honey shows up more in feel than in taste, as the sweetness comes a little more from the booze than from the honey. Malt is rather inert at first, but shows up with more of a straw-like taste after a while when the hops slowly fade into a bed of honey. A little dryness here.

This gets drier and drier with warmth, which is both surprising and enjoyable. It's almost out of style but has a very nice Belgian IPA feel at the moment.

It gets some legs with a decent amount of warmth and mellows out quite nicely. The Cascades are much more austere than the balls-to-the-wall unabased citrus of Centennials and Amarillos, so it definitely brings about a nice dry feel. The residual sugar ultimately loses its booziness but keeps some warmth. Very well done.

Photo of joepais
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
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 BeerImmediately
3.1/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Batch E!029 poured into glass at about 45-55 degrees.

Aggressive pour yields short, soapy white head that fades quickly over a cloudy golden body. Nice lacing.

Aromas are fairly faint for the style. Sweet with lots of honey, and floral/herbal hops.

Thick on the palate with low carbonation. Flavors carry a definite herbal bitterness, but the sweetness seems to be separated. It definitely goes from sweet fruits up front (mango especially) to increasingly bitter (minty & floral) in the middle, and then astringently bitter lingering finish (blood orange peel). Pretty sticky overall.

I feel bad giving this one "average" scores, since I'm sure Ithaca didn't necessarily brew this to be a true-to-form DIPA. It's pretty tasty overall.

Photo of MoreThanWine
3.53/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a meeger 1" head which quickly totally dissipated. Interesting hazy honey yellow color. Smell and taste are both hoppy IPA and frankly if they had labelled it as just that I probably would have been more supportive. But supposedly this has honey in it and honestly I'm not tasting that at all. And although it's hoppy I've had much hoppier. Nice beer, just not as nice as the label notes had hinted.

Photo of FrankShirley
3.5/5  rDev -14%

Photo of andrewinski1
3.77/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip. About a quarter inch head of large almost perfectly white bubbles. Hazy caramel colored body.

Smells like caramel, honey, and slight orange zest.

Nice gentle sweetness in the start, and a nice dry bitter finish. The caramel aroma is mimicked in the flavor nicely.

The mouthfeel is slightly flat, but not to a huge detriment.

Would love to get this again sometime. Very enjoyable and slightly unique.

Photo of dwoolley1
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of Boilerfood
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of kbnooshay
3.86/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a murky swamp golden orange color with lotsa yeast settling at the bttom. nice bright white head with cool rings of we defined lace. aroma is super yeasty and hoppy. like must funk. taste is at first a tad much. but the hops chill out after a few sips. the honey is kinda noticeable. this is pretty damn drinkable. i would drink this super fresh.

Photo of kzoobrew
3.7/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch E!029, poured into Stone IPA glass.

Hazy golden orange body. Fluffy three finger eggshell colored head. Retention is quite impressive. Thick sheets of lacing left behind as the head recedes.

The aroma is dominated up front by intense hops. Resinous wet hops cones and candied grapefruit. Very organic grassy aromas pour out of the glass. Light pale malt sweetness provides a subtle backbone.

Strong grassy hop flavor absolutely coats the tongue out of the glass. A more subdued citrus flavors lingers just behind. There is an underlying sweetness present in which I am struggling to put my finger on. My first instinct was caramel malt but that notion has gone by the wayside the more I work my way through. Warm biscuity malt sweetness is present but does not account for the sweetness as a whole. I am reluctant to attribute the sweet flavor to the honey, as it would ferment out, though I suppose some residual flavor may be left behind contributing to the overall flavor.

Medium bodied, slightly under moderate carbonation. Very creamy texture leaves a bit of an oily residue on the tongue. Lingering sweetness and grassy hop flavor makes of a much longer finish than anticipated.

Good beer, but not great. I would be very interested to sample this beer uber fresh. I believe the fresher the sample the better this beer is. Drinks quite easy though the sweetness does catch up, one pour is plenty. Nice beer overall.

Photo of sfr26
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of beachbum1975
3.66/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750ml bottle - batch # E!013 - served at fridge temps with DrewOSU and newtonty.

I was drawn to the description on this beers label, so I had to try it (I love honey and malt).

To my surprise, this poured a super cloudy, fleshy apricot color with brown lowlights. The head is a 3/4 inch light tan monster with big bubbles.

The nose is relatively mild with pineapple hops and light, sweet malts. Pretty simple nose...

Pineapple hops presence takes the stage with an orangey flavor throughout. There's very light alcohol in the finish with a malt presence that comes through, as well.

The overall flavor profile was much more simple then I was expecting. I was hoping for a larger honey taste, but only got traces. Nice, but overall I was a bit underwhelmed.

Photo of BigPlay1824
4.65/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed in a snifter

A: pours a very slightly hazy yellow hay color with two fingers of large bubbled creamy pure white head that lingers beautifully and leaves thin bubbly lacing on the glass
S: very fresh citrus hop notes, really nice and pure, has a nice earthy undertone at the end
T: oh shes a beaut this one, she drinks so smooth and has such a great citrus hop note with a really smooth malt finish that really balances it out, just the slightest alcohol note at the very very end, i want more of this, gonna need a case
M: medium carbonation tingle, slight slight alcohol burn at the very end, smooth and just a bit thick
O: one hell of a beer from one hell of a brewery, the Excelsior series from Ithaca is really fantastic, i havent come across one i didnt thoroughly enjoy yet, cant wait to see what they pop out in the future

Photo of jh1982
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of dtx00
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of mgbickel
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into multiple glasses. The thickly formed white head left lots of tufts behind as it receded. The body is a golden yellow color with orange hues.

The nose has lots of honey up front. You can pick up some citrus (hops) in the background. There is also a grainy, bready character present.

The flavor is similar to the nose...honey and bready with a slight hop presence throughout. The hops are more subtle that I would like. I am also tasting a bit of funk...infection??

The body is light/medium, astringent with moderate carbonation.

All in all a good beer. Nothing jumped out at me to rate this higher. Worth trying, but nothing I will go after again.

Photo of n00blar
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

Alphalpha from Ithaca Beer Company
91 out of 100 based on 223 ratings.