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Alphalpha - Ithaca Beer Company

Not Rated.
AlphalphaAlphalpha

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

217 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 217
Reviews: 142
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 12.04%
Wants: 69
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: 217 | Reviews: 142 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mikesgroove
4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rich amber in color with a light haziness to it. A nice head of white, perhaps two inches in height rose up from the bottom of the glass and settled down with some decent lacing along the sides. Nice aroma of orange, thick, pungent and sweet with a nice malted backbone that really gave it some nice balance. Smooth, easy flavor here with all the abv non existent and really well done. Rich orange and pineapple flavors, buttery, biscuit like malt notes mid palate and a nice thick, medium feel that was accented nicely by some of the richest carbonation.

mikesgroove, Jul 14, 2011
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.

ngeunit1, Jul 13, 2011
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.

NorthsideFred, Jul 13, 2011
Photo of vande
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A ~ Golden champagney looking yellow pour...2 finger thick pillow soft looking head floating lazily... active carbonation the in the pint...been bubbling from the bottom for the last several minutes while I watch and wait.

S ~ Somewhat grassy hints being detected. Some earthiness going on here... Interesting mixture of hops with a sweeter side...

T ~ Honey, carmel sweetness definitely balances out the presence of hops.. an interesting bitter twist towards the end...yet, in between there's a definite presence of malty goodness... Very unique.

M ~ Pleasantly drinkable. Light-to-medium bodied IPA that has a smooth quality to it.

O ~ a pretty interesting drink. I've enjoyed Ithaca from afar, as they don't distribute to Illinois..but I've been lucky enough to have some good trading partners take care of me. Thanks!

vande, Jun 25, 2011
Photo of aasher
3.05/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I picked this bottle up at Jungle Jim's in Cindy. It pours a nice cloudy bright orange in color with a light white head. It smells of faded citrus hops and faded sweet malts. Fuck! The flavor is of pure citrus hops and malts. This bottle apparently wasn't stored like it could have been. It's a lost cause at this point, drainpour. I'll revisit this later. Bottle dates would be nice.

aasher, Jun 17, 2011
Photo of Thorpe429
3.5/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a slightly-hazy yellowish color with a moderate white head and a spot or two of lacing on the way down. The nose carries some citrus fruits along with some tropical notes and a bit of light sweetness. The flavor has honey and semi-sweet malt along with a moderate citrus and tropical hop presence. Body is more toward medium with a bit of residual sweetness and a nice bitter finish. Solid brew.

Thorpe429, May 31, 2011
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.

stakem, May 27, 2011
Photo of Knapp85
3.6/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer started off as a nice golden colored IPA. The further down the bottle I got the sediment actually changed the color to a milky looking yellow. Kind of gross looking actually. The smell was of earthy hops. The taste had a good hop bite to it and was too bad really. If this brew didn't have so much sludge on the bottom of the bottle it wouldn't be that bad. I found this brew to be a little too much for me and probably would buy it again.

Knapp85, May 20, 2011
Photo of suspect
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Dogfish Head signature glass. Split with mrmarmot.

A: Extremely cloudy beer with lots of chunky sediment. Some chunks were pebble sized. 2 finger fluffy head disappeared slowly to thick, sticky lacing. I was a bit put off by just how cloudy this beer was.

S: Ahhh, very nice mix of honey, hops and alfalfa. The malt backbone is steady and present along with a strong scent of multi-grain bread. This might just be the highlight of the beer.

T: Sweetness reigns supreme here thanks to the honeywith bitter contradictory notes thanks to the hops. Hops are a fruity mix of citrus and grass.

M: Sticky, chewy from the sediment. Alcohol is non-existent. Dries out the mouth leaving me wanting more.

O: This is a good beer and a very unique take on the style. Ithaca leaves the hoppy monsters to the west coast and uses its imagination to twist the DIPA expectations into something pretty nice. I would like to try this on tap or from a known fresh batch to compare.

suspect, May 14, 2011
Photo of biegaman
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Alphalpha is brewed with honey and indeed has a sort of nectarous look; this heavy golden concentrate looks viscous, despite its incandescence against the light, and denies sight of even a shadow of a finger on the other side. Its head is foamy and thick, with big, round bubbles that look like pearls. Its lacing looks like crashing waves frozen in time.

The aroma is like a colour swatch of the many different hop flavours: grassy, soapy, citrusy, floral, stinky, piny resinous and earthy pungent, among more. Knee-jerk reaction was to award the perfect score. A nectarous honey is buried somewhere beneath it all, although I'm not sure I would have picked up on it if not for being tipped off before hand.

Wowzers! Can you ever taste the honey! And so much more... hops that are colorfully fruity, with notes of candied pink grapefruit and lemon and orange rinds as well as malts that taste of toasted biscuits. The alfalfa honey, however, steals the show: it lends a perceptible waxiness, a light spice and a soft herbal/floral quality I'll relate to lavender tea.

Alphalpha is so rich and sweet that it borders on digestif territory. At the same time, however, it has brisk, needle-point bitterness and lively, keen-edged carbonation that give it the superpower of refreshment; the image of a sunny pasture coated in wild flowers pops into mind with every sip. It is perhaps the definitive summer quencher.

Ithaca utilized all that is charming about American IPAs and infused those features with an ambrosial, distinctive honey so as to create a beer so artistic and elegant and ingenious that I feel it might warrant its own style guidelines. Its uniqueness cannot be overstated, and neither can its deliciousness: imagine a blend of your favourite DIPA and favourite mead. Let's hope the brewery has the good sense to make this a perennial release.

biegaman, May 05, 2011
Photo of brian44556
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 750mL into a Stone Tulip. Batch #E!029.

Pours a honey color, with a thick, bright white head that was about 2 fingers thick. The head made its presence known by staying for a good while. Great white lacing left on the sides of the glass with every drink. Smell was decent. I caught a lot of citrus from the hops and sweet honey. Taste was very pleasant. Tasted of bitter hops, but with a sweet honey mixture that didn't make this a hop bomb. Also caught notes of tropical fruit. Medium carbonation was present. I really enjoyed this beer. Glad I had a chance to try it and if I see it on the shelves while out of state I will gladly pick up a bottle.

brian44556, Apr 16, 2011
Photo of ritzkiss
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
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!

ritzkiss, Apr 11, 2011
Photo of augustgarage
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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 regspeir
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 0z bottle (from Pinocchios) poured into a Duvel snifter. Beer poured yellow/gold with a two-finger, white head (aggressive pour). Lacing was light and fragile. Smell was floral and citrus with some sweetness (honey?). Taste was honey, caramel, lemon and orange. There is some hop presence in the finish and nice dryness but this remain sweet, even in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is crisp, medium and a little sticky. Carbonation is about average for the style. All-in-all a decent offering I would try again.

regspeir, Mar 29, 2011
Photo of IdrinkGas
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 into a snifter. Batch E!019

A:Pours golden and hazy. A finger of creamy off white head from a gentle pour. The slightly sticky lacing stuck around a little while.

S: Lots of honey and hops in the nose.

T: Nice balanced combo of floral hops, sweet malt, and honey. Lasting bitter after taste

M:Interesting acidic dry mouthfeel.

O: Its pretty sweet and acidic so a bomber split between two people is enough for me. Definitely will wreck your palate.

IdrinkGas, Mar 27, 2011
Photo of StoneTSR
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ithaca, why do you not distribute to me!?! I wish we had access to this stuff in Chicago, but sadly, I am forced to go via the trade. So thanks to nevins for this one.

APPEARANCE: Orange-ish and slightly hazy with a thin, quarter-inch head that quickly dissipated. Some lacing was present, but it was not terribly impressive.

SMELL: Citrus, in particular orange, and honey dominated the aroma. A little hint of toasty malt is present as well. Nice, medium strength smell.

TASTE: The honey greets the palate right away with a malty sweetness along for the ride. A nice, subtle, bitter hoppiness is also noticeable up front before it develops into a more dry and bitter finish. Throughout the entire sip there is also a different type of flavor that seems to work very well, but is slightly unusual. My girlfriend suggested that it may be alfalfa honey they used, and sure enough, according to Ithaca's website, they do.

MOUTHFEEL: A slightly oily mouthfeel, but still dry and not mouthcoating. For an 8.5% beer it feel fairly light.

OVERALL: Yet another outstanding beer from Ithaca. As soon as these guys can increase their production and start distributing farther I think they are going to be one of the most popular craft breweries in the country. The Alfalfa is a solid DIPA, but with enough of a twist with the alfalfa to keep it interesting, different and standing out from the rest. By the way, if anyone lives near the brewery, pick up a bottle for yourself and two to trade to me. I would love to trade for some more of this stuff.

StoneTSR, Mar 10, 2011
Photo of rlee1390
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Batch E!029

A-A cloudy orange, does not leave behind that much lacing, but there was some. About a two finger foam head.

S-Hops, honey, earthy tones.

T-Wow. Well balanced, starts very sweet with honey flavors, some earthy/pine notes as well. Ends bitter. Extremely well balanced.

M-Light and smooth

D-An amazing beer. My first journey in Ithaca's Excelsior series. A great beer, Downed the 750mL a little faster than one should but it is such a great beer. My hat is off to Ithaca Brewing Company on this brew.

rlee1390, Mar 04, 2011
Photo of UMNbeerhunter
3.53/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch E!019 poured into a Darkness Snifter 2/11/11

Appearance is a cloudy yellow color with the sediment settling quickly. Foam also dissipates very quickly leaving little lacing.

Smell is of carmel and hay as well as a little citrus in the background.

Taste is different and complex. I can taste the hops and a earthy grassy taste but their is also a taste I can not pinpoint and it leaves a strange after taste.

Mouthfeel is good laces the mouth and slight carbonation tingle on the way through the mouth leaving a tingling on the roof of the mouth.

Drinkability is relatively low. I enjoyed the different twist on an IPA but this is not for me. Almost feels like a saison mixed with a citrus double IPA. Give it a whirl but don't expect to be dazzled.

UMNbeerhunter, Feb 12, 2011
Photo of BarrytheBear
2.75/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Batch E!019 courtesy of a great trading partner.

Sadly lacking much hoppy in the fridge, this beer met the expected before drinking criteria. While it seems this batch might be a bit dated, it doesn't seem too aged a bottle to constructively review.

Pours a very opaque, milky, pale yellow with a thin white surface film that last throughout: rather underwhelming.

Nose is yeast, pear, (maybe this is the honey?) , straw, and a faint and slightly muddled gumminess that I will attribute to a fading hop presence. As a Double IPA, this doesn't fit the bill.

Honey provides a strong base of sweetness. The yeast from the nose reappears and rides through til the end which finally shows off the Cascades used here. While welcomed, the hops here are almost to little too late. Everything here feels more like a wheat beer than are DIPA.

Mouthfeel is bright and bubbly and a bit over carbonated.

The overpowering yeat is giving me a headache. I'm not sure the remainder of this bottle isn't destined for the bottom of my sink. Disappointing and I don't think it's from the age.

BarrytheBear, Feb 07, 2011
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.

Seanibus, Feb 06, 2011
Photo of Gavage
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch: E!029

Appearance: pours an orange color with a short 1/4" head that breaks apart qucikly.

Smell: caramel and a woody bitterness comes through to the nose.

Taste: caramel, pine, earthy bitterness, some grapefruit, and a honey sweetness create a well balanced beer. Alcohol is slightly noticable.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Lightly crisp to start, smoother at the finish. Some dryness arrives late.

Drinkability: slow sipping big IPA. Decent flavored beer that is nice to sip on a cold evening.

Gavage, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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 boston2bburg
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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 ThePorterSorter
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance
Slightly hazy copper brown that is a honey orange held to the light. An appreciable head forms and stays present, although thin, throughout the drink. Quite appealing, the beer turns darker and cloudier towards the end of the bottle.

Smell
Very complex, no single entity of the beer is overpowering, all smells present are pungent. The hops are light and citrusy in combination with a earthy mustiness and fruity esterness. Looking forward to the taste!

Taste
Excellent beer, a lighter IPA, but one with more properties of refreshment than most of the stronger west coast IPAs. There is something distinct and unique about this beer, that I am attributing to the yeast, but may also be related to the honey. The ethanol isn't raw and burning, it accompanies the beers flavor profile well.

Mouthfeel
Slight grapefruit rind bitterness, but overall balance and complexity in comparison to other IPAs I've had. This beer is very easy to drink and despite it's sweetness, is also bitter and had a little dryness towards the end. Delightful.

Drinkability
Excellent beer, but a hard find. Fairly priced and appropriate in a 750 ml bottle and served amongst friends or at a meal. I would compare this easily to some of the higher end Sierra Nevadas that I've enjoyed and would definitely try this beer again, it's an oitstanding beer that you will certainly enjoy

Cheers.

ThePorterSorter, Jan 17, 2011
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch E!029
Poured in to Duvel tulip

A - Honey coloured. Very slightly hazy but appears to be filtered. One finger of foamy white head.

S - Bitter hops up front - citrus, peach, pine. A nice sweet malt profile with caramel and honey coming through. A very fresh nose.

T - Bitter hops up front with citrus and pine notes. A very noticeable sweetness from the malts (and the honey?) with a big caramel flavour coming through. Well balanced.

M - Medium body, sticky, oily. A dry bitter finish. lightly carbonated.

TheSevenDuffs, Dec 31, 2010
Alphalpha from Ithaca Beer Company
91 out of 100 based on 217 ratings.