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Alphalpha - Ithaca Beer Company

AlphalphaAlphalpha

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BA SCORE
91
outstanding

208 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 208
Reviews: 142
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 11.74%


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: 208 | Reviews: 142 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of RedBaron
RedBaron

Illinois

4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought this 25oz bottle at Jungle Jim's Food Emporium outside Cincinnati, OH two months ago. It's a beer I've yet to see in my area (Chicago).

Appearance: Peach/grapefruit color; excellent sustaining head; dense bubbles; good Brussels lace.
Smell: Huge floral bouquet, sunny fruit smell (grapefruit, orange), distant pine perhaps.
Taste: Oh, brother. A beautiful honey sweetness up from and in the middle, with nice hints of toasted/biscuity malts, finishing fantastically hop bitter. Also a dry finish.
Mouthfeel: The honey/malt/hop balance is achieved superbly, but the beer finishes a bit watery, slightly odd for an 8%abv brew.
Drinkability: My goodness...this is a great and unique beer! I've never had a beer with honey in it that I truly enjoyed, but I've now found one! I hop(e) to make this linger, since I had to travel about 300 miles to get it. Great job, you folks in Ithaca, NY.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2009 03:02:38 | More by RedBaron
Photo of srandycarter
srandycarter

California

4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I really like this one.

A - Murky medium honey, solid 1 inch white head, leaves slow to cling lace and thin disk.

S - Malty, malty, malty malty.... Almost Barleywine in smell. Some pine there.

T - Caramel candy bar. More sweet than bitter, but that is ok by me. Hops are subdued compared to others, but I like this one.

M - Medium body, very coating, good carb, balance adequate.

D - Could drink this for hours.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2010 04:38:06 | More by srandycarter
Photo of Bitterbill
Bitterbill

Wyoming

4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This bottle courtesy of NutBrown. Thanks Alan!

Batch E!013

Served near room temp, it pours a bright hazy light golden colour with easy, 2 finger's worth of foam. We have some very stubborn foam here; shrinkage so far is minimal.

Taking a few whiffs and I'm getting a pretty balanced nose. I get good notes of lemon and grapefruit citrus and some pine with some definite sweetness coming from both a fruity route and the addition of honey. If the taste matches the smell, I'm in for a treat.

The taste does *not* disappoint and actually surpasses the smell. Plenty of hoppy goodness without being overly bitter...I can taste some of the citrus but it's more of a grassy flavour that I'm getting. The sweet is here as well...man, that honey isn't subtle at all and is almost over the top and could have been if it hadn't been for the excellence of execution with the hops. Delicious!

This has a very thick mouthfeel with lowish carbonation. To say smooth is an understatement.

Oh and my second pour and the foam is just as impressive and the brew turns to a hefeweizen like cloudy.

Drinkability? I wish I had a couple more bottles to cellar! 1 bottle at a sitting is all I'd ever want or need, despite how quickly the bottle seems to be hoisted to my glass, but to have some back up for the future would be awesome.

NY sure has some great breweries making some great beers. Thanks again for sharing, Alan!

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2010 16:02:58 | More by Bitterbill
Photo of jlindros
jlindros

Massachusetts

4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch E!013

A: Even with a slow pour it still rises with the huge 50% of the glass head, which seemed to be forced by the bottle. It's a creamy rich head that slowly fades, leaving a lacing on the glass. The color is a slightly hazy golden honey straw orange color.

N: Nose has some bright chewy hops, with a little grassy and floral hop aromas, as well as a slight malt character and sweet honey. A very slight boozy aroma goes with that. The honey comes out more and more as I get past the hops.

T: Starts pretty sweet actually, with quite a bit of honey. Fresh honey is the key of this one. The adds a bunch of nice hops, some grassy, spicey, and chewy hops. A decent bitterness as well. Some lighter malts are present but hidden. I get a slight metallic flavor as well. The booze came out a bit on the nose but is almost non-existent on the taste, hidden well. A very slight nougat sweet flavor goes along with the honey. If this had a little brett to give it some bready quality it would have a really interesting combination here.

M: Medium to light body with decent carbonation. A slight oily or sticky honey like sensation hints in there as well.

F: Finish is pretty bitter, and dries off quite a bit (with the hop help). A lingering honey taste is there, but without the sweetness. A lingering hop flavor, with some grassy taste is also present. It dries off so quick that i almost get a sense of wild yeast dryness and bready quality, as I was hoping for. I would love to see a brett version of this beer. It holds up on it's own already, but that would just put it over the top. Now, to try to get through the entire 750ml by myself. At least I have all afternoon. I'm also surprised the beer held up so well this long, as I've had it almost a year now.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2010 20:09:54 | More by jlindros
Photo of Atricapilla
Atricapilla

Pennsylvania

4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a goblet. Appearance was a cloudy golden color with light copper tones. Head was thick, white and frothy. Aroma was very earthy, very floral. Scents of grass and malt. taste initiated with honey and grass, hops, although present, does not seem to be a dominant player. Slight citrus and acidity.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2010 15:12:23 | More by Atricapilla
Photo of barleywinefiend
barleywinefiend

Washington

4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a glowing, cloudy orangish yellow color with good carbonation initially leaving a nice white cap which quikly resedes into a small ring of white bubbles, no lacing and so much for head retention

S: Fresh. Lots of citrus, little spice, flowers, not like rose pedals or your traditional IPA floral note but moreso freshly picked from a rolling green hill type floral...unique. A little bit of honey dashes across the nose does some biscuity goodness

T: Initial grass and floral blend, fresh citrus, buscuit and grains, this beer is amazingly and shockingly good. The fresh notes are followed by a little honey sweetness, spice and some moderate bitterness takes hold. The finish idry, crisp, clean, refreshing with a light tinge of booze

M: Light-medium bodied, tasty, well carbonated, refreshiing mouthfeel, loads of flavor hang on.

O: When I initially read the label description I stuck this beer in the back of my beer fridge as a last resort beer. I am very impressed. I honestly wish I had another.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2012 00:25:36 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of BeerTruth
BeerTruth

Connecticut

4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
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

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2009 23:31:35 | More by BeerTruth
Photo of jjayjaye
jjayjaye

New York

4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2009 23:48:35 | More by jjayjaye
Photo of portia99
portia99

Massachusetts

4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle (batch E!013) poured into a Portsmouth goblet.

A - Pours a hazy, golden orange color with a huge off-white, whipped cream head. Head has lots of staying power and sits solidly on top through the entire glass. Beautiful, sticky lacing coats the entire glass as the beer disappears.

S - Great big citrusy aromas and freshly cut grass. Huge grapefruit with touches of orange. Sweet honey aroma blends very nicely with the citrus. Big and bold aroma...excellent!

T - Grapefruit, piney, grassy flavors on top of a honey infused malt backbone. Good, solid bitterness - crisp and very full. Unmistakable cascade hop flavor, bitterness and honey flavors all blend together perfectly. Enough malt and honey sweetness against tons of hop flavor - loving this beer.

M - Quite full bodied. Plenty of malt here. Carbonation is at a medium level and is extremely creamy. Bitterness stays long into the aftertaste lingering for a long time.

D - 8.5%...really? Not detecting this at all. Very well hidden. Full bodied and full flavored DIPA. For me, one of the better ones out there. Not too sweet, enough malt, and plenty of hops. Really good stuff.

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2009 01:34:59 | More by portia99
Photo of asabreed
asabreed

New York

4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2010 04:35:05 | More by asabreed
Photo of woosterbill
woosterbill

Connecticut

4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml from batch E!013 poured into a Duvel tulip. This one's been sitting in my cellar for at least a couple years, completely forgotten about until a recent organization project. Let's see how it's held up.

A: Cloudy orange body with a finger of frothy ecru head. Good retention, spotty lace. Not bad.

S: Pleasantly heady aroma of toffee malt, sweet honeycomb, apple, and some lovely floral freshness. Smells simultaneously old and fresh somehow. Very cool.

T: More purely old here, with delicious barleywinish toffee, caramel, and candied fruit. Some honey, beeswax, and hop bitterness on the finish. Really, really tasty.

M: Creamy, smooth, soft, and full of ultra-fine carbonation. Lovely.

O: I told my tasting group about finding this bottle, and they all wished me pleasure in the drain pour. Joke's on them, as this was one of the best aged beers I've had in a long time. If you happen to have a vintage Alphapha, despair not!

Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2012 02:11:46 | More by woosterbill
Photo of Jeffo
Jeffo

Netherlands

4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this at Premiere Gourmet in Amherst, NY. Their Flower Power IPA was excellent, so I was happy to give this one a shot as well.

From a 75cl bottle into a snifter
Batch E!039
Double Honey Bitter

APPEARANCE: Pours a one finger, thicker looking, fluffy white head with very good retention. Head eventually fades to a full, bubbly looking wisp. Opaque gamboge in color with higher levels of carbonation evident. A swirly wisp remains until the end and leaves lots of nice lacing down the glass. Classy looking.

SMELL: Pale malts, honeydew melon, pineapple and orange peel for sure. Pretty bold and very melon and fruit forward.

TASTE: Pale malts, honey sweetness, and lots of piney hops at the swallow. Big, bold and lasting finish of honey sweetness, some melon and pineapple fruits, and lots of floral and piney hop bitterness. Interesting and flavorful. A treat.

PALATE: Medium body and carbonation. Very creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly dry. Some spicy bitterness lingers as well. Solid stuff, and wonderfully smooth.

OVERALL: This was a treat of a beer. I had high hops after their Flower Power, and this one did not disappoint. Different of course, with more sweetness and less in terms of citrus flavors, but this one is a wonderful DIPA in its own right. Glad to have tried this one and will look for more next year. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2012 10:19:29 | More by Jeffo
Photo of almychristopher
almychristopher

New York

4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

this beer pours a very hazy golden orange color with a creamy off white head that glings to the glass rather thickly. the aroma presents a bit of floral and citrus up front and a touch of the promised honey. the taste delivers a lot of the hops the nose promised and a bit of clean smooth malt. the mouthfeel delivers a nice full body with a decent level of co2. another very drinkable beer from Ithaca

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2008 21:11:45 | More by almychristopher
Photo of sholland119
sholland119

Pennsylvania

4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a hazy apricot amber with a fluffy white head and lots of nice lacing.

S-Grapefruit hops dominate, with a very small amount of sweetness. Not as much as I would have expected after reading the label but still nice.

T-Lots of hops in the front, dissolving to honey sweetness and grapefruit in the finish. Quite tasty,

M-Medium bodied with good carbonation.

D-Quite drinkable. Great flavor, a pleasure to drink.

HV

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2009 01:15:56 | More by sholland119
Photo of JoeBloe
JoeBloe

New York

4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass yielding a deep yellow color with a three finger thick pillowy head that continues to yield heavy lacing and retention - cloudy due to it's unfiltered nature with a fair amount of yeast 'sludge' in the bottom of the glass( down the hatch!) - smells citrussy hoppy which follows thru in taste with a substantial malt backbone - not so much a hop bomb as others of this ilk - but tasty, well balanced, and easily drinkable -
finish is sharp, and still lingering - making for a nice summer early in the day enjoying the backyard brew - a winner from ithaca.

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2009 17:41:50 | More by JoeBloe
Photo of Wasatch
Wasatch

Utah

4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to ybnorml for this one.

750ml Bottle
Green Foil/Capped
Batch: E!019

Pours a nice cloudy yellow color, too much carbonation, nice three-finger creamy/foamy white head, with tons of thick sticky lacing left behind. The nose is hoppy, with some malts, yeasty, with some floral hints, some citrus. The taste is slightly sweet, hoppy, malty, good yeast note, some citrus. Medium body, this brew has some bitterness to it, different though. A different DIPA to me. Very Drinkable, I'm liking this one today, reminds me more of a Belgian Pale Ale/DIPA. Thanks Wayne!

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2010 18:46:07 | More by Wasatch
Photo of boston2bburg
boston2bburg

Virginia

4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2011 02:35:20 | More by boston2bburg
Photo of StoneTSR
StoneTSR

Colorado

4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2011 16:59:16 | More by StoneTSR
Photo of ckeegan04
ckeegan04

Texas

4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Lum for this one. Batch E!013.

A - Golden honey in color with a huge foamy head (after a rather passive pour). The head slowly fades to a solid two finger chunkiness on top with big lace on the sides. Rather clear with the slightest haze (chill haze?).

S - Smells exactly like what you would expect from the label. A big nose of citrusy goodness (love some C-hops!) with lots of orange, graprefruit, and a hint of lemon. A light honey aroma is noticeable and the malt backbone provides just enough balance with a light, biscuity sweetness.

T - The taste of honey is very noticeable initially, but that is quickly overcome by a very dry citrusy bitterness. Lots of grapefruit and a little orange. Also a grassy quality to the beer. The malt backing is just strong enough to keep this beer from being a giant hop bomb. A bready and biscuity maltiness is present.

M/D - Medium bodied and very dry feel. Carbonation is well done and the beer is very drinkable. An excellent sample from the folks at Ithaca.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2009 18:48:51 | More by ckeegan04
Photo of Jayli
Jayli

Massachusetts

4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch E!019

A: This beer pours a hazy pale golden color with a ridiculous head! Head filled almost half the glass on a very easy pour. Big fluffy, rocky white head that recedes pretty quickly leaving thick sticky tufts of lacing on the glass.

S: Nose is grassy piney hops, though slightly subdued almost a teasing hint. Honey is prevalent with sweet malt notes coming through. Light citrus hops come through as well.

T: Wow - this isn't an over the top hop bomb, but damn it is tasty! Taste starts with earthy hops, pine and grassiness really come through. Middle is filled out with rich honey and hint of vanilla, flavoring malts also come through here. Finish is of strong floral hops and a hint of alcohol.

M: heavier to full body, medium to high carbonation, carbonation prickles your tongue without deterring from the beer. I found this to be very creamy on the tongue as opposed to the usual oily texture on an IPA or DIPA.

D: Very tasty, not overly hoppy, but the hops are there - be suer of that. Goes down easily, somewhat filling. A pint or two of these will do me but damn tasty.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2010 00:50:23 | More by Jayli
Photo of joe1510
joe1510

Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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!

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2009 01:18:15 | More by joe1510
Photo of Billolick
Billolick

New York

4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2010 01:20:51 | More by Billolick
Photo of CrellMoset
CrellMoset

Virginia

4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2010 05:16:18 | More by CrellMoset
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ShadesOfGray

Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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!

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2010 20:32:27 | More by ShadesOfGray
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rfgetz

New Jersey

4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2010 14:59:07 | More by rfgetz
Alphalpha from Ithaca Beer Company
91 out of 100 based on 208 ratings.