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Alphalpha - Ithaca Beer Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

144 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 144
Hads: 225
Avg: 4.08
pDev: 11.76%
Wants: 68
Gots: 26 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 144 | Hads: 225
Photo of seeswo
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch E!029.

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

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

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Photo of Seanibus
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very cleverly named brew!

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of cvstrickland
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of stakem
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Photo of joepais
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
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

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Photo of younger35
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Batch# E!011

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

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Photo of NorthsideFred
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

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Photo of oberon
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I Have been wanting to try this beer for awhile,I always missed it when in western NY before,Iam glad to finally get my hands on it.Poured into an imperial nonic a hazed orange tinged lemony color with tight formed pillow-like one finger white head that left a solid ring of lace as it settled slowly.Fresh citric hops really hit home during the pour,I could smell it a few feet away,light alcohol sweet zing in there as well.Sharp citric hops up front on the palate,citrusy at the beginning with a sharp bitter edge in the finish,the alfalfa honey does provide some underlying sweetness as well as some alcohol induced sweetness to balance the beer out somewhat.I like this beer because it's not an overly sweet alcohol laden DIPA,the hops are the main focal point of the beer as it should be.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

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Photo of Casey10
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at Winchester Wine and Spirits in Ma. Really liked this as well here is the review.

A - Hazy yellow with a huge head easily 3 fingers lots of lacing on the side.

S - Crisp smell of malts some pine really just a nice clean smell.

T - Well balanced not a hop bomb not overly malty either just nice a bit of grassy taste in a good way.

M - leaves a nice feel exscpecially on the tounge after drinking that stays with you.

D - Definately will have again if I can find it when I go to MA. again. Hopefully Ithica can make it to Maine one of these days.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of ColForbinBC
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of sybilyang
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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Photo of modernartblues
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into DFH Tulip

A- cloudy orange-amber body, thin head, but good retention, excellent lacing

S- earthy, lots of citrus, floral, def. get some honey and wheat as well

T- follows the nose, not tons of bitterness, nice malt background (perhaps hints of the honey?)

M- def. less full and abrasive compared to a normal DIPA

O- worth the money and a cool diversion on the norms of the style

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Photo of israel
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured into my Ithaca Excelsior tulip.

A- Hazy appearance with the color of gold and a beautiful frothy, rocky and white head. the head fades a it but leaves huge globs of foam clinging to the edges of the glass which seems more than just lacing...looks amazing.

S- Lots of the hoppiness that would be expected especially the citrusy side . Behind it all there is some sweetness from the honey and malts which rounds it all out.

T- Honey up front with an explosion of cascade flavors overwhelming the taste and quickly being balanced with the maltiness.

M/D- Medium body with just enough carbonation and a dry finish that works really well. I could drink this again and again....

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Photo of meatyard
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of dukedevil0
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of rhinos00
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.12/5  rDev +1%
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!

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Photo of hopdog
4.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle shared courtesy of TomDecapolis.

Poured a medium and cloudy golden-orange color witha small sized off white head. Aromas of citrus, floral hops, caramel, and lighter honey. Tastes of citrus, lighter floralness, pine, some honey, and caramel. Light alcohol in the finish, but overall well hidden.

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Photo of Kendo
4.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought the 750 ml bottle at Halftime in Poughkeepsie. No freshness or bottled-on dating; hoping this one's fresh. . . .

A: Poured from the bottle into a Piraat tulip/snifter-type glass. Body is fairly bright, but hazy, apricot-orange. A 1-finger fluffy white head settles on top. Leaves some splotchy, foamy lace.

S: Very nice - made me say "oooh" upon getting a whiff of it. Mainly citrus - sweet oranges - and some tropical fruit. Touch of honey or caramel malt for further sweetness. It's been quite some time since I had it, but my brain is recalling Stoudt's DIPA.

T: I have a feeling this bottle isn't all that fresh. Hops are kind of muted, leaving an overall impression of sweetness rather than hoppy bitterness. Honey-coated oranges and southern comfort come to mind (alcohol is noted - not surprising at 8.5% ABV). Lingering dryness and something I can't quite put my finger on that leaves my mouth puckering. . . maybe spruce or pine resin, I think as it warms up a bit. Peppery burps.

M: Body is fairly thick - medium-to-heavy in weight - with low carbonation and a slightly syrupy feel.

O: Not bad. Real nice nose, and good up front. It just finishes oddly, though after a few sips I seem to have adjusted to it - causing me to bump the taste score back up to 4.

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Photo of TheKingsOfHop
4.11/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml. bottle poured into our Portsmouth tulip glasses:

A: Solid orange amber with a steady carbonation. An amazing white rocky ice cream float like head just billowing out of the glass. As the beer sits it leaves a wall of lace all over the tulip glass.

S: A blend of grassy hops and fresh fruits like apricots and peaches with a touch of honey comb.

T: Smooth and creamy honey with notes of sweet malts, and bitter hops. Each characteristic is more pronounced then the last.

M: Very well carbonated with a medium light body. There is nothing negative about this mouthfeel. It literally is perfect...

D: Overall really an easy drinking, fairly complex beer that Ithaca Brewing Co. should be proud of.

The Kings Of Hop

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Alphalpha from Ithaca Beer Company
91 out of 100 based on 144 ratings.