Alpha Kong | 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

very good
136 Reviews
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Alpha KongAlpha Kong

Brewed by:
3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Indiana, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
A super fruity, dry hopped, Belgian sextuple, with notes of cardamon.

70 IBU

Added by orbitalr0x on 03-13-2005

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Reviews: 136 | Ratings: 359
Photo of mynie
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This was a strange, personal whale.

I went to the 3 Floyds brewpub a few days after it opened. That was my first trip--I never made it to the old growler station thing that the pub replaced. Alpha Kong was on tap, but I started with a Drunk Monk. Then I ordered an Alpha Kong and was told sorry, we just kicked it.

Then they stopped making it entirely for nearly a decade. A lesser, smarter man wouldn't have cared, seeing as how there's like 2000 good American beers now and AK wasn't ever held in particularly high regard. But me... I'm spiteful. I could have been The Guy Who Drank the Last Ever Alpha Kong. Only instead I went with the hefe, like a jerk.

Now, it turns out that I was wrong. I went to the pub in December of 05. You could still apparently find AK up until 08. Whatever. The mystique still remained. The fact that I had squandered even more opportunities to sample it was all the more infuriating.

So it was with not small amount of excitement that I made this my first selection of a recent trip to the Floyds. And it was entirely okay.

I honestly would have pegged it for a British Barleywine. The front end was pleasantly, strongly sweet and hoppy, and it got gradually more bitter until the end. It wasn't too alcoholic, as some have noted, so much as it was just too sweet in a manner that was all too common with old school barleywines. Compared to, say, JW Lee's, this is actually quite well balanced. But overall it's not most of our respective cups of tea.

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Photo of zachpaschal
3.76/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Just way too boozy for me. I was disappointed as I had high high expectations for this one. Wish I would have tried it at the Sun King Fishers opening for only $5 vs. paying $15 for a bomber.

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Photo of srletend
3/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: clear blonde, moderate head
S: spicy, no hint of Belgian yeast
T: light, spicy from the cardamon, not too much Belgian flavor
O: good, but average

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Photo of PBRmeasap1980
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A- Orangish
S- Spices and candied belgium sugar
T- Booze and agressive christmas like spices.
F- Medium
O- At about a year old, this feels more agressive than it did when it first came out.

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Photo of scootny
3.79/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pulled this one out of the beer cellar as I reflect on the past year and need a little strong ale to loosen up. It's a lovely color. a ruddy amber, mostly clear but a bit of sediment in suspension. Light tan head and a hint of lacing. Nose carries lots of alcohol, toffee, fruitcake, and faint banana. A bit of the Belgian yeast esters. . LOTS of booze. Taste is sweet and alcoholic. Given the insane ABV however quite smooth. A fair amount of light pilsner malt and fruitiness from the yeast with an overall sweet candied fruit profile to the taste. Notes of sherry and a brandy like finish that show a surprising amount of hops and dry leafy bitterness. Full feel is lovely with a touch of light syrup and slickness. Mild carbonation. While boozy it still goes down easily and really lights up the palate with all kinds of foods like white bean hummus and various cheeses and smokey and roasted meats and veg. Quite a nice beer though I am a little surprised by the amount of heat after all this time. Maybe the hops hid it more when fresher. Nonetheless a lovely brew.

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Photo of AgentZero
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks again to dschuster03 for the share.

A - Toffee colored beer with a bit of an off-white head that left a little bit of ghostly stick and didn't stay for very long.

S - Lots of burnt and caramelized sugars, toffee, and booze. There's some yeasty ethers there that are reminiscent of caramelized banana. Smells very sweet, potent, and rich.

T - Nicely fruity and sugary with a bit of booze. Really tastes like this is something that's going to stick to your teeth. Some slight banana like flavor in with the caramel and toffee.

M - Lower carbonation, syrupy, pretty full bodied, all fitting the style.

O - A nice beer, it's a bit over the top, but sometimes you need a beer like that. Definitely one to share, between the alcohol and the sweetness it's hard to drink tons. Would like to have again, particularly if I'm in the mood for something that clocks in at 15%.

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Photo of Treebs
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in Founders Snifter. Shared with a few other people.

A: Pours a semi-hazy copper and amber mixture with a thin off-white head that dissipates into some swirls on top.

S: Lots of bubblegum yeast with some slight banana as well. Nice candied sugars a little booze as well.

T: The oxidation is present with a slight wet cardboard flavor, but there is still really nice notes of sweet sugars, bubble gum and banana. Little booze on the backend.

M: Medium bodied with a coating moutfeel. Very slight heat on the backend, a little on low side carbonation wise.

O: While there was oxidation present it didn't take away too much from the yeasty and sweet flavors. Am I glad I went out of my to get this? Yes. Would I do it again? Probably not.

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Photo of Sean9689
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Dave by way of Alex. Poured into Kuhnhenn tulip.

A - Pours a darker orange/light brown color, off-white colored head, very minimal, thin collar, wisps on top.

S - Big burnt sugars, dark fruity notes, caramel, toffee, booze. Very sweet, rich, and over-the-top, just like FFF is suppose to be. Really enjoyed the sweetness. The booze has had time to mellow out and really is at a nice level at this time.

T - Burnt sugars, candy, toffee, caramel, fruity notes, booze. Again, very sweet and rich...just what I wanted from this beer. The alcohol is there, but well-hidden for the monstrous 15% that it's listed at.

M - Full body, rich, smooth, creamy finish.

O - Finally able to tick this one and I was not disappointed at all. Loved the sweetness and booze and this is pretty much exactly what I was expecting from this one. Would love to have again!

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Photo of MasterSki
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Dave (dschuster03). I think I traded this to Dave a few years ago. Served in a Russian River tulip.

A - A hard pour yields a small amount of white foam that dissipates to a thin ring of bubble and the faintest wispy patches on top, leaving no lacework. Dark ruby body.

S - The beer has a definite aged aroma to it, but the mild oxidation is complementary. There's some super fruity Belgian yeast, spicy esters, treacle, milled grains, red licorice, and mild nostril-singing alcohol still present. That being said, I wouldn't have guessed this was 15%.

T - Taste is quite similar, but with more caramel and bready malts rounding out the flavor profile, mingling with the estery Belgian yeast. I don't get the banana a lot of people are throwing out there, but perhaps these a touch of banana bread of Bananas Foster. Some mild alcohol flavor in the finish.

M - Smooth texture, full bodied, slightly syrupy, with low carbonation, and a very mild amount of alcohol warmth.

D - This is much more enjoyable than it was when I attempted to drink a bomber in the fall of 2007. The alcohol has mellowed out significantly and there are plenty of enjoyable flavors coming out. That being said, it'd still be a challenge to drink more than 8-10oz of this.

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Photo of aasher
4.07/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Weirdbeer is my hero, he pulled this out as a semi joke, we opened it. This is possibly my biggest want. It pours a medium bodied bright amber in color with no lacing around the glass. It smells like bubblegum. It has a goofy appealing nose. It's like a Belgian barleywine. It's pretty malty and heavy on Tue caramel malts. The flavors are very sweet and again heavy on the bubblegum. It's very sweet and. Sipper. It's a sextuppel, a huge beer. I like it but its a sipper. This beer is interesting and efficient. Great craftsmanship.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.45/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle generously shared by smithm1970 at the last Jackie O's release. Very happy to try it, I traded away the only bottle I had last year...

This is a murky golden color, off white foam. Strong aroma, really strong, with toffee and "imperial hefeweizen" notes. Bubblegum and clove, esters, maybe an imperial hefeweizen with Belgian yeast. And alcohol, lots of alcohol.

Caramel and toffee, loads of ethanol, a tasty sipper. Maybe imperial hefeweizen is inaccurate here, more of a Belgian barleywine/hefe. There's a lot going on, threatening to become a mess, sometimes stepping over the line but mostly staying reasonably tasty.

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Photo of Urbancaver
4.11/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared at Jackie os

Can't believe this one ;)

Pours a pretty clear brownish orange. A nice yellowish tint. Some nice white head that dissipates quickly. Smells malty and boozy. Not much banana on the nose or tongue really. As it warms the booziness becomes more apparent. Banana peaks through. Sme nice light hops. Still pretty nice.

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Photo of thetomG
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mostly clear with a yellow/orange/brownish hue - nice sized layer of white foamy head on top.

Very sweet in the aroma and flavor wise (but not to the point of making it undrinkable by any means) - along with the ever-present sweetness, some banana & mild tropical fruit flavors lingering as well. A bit of burn from the high ABV make this one a sipper for sure. Well carbonated but with a slightly thick feel to it - very nice mouthfeel.

Very glad I was able to try this - still holding up well after all these years. Seek it out if you can... delicious brew.

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Photo of Arenbeer
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review #200

Decided to pull out something special for this milestone so here it is!

22oz Bottle Into a Tulip Glass at fridge temperature

A- Pours a nice murky almost pinkish brown with a real thin 1 finger white head that dissipates right away. Not much lacing but some serious alcohol legs on the side of the glass.

S- Sweet caramel and toffee up front with tons of banana, bubble gum, and clove from the Belgian yeast. Definitely some alcohol in the background, hard to miss it. Has a slight must to it as well, probably from the age and the cellar it was in.

T- Just like the smell you get a strong creamy caramel body up front with plenty of belgian spice notes to follow. Really sweet overall and plenty of heat in the finish as it warms.

M- Full bodied with low carbonation and a nice wet finish.


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Photo of TriGuy20
4.87/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Shared this bad boy with two other BA's. Poured from bomber into snifters.

A: Golden orange with no head. Slight lace clings to side of the glass. This beer has a beautiful Tawny Port appearance.

S: Apricot/ Carmel/ Toffee/ Burnt Sugar/ Boozy

Taste: The apricot and toffee really come out on the palate with a nice warming alcohol feel on the finish.

MF: Port like. Silky and full body, coats the mouth very nicely.

Drink: For 15% abv this goes down easily. Each sip of this brew begs for another.

A fabulous beer and a rare treat to savor with friends. As this beer warms the complexity grows. I could not keep my nose of the glass. For those lucky enough to have a bottle of this, it will continue to age beautifully. Cheers!

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Just found my notes on this guy! I, in my infinite wisdom, decided to crack this beast open well into the night at a tasting I hosted last summer.

Scrawled in my notebook, my notes are exactly as follows:

Wow strong
Strong abv throughout
wow big

In retrospect, that about sums up this beer. Huge, gargantuan, palate attacking (see the label), sweet, strong, bold flavor.

"They were who we thought they were." - Dennis Green

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Photo of Brent
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

How can you not like a Belgian "Sex Tupel?" Almost too much going on here to ferret out the various flavors. Sweet, heading in the direction of syrupy. 15% abv? I have no doubt about that - sharp, peppery alcohol almost stings the tongue at times. Cotton candy, dates, some brown sugar and pear . . . I think.

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Photo of davod23
4.31/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a Bruery tulip. This is my first time having this for almost two years, so I'm interested in seeing how it is drinking these days. I remember that it blew me away when I first had it.

The pour is a burned orange color, like the sun slipping under the horizon on a clear day in Santa Monica. Golden highlights are evident, but the deep orange is predominant. Enchanting, really. An off-yellow head forms and fights vainly for survival, but with a beer of this strength it doesn't have much of a chance. I admire its tenacity though. Clarity is great - this is a beautiful beer.

Smell is very nice. Sweet aromas of banana, bubble gum, and a hint of clove strike me first. As the beer warms, more candy aromas come out, predominantly butterscotch.

While bananas hit me first in the aroma, the taste is all candy up front. Butterscotch, English toffee, caramel, with dried fruit and banana dancing in the background. Booze. What kind of candy is Werther's Originals? It has a lot of that kind of flavor. Clearly this beer is quite sweet, but I don't find it terribly off-putting. The sweetness is not overbearing and the flavors are well-integrated. Long, warming finish.

Mouthfeel is pretty damn good. Sticky, thick, but with enough carbonation that it does not feel heavy or weigh me down.

Drinkability is a tough one. Considering the strength and sweetness of this brew, it's dangerously drinkable. That said, it's not a beer that I can really drink a lot of, certainly no more than a single bomber on my own. But... man... 15%? This is just a beast, and I will review it with that in mind.

Really great beer, very unusual (a Belgian sextuple?) and tasty. I don't know why they stopped brewing this one. Perhaps they will revisit it again in the future. I have two more bottles sitting there waiting for me which I look forward to drinking. This beer is a few years old at this point but I think that it will be fine for years to come.

Highly recommended.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle generously shared by Matt at a recent tasting. BTW, I am ISO this beer. If you have it and want to trade, send me a message. This beer was bottled in 2006 and advertised on the label as a Belgian sextuple, I think we get the point, its big.

Beer is brown and has no head, carbonation is low and there is no lacing. Beer is mostly clear. I swirl it around the snifter to see what's happening and the beer leaves mild legs on the walls of the glass.

The aroma is strong but its not super sweet or boozy, it actually smells a little like bananas. OK, strongly like bananas. I wonder if this is intended, there is a giant monkey on the label. I personally found this quite funny and proceeded to the drinking portion with high hopes.

Beer is sweet and really smooth. There is very little heat for such a big beer and its surprisingly drinkable. It was my general understanding that this beer was quite hot but this is kind of a dream, especially for a 15% beer. It leads off with this maltiness to it, and follows that with this complex, mildly alcoholic fruit center and finishes a little dry. Its interesting. Surprisingly drinkable for such a huge endeavor. I'd definitely have it again.

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Photo of htomsirveaux
3.96/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle tried 9 Dec 2007. Courtesy of Phil, thanks!

Head lasts for approximately 3 nanoseconds after pouring. Bright coppery almost ruby in color. Sweet syrupy boozy aroma, reminiscent of bourbon or brandy. Wow that is sweet and strong! Lots of dates, alcohol, bananas foster. Sticky heavy body. Finish is fairly bitter and warming.

Definitely want to sip this one...

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Photo of Beertracker
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Listen! What's the hell is that? OMG it's Alpha Kong here to destroy!!! AK pours up with a light carbonation that creates a tannish-white head that dissipates slowly under a barrage of alcohol, but manages to cover the deep copper-orangish amber body. The sweet candied caramel character almost completely dominates the aroma with hints of allspice, dried herbs and orange blossom honey underlying a noticeable alcoholic warmth. The flavor starts off quite fruity with an expressive caramel maltiness that shows hints of brown sugar, hot caramel apple, buttered rum & toffee/treacle. There's a slight astringent nuttiness (Brazil nut) in the finish that's marked by a slight bitterness which helps to bring balance to this chewy full-bodied barley monster. This self-described "sextuppel" is sure to please a seasoned beer connoisseur, but definitely NOT a beer for the uninitiated. I recommend sharing this Belgian-style Strong Armed Blue Beast with your friends, because handling him wholly could cause temporary blindness. Long live the Alpha Kong from Munster!

CHEERS! Beertracker

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Photo of Lukafer
4.67/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. Bomber, thanks alleykatking!

Looks like an unfiltered apple cider, a dark golden color and very hazy. Smells like bananas, a little yeasty but mostly bananas and some alcohol. Tastes sweet, alcohol, and bananas. Honestly, I taste Now-N-Later banana candies, very delicious! Mouthfeel is good, the carbonation is still holding up for being aged a year or two, feels good! If you can't tell, I really like this beer and it is unbelieveably drinkable for a beer of this ABV (15abv I think?). Great beer, please brew this again!

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Photo of gford217
4.14/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Massive thanks to oldstylecubsfan for passing this one along.

Pours a hazy caramel brown that shows bright orange in the light, with a small off-white head that doesn't leave much lacing, just some sticky legs after each sip.

The aroma is massively sweet - vanilla, caramel, bananas, booze-soaked plums, caramelized sugar, fruity ester galore. It's all surrounded by the ever-present alcohol presence.

The taste is just as huge, definition of a sipper. It's got the shockingly sweet molasses and caramel backbone with chewy sugary fruits just exploding on the palate. The finish has a hint of wood but much, much more than a hint of alcohol.

The mouthfeel is thick, chewy and, of course, sugary sweet.

This is a seriously big beer with tons of flavors (mostly sweet) fighting for attention with the alcohol. I'm not sure I'd peg it at 15%, but it definitely feels higher than 10%. In that respect, it's fairly drinkable for the ABV, but I wouldn't recommend chugging this one...or really even drinking the bomber by yourself. Overall, it's an excellent beer.

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Photo of maximum12
4.02/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up in Chicago in Sept 2008, no idea that this was a discontinued, fondly recalled beer. Just saw there was one on the shelf, looked good, & away I went. Blind squirrel, nut, & all that. No idea how old it was, I'm sure it sat for so long due to the price tag!

Anyways, split the bomber with the wife on our annual vacation, assuring that we didn't have to rise & do anything with syringes or keep anyone alive the next day (OK, that's just my wife). Kong came out flat & muscled, orange flame-red. It looked a little angry. Smell sweet & low.

This simian came to play. Lots of depth in this monkey, with some soft caramel, sweet apples, candied fruit rolled in sugar. All of which took a back seat to the terrifying specter of lighter fluid soaked in fresh fruit, lashing out with a roar. Yikes. I wonder how many decades it would take for this beast to mellow out.

No carbonation, & the alcohol is, ah, apparent, burning like a forest fire before the helicopters & smoke jumpers arrive on the scene. Almost medicinal. Drinkable? Not if I want to go to work with two brain cells to rub together.

Overall? Man. Very good beer. Unique, complex, deep, overwhelming. Hope 3F brings this one back someday, I'd like to sit on one for a decade or two & see what it evolves into further.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The pour of this beer looked like it was in slow motion it was so thick. A translucent amber color. There was a touch of white head on the pour but it went away almost immediately.

S: Tons of sweetness. Candi sugar abounds. Quite a bit of fruit in there as well but everything sort of yielded to the smell of booze.

T: Very sweet and dry. The fruit was there and doing it;s best to try to balance out all of the alcohol and for the most part it did a nice job. Really over the top.

M: Like used motor oil. Super thick and coating.

D: Somehow this was really drinkable. The bomber was split amongst several people so that really did help out. Could I drink a bomber of this by myself? Sure. Is it better shared? Definately. Worth checking out at least once.

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Alpha Kong from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
3.99 out of 5 based on 359 ratings.
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