Alpha King | 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

1,826 Reviews
Alpha KingAlpha King

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

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.66%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
A bold yet balanced American Pale Ale with slight caramel sweetness and aggressive citrus hoppiness. This is our flagship beer.

68 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-23-2000

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Reviews: 1,826 | Ratings: 6,405
Photo of callmescraps
3.7/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is my first FFF beer, so I'm pretty excited. I will note, however, that I think the bottle looks like shit.

Appearance - A deep amber color with a little bit of foamy head. It doesn't look like most APA's, but it's nice. Pretty good lacing.

Smell - First thing that comes is the nice citrus hops. Plenty of grapefruit up front, with some orange peel almost. Then some pininess seems to show up as well. There is definitely some caramel and burnt sugar hiding behind it all. We're sure this isn't an IPA?

Taste - Some nice hop citrus. A real strong caramel maltiness. Also some bread that you often get in an APA, which was sort of unexpected but not unappreciated. There is some pine bitterness on the end which is nice. It's pretty well balanced between that malt, the breadiness (biscuit? sure) and the citrus followed by bitterness. There's a burnt roastness that is just lingering around and sort of dampening the experience a bit.

Mouthfeel - Frankly, a little thin. Not a ton of carbonation, it's very light and just sort of disappears.

Drinkability - Goes down easy. It's nice and balanced, I could have several of these no problem.

This is a pretty good beer. Goes down smooth and easy, but not knocking my socks off. Not sure how fresh the bottle was, so I'd be interested in trying a super-fresh one. That said, I think it's good as is and am not sure there's much it could do to really blow me away. Still, I'd gladly have it again, and could see working it into a nice rotation if it was more widely available.

EDIT 2011- Still not terribly impressed. There is an unexpected nuttiness to this beer. Also, the appearance is not the best. Head dissipates so quickly. Decidedly thin. I know this one is fresh, so this beer is definitively not my cup of tea.

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Photo of Bendurgin
3.71/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a growler of this as an extra from Sean. Thanks homey, I owe you for this. Poured into a pint glass. Pours amber with a finger of creamy beige head that seems to be lasting nicely with some sticky lace along the collar.

Hints of caramel come through in the aroma with some candied orange in the the finish. Real nice citrus hop aroma in the finish. The flavor mirrors the aroma on this one, a little bit of caramel on the pallet with candied orange and canteloupe rounding it out.

The body is light and the carbonation holds up nicely in the growler. Overall this one is pretty rock solid. Glad to have a growler of this bad boy.

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Photo of jmalex
3.72/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Perhaps I did things in reverse order when I tried Dreadnaught a few months back, but it and Alpha King were meant to be 2 different beers entirely. Now the latter has its turn.

APPEARANCE: Poured a somewhat hazy reddish amber with a very underwhelming 1/4 inch head. It dropped almost immediately and is now just a thin collar with a few bubbly patches on top.

SMELL: Now there's a hop profile that I'm familiar with. A huge citrusy aroma is very upfront, not unlike many Three Floyds offerings. Sweet hop estery smells fill your nostrils no matter which way you try to smell it. An almost resiny sweetness plays alongside with a caramely malt presence barely detectable.

TASTE: Starts out quite tame and nicely balanced. The citrusy and floral hop flavors are delicious. A strange sugary sweetness is also present but not in the same high intensity as I've tasted in some other pales. The finish is where the hops start to bust through, showing their true colors (and flavors) and really give this beer its bite.

MOUTHFEEL: Disappointing. Perhaps I have a bad bottle, but the carbonation was extremely low (which could explain the lack of head). The body is nice, being slightly fuller than I anticipated.

DRINKABILITY: On one hand, this doesn't seem like such an extreme beer, and one would think that it could certainly be drank as a session beer because of a decent degree of balance it achieves. On the other hand, this is Three Floyds and nothing isn't extreme. The hops are still there in full force. So the drinkability comes out somewhere in the middle which isn't a bad score at all.

I really hope this bottle is an outlier and that a typical bottle of this isn't as flat as mine, because it brings down an otherwise tasty beer. I would seek this one out again. All beers deserve a second chance.

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Photo of mke_Brewer
3.72/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Amazing aroma of tropical fruit. One of the best smelling beers I’ve had. Pours a nice copper color with lacy white head. Initial taste is grapefruit/citrus. Goes down very dry and slightly bitter. Dry aftertaste lasts a while. Overall it’s good but I expected better.

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Photo of TheElectricOne
3.72/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip:

Appearance: amber-copper color, totally translucent, with a solid off-white head. Head doesn't last long, and not much in the way of retention.

Aroma: don't get a ton of any one thing here. Not overly juicy, citrusy, bitter, or earthy. Smells slightly sweet, with maybe a touch of tropical fruit, but really not much.

Taste: again, a little bit of sweet caramelly flavor here, along with a medium dose of tropics. The hops come through better in the taste than in the smell, but again, I want more. It does have a nice balance of malt and citrusy hops, but it finishes more malty than hops to my palate.

Feel: Medium-bodied, with a lingering bitterness on the finish.

Overall: It's a good APA, but not a great one.

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Photo of Prufrock
3.72/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a pilsner.

orange-red amber with a slight haze and 3/4 inch of foamy white head that leaves perfect rings of lace.

nose is peachy, piney, and rindy; all sorts of nice hop aromas.

taste is nice; tons of hop bitterness with a slightly fruity, peachy touch to the overall hoppy aftertaste that lasts forever. nice mouthfeel with some hop oiliness. not overly complex or interesting; mostly just straightforward hop bitterness.

on another note, shouldn't this be under IPA? how does something labeled Alpha King not make it into the IPA category?

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.73/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a snifter from a 12 ounce bottle.

A- Light and fluffy pale oatmeal-colored head. Dark amber body. 4.5

S- Sweet, resinous, floral, dank and reminiscent of fresh cut grass. Not particularly exciting but good. 4

T- Surprisingly sweet, malty and grape-like. Seems dated with an aged citrus flavor. 3.5

M- Nice vibrant spice from the hops, creamy malted medium body. Very light bitterness. 4

Wish I could read the bottled on date. I can see 2015 but could be anywhere from a month to a month and a half old. The beer doesn't hold up that well it seems.

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Photo of Crass3000
3.73/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out maroon in color with a small white head with little retention.

Smell is very nice tropical with a little pine and some sweet caremal. Taste is definately some more nice tropical with a small amount of pine. There is also some nice caremal to even things out. Great beer. Mouthfeel is sorta medium and great for the style.

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Photo of caskstrength
3.73/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

tried this a couple different times, I think it was pretty fresh both times, but who really knows with these FFF bottles.

Pours a deeper copper than I expected for an IPA type beer. off white head. good level of carbonation.

smell is more malt than I expected. a rusty almost oxidized character I generally don't like in my hoppy favorites. Citrus and pine there too, balanced (too much?) with the malt/carmel/rust.

taste is good, not great. I wanted more intensely focused hops not muted so much by the malty/carmel taste. Could be a freshness issue I guess, but they were relatively new shipments. citrus there too, some pine. those flavors are as expected and appropriate.

mouthfeel is good, might actually be too thick, which goes with my criticism of the malt/sweetness in this brew.

A good APA/IPA. But a lot of better choices out there are easily available, imo. Will try fresh on tap if available, see if that's the issue for me.

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Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.73/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice copper-orange color with a serious off-white head. Many fingers worth and lovely lacing taboot.

Aroma is big on citrusy hops. Some malt in the background, but that's ok. That's not why I bought this beer. Taste is also big on the citrus, mostly grapefruit. I get some malt to balance this out, but the finish is full of hop bitterness and a slight alcohol burn that surprises me based on the 6% ABV.

The body on this APA is pretty thick and heavy, with noticeable viscosity. I could see it filling me pretty quickly, but I bet I could drink another without much trouble.

All in all a pretty nice beer. This is one of my favorite styles, so I do have plenty on my list I'd rate above this one though.

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Photo of Sixpack595
3.73/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A rich copper color with a full tan head that leaves a touch of lacing. Citrus hop aroma with a bready caramel malt backing it up. Taste is quite good with alot of malt showing up as it warms. Moutfeel is full and gives the beer a nice rich feeling. One of the better APAs.

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Photo of C20Percent
3.73/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a slightly hazy copper brown with a big bubbly head of light tan foam on top. Some nice complexity in the color. Looks clean. Some decent bubble action in the body. Look closely, and like other FFF offerings, there are tiny pieces of sediment. Really nice looking beer, though, and very unique for a Pale Ale.

S: Almost like a totally toned down version of Zombie Dust. Yes, there is a much more subtle citrus smell here. Also some sweet malts and spice. But, mostly getting a floral lemon zest.

T: Mostly getting the sweet caramel malts and hops that end in a bitter finish. The spice is still present -- but not as citrusy as I remember. Probably should drink this a little fresher. But, this is just above average for me.

M: Smooth and creamy. Fantastic carbonation, which is par for all FFF brews. Medium body. Nice texture -- ends kind of buttery. Carbonation puts it over for me.

O: This bottle is probably pushing three months old -- so gotta keep that in mind in this review. I don't quite remember like this when I originally got the six pack. I remember it being more refreshing without as big of a malt characteristic. So, definitely pick up a six pack, but don't let it sit too long.

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Photo of Azurescens
3.73/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle with no bottled on or freshness date poured into Hair of the Dog tulip, reviewed on 8/6/11.

A: Pours a clear orange-amber color with fluffy off-white head that leaves some lacing around glass.

S: Herbal and citrus hops, honey, with some sweet pale malt.

T: Some mild hop bitterness up front followed by sweet malt, honey and herbal hops. Finishes somewhat bland and watery, not quite how I remember this tasting last time I had it.

M: Medium body with low-moderate carbonation, somewhat resinous feel, semi-dry finish.

O: I've had this before and this time around isn't as hoppy or flavorful as I remember it being before. Perhaps its not as fresh as the last time I had it, but its hard to say for sure without any dating on the bottle.

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Photo of blakelive784
3.74/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to Docrock!

12 fl oz brown glass bottle served in a goblet, reviewed live:

A - Pours a murky grapefruit-esque red/orange color with two fingers of sticky cream colored head. Retention's very good and the head leaves tight lacing as it recedes. Appealing.

S - Heavy citric hops notes, blood orange, buttery caramel, grapefruit and crystal malts. Not one note dominates. No alcohol on the nose. Fresh and pleasant. Seemingly well balanced. Inviting, to say the least.

T - Opens with clean pale malts. Strangely a bit buttery. Musty floral hops that I didn't find on the nose are present throughout. Heavy citrus on the finish. Not bitter at all. Very well balanced. There's a light spice note near the finish I can't put my finger on (pepper?). Not incredibly complex, but well built. I'm having it.

M - Oily, slick, and smooth. Well carbonated.

D - Absurdly drinkable. I'd definitely get it again, if I was so lucky. My second beer from Three Floyds, and I can't wait to try more.

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Photo of weatherdog
3.75/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass

It pours a amber reddish color with a small off white head, medium lacing and low retention.

The nose is a nice fairly balanced blend of orange, grassy hop aromas and some sweet toffee like malt aromas

The taste is much less balanced and more hop forward as I expect. Grassy hops dominate with just enough orange citrus to make me feel like I'm not chewing on the lawn. The bitterness is fairly harsh and resiny which I do not always appreciate. On the backend some vegetal flavors emerge which isn't so great and not what I usually remember. I know this is a fresh bottle as well.

Mouthfell is ok, some dryness because of the lasting bitterness. Drinkability is good for an APA. Overall I have always enjoyed this beer as something that is sometimes available in places that have a bad selection, and that's about where I'll keep it.

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Photo of menkros
3.75/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours golden amber. 1 finger head, no carbonation. Smells slight hoppy fruity. Taste fruity and hidden alcohol. Nice apa, their zombie dust is preferred. ale Ales have never been near my favorite types of beers, but Alpha King is definitely good. VERY hoppy, with a strong malt backbone, AK is best (at least for me) paired with food to "wash it down", as I dislike the extremely hoppy aftertaste. This is going against the grain of my Great Divide Titan IPA review, which was glowing, but I prefer the Titan due to it’s dryness. There’s a sweetness in the background of AK that I can’t get over. Still, Alpha King is outstanding, but I prefer other pale ales.

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Photo of beerceller99
3.75/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The alpha king has a clear reddish yellow color with a quickly fading head. Decent smell of grapefruit, citrusy hops. Medium bodied with a smooth mouthfeel. A good taste is of slightly bittersweet caramel malts followed by a floral hop taste to finish.
Not really what i was expecting here. Seems to be "only" a better than average pale ale.
A tasty brew nevertheless.

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Photo of Suds_With_Buds
3.75/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I am surprised by this, I usually love everything by 3 Floyds, especially their Pale ales, unfortunately this one isn't as good

I could drink this, but I thought it was far too bitter for my liking, it was less than 2 weeks old so it wasn't a freshness issue.

Strange, but still a solid beer.

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Photo of bwmichaud
3.75/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter

The beer was a little bit darker than I expected. It tasted like a true old school IPA. I'm not sure that it can compete with the newer IPA's out there but 5 or 10 years ago I would have wet myself for this beer. It'll be a nice brew to go back to from time to time.

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Photo of drummstikk
3.76/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a medium amber with red highlights -- lasting taupe head. Smells of Centennial and Cascade. Taste is a lot of mid-boil dark bark and resin without any cattiness. Yum. Later-boil tastes are pine needles, oranges, lemons, grapefruit (of course), with a bit of melon and peach. Caramel peaks its head at the end, and overall the malt is sweet without being cloying. Carbonation and body are medium. Thought it's clearly more bitter than a Pale Ale by most sane drinkers' standards, Alpha King (despite its name) achieves balance by reigning in crystal malt sweetness and not allowing overall bitterness to outpace its size. Beer appears to be bottled on yeast, and after swirling up the lees and pouring them into my remaining beer, I get a nice bit of apricot fruitiness that was clearly adhering to those friendly single-cells.

There is no date printed on the bottle, but it's been in my fridge for a good six months. Perhaps the hop aromas would be more overpowering in a fresher example, but I enjoy this beer very much.

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Photo of GnomeKing
3.76/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

With a a rich, gold color, ample lacing, and a full, vaguely creamy mouthfeel, this hop monster is as pretty as it is potent. Hops hit you the second the beer taps your tongue, and they leave their joyful mark in a linger aftertaste. Although this is a definite hop monster, it's reasonably smooth and has a tinge of sweetness. There are hints in the beer I didn't like, perhaps something about the yeast. There was an imbalance in this beer that spoke of lack of control. I had an entire six pack during the past week, and I reacted to each bottle differently. Is it me, or the beer? I think it's the beer, because I had several cans of Dale's Pale Ale during the same period, and they were consistent.

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Photo of GoldenVIKE
3.77/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pretty weak head disappears quickly, but nice full amberish orange color. -attractive beer.

S-nice mix of hoppiness, floral, and acidic/citrus notes.

T-starts with the hops followed by a combination of pine/citrus and a faint but pleasant alcohol bite. finish is sweet. bitter all the way through--perhaps a little too bitter.

M-feels like a well-built beer.

O-this is a nice, well-built, and very drinkable beer with a nice "green" hoppy flavor that goes down easy and doesn't overpower. (except for maybe being a little overly bitter) I'm not a huge fan of super hoppy beers, but when I get a craving for some hops, this one is on my short list.

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Photo of AleWatcher
3.77/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Growler shared by my non-BA friend Brian... He may as well be a BA, as he makes an appearance at every tasting I host!

Dark copper body. Small light tan head. Kinda weak retention an lacing this time around... But I'll chalk that up to the glassware!

Smells a little chalky, with some caramel malts. A good dose of hops provide some nice grapefruit notes.
The flavor has a good bitterness at the backend.

Body is medium and feels a tad undercarbed.

Overall-- still a good beer, but this is nowhere near as good as my past experiences with this one.

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Photo of Bunnyhop
3.77/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A slightly hazy, orange colored Pale Ale with a moderate tan head. The smell is most definitely hoppy, along with malt. The taste is malty, followed by a hoppy grapefruit flavor, with a bitter finish. It has a moderate body in my mouth. I was quite surprised and liked this more than I thought I would.

(source: Habersham Discount Beverage; Savannah, GA)

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Photo of NoYouDidnt
3.77/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark amber with a 1 finger head. Aromas of grapefruit, pine. Bit of nail polish alcohol, eucalyptus, and honey. Tastes of sweet hops. Honey and grapefruit syrup. A pungent hop concentrate in the back end. Not a lot of perceived bitterness here. Mouthfeel, carbonated well. Overall, good IPA!

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Alpha King from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
4.26 out of 5 based on 6,405 ratings.
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