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Alpha King | 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

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1,806 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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,806 | Ratings: 6,329
Photo of Gaddabble
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful amber/copper hue. Malty, sweet smell with citrus and dark fruits. Taste follows the smell with rich caramel malt coupled with fruity hop character finishing with very pleasant tobacco on the back end. A wonderful and unique pale ale. For my money, there no one pumps out world-class pale ales like Three Floyds, and this is no exception!

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Photo of russwbeck
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: On the clear side of hazy brown in color, the pour was quite active out of the bottle. Lots of bubbly head rises up and billows over my tulip as perhaps I poured a bit too vigorously. The head is sticky, creamy, and leaves wonderful lacing down the side of the glass.

S: The amount of hops and malts on this is phenomenal. The caramel and breadiness of the malts honestly take over the hops a little bit. Not to be deterred, the hops bring out grapefruit and some slight pine that is very nice.

T: The taste follows the smell famously. Caramel malts create a delicious backbone for citrusy hops and a dry hop finish. Balanced very well and deliciously dry throughout.

MF: Light, crisp, dry finish, and no hint of alcohol.

O: This beer is one I like to call dangerously drinkable. The balance of the malts and hops, the dryness of the beer throughout, really just everything make this a beer you absolutely have to try.

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Photo of tw0st3p
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass at about 45 deg.

A: Beer poured a copper-amber color with about half a finger of head that seemed to subside about halfway through the glass. Lacing went all the way down the glass.

S: Lots of citrusy, floral aroma in this one. Catch some fruit aroma in the end. Dont catch a lot of the malt.

T: The taste on this one is awesome. Starts off a bit hoppy/flowery, but not too overpowering and ends with a nice biscuity malt.

M: This one has a bit of chewiness to it although certainly not thick by any means. Great mouthfeel.

D: If your not careful this one could get you into trouble quickly.

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Photo of Fux
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Golden copper with a small foamy white head
S: Smell is hoppy, fruity, with oranges, mangos. There is also a solid malty base, mainly biscuit, toasted bread aromas.
T: Taste is also very hoppy, with floral flavors. Also sweet and loads of exotic fruits.
M: Sharp attack on the palate. Very good carbonation very well balanced by the sweetness. Finishes dry, very refreshing.
O: A very nice pale ale. Refreshing, also tasty and well balanced.

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Photo of nullforge
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Hazy orange-tinted deep amber color. Pours with a one finger orange-tinted head that shortly collapses to a collar. Leaves a fairly sticky lace on the glass. The nose contains piney and citrusy hops, delicately sweetened by malt. A hint of mango can also be found. The taste offers caramel and pale malt sweetness that balances the bitterness while it lasts. The piney and citrusy hops detected in the nose dominate the taste with a strong hop bite. A hint of peach in the background. Bitterness builds into the finish with the hops becoming crisp and herbal. Body is medium. Beer feels slick on the tongue. Malt could be a bit more chewy though. Overall, it's a delicious beer that left me wanting more.

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Photo of koopa
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Received this puppy from Beereality in a trade. Thanks amigo!

Appearance: Rusty copper orange with little head or lacing.

Smell: Refreshing and delicious! More hop presence than I was expecting from a Pale Ale. Some grapefruit and a slight pine/floral hop smell.

Taste: Amazingly crisp and refreshing with a wonderful hop presence. Not overpowering, but the hops do grab your attention.

Mouthfeel: low carbonation but still an easy drinker.

Drinkability: doesn't get any easier to drink than this. This would go in my permanent rotation if it was readily available on the east coast.

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Photo of dblinkhorn
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance - Pours with an off-white head that is about a finger thick and party soapy and creamy. It retains for a decent amount of time, and settles at the usual thin layer of lace on top of the beer. Decent lacing all the way down. The beer's color is a crystal clear orange/honey amber with just a few carbonation columns here and there.

Smell - Strong, crisp, and bitter hops right on the nose, smells like a full-blown IPA. Slight fruity sweetness and citrus rind are also present. Clean mellow malt character is in the background. The alcohol is evident, and of moderate strength. A very complex and refreshing aroma from this beer.

Taste - Small oily bitterness from the hops mixed with a rich bready malt character right away. The malt quickly dies down, and for a moment a moderate fruity sweetness comes through. Taking the place of the malt's retreat, is a very stong and dry citrusy and crisp bitter hops flavor. The finish begins to balance out again as the malts make yet another appearance. The aftertaste is commanded by dry hops at first, and as the flavors die down an oilyness comes through. A very slight earthiness is detectable. The alcohol is medium, and its warming effects can be felt through the whole taste. A very complex and eventful flavor from this beer.

Mouthfeel - A slight carbonation bite can be felt in the beginning, but this mellows to a massaging tickle that lasts for the rest of the taste. The body is fairly light and the liquid is surprisingly smooth for the style.

Drinkability - Quite a bitter pale ale, but the hops are superb in flavor. Its bitterness, I think, is the only attribute that takes from its overall drinkability.

A masterful pale ale. Seems more like an IPA to me since the hops are quite more powerful than the malt character. An excellent interpretation of the style, though. A must have pale ale, especially for hops lovers!

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Another want down.

A: Poured a mostly translucent copper color with a finger of white head. Only spotty lacing which was kind of surprising.

S: A nice big blast of hops. Candied sugar as well. Very sweet smelling. The hops are massive but the malt is as well. Just from the nose I would think this is around 10%.

T: Just a really nice hop blast tempered by a ton of sweetness. One of the most balanced pale ales that I have ever had. It almost has a touch of tobacco in the back.

M: A little on the thick side but damn who cares for the amount of flavor they packed into this. Carbonation is a little on the low side as well.

D: Again one of those beers that pisses me off I cannot simply go to a store to get. Probably the single best pale ale I have ever had.

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Photo of bassmantin
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a semi-transparent vivid orange with a nice white/tan head that clings to my Sam Adams glass.

Smell is full of those great hops. This is the beer that turned me on to hops, and it continues to stand up to the best IPAs out there. There is a great citrus flavor, FFF's flagship hoppiness that is present throughout the taste. Decent maltiness in the finish, too.

I think this beer stands with the hop giants. It's not an IIPA or even and IPA (technically), but it is one of the best examples of hops out there.

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Photo of Dogbrick
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Barley's Smokehouse. Definitely a nice surprise to find this on draught considering how much of a fan I am of the bottled version. Pours a dark amber color with thin chunks of a light beige head that disappeared quickly. Thin and quick lacing. The aroma has a nice bouquet of floral hops, grapefruit and malt. Medium-bodied with a mouthfeel that really cannot be improved upon. Robust hops flavor with citrus and a great malt balance. The finish is long and nicely bitter. I would never tire of this beer.

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Photo of egajdzis
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured an orange color with a small, off white head, that left nice lacing on the glass. Citrusy hop aroma, as well as a bitter hop flavor, with some grape taste as well. Very nice malt backbone as well. This can be drank more frequently than Dreadnaught.

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Photo of newyawker
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The first time I ever had it. At Brewtopia beer festival in New York. Nice, full whiteness for a head. Big, hoppy, flower like fragrance and a brisk carbonation. Cloudy, orange-banana color. Smooth, easy drinking and yet big and hop infected neverthless. One of the best beers I have ever tasted.

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Photo of MusicaleMike
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Review #2 - 4/12/09: My roommate was kind enough to pick up a six-pack of this when he went out to Indiana last week. So, it's probably fresh? Poured the 12oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A: Cloudy blood orange body is topped by a big, cream-colored foam head. After a few minutes the head collapses to a centimeter thick and stays for a while. The foam leaves a decent amount of irregular lacework.

S: Huge citrus hop aroma! Notes of grapefruit, melon, tangerine and honey. There is a very faint doughy malt aroma that sits behind the citrus. Out of the bottle, the smell it potent, but with some time to breathe, the aromas mellow out.

T: Nicely balanced, though it is definitely hop forward. The juicy, citric hop flavor is balanced gently with a very mild biscuity malt flavor. The citric hop bitterness is up front and leaves a bite on the tongue as you swallow the beer. Grassy hops in the aftertaste, slightly nutty characteristics as well. The sweetness resides more towards the finish, and so the facade of this beer remains a hop trellis.

M: The mouthfeel is a medium bodied, juicy and thirst-quenching consistency, with a soft bite of hop bitterness left on the tongue and a faint, mouth-coating of alpha acids. The carbonation is spot-on.

D: Delicious. I still don't like it as much as I like Pride and Joy, but I would definitely have this as a regular in my beer fridge if it was distributed in my area. Very quaffable!
I picked up this beer on my visit to their brewery last week. There is no indication of freshness, except for the fact that I got it from the brewery last week sooo, yeah. It's fresh. I had a taste then of this flagship beer, and it wasn't until today that I got to sit down and review this bad boy.

A: It poured a clear, amber-ruby color with a thick foamy head. It looked very enticing. Also, it laces well.

S: The smell is potent...there is a strong, citrusy hop aroma and a lesser malt smell that is mild but sweet, evoking a fruit. (apple?)

T: At first sip, there is a strong hop presence, which quickly seems to be balanced by a nutty malt character. It remains delicious and very well-balanced throughout. Towards the end of the glass, the beer becomes more bitter.

M: This ale slides over the tongue smoothly. Its light on carbonation and feels light in the mouth.

D: This beer is delicious and I could easily see myself buying a case. This is one drinkable beer!

Score: 4.5/4/4.5/3.5/4.5

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Photo of barnzy78
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, no obvious date - had back-to-back with Three Floyds Zombie Dust for my comparison purposes.
Pours amber with a frothy off-white head, great retention & excellent chunky lacing is left on the glass. Aromas are juicy grapefruit & citrus, mild pine, bold bready, caramely malt character. Tastes are complex and plentiful with bready & caramel malt followed up with bold pungency of grapefruit & piny hops with a bit of a tropical kick at the end with mango & pineapple. Finishes semi-dry with some astringency. Medium body, nice carbonation. One of my favorite APA's. Borderlines on being an American IPA but I think there's enough of a malt backbone to be considered an APA.
This one wins just by a little in comparison to Zombie Dust.

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Photo of michdmb
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A great IPA. All of Three Floyd's beers have a certain sweet/malty characteristic that is not quantifiable. This beer is no exception. I am a fan of IPAs, and this one keeps calling me back.

Hoppiness is sufficient, and sweetness is a definite plus for this beer. Both are balanced to perfection. I have had Alpha King on tap and in bottle, and both are consistently good.

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Photo of socon67
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First Three Floyds, on tap at the Map Room in Chicago.

A - Amber pour. Decent foam retention and lacing is impressive as it webs the glass.

S - Scents of fresh tropical fruit and oily hops. For an APA the scent of fresh hops is more typical of a DIPA.

T - Crisp flavor that brings out more of the sweet fruit flavor than the bitterness of the hoppy bite. Makes this so well balanced that I felt this is what makes this a top shelf beer.

M - Easily sessionable, and with such a crisp feel and smooth balance, you would want to drink plenty of these. Can't imagine better.

O - Easily the best american pale I've had. Three Floyds gets plenty of hype but a beer like this makes the attention justified. Loved this one.

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Photo of jegross2
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing a cask-conditioned Alpha King from Three Floyds.
Score: 95

Drinking a fresh, cask-conditioned pint of one of my absolute favorite brews of all time.

Appearance: Pours a hazy, dark reddish-brown amber with three fingers of foamy cream-colored head that sticks around quite some time. Falls somewhere between opaque and translucent, but closer to opaque. Excellent lacing. 5/5

Smell: Roses. Floral, grapefruit and citrus hops. A little honey. Lots of malty, hoppy sweetness in the aroma. 4.5/5

Taste: Huge grapefruit citrus bitterness. Malty-sweet backbone. Hints of berry flavors too. Absolutely refreshing. Finishes with sweet oranges and hops bitterness. Yum! 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Light-medium bodied, medium-plus carbonation. Finish is surprisingly dry for such a malty mid-palate beverage. 4.5/5

Overall: Alpha King is one of my favorite beers of all time. The cask-conditioned version of this brew is much maltier and less hops-aggressive than the bottled version that I have had a thousand times over. How do I know? I had a side-by-side taste test at the bar. This is one to seek out!

Recommendation: If you have not had a six pack of this stuff, go buy one already. For those who have had Alpha King before, I absolutely recommend seeking out the cask-conditioned version. I am about as big of a hop-head as they come -- I have a well-known soft spot for IIPA's -- but cask-conditioned Alpha King's creamy malt-for-hops tradeoff is absolutely divine. Alpha King is the best year-round American Pale Ale (sorry Sierra Nevada!).

Pairings: Medium-cooked hamburgers. Particularly the ones they serve at Kuma's Corner in Chicago. Also probably pairs well with an earthy salad with feta and walnuts. Could really add some kick to spicy foods.

Cost: $9.99 for a six pack, or $7 for a cask-conditioned 16 oz pour.

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Photo of NiceTaps
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a tulip.

A- dark copper-amber color, brilliant and glowing. Fluffy 1-plus finger linen-white head with good retention and lacing to go.

S-mild intoxicating aroma of pine hops, fresh citrus, and pale malts.

T-piney, refreshing mild citrus, caramel maltiness.

M- One of the smoothest , best feeling beers that I've had. Not light, just smooth. Tingly up front, some hop bite in the end. Refreshing carbonation. Resinous.

O- Wow! So complete and balabced, flavorful and drinkable. Spot on ABV and IBUs. The one thing that I don't like...the butt-ugly label. Petty, I know.

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Photo of twilight
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

To say this beer is delicious would be an understatement. Pours a red orange with little head but really nice lacing on the glass. It sticks like there's no to-morow. The nose is grapefruit citrus, but not overwhelmingly so, perhaps a woodsy pine undernote, but it's difficult to tell. Taste is citrus and hoppy like an IPA with a nice sweet malt backbone that isn't too strong. It's like they stopped short of making it a malt monster and bringing that to the forefront. Seriously, though, I would have thought this was an IPA. It does retain it's pale ale leanings, though as it doesn't make itself overly showy. A nice, drinkable one. Too bad I've only one more bottle of this bad boy left... A trip to FFF is in order!


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Photo of JDV
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to DrBayern for this amazing pale!

Pours a rich, cloudy honey/amber color, with a big lasting, and lasting, and lasting beige head. Never seen anything less than a rich stout hold onto a head the way this did. Smell is huge bold hops, citrusy, and fruity sweet caramel and is just mouthwatering. Taste is very nicely hopped, but not overdone at all. A great flavorful sweetness really rounds this beer out, and a nice satisfying bitterness, and full mouthfeel make this one of my all time favorites. A must try if you like American Pales.

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Photo of iDrinknewglarus
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a slightly hazy red/copper. Beautiful off white, frothy head that leaves ridiculously good lacing and has great lasting power.

S: BIG hop aroma, especially for a "pale ale." Most IPAs can't hold a candle to how delicious this one smells. I get a ton of citrus, namely grapefruit, with a nice little caramel malt lingering in the background.

T: Hops are all over this one. Lots of sweet grapefruit. I get actually get a decent amount of piney spice and bitterness just after swallowing. The malt backbone is very decent and makes this beer feel rich and nourishing. It's got that west coast dry finish.

M: Medium and with real soft carbonation, just like it should be. This one goes down real smooth.

This was one of my first loves getting into craft beer, and to be honest, it still is among one of my favorites. I've also had it on tap and it was fantastic!

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Photo of dakid618
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From keg into pint glass. Half finger of soft white head. Good lacing on glass. Smell is very much citrus hops. Taste is great! Citrus hops and biscuitlike malt are perfectly mixed. Light dry mouthfeel is perfect. The most drinkable pale ale I've ever had. An absolute amazing beer.

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Photo of Gatch
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 6-pack back in June during a Road Trip across the country. Finally drinking the last one and finally reviewing this phenomenal beer. It deserves the hype that it gets.

A - Deep amber with a thick, frothy head that fades very slowly. Lace really sticks to the glass, no particles floating around at all (really, really clean), and the foam sitting on top begs you to take a sip.

S - All kinds of crazy stuff. Hops, fruit, caramelized sugar, sour grapes. Very different from most Pale Ale's.

T - A lot of what comes in on the nose shows up in the mouth as well. A little bit of alcohol comes through but it's warming and gives a slight bite and dryness to the finish. The hops and the sweet malt balance perfectly.

M/D - Fresh, clean, and so much flavor. There's almost a creaminess to it because it moves around your mouth so smoothly and coats every corner. One of the best beers I've had as far as "mouthfeel" goes but I can see myself being overwhelmed by all the flavor if I drink this beer all night. I'll recommend this to anyone.

Update: bought a 6-pack at the brewery in April. Forgot how amazing this beer is. Big, juicy, pungent, dank, resiny hops. Good balance that keeps this enjoyable. Such a delicious hop profile. Why I didn't pick up a 6-pack of Zombie Dust while I was there will haunt me for a while.

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Photo of gustogasmic
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just wow. Poured into a 12 oz tulip, forms a luscious pillowy off-white head. The beer is a translucent amber with very active carbonation. Great pillowy lacing.

The smell is of ruby red grapefruit, bitter orange rind, and pine needles... A really potent and exciting bouquet.

Very orangey and bitter hop, hoppy as hell, and incredibly balanced. The body is there, but at the perfect level- not too big, not too sweet, but with no breaks on flavor. nice dry sticky leave that makes you smack your tongue and appreciate the flavor as it rolls out for minutes after a sip.

The mouthfeel is a bit thick for my liking but really works well with the beer. I can't knock it.

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Photo of sleazo
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Monsone, been looking for this one for a while.

A-Pours a beautiful slightly cloudy brown. The two finger head is as fluffy as can be with long lasting staying power. Sheets of lace cling to the sides of the glass. Beautiful to behold.

S-A wonderful aroma of pine and citrus wafts at me from across the table. The aroma is both powerful and lovely. Slight hints of caramel sweetness round it out.

T-Strong pine hop oils hit the tongue at first sip, this is followed up by a slight acidity and a vague sweetness. The overall character is dry however. There are hints of caramel as well though less than in the smell. Overall it is very well balanced. The hops have a way of lingering through the mouth leaving a great aftertaste. as it warms hints of cocoa and melon peek through

M-Slightly thick and creamy with a bit of oil presence. Mild carbonation.

D-This is one of if not the best APA I have had. Very hoppy yet balanced with a great mouthfeel. I wish this were available in NYC


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Alpha King from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
4.26 out of 5 based on 6,329 ratings.
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