Alphalpha
Ithaca Beer Company

AlphalphaAlphalpha
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Style:
American Imperial IPA
Ranked #1,007
ABV:
8.5%
Score:
91
Ranked #4,130
Avg:
4.1 | pDev: 11.71%
Reviews:
144
Ratings:
226
From:
Ithaca Beer Company
 
New York, United States
Avail:
Rotating
Wants
  67
Gots
  25
SCORE
91
Outstanding
AlphalphaAlphalpha
Notes:
Reviews: 144 | Ratings: 226 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Orbfan:
Photo of Orbfan
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%

More User Reviews:
Photo of dbrauneis
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served in a bottle at the Keg and Lantern in Brooklyn, NY

Note: Batch E!039

A: Pours a lightly hazy honey (now is that appropriate) yellow in color with moderate amounts of active carbonation streaming from the bottom of the glass and some light golden yellow highlights. The beer has a half finger tall sudsy white head that reduces to a medium sized patch of thick film surrounded by a thin film covering the majority of the remainder of the surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Slightly stronger than moderate aromas of honey over the top of lighter aromas of sweet grainy malts and floral hops.

T: Upfront there are light flavors of pale malts with a hint of grainy sweetness and moderate flavors of honey contributing to the overall sweetness of the beer. There are light to moderate flavors of floral hops which contribute a moderate amounts of bitterness that fades quickly.

M: Medium bodied with slightly heavier than moderate amounts of carbonation. Light amounts of dryness in the finish

O: With the amount of honey present in this beer making it initially sweet and the aggressive bitterness of the hops trying to balance that out, this is definitely a sipping beer. I enjoyed the flavors of the beer and I can honestly say this beer had the cleanest most natural honey flavor that I have encountered.

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Photo of scootny
4.01/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clean whit head that has decent retention and good lacing. Pale gold that grows murkier as the yeast starts to mix in. Smell is lightly alcoholic with honey and lots of hops and this from a bottle from 2008 (E!09) Taste is honeyed and light bodied malt. Yeast add a bit of dough. Clean firm bitterness from the NY state Cascade. Tingly mint lingers, light crackery bits as well. Feel is smoothly carbonated with a light creaminess. Lighter than you might think from the abv. Crisp and quenching. This is a superb bottle conditioned hop bomb. It ages better than you might think. Cant wait to update this with a review of fresh. Had this with a mushroom carpaccio and maple mustard tempe sandwiches from the Cinnamon Snail in NYC. Yum

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Photo of SPLITGRIN
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A frothy three fingers of creamy off white bubbles reaches the rim of my glass and equals a beautiful head. head fades super slowly leaving a hole filled wall of lace. Body is a very appropriate honey amber colored. Nose exudes a balance of marmalade based hops and earthy sweet malt all together nicely. As you take first sip the flavor comes off as more malty and crisp, rich but then the hops kick in to balance and almost take over. You get a bitter tingle on the back of the tongue that has a real bite to it. The bitter feel grows considerably as you drink but isn't harsh at all. The mouthfeel is a big bitter hue all over the palate. Drinkability for this bitter bomb is solid.

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Photo of metter98
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle at Keg & Lantern, Brooklyn, NY

A: The beer is very hazy dark yellow in color and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a short bright white head that died down and left a patch of bubbles in the center, a collar around the edge and some lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of floral hops are present in the nose along with notes of honey. The honey becomes a little stronger as the beer warms up.
T: Compared to the smell, the taste has a lot more flavors of honey and a light amount of bitterness from the hops.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied and crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer definitely tastes a little strong with all of the honey used to boost up the alcohol content. It is a sipping beer.

Note: Batch E!039

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rich amber in color with a light haziness to it. A nice head of white, perhaps two inches in height rose up from the bottom of the glass and settled down with some decent lacing along the sides. Nice aroma of orange, thick, pungent and sweet with a nice malted backbone that really gave it some nice balance. Smooth, easy flavor here with all the abv non existent and really well done. Rich orange and pineapple flavors, buttery, biscuit like malt notes mid palate and a nice thick, medium feel that was accented nicely by some of the richest carbonation.

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Photo of paulmcm
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of HopHead84
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Consumed on 8/28/2009 and poured into a snifter. Thanks for the extra jleblanc.

The beer apperas hazy orange with a thick frothy off white head. The retention is excellent and some nice lacing is left lingering.

The nose is reminscent of a faded floral hop boquet. There's noticeable honey sweetness, which adds a nice touch. Alcohol is well hidden and the malt is light and caramely. There's a little lemon as well.

The flavor is very bitter, with honey sugary sweetness. The hops are reminscent of citrus and pine, but the most prominent characteristics of the beer are the sweet honey and the bitterness. The alcohol is pretty strong. The finish is sweet and bitter with lingering booze.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.53/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle served in a snifter.

Cloudy orange/gold color with a huge creamy white head that didn't quit leaving globs of sticky lacing.
Pine/Citrus hop aromas are abundent.
Great tasting beer, a little honey sweetness is tasted upfront and then the hops kick in hard and heavy. Overall the taste is balanced, be it from the malts or the addition of honey to all those bitter hops.
Medium bodied, smooth feel, very easy to drink such a delightful tasting beer.

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Photo of brandoneast
3.86/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Medium blonde with a touch of haze and a frothy collar of foam. The initial pour filled the glass with funky, like gym socks and toe jam aromas; very off putting. Those smells quickly died down and then opened to aromas and flavors of orange zested creme brulee crust, honey chevre, orange candy slices, mint, and wheat crackers. The Cascade hop bitterness came through and helped balance some of the initial senses. The honey added a nice kiss to the mouthfeel and it finished quite well, kind of like HopSlam but leaving extremely dry.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Trying to clear out the hops in the fridge - next up is Alphalpha - shared with the two Daves. Batch E!013. Served in my Surly pint glass.

A - Huge billowing off-white foam with awesome retention and tons of sticky lacing. Pale apricot yellow color that is slightly hazed.

S - Lots of grassy hops with some orange zest flavors as well. The hops have held up pretty decently even though this is a few months old, but there's a pretty hefty balance of malt and honey sweetness kicking around as well. Doesn't really leap out of the glass.

T - Taste is a little disappointing - mostly sweet malts and honey with a touch of grass and a decent amount of residual bitterness in the aftertaste. Not as much of the zesty flavors, which is mildly disappointed.

M - Mild-to-moderate carbonation, medium body, lots of residual stickiness. Pretty decent, but nothing unusual here.

D - Drinkinability was solid, with solid carbonation, moderate bitterness. Well hidden ABV on this one. We had no problem splitting the 750ml bottle.

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Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of younger35
4.18/5  rDev +2%
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 chickencoop
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to my east coaster trading buddies for this, i've been wanting to try the east coast pliny. On that, and the beer,is solid, worth the wait, in my opinion, but being very skewed to the west coast, and that is no fault of the beer or brewery, not the full bodied full spectrum DIPA that i was expecting. This is dominated by the citrusy, piney hops, and carries all the way through, finishing with a bitter back-end. Good stuff, serious packaging (felt like I was opening a nice zin from Dry Creek), but in a company of its peers, its good, but not great. Drinkable, but not as drinkable as the Hopslam (Honey added), or the grandaddy pliny, plus my old roomate was from jersey and stunk like old socks.

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Photo of BeerTruth
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beauty uses organic barley malt, NY cascade hops, and local alfalfa honey. Nice!

750 ml bottle poured into the appropriate Ithaca Excelsior! tulip glass. Batch# E!013

Pours a foggy rustic gold hue with a big three finger fluffy off-white head that takes its sweet time settling down. Super sticky chunky lacing clings to the sides of the glass, maybe it's because of the honey ;) Superb looking brew, simple as that. Smell is a sweet blend of fresh clementine oranges and crisp grapefruit. Honey, bready malts, and grass tickle the nose with a touch of sweet butter as well. Taste starts off with gritty earth and grass with a splash of orange and lemon zest. Midway the honey and malt balance out the big hop presence. Aftertaste is bitter and sweet, pretty much what this beer is all about. Lots of complex flavors that truly shine when the beer starts to warm up a bit. Medium to full body with a chewy feel and lively crisp carbonation. There's a touch of alcohol here and there with this brew, but nothing too crazy. Another wonderful addition to the oh so lovely Excelsior! line-up. Keep brewin' em and I'll keep drinkin' em. Good stuff, get it while it's fresh!

p.s. - I'd take this over Hopslam anyday

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Photo of vande
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A ~ Golden champagney looking yellow pour...2 finger thick pillow soft looking head floating lazily... active carbonation the in the pint...been bubbling from the bottom for the last several minutes while I watch and wait.

S ~ Somewhat grassy hints being detected. Some earthiness going on here... Interesting mixture of hops with a sweeter side...

T ~ Honey, carmel sweetness definitely balances out the presence of hops.. an interesting bitter twist towards the end...yet, in between there's a definite presence of malty goodness... Very unique.

M ~ Pleasantly drinkable. Light-to-medium bodied IPA that has a smooth quality to it.

O ~ a pretty interesting drink. I've enjoyed Ithaca from afar, as they don't distribute to Illinois..but I've been lucky enough to have some good trading partners take care of me. Thanks!

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Photo of Jenray
3/5  rDev -26.8%

Photo of mltobin
4.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of OWSLEY069
4.52/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a hazy yellow color with a white head. In the aroma, flowery hops, clove, and a mix of other spices. In the taste, mostly flowery hops, but hints on pine ones too. Nice presence of clove as well. A small bite and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry, flowery hop aftertaste. Very close to Hop Slam and almost similar to a saison.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
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 deapokid
3.5/5  rDev -14.6%

Photo of Atricapilla
4.39/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

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Photo of pburland23
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Excelsior Series Batch E!039

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into my CBS snifter.

Beer pours a clear golden amber. About a finger of bright white head. Head lingers lazily for some time. Some very nice sticky lacing.

Smell features piney, earthy hops with some strong upfront floral notes. The honey and wheat are very noticeable. Really nice smelling DIPA. To me, this is what I exactly what a Double Imperial IPA should smell like.

Taste starts with some aggressive bitterness up front. The bitterness then hangs around a little bit longer than it probably should. Piney earthy hops on the palette. There's an almost tea like quality in the middle of the sip. On the tail end, a touch of sweetness shows up, most likely from the honey.

Mouthfeel is pretty light for a DIPA all things considered. Alcohol is barely noticeable. Quite drinkable.

Overall, a tasty DIPA. It's a fairly run of the mill. Nothing to get too excited about but not a bad beer.

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Photo of Ratman197
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle fom Half Time poured a clear gold with a lasting creamy ivory head. Aromas of straw, grassiness, grapefruit, orange zest, light pine and light honey. Mouthfeel was light bodied and crisp with a dry finish. Flavors of stra, gapefruit,grassiness, light pine and light honey with a crisp dry bitter lingering grapefruit finish.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml foil capped bottle served at 48 degrees in my DT tulip. Batch# E!019 indicated on the label. Poured a semi-hazy, pale golden orange with a a dense, creamy, 2.5 inch bright white head that eventually collapses into a solid quarter inch cap. Residual strands of cloud-like, cascading lacing stream down the sides of the glass. Nose is very subdued but I detect some honey, perhaps toffee and some citrus fruit esters. Taste follows nose - starts sweet - toffee and honey initially, followed by citrus and finishing with a lingering bitterness which seems interspersed with a slightly sugary quality; however, a medicinal character remains present at the back of the throat between quaffs. Mouthfeel is medium-light in consistency, with a slight slickness that coats the tongue. Some acidity hits the tongue initially, followed by a lively carbonation that falls just short of being prickly. A slightly different variation on the style. It's definitely a DIPA, but the honey/toffee character substitutes the grapefruit sweetness, and nicely compliments the herbal/medicinal hop character. Interesting brew, but best shared, as the bottle continued to push foam slowly during the tasting.

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Alphalpha from Ithaca Beer Company
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 226 ratings