Alphalpha | Ithaca Beer Company

144 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Ithaca Beer Company
New York, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by almychristopher on 12-30-2008

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Reviews: 144 | Ratings: 225
Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
5/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewed on 12 November 2010 at the "Ithaca Beer Happy Hour" @ Tap and Mallet.

This is my new favorite beer.

Official name for this is "AlpHalpHa Double Honey Bitter." This should be kept in mind while tasting. Poured into special Ithaca tall-stem tulip snifter, 12oz, color is a cloudy, slightly-dark gold-orange, 2-finger head, gives way to spider-web lacing like I've never seen before. Head stays for a while.

Aroma is super bitter hoppy -- WOW. Pine needles, semi-ripe grapefruit, and after swirling, a deep dark honey flavor. The tropical fruit/pine is quite mysterious. Taste is bitter hops without leaving nasty bitterness on the tongue. Hops are so bitter and fresh and leaves sweetness on the tongue. Belching this beer brings back awesome hop flavor. Putting your nose to this is the equivalent to putting your nose to a newly opened bag of hop pellets from the homebrew store. I could drink this all night. I am craving lamb chops with thyme. This is the best beer I've ever drank by far. This is the perfect hoppy beer.

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Photo of afausser
4.82/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter--batch number E!013

A: A very fizzy copper at the moment it's poured, with the initial bubbles instantly dancing to the top of the glass and disappearing nearly completely into the head. Nice and bubbly, a little hazy, and when held to the light has a tint of color and tone a bit reminiscent of a blood orange. About 2 fingers of thick bubbly head with huge bubbles that are quickly popping and dissipating--as I've typed this it's gone down to about 1.5 fingers (which I wonder, after the last beer I've reviewed tonight, if it will have negative implications for lasting carbonation in the mouthfeel). The carbonation bubbles, while slow moving, are fairly individually large. Leaves a nice, thin (but inconsistent) ring of lacing. Very pretty--I can't wait to taste it.

S: Simple, clean scents predominate, with complex subtleties as the nose is aggravated. Smells like a spring garden. sweet notes of honey, vanilla and cream (in fact, a bit like vanilla ice cream with honey on top), light citrusy fruits (oranges) and floral chamomile and lily of the valley notes predominate the nose initially, and are followed up by a strong scent of hops. I'm also getting ginger, strawberries and brandy out of the nose as well as a bit of a woody, earthy scent and a slight clove/anise spicy warmth.

T: I cannot emphasize enough here how heavy (but not syrupy) the predominating honey taste is here. It is incredibly strong, along with the nearly equally strong hops here as well as some malts. Still a bit of a sweet grass and flowery taste, but not nearly to the extent as was present in the nose. Caramel, brown sugar, and light candy notes make themselves present here. And the hops--ohhhh the hops. Strong and well blended into the taste, and not at all overdone. There's also subtle hints of apricot and raisin.

M: Very nice and crisp, yet smooth and creamy. For having such large bubbles, I'm surprised at how fine the mouthfeel is. Does feel a little foamy here and there, but nonetheless very excellent and well-crafted. All of my fears about the carbonation were entirely unfounded.

D: Very smooth, hoppy, delicious, and drinkable. Split this one with a friend and wish I hadn't. Truly excellent, this one's about to get put on my wants list.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.8/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer is a testament to what bottle conditioned brews can do...keep in mind it's from 2008 according to my label and batch number is E!019 hop character is still banging. A bit subdued but hops still explode I'd love to try this fresh this is my second bottle of the same batch and it's been great. Pours a murky golden peach color with a bright white head foam is effervescent and thick with tiny bubbles due to the bottle conditioning. Usually stale hops straight up offend me, in this case the nose is rich with hop essence including pine,citrus, and herbal grassiness. It's lively more than 2 years after the bottling date what gives? How did this beer not go hop stale on me. Every other hoppy IPA or pale I come across is much better fresh this just seems awesome right now, next batch I will seek fresh. Flavor with the yeast brings a great nutty character to the party with the hop flavor still blasting with citrus/pine, and earthy/herbal tones great brew. A double honey bitter according to the website, great. Creative juices were flowing I love this stuff. Mouthfeel has effervescence and strong ample bitterness with some resinous hops going on. Drinkability overall is challenging compared to most other brews and really a whole new experience that I can't get enough of. Go for it. I love this stuff and I'm willing to do more of the coffee beer that they make that's still in stock outside of the Burgh, Ithaca Eleven was awesome I can't wait to age some Ithaca 12.

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Photo of corby112
4.73/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark copper color with golden orange hues and a massive frothy, soapy head. Excellent retention with huge chunks of soapy lacing.

Beautiful citrus west coast style hop aroma with lots of grapefruit, orange peel and pine notes. I'm also picking up some guava and other tropical fruit notes along with some sweet honey.

Creamy medium body with a an amazing sweet honey/molasses and caramel malt presence that balance out the floral citrus hops. This beer is ridiculously smooth with an almost undetectable ABV. Very smooth and refreshing, one of the most quaffable beers I've had to date. I have to stop myself from pounding the whole glass.

Extremely well balanced with nice citrus hop bitterness, caramel malt, smooth swet honey and guava/tropical fruit notes. Pine, grapefruit, lemon zest, orange peel flavors with a slightly dry finish.

This is an excellent beer that I wish I could buy by the case.

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Photo of dbexpert
4.71/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow! suprising brew, not sure what i expected but pleasantly suprised!

A. definitely unfiltered(whoo-hoo!)Dark golden color with tight carbonation, pours an excellent head!

S.Herbacious hop notes with slight hint of citrus cuting through the sweet smell of malt

T.Starts with sweet malt notes quickly interupted by a hop bite with is balanced with a honey sweet and hop sour.

M.excellent, soft bite with overtones of sweetness

D.8%abv, drinks like 6%, i personally could down 2/3 btls in the right setting, absolutly a beer i will be back to, price keeps it to one at a time for me(and availibility).

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Photo of number1bum
4.67/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to BeerTruth for this one! Batch E!013

Pours a golden amber color with a prominent, creamy three fingers of off-white head. It's pretty hazy and has some floating sediment, but keeps a very nice lace and leaves a bunch of rings of stick. This would actually be almost prototypical in terms of appearance if not for the sediment and substantial haziness.

Smells of lots of fresh and enticing cascade hops. Lots of grapefruit and resiny pine. There are few things finer than fresh cascade hops.

Taste is also chock full of fresh cascade hop flavor. Grapefruit and pine, a bit earthy, juicy and delicious. Bitterness is pretty substantial but this is no hop bomb. It's very well balanced with some sweet and bready malt. Also a touch of grain. I can't claim to know what alfalfa tastes like exactly, but there is a grassy quality to this beer that I wouldn't expect to find with cascade hops so I'm thinking that may be the alfalfa. The honey really becomes more noticeable in the finish where there is a pleasant lingering honey sweetness. This is supremely balanced and just plain delicious.

Mouthfeel is a medium-full body, appropriate carbonation, creamy and smooth with an hop-oily slickness with a semi-dry finish.

The alfalfa honey seems to add some nice complexities to this beer, which takes an already excellent DIPA and makes it outstanding. Great beer, plain and simple. This beats out Hopslam in my book, along with many others. This Excelsior series is outstanding! Definitely get this while it's fresh.

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Photo of TonyVic
4.67/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a great beer. It's amazingly sweet and floral on the nose, this is where the honey really comes through. On the pallate, it brings forward a very hoppy, spicy taste, but not overpowering. It follows through with a nice, crisp, grassy flavor and finishes clean. This beer is very well balanced for the style.

This beer goes down really easily and I wish that I could get this beer everywhere.

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Photo of BigPlay1824
4.65/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed in a snifter

A: pours a very slightly hazy yellow hay color with two fingers of large bubbled creamy pure white head that lingers beautifully and leaves thin bubbly lacing on the glass
S: very fresh citrus hop notes, really nice and pure, has a nice earthy undertone at the end
T: oh shes a beaut this one, she drinks so smooth and has such a great citrus hop note with a really smooth malt finish that really balances it out, just the slightest alcohol note at the very very end, i want more of this, gonna need a case
M: medium carbonation tingle, slight slight alcohol burn at the very end, smooth and just a bit thick
O: one hell of a beer from one hell of a brewery, the Excelsior series from Ithaca is really fantastic, i havent come across one i didnt thoroughly enjoy yet, cant wait to see what they pop out in the future

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Photo of ppoitras
4.53/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle from charlew, thanks man! Black plastic "foil", Batch E!013.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1 1/2" off-white head over the effervescent clear golden brew. Head rises boldly, but does not overflow, with a meringuey island in the center, and tons of chunky lacing. Aroma is fresh pine, through and through. Taste starts sweet, goes pine in the middle, which carries through to the end to mesh with the alcohol. Mouthfeel is smooth, a sometimes rare feat for the style, and drinkability is excellent. Great representation of the style.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.53/5  rDev +11%
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 OWSLEY069
4.52/5  rDev +10.8%
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 yesyouam
4.51/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Alphalpha is a hazy golden, brew with a fluffy, bubbly, yellowish white head that has good retention and leaves fancy patterns on the glass. The fresh, fruity, candy-like hop aroma is very clear and bold. There's a sweetness to it that just makes it literally mouth watering just from a whiff. It's pretty full bodied, smooth and oily. The finish is the slightest bit abrasive from the acidity. It has lots of hop flavor that comes off as flowers and grass. There is a little tang and a nice bit of sweetness that seems to come from the honey. The flavors work together very well and give it a bright, outdoorsy taste. It tastes like a sunny meadow full of wildflowers is what I'm saying. The bitterness lingers on the back of the tongue for a while. Wow, I'm really starting to think that these big bottles of Ithaca are the way to go. This is an invigorating drink.

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Photo of thepeter
4.49/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured quite hazy and with a little head that turned to lacing quickly. The smell was fresh hops, citrus and maybe a bit of sweet sticky icky! This is a very well balanced IPA both in smell and taste. Lots of hop bitterness but with a substantial malt profile. Grapefruit citrus and pine and a touch of honey sweetness also all in there. I really dig this beer. It is also nice and light on the tongue and smooth as can be. One that I will remember!

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch E!029
Poured in to Duvel tulip

A - Honey coloured. Very slightly hazy but appears to be filtered. One finger of foamy white head.

S - Bitter hops up front - citrus, peach, pine. A nice sweet malt profile with caramel and honey coming through. A very fresh nose.

T - Bitter hops up front with citrus and pine notes. A very noticeable sweetness from the malts (and the honey?) with a big caramel flavour coming through. Well balanced.

M - Medium body, sticky, oily. A dry bitter finish. lightly carbonated.

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Photo of biegaman
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Alphalpha is brewed with honey and indeed has a sort of nectarous look; this heavy golden concentrate looks viscous, despite its incandescence against the light, and denies sight of even a shadow of a finger on the other side. Its head is foamy and thick, with big, round bubbles that look like pearls. Its lacing looks like crashing waves frozen in time.

The aroma is like a colour swatch of the many different hop flavours: grassy, soapy, citrusy, floral, stinky, piny resinous and earthy pungent, among more. Knee-jerk reaction was to award the perfect score. A nectarous honey is buried somewhere beneath it all, although I'm not sure I would have picked up on it if not for being tipped off before hand.

Wowzers! Can you ever taste the honey! And so much more... hops that are colorfully fruity, with notes of candied pink grapefruit and lemon and orange rinds as well as malts that taste of toasted biscuits. The alfalfa honey, however, steals the show: it lends a perceptible waxiness, a light spice and a soft herbal/floral quality I'll relate to lavender tea.

Alphalpha is so rich and sweet that it borders on digestif territory. At the same time, however, it has brisk, needle-point bitterness and lively, keen-edged carbonation that give it the superpower of refreshment; the image of a sunny pasture coated in wild flowers pops into mind with every sip. It is perhaps the definitive summer quencher.

Ithaca utilized all that is charming about American IPAs and infused those features with an ambrosial, distinctive honey so as to create a beer so artistic and elegant and ingenious that I feel it might warrant its own style guidelines. Its uniqueness cannot be overstated, and neither can its deliciousness: imagine a blend of your favourite DIPA and favourite mead. Let's hope the brewery has the good sense to make this a perennial release.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
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 JoEBoBpr
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass from a 750ml bottle.

Pours a very nice light orange color with some nice straw golden notes. Slightly hazy. There is a nice 0.5 inch head that is white and slightly dense but recedes to a nice thin film.

The brew has a delicious citrus hop notes to start. Very yummy. very fresh and grassy. There are some nice resinous pine hop notes. Nice orange notes and some slight grapefruit. Very refreshing and fresh with an undertone of bready biscuity malt.

Starts off with an intense and delicious hop bitterness. Citrus bomb. Very delicious, fresh and refreshing. Tons of orange, tangerine notes and some ruby red grapefruit notes. The citrus hop notes are near perfection and goes very well with some slight caramel hints. There are some nice tropical fruit hints as well with some pineapple notes and some mango. Awesome flavored DIPA with great bitterness. Mouthfeel is near perfect with great carbonation and some nice dry bitter notes.

Very good brew. Delicious DIPA with great citrus notes, I'm loving the Cascade Hops a good earthy grain backbone. There is also some slight piney notes. Great mouthfeel and very well crafted flavors that play well together.

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Photo of kingcrowing
4.42/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a cloudy deep amber color with a light thin bubbly white head.

Taste is a bit of honey and light malt. Lots of cascade hops here as well. All comes together to make this super drinkable and so tasty! Seek it out.

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Photo of banker
4.42/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle purchased at the brewery store and opened up on a warm evening a few days later.

Pours a slightly cloudy golden color with a full white head in the tulip glass. Fairly thick layer of sediment in the bottle.

The nose is rich and very floral. You can really pick out the cascades.

Taking the first sip is very surprising because the taste is much more complex than the hoppy nose leads you believe. Initially there is a citrusy and slightly piney hop character but also a subtle sweetness layered in there too. The hops return as the beer reaches the back of your tongue and it finishes of with the rich sharpness of a well made double ipa.

Overall this is quite a beer and I think it does a nice job creating a complexity that make it different from of lot of double ipas.

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Photo of WesWes
4.42/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a hazy gold color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great! It has a super fresh hop aroma that screams Cascade hops. The malts add a nice level of balance, but this is a hop lovers beer. The taste is great as well. It's quite bitter with some residual hop taste in the finish. It's malty with just a hint of the Alfalfa honey. The mouthfeel is great. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. I've been waiting for this release for a while now. I wasn't disappointed. Hail to the Chief!!

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Photo of Ratman197
4.42/5  rDev +8.3%
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 ThePorterSorter
4.42/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Slightly hazy copper brown that is a honey orange held to the light. An appreciable head forms and stays present, although thin, throughout the drink. Quite appealing, the beer turns darker and cloudier towards the end of the bottle.

Very complex, no single entity of the beer is overpowering, all smells present are pungent. The hops are light and citrusy in combination with a earthy mustiness and fruity esterness. Looking forward to the taste!

Excellent beer, a lighter IPA, but one with more properties of refreshment than most of the stronger west coast IPAs. There is something distinct and unique about this beer, that I am attributing to the yeast, but may also be related to the honey. The ethanol isn't raw and burning, it accompanies the beers flavor profile well.

Slight grapefruit rind bitterness, but overall balance and complexity in comparison to other IPAs I've had. This beer is very easy to drink and despite it's sweetness, is also bitter and had a little dryness towards the end. Delightful.

Excellent beer, but a hard find. Fairly priced and appropriate in a 750 ml bottle and served amongst friends or at a meal. I would compare this easily to some of the higher end Sierra Nevadas that I've enjoyed and would definitely try this beer again, it's an oitstanding beer that you will certainly enjoy


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Photo of Hojaminbag
4.41/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A cloudy golden body that has a decent amount of yeast and other sediment floating around. A huge, three finger plus head that is tan and has ridiculous retention. A thick, rocky, chunky ring of foam stays on top of the beer throughout the entire time I drink it. Tightly packed rings of lacing that are numerous and very thick and sticky. This beer has an exceptional appearance.

Bitter grapefruit hops are the most powerful aroma, with the malt backbone coming through also. I notice a good collection of floral hop aromas also, along with a good dose of honey.

Just like the aroma, hops represent the most noticeabel flavor here. Some bittering grapefruit-flavored hops that taste like cascade to me are the focal point of Alphalpha. The malt backbone makes a small appearnance with a very slightly biscuity taste. The finish is where the honey really expresses itself, and without even knowing that honey was involved in brewing, you would notice this honey. Overall, this is a very good and well-balanced IIPA. The honey serves to balance out the hops more than malt in this case though. It reminds me a little bit of hopslam actually, which isn't really a coincidence considering that Hopslam is also a IIPA brewed with honey. Alphalpha is less bitter than Hopslam though.

The body is modium to heavy feeling for the body with ample carbonation. The beer is quite oily, even making your mouth feel as if it has a slight coating of oil to go along with the aftertaste.

This is a very drinkable IIPA, and overall I am very impressed with it.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.41/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle, batch E!013, purchased at Belmont Party Supply in Dayton. Label info: "Double Honey Bitter. A hoppy upstate ale brewed with organic barley malt, New York state grown Cascade hops, local alfalfa honey, pure Cayuga lake water, and American yeast".

The beer is hazy and pale yellowish orange with a MASSIVE rocky head, easily 6 fingers of thick creamy bubbles that cling onto the walls in huge clumps. The aroma gave me pause at first, a little too much caramel malt for my tastes. But it gives way to floral aromas from the honey, providing nice complement to floral hops aromatics. The taste is about perfect, sweet and estery with a mildly bitter aftertaste. Light carbonation, somewhere above cask level but not by too much. An exceptional beer, no real faults except those that would satisfy my personal tastes, I'd like more pale malts and less bitterness from the hops, but really this is a great creation.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Batch E!029

A-A cloudy orange, does not leave behind that much lacing, but there was some. About a two finger foam head.

S-Hops, honey, earthy tones.

T-Wow. Well balanced, starts very sweet with honey flavors, some earthy/pine notes as well. Ends bitter. Extremely well balanced.

M-Light and smooth

D-An amazing beer. My first journey in Ithaca's Excelsior series. A great beer, Downed the 750mL a little faster than one should but it is such a great beer. My hat is off to Ithaca Brewing Company on this brew.

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Alphalpha from Ithaca Beer Company
4.08 out of 5 based on 225 ratings.
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