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
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
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 scootny
4.01/5  rDev -1.7%
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 dbrauneis
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
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 metter98
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
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 barleywinefiend
4.36/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a glowing, cloudy orangish yellow color with good carbonation initially leaving a nice white cap which quikly resedes into a small ring of white bubbles, no lacing and so much for head retention

S: Fresh. Lots of citrus, little spice, flowers, not like rose pedals or your traditional IPA floral note but moreso freshly picked from a rolling green hill type floral...unique. A little bit of honey dashes across the nose does some biscuity goodness

T: Initial grass and floral blend, fresh citrus, buscuit and grains, this beer is amazingly and shockingly good. The fresh notes are followed by a little honey sweetness, spice and some moderate bitterness takes hold. The finish idry, crisp, clean, refreshing with a light tinge of booze

M: Light-medium bodied, tasty, well carbonated, refreshiing mouthfeel, loads of flavor hang on.

O: When I initially read the label description I stuck this beer in the back of my beer fridge as a last resort beer. I am very impressed. I honestly wish I had another.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this at Premiere Gourmet in Amherst, NY. Their Flower Power IPA was excellent, so I was happy to give this one a shot as well.

From a 75cl bottle into a snifter
Batch E!039
Double Honey Bitter

APPEARANCE: Pours a one finger, thicker looking, fluffy white head with very good retention. Head eventually fades to a full, bubbly looking wisp. Opaque gamboge in color with higher levels of carbonation evident. A swirly wisp remains until the end and leaves lots of nice lacing down the glass. Classy looking.

SMELL: Pale malts, honeydew melon, pineapple and orange peel for sure. Pretty bold and very melon and fruit forward.

TASTE: Pale malts, honey sweetness, and lots of piney hops at the swallow. Big, bold and lasting finish of honey sweetness, some melon and pineapple fruits, and lots of floral and piney hop bitterness. Interesting and flavorful. A treat.

PALATE: Medium body and carbonation. Very creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly dry. Some spicy bitterness lingers as well. Solid stuff, and wonderfully smooth.

OVERALL: This was a treat of a beer. I had high hops after their Flower Power, and this one did not disappoint. Different of course, with more sweetness and less in terms of citrus flavors, but this one is a wonderful DIPA in its own right. Glad to have tried this one and will look for more next year. Highly recommended.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml from batch E!013 poured into a Duvel tulip. This one's been sitting in my cellar for at least a couple years, completely forgotten about until a recent organization project. Let's see how it's held up.

A: Cloudy orange body with a finger of frothy ecru head. Good retention, spotty lace. Not bad.

S: Pleasantly heady aroma of toffee malt, sweet honeycomb, apple, and some lovely floral freshness. Smells simultaneously old and fresh somehow. Very cool.

T: More purely old here, with delicious barleywinish toffee, caramel, and candied fruit. Some honey, beeswax, and hop bitterness on the finish. Really, really tasty.

M: Creamy, smooth, soft, and full of ultra-fine carbonation. Lovely.

O: I told my tasting group about finding this bottle, and they all wished me pleasure in the drain pour. Joke's on them, as this was one of the best aged beers I've had in a long time. If you happen to have a vintage Alphapha, despair not!


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Photo of spinrsx
3.68/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml Bottle

Appearance - Hazy yellow colour with a large size frothy off white coloured head. It's hard to make out the amount of carbonation and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, grapefruit, hops, herbal notes, grass

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and the taste is made up lots of woody/herbal hops. There is also a light maltiness, some caramel, and a a bit of lemon/grapefruit juice and zest. It ends with a herbal hoppy aftertaste.

Overall - A little too herbal/earthy for my liking, but still an interesting beer worth trying. It needs just a touch more sweetness or a fruitiness to be a repeat beer for me.

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Photo of oberon
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I Have been wanting to try this beer for awhile,I always missed it when in western NY before,Iam glad to finally get my hands on it.Poured into an imperial nonic a hazed orange tinged lemony color with tight formed pillow-like one finger white head that left a solid ring of lace as it settled slowly.Fresh citric hops really hit home during the pour,I could smell it a few feet away,light alcohol sweet zing in there as well.Sharp citric hops up front on the palate,citrusy at the beginning with a sharp bitter edge in the finish,the alfalfa honey does provide some underlying sweetness as well as some alcohol induced sweetness to balance the beer out somewhat.I like this beer because it's not an overly sweet alcohol laden DIPA,the hops are the main focal point of the beer as it should be.

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Photo of maximum12
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to my wife & a kind BA for bottles of this wanted beer. Unfortunately the one my wife picked up in New York - off the damn shelf - was over three years old & undrinkable. This one is batch E!019, which I gather from a quick search is more than 1 1/2 years old. Seriously. Ithaca should stop making this damn beer if they can't sell the damn things.

Pours sunny yellow, clear, with a good two fingers left in the bottle along with a bit of spent yeast. Smell is brilliant, bright honey, lovely floral hops. No bitterness, but very nice.

Alphalpha still bites when it should be in its death throes. The hops still sting, though there's that suggestion of last fall's leaves. Honey blows in like a sweet spring day. Malt? Maybe. Very simple structure on this one, but so, so, so easy to wash down, well, anything.

Even at this age, this is a good, solid IIPA. Love to try this one fresh sometime, although it seems fresh bottles are much rarer than those that have collected considerable dust.

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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 doucmehu
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received from mjtiernan in BIF, looks like a fairly fresh batch E!39.

A: Bright yellow surprises me, hazy with a stark white head that leaves some sticky lacing.

S: Lots of floral and pine hops, a bit of honey and lemon sweetness.

T: Strong but smooth and soft floral hops, with sticky pine resin, day old mowed grass and citrus fruit rind, some smooth maltiness (maybe from the honey) at the end.

M: Very dry and bitter finish follows a rich and creamy body, leaving a bit of a parched feeling. Seems a bit lighter and thinner than most DIPA, but solid.

O: A nice, well made offering with a surprisingly bright and summery yellow appearance. The hops are a bit earthy and overly bitter without much sweetness, which is not my favorite style, but still enjoyable.

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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 BARFLYB
3.7/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've been ducking this beer for so long. Seeing it on shelves for the past three years, I gave in on the newest batch made. #39. Into a Ithaca 10th anniversary pint glass.

Alphalpha Glides in the glass a light golden color almost reaching a straw color when up to the light. A nice amount of burnt sugar foam with decent retention and minor stick. A slight haze when towards the light.

Smell comes off semi sweet forward as alot of East Coast DIPA'S do, but there is a nice amount of aroma hops to fill the void. This seems almost subdued compared to some. Getting my nose in it, some light citrus rind, lemon, a certian malt profile builing with time. Some alcohol seeping through. blech.

Taste is nice on the 1st half of the glass. The hops take hold and do some work on the mouth, but it Alphalpha does not destroy. the honey kinda dulls whatever the hops may have done. It's a nice balance though, enjoyable.

There is a nice medium build to the body of this beer and the liquid has a small syrupy feel to it. Bitterness is subdued by the honey addition halfway down the glass. Again not a palate wrecker.

This is a beer worth trying. I wonder why this is not kegged more often, bottles seem to pop up every 18 months or so. I would like to try this off the tap with a bit more pop.

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Photo of modernartblues
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into DFH Tulip

A- cloudy orange-amber body, thin head, but good retention, excellent lacing

S- earthy, lots of citrus, floral, def. get some honey and wheat as well

T- follows the nose, not tons of bitterness, nice malt background (perhaps hints of the honey?)

M- def. less full and abrasive compared to a normal DIPA

O- worth the money and a cool diversion on the norms of the style

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Photo of pburland23
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
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 +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 Levich
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up a 75cL bottle of this one on a recent trip to visit my sister in Ithaca. This is part of the "Excelcior!" Series, Batch E!039. Poured from the bottle into a goblet.

The color is light amber with whispers of red. The head dissipates very quickly even in a his is part of the Eceglass with etching, however, a light film of white foam is left for the duration of drinking.

Upon opening the bottle, I got a hint of yeast on the nose, but that was soon overpowered by the hoppy aroma of an IPA. It is floral and grapefruit with hints of sweeter citrus.

The initial sip is smooth at the front moving to a bitterness toward the end. It's more subtle than expected and actually does have a herbal grassy undertone that grows more detectable as more sips are taken. After about half of a glass, a honey sweetness becomes present on the front, with the hoppy finish still intact. The Alphalpha is not as bitter as one might expect in a double IPA, but there is a characteristic hoppy finish.

The mouthfeel is rather smooth with minimal, fine carbonation. However, it does have enough body and has a distinct creaminess.

Overall, this is a decent beer. The distinct flavors are subtle, but I guess that is what makes it good. The folks at Ithaca Beer Company took a great style and tweaked it just enough to make something different while keeping the feeling of the original.

I would like to put this in the cellar if I get back to Ithaca soon!

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Photo of DrewZ926
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a brilliant tangerine at first but later on pours more cloudy. About an inch of off white head.

S- Earthy, lots of honey and wheat, piney and resin hops, grassy and a bit floral.

T- not much bitterness, more piney and earthy hops with a nice grapefruit finish. pretty sweet with a honey finish as well.

M- creamy for an ipa, very mellow but well balanced

O- another very good selection from the excelcior! series. not sure if i will be seeking this out again though as flower power (though much different) is far better in my opinion

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Photo of Kendo
4.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought the 750 ml bottle at Halftime in Poughkeepsie. No freshness or bottled-on dating; hoping this one's fresh. . . .

A: Poured from the bottle into a Piraat tulip/snifter-type glass. Body is fairly bright, but hazy, apricot-orange. A 1-finger fluffy white head settles on top. Leaves some splotchy, foamy lace.

S: Very nice - made me say "oooh" upon getting a whiff of it. Mainly citrus - sweet oranges - and some tropical fruit. Touch of honey or caramel malt for further sweetness. It's been quite some time since I had it, but my brain is recalling Stoudt's DIPA.

T: I have a feeling this bottle isn't all that fresh. Hops are kind of muted, leaving an overall impression of sweetness rather than hoppy bitterness. Honey-coated oranges and southern comfort come to mind (alcohol is noted - not surprising at 8.5% ABV). Lingering dryness and something I can't quite put my finger on that leaves my mouth puckering. . . maybe spruce or pine resin, I think as it warms up a bit. Peppery burps.

M: Body is fairly thick - medium-to-heavy in weight - with low carbonation and a slightly syrupy feel.

O: Not bad. Real nice nose, and good up front. It just finishes oddly, though after a few sips I seem to have adjusted to it - causing me to bump the taste score back up to 4.

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Photo of smcolw
3.65/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear and dirty gold color. The head is reasonable while it settles slowly. Lots of "cloudy" lace (meaning more than spotty but less than a blanket).

High alcohol and moderate hop dominate the smell. More earthy than floral on the nose.

Strong hop bitterness in the swallow. The alcohol is very evident, particularly in the swallow. I do not detect any honey or mead-like flavors despite the "Double Honey Bitter" monicker except for a touch of sweetness. Otherwise, this is all peppery bitterness. Long aftertaste. The body above moderate with a corresponding level of carbonation.

Overall, I would describe this as a near extreme beer--lots of hop and alcohol, but little complexity.

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Photo of jm1229
3.73/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle with no date opened on 9/10/11 and poured into a Goose Island pint glass. Served at 55 degrees.

A- Pours a nice golden yellow/orange with a two finger, fluffy white head. Leaves plenty of lacing on the glass. I will repeat, very fluffy.

S- Wow, smells awfully sweet. The honey is really coming through. Some malt, too, but it's really sweet. Smells more like a barleywine than a IIPA.

T- It's initially hoppy (sorta), followed by the malt. Really a sweet beer, very sugar-y. Some pine, too.

M- Very creamy, yet light and fluffy, too. Very easy to drink (and that's a good thing when drinking the whole bottle alone).

O- Not really what I was expecting from this one. As a IIPA, it doesn't really work, but as a toned down barleywine (Doggie Claws from Hair of the Dog comes to mind), it's really great. Overall, a good, but not great, IIPA.

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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 yusef
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bottle poured into a DFH Signature glass

A: Pours a golden/orange color with a 2 finger white head. Hazy, low carbonation, and solid head retention.

S: Didn't get too much on the nose. Hops, slight, herbal, sweetness from the honey, and malt.

T: I get hops first followed by the honey and malt which balance everything out. Finishes slightly bitter.

M: Medium bodied and not much carbonation.

O: A good IPA, not one of my favorites, but worth trying. The honey adds an interesting element, but I prefer IPA's that are not as sweet.

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Photo of seeswo
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch E!029.

Pours orangey-brown with a nice white head. Smells distinctly of cascade hops and honey. Flowery and a touch piney with slightly orange and grapefruit hops. The taste is exactly the same, a blend of malted barley, a strong cascade bitterness and a honey sweetness for balance. Comes together really, really nicely and is a fantastic representation of the cascade hop. Good medium body and medium carbonation. I am surprised by how much I like this beer, but it is really good. Better than Flower Power to me, this beer has a nice hop profile and a great combination of honey and malted barley to bring it together. If anything, maybe just a touch sweet for some. In that sense, it reminds me of Hopslam.

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