Alphalpha | Ithaca Beer Company

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90
outstanding
225 Ratings
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AlphalphaAlphalpha
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Ithaca Beer Company
New York, United States
ithacabeer.com

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
225
Reviews:
144
Avg:
4.08
pDev:
11.76%
 
 
Wants:
67
Gots:
25
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 225 |  Reviews: 144
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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Photo of BeerImmediately
3.1/5  rDev -24%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Batch E!029 poured into glass at about 45-55 degrees.

Aggressive pour yields short, soapy white head that fades quickly over a cloudy golden body. Nice lacing.

Aromas are fairly faint for the style. Sweet with lots of honey, and floral/herbal hops.

Thick on the palate with low carbonation. Flavors carry a definite herbal bitterness, but the sweetness seems to be separated. It definitely goes from sweet fruits up front (mango especially) to increasingly bitter (minty & floral) in the middle, and then astringently bitter lingering finish (blood orange peel). Pretty sticky overall.

I feel bad giving this one "average" scores, since I'm sure Ithaca didn't necessarily brew this to be a true-to-form DIPA. It's pretty tasty overall.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into an Ithaca Excelsior! tulip. Thanks to GrindFatherBob for both the bottle and the match glassware. Nice.

Appearance - Hazy yellow body with a nice white head. The head settles without a lot of lacing, but the glass gets some sticky foam clinging to it.

Smell - Pine hops and a lot of sweet honey and light malt aroma. Smells nice, but very sweet.

Taste - Pine again, a bit grassy, but it's quickly overwhelmed by the sweetness. It's a nice, light sweetness from the honey, so it doesn't taste like a malty IPA, just a slightly sweet one. I get some booze in the finish, which is strange for only 8.5%.

Mouthfeel - A little thick, but not too thick. Makes for nice lingering sweetness to balance the slightly bitter finish. Not so high carbonation makes it feel a bit heavier.

Overall - Nice, not on my favorites list, but nice. The honey lends itself nicely, although I'd still go for an IPA with no sweetness at all.

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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 ngeunit1
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a cloudy bright orange color with a thick covering of frothy white head. The head fades very slowly down leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of sweet honey, caramel malts, and some grassy hops. There is also just a bit of yeast in the background.

T - Starts off with a mix of sweet honey and grassy hops and bitterness. Soon after a bit of caramel malts come in to balance. Through the middle, a bit of bready yeast flavor comes through with some more bitterness. The finish is a mix of honey and hops with some bitterness that lingers.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth and a bit syrupy. The finish is a nice mix of sweetness and bitterness.

D - Very drinkable. Smooth and fairly well balanced. The honey flavor is at a really nice level and balanced with the rest of the flavors extremely well.

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Photo of NorthsideFred
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the most fascinating beers I've ever tasted. This is the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of beer.

My first pour was into my SN pint glass (which, by the way, is quickly becoming one of my favorite summertime glasses.) Chaos and confusion quickly ensued...

A: This is beutiful. The beer poured a magnificent, crystal clear, light orange, with nice white lacing. As I began taking notes, I also looked at previous reviews, and was shocked to read that it was bottled conditioned and that many stated it has a cloudy appearance.

I immediately pulled out a tulip glass, into which I poured the second half of the bottle. The appearance is much cloudier.

S: Both glasses smell identical - pine: sweet and sticky with a hint of bitterness.

T: So smooth. Very nice. This beer continues to improve as it warms up. I'd say it keeps opening up and improving until just before it hits room temperature.

M: Medium bodied and nicely carbonated.

O: Very tasty. The first pour is awesome. The second pour has the same nice scent, but is thick with sediment. Not bad, just different. You'd never guess the two pours came out of the same bottle.

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Photo of vande
4/5  rDev -2%
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 aasher
3.06/5  rDev -25%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I picked this bottle up at Jungle Jim's in Cindy. It pours a nice cloudy bright orange in color with a light white head. It smells of faded citrus hops and faded sweet malts. Fuck! The flavor is of pure citrus hops and malts. This bottle apparently wasn't stored like it could have been. It's a lost cause at this point, drainpour. I'll revisit this later. Bottle dates would be nice.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a slightly-hazy yellowish color with a moderate white head and a spot or two of lacing on the way down. The nose carries some citrus fruits along with some tropical notes and a bit of light sweetness. The flavor has honey and semi-sweet malt along with a moderate citrus and tropical hop presence. Body is more toward medium with a bit of residual sweetness and a nice bitter finish. Solid brew.

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Photo of stakem
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle split with some friends and poured into a pint glass. This brew appears a clear golden orange color with some faint particulate stuck hanging in suspension despite a careful pour. A finger of creamy/fluffy yellowish stained head appears and holds strong. Thick patchy lace holds in a webbing pattern along the glassware.

The smell of this brew is herbal with hops and spiked with a sweetness of honey. The aroma includes a very fresh scent of something like garden herbs - basil maybe but overloaded with lots of honey. As it warms, it picks up a light fruit quality which seems to be a mix of esters and hops.

The taste is also herbal with hops that impart an orange rind flavor. Just like the nose suggested, this brew even tastes like fresh herbs from a garden, sweet basil and an overload of honey. There is a modest bitterness included which keeps the residual honey sweetness in check.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. The mixture of herbal qualities and honey made for a pairing of flavors and aromas that really worked well together. This is a nicely done, easy drinking beverage with well hidden alcohol. This might be the most forward honey flavored brew I have had. I think the listing of DIPA here might be misleading. The entire time I was drinking this, it felt like a hearty ESB. People drinking this expecting DIPA might be let down but as-is, it was quite enjoyable.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.62/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer started off as a nice golden colored IPA. The further down the bottle I got the sediment actually changed the color to a milky looking yellow. Kind of gross looking actually. The smell was of earthy hops. The taste had a good hop bite to it and was too bad really. If this brew didn't have so much sludge on the bottom of the bottle it wouldn't be that bad. I found this brew to be a little too much for me and probably would buy it again.

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Photo of suspect
3.74/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Dogfish Head signature glass. Split with mrmarmot.

A: Extremely cloudy beer with lots of chunky sediment. Some chunks were pebble sized. 2 finger fluffy head disappeared slowly to thick, sticky lacing. I was a bit put off by just how cloudy this beer was.

S: Ahhh, very nice mix of honey, hops and alfalfa. The malt backbone is steady and present along with a strong scent of multi-grain bread. This might just be the highlight of the beer.

T: Sweetness reigns supreme here thanks to the honeywith bitter contradictory notes thanks to the hops. Hops are a fruity mix of citrus and grass.

M: Sticky, chewy from the sediment. Alcohol is non-existent. Dries out the mouth leaving me wanting more.

O: This is a good beer and a very unique take on the style. Ithaca leaves the hoppy monsters to the west coast and uses its imagination to twist the DIPA expectations into something pretty nice. I would like to try this on tap or from a known fresh batch to compare.

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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 brian44556
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 750mL into a Stone Tulip. Batch #E!029.

Pours a honey color, with a thick, bright white head that was about 2 fingers thick. The head made its presence known by staying for a good while. Great white lacing left on the sides of the glass with every drink. Smell was decent. I caught a lot of citrus from the hops and sweet honey. Taste was very pleasant. Tasted of bitter hops, but with a sweet honey mixture that didn't make this a hop bomb. Also caught notes of tropical fruit. Medium carbonation was present. I really enjoyed this beer. Glad I had a chance to try it and if I see it on the shelves while out of state I will gladly pick up a bottle.

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Photo of ritzkiss
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, batch E19, shared by bobsy on a fine sunny afternoon in April.

Pours a cloudy golden with a three plus fingers of airy head, almost looks Belgian.

Nose reveals a hefty floral, grassy and citrus bouquet. A sort of fresh-cut hay grassy note is strongest, I imagine it to be alfalfa. Hints of lemon and orange rind, floral bouquets. A fairly hefty malt sweetness as well.

Takes a little bit to adjust to this unique offering, not a typical DIPA by any stretch. Grassy, citrus, floral hopping (a'la the nose), almost Belgian-y esters, hefty malt sweetness, honeysuckle, moderate bite, dry finish, light herbal spiciness. The sweetness was a little too dominant for me, resulting in a little to hefty of a body. A little lighter and the fresh-cut hay and citrus would take you to a summer place you would not want to leave. As it is, a good offering whose uniqueness makes it worth a try - Ithaca is usually a good bet to try anyways!

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Photo of augustgarage
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
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 regspeir
3.73/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 0z bottle (from Pinocchios) poured into a Duvel snifter. Beer poured yellow/gold with a two-finger, white head (aggressive pour). Lacing was light and fragile. Smell was floral and citrus with some sweetness (honey?). Taste was honey, caramel, lemon and orange. There is some hop presence in the finish and nice dryness but this remain sweet, even in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is crisp, medium and a little sticky. Carbonation is about average for the style. All-in-all a decent offering I would try again.

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Photo of IdrinkGas
3.97/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 into a snifter. Batch E!019

A:Pours golden and hazy. A finger of creamy off white head from a gentle pour. The slightly sticky lacing stuck around a little while.

S: Lots of honey and hops in the nose.

T: Nice balanced combo of floral hops, sweet malt, and honey. Lasting bitter after taste

M:Interesting acidic dry mouthfeel.

O: Its pretty sweet and acidic so a bomber split between two people is enough for me. Definitely will wreck your palate.

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Photo of StoneTSR
4.27/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ithaca, why do you not distribute to me!?! I wish we had access to this stuff in Chicago, but sadly, I am forced to go via the trade. So thanks to nevins for this one.

APPEARANCE: Orange-ish and slightly hazy with a thin, quarter-inch head that quickly dissipated. Some lacing was present, but it was not terribly impressive.

SMELL: Citrus, in particular orange, and honey dominated the aroma. A little hint of toasty malt is present as well. Nice, medium strength smell.

TASTE: The honey greets the palate right away with a malty sweetness along for the ride. A nice, subtle, bitter hoppiness is also noticeable up front before it develops into a more dry and bitter finish. Throughout the entire sip there is also a different type of flavor that seems to work very well, but is slightly unusual. My girlfriend suggested that it may be alfalfa honey they used, and sure enough, according to Ithaca's website, they do.

MOUTHFEEL: A slightly oily mouthfeel, but still dry and not mouthcoating. For an 8.5% beer it feel fairly light.

OVERALL: Yet another outstanding beer from Ithaca. As soon as these guys can increase their production and start distributing farther I think they are going to be one of the most popular craft breweries in the country. The Alfalfa is a solid DIPA, but with enough of a twist with the alfalfa to keep it interesting, different and standing out from the rest. By the way, if anyone lives near the brewery, pick up a bottle for yourself and two to trade to me. I would love to trade for some more of this stuff.

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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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