Alphalpha | Ithaca Beer Company

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225 Ratings

Brewed by:
Ithaca Beer Company
New York, United States

Style: American 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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Ratings: 225 |  Reviews: 144
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - an orangy tint to the yellow haze. Some notable lace up top, hangs around for a while and paints up the glass pretty good, too.

Aroma - very fruity and floral, a bit of estery heat. A little like Joseph's aspirin.

Taste - some sweet crackery malts start out. The sugars bring out the citrusy side of the hops at first, but the bitterness takes over pretty quickly. Pretty intense hoppiness, a little harsh at first but better with some warming and palate adjustment. Intense grapefruit threatens to go medicinal, but starts to mellow before things get out of hand. The aftertaste returns some of the citrus edge, also showing a touch of alcohol heat. The ending is dry, still some good residual flavor.

Mouthfeel - some decent smoothness but not as much as I was expecting. Carbonation is medium to slightly low, which I like. The body is solid but not big. Given that this a lower abv DIPA, it makes sense.

Drinkability - pretty enjoyable bomber, glad I picked it up. Some aging would lessen the bite, but it's a good drinker now a well.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
3.38/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours an orange-copper hue, with a khaki head that looks like bubbly pancake batter.

S - Smells strongly of sour-grapefruit-y malt, fused with grapefruit citric hops. Kind of strong on the one grapefruity note.

T - Tastes the same as the nose, with some of the same flavors I tend to find in rye beers. The hop is not expressed in a manner that is diverse enough for me, especially considering how hop-forward and bitter this brew is. There is a very big sturdy malt, but it mimics the hop to a large degree, just as in the nose.

M - DIPA. A bit syrupy, slightly.

D - In an overcrowded style, why bother? Step your game up here, Ithaca.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.52/5  rDev +11.1%
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 Jwale73
4.03/5  rDev -1%
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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Photo of brandoneast
3.86/5  rDev -5.2%
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 thepeter
4.49/5  rDev +10.3%
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 Atricapilla
4.39/5  rDev +7.9%
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 ShadesOfGray
4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into my large snifter tasting glass. Pours a light pale color, with a huge head forming immediately...frothy and off-white. Head retention is excelent, once it dissipates for the most part, it remains as froth resting over the surface. Lacing is outstanding...again, frothy and sticky.

Aroma is crisp, citrus, hops, and malts. Amoungst the citrus notes, there some other definite fruits coming through, possibly grapefruit?

Flavor is great, refreshing, and enjoyable! Light and crisp mouthfeel off the bat, moving over to a slightly more malty and heavier finish...but ending only slightly dry. Carbonation is high. Loads of citrus/grapefruit/and hops...and a tiny bit of booze. A very nice DIPA from Ithaca, very impressed!

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

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into multiple glasses. The thickly formed white head left lots of tufts behind as it receded. The body is a golden yellow color with orange hues.

The nose has lots of honey up front. You can pick up some citrus (hops) in the background. There is also a grainy, bready character present.

The flavor is similar to the nose...honey and bready with a slight hop presence throughout. The hops are more subtle that I would like. I am also tasting a bit of funk...infection??

The body is light/medium, astringent with moderate carbonation.

All in all a good beer. Nothing jumped out at me to rate this higher. Worth trying, but nothing I will go after again.

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Photo of CosmoHopHead
3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: pours a bright, cloudy yellow with a huge, fluffy two finger white head. Thick lacing left in the glass

S: floral hops and yeast with a very grassy, malty aroma

T: a slight sweetness at first gives way to a spicy hoppiness with a noticeable touch a honey and citrus. would like the hops to be more present. honey seemed to come out more as it warmed up

M: very dry and crisp. heavy carbonation that pops in mouth from start to finish. almost too much carbonation IMO

D: goes down fairly easy for a somewhat higher abv. the alcohol becomes more noticeable as it does down an warms the throat. a nice clean bitter finish

Overall an interesting beer. I like more hop domination in my DIPA's. Wouldn't turn down if offered more of it but not sure I'd go out of my way to get more.

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Photo of rfgetz
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazed gold color with bg puff of prickly white head. Smell is of freshly dried grains, hints of sweetness, nice floral and earthy hops charachter backed by a mild orange scent. Upon touching the tounge, the beer is dry, forward with the touch of mild orange and honey, almost herbal like quality to it as well. backs into a fresh grain and biscuty taste as it finishes. Medium bodied, active carbonation, dry. A nice beer that doesnt try to be too aggressive and turns out right.

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Photo of oregonskibum
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a tulip glass. Batch E!013.

A: Colors is a light gold color with a faint hint of orange. Head is substantial - at least two inches - bright white and fairly dense. Head lasts for a long while and leaves substantial lacing on the side of the glass.

S: Interesting. Mandarin orange and cloves are the dominant smells. Some faint citrus or floral hops. Not much malt on the smell.

T: Continues to be interesting and fairly dynamic. First notes are of more clove spiciness, to the point of being a detractor. Then suddenly the flavors switches and the honey and citrus hops take hold. The finish is long with some faint bitterness, but mainly a mellow honey flavor that is quite nice.

M: Medium body with high carbonation. The beer is very lively in the mouth and drinks very easily.

D: Generally, this was a very nice beer and quite enjoyable. Without food, I thought the clove spiciness in the smell and right up front on the taste was a little much. But after taking notes and drinking the rest of the bottle with food, the clove spiciness mellowed substantially and the beer was very pleasant all around. Would definitely drink again.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL champagne style bomber poured into a snifter; batch E!019

Pours a cloudy pale orange/apricot color with heavy golden accents. The paper white cap rises to fill the snifter and recedes slowly, leaving large chunks of lace all over the place.

Floral, grassy hops on top of a bed of sweet biscuity malt. Honey is ever present and becomes more apparent as it warms.

Sweetness prevails on the palate. Sweet honey only enhances the lightly toasted biscuity malt and doughy yeast. Grassy, floral hops with a touch of lemon have their place up front and in the finish. A moderate rush of bitterness in the finish is very welcomed. I will say that the onslaught of hops isn't really on par with most DIPA's.

Decent carbonation with a light-medium body and a sticky, chewy presence from the honey and the hops. The finish is dry and bitter.

High drinkability here. A lighter body with a hop profile that isn't overly aggressive lends itself to an easy drinker. The crisp, bitter, dry finish is nearly perfect. Just wish the hops were a little more unruly.

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Photo of tempest
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I didn't realize how much people dig this beer. I thought it was nice and fairly interesting, but not terribly special. The beer did hide it's strength well, while still having enough character to be slowly sipped. I enjoyed the clean nutty biscuit malt flavor that was complimented by a touch of honey. The hops, frankly, seemed subdued, with dry citrus punch flavor that didn't really stand out. Overall, an interested and tasty beer. But this cost like $15, and there are better options at that price.

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Photo of chickencoop
4.03/5  rDev -1%
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 MVotter
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - The Alphalpha Imperial IPA pours into a chalice a light gold color with a healthy 2-finger head.

S - Fruity esters, floral and citrus hops detected ... hint of diacetyl.

T - I have to say that the honey presence in this brew is evident from the start. It is weirdly close to what I consider a diacetyl taste (which is supposed to be reminiscent of butterscotch). Or could I be confusing a diacetyl taste with a very distinctive malt flavor which I am failing to recognize? These two elements combine to give Alphalpha a rather bitter-sweet beginning. The finish has a more bitter hop tang.

M - Extremely effervescent brew. I'm a sucker for that. This beer explodes with tiny bubbles on your tongue. It's a medium to heavy feel, and dry.

D - I think that the dry, bubbly mouthfeel to this brew gives it a lighter feel than its actual density. That said, it's still a sipper. This one reminds me of Ithaca's Anniversary "10." The "10" was a pretty intense brew ... weighed in at around a 10% abv. If you liked that, you'll love this "bitter-sweet honey" version of it.


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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.8/5  rDev +17.9%
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 Gmann
3.74/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Out of a 750ml foiled and capped bottle. Pours a light honey golden color, fairly clear, with tons of carbonation bubble racing to the top. The head equals or surpasses Duvel. Big and rocky, just won't dissipate, pure white, super chunky The aroma is of a honey malt, quite bready. Aroma reminds me of a munich lager. Hops are kind of weak in the aroma, slightly grassy. The taste is sweet with honey and heavy with bready malt. Quite a full body for such a light looking brew. The hops seem only to be there to add a grassy flavor to the brew, not much hop flavor detected. Enough to offset the malt but lacking for the style. Perhaps the hops faded. Solid moderate body with fizzy carbonation, drinks well. The grassy hops do help offset the malty breadiness and sweetness. Again, drinks very well. Seems to be more focused on the honey malt than the hops. A touch more floral hop flavor and this would be excellent.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to ybnorml for this one.

750ml Bottle
Green Foil/Capped
Batch: E!019

Pours a nice cloudy yellow color, too much carbonation, nice three-finger creamy/foamy white head, with tons of thick sticky lacing left behind. The nose is hoppy, with some malts, yeasty, with some floral hints, some citrus. The taste is slightly sweet, hoppy, malty, good yeast note, some citrus. Medium body, this brew has some bitterness to it, different though. A different DIPA to me. Very Drinkable, I'm liking this one today, reminds me more of a Belgian Pale Ale/DIPA. Thanks Wayne!

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a cloudy yellow color with a huge white head. The aroma is citrus and grassy hops. The flavor is very bitter with some grassy, spicy and piney hops. After getting citrus in the aroma, it was all but absent in the flavor. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received as a cool wants list extra from Gory4d.. Thanks a bunch Greg. Sharing this one with the wife. Mine is poured into my Delirium goblet.

Big foamy white head.. the brew is hazy lite orange.. nice lacing.

Nice balance for a DIPA.. citrus and bits of floral hops mesh well with the pale malts and hints of lite caramel.

Again the flavor is nicely balanced.. descent bitterness melts into a mild malty sweetness and then is finished out with citrus and floral hops... I guess I see where "honey" comes in, but it isn't a sweetness more of the essence of honey flavor. Honestly reminds me of a well aged American barleywine. a pretty big body is pulled up by a good carbonation.. really drinkable.. no EtOH and just a well made brew.

Thanks again Greg.. really glad I got to try this gem.

All 4's.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The bottle says it is a double honey bitter and if you get DIPA out of your head it is a much better beer.

A: It was the first really nice day in upstate NY and the way the sun went through my glass and highlighted the golden honey color was nothing short of magic. A finger of white head with a good amount of lacing.

S: Lots of sweetness. A touch of hops but nothing overwhelming. Very nice earthy grassy smell as well.

T: Really hard to describe this one. It had a nice sweetness with a decent amount of hops to balance it out. A little bit of an spiced note. Very earthy again. Little touch of lemongrass as well.

M: Medium bodied. Well carbonated. A little bit sticky in the back of the throat.

D: I have had this beer a few times and I am finally getting around to reviewing it. A great beer but a poor DIPA which it is not. Ithaca made a new category for this one and it is tasty.

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Photo of jlindros
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch E!013

A: Even with a slow pour it still rises with the huge 50% of the glass head, which seemed to be forced by the bottle. It's a creamy rich head that slowly fades, leaving a lacing on the glass. The color is a slightly hazy golden honey straw orange color.

N: Nose has some bright chewy hops, with a little grassy and floral hop aromas, as well as a slight malt character and sweet honey. A very slight boozy aroma goes with that. The honey comes out more and more as I get past the hops.

T: Starts pretty sweet actually, with quite a bit of honey. Fresh honey is the key of this one. The adds a bunch of nice hops, some grassy, spicey, and chewy hops. A decent bitterness as well. Some lighter malts are present but hidden. I get a slight metallic flavor as well. The booze came out a bit on the nose but is almost non-existent on the taste, hidden well. A very slight nougat sweet flavor goes along with the honey. If this had a little brett to give it some bready quality it would have a really interesting combination here.

M: Medium to light body with decent carbonation. A slight oily or sticky honey like sensation hints in there as well.

F: Finish is pretty bitter, and dries off quite a bit (with the hop help). A lingering honey taste is there, but without the sweetness. A lingering hop flavor, with some grassy taste is also present. It dries off so quick that i almost get a sense of wild yeast dryness and bready quality, as I was hoping for. I would love to see a brett version of this beer. It holds up on it's own already, but that would just put it over the top. Now, to try to get through the entire 750ml by myself. At least I have all afternoon. I'm also surprised the beer held up so well this long, as I've had it almost a year now.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This bottle courtesy of NutBrown. Thanks Alan!

Batch E!013

Served near room temp, it pours a bright hazy light golden colour with easy, 2 finger's worth of foam. We have some very stubborn foam here; shrinkage so far is minimal.

Taking a few whiffs and I'm getting a pretty balanced nose. I get good notes of lemon and grapefruit citrus and some pine with some definite sweetness coming from both a fruity route and the addition of honey. If the taste matches the smell, I'm in for a treat.

The taste does *not* disappoint and actually surpasses the smell. Plenty of hoppy goodness without being overly bitter...I can taste some of the citrus but it's more of a grassy flavour that I'm getting. The sweet is here as, that honey isn't subtle at all and is almost over the top and could have been if it hadn't been for the excellence of execution with the hops. Delicious!

This has a very thick mouthfeel with lowish carbonation. To say smooth is an understatement.

Oh and my second pour and the foam is just as impressive and the brew turns to a hefeweizen like cloudy.

Drinkability? I wish I had a couple more bottles to cellar! 1 bottle at a sitting is all I'd ever want or need, despite how quickly the bottle seems to be hoisted to my glass, but to have some back up for the future would be awesome.

NY sure has some great breweries making some great beers. Thanks again for sharing, Alan!

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Photo of srandycarter
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I really like this one.

A - Murky medium honey, solid 1 inch white head, leaves slow to cling lace and thin disk.

S - Malty, malty, malty malty.... Almost Barleywine in smell. Some pine there.

T - Caramel candy bar. More sweet than bitter, but that is ok by me. Hops are subdued compared to others, but I like this one.

M - Medium body, very coating, good carb, balance adequate.

D - Could drink this for hours.

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Alphalpha from Ithaca Beer Company
Beer rating: 4.07 out of 5 with 225 ratings