Alphalpha | Ithaca Beer Company

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225 Ratings

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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Ratings: 225 |  Reviews: 144
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 barleywinefiend
4.36/5  rDev +7.1%
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 boston2bburg
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful 750 bottle, received as a Christmas gift from my dad.

Hazy golden body with ample white head, good retention and clumpy lacing.

Gorgeous aroma of piney, floral hops, reminiscent of a rougher, woodsier Simcoe crossed with a super Willamette. Solid biscuity malt backbone which melds well with an exotic honey sweetness. Citrusy in the mold of Grand Marnier.

The honey is very well done, giving sweetness and floral character while drying out the finish just enough to not detract from the full bodied base malt's contribution. Everything is in balance; not typical of most Double IPAs. Leans towards the strong English IPA range in character.

Nice and warming, doesn't wear out the palate, yet keeps you interested. Awesome beer.

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Photo of portia99
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle (batch E!013) poured into a Portsmouth goblet.

A - Pours a hazy, golden orange color with a huge off-white, whipped cream head. Head has lots of staying power and sits solidly on top through the entire glass. Beautiful, sticky lacing coats the entire glass as the beer disappears.

S - Great big citrusy aromas and freshly cut grass. Huge grapefruit with touches of orange. Sweet honey aroma blends very nicely with the citrus. Big and bold aroma...excellent!

T - Grapefruit, piney, grassy flavors on top of a honey infused malt backbone. Good, solid bitterness - crisp and very full. Unmistakable cascade hop flavor, bitterness and honey flavors all blend together perfectly. Enough malt and honey sweetness against tons of hop flavor - loving this beer.

M - Quite full bodied. Plenty of malt here. Carbonation is at a medium level and is extremely creamy. Bitterness stays long into the aftertaste lingering for a long time.

D - 8.5%...really? Not detecting this at all. Very well hidden. Full bodied and full flavored DIPA. For me, one of the better ones out there. Not too sweet, enough malt, and plenty of hops. Really good stuff.

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Photo of BeerTruth
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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Photo of jjayjaye
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow..another lofty Excelsior series endeavor! Sooo glad that team-Ithaca can put it together like this.

(Go with the words from IBC on this me!) Pours a cloudy pale golden amber color with a huge stiff off white head that decomposes like an ice cream float. You've gotta know that cloudy means 'standby for goodness'. A seriously nice amount of Belgian lacing enjoyed with each mouthful, some 3-D. The smell is intense, aggressive and suggests that a ton of quality ingredients went into this bad boy. The soft freshness of the pour comes from the honey-side of things. Behind all that is an intense grassy resin. The mouth feel is complex...bursts of the resin characteristic finishes if dampened by the honey. Very drinkable...the oily resin character builds up as you get closer to the visible 'chunky goodness' awaiting at the bottom of the vessel. This interpretation is an example of preserving all of the classic 'expectations of style' while revealing TOTALLY imaginative ways of getting you there! If you have ANY idea of what i'm talking about, then it's 'scoring points'...highly recommended.

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Photo of asabreed
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

25.6 oz. bottle into a Brooklyn tulip.

Appearance: A beautiful dusky, mildly hazy, orange color, with a lot of retention going on, in addition to a bubbling head with every pour. With light coming through, this is a pretty radiant-looking brew.

Smell: I have a feeling that there will be more breweries trying to brew with alfalfa honey. Even the earthy and sweet aroma you can tell is different from esters and sugars and malt. There's a distinct, I don't know, maybe pureness, if you will, coming from a lot of the sweetness here. A caramel and earthy note that mingles insanely well with the cascade hops, imparting some fresh, wet, crystallized marijuana aromas along with nice bitter orange and minor grapefruit notes.

Taste: Thankfully, as I was hoping, the honey does something wonderful here with the hops. I don't know exactly how to describe it, however. But what's here is the freshness; I feel like the beer was made recently, and I just got a growler of it and poured it into a glass. But the honey is sweet, fresh, flowery, earthy, and though it meshes well with the pungent and also seemingly fresh cascade hops, the balance is pretty nuts here. Pungent, lip-smacking, balanced, and delicious. A lot to admire here.

Mouthfeel: It seems like Ithaca has a good control of how they deal with the carbonation, and this is no different. I wasn't sure exactly what to expect with the honey going on, but it does a good job of balancing everything here, and I imagine whatever yeast they're using is the trick, though I could easily be wrong here. But it maintains a good creaminess overall, with microscopic carbonation merging to make it champagne-like.

Drinkability: Very, very impressed by this beer. Every small batch brew they brew has been something I seek out. Thankfully I live close, which means I'm extremely excited for Thirteen when it's here. They're a small operation, but they seem like they're growing, and for good reason.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
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 ckeegan04
4.32/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Lum for this one. Batch E!013.

A - Golden honey in color with a huge foamy head (after a rather passive pour). The head slowly fades to a solid two finger chunkiness on top with big lace on the sides. Rather clear with the slightest haze (chill haze?).

S - Smells exactly like what you would expect from the label. A big nose of citrusy goodness (love some C-hops!) with lots of orange, graprefruit, and a hint of lemon. A light honey aroma is noticeable and the malt backbone provides just enough balance with a light, biscuity sweetness.

T - The taste of honey is very noticeable initially, but that is quickly overcome by a very dry citrusy bitterness. Lots of grapefruit and a little orange. Also a grassy quality to the beer. The malt backing is just strong enough to keep this beer from being a giant hop bomb. A bready and biscuity maltiness is present.

M/D - Medium bodied and very dry feel. Carbonation is well done and the beer is very drinkable. An excellent sample from the folks at Ithaca.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.32/5  rDev +6.1%
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 JoeBloe
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass yielding a deep yellow color with a three finger thick pillowy head that continues to yield heavy lacing and retention - cloudy due to it's unfiltered nature with a fair amount of yeast 'sludge' in the bottom of the glass( down the hatch!) - smells citrussy hoppy which follows thru in taste with a substantial malt backbone - not so much a hop bomb as others of this ilk - but tasty, well balanced, and easily drinkable -
finish is sharp, and still lingering - making for a nice summer early in the day enjoying the backyard brew - a winner from ithaca.

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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 sholland119
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a hazy apricot amber with a fluffy white head and lots of nice lacing.

S-Grapefruit hops dominate, with a very small amount of sweetness. Not as much as I would have expected after reading the label but still nice.

T-Lots of hops in the front, dissolving to honey sweetness and grapefruit in the finish. Quite tasty,

M-Medium bodied with good carbonation.

D-Quite drinkable. Great flavor, a pleasure to drink.


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

this beer pours a very hazy golden orange color with a creamy off white head that glings to the glass rather thickly. the aroma presents a bit of floral and citrus up front and a touch of the promised honey. the taste delivers a lot of the hops the nose promised and a bit of clean smooth malt. the mouthfeel delivers a nice full body with a decent level of co2. another very drinkable beer from Ithaca

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Photo of StoneTSR
4.27/5  rDev +4.9%
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 joe1510
4.27/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Batch E!013

My man Lum sent me this bottle as an extra, that generous bastard! Alphalpha struts around with a sunset orange body. There's enough haziness to make it nearly impossible to see through the glass but it's not milky. The head snapped to attention at two fingers and held tight with a crazy looking bubbled but meringue-like head. Patchy, crackly lacing adorns the glass after each gulp.

Crazy citric aromas comes from everywhere in this IPA. The hoppiness leans mostly toward orange with the fruit, candied peel and oil are all present. I've never had alfalfa honey before but it brings a touch of sweetness to this brew that's also reminiscent of oranges, although slightly musty. Rich caramel brings up the rear in a big sort of way. There's some floral hoppiness throughout but the orange citric qualities rule the roost. The more this beer warms the more nose candy it throws down. The honey adds great character.

Alphalpha is one unique IIPA. Not only is all the orange present that the nose showed off but the hoppiness takes on the flavor of lemon peel as well. All that caramel the nose was flaunting turns into more of a toasty breadiness that I prefer to the huge caramel for flavor. The finish snaps with moderately bitter lemon juice. The honey adds a touch of sweetness and some more citric depth.

The mouthfeel fits this particular IIPA nearly perfectly. The body is a hair over moderate in weight and the carbonation brings along a snappy finish. The bitterness grows with each drink and peaks at moderate maybe even a little over.

For a big IIPA Alphalpha drinks like an IPA which I could see becoming rather dangerous. The lemon brightness on the finish and hoppy bitterness keeps the glass tipped more often than straight.

This is another stellar brew from the up and comers over at Ithaca. I've wanted to try this unique IIPA since I first heard about it a long time back. Thanks for the hook up Lum!

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Photo of dtx00
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of sfr26
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of oldp0rt
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of Jayli
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch E!019

A: This beer pours a hazy pale golden color with a ridiculous head! Head filled almost half the glass on a very easy pour. Big fluffy, rocky white head that recedes pretty quickly leaving thick sticky tufts of lacing on the glass.

S: Nose is grassy piney hops, though slightly subdued almost a teasing hint. Honey is prevalent with sweet malt notes coming through. Light citrus hops come through as well.

T: Wow - this isn't an over the top hop bomb, but damn it is tasty! Taste starts with earthy hops, pine and grassiness really come through. Middle is filled out with rich honey and hint of vanilla, flavoring malts also come through here. Finish is of strong floral hops and a hint of alcohol.

M: heavier to full body, medium to high carbonation, carbonation prickles your tongue without deterring from the beer. I found this to be very creamy on the tongue as opposed to the usual oily texture on an IPA or DIPA.

D: Very tasty, not overly hoppy, but the hops are there - be suer of that. Goes down easily, somewhat filling. A pint or two of these will do me but damn tasty.

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Photo of metalgdog
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of soze47
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of DmanGTR
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of WDJersey
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

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