Alphalpha | Ithaca Beer Company

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Brewed by:
Ithaca Beer Company
New York, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by almychristopher on 12-30-2008

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Reviews: 144 | Ratings: 225
Photo of JohnGalt1
4/5  rDev -2%
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 mgbickel
4/5  rDev -2%
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 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 LilBeerDoctor
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle. Pours a cloudy light orange with a thick, foamy white head that leaves nice lacing on the glass. Aroma of hop oils, citrus hops, grassy hops and some crackery malt. Very resiny. Flavor is equally resiny, with more citrus and crackery malt. Light bitterness in the finish. There is a light sweetness, I guess from the honey. It is very subtle but really complements the beer nicely. I was expecting more honey, but was pleasantly surprised that it was a mild presence. Definitely not too sweet as others have suggested (in fact it is more on the bitter side). Nice IIPA, don't let the "honey" in the title fool you.

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

A - Poured deep gold with healthy head and plenty of carbonation. Lot of lacing as the level dropped but some head remained throughout.

S - Lots of citrus and pine hops with a hint of sweetness from the malt.

T - Lots of alphas up front, smooth malt middle, a little sweetness and alcohol warmth on the finish. The honey add some nice complexity but I think a touch more darker caramel malt would have been nice.

M - Nice and dry, you do get some alcohol warmth but nothing harsh. Nice tingle from the carbonation.

D - Quite drinkable, high on the IBU and alcohol but not hard to finish a 750 ml bottle.

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

Batch # E!029

750 ml bottle poured into a tulip.

A: Pours out a foggy light brown color with some nice red hues, a good inch of egg shell head and stellar lacing.

S: Sweetness of the malt pulls through with nice aromas of mellow honey. Grassy earth give way, quite pleasant in nature.

T: You get the sweetness of the honey played well with lots of bitter hops then things heat up in the back with a dose of the malt. The complexity is outstanding.

M: Medium body with some slickness in toe. Has a slippery feel to it, its very interesting on the tongue. Good carbonation throughout, abv is noticeable with some spiciness.

D: A unique beer that is worth seeking out.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
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 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 chickencoop
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
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 steve8robin
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this in my first BIF. Let's give it a go. 750ml...

A: Dark iced tea honey colored with a humongous 2 inch white head that fades at a decent pace. Good.

S: Sweet malts upfront blended with floral hops. Dark fruit caramel and iced tea in the middle with some lemon and grassiness on the backend. Good.

T: Very bitter honey upfront. An interesting caramel lemon blended with candi sugars and some dry hoppiness on the backend. Good.

M: Medium body with a medium carbonation. Very good.

D: This goes down once you get past the bitter wall. Good.

All in all, I like this brew. I've tried a couple Ithica brews to date and it seems like they make good brews, but so far from what I've tried, not great brews. Definitely worth trying if you like bitter beers with a good balance of sweetness.

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Photo of oregonskibum
4.08/5  rDev 0%
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 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 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 MVotter
4.08/5  rDev 0%
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 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 Deuane
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch E!013

A-Cloudy golden yellow with a fluffy white head. Head retains nicely and leaves spotty lace.

S-Sweet citrus hops primarily of orange with a touch of bitter grapefruit rind.

T-Sugar coated oranges, melon with the bitter grapefruit finishing things off. A bit of herbal spiciness and sweet caramel in the finish.

M-Medium body with a nice balance of sweetness and bitterness. This comes off almost candy like. Smooth at the start with a building dryness.

D-Fresh, easy to drink and tasty. Honey aspect came through with some sweetness but did not overwhelm. A very nice brew.

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

Poured from a 750ml bottle into my glass on 3/21/09. Appears a rather cloudy (after stirring up the dregs in the bottom of the bottle) golden yellow color with about two fingers of fluffy white foam. A nice looking pour. Smells of sweet citrusy hops such as orange as well as bitter grapefruit and caramel. Tastes of sweet, honey tinged tangerines, grapefruit rind, a lot of herbal and flowery notes as well and balanced by caramel malt. Medium in both body and carbonation. This beer was very fresh tasting and pleasant to drink. Glad I've got another bottle.

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Photo of TheKingsOfHop
4.11/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml. bottle poured into our Portsmouth tulip glasses:

A: Solid orange amber with a steady carbonation. An amazing white rocky ice cream float like head just billowing out of the glass. As the beer sits it leaves a wall of lace all over the tulip glass.

S: A blend of grassy hops and fresh fruits like apricots and peaches with a touch of honey comb.

T: Smooth and creamy honey with notes of sweet malts, and bitter hops. Each characteristic is more pronounced then the last.

M: Very well carbonated with a medium light body. There is nothing negative about this mouthfeel. It literally is perfect...

D: Overall really an easy drinking, fairly complex beer that Ithaca Brewing Co. should be proud of.

The Kings Of Hop

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

Thanks goes out to the old man of LUMancha for this fine Ithaca offering.

Pours a hazy yellowy orange color, nice n cloudy with a stark white head that retains very well and leaves very nice thick lacing.

Nose reeks of cascade hops. There is some slight honey in the nose, but most of it is lost in the sweetness of the malt profile in the smell.

Taste is very fine. This is certainly one of the better hop centered brews on the east coast, can tell you that right off the bat. Cascade hops are defenitely showcased, and for the bitterness and piney flavor that this beer is showcasing, there has to be boatloads of them in here. A bit of citrus in here as well. Lacking the typical toned down spicey hop flavor most EC IPAs "showcase". Very refreshing. The malt profile is balanced very nicely, maybe a slight bit soft for the amount of hops in here (can't beleive im saying this about an EC IPA. hahaha) As the finish approaches some slightly unchecked bitterness arises and a very dry finish enhances this. Honey comes out a bit more on the aftertaste, but the hops still linger dominantly.

Mouthfeel is pretty much right where it should be as far as viscosity, but is a touch drier than I would like. Carbonation is pretty well done.

Drinkability is good for the most part. A slight bit of unchecked bitterness and extremely dry finish hampers it a bit, but as far as the abv, incredibly well hidden.

Overall this is a fine DIPA, especially being from the east coast. This is very similar to many IPAs found on the west coast. Big props go out to Ithaca for growing some balls (unlike most east coast breweries) and brewing a real DIPA. I am continually impressed with Ithaca and the Excelsior! series especially. A fine brewery they got there in Lumtown, fine indeed. Thanks again Lum!

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

750ml bottle shared courtesy of TomDecapolis.

Poured a medium and cloudy golden-orange color witha small sized off white head. Aromas of citrus, floral hops, caramel, and lighter honey. Tastes of citrus, lighter floralness, pine, some honey, and caramel. Light alcohol in the finish, but overall well hidden.

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

poured into my Ithaca Excelsior tulip.

A- Hazy appearance with the color of gold and a beautiful frothy, rocky and white head. the head fades a it but leaves huge globs of foam clinging to the edges of the glass which seems more than just lacing...looks amazing.

S- Lots of the hoppiness that would be expected especially the citrusy side . Behind it all there is some sweetness from the honey and malts which rounds it all out.

T- Honey up front with an explosion of cascade flavors overwhelming the taste and quickly being balanced with the maltiness.

M/D- Medium body with just enough carbonation and a dry finish that works really well. I could drink this again and again....

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