Friday, April 6, 2012

Three Floyds Alpha King

It's time for another beer trade beer, this one I got from Joe of This is actually Three Floyds "Flagship" beer - one I've never had before, if you can believe that.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Chad9976 (642) - Albany, New York, USA - APR 2, 2012
I may not be a brewer but I know an IPA when I taste one and I’d categorize Three Floyds Alpha King as a beer of that style, even though it purports to be a "pale ale." This is definitely a hop head’s delight: strong bitterness, huge hop aroma, and a fairly well-balanced palate to make it enjoyable in many aspects.

I received a 12oz bottle in a trade (thanks, Joseph!). I poured it into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Dark orange to brick red color; noticeably cloudy body. Forms an average size, ivory, frothy head which retains and laces quite well.

Smell: As soon as I popped the top I could smell the citrus. Strong orange notes are prevalent here, plus some pine needle and other woodsy/earthy scents. A hint of caramel too.

Taste: From the appearance and aroma I knew Three Floyds Alpha King was not going to be your usual pale ale and the first swig confirmed my suspicion. Strong bitterness as soon as the beer hits the tongue. Orange is the dominant flavor - delivering a strong citrusy taste that’s borderline tart. Then it gives way to more sweet flavors of orange sherbet ice cream and caramel or butterscotch syrup. The finish goes in the opposite direction with pine flavors, plus a general rustic/earthy taste. The hops linger on the tongue for a while and are quite drying, but there’s no cloying aftertaste from the sweetness.

The flavors present here are quite delectable and robust to be sure. However, this is a little overboard for a pale ale. I’d estimate the bitterness as 60-70 IBUs, which detracts from the cleaner, more refreshing and juicy flavors I prefer in a pale ale. Still, it’s a beer that never homogenizes or peters out as the last swig is just as tasty as the first.

Drinkability: At 6.5% ABV, Three Floyds Alpha King is a bit bigger than your average pale ale. The mouthfeel is certainly thicker, although it still maintains the crisp carbonation without the chewiness of an IPA. It goes down very smooth, but the hops linger and dry out the mouth. Despite the energy of this brew, it’s easy to drink quickly, and throwing back several of these in a row will catch up to you quickly. An excellent beer to pair with a strong meal, or something to have to wake your taste buds up.

Grade: 9/10

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