Beer Review 0465: Three Floyds Alpha King Pale Ale

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Three Floyds Brewing Company hails from Munster, Indiana, and their reputation is pretty stellar amongst beer drinkers. In a recent beer trade with Dave (Untappd user OnWisconsin), I jumped at the chance to get a couple of their brews, which are not available here in North Carolina…and just about everywhere else in the United States. Three Floyds have a very small distribution footprint at this point.

Founded in 1996 by Mike Floyd and his sons Nick and Simon, their goal was to breathe life into the then mundane craft beer scene by producing beers that were simply not normal. As popularity increased, the Munster location was created, and upgrade after upgrade took place. Bottling cranked up in 2002, a brewpub was created in 2005…with that being said, Three Floyds are still very small, even when compared to breweries like Dogfish Head, Bell’s, and Great Lakes.

Alpha King, an American Pale Ale, is Three Floyds’ flagship brew. It registers 6.66% ABV (alcohol by volume) and is brewed with Centennial, Cascade, and Warrior hops.

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The pour stirred an average size, almost large head that was composed of whipped and frothy foam; it had staying power and settled in atop a mostly amber colored beer that had some lighter orange highlights when held to light. The beer is translucent and has no particles or sediment in suspension. Lacing is very nice, producing thick and puffy sheets that cling to the glass with ease. A very nice example of a Pale Ale.

On the nose, Alpha King is as described, very citrus forward, with the stars being grapefruit and orange. There’s orange peel and even some orange sherbet, which adds some sweetness. There’s almost an equal amount of malt here: caramel, and a general toasted bread. Consider this a very well balanced beer with the hops coming out just an edge ahead, riding that orange aroma for the win.

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And the taste very much follows the nose. Up front, orange, orange peel, and a touch of grapefruit bitterness, which opens to a fairly beefy showing of malts, especially caramel and toasted notes. The creamy mouthfeel softens this beer and the hop punch it packs; the finish is fairly clean but there is a light residual grapefruit bitterness left on the tongue. I would recommend if you want more of the hop flavors to drink Alpha King a bit cooler than normal, because as it warms, the caramel malt really comes to the front of the taste and actually starts to trample on the hop bitterness left on the finish. It’s up to you. I found this beer to be medium-bodied, with a light, creamy mouthfeel and soft carbonation.

Three Floyds Alpha King is an extremely solid powerhouse that not only fits the Pale Ale style exceptionally well, but doesn’t become boring while doing it. My only real critique here is that maybe it’s a touch too malty, but you can kind of fix that by drinking it a a tad cooler, and for a Pale Ale, the alcohol content starts to hit the high point (the alcohol is not detectable in flavor). Overall, I judge this beer as one I wish I had regular access to.

Three Floyds Alpha King Pale Ale, 93 points. Price: $10.99 US for a six-pack.

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