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Hammerhead Ale - McMenamins

Not Rated.
Hammerhead AleHammerhead Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

38 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 38
Hads: 124
Avg: 3.57
pDev: 20.73%
Wants: 0
Gots: 19 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
McMenamins visit their website
United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.93% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-09-2003

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (68) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 38 | Hads: 124
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.58/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy amber color and is topped by a frothy, three-finger thick, light tan colored head. The aroma is sweet and redolent of crystal malt as well as hop notes of orange peel and grapefruit. The aroma is definitely dominated by hops, though it is certainly not as full as say an IPA, which it shouldn't be.

The beer has a solid hop bite to it up front that carries through to the finish. The finish also has a slight spritzy note that tastes like orange zest. The beer is only lightly sweet, but has a fairly full mouth-feel driven by crystal-type malts. These malts add a bit of balancing sweetness and caramel notes, which, while not that noticeable under the hop character, certainly helps in balancing the hop notes. The hops gives this a certain zippy twang that is quite nice, but in the end something seems to be missing from this beer. Perhaps the malt could be a bit more clean.

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Photo of brendon
4.3/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cask conditioned is the way to go with this flagship McMenamins brew. This is why God created the Cascade hop. For only using a single hop this ale achieves a tremendous balance of bitterness, aroma and taste. The cask-conditioned serving provides the best cabonation, just enough and the right temperature. The crystal malt balances well with the hoppiness. This is a gold-standard Northwest pale ale.

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Photo of charlatan
3.66/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I never would have guessed this was a pale ale, but I certainly enjoyed it.

This was cloudy and I can best describe its appearance by saying that it looked like cider. Not what you Americans would call hard cider, but the non-alcoholic grungy apple juice stuff. There was little head to speak of.

I was unable to discern any smell.

If I had to fault this one I'd complain that it was too watery, which is a standard complaint with McMenamins brews for me. Otherwise it was delightful. It was sweet and malty (pale ale? where are the hops? what is going on here?), but in a rather unusual manner which I can't quite put my finger on. This is very possibly one you have to drink to comprehend.

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Photo of clvand0
3.97/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Came in a 22oz bottle. Poured an amber color with a small head and left almost no lacing on the glass. The aroma is mostly hops with citrus being the most prominent. The flavor was full of hops as well. The citrus is apparent. Slight bit of spice. Finish is bitter and clean.

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Photo of GreenWBush
3.57/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

As I sat drinking this beer in Eugene Oregon I couldn't help but think that the world is slowly being dupped into the hazy area between IPA and Pale ale. Handed to me blind, I would have guessed this beer to be an IPA with the possible exception of the wateriness. That said, the Umpteen IPA on-tap at the same time was about equal in mouthfeel.

This beer is slightly grainy on the palate with an initial and final rush of hops. Middling are the sweet hints of malt, book ended and overshadowed with the ubiquitous Cascade lemon blast.

Personally, I would find this beer best reinvented as a lower alcohol cask bitter. The wateriness is rather annoying. I feel the only thing that put this one slightly ahead of similar examples is the inherent freshness of on-site brewing.

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.42/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is nice. It pours a nice golden orange color. The nose is great. There are nice citrusy hops in the nose with a bit os the sweet malts in the background. Tasting this one is a treat. The taste goes citrusy hops, sweet malts, with a nice hop finish that doesn't linger but fades nicely. This is a fine beer. The beer is moderate to thick, with a nice balance of carb. Drinkability is very high on this one. What a nice beer.

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Photo of SheepNutz
4.29/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber poured into a pint glass. It pours a medium amber color with one finger of head. There is almost no lacing on the glass. The smell is full of citrusy hops, and lots of em! A nice strong hoppy character never hurt nobody! The taste is a good balance of caramel maltiness and juicy hops. Just a little bit more on the hoppy side, which is awesome. The body is rock solid. The drinkability is great as well. A nice APA.

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Photo of ngandhi
3.51/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Hammerhead Ale is one of only a handful of American pale ales I've encountered with such a long, telling nose. Everything is there in all its forms. Hops, of course, in all their grapefruity glory, but also a tinge of caramel and a creaminess -- if you can smell creaminess -- from the yeast.

And, as the nose grows bigger, the truth wears weak and thin. The palate is destroyed by a watery body that does nothing to accentuate the hops or malt. Instead of going the way of some thin pale ales and giving us a disgusting hop tea, this beer seems aware of its own ineptitude, raising the white flag before we even go to war. There is some buff to the beer. In the midpalate the body seems awakened, soft and filling. But then the flavor itself is too thin, washing out to nothing more than afterthoughts of dried hop flowers and an old bar of nougat.

What is there is pleasant -- classic PacNW tropical/grapefruit Cascade profile that is almost noble, softer than other notable Cascade beers like Sierra Nevada Pale; light grain on the finish to round out the beer; delicate caramel for color, body, structure, and just a hint of residuals in this otherwise overattenuated beer; a creaminess as satisfying as any APA; and a perfect 1/8-inch head that won't quit.

But if there is a single identifiable element to this beer, it is the mire of its mass production. Anyone could make this beer. Anyone has.

Relax, relax.

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Photo of henrysunset
3.21/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Slightly darker than mac&jack's; brownish unfiltered amber. Nice tan head. Smells just like a clean IPA with only a noticable hoppy scent.

Taste was hoppy with a twang of citrus. Flavor resembles that of an IPA, but it has a a less clean taste, with a slightly wheaty flavor as well.

Since it isn't filtered, it has a nice and sorta thick texture. All said, pretty nice, if only a bit too acidic.

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Photo of MrNuggets
3.75/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Burnt orange colour with a one finger white head. Hoppy odor with a dash of citrus. Hops on my tougue backed by some malt. Light citrus flavors up front, grapefruit and orange, a drawn out crispness on on the pallet. But then im left with an almost grassy after taste. I wouldn't call it unpleasent, but at the same time it kinda makes me think twice about taking my next sip. Easy drinking pale ale which is great for getting hammered!
The growler will not survive the night!

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Photo of ManekiNeko
4.22/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber served lightly chilled in a pint glass.

Appearance: Cloudy orange amber topped by a large and thick offwhite head. Visible carbonation helps the retention of a thick layer of foam. Lacing typical to the style was left on the sides of the glass.

Smell: Wonderfully fruity smell of orange and grapefruit citrus. Undertones of spruce and gummi bears. Peppery notes. That's just the hops. Pale malt aromas pick up their head every now and then.

Taste: Hoppy, but not aggressively so. Bready malts in perfect balance with snappy citric and peppery hops. Lervely. Long-lasting bitter hop aftertastes and belches.

Mouthfeel: Solid medium body with nice crispness. Quite refreshing.

Drinkability: Session beer for sure. I can see why this would be a top seller for them as it's an exemplary pale ale of the West Coast sort. Would go great with pub fare like fish and chips.

Other: A big thanks to my coworker for schlepping this back from Oregon for me. Dude's gonna get married in a brewery/vineyard. How cool is that?

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Photo of RedDiamond
3.93/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Hammerhead is a pale ale that McMenamins boasts as their top selling beer. It features a fragrant aroma derived from Cascades hops and a satisfying bitter finish. It is carnelian in color, clouded and translucent, and pours headless with sporadic trails of pale lace.

The flavor of hops is less emergent in the taste and more prominent in the aftertaste. In fact, the belch of this beer is truly inspiring, as if the gastric process enhanced the hop character. Remarkable.

The malt profile holds the hop aloft, but deftly steps back to give hops the last word. The result is a taste that is bitter but clean.
Hammerhead is a fine representation of an American pale ale. It is a highly drinkable and satisfying beverage that begs to be shared with friends.

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Photo of Thrasher
3.63/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Bagdad. This is not the best pint of Hammerhead I've had; I wonder from which McMenamins brewery it originates. It's still pretty good though, I had no trouble polishing off a pitcher of it over the course of the movie. This is an exceptionally fruity pale ale, a ripe orange amber color and more reminiscent of New England beers such as Magic Hat or Ipswich than some other West Coast ales. The head is good and lasting but the mouthfeel seems a bit thinner than I remember other samples being. There's a judicious amount of hops but the beer is not overly bitter. I think this is one of the all-around better beers McMenamins offers, which stands to reason since it's available at all their pubs.

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Photo of beerguy101
3.63/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Medium copper color, slightly cloudy. Medium head. Aroma is floral hops and a touch of malts. A medium bodied pale ale. Malts are nutty and slightly sweet. Hops are grapefruity and floral. Nicely balanced. Sweet, but with a nice hop bite. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Finish is slightly bitter with a touch of floral hops.

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Photo of jcalabre
3.2/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I originally sampled this brew on 25 August 2002. I am writing this review from my notes
If you're travelling in Oregon w/ kids, like I was, McMenamin's is the brewpub for you: good food, kid friendly, better than average beer.
This is a cloudy amber colored ale w/ a hoppy flavor. It has a large tan head. Very nice, drinkable beer.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.88/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ok had to go home to the wife..but bought this to go in the 22 oz bottle ( brown).
Very nice looking ale , when poured carefully ( this seems to be unfiltered, loads of yeast at the bottom of the bottle)..nice light brownish almost glows small but persistant off white head..nice carbonation.
Nice aroma of malts hits my nose fast and stays..its fresh at leat.
Taste is very balanced indeed..first there is the sweetness of the malts then the hops appear suddenly to give bitterness..very good.
Very good on the palaye smooth .
Very drinkable..i could drink quite a few in a sitting.

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Photo of Elemental
3.51/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Great head retention with a good copper brown color. The smell is a little off, it has almost a bit of a sour smell. I was a little turned off by the smell, but the taste made of for that. The taste is a bit sweeter when it comes in the bottle rather than having it from the pub on tap. After the sweetness comes the finishing taste which offers a dry slightly bitter taste. Overall the beer is pretty good but I would suggest trying it at the brew pub rather than in the bottle.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.65/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color is a typically aley dark orange, head is a nice white that knows it's place. Aroma: fresh, citrusy, grapefruity, nice, and tasty, but nothing to shout about. Fits perfectly in the form of "American Ale", without going overboard in any way. This seems to be the "male" version of the two bottled varieties this company offers. The other is called Ruby Ale, and provides hints of fruit over a wheaty base, for the girls, you know.

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Hammerhead Ale from McMenamins
82 out of 100 based on 38 ratings.