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Pirhana Pale Ale - BJ's Chicago Pizza & Brewery Inc.

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Pirhana Pale Ale
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very good

45 Reviews
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Reviews: 45
Hads: 96
Avg: 3.81
pDev: 20.21%
Wants: 3
Gots: 13 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
BJ's Chicago Pizza & Brewery Inc. visit their website
United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.70% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Gusler on 05-04-2003

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (29) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 45 | Hads: 96
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at BJ's in Valencia, CA.

Pours a clear dark gold with a tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt and some nice herbal and pine hops. Taste is the same with an alcohol kick on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good but somewhat basic pale ale.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I always enjoy a pint of Pirhana every chance I get. This one was enjoyed at Columbus, Ohio's BJ's Restaurant and Pub on the way out of town for the weekend.

A classic take on a classic American beer. This Pale Ale compares favorably to Sierra Nevada's with the focus on west coast hops, primarily Cascade. The grapefruit, orange rind, lemongrass notes are dominant in the nose and chases the beer through the finish. Backup notes of pineapple, pears, and other tropical and citrus fruits come from a nice clean blend of esters and hops. But the beer is not all hops, a caramelized malt base gives enough sweetness and body to balance the beer very well. Super clean, this beer gives no phenol, sulfers, or off flavors- only a mild, pleasant ester fruity complexity. Crisp attenuation gives a touch of graham cracker taste and dryness in the body. Easily drinkable with a light menthol cooling in the hoppy finish. The beer is mostly a clear copper-golden color. Dry-hopping gives a mild haze which doesn't bother me at all. Otherwise, nice head formation and retention with moderate lacing all the while.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at the Citrus Park Mall, Tampa, FL.

Not a bad pale ale. In fact, I've found all of the beers at BJ's to be quite nice.

It's obviously at least a little bit based on Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, which created the style, so I'll use that as a comparison.

A: It looks good, no faults there. Nice dark amber body with golden highlights. Clear. Short white head. Average to better than average head retention and lacing.

S: Well meshed combination of biscuity malt and gently citrusy hops. It could be stronger, but it's pleasant as it is.

T: It's a bit more malty than SNPA, and offers less hop flavor, but it's not really that far off. The bitterness is nicely balanced; and it's well brewed.

M: Clearly fuller bodied than SNPA, but not out of range for the style. It's medium bodied with a dextrinous edge and a standard carbonation.

D: Just a touch more hop flavor and aroma would give it an edge to take it beyond ordinary. Or, a little bit more focus to bring the malt down to better balance with the hops that are there would also click it just right. Regardless, it remains a very drinkable, and enjoyable APA.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at BJ's, Westminster, CO

A good selection from BJ's, as are many of their brews I sampled. Poured a clear, slightly bronzed amber color, with a small white head that retained and laced well. Sweet malts in the aroma, bready, nicely balanced with citrus and piney hops. The taste follows the aroma basically; simple as that. Light-medium body, very basic, and quite drinkable.

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Photo of mothman
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Saint Arnold's brews this beer for BJ's in Houston.

Pours ½ finger of white head. Leaves some lace rings. Color is a slight hazed golden orange.

Aroma: Floral/earthy hops. Fairly fresh. Light bready malts with some light citrus. Mangoes and oranges.

Taste: Grassy and floral hops. Kind of dry flavored hops. Biscuit malts and orange citrus.

Mouthfeel: Bitter, smooth, and creamy. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends a bit sticky, but somewhat clean.

Overall, a decent pale ale. Some nice hop combinations. Pretty drinkable, a bit above average.

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Photo of Gavage
3.65/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: clear orange in color with a thin 1/2" head. The carbonation seemed a little strong.

Smell: the mild aroma is of light hops.

Taste: the flavor is a simple balance of malt and hops with some light citrus tones.

Mouthfeel: mildly crisp at the start and a smooth finish that had some mild bitterness riding the tongue.

Drinkability: not a bad drinking beer, and goes well with the pub grub here.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at BJ's in La Jolla before an enthralling showing of Sin Nombre. Not recommended. Critics are too lenient with independent foreign films.

Dark gold with a one inch white head. The retention and lacing are both great.

The aroma is well balanced, maybe slightly in favor of the hops. Citrus is evident and the malt is of the caramel persuasion. A hint of alcohol is noticeable.

The flavor is citrus hops up front with medium bitterness. The sweet caramel malt does well in balancing the vibrant hops. The finish is bitter and the alcohol is most noticeable here.

Medium bodied with good carbonation. The mouthfeel is crisp and light on the palate.

My exgirlfriend used to work at BJ's in college so I used to get really cheap kegs of this beer. Drinking this beer is reminiscent of college.

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Photo of Gagnonsux
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Piranha Pale's appearance is dark copper in color with a light head. Smell is fairly light and clean like beers at most brewpubs. A little whiff of hops is noted. Taste is very hopped like most west coast APAs. Very enjoyable hop flavoring. This is a good representation of the standard west coast APA, and is something I'll enjoy again and again.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.67/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at BJ's in Orlando, Fl. Poured into a 16oz shaker pint glass. Pours a clear orange/amber color with a thin off-white head. The aroma is some malt and citrusy hops. The beer came out a bit too cold and I was underwhelmed by the aroma at first but it got better as the glass warmed up. The taste like the aroma starts off malty with a quick bite from the citrusy hops in the finish. The mouthfeel is light bodies with a good amount of carbonation. Overall, not a bad offering and probably my favorite beer from the BJ's lineup.

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Photo of Haybeerman
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Clear, bright amber color. Poured a 2 finger white head with fair retention. Even lacing throughout.

S: Floral flavoring (Cascade or Amarillo) hops. Biscuity malt backbone.

T: Resiny floral hops. Bready, biscuity malts. Balanced with sharp bitter finish except a light lingering flavoring hop.

M: Medium body. Balance carbonation. Smooth and coating.

D: Smooth, flavorful and easy to dirnk. Decent APA; bigger hop than malt.

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Photo of Gusler
4.51/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The sample is the Cask version served at “Papago” Brewery, and as I sample more Cask conditioned Ales, the more I wish were available.

The pour is a limpid amber color, the head is portly in size, frothy in texture, tan in color and as it evanesces, the lace forms a fine covering sheet upon the glass. Ah the smell of the hop flowers, dominates this magnificent nose that is also sweetly malt, fresh and clean, the quintessential “Dry Hopped” aromas all present, sweet malt start, the top moderate in feel. Finish is delicately acidic, “BOOM”, the hops slap your palate and cling till the very dry and lovely finish, just plain “Yummy”!

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

6 oz tap pour in a mini pilsner glass. 5.5% ABV, On tap at BJ's in Huntington Beach, CA.

A - Despite the small white head from the pour, lots of white lace was left all over the glass above the clear golden yellow beer.

S - Small bits of caramel and biscut with mild toasted malts backing up the powerful nose of citrusy American hops well. Pine and grapefruit own all here.

T - Once again leaning towards the hoppy side, the flavor is heavier on the grapefruit citrus and pine more-so than the lightly toasted malts.

M - This Piranha comes at you with a medium-body and a citrusy, bitter bite.

D - Piranha is by far their best all-around beer. A solid pale ale offering with a good flavor and body to it.

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I originally thought this was an IPA...and a pretty damn lackluster one at that, but knowing now that it's only a pale, it's not bad at all!

Pale amber pour, translucent, light colored head, and nice lacing.

Aroma was lightly malty, with some slight piny hops.

Taste was fairly bitter and hoppy. Quite nice for a pale. Some caramel malts in the back balance it out nicely.

Feel was light, and crisp, with nice carbonation.

Overall, a nice hoppy pale ale. So far, one of the better-to-style BJ's brews.

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Photo of prototypic
3.65/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Recently tried this at the new Columbus, Ohio location. However another poster suggested, and I believe, that the beer there is brought in from Nevada.

Appearance: It arrived with a foamy one finger head. It's clear and a golden brown color. Retention and lacing were good.

Smell: It's mostly hoppy with a bit of citrus scents blended in. There's some grapefruit and a bit of orange. Not much maltiness to speak of.

Taste: Definitely hoppy and dry. Citrus flavors are noticeable and provide a little bit of a sweet factor. Hops are certainly bitter. A slight malty taste is noticeable, but mostly it's just hoppy and dry.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's light bodied. Carbonation and abv are very good. It's very drinkable. I could actually drink a few of these. It's a pretty good beer overall. I'd certainly recommend it if you happen to drop by the place.

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Photo of Floydster
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pint consumed on 1/5/2008 at the San Bernardino location for four dollars and some change, reviewed from notes, color was a golden orange with some lighter tones, small 1/2 inch creamy white head that did not last long, minimal lacing, smell consisted of a decent malt backbone, tangerines and lemons, slightly grassy accents, hops up front in the flavor with a hint of grapefruit, chewy in the middle for a pale ale, quite a bit of dryness in the finish, mouthfeel was on the fuller side for its style, medium bodied, moderate level of carbonation, could drink a few of these with pizza quite easily, would be a nice session beer in the summer out here in the Inland Empire, pretty darn light on the stomach, one of BJs better regular brews, would drink again

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Photo of beerguy101
3.34/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Light to medium gold color. Small head. Aroma is malty and a touch sweet. A medium bodied pale ale. Malty and fairly aggressively hopped. Good flavor, nice hop bite. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and crisp. Aftertaste is slightly malty.

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Photo of goblue3509
3.92/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a golden color with a thin half finger head which gives way to some nice lacing. The smell is a caramel malt backbone with a nice biscuit and toastiness to it. There is also some grapefruit notes along with some piney hops. The taste is of biscuits and caramel malts with touches of grapefruit and a nice piney and citrus hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is moderately carbonated. The drinkability is good, its an easy drink, its not as hoppy as some of the big american pale ales. There is enough complexity to keep you interested.

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Photo of Spider889
3.25/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

UPDATE from June 2010 visit to BJ's.

They have clearly changed what this beer is. When they brought it out to me I first thought they gave me the wrong beer, it was noticeably darker in color. The flavor profile and aroma are now much maltier and less fruity than before. what I used to deem a unique and very enjoyable beer is now mainstream and ho-hum. I am very disappointed that BJ's decided to change this brew.

Original review for the beer prior to 2010.
Stats: 4, 4.5, 4.5, 3.5, 4.5

By far my favorite BJ's beer (at least that is offered year 'round). I have had this on tap and by growler from the Columbus restaurant.

A very nice American Pale Ale, Pirhana Pale Ale is a very crisp and refreshing brew. Light orange in color, little head retention. The beer has a refreshing hop smell, not too overpowering and balanced by sweet floral notes and sweet grapefruit.

The beer is very crisp and clean tasting, very well balanced. It has enough bitterness to satisfy the hop-head but is sweet enough that many of my non-pale ale drinking friends still enjoy this beer. The flavor has a very pleasant fruit flavor, my wife and I have trouble placing exactly what it is, orange or grapefruit possibly though our best guess is lychee.

Very drinkable, this is usually the only thing I order at BJ's anymore.

Side note: it may sound odd, but when drinking this beer when I feel the need to burp I force it through my nose and you get an even more sweet and floral aroma than from the beer out of the glass. The perfect finish to a very likable beer!

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Photo of BeerBelcher
4.17/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I had this on my 2nd visit to BJ's in Columbus, and given how little I enjoyed the beer I had during my first visit, I was very pleasantly surprised. This beer was a nice example of an APA (and heaven knows there are many poor examples out there). This beer offered a robust hop-citrus flavor with considerable body; it is a winner and is doesn't wuss out on the hops the way that one might expect a chain brewpub APA to do.

Body was a cloudy straw color with a centimeter or two of head. Aroma was was sweetly hoppy and lightly citrus-y. Flavor was fairly strongly bitter up-front, with some nice fruity/citrus notes sweetly following. The beer also had some pretty good maltiness subtly backing that hoppiness. Mouthfeel was a little rough from the bitterness, but substantial and satisfying.

I'm not sure if I got a terrific example of this beer, and if subsequent tries will be as tasty, but I would highly recommend this beer.

I had this on-tap at the BJ's Brewpub on Polaris Parkway in Columbus.

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Photo of AtLagerHeads
3.56/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At the Brea BJ's. Thed amber body is topped by a small wite head that was here but briefly leaving smidgeons of lace on the glass. The nose is citrus hops with nary a sense of malt. Flavor of grapefruit nearly to the IPA level and plenty of bitterness in the long aftertaste. Clean, crisp, and medium body feel. Easily drinkable and enjoyable.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
3.63/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

1 finger head when I got it (from the pour obviously), but a good retention that sticks around for a while. The color is pale orange and I can see my fingers through the glass.

Smell is of citrusy piney hops. Smells like cascade and chinook, with the chinook dominating too much over the cascade.

Taste is of cascade and chinook hops. As the smell suggests, the chinook hops do dominate too much over the citrusy hop profile. It seems like that rough piney in your face bitterss of the chinook is not quite balanced with the citrusyness of the cascade, which makes them not compliment each other as well as the could. Other than that some pale malts balance out the bitterness.

This beer could use a little bit more crisp mouthfeel with some more carbonation onthe palate.

Overall, this is a decent stab at the style and I could have a few of these easily.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
3.97/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a couple of pints of this APA while at the BJ's in Arcadia, CA. had a clear amber color topped with a frothy, quick-dissolving white head that left scant lace.
Nose was full of floral notes that easily overcome the malt tones and fainter caramel scent. Seems very well-hopped for an APA.
A few pulls and the hops really start coming out as the malt character gets buried under the flavors of citrus rinds and juicy Cascade hops. Some sweetness in the form of caramel flavor counters the hops but this brew really carries a hefty hops profile. The feel is medium in body, crisp and refreshing.
The first pint went down quite quickly. This is palate conversion at work here. I had Piranha pale ale 18 months ago and didn't care for it, finding it too hoppy. Now, I'd say it's one of the better beers offered at BJ's and an aggressive West Coast pale ale. Worth trying out.

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Photo of colts9016
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A golden yellow with a hue of orange and a one finger head with a little bit of lacing.
Nose: A sweet hops, with a nice malt complex. hints of floral and citrus.
Taste Very hoppy but has a good malt back bone.
Overall the mouth feel is astringent, with a dry bitter finish. This is a clean and simple well made beer

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Photo of Morris729
4.42/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

ABV: 5.5%, IBU: 40, OG: 1.057, FG: 1.014
Pours a medium amber color with a foamy white head that sticks all over the sides of the glass as you drink leaving behind spider webs of lace. Nose is spicy and floral hops with little else noticeable and lets you know that if you’re a hop-head, you’re in for quite a treat. The taste doesn’t disappoint as raw hop leaf flavors quickly overpower the initial sweet malt and burst with flavors of citrus rind and oily pine resins that remain on the back of the tongue in an aftertaste that lasts until the next sip. If you like hops, this is a must-try. Sampled locally at the BJ’s at 4901 Beltline in Addison.

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Photo of MiScusi
4.7/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is my favorite brew from BJ's, and a great APA I believe it is. On tap at their West Covina, CA location.

First, the appearance is a clear burnt orange. A very nice 2 finger head, with a loopy lace that grips and holds the sides of the glass from the moment the first sip is consumed.

The smell is perhaps more piney than other APA's, a nice warning that you're about to be hit with a nice dose of refreshing hops, exactly what I want in a PA, without being too in your face like some IPA's.

The taste is great. PA is my favorite style of beer, and this one has a much more piney finish than most. Slightly citrusy at the beginning but a large does of hops at the end.

The drinkability as about as good as any PA i've had. In my opinion as far as drinkability it beats Sierra Nevada, another one of my favorites.

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Pirhana Pale Ale from BJ's Chicago Pizza & Brewery Inc.
85 out of 100 based on 45 ratings.