Thunderhead IPA - Pyramid Breweries, Inc.

Not Rated.
Thunderhead IPAThunderhead IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

659 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 659
Reviews: 430
rAvg: 3.38
pDev: 15.38%
Wants: 4
Gots: 23 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Pyramid Breweries, Inc. visit their website
Washington, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  6.70% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Jason on 09-16-2001

A golden nectar with a striking floral aroma, Thunderhead holds a harmonious balance between its bold hop bitterness and subtle malt background.
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Ratings: 659 | Reviews: 430
Reviews by cougfan2002:
More User Reviews:
Photo of mactrail
3.46/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Orangey amber brew with plenty of foam in the Einbecker Pils glass. Modest resiny aroma. Pleasant sudsy mouthfeel with a bitter tang.

Flavor of orange with some peel. Woody, even a hint of cardboard. Dank and herbal hops. Big bitter aftertaste. Tasty malt with a hint of sweetness. Some fruity baked pear flavors.

This is a big-flavored brew with a different flavor than the typical current West Coast IPAs. From the 22 oz bottle bought at The Market in Anacortes.

Photo of oberon
4.3/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wrong bottle on display,anyways poured a clear golden with a nice tight one finger white that settles slowly leaving a sheet of lace behind.Aromas are nicely balanced the big dose of hops is very prevelant really piney over top of toasted biscuity lightly sweet caramel malt.Like the flavors of this IPA nice big dose of piney,resiny hop with a hint of citrus over top of a big sweetish bready malt base.Why the low ratings on this beer nice hop profile and well balanced I really like this beer.

Photo of RoyalT
2.33/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance – This one was light orangish-brown and looked a little thin in the body, but the head was terrific. It came up nicely but not explosively and showed good retention and lacing.

Smell – The hops here are kind of light, but I can pick up some citrus and maybe a touch of pine. There’s a grainy bite here too that kind of creeps me out.

Taste – Well, the light hopping seems to have made its way to the taste all right, but that grain came over something awful. I swear after well over a thousand reviews on the site I have never tasted anything like this. It’s almost like medicine, like some pill that you’re supposed to swallow whole but you accidentally bite.

Mouthfeel – This is in between light and medium-bodied with some modest carbonation and a filmy, unpleasant feel on the teeth.

Sinkability – I’m going to go throw up just to freshen my mouth.

Photo of ExtraStout
3.5/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a beginners IPA. If you are a hop head in training this is a good place to start. This beer pours a nice deep copper and has an OK head. The smell is of deep thick hops, not sharp and crispy as a top notch IPA would be. However this beer is very drinkable and smooth as well as any great crossroads beer should be. I could drink tons of this however I think it is slightly better on tap, but a very drinkable IPA. However I think that on the hop scale it is only slightly hoppier than SNPA.

Photo of NWer
2.3/5  rDev -32%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I haven't had this beer in a long time and gave it a go because it was deeply discounted at the local Fred Meyer's.
For a flagship IPA from one of the premiere Seattle brewers, this is a disappointment.
I know they do better. Their Alehouse Exclusives are pretty good.
So what's with propagating an IPA that may have been above average years ago but is past its prime?
The industry has evolved. This beer is a relic of the past and should be retired.
By todays standard, it is boring and doesn't measure up to current West Coast standards.
I tried to give this another go since I have this sixer that will be finished - eventually - when I'm not in the mood to drink something really good - think eating the grapefruit rind instead of the fruit.
That's Thunderhead.
Pretty pathetic.

Photo of tjthresh
3.31/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Right out of the shoot, the aroma attacks with spicy and floral scents. It pours light copper orange, with a slight ring for foam around the top edge. This thing has some big time bitterness. Its piney, earthy, resinous, and sticky sweet. Medium/full bodied and oily slick. I’d drink this IPA anytime.

Photo of merlin48
4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review based on a sixpack. Pours a slightly hazed, apricot body with a decent offwhite head that leaves some nice patch lacing on the glass.

Aroma is citrusy grapefruit and pine cone, accented by malty notes of caramel and toffee.

Nice mouthfeel for style is medium bodied with strong carbonation and a hop bite.

Taste is bitter citrusy grapefruit, orange rind, and a balancing caramel maltiness. Finishes dry and bitter, with a citrus rind aftertaste.

I wasn't expecting much of this one, but it is a surpisingly solid American IPA. Hop bitterness dominates, as is appropriate for the style. Very sessionable for the style. Well done!

Photo of bsp77
2.87/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into tall glass.

Appearance: Clear yellow orange with moderate stark white head. Light lacing.

Smell: Almost non-existent. Very light sweet malts and very light spiciness.

Taste: Mild, slightly sweet caramel and toasted malts, somewhat balanced by floral and spicy hops. The cheap hops used do not have much flavor, but at least the bitterness kills the sweetness.

Feel: Moderately high carbonation, medium body, almost dry finish that is tarnished by a slight residual sweetness.

Drinkability: Fairly bland IPA, but at least it is fairly dry and refreshing.

Photo of MattyG85
3.83/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a bright and somewhat cloudy golden orange with lots of bubbles and a big four finger white head with good retention. Leaves lots of creamy lacing on the glass.

Smell: Aroma has a rather subdued presence of floral and citrus hops. Big bready malt backing with lots of caramel and biscuit. Also some grainy wheat. Smells more like a malty pale ale than a IPA.

Taste: Like the smell leads, a very malt forward ale with lots of bready wheat grains, caramel, and biscuit. Subtle earthy hops with some light hints of citrus orange and grapefruit. Pretty lacking in hop bite, but the flavor that is here is nice and easily drinkable.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Very crisp and smooth. Somewhat drying.

Overall: For an IPA, the hop profile is very understated. This is however a very crisp and enjoyable beer as a lighter summer option. Just think of it as more like an English Pale Ale.

Photo of masikon
3.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a very pale amber, with yellow as well...fairly light for style. Head development and retention were grade A+ with a perfect 2 finger white head that left lacing caked on the glass. Nose was very hoppy, full of mostly pine cone scents with very little maltiness to be found. Tastes how it smells, lots of piny hops without much else, no real malt backbone here to save the day. Overall this is ok although it really isnt't very complex at all, the hops are done in a way that makes them one dimensional....I'm not sure if it's just the varity/varieties used or they technique but there is some depth missing. Also the lack of any real malt lends the bitterness to be slightly repulsing after half a pint.

Photo of Thrasher
3.5/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rich auburn with large, bright white head consisting of big, sudsy bubbles. A small plume of sediment descends down through the pint. The aroma is quite nice, with a mild yeast profile married to the maltiness; quite English and inviting. The flavor is another story - big citric hops, mostly grapefruit, dominate the proceedings. The malts are mellow, subtle, and barely discernable -- I can SEE them in the color of the beer but I can't wrap my tongue around them through the hops. To Pyramid's credit, they have made a forcefully hoppy beer with very little deterring bitterness. In fact, the beer seems downright sweet. However, it doesn't engage the drinker altogether successfully. The flavor is blurry; the hops don't cut through the way that they should. The malts should have substantially more definition. However, the yeast (ah, sweet mystery of beer!) remains as characterful and likeable as it was in the aroma. Also, the mouthfeel is ample and cushiony. Drinkability is reasonably good, since the beer has nothing in it to offend, although there are many better beers one can drink. However, if you want to try something by Pyramid, this is probably the one to reach for.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.65/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

An orange glow, slight head. Aroma was hoppy.

Taste, had a little bit of everything, was pleasantly suprised. Good hop character, good bitterness, slight wood edge to it, ample malt, a touch of honey and pepper? I should say more about the malt here, it is probably bigger than most, but not enormous, and it really works. Would have liked to have seen less of the woody flavor on the back end though.

Since its Pyramid, you can find it easily, and often relatively cheaply. These are good things.

Photo of ADR
3.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear copper color, 1/4 inch head that leaves some rim-clinging lace. Tangy aroma. Nice caramel malt flavor, hops are very assertive but taste more like grapefruit pith than rind. I love super hoppy brews but there's too much early bitterness as well as at the finish. This brew seems overbalanced toward the hops even for an American India. Hops are more burning than refreshing. I don't actively dislike this brew, but think that it needs more fiddling.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.77/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appears a copper orange tone with a beautiful mountainous cream hued head and even lacing to boot. I can honestly say after only trying the hefeweizen and apricot ale, I didn't have much faith in this brew. Aroma contains a barrage of lucious hopping that includes the pine cone, citrus, and earth toned varieties, and a decent malt backbone to add some sweet caramel tones to the mix. Flavor consists of an array of bittering hops only to be balanced by caramel malt but still enough hops to get my fix, and a bit more alcohol detected in the taste as it warms. This one could be more balanced but I was just greatful to be tasting some hops in this pretty boring beer climate I am living in. Mouthfeel has a good consistency medium body, I must admit I am impressed by this offering not bad. Drinkability I would like to run into this one on tap somewhere solid offering of hops if that's what you want give it a whirl, looking for more balance may want to try another IPA.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.25/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a pale yellow clear body with lots of tiny bubbles and a thin ring of foam that hangs on the glass.

S- This beer has a faint pale malt note with a hint of very light green hops. The overall smell is very light.

T- The taste of bitter grapefruit with a tart hop flavor has a faint chalkiness and a bitterness that hangs on after the finish. There isn't much malt flavor but the hops have some depth to them.

M- This beer has a medium light mouthfeel with a slight chewy texture which was interesting and unexpected.

D- This beer has a nice hop punch but it really is one-dimensional in flavor. It would be nice to see some malt flavors and aromas to support the hops. It is not really interesting enough to have a second round.

Photo of jbphoto88
2.96/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours an nice amber color with very little head (maybe a 1/4 inch or less). The foam is light and fluffy and dissipates rapidly. The label says "india pale ale bursting with hops" ??? I sure don't smell them. It smells more malty then hoppy, in fact its hard to detect any sent of a hop. The taste is nothing more then average. It does not have the typical hop style of an ipa. There is little to no hop taste, little to no hop aftertaste. It does taste slightly sweet and a little malty. The little bit of hops that is there is not reminiscent of any great ipa. This is a nice "average" ale but nothing else. I am very dissapointed with this beer. I was expecting big hop taste like the label suggests. I guess I am a sucker for advertising or hard up for a good beer store. Pyramid should put it out as their regular corner stone ale. Its not horrible but its not bursting with anything, including hops, flavor, or greatness.

Photo of brewQ
4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A rich gold color with a puffy ivory colored head driven by very fine bubbles. The aroma is defined by floral notes- some almost woody.

This is a refeshing, snappy brew with a touch of sweetness. Just enough malt backbone. Not huge but a nice example of the style.

I haven't been sipping IPAs for a while but this is a very drinkable welcome back. Good with food.

Photo of sloejams
4.07/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on-tap at the Pyramid Alehouse, Sacramento, CA

The last time I was here, I remember the Thunderhead IPA to be far and away the best of the offerings. The rest were kind of lackluster, aside from the stout - which had some meat on it's bones. Early evening happy hour = IPA easy choice.

It came a very cloudy, amber color with almost no head. The aroma was hoppy with a bit of grapefruit. The hop flavors are bold in the taste, more so than I remember. I think this was a fresh batch. In fact, everything about it was better than I remember. It was very well balanced.

It went well with the fried salty appetizers everyone I was with ordered.

Photo of skillerified
3.87/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours honey colored and settles with a nice creamy looking, light tan colored head of about half a finger. It fades to a cap, but never disappears. Crystal clear.

Floral and sweet fruity. Smells pretty delicious actually, if a tad generic. Some spice notes do pop up from time to time. A little cinnamon actually. Dark berry fruit. Gotta call it good. I'm sure if one took the time, the scent could be narrowed down to more specific items. I just like it.

Flavor is a good mix of malt and citrus. Neither really over-powers the other. Or, you could say, neither really stands out from the other. A matter of perspective, I suppose. It is a tad boozey though, and not in the good sense. I'm going to call it a little better than average. Certainly not bad, but not much more than you should expect for this style or this brew.

Reasonably bitter. It's not a hop bomb, but it is bitter. It's the kind of bitter that you can just throw back and enjoy without having to think too much about. I guess you could call that balanced. It never really hits too high of sweet notes either. A good feeling medium body.

I've had three or four bottles of these now and really enjoyed each one. They're good with spicy food, never overpowering. Plenty of flavor, but nothing too dramatic. Just a good all around everyday drinker.

Photo of watermelonman
2.71/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This poured to a nice bright color with a good head, and it's leaving a nice lace in the form of thin rings without too many speckles. It looks pretty good.

Unfortunately, its looks seems to be its high point. The smell is overly hoppy but still has hints of cheap grains. The taste is similar. It's full of hops and not very well balanced.

It feels fine in the mouth but it's not something that I'm drawn to.

Photo of biboergosum
3.33/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. Probably one of the first stateside IPAs that I tried years ago during a trip there, not surprising, given its ubiquity in grocery stores. Bring on the 'hop heaping'.

This beer pours a slightly hazy, muddled golden amber hue, with two fingers of puffy, then tightly foamy, and then bubbly off-white head, which leaves a decent sagebrush profile of lace around the glass in its lazy-ass wake.

It smells of well-blended (i.e. indecipherable) citrusy, floral, and herbal hops, a metallic stoniness, a touch of soap suds, and a soft, musty, grainy, and bready malt. The taste is wet pine and herbal hops, bready caramel malt, dank florals, and an overripe, yet still zingy citrus essence.

The carbonation is moderate, just a wan frothiness, the body a steady medium weight, mostly smooth (those floral-heavy hops not into causing much of a fuss), and even a touch creamy. It finishes with a stilted flourish of herbal, piney, and perfumed hops, backed by a bland, nondescript grainy malt sweetness.

A so-so IPA, with just a bit more going on than the average underdeveloped bitter hops/caramel malt Mexican standoff. However, those additional elements kind of put me off a bit, particularly the herbal character. Just a little 'unclean' for my liking, and subsequently my endorsement. Not a heap overly worth jumping into.

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pyramid- IPA

Appearance- light copper orange with a foamy head. Heavy lacing on the glass.
Smell- Citric and pine hops with a sweet malt base.
Taste- Sweet caramel malt with a light grapefruit hop flavor. Slightly metallic.
Mouthfeel- Sweet up front, crisp and light in the middle, and a lightly bitter hop finish.

Overall- A middle of the road IPA, a slight metallic tinge was present. Flavor is subdued but worthy of a pint.

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.75/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours a hazy, light golden orange with a white, finger width head. Decent retention. Lace is spotty with decent stick.

Smell - Aroma consists of floral hops, hints of citrus, and a bready malt presence.

Taste - Starts with bready malt character, then a subtle hop bitterness creeps in; more floral, but with notes of citrus and pine. finishes with fair balance, with a touch of orange and orange pith providing a bittersweet finish.

Mouthfeel - Light to medium body with average carbonation. Fairly drinkable with decent smoothness.

Overall - One of Pyramid's better offerings. Shows decent complexity, while also being entirely drinkable. One of the few beers from Pyramid I'd consider buying a handful of times a year.

Photo of FreeBeer_Score99
3.18/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Ideal place for this beer: beer you pick up at a quiky mart on the way to your aunts Thanksgiving dinner in Newberg, OR. Your cousin from Seattle says its not really a "micro", but he only drinks "nano" beers.

Photo of Magpie14
2.86/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: light shining golden color, thin dense head, minimal lacing

S: fairly mild hop scent, grassy and floral. A zing of sweetness. Was expecting more according to the label...

T: clean hops punch the taste buds. Somewhat stale floral hops, with slight piney-citrus. Seems a bit watery and thin at times with stiff malty sweetness that gets in the way

M: a dry gummy sweetness lingers, body is very mild/light. A bit tiresome after a while

D: hmm, I find this one on the lower level of American IPA's. I would have it again but not a top choice, would maybe like to try it on tap. Misses the mark! I was expecting a bit more, a rather timid showing

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Thunderhead IPA from Pyramid Breweries, Inc.
77 out of 100 based on 659 ratings.