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Thunderhead IPA - Pyramid Breweries, Inc.

Thunderhead IPAThunderhead IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
77
okay

603 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 603
Reviews: 425
rAvg: 3.38
pDev: 15.98%


Brewed by:
Pyramid Breweries, Inc. visit their website
Washington, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  6.70% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
A golden nectar with a striking floral aroma, Thunderhead holds a harmonious balance between its bold hop bitterness and subtle malt background.

(Beer added by: Jason on 09-16-2001)
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Ratings: 603 | Reviews: 425 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of jtierney89
jtierney89

New Jersey

1.3/5  rDev -61.5%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a clear copper color with a sticky and fluffy white head. Floral and citric nose, nothing too overpowering.

Seems unbalanced, the malt kind of outweighs the hops a bit in my opinion with a lot of caramel coming through. Caramel throughout, floral and piney hops on the finish. Drying finish but with the caramel lingering. quick and concise but there's not much depth and a definite imbalance here. Slightly soapy finish. Not a drain pour but not having it again.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2012 02:13:44 | More by jtierney89
Photo of warmstorage
warmstorage

California

1.63/5  rDev -51.8%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I don't normally bother reviewing beers that already have a lot of BA reviews. But this IPA is so peculiar, so fruit flavored, that I thought it worth it.

Poured from 12 ounce bottle (twist-off: argh, can't bottle hombrew into it) into clean pint glass. Bright orange color, very slight haze, with little head which is almost immediately gone. Noticeable carbonation bubble streams.

Aroma is, well, very little. I think I smell the (clean, dry) glass more than the beer. Slightly sweet/honey aroma, maybe? But I really only noticed that after tasting it.

Mouth is fairly full, carbonation high-ish, and slightly slick on the finish.

Taste... I'm left with the distinct impression of sweetness and apricots, and little else. In fact, I got it into my mouth, and immediately thought "Whoa! Magic Hat #9!" It's not nearly as fruity sweet as #9, but fruity sweet apricots (and maybe a little nectarine?) are really the only distinct flavors.

There is very little distinct hop presence; while hops are definitely there, it isn't the bold, pacific northwest type of hop profile one might expect from a beer from Seattle which boldly claims on the label to be "bursting with hops" in all capital letters. Bursting with hops, this beer is most certainly not. Nor does it have any meaningful malt backbone.

Finishes quickly, with little lingering aftertaste, gone almost as soon as I've swallowed. More physical/mouthfeel presence than taste lingers.

Overall: a surprisingly blah beer, and not at all consistent with the style. (And this isn't the American vs. British debate: this isn't an IPA in either sense.) I might think more highly of it as a bland APA, or even a regular bitter, possibly even a fruit/hybrid beer.

It's pretty consistent with the Pyramid IPA I've had at Pyramid brewhouses, in both Sacramento, Walnut Creek, and Berkeley, though in fairness, I think I've only ever had a full pint of it in Sacramento. I don't recall the weird fruitiness on tap, however.

I didn't hate this beer by any means: with an equally bland dinner, or slugging it down on a hot day, it could be fine. (Yes, even at 6.7%, it's so blah that I would consider this a lawnmower beer.) That said, I'll certainly never bother paying cash for it again: there are WAY better IPAs, and WAY better basic ales available to me, even in Utah. (There are several 4.0% ABV/3.2% ABW Utah tap beers I'd choose over this.)

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2006 23:11:40 | More by warmstorage
Photo of Palesmith
Palesmith

California

1.63/5  rDev -51.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Very Dry and bitter with an acidic after taste. Dominant dry malty flavor. A little piney but not much hop flavor to it. This is just not what I'm looking for in an IPA. No citrus, no complexity, very one dimensional and flat. Not much to smell either, maybe even a little skunky (well within the freshness date, by the way). I did not enjoy this beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-29-2010 06:08:19 | More by Palesmith
Photo of mxchap
mxchap

California

1.75/5  rDev -48.2%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Let me start by saying that most beers I have had from Pyramid are at least passable.
This IPA, however, was terrible. Will be trying another soon (perhaps on tap to ensure freshness)
to make sure this one wasn't rotten.

Appearance: golden amber with a short, but dense head. Somewhat opaque.

Aroma: Carmel malt and earthy hops. Specialty grains definitely stick out.

Flavor: slightly sour, noticeable alcohol and metallic flavors. Off flavors mask the malt and hops substantially.

Mouthfeel: alcohol very noticeable, carbonation okay.

Overall: Not very drinkable, and not per the style. First pour-out in a while.

Hoping the next one is better.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2012 02:14:15 | More by mxchap
Photo of bum732
bum732

Maryland

1.8/5  rDev -46.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

S: Slight fruity notes, orange, cracker malt notes, fairly malty.

L: Fairly clear golden yellow, off white head that dissipates quickly.

T: Malty sweet, caramel mostly with some residual hoppiness. Medium low bitterness. Herbal mostly. Finishes fairly sweet.

M: Medium bodied, medium carbonation.

Couldn't find a bottling date, but there was pretty much no hops in this beer. I guess i'll assume its old and maybe check back, but pretty piss poor.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2011 02:54:20 | More by bum732
Photo of maxpower
maxpower

Missouri

1.95/5  rDev -42.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Cloudy, hazy orange-copper color with a small off white head that doesn't last, no lacing either. Sweet piney-lysol, soapy aroma, over sweet malty flavor with some bitterness, way too sweet for me, taste like soap, medium yet syrupy mouthfeel, I don't like this one at all, I hope I got a bad bottle.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2003 23:05:26 | More by maxpower
Photo of DogFood11
DogFood11

California

1.98/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

This highly filtered IPA is Orange to copper and forms a skim layering of head.

Grassy, some faint caramel and a sweet but subtle malt presence.

Grapefruit, hints of apricot. Musky middle to finish really detracts from the overall score as it lingers and is a bit rough in the smell and taste. I have to say on the upside I think this brew just needs some tweeking as the hops are delicious and the malt profile seems decent enough there was just a killer musty musk that I coundn't get passed. It was a fresh sample.

As much as I like pyramid beer this is not their best effort as the middle of this beer gets muddled. it wasn't for me.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2005 03:36:37 | More by DogFood11
Photo of Smurf2055
Smurf2055

Washington

2.01/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 1.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 1.75

Bland smell.
Murky and fizzy appearance (like a wheat beer).
Slightly bitter taste, not a lot of depth. Drinkable.

My craft beer friends all hate it, and my non-craft beer friends all hate it, not sure where the appeal is on this. Maybe for wannabe beer snobs?

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2013 05:49:19 | More by Smurf2055
Photo of maximum12
maximum12

Minnesota

2.05/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Picked up this 12 oz. bottle in a mixed sixer recently (OK, actually, my wife did, but she's not home, so she'll never know, right?). Cryptic 'Best By' date of 7/21/12, but not sure how far that is from the bottling date, but it should be good, right? AmIright?

The pour is on the lighter orange/yellow curve of the IPA spectrum with serious carbonation. Nose is faint, I have to suck hard to get much, mild floral hops, mixed in with a bit of citrus & sweet malts. I think I sprained my nasal cavity.

Thunderhead gave me several different faces in the few seconds after the first sip - lololowza. First impression is of sticking one's tongue into a potpourri bowl, huge lavender & floral notes line the palate. That's chased quickly by a dose of caramel that clashed with the field of flowers something serious. An unpleasant twinge of tartness, almost acidic, intrudes in the middle, just before the bittering hoppiness finally arrives...except it's more like ground-up children's aspirin than anything else. Give it another go, but, no. Realistically, a couple ounces of this was more than enough.

There's something off about this beer & I can't quite put my finger on it, but the whole experience is rather unpleasant. The beer gets worse as it warms. This is a fail as an IPA & as a beer. Drain pour bad.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2012 03:22:28 | More by maximum12
Photo of Arbitrator
Arbitrator

California

2.15/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

On-tap at Stanford's in Walnut Creek.

A: Pours a a clear amber with light bubbling up the glass. Has a slight head that recedes into a donut around the glass, with no lacing during the drink.

S: Smells like grass, light citrus hops, and -- of all things -- parmesan cheese.

T: Tastes like the nose, with a light grapefruit hop component, some mild caramel malt, and a mid-taste and finish that are dominated by parmesan cheese and grass. I let a couple of friends sample it, and they came up with the same taste. Weird!

M: Light-bodied, with medium carbonation. Seemed underwhelming for the style.

D: Given the funky cheese taste, I don't want to have this again. I've had much better IPAs.

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2009 07:33:07 | More by Arbitrator
Photo of RonfromJersey
RonfromJersey

New Jersey

2.15/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A very hazy light orange body, topped by two or three fingers of white fluff. Nice lacing.

Aroma is a faint whiff of pine and a whole lot of air.

A mildly sweet drizzle down the tongue. Very sloppy. Light fruit. Bitter bite. Needs more of all.

Sloppy mouthfeel sloshes about the mouth.

OK drinkability, way short of desire.

A rather disappointing lackluster ipa, plenty better out there.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2010 09:30:55 | More by RonfromJersey
Photo of GreenWBush
GreenWBush

Oregon

2.17/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A new find at the local liquor stop, reasonably priced at about $7 a sixer.

Emerges from the bottle a prototypical IPA, just-past-macro gold. Smallish head, but impressive incremental lace rings.

Nose is zingy, fresh, appealing. Its easy to say 'grapefruit' with every single IPA but this is one of the first i've noticed that actually reminds me of paring a grapefruit. Fresh peeled orange.

But the flavor, my god the flavor - what an abomination. This is a beer that would make people who have never had IPA think that the style is poison. Pithy, astringent bitterness that bites at the tongue completely lacking any sweetness. Like putting your tongue on your car's battery. A few hints of a buttery malt character at room temperature.

Thin, thin, thin mouthfeel. Like chilled hop-tea.

Completely undrinkable.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2005 16:00:56 | More by GreenWBush
Photo of vkv822
vkv822

Oregon

2.18/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12oz : tulip

Burnt-orange with a foamy off white head.

Mild fruity, floral hops, breaded malt backing.

More faint floral, lightly citric hops with a malty bread backbone.

Medium body, low-medium carbonation.

Not a bad beer, but really a bit bland, especially for the style. Could probably pass as an average American pale ale, but not IPA.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2012 08:20:23 | More by vkv822
Photo of SaintPeter
SaintPeter

Colorado

2.23/5  rDev -34%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Golden copper color, foamy off-white head that dies quickly leaving a ring of lace on the glass. Minimum to no effervescence.

The aroma is of spicy hops, black pepper, soapy, honey and mead-type alcohol. Nothing fruity or floral as an IPA should be.

Starts with a spicy bold hop flavor with bit of a soapy flavor, morphing into a residual hop bitterness with pears and honey, staying late after swallowing. Lingers in the throat, the bitter finish does. Not nice!

Creamy mouthfeel, soft and lazy on the tongue. The best part of the beer.

Had an off smell and taste and an unpleasant hop bitterness. It may have been the type of hop used. Goes down easy, however, I would not drink another one....I could, but I don't want to.

Not what I expected. The hops smell and taste off or are just not the type that agrees with my palate. I typically prefer the hop bitterness in the finish, but this lingers and is quite an unpleasant bitterness which forces me make a "yuck face". Yeah, you know that face! A mediocre to bad beer. I would take homebrew before this. Hey, doesn't Magic Hat own them now!? That explains a lot!

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2009 16:17:16 | More by SaintPeter
Photo of PDXHops
PDXHops

South Carolina

2.23/5  rDev -34%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bomber poured into a Duvel tulip. See thru light orange with a swirl of vigorous visual carbonation feeding the thick and fluffy cap of foam on top. Several rings of sticky lacing left in the top portion of the glass.

Smells grassy and grainy, with some softer sweet floral notes. Hint of cloves? It certainly doesn't smell bad, just not really what you'd expect from an IPA.

Tastes plenty grassy and grainy as well, with some weak citrus joining in. Malts are bready and very lightly sweet. The mysterious clovelike quality shows up again; it seems to evolve through the swallow into a slightly unpleasant medicinal flavor. Unfortunately, this is the flavor that lingers at the otherwise crisp finish.

Overall impression: Can't recommend this one. Something just doesn't seem right here. The appearance rating is keeping it from the D territory it probably belongs in.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2010 20:31:22 | More by PDXHops
Photo of cbutova
cbutova

Massachusetts

2.23/5  rDev -34%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Just noticed this one along with some other Pyramid brews. Easily worth a review at it's low price.

A- Poured into a pint glass with a slightly hazy, golden-light orange body. A big, bubbly white head forms to about three fingers and has decent retention. A frothy ring around the top of the beer leaves moderately thick lace patches.

S- Floral and herbal notes make up the hop bill. The rest of the beer is a base of apple, light caramel and bread. Really have to stress to pick up the aroma after just a few sips.

T- Mostly hoppy. Pine, floral, herbal, citrus and grassy hints make up a hop bill that doesn't really do much to satisfy with so many good IPAs out there. An apple/light fruit note seems to build with time taking away from the hops. Some caramel and slight buttery hints as well.

MF- SIlky lower end carbonation for the style with a creamy overall body. Bitterness isn't as clean as other IPAs, just feels a tad harsh for some reason.

Started out decent but it seemed like flavor score just kept going down. The flavors present just don't seem to meld all that well and drink as smoothly as most other IPAs on the market. Jumbled.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2012 02:40:58 | More by cbutova
Photo of mrasskicktastic
mrasskicktastic

New Jersey

2.25/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

A - Crystal clear copper brew. Huge two finger head with impressive retention. A single thin ring of lacing forms.

S - Pine meshed with grapefruit pith. A bit of caramel malt backing.

T - A bit of mild pine and a lot of peppery alcohol in the foretaste. A potent pine bitter aftertaste with a lot of peppery alcohol. I wouldn't

M - Harsh from carbonation and the hops. Thin and rather drying.

D - Not too good, I got tired of it quickly. It just tastes like peppery alcohol. Not something I will bother with in the future.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2007 05:09:15 | More by mrasskicktastic
Photo of drpimento
drpimento

Wisconsin

2.25/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Man, I gotta wonder what happened here. Who's telling these guys that this is good beer??? Cause it really just isn't. I't bitter but without the good parts. Seems like a lesson on how to wreck a beer. Why? Mechanically, it seems pretty good with a decent head and lace. Nice color. Bitter aftertaste. Initial and middle too. Will avoid in the future. Could cook with though

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2008 21:23:33 | More by drpimento
Photo of rye726
rye726

Colorado

2.25/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This orangish-brown brew has a nice light beige head. The nose has some bitter hops, but they are quite for an American IPA. The taste has some odd grainy malts and the bittering hops. Not very well balanced and does not go down well. The body was a bit fizzy.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2008 04:08:07 | More by rye726
Photo of NWer
NWer

Washington

2.25/5  rDev -33.4%
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.
Update:
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2011 23:34:17 | More by NWer
Photo of RoyalT
RoyalT

Ohio

2.28/5  rDev -32.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2005 02:42:44 | More by RoyalT
Photo of xymyl
xymyl

Arizona

2.28/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Deep gold color with a small ring of whitish head.

Aroma light sweetness and a spicey sulfer smell.

Taste starts out soft and lightly sweet then clamps down a bit with harsh acidic citric notes and ugly malt tannins (somewhat unpleasant) finish is bad and tastes toxic. This is the single worst Pyramid beer I've ever had.

Bad enough that I may never try another Pyramid beer again just because they let this stinker through. I couldn't finish it. If this was shampoo there would be a lot more blind bunnys in this world.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2007 20:34:52 | More by xymyl
Photo of beerthulhu
beerthulhu

New Jersey

2.28/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: Translucent orange with a chalky white frothy head of one finger statue. Medium mid pace effervesce with a thin band of lace.

S: Fresh grass, oranges and ice berg lettuce. Very faint aroma wise. A solid example of a 2.0 unimpressed rating.

T: Some bitterness but harsh with sour dried lemon grind, pine and some sour orange peels occurring on the fade. Dry wheat, starchy flour hints.

M: doughy, medium based with a lazy carbonation lacking crispness and sharpeness.

O: Overall the nose is lackluster, the flavor is sour and off and not very tasty. Tastes like a macro hybrid of a wit /ipa. A perfectly good waste of bottle glass.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2012 00:17:13 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of unklesyd
unklesyd

Oregon

2.3/5  rDev -32%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Oh my, what a mess.

Pours out a very pale yellow for an IPA of 6.7 ABV.

Smells decent: citrusy hops and a huskiness of barley.

Iron and one-dimensional bittering hop oil flavor.

Astringent, a drain pour after about 4 oz. of a bomber.

Where have you gone wrong Pyramid?

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2008 01:10:31 | More by unklesyd
Photo of awolcfh5150
awolcfh5150

Washington

2.33/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Picked up a 6'er of this the other day. After opening the bottle and pouring into a glass I thought that this might be a decent brew. The appearance was a dark gold with an ok head. The smell is very hoppy and not bad.

I took a big swig of this one and was extremely disappointed. It's very hoppy but the bitterness seems almost sour. It also feels as if the enamel on your teeth are being stripped.

I'd probably drink this one again if a buddy offered me one but I won't be purchasing anymore for myself.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2008 00:38:42 | More by awolcfh5150
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Thunderhead IPA from Pyramid Breweries, Inc.
77 out of 100 based on 603 ratings.