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Thunderhead IPA - Pyramid Breweries, Inc.

Thunderhead IPAThunderhead IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

603 Ratings
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 greentam2


3.7/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This beer has a fresh crisp mouthfeel, with a long lingering backtaste of fresh green tasting citrusy hops. It is pleasant on the front taste, and memorable on the backside of the draught. A nice inbetween ipa between your session beer and an imperial. Very drinkable, and requests that you sip, due to its long lasting aftertaste, and significant abc. This beer is right up there with Sierra Nevada Torpedo, slightly sweeter, and only a photo finish behind.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2014 03:46:37 | More by greentam2
Photo of ssteakley


2.99/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Qualifies as an IPA, but struggles to keep up with the numerous excellent IPA's in the PNW. A dry bitter finish and starts well just just does not hold up well. A caramel malt perhaps. Don't give up Pyramid has some other better brews for sure, recently took a Seattle Road Dog Brewery tour and Pyramid was one of them.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2013 02:52:41 | More by ssteakley
Photo of BabaYagaRIS


2.88/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is my first review and will be improving upon them as I go on hopefully.

Drinking from the bottle as when I drink lately it's from a frosty pint glass (or similar) or a cold bottle. I do not enjoy a beer that is not 'cold' so will not be able to judge much on that.

The beer is in a slightly different labeling convention than shown on the profile - it has a number of pyramids with lightning behind them should that help with the date of release.

I am not smelling a very floral smell, although I do feel some citrus within, perhaps bitter even. Not sure how much you can get from a bottle, but I enjoy reading others critiques and will do so to help develop these reviews as well. I understand a bottle is not optimal by any means.
[Edit: In hindsight, when I was thinking 'floral' I was thinking 'sweet'. I now understand that 'floral' likely means similar to smelling a flower which I think this does have a correlation with.]

From a taste perspective I enjoy the bubbles and find this to be a 'live' been from that perspective. I'm finding a little too much steel for my taste although that is lessened from the first sip to the last.
[Edit: I believe the term I am after here is bitter, not steel]

I am not getting a huge sweetness from this which reminds me more of a pale I suppose. It also tastes like the tacos I just ate and that's not extremely helpful:)

It does seem to have a dry finish and a mouth pop suggests you should take another drink.

Overall, if I'm ranking this from an enjoyment standpint for a IPA @ 6.7%, this is very drinkable but I would call it a straightforward beer. It does not have the characteristics I want from drinking 2 beers, but may for drinking 4.

I welcome any feedback on how to do this better.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2013 03:48:40 | More by BabaYagaRIS
Photo of Smurf2055


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 laituegonflable


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

Bottle enjoyed at the Hong Kong Brewhouse in Lan Kwai Fong. As I said for Mendocino's White Hawk IPA, can't be sure this isn't grey-market imported to Hong Kong. Apologies to Pyramind if it is.

Pours a pale gold colour with a bit of sediment. Head is a shade darker than white, bit whispy but retains a nice tight crown with slight spots of lace. Bit dull, but OK.

Smells tangy with a big lychee hit. Slight metallic note with citric hint on the back. Bit sherbety and a bit phenolic. Quite pleasant, could use a bit more grounding.

Taste is quite sweet upfront. Big malty oomph with some mandarin and orange pith notes. Gets rich toffee caramel midway before hops take over with more strong lychee notes, sherbet and medicinal phenols. Nice tangy citrus note on the back that gets a bit resiny. Decent IPA but nothing amazing.

A bit sharp; hop oils, possibly carbonation bites a little.

I've had better IPAs; there's potential here for a very nice beer but it seems a bit heavy-handed at some times and underwhelming at others.

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2013 07:15:14 | More by laituegonflable
Photo of WalterHeisenberg

New Mexico

3.65/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bottle aggressive pour into pint glass
A: dark amber nice white foamy head great retention great lacing looks pretty tasty
S: malty floral not too hoppy or more malty than hoppy
T: slight malt up front bitter and bitterer and bitterer yet still malty . It's bitter but malt really stands out. Needs a something not sure what. Heavy hops heavy malt needs something to be a go between
O: It seems to jump back and forth between bitter and malty one or the other needs that something extra. Not bad. Not great you could do way worse but you can do better

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2013 03:59:42 | More by WalterHeisenberg
Photo of Omnium


3.49/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottle > Pint Glass
A - Copperish yellow in appearance, shy of a finger head, minimal lacing.
S - Floral hops, some slightly lemon, big honey aroma, and a slightly offsetting soapy scent.
T - Definitely on the sweeter side of things, some lemon juice, lighter caramel malt, and floral hop bitterness.
M - A tad sticky and sour on the palate, not a lot of bitterness, but just enough.
O - Not too pleased with this, I'd like to try some other Pyramid beers, but this really isnt a good American IPA, lots of honey and sour sweetness that really doesnt make you want to get another.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2013 21:36:51 | More by Omnium
Photo of Jellopants356


3.54/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a solid brass color. Minimal glazed head. Slight lacing. Smells of honey, citrus and some hops. Bright and bubbly to start but ends with a rather odd metallic finish. Rough on the palate. Not really a great IPA, more of a decent pale ale. Ish...lol

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2013 04:29:53 | More by Jellopants356
Photo of spinrsx

Ontario (Canada)

3.71/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz Bottle from Wegmans Dewitt NY for 2$

Appearance - Clear light copper colour with an average size fizzy off-white coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some decent lacing. The head lasted for around 4-5 minutes.

Smell - Hops, malts, caramel, grassy notes

Taste & Mouth - There is an above average amount of carbonation and I can taste caramel and hops. There is also some light grapefruit flavour mixed with a grassiness and an light apricot sweetness. It ends with a dry hop aftertaste.

Overall – Better than the reviews on this site had lead me to expect. It's not one of the more exciting american IPA's, but it is still tasty and very drinkable. It has a few flavours that I would expect to find in an English IPA.. almost like a hybrid of the 2 styles. Worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2013 01:02:30 | More by spinrsx
Photo of sam_bliss


3.18/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

22oz bomber into new belgium globe

A- Clear copper with a one-finger head. Elegant but nothing special, pretty standard IPA fare. Good leftovers on the side of the glassware though!

S- Citrus, pine, and floral hops over a strong malt base. Sweet fruity smell emerges as it get a bit warmer - this may be from esters but perhaps hops I can't tell.

T- A little smoky grain with less citrus than the nose. Tastes fine, plenty of caramel, but the cold temperature, hoppiness, and carbonation make it difficult to pick out specifics. Loads of hop bitterness that lingers on the tongue. Aftertaste is a weird mix of sweet and bitter. Almost like dish soap? I will give taste a 2.75 because there are some great aspects and not-so-great ones all going on at once.

M- Nice body and medium-high carbonation that leaves a pleasant prickle. Hard to judge feel because of the taste leftover after swallowing.

O- Straight-over tackle IPA in the western parts. Not a lot to separate it from the pack but a tasty, drinkable, refreshing hop soda nonetheless.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2013 04:30:02 | More by sam_bliss
Photo of StJamesGate

New York

3.44/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Clingy sandy head that leaves crust rings over an amber body.
Nose is totally dead when cold, some hop dankness and tangerine oil comes out with warmth.
Orange marmalade and overripe peaches with lots of tangerine hops warming to some harsh dried orange rind and wood resin stickiness.
Orange pith ending that turns spicy with warmth and evergreen linger.
Light, soft, some chew, oily.

APA more than IPA to start - the 6.7% is buried. There's some Lagunitas juiciness when cold, making it an easy drinker.
I'd have never guessed Nugget until it warmed up; then the nose came out and some sandpaper bitterness emerges.
Moves from an overly simple if quaffable APA to a rough sappy IBU-fest without ever being a straight IPA or, honestly, a particularly nice beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2013 20:49:55 | More by StJamesGate
Photo of TheMarkE


3.05/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Lots of malt and lots of citrus hops, yet it still manages to come out tasting so-so. Perhaps it’s the type of hops, but it’s just not well balanced. I think they used the “let’s through stuff in there and see what happens” approach.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2013 00:04:26 | More by TheMarkE
Photo of matjack85


4.23/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I found this single 12oz brown bottle at the Binny's store in Bloomingdale, IL, so I made it part of my build-your-own six pack for $9.99. No freshness date.

The beer poured a slightly hazed medium gold color with a 1-finger white head that lasted a few minutes, but didn't leave much lacing.

It has both a fruity and a hoppy smell. I get pineapple juice more than anything else with the hops being both floral and citrusy.

Surprisingly strong caramel malt backbone that stands up to the really hoppy bitterness. Nice mix of pine and orange peel bitterness gets it a respectable 67 IBU rating. Their website says they use 4 different malts in here, but it is the sweet caramel malt that dominates.

Medium bodied with a smooth, almost creamy mouthfeel to go along with lively carbonation.

This is a really good IPA with lots of hoppiness, good balance, and well hidden 6.7% alcohol. I'll have to go back to Binny's and see if they have any more on the shelf.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2012 06:08:21 | More by matjack85
Photo of smcolw


3.7/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Moderate head with excellent staying power. Lots of fine bubbles on the glass and a bit of ring lace. Golden color with a bit of cloudiness.

More malty than hoppy. Strong caramel aroma with little sweetness. Based on the smell, I wouldn't guess this to be an IPA at all--nearly no hop at all.

The taste is a reverse of the smell. Lots of bitterness up front. It intensifies in the swallow and leaves a strong, lasting aftertaste. The malt is quite subdued, although the body is reasonably full. The carbonation is elevated.

If you can get beyond the upside down smell, this is a decent IPA.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2012 23:31:58 | More by smcolw
Photo of TheBrewo


2.83/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

We pour brew of pumpkin orange. It holds a two finger head of whitish bubbles that looks like freshly fallen snow. This retains with excellence, leaving sheets and rings of lacing down the glass. There is a moderate chill haze, with infinitely small flecks of sediment suspended about. Carbonation appears light. The aroma is of adjuncty and chalky grain. There are hints of vanilla bean metallics, and light bubblegum esters. Hops are far off, with light strawberry fruitiness and mild citric acidity. Our first impression is that while there is bitterness, the grain is muddy and cheap. The flavoring opens with bitterness of lemony hops, and huge metallic bite. The latter erases everything through the middle, where echoes of coin and dirty adjuncts bounce around the palate, with little to no cohesion. The hops continue, with cheap citrics and soaps, adding further to the bitterness. We finish on notes of basement mustiness mixed with more lemon and soap of hops. The grain continues, with light herbal qualities, the faintest caramel sugars, and stark adjuncts. The aftertaste breathes of coin and tin foil, light fusel booze with that black pepper bitterness, fermented apples, and general musk and adjuncts. The body is medium, and the carbonation is medium. There is nice slurp, sip, glug, cream, and froth. There is an initial coating to the mouth, with big froth. This drips away, leaving a metallic astringency down the tongue and palate. The abv is appropriate, and the beer drinks fine.

Overall, what we liked best about this brew was the soft, creamy mouthfeel. There is great slurp and froth due, in part, to the nicely retained bubbly head of foam. The aroma and taste, however, were excessively adjuncty, making the beer seem cheap and quick on multiples levels.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2012 23:28:35 | More by TheBrewo
Photo of TheSixthRing


3.78/5  rDev +11.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2012 00:12:36 | More by TheSixthRing
Photo of PicoPapa


3.23/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle. Pours a sem translucent brownish orange with almost no head. Minimal lacing. Aroma is slightly floral with some sour citrus, malts, and bread. The flavor is orange peel up front followed by the malts. Floral near the end. Hints of caramel. Very little bitterness. Mouthfeel is watery and thin. Overall, its not bad but its a pretty pedestrian IPA.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2012 00:43:48 | More by PicoPapa
Photo of jlindros


3.15/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Screw cap bah, pours a fluffy 1 finger head fades at med pace with light lacing, hazy dark reddish orange color lots of sediment.

Nose starts with malts, big malts with caramel, reddish sweet malts, candy, toffee, light earthy candy citrus light fruity hops.

Taste is sweet candy, toffee, caramel, light toasty reddish malt, light candied fruit hops, hint earthy and citrus bit barely. More like bitter red or amber ale not really ipa. Finish is fairly bitter, some spicy earthy hops, more candy toffee malts lingering.

Mouth is med bodied, decent carb.

Overall meh, again more like heavy hopped red ale than ipa, way too much malt, hops are more bittering than flavor, and not the best profile.

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2012 01:04:36 | More by jlindros
Photo of yesyouam

New York

3.95/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pyramid Thunderhead IPA is a hazy, sparkling, deep golden ale with a smooth, dense, off white head that has excellent retention and lacing. It has a pine resin aroma with a touch of citrus peel. It has a very smooth and soft medium body with a dry finish that leaves the mouth a little gritty. The flavor is simple and well balanced with a smooth biscuity malt and a healthy piny bitterness. It has a long, bitter grapefruit peel finish. This is a nice, drinkable West Coast IPA that's nice and bitter, but not super strong.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2012 15:03:34 | More by yesyouam
Photo of mnrider


3.08/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Twist off. Freshness date printed on label

A: Pours a clear light amber. Plenty of carbonation with a large white head.
It eventually settles down to a coaster thin layer.

S: Sweet, fruity malts and mild floral hops. Average.

T/M: Floral hops that are a little over powered by the malts. Still well balanced
though. Goes down smooth and creamy with a good carbonation feel.
The aftertaste is clean and the 6.7 ABV is really never noticeable.

O: An average IPA. The taste brings it down a little as the hops are just not there
for me. It is easy to drink which helps. But still nothing too special.


Serving type: bottle

09-21-2012 18:29:57 | More by mnrider
Photo of cbutova


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 mxchap


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 vkv822


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 scootpolute


2.73/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

1 Pint, 6 FL OZ. bottle into tulip glass.

A - Pours golden-amber, with a nice white head...- some good lacing.

S - Malts and Hops and lots of sweet citrus - some orange & grapefruit tones...

T - HUGE malt flavor and great hop kick at the top, followed by some citrus, then ending with a bit of pine-like spices...with the warmth from the alcohol...

M - Carbination is good...The heavy malts with a fair amount of hops puts this one on the heavier side of medium...

O - This one is OK...The price is right ($2.99 for a bomber for crying out loud!)...I don't think I'll be going back for another, but worth three bucks...Chasin' Cheers :~)

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2012 21:51:17 | More by scootpolute
Photo of ryan1788a5


3.55/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a crystal clear golden/amber color with cascading bubbles. The head is large and impressive. Very creamy and fluffy. It resembles a pillow atop the beer. Retention is excellent. Thin but dense and sticky rings of lacing cling to the glass.

S: Hop scents are grassy and floral with melon rind and slight tropical fruits too. Distinct flash of bubblegum. Hop aromas are balanced by equally present malt scents of grain, dough, and a touch of toast.

T: Leafy and floral hop tastes up front with some oily, green bitterness. That spike of bubblegum hits immediately after, just as it did in the nose. Mild pine needle and resin taste, perhaps a touch of mint. Very subtle hints of pineapple and tangerine play in the background. Malt character is prominent, with grainy and doughy tastes providing a solid backbone. Dries toward the end and finishes with crackery and slightly toasty malt and a tame, oily bitterness.

M: Medium bodied. Very full and creamy/fluffy in the mouth. Scrubbing carbonation lifts it, making it seem lighter than it is and adding some crispness. Great mouthfeel.

O: A tame, simple IPA. Very balanced, and more like what you'd expect from the east coast rather than the Pacific northwest. Its shining points are its approachability and drinkability. It won't excite the veteran craft enthusiast, but it'll do in a pinch. It's a good stepping-stone beer for the novice. Reminds me a lot of Harpoon IPA.

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2012 03:05:43 | More by ryan1788a5
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Thunderhead IPA from Pyramid Breweries, Inc.
77 out of 100 based on 603 ratings.