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Thunderhead IPA - Pyramid Breweries, Inc.

Not Rated.
Thunderhead IPAThunderhead IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

652 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 652
Reviews: 428
rAvg: 3.38
pDev: 15.68%
Wants: 4
Gots: 20 | 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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 652 | Reviews: 428
Photo of luvND
3.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not a lot of head and what was there wasn' t long lasting. Nice orange color. Nose is not up to par with the better IPAs. A little thin and not enough malt to stand up to the hops. I think I taste and smell corn? Aftertaste isn' t too bad, bitter. Actually quite drinkable for the alcohol content (6.7). Overall, not a bad beer, but there are a lot better IPAs out there.

Photo of dfried
4.1/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is mainly a cloudy golden in color, with a slight head, not much lacing. The smell is pretty good, quite hoppy, all range of hop scents but mainly citrus. The taste is quite balanced with hops and pale malt, as with the smell there is an array of hop flavors. I wouldn't quite put this in the 'hop bomb' category, close though. Very solid IPA, I am sure I will try it again, but it doesn't wow you.

Photo of PuckLSHS
2.97/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This was the first beer of the night for me. I was interested to try it because of my days living near Pyramid in Berkeley. I just overshot this one during my "I am not a huge fan of the hops" days in college.

The beer poured an odd copper hazy color. Not a normal pour for an IPA, but an interesting new look. I got an overwhelming head on the pour which I was expecting after seeing the amount of carbonation in the beer.

The smell was citrus hop and it lasted for quite a while. The beer was rather strong on the nose.

Taste was a bit much with the citrus. What kind of citrus was hard to tell, but I am guessing grapefruit. There was a spice to the finish, but I would guess that to be from the hop characteristics.

Mouthfeel was fine. Normal amount of carbonation for a pyramid beer.

This beer was drinkable, but not my favorite, by far. I would pick a Sierra over this beer any day and twice on Sunday, but it worked for the tasting on this Memorial weekend.

Photo of shererjt
3.7/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a slightly hazy, pale copper with light-to-moderate carbonation and a very pale tan head. Nose was overwhelmingly citrusy hops and that's about it. If you don't like grapefruit, stay away! Some earthiness was there too. Body was medium. Had lots of hop flavor, a fair amount of bitterness, and enough malt to hold it all together. Mouthfeel was lively, and the drinkability was also above average.

I am not a hophead and tend to prefer balanced beers. This, however, is a darn tasty American IPA. Pick some up if it's hops you're after.

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

After trying Pyramid's signature Apricot Weizen, I thought I'd give their IPA a try, since I'm a fan of the style.

The beer pours cloudier than most IPA's, with a light color and little head retention. It's smell is not particularly overbearing, but fruity with a noticeable hoppiness.

The taste is slightly sweet and very hoppy. It feel nice and tastes good, but the aftertaste is a little bitter for my liking. The bottle says "Way back when, IPAs were loaded with hops to stand up to oceans, elephants, finicky Colonists, and spicy curries." That's clever; and the beer speaks volumes as far as a statement in hoppiness goes.

Photo of leedorham
3.13/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I was about to buy a sixer of Deschutes Obsidian Stout and bought this since it was on a good sale. I am not prone to buy IPA's in the first place but being in the state of Washington I feel obligated to try them all.

Pours a honey amber with strong head and lacing.

Lots of hop smell with deceptive sweetness in the background.

Maybe it's what I've been eating but this is super bitter for me. I almost get the impression of lime peel bitters in the taste. I can't really appreciate much else in the flavor because of the bitterness. Still, it feels good going down after the initial taste and I appreciated it more at about 2/3 full.

Photo of Boto
3.58/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Draught: This one pours a hazy orangish color. There is a decent sized off-white head with a bit of lacing. The nose is predominantly grapefruit and orange hop aromas. The body is a medium malt possibly leaning a hair to the lighter side. The taste of the hops (grapefruit, orange and a hint of pine) are fairly prevalent. Decent enough IPA, but not great.

Photo of kosmoraios
2.95/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Although this is a good ale, I'm attempting to be objective to rate it in the context of the style, rather than as a stand-alone rating.

Pours a foggy orange-copper color, with a minimal head that leaves small bits of lacing. The aroma is rather bland for an IPA, but there are the characteristic floral hops and a tinge of red grapefruit. The taste is also somewhat bland for an IPA that claims to be "bursting with hops". There's just no burst here. It's almost like a slightly watered-down IPA. I detect a hint of sour green apple among the floral hoppiness, and the hop taste is not "fresh". It's like they used hops that they had left over from last year. I don't know what the IBU on this IPA is, but it's not what it should be in my opinion.

The mouthfeel is ... please forgive the overuse of this adjective ... bland. Not acidic enough. Not carbonated enough. Maybe I got a bad bottle, but it just didn't "do it for me" as far as an IPA is concerned. Give me Dogfish Head's 90-minute or Breckenridge 471 any day over this.

Drinkability is not too bad, since you can drink these like water if you want to pound some beers .. but I can think of better (and cheaper) session ales.

All in all, not a *bad* beer. It's actually quite good. But for an IPA - just doesn't meet the standards of the style.

Photo of BDTyre
3.56/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hmmm...looks good, feels good and easy to drink. Amber orange with a good head. But the smell...it is very faint. Mostly hops. Very little malt. Taste is a bit better: a very powerful Pacific Northwest IPA akin to Phillips, but more one dimensional. Mostly hops with almost no malt to balance it out. This is better, but not unenjoyable. However, the mass amount of hops ends up giving this a bitter, metallic finish that causes this to lose a few points in flavour.

Acceptable, but not the best. I know there are better PNW IPAs out there...I'll track them down on my upcoming trip to Seattle.

Photo of RJLarse
2.98/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I picked up a six-pack of Thunderhead IPA to taste review and enjoy. I poured this beer in to a pint tumbler.

Pours a nice clear gold color, with many bubbles streaming through the beer. It appears to have more than average carbonation. A rich, two finger, white head composed of large bubbles forms and quite resilient. The foam laces the glass nicely, and there is a skiff of foam on the very last swallow.

The smell is very floral with fruity esters. The nose detects the hops right away, along with citrus notes. The smell of malt is not there.

The taste is predictably all about hops. There is a strong grapefruit flavor. The taste of malt is not present. There is a delayed bitter aftertaste that is moderately unpleasant. The aftertaste materializes with air in the mouth, a couple of breaths after the swallow. It can be killed with another swig of the beer, and maybe that is the point, but the aftertaste is still a bit of a problem.

Mouth feel is light and crisp and the beer has a real zing to it.

This is a drinkable beer. It may not be a great IPA but it is certainly an average one. The aftertaste is a bit of a drawback, the beer might do well with a fruit garnish like lemon, maybe even salt to kill the bitterness, or it could be paired and served with food like salted crackers and tasty cheese.

NOTE: I really like the label on the current bottle (not the one shown on the BA website/. The multiple shades of green and yellow pyramids, clouds and the bright white lightning bolts are very appealing.

Photo of goochpunch
2.44/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Pours a light orangey amber with a tiny thin ring of "head." Pretty pitiful. Smell is of hops and not much of a malt backbone. Hops smell grassy mostly. The flavors are of weak malt and weak hop flavor. There is a decent amount of hops in this, but it's just the bitterness I get and none of the other character. Mouthfeel is moderate, leaning towards a fullness, and the carbonation is subdued. I really have a hard time with this as the hops are just there to show their bitter muscle and none of their flavor.

Photo of karst
3.74/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a amber with 1 finger head on a rough pour. Quick fall to brief cap and stays naked for the duration. Best by 04-14-06 dot matrix on neck ring a little blurry. Aroma is the most outstanding part of Thunder head. Strong citrus (cascade hops and perhaps some amarillo) hopping with some appricot aroma backing up a dry hop - cascade aroma. The malt base fails the taste test in this IPA. I find the Body light and the mouthfeel almost watery. Carbonation a little on low side for the style. Although drinkable, I would not go out of my way to seek it out.

Photo of akorsak
2.84/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I am drinking a 12 oz bottle poured into a Hennepin goblet. The ale is chilled.

Appearance: The ale is an orange color with some hazy sediment in the glass. There is a little bit of lace around the mouth of the glass.

Smell: What smell? I don't find anything here that would suggest an American IPA. I pick up a bit of a malt aroma, something like a English pale ale.

Taste: This cames across more like an Amber than an AIPA. There is no discernible hop bite or kick, nothing that would suggest the 'Bursting with Hops' claim on the label. The ale is smooth, and what little hops are there do not taste bad, they just are not forceful enough.

Mouthfeel: The ale is very pleasant in the mouth. As it resembles an amber or plain pale ale, the low-level hops are good.

Drinkability: The ale is surprisingly drinkable. Consider it a pale ale only and you'll be fine.

Overall, Pyramid disappoints again, taking a great concept and dumbing it down a bit.

Photo of tgbljb
3.73/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured a deep, slightly hazy, amber color with modest white puufy head. Sparse lacing on the side of the glass. Taste is hoppy, with some fresh some fruit also found. Slight strange metallic taste also present. Taste is strong on hops with a slight background maltiness. Finish is a pleasnt bitterness that beckons for another taste. Nice drinking beer.

Photo of chakadrum
3.05/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Head cleared fairly quickly. Smelled of light hops and some yeasty-ness. Very little lacing.

Good carbonation. Strong bitterness with the initial taste and aftertaste. Almost too bitter.

I enjoy a good hop-bitterness but this feels a bit unbalanced and comes off harsh instead of great hop taste.

I don't think I'd drink this beer again just because it feels harsh instead of enjoyable.

Photo of clabaugh
3.65/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Clear orange body with some ruby red tones. A bubbly head of off-white gurgles out of the body. Fine retention, with some vigorous lacing.

Smell: Pungent hops with a floral character. Sweet, nectarlike aromas exude from this beer. Some biscuity malts garnish an aromatic dish wherein hops are the feature.

Taste: Hoppy bitterness that is more medicinal, and less floral, than the smell reflects. Well-balanced nonetheless, as a doughy biscuit malt flavor emerges. Leaves a rather strange, synthetic aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Bitter, but not quite biting. Apt carbonation with a medium body. Somewhat lip-smacking.

Drinkability: Easy to imbibe, and some potential in the flavor department. Odd aftertaste, with some unnatural taste properties. Doesn't leaving me craving another, but satisfying in any case.

Photo of BeerBuilder
3.3/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

There are two entrys in the db for this beer. I think this one just has a new label, but since my bottle has this label I'll use it as well.

Pours to a clear deep golden color with an off-white head that diminishes almost right away to a ring. Has a bit of spotty lacing however.

The aroma is of light citrus hops , a bit grassy, with a caramel malt back.

The flavor is slightly citrus, a bit spicy with a light caramel malt back.

It is medium in body, and drying in the finish. The bitterness is there throughout, but it isn't working. I was hoping for a better play with the hops. It's alright, but nothing too exciting.

Photo of John1985
4.02/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The ale pours a deep yellow gold with a measly white head that vanishes quickly, some white lacing did develop though. Nose had an aroma of fresh hops. Taste was excellently balanced between malt and hops. Flavor was definitely accented on the hops side. Briskly bitter aftertaste but this was also drinkable. At $7.49/six this was reasonably priced and certainly the best I've had from Pyramid.

Photo of HardTarget
3.66/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle Inspection: Best before 02 17 06 (sampled late on 03 25 06)

Aroma: Perfumed rich sugary based citric floral hops with a twist of orange rind

Appearance: Deep hazy amber with a fast dropping head that forms a thin cover. Disappointing given the style.

Flavor: Hops are firm and citric, but very little of the sweet base noted in the nose. It seems upside down from smell to taste, going from sweet to bitter. Citric orange rind taste is pleasant but a bit astringent, and late in the glass I noted some tea flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, almost crisp with little oil given the style.

Overall Impression: Ok, almost enjoyable, but needs more base to really shine.

Thanks to Pegasus for the sample.

Photo of nortmand
3.39/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very light Amber, almost straw colored. White, unexciting head.

Resiny pineapple nose. Subdued to the max!

Sweet up front, similar to Nutra-sweet. Grain midtongue. Aftertaste is bitter rubber in the back and metallic up front.

Thin bodied, but not terribly unpleasant, this beer needs some improvement if it wants a permanent spot in my fridge.

Photo of Tupperwolf
4.2/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received at Pyramid brewhouse in Seattle. Clear amber, a few rising bubbles, with a fizzy white head that soon dissipated and left just a little lacing behind.

Smooth malts are present, as is a citruisy, building oily aroma of hops. There's a definite floral quality as well; Not a hop bomb, not a weak IPA.

Wow! It really takes a lot to get a five out of a regular IPA from me - A standard IPA usually doesn't satisfy when I'm in the mood for hops, but the taste of this is incredible. It's not that it's overly hoppy, it's that the flavor of the hops is outta this world. They're fruity, floral, and citruisy all at once - an extremely bold, mouth-filling oily wonder. Fantastic!

Crisp and oily all at once - slight carbonation, just enough to notice - very mouth-filling, with a nice finish, lingering just enough to get you back in for more.

Final thoughts - wow! Quitre a distinct and delicious IPA. I'm more impressed than I expected! :)

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 danielharper
3.62/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Purchased from Strong Bros. Liquor, Fayetteville, TN.

Reviewed and notes taken 3/9/2006. Verbatim notes follow:

"Orange-yellow body, thin almost nonexistent white head. Strong malty aroma with nice notes of hops. Same with taste, slight astringent aftertaste. Very fruity flavor, nice grapefruit. Moderate mouthfeel, quite drinkable."

A decent enough IPA, I suppose, but I've had a lot better. Nothing much more to say.

Photo of Shultzerdugen
3.41/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. brown bottle with no dates.

Clear copper/amber with a small white head.

Sweet candy tinted malts dance with pine and citrus notes in the nose. The smell reminds me of a few DIPA/Imp. IPA's I've had.

Medium-light body with moderate carbonation. Grapefruit notes right from the top. Goes super bitter into a peppery, lemony finish that is super long and, yes, super bitter. The bitterness brings to mind the flavor of biting into a lemon or clementine orange seed.

I'm all for bitterness, but I want some damned flavor along with it! The nose was super inviting but didn't deliver the taste it implied.

Photo of warmstorage
1.64/5  rDev -51.5%
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.)

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Thunderhead IPA from Pyramid Breweries, Inc.
77 out of 100 based on 652 ratings.