1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Thunderhead IPA - Pyramid Breweries, Inc.

Not Rated.
Thunderhead IPAThunderhead IPA

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

615 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 615
Reviews: 425
rAvg: 3.38
pDev: 15.98%
Wants: 4
Gots: 11 | 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:
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)
View: Beers (43) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 615 | Reviews: 425 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of canucklehead
canucklehead

British Columbia (Canada)

3.03/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Sorry Pyramid but when you play in the PNW you have to do better than a middling IPA. This beer has the hops alright but no real malt backbone and a real sense of coarseness. Where their Apricot ale was smooth and well made I felt this beer was lacking in care and attention.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2005 02:47:14 | More by canucklehead
Photo of blitheringidiot
blitheringidiot

Pennsylvania

2.7/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Clear amber sunset hues topped off with a ½” of ivory pillowy craggy head cap. A few scant bubbles rising up. Spotty drippy lace.

Fruity aromatic scents rush to the nose. Oranges and apples, mostly define the citrous blend.

First swigs: Malty front with fruitiness in the finish. Tastes like lollipop candy sugars.

Tacky fizzy but sugary thick. Cloying in the finish.

Last swigs: Too malty to me. Could use a freshen up of hops to be a dead ringer for Stone IPA.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2005 03:51:20 | More by blitheringidiot
Photo of Gagnonsux
Gagnonsux

Texas

3.68/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The color is copper with an average-sized head. The starts with a burst of hops which combine with an nice underlying malt body. The hop smell doesn't seem to be quite as strong as it could be, while the same thing can be said for the hops in the taste too. Bitterness is amble, but hop flavor is somewhat low for the style. Still is is very tasty, with a stronger malt body and more balance than the usual IPA. I want more hops, but the lack might have just increased the drinkability. This would be a good choice to convert a new BA to the hoppier side of beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2005 02:37:10 | More by Gagnonsux
Photo of ypsifly
ypsifly

Michigan

4.3/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz twist top dated best by 06/08/05 ink jetted on the back of the neck label, poured into a pint. So I'm eight days late...

Bright copper with a small, white head that falls to a thin layer of wispy foam and leaves random lacing as it goes down.

The nose is mostly piney hops with some earthy malt underneath.

Caramel from the malts followed by a growing hop bitterness. The malt provides backbone as it never really goes away and tempers the strength of the hops. Overall, strong flavors that are balanced. The mouthfeel is good for the style and I could drink this one all night.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2005 06:04:41 | More by ypsifly
Photo of BeerFink
BeerFink

Ohio

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

Pours from the bottle a really nice hazy golden amber hue, with a healthy dose of frothy, creamy head. Typical citrous hoppy aroma, mixed with smooth malt. Taste begins with some bland malt, moving to bold orange and grapefruit hops. Mouthfeel is crisp with medium body. Taste goes back and forth in unbalanced fashion until the drying, nearly astringint grapefruit finish. Not bad, but a middle of the road IPA.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2005 01:55:30 | More by BeerFink
Photo of GClarkage
GClarkage

California

3.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

5/21/05- Purchased at Safeway in San Mateo, CA

Presentation- 12oz bottle with no dating. Poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance- Almost watery golden looking pour with a large bubbled head and light if any lacing.

Smell- I hate to go in with pre-concieved thoughts, but as I expected, this Pyramid brew had that weird skunky kinda wheat scent that all of their brews have (except Snow Cap). Not real bad, but enough to stop smelling.

Taste- Fortunately the skunk wasn't much in the taste like it usually is. Tastes like a perfectly average IPA. Good malt and hop mix. Much more mellow sweet fruit in the hops than pine. Not really any woody flavor at all.

Mouthfeel- Moderate carboation. A bit cloying from the sweeter hops.

Drinkability- I'll pass on this one again. Not because it was that bad, just because I can have better IPA's any time I want. If you like Pyramid brews though, you should give it a try.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2005 17:04:11 | More by GClarkage
Photo of charlatan
charlatan

United Kingdom (Scotland)

3.6/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured amber with thin, rapidly dissipating head from 12oz bottle without freshness date.

Some citrus smell mixed with a hint of something sweeter like date.

I'm not keen on the carbonation here at all. The bubbles seem minute, smaller than pin pricks. The taste reflects the smell (a little citrus, a little brown sugar), with the malt rather prominent, but this has little to offer those looking for major hoppage. This is a rather subtle IPA. As the malt and citrus wanes, a bitterness gradually takes hold, but never grasps me. Its relatively high alcohol content is rather more apparent than one would hope, but despite that it is fairly drinkable and would make a better session beer than many of the more substantial and superior contemporaries on offer in these parts.

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2005 05:06:16 | More by charlatan
Photo of HoboAGoGo
HoboAGoGo

Indiana

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

Poured from a short, fat little bottle. Slightly hazy, light copper pour with a billowing, fluffy head. Smells of strong citrus, could smell faint alcohol, pine needles, a little sweetness too. Sweet malt clings to the side of your tongue as the back of your tongue is worked with hops like a goon works the kidneys. Spiciness follows and decides to stay with you long after the beer has entered your stomach. I liked this beer. One of the better IPA's I've had, and will probably get this guy again, I want to try it on tap, or even casked...

Serving type: bottle

05-02-2005 03:32:10 | More by HoboAGoGo
Photo of alexgash
alexgash

Connecticut

3.63/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly hazy copper apricot with a dense, sticky, cream-colored head. Nose has some toffeeish malts, backed by resinous pine and pineapple hops and traces of fruity alcohol. Not bad. Big piney, resinous, bitter hops up front. Burning the tip of my tongue. Brown sugary malts drop in, but get overtaken by pineapple syrup and some renewed bitterness. Finish is bitter, with whiffs of pineapple and some warming alcohol--perhaps a bit too much. Medium bodied, with a creamy, dry feel. I've had worse Pyramid's.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2005 02:59:31 | More by alexgash
Photo of dauss
dauss

Colorado

3.23/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear golden amber with a hint of orange. A small bone white head with great retention and left a good amount of lacing.

Smell: Absolutely amazing aroma. This is probably the best smelling IPA I've have ever smelled. A huge rush of hops, cirtus and pine. A very slight sweet malt backbone is there. The smell is perfectly balanced.

Taste: Tons of upfront hop flavor and bitterness. A very juicy grapefruit and pine trees come to mind. At first it is balanced by the sweet caramel malt, but then it just overpowers it. The taste is way too cloyingly sweet and gets almost undrinkable.

Mouthfeel: A smooth beer with a dry finish. Somehow the body is thin, even with all that caramel malt.

Drinkability: Way too much caramel. Thats all you mainly taste, so sweet, and absolutely no balance.

Comments: I was hoping for a fine offering from Pyramid. The smell is just great, can't ask anymore from an IPA, but the hops taste is good, but the malt balance is way off. Too sweet and too much caramel.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2005 05:43:49 | More by dauss
Photo of rowew
rowew

Colorado

3.93/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz short bottle. Short beer description on the next, along with freshness info.

Appearance: Orange slightly hazy color with a nice sized white head. Head dissapated slowly and left a nice lacing.

Smell: Mmm .. aroma is definitely dominated by the hops. Citrus and pine smells mainly, with a very slight sweetness in the background (malt?)

Taste: Definitely a west coast IPA - the taste is almost completely hops. Not that I'm complaining. This isn't overwhelming, but definitely hoppy. Clean and refreshing with a nice slightly bitter finish. Nice smooth mouthfeel with a good level of carbonation. This works great to wash down a spicy meal.

Overall impression: I paid $4.99 a six pack for this and can get it at that price all the time. This puts it in the realm of much lesser beers. Not my favorite IPA, but my favorite IPA for this price!

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2005 23:05:53 | More by rowew
Photo of GuinnessSmurf
GuinnessSmurf

Missouri

3.63/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer really glows in the glass - offering a nice orange/brown color. Very appetizing.

It has a citrus and hops smell that is very fresh.

The taste is a mix of hops, apricots/peaches, and a dry ground-pepper finish.

The body is good for washing down food - it is heavy, but not creamy.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2005 18:51:21 | More by GuinnessSmurf
Photo of sprackops
sprackops

Pennsylvania

3.4/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: The usual stubby 12oz brown bottle of all Pyramid's beers. Poured into a nonic Imperial pint glass.

Appearance: A cloudy light brown, bordering on orange when held up to light. The head fizzled out quickly leaving little lacing.

Smell: Typical northwest hop aroma accompanied by fruity esters.

Taste: Somewhat one-dimensional malt character. Quite sweet. While I found the hops to be a bit lacking for the style, they made for a slightly woody, citric presence.

Mouthfeel: A little thin for an IPA, low carbonation. Nothing really wrong here, but I wouldn't call it satisfying.

Drinkability: This beer is unoffensive and easy to drink. Unfortunately, I found nothing remarkable about it.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2005 05:28:20 | More by sprackops
Photo of mattcrill
mattcrill

Ohio

3.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear copper color with a solid ivory head.

Smell: Light citrus and carmel combination which is nicely done.

Taste: Mild pepper, cloves, and pines with a dry and bitter finish. Hints of lemon zest, wheat, and biscuit are noted throughout and give the beer a good foundation.

Mouthfeel: medium and tight. Warming alcohol numbs the lips just a touch.

Drinkability: Easy and pretty solid. Nothing outstanding but good for the style.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2004 00:38:23 | More by mattcrill
Photo of mgdeth
mgdeth

Montana

3.83/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Slightly hazy with nice amber color. Decent head, but that haziness is not too good.

Smell - I pick up a pungent hop aroma. "Floral" does not come to mind, but this is still a pleasant aroma. The smell of malt might be there, but it is hiding in the background.

Taste - Quite a bitter beer, but not annoyingly so. This beer could probably use a touch more malt just to round out the flavor a bit more. Hopheads should like this one. There is even a slight alcoholic warming to the beer.

Mouthfeel - Pretty good. Not thick and soupy, but not watery crap either. About what it should be.

Drinkability - This one is tasty, and putting one away feels good. I'd go for another. At 6.7% alcohol, this beer is no slouch.

Comments - The label of this beer proclains that it is "a powerful beer for bold tastes." This is not far off the mark. The beer is quite flavorful, but there was something about the flavor that didn't appeal to me, so I cannot rave about how great the beer is. Also, the haziness detracts from the score somewhat. Nevertheless, this beer is worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2004 04:47:29 | More by mgdeth
Photo of brewQ
brewQ

Missouri

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.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2004 05:20:05 | More by brewQ
Photo of WetCoaster
WetCoaster

California

3.93/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear apricot gold with a firm, rocky 1.5 finger thick eggshell head with excellent retention. Thick lacing and fine, mild carbonation.

Smell: A nice blend of sweet caramel malt and bright grapefruit rind/pineapple/citrus hop notes. Mildly spicy and peppery.

Taste/Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, on the fullish side of medium, with adaquate carbonation. The flavor is quite nice, surprisingly malt sweet up front, followed by a strongly citrus hop flavor midpalette. Finishes bitter and drying.

Drinkability: Despite Pyramid's sometimes well-deserved rep as a mediocre craft brewer, this is a top-notch IPA, one of the best I've had. Not the hop monster typical of WCIPAs, instead this is a balanced, and surprisingly big, session ale. Very enjoyable brew.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2004 07:10:40 | More by WetCoaster
Photo of Thrasher
Thrasher

Oregon

3.45/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2004 04:38:36 | More by Thrasher
Photo of GeoffFromSJ
GeoffFromSJ

New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up this beer on my road trip to California.

Pours a beautiful amber with a thick head. Lace stays throughout. Smells of Cascade hops. You first taste the non-bitter hops flavor which then goes into a nice hops bitterness. There is a good malt backbone which the hops can hang on. Not as good as the draft version I had on their brewpub, but quite tasty.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2004 01:37:59 | More by GeoffFromSJ
Photo of garymuchow
garymuchow

Minnesota

4.08/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hop aroma that isn't overpowering. Citrus. Little grassy. Somewhat sweet. Something melon in there.
Cloudy. Dark gold. Minimal head that's gone very quickly.
Apropriately bitter start to finish that increased in intensity towards the end. Very long finish of bitterness that washes over and stays on the tongue. Something kind of nice and sweet...that hint of melon. Also just a touch of chocolate in the malt.
Farily intense carbonation at first. This shows softness in time. A little thin.
I like hoppy beers, but this type of betterness isn't as pleasing as I'd like. Got better as it warmed, showing an alternative to the type of bitterness and more hint of malt, in time I liked it quite a bit.

Serving type: bottle

09-26-2004 21:10:43 | More by garymuchow
Photo of ncbrewerbun
ncbrewerbun

North Carolina

3.25/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer poured yellow/orange in color with a definite chill haze. It fits the IPA style. The hops are present in the aroma and the flavor right on through to a pleasant aftertaste. The bitterness comes through nicely.

I think my bottle might have been a little old. It was a decent beer, but It lacked the crisp freshness I like in a good IPA.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2004 02:31:00 | More by ncbrewerbun
Photo of pezoids
pezoids

Pennsylvania

3.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This poured a hazy and light orange color. A thin and boring head topped this off. Small carbonation and small bits of lace clings to the glass. The aroma yields sweet fruits, apricots and tart pineapple. Some tannic notes, apple cidery and cherry pits. The taste is tangy and musty with a bitter fruit malt and musty body. The body is light, but solid. The finish is bitter and tangy. Not bad, nothing extraordinary.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2004 14:18:28 | More by pezoids
Photo of kbub6f
kbub6f

New York

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

Two inches of dense, cream-colored head. Nice. A clear, amber-peach-gold beer. Sticky spots and shapes of lacing. 100% pine in the nose. A little stinky. Stinky pine in the front, too. Almost a little burnt. Middle is sweet and a little oily. Finish is big, piney hops and some sweet fruit. Still stinky and a little cheesy. This is a solid beer in a league of giants.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2004 00:01:25 | More by kbub6f
Photo of usualpulp
usualpulp

Texas

3.58/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an amber like color with a very thin head that dissapates very quickly..

The smell is very good, nice and citrusy, lots of hop smell to it.

The taste is good, but not great, nice hops, but there is a strong bitterness left on the tongue after each drink, aside from that, its nice and fruity with a slight malty sweetness, almost some honey like qualities.

The mouthfeel is strange, very strong aftertaste, and it is slightly thick feeling going down.

Overall not a bad beer, but not great by any means

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2004 01:12:04 | More by usualpulp
Photo of CrescentFresh
CrescentFresh

Texas

3.9/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On sale for 5.99 a sixer, so I had the domestic partner pick up 2.
Quite impressed.
I don't know about the color, as I poured it into a red frozen glass.
Virtually no head, but I don't care as some of my homebrews don't give much head either.
Smelled good and tasted delicious, but nothing too special. It had a Sierra-Nevada type taste (cascade or chinook hops?) to it, but different enough to tell it didn't come from Chico.
A little on the lighter bodied side compared to my favourite brews, but still OK.

4 out of 5 swills.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2004 18:21:43 | More by CrescentFresh
Thunderhead IPA from Pyramid Breweries, Inc.
77 out of 100 based on 615 ratings.