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Thunderhead IPA - Pyramid Breweries, Inc.

Not Rated.
Thunderhead IPAThunderhead IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

633 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 633
Reviews: 426
rAvg: 3.38
pDev: 15.98%
Wants: 4
Gots: 16 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 633 | Reviews: 426 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of loganmule
4.15/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer ratings obviously depend on the personal preferences of the individual, and in fairness, I must identify myself as a hophead. That said, here are my comments.

Pours out of the bottle and into the glass to show a nice amber, with a small but resistant head.

What some might mistake for "skunk" is in fact the heavy hops scent. It carries over to the taste, which is all hops from beginning to end, with a light citrus flavor somewhere in between. Dry bitter finish, as one would expect with a highly hopped IPA.

For those who have tried them, this beer is what I'd expect if I mixed a Three Floyds Alpha King with Anderson Valley's IPA, Hop Otten'.

The alcohol content of just under 7% is hidden by the massive flavor. Not for the faint of heart, but a very good brew for hopheads.

loganmule, Dec 16, 2003
Photo of DrunkMcDermott
3.43/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

My bottle, from a friend's cellar, was date-stamped 3/99, so here's how well it has aged: Very flowery/estery smell when opened. Pours a slightly cloudy amber body, thin head but leaves a little lacing. Taste is actually closer to a thin barley wine; maltiness overwhelming the mellowed hop profile. Holds up well if stored carefully, but I wouldn't recommend keeping space for it if you have some Bigfoot.
I opened a second, equally old bottle and got more of a big hop aroma and taste. Alcohol still very noticeable, almost like a barelywine, and more of a citrus note as well. Take this as a cautionary on well a good beer keeps.

DrunkMcDermott, Dec 03, 2003
Photo of maxpower
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.

maxpower, Nov 11, 2003
Photo of Fabric8r
3.4/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This seems to be the typical IPA, although I have certainly tasted better. Simple flavors - Hoppy hopped with hops and more hops. Sort of a harsh hop flavor that makes one eye squint. But, a little of that is expected with this stye. I did try mixing this with Pyramid's Coastline for a pretty good brew.

Fabric8r, Nov 04, 2003
Photo of Nytemare
3.7/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a hazy light orange color with a decent head. Some lacing. Plenty of carbonation. Strong hops presence in the nose with some grass, earthy herbal, pine smells mixed in. Couldn't detect any malt in the nose. Tasted like it smelled. Overwhelmingly hoppy, with some pine, grass, earthy presence. Some malt in the flavor, but not much. Really comes in quite weak. Not bad, but hops really dominate. Crisp in the mouth. A little high in carbonation really gives it a bite. Personally, I've had better I.P.A.'s, but if you're looking for a cheap alternative, this is a pretty good deal. Would drink again.

Nytemare, Oct 31, 2003
Photo of winomark
3.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Label said enjoy by 7/9/03...Sampled on 10/17/03.

Appearance: Hazy copper with a nice white head.

Aroma: Hoppy, spicy, and citrusy on the nose. Some malt backbone present.

Taste: Thick malt and hops that balance out the brew nicely.

Mouthfeel: Coating, but the hops give nice bitterness and balance.

Drinkability: Overall good, but wish I had a fresher bottle. Some loss of carbonation and the hops were starting to fade. Will try again.

winomark, Oct 19, 2003
Photo of Riggo
4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a coppery-orange with a creamy light-beige head that remains in a thin cap. Good lacing. Big grapefruit aroma, with pine oil, yeast, bubblegum, apricots. Flavor is hoppy (cedary) and fruity (orange, grapefruit) with a bitter backnote of high abv and hop astringency. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. Drinkability is somewhat hampered by the heavy abv "bite" and astringent dryness. A certain harshness to the aftertaste here detracts a little from an otherwise characterful American take on the IPA.

Riggo, Sep 21, 2003
Photo of elmocoso
3.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The color of Burnt gold. It came to the table with no head but a slight collar.

I couldn't rouse much of a smell out of this one. Seemed to be a little too malty smelling to qualify as an IPA

The taste was decent. Seemed to be all hops and bitterness.

mouthfeel was average, but for as session beer, i could see putting a few of these down.

elmocoso, Sep 11, 2003
Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +33.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is an excellent IPA! It poured a nice, glowing orange color with a frothy, white head. The aromas are of ringwood yeast, and glorious hops. There is also some subtle malt tones in the aroma as well. The taste is hoppy, yet very well balanced, with a malty, yeasty finish. The mouthfeel is great, as is the drinkability. This stuff is the closest thing that I have found to Magic Hats' Blind faith...and since I cannot get that afforementioned brew in PA. This is a good replacement for me!


francisweizen, Aug 26, 2003
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.73/5  rDev +10.4%
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.

WVbeergeek, Aug 21, 2003
Photo of BrianJ
3.85/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased as part of a mixed sixer, poured into a pint glass. Short brown bottle with attractive green label.

Appearance: Looked like kind of a muddy brown as I poured it, but it settled into more of a straw color. A little more pale than a lot of the IPAs I've had, but then IPA's are supposed to be pale aren't they? If not we'd just call them IAs. Not much head or lacing, but I don't necessarily expect one from this style.

Smell: This is strange... the first time I sniffed it I thought I smelled hops and kitty litter. The computer is abut 5 feet from the litter box so I assumed that the cat had just been in there and I'd wait for the smell to dissipate and sniff again. I noticed that the cat was nowhere near the box. I tried 4 or 5 more sniffs, it was the same every time. This one smells to me like hops and slightly used kitty litter. Oddly it's not at all unpleasant. Slightly used kitty litter is unpleasant. Why it smells fine when mixed with hops I don't know, but I think I may start putting hops in Pixie's box. Do hops harm cats? I digress...

Taste: Hops dominate. Very slight malt taste on the front and a strong hop bite on the back. It taste like a very well executed, if unspectacular IPA. It doesn't stray much from the style which is both good and bad, but mostly good.

Mouthfeel: A little more carbonation than I'd expect, but otherwise just the right amount of chewiness.

Drinkability: I could down quite a few of these. Some of my favorite IPAs start to leave a hoppy taste in my mouth long after I stopped drinking, but this one has a clean finish.

Overall this is a very solid IPA. It compares nicely with standards like SNPA, though I'd probably choose the SNPA over this one. I'd have no hesitation to get some more of this one.

BrianJ, Aug 15, 2003
Photo of granger10
3.5/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one's pretty mellow in the hops department considering it's an IPA. But I like that. The hops are still the dominant flavor but other flavors (sweet flavors) are also there. It's also stronger in alcohol taste than other IPA's I have tried. Very well carbonated and somewhat thick in body. A good mellow IPA.

granger10, Aug 08, 2003
Photo of bditty187
4.1/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Semi-clear, golden-amber in color, served with a large off-white head, good retention… produced some webs of lace. The nose is hoppy with grapefruit rind and a touch of pine… there is little malt influence, its rather straightforward, potent, and inviting. Tasty palate, perfectly bitter, hoppy, slightly acidic, grapefruit rind, pine… a hint of distant caramel malt in the background. Its not balanced… one-dimensional… its all hops, full-throttle… this is not really a negative (I suppose)… lacks complexity… a few tweaks away from being outstanding. Medium-full body, moderate carbonation… dry leafy, piney finish… somewhat brisk but “more-ish” at the same time. Ideal abv. I was pleasantly surprised with this Pyramid product, I’d drink it again… try one.

bditty187, Jul 22, 2003
Photo of BitteBier
3.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

An attractive, deeply golden-orange color with 3/4" of tight, off-white foam after a very aggressive pour. Some carbonation is visible, and the beer turns less hazy as the bubbles and the head fade away, which happens quite quickly. Typical IPA smell of bitter hops with not much else going on. Taste is similarly hopped up with a distinctly bitter grapefruit flavor. But as with the smell, the taste is monotone. I like bitter hoppiness, but it would be better if complemented by stronger malts or some spice. Mouthfeel is flat, which is what happens to this beer once the head fades away. This is one of Pyramid's better beers, but by no means a top-notch IPA.

BitteBier, Jul 13, 2003
Photo of Indybeer
3.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Poured a hazy orange color with very little head. Aroma is muted. I expected more hop aroma from a IPA. Slight citrus hidden in there. Taste is all hops, with just a faint hit of malt. Mouthfeel is good, and this is a well balanced beer. I've only found a few IPA's that I really enjoyed, and would have again. But not this one.

Indybeer, Jun 25, 2003
Photo of jeffboo
3.55/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep golden color with a smallish white head. A mild aroma of citrus hops (grapefruit) and chewy malt. The flavor leans toward the chewy malt with some grapefruit flavors and a sharp bitterness in the finish. This is a bit too sweet for my taste, it's a medium to full bodied beer with a very solid malt base but could use more hop flavors to balance this out for me. A decent but not quite balanced IPA for one's who like it a little sweeter.

jeffboo, Jun 19, 2003
Photo of drewbage
4.05/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at the Pyramid Ale House across from the Mariner's Stadium.

Beer pours pale yellow with copper highlights and a tight white head.

Amazingly aggressive and herbal hoppy nose with barely discernable toasted malt behind it. Flavor is clean and crisp with an initial malt cleansed by a bitter intense hop bittering finish.

drewbage, Jun 11, 2003
Photo of Reidrover
4.1/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ok comes in 12 oz brown stubbie..usual Pyramid label.
THis is one nice looking beer..nice slightly hazy orange colour with a large frothy pure white head..thennit shrinks but still leaves good lacing.
Nice fresh hoppy aroma..very spicy
MM nice smooth IPA yet still has plenty of hop "bite " at the end..very "zingy" indeed..I also detect a faint malt flavour
Most adventureous on the tongue.
Very drinkable IPA..I was surprised I had come to expect nothing much from Pyramid..this is the best beer of theirs I have tried so far..good brew.

Reidrover, Jun 09, 2003
Photo of freed
3.98/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deeper amber coloring for an IPA with a very nice, dense head. Unique hop aroma like that of drying hops; very green. Bitterness is sufficient and compliments the malt well. The malt is nice and shows off the citrus of the hops. Though a strong IPA, you'll notice its affect on you before you notice the alcohol taste. Great after-work beer.

freed, May 11, 2003
Photo of TXHops
3.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

-Original Gravity: 1.069
-Final Gravity: 1.019
-ABV: 6.7%
-ABW: 5.2%
-Attenuation: 71.7
-Real Extract: 6.95 P
-Calories per 12 oz: 229
-Malts: 2-row, Munich, Caramel, Carapils
-Hops: Tomahawk
-IBU’s: 67

I’ve always been a fan of Pyramid’s IPA. It’s typically fairly affordable around here, and it’s a wonderfully hoppy beer. Back when there seemed to be a lot of IPA’s that just weren’t, this one was a mainstay for my hop jonesing…

This IPA is of the “classic” looking variety—hazy and orangish with a lovely, very smooth white head of immeasurably small bubbles, which have a strong affinity for lacing down the side of the glass. According to a fascinating lecture I once saw Roger Protz give, the original IPA’s were brewed with pale malt and brewing sugar only; no body-building Munich, Caramel and Carapils malts. Still, without the ready availability of multiple months aboard a slowly-swaying vessel to complete secondary fermentation, I’ll gladly “settle” for kilned malts as mouth-fillers.

The nose on this IPA is big and hoppy of course, but there’s also a nice undercurrent of caramelly malt sweetness to keep things interesting. The softly-carbonated, but firm body starts out with a solid shot of vinous, hop resin. The Tomahawk hops, a variety I don’t knowingly encounter very often, taste quite American—citric and slightly pineapple-like, but also different. Apparently this is the first Super Alpha that was commercially grown in the US. I found that they imparted a pretty citric nose, but a more herbal flavor in the finish. Anyway, after the hoppy start, and the sweet, malty, caramelly middle, the end of this beer grew into an herbal, slightly alcoholic bitterness.

Like I thought when I first discovered this beer a few years ago, I find it to be a solid IPA with enough hoppiness to satisfy a strong craving and enough sweet maltiness to lend the necessary complexity to prevent the beer from being totally one dimensional. I’d like it more if the maltiness had enough yeast interaction evident to induce some estery complexity, and I thought that the herbal, vinous hop quality mingled with the slight alcohol presence to create a very slightly unpleasant bitterness in the exceptionally long finish. Still, this is an outstanding beer and one I recommend highly.

Update--Afte the last two 6 packs I've had of this stuff, I have to edit down my score for taste and aroma. There's too much of a green, vegetal quality in the nose and in the mouth. It's especially evident when tasting side-by-side with other IPA's. Still a solid, hoppy offering, but with flaws.

TXHops, Apr 09, 2003
Photo of tavernjef
3.95/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Coppery color with lots of bubbly action giving out to a small, light, off-whitish head.

Smells a bit oily of fresh hop resin with slight citrusy, orangey/graprefreuit tang and pulpy juiceyness.

Taste is of mildly oily hops and some sweetness leading to a smooth slightly bitter finish of tamed orange pith and grapefruit oil.

Feel is about medium with a malty smoothness, less bite then most IPA's, bitterness is clean and mild and well in check as its tendency is towards an oily side.

A decent IPA. But nothing to outstanding.

tavernjef, Mar 21, 2003
Photo of Gusler
3.5/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A crystalline amber color crowned by a brilliant white head that is creamy in its texture, as the head evaporates it leaves a sticky and moderately thick sheet of lace to obscure the glass. The aroma of the hop flower present as is the malted grain, quite citrus crisp and pleasing to the senses. At the front sweet, the top middling and the finish spicily hopped and a touch acidic, but not overly so, droughty aftertaste and a pleasant beer to drink and enjoy at the end of another days work.

Gusler, Dec 10, 2002
Photo of aaronh
3.58/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours with a thick, off-white head that leaves a nice lace. The aroma has a hint of malt underneath floral hops. The first taste reveals an assertive hop flavor which mellows to reveal some malt character on sucessive drinks. Very pronounced citrus flavor. Pyramid claims 67 IBU's for this beer, and I believe it. Very hoppy. The mouthfeel is very full and the finish is rather clean with a hint of a hops aftertaste. Due to the slightly heavy hop profile and the ABV, I would not drink a bunch of these in one evening, but it is a good, agressive IPA.

aaronh, Oct 14, 2002
Photo of putnam
3.63/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

As second, much better sample. Hop-steeped liquid. Texture is silky and holds the fresh hop notes well. Generous, chewy, bright, citric and mint taste dominates but does not overwhelm. There are rumblings of canola and nuts. The finish is medium in length. Foursquare.

putnam, Sep 26, 2002
Photo of marc77
3.75/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light copper hue w/ a light haze, topped by a thin, but dense head that manages loose lace. Assertive citrusy hop nose w/ hints of mint accompanied by a light caramel sweetness, buttery malt as well as mild biscuit in aroma. In flavor, an initially sharp hop bitterness mellows then yields to a strong caramel malt presence. Toasty grain provides a dryish counterpart to the malt sweetness along with the assertive hop bitterness. Moderate and dextrinous in body, with well calculated carbonation to help facilitate a smooth mouthfeel. Hop flavor is expectedly citrusy, albeit one dimensionally so. Finishes w/ dry breadiness and a hint of butterscotch lingering. Pyrmaid IPA is a well crafted, enjoyable IPA w/ a solid malt backbone to support the hops. It's just a tad one dimensional and not particularly imaginative.

marc77, Sep 21, 2002
Thunderhead IPA from Pyramid Breweries, Inc.
77 out of 100 based on 633 ratings.