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Thunderhead IPA - Pyramid Breweries, Inc.

Not Rated.
Thunderhead IPAThunderhead IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

651 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 651
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: 651 | Reviews: 428
Photo of mgdeth
3.79/5  rDev +12.1%
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.

Photo of brewQ
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.

Photo of WetCoaster
3.91/5  rDev +15.7%
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.

Photo of Thrasher
3.5/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.23/5  rDev +25.1%
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.

Photo of garymuchow
4.07/5  rDev +20.4%
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.

Photo of ncbrewerbun
3.22/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

Photo of pezoids
3.54/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

Photo of kbub6f
3.36/5  rDev -0.6%
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.

Photo of usualpulp
3.59/5  rDev +6.2%
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

Photo of CrescentFresh
3.89/5  rDev +15.1%
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.

Photo of beertaster13
3.83/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice golden dark yellow with hints of orange layers. The smell is strong on citrus hops and syrupy malts. The taste is an explosion of hops wich I like in an IPA, however the sweet malt is to rich and almost overpowers the hop in the end. Caramel and syrup tones are throughout and the citrus bitterness is only a front. A medium bodied IPA, not bad from a pyramid offering.

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

12 oz bottle

Beer poured a little lighter than I am used to with an IPA, being light but cloudy, almost like a wheat beer.

Smell was typiciall citrus fruity with not much else.

Taste was sharply hoppy characteristics but very little else. An unbalanced beer in my opinion. A nice effort, but not all that noteworthy.

Photo of hobbes2112
4.08/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle

Pours golden/straw with large white head. Good retention on head, stays around almost until the end.

Smell is hoppy, citrus and the William and Mary campus in Williamsburg VA. I have no idea what that last smell really is, but I can only remember smelling it at W&M while visiting. It is a good smell though.

Taste is crisp and very hoppy, some grapefruit and pine. The hops in this one are great, just like they should be for this style.

Mouthfeel is good, carbonation is enough to really push the hops in your face and the body is just right for the taste.

I was really surprised by this beer, I have seen it on the shelf for years and never tried it. As a very affordable hop fix, I will buy this again and that is certain.

Photo of woemad
3.41/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

<Edit 1/23/06: This is now called Thunderhead IPA. This made me think it was a new IPA from Pyramid, so I grabbed one. The label is now lime green with bolts of lightning striking the familiar Pyramid Pyramids.>

Bottle purchased at Huckleberry's in Spokane for $1.09.

Poured a hazy orangey copper color with a big, fluffy white head. Lots of lace.

Smell was pretty much just citrusy hops. No malt whatsoever greeted my nose. It didn't bode well for the balance.

Taste was slightly better than the smell. There was a tiny maltiness skulking in the background. The hops are totally out of proportion here. It's not horrible tasting if you like hops, but it wouldn't hold much appeal to anyone who isn't a hardcore hophead.

This is a rather lightbodied ale. I think it could use a little bit of thickening up.

This could make a decent "lawnmower" beer, so long as the drinker is a fan of hoppiness. It's fairly cheap, and being Pyramid, it's easy to find, at least in my neck of the woods. Otherwise, there are plenty of better-balanced IPAs out there.

Photo of watermelonman
2.71/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This poured to a nice bright color with a good head, and it's leaving a nice lace in the form of thin rings without too many speckles. It looks pretty good.

Unfortunately, its looks seems to be its high point. The smell is overly hoppy but still has hints of cheap grains. The taste is similar. It's full of hops and not very well balanced.

It feels fine in the mouth but it's not something that I'm drawn to.

Photo of allboutbierge
3.82/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My first IPA in over four months...damn did I enjoy it.

Color was copper orange with vibrant and lively hues topped with a thin and light white head. Aroma was heavy in citrus notes, primarily tart grapefruit. Citrus and floral notes show up in aroma as well as flavor. Taste is that of a firm IPA that is heavy in bitter flavors. They slightly overwhelm other typical IPA flavors but the I for one enjoyed the imbalance. Mouthfeel is slick and silky. Very enjoyable.

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

A nice looking amber brew with an OK head that provides some light lacing. The nose is loaded with hops in the front, more malt as it warms. The flavor is light and flavorful grapefruit that is more of a sweet grapefruit than tart. Good feel from the medium body and decent drinkability from an otherwise high ABV beer. Very nice overall without being one of the greats.

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.

Photo of DrunkMcDermott
3.4/5  rDev +0.6%
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.

Photo of maxpower
1.99/5  rDev -41.1%
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.

Photo of Fabric8r
3.45/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

Photo of Nytemare
3.67/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

Photo of winomark
3.42/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

Photo of Riggo
4.02/5  rDev +18.9%
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.

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Thunderhead IPA from Pyramid Breweries, Inc.
77 out of 100 based on 651 ratings.