Hammerhead Ale | McMenamins

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41 Reviews
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Hammerhead AleHammerhead Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
McMenamins
United States
mcmenamins.com

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.93%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-09-2003

BEER STATS
Reviews:
41
Ratings:
131
Avg:
3.56
pDev:
20.51%
 
 
Wants:
0
Gots:
25
For Trade:
0
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Reviews: 41 | Ratings: 131
Photo of velosuds
3.65/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Thompson Brewery and Public House in South Salem. Thought this was more like an amber than an APA. Either way, a fairly unremarkable beer.

A-Presented with about a one inch head. Beer was a slightly hazy orange amber. Decent.

S-The Cascade hops are readily evident, contributing a pleasant citrusy/spicy aroma against the malt bill, that was more reminiscent of an amber.

T-Malty sweetness is definitely the most prominent, which made believe I was drinking an amber. Sufficient bitterness to be an APA, but the hops didn't contribute much to the flavor.

M-Was a little thin and not adequately carbonated.

O-Very mediocre and won’t have again.

 661 characters

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.08/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours a dark, cloudy orange with an average sized white head. Solid retention and rings of lacing left on the glass.

S - Not much here. Some carmel sweet malts, slight floral hops, and that is it.

T - Sweet malts, grass, leafy.

D - Good carbonation, medium body.

O - Average all around. Zzzz

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Photo of PDXHops
3/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at the Edgefield in a shaker pint. Just getting around to reviewing this after having it countless times over the years. Dark, slightly hazy amber with a modest off-white head and scattered bits of lacing.

Smells of buttered brown sugar toast and caramel, light citric and earthy notes. A smoothish brew on on the thickish side of medium-bodied. Loads of caramel malt with just enough citric, earthy and spicy hops to keep it from getting bogged down. Not especially memorable, but always serviceable.

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Photo of isualum12
2.62/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

First had: on tap at McMenamins Pub, Oak Hills in Beaverton Or

Poured orange with a haze through it. It had a white lace on it.

Smell was appracots and hops.

Taste malts hops with hops winning out in the end. Nothing that will blow your tastes buds away in my opion.

This was a dry beer. I couldn't drink 2 or three in an evening.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.33/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at McMenamins Pub, Mill Creek, WA

Poured a dark amber with a small white head that receded to a fine layer of bubbles. Caramel malts in the aroma and some crisp hops coming through. Similar taste, with a pretty decent balance of malts and hops, but nothing overly distinctive. Light-medium mouthfeel with a decently dry finish; fairly drinkable.

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Photo of jmbranum
4.2/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice hoppy American Pale Ale. Nice dark honey colored liquid with a slight haze.

Excellent balance of rich malt and hops. Brown bread and copper notes matched with both floral and bitter hops. Dry at first but leaves a lingering sweetness.

Very drinkable. nice medium mouthfeel.

(enjoyed on tap at McMenamin's Six Arms in Seattle)

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Photo of RJLarse
3.33/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at the Spar Cafe in Olympia, WA.

Pours a copper/brown and hazy. Small foamy whitw head.

Smellis faint with a sweet breadscent. Smells short on hops.

Taste is a pale ale with sweet bread caramel and cinnamon flavors.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and clean. The beer is mildly carbonated.

A nice average drinkable pale ale.

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Photo of djbreezy
3.68/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance - pours a darkish amber, good head and retention, medium lacing

smell - mostly malts, some hop aromas

taste - a very balanced apa, could be more hop forward but the bready notes are very tasty, has some decent pine/pineapple as well

mouthfeel - good carbonation, consistent, excellent body

drinkability - very balanced apa, good flavor

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Photo of chumba526
2.6/5  rDev -27%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appears amber.

It smells of caramel, grapefruit and grass.

It tastes initially citrusy; there is a mild caramel flavor, a slight pine like taste. It does not taste bad but it is lacking in flavor. Also the caramel flavor is a little weird and metallic. This would be better ale if it had a larger body.

The beer has medium carbonation.

The drinkability is ok. I could drink a few of these.

This is not bad ale though I think the ale could be cleaner tasting and that the flavors could be a little stronger. Overall this is slightly below average.

 554 characters

Photo of Offa
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a good, solid, well-rounded pale ale that I had on tap at the McMenamins' Ram's Head in Portland.

Red-amber, it has a thin, off-white head soon thinning to a thin ring.

Aroma is light citrusy hops, some grapefruit, light caramelly fruitiness, light floweriness, but a bit muted and weak.

Taste is nice, zesty-flowery hop with citrus but not too much, jammy with firm orange marmalade, balanced with light caramelly-raisiny sweetness and light toasty grain stronger in the finish. Taste profile leans to the hoppy, but in bitterness and sweetness, it is fairly balanced, leaning slightly to the sweet side. Overall, character is a bit basic, lacking depth or complexity, but the character has enough balance and firmness while it is very drinkable.

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Photo of Docer
3.51/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Just filled a growler.. but it's basically fresh off the tap....

- Dark semi-cloudy ruby copper color... thin later of white head down to a thin cake of fine foam.

- Sweet malts, English malts... nutty... bready... yeasty.. light citrusy and floral hops.... but malt dominates the nose.

- Sweet bready grains, nutty flavor.. smooth caramel, balanced with a nice bitter touch of hops with a shallow blend of citrus and floral qualities. Certainly balanced and smooth.

- Medium bodied... slightly creamy.. light bitter dryness.

- Overall a staple beer of theirs... it's been around for ever. Does it hold up to a lot of the craft beers out there today? Barely... but it still holds its own.

 696 characters

Photo of Magpie14
3.35/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: deep hazed copper color, looks like pennies in a glass. No head just a thin ring

S: thin floral and grassy hops, touch of caramel

T: kick of hops, caramel and malts sit way in back. Medium to heavy hop profile. Overall the hops are prominent, but the brew lacks in overall complexity

M: mild body, medium carbonation

D: hops hit you and not much else, hops reminiscently stale to some degree. Nice average-plus pale ale and by far the best showing I have had from McMenamins

 481 characters

Photo of carln26
3.97/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark mildly hazy copper with a thin head. Toffee caramel aroma with a stiff citrus grapefruit character. The taste has a nice bitterness throughout. Dark caramel with a grapefruit orange finish, light herbs. Slick and smooth mouth feel good drinkability. Hammerhead opened my eyes to the Northwest beer scene almost 10 years ago. It’s still the APA I use to measure others, and it never disappoints. Enjoyable, and drinkable.

 426 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.58/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy amber color and is topped by a frothy, three-finger thick, light tan colored head. The aroma is sweet and redolent of crystal malt as well as hop notes of orange peel and grapefruit. The aroma is definitely dominated by hops, though it is certainly not as full as say an IPA, which it shouldn't be.

The beer has a solid hop bite to it up front that carries through to the finish. The finish also has a slight spritzy note that tastes like orange zest. The beer is only lightly sweet, but has a fairly full mouth-feel driven by crystal-type malts. These malts add a bit of balancing sweetness and caramel notes, which, while not that noticeable under the hop character, certainly helps in balancing the hop notes. The hops gives this a certain zippy twang that is quite nice, but in the end something seems to be missing from this beer. Perhaps the malt could be a bit more clean.

 895 characters

Photo of brendon
4.3/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cask conditioned is the way to go with this flagship McMenamins brew. This is why God created the Cascade hop. For only using a single hop this ale achieves a tremendous balance of bitterness, aroma and taste. The cask-conditioned serving provides the best cabonation, just enough and the right temperature. The crystal malt balances well with the hoppiness. This is a gold-standard Northwest pale ale.

 402 characters

Photo of charlatan
3.66/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I never would have guessed this was a pale ale, but I certainly enjoyed it.

This was cloudy and I can best describe its appearance by saying that it looked like cider. Not what you Americans would call hard cider, but the non-alcoholic grungy apple juice stuff. There was little head to speak of.

I was unable to discern any smell.

If I had to fault this one I'd complain that it was too watery, which is a standard complaint with McMenamins brews for me. Otherwise it was delightful. It was sweet and malty (pale ale? where are the hops? what is going on here?), but in a rather unusual manner which I can't quite put my finger on. This is very possibly one you have to drink to comprehend.

 700 characters

Photo of clvand0
3.97/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Came in a 22oz bottle. Poured an amber color with a small head and left almost no lacing on the glass. The aroma is mostly hops with citrus being the most prominent. The flavor was full of hops as well. The citrus is apparent. Slight bit of spice. Finish is bitter and clean.

 275 characters

Photo of GreenWBush
3.57/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

As I sat drinking this beer in Eugene Oregon I couldn't help but think that the world is slowly being dupped into the hazy area between IPA and Pale ale. Handed to me blind, I would have guessed this beer to be an IPA with the possible exception of the wateriness. That said, the Umpteen IPA on-tap at the same time was about equal in mouthfeel.

This beer is slightly grainy on the palate with an initial and final rush of hops. Middling are the sweet hints of malt, book ended and overshadowed with the ubiquitous Cascade lemon blast.

Personally, I would find this beer best reinvented as a lower alcohol cask bitter. The wateriness is rather annoying. I feel the only thing that put this one slightly ahead of similar examples is the inherent freshness of on-site brewing.

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.42/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is nice. It pours a nice golden orange color. The nose is great. There are nice citrusy hops in the nose with a bit os the sweet malts in the background. Tasting this one is a treat. The taste goes citrusy hops, sweet malts, with a nice hop finish that doesn't linger but fades nicely. This is a fine beer. The beer is moderate to thick, with a nice balance of carb. Drinkability is very high on this one. What a nice beer.

 433 characters

Photo of SheepNutz
4.29/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber poured into a pint glass. It pours a medium amber color with one finger of head. There is almost no lacing on the glass. The smell is full of citrusy hops, and lots of em! A nice strong hoppy character never hurt nobody! The taste is a good balance of caramel maltiness and juicy hops. Just a little bit more on the hoppy side, which is awesome. The body is rock solid. The drinkability is great as well. A nice APA.

 429 characters

Photo of ngandhi
3.51/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Hammerhead Ale is one of only a handful of American pale ales I've encountered with such a long, telling nose. Everything is there in all its forms. Hops, of course, in all their grapefruity glory, but also a tinge of caramel and a creaminess -- if you can smell creaminess -- from the yeast.

And, as the nose grows bigger, the truth wears weak and thin. The palate is destroyed by a watery body that does nothing to accentuate the hops or malt. Instead of going the way of some thin pale ales and giving us a disgusting hop tea, this beer seems aware of its own ineptitude, raising the white flag before we even go to war. There is some buff to the beer. In the midpalate the body seems awakened, soft and filling. But then the flavor itself is too thin, washing out to nothing more than afterthoughts of dried hop flowers and an old bar of nougat.

What is there is pleasant -- classic PacNW tropical/grapefruit Cascade profile that is almost noble, softer than other notable Cascade beers like Sierra Nevada Pale; light grain on the finish to round out the beer; delicate caramel for color, body, structure, and just a hint of residuals in this otherwise overattenuated beer; a creaminess as satisfying as any APA; and a perfect 1/8-inch head that won't quit.

But if there is a single identifiable element to this beer, it is the mire of its mass production. Anyone could make this beer. Anyone has.

Relax, relax.
ng

 1,432 characters

Photo of henrysunset
3.21/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Slightly darker than mac&jack's; brownish unfiltered amber. Nice tan head. Smells just like a clean IPA with only a noticable hoppy scent.

Taste was hoppy with a twang of citrus. Flavor resembles that of an IPA, but it has a a less clean taste, with a slightly wheaty flavor as well.

Since it isn't filtered, it has a nice and sorta thick texture. All said, pretty nice, if only a bit too acidic.

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Photo of MrNuggets
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Burnt orange colour with a one finger white head. Hoppy odor with a dash of citrus. Hops on my tougue backed by some malt. Light citrus flavors up front, grapefruit and orange, a drawn out crispness on on the pallet. But then im left with an almost grassy after taste. I wouldn't call it unpleasent, but at the same time it kinda makes me think twice about taking my next sip. Easy drinking pale ale which is great for getting hammered!
The growler will not survive the night!

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Photo of ManekiNeko
4.22/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber served lightly chilled in a pint glass.

Appearance: Cloudy orange amber topped by a large and thick offwhite head. Visible carbonation helps the retention of a thick layer of foam. Lacing typical to the style was left on the sides of the glass.

Smell: Wonderfully fruity smell of orange and grapefruit citrus. Undertones of spruce and gummi bears. Peppery notes. That's just the hops. Pale malt aromas pick up their head every now and then.

Taste: Hoppy, but not aggressively so. Bready malts in perfect balance with snappy citric and peppery hops. Lervely. Long-lasting bitter hop aftertastes and belches.

Mouthfeel: Solid medium body with nice crispness. Quite refreshing.

Drinkability: Session beer for sure. I can see why this would be a top seller for them as it's an exemplary pale ale of the West Coast sort. Would go great with pub fare like fish and chips.

Other: A big thanks to my coworker for schlepping this back from Oregon for me. Dude's gonna get married in a brewery/vineyard. How cool is that?

 1,042 characters

Photo of RedDiamond
3.93/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Hammerhead is a pale ale that McMenamins boasts as their top selling beer. It features a fragrant aroma derived from Cascades hops and a satisfying bitter finish. It is carnelian in color, clouded and translucent, and pours headless with sporadic trails of pale lace.

The flavor of hops is less emergent in the taste and more prominent in the aftertaste. In fact, the belch of this beer is truly inspiring, as if the gastric process enhanced the hop character. Remarkable.

The malt profile holds the hop aloft, but deftly steps back to give hops the last word. The result is a taste that is bitter but clean.
Hammerhead is a fine representation of an American pale ale. It is a highly drinkable and satisfying beverage that begs to be shared with friends.

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Hammerhead Ale from McMenamins
3.56 out of 5 based on 131 ratings.
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