Gumballhead | 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

1,551 Reviews
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Brewed by:
3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Indiana, United States

Style: American Pale Wheat Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
An American wheat beer with a refreshing, crisp citrus finish. This delicious session beer is brewed with boatloads of Amarillo hops.

35 IBU

Added by cretemixer on 04-17-2003

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Reviews: 1,551 | Ratings: 5,785
Photo of brentk56
4.47/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy golden color with a foamy white head that has decent persistance and drops some lacing around the glass

Smell: Dominated by the fresh hop aroma from the Amarillos; powerful stuff, that, with just a modest undertone of wheat in there

Taste: As I let this warm, the beer starts out with both a citrusy and wheaty flavor that, after the swallow, is complemented by a strong lemony blast

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A most unusual but extraordinary brew

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Photo of Doomcifer
4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Disclaimer: I usually despise wheat beers.

Then I tried Gumballhead, due to people constantly complimenting it. Poured a golden, light orange bubbly brew. Decent head that goes away pretty quickly with very light lacing to be left behind. A tad cloudy due to the yeast conditioning. Smelled of lemony citrus and hops. Very pleasing aroma. This is a very unique wheat beer and has much depth; something severely lacking in many wheats imo. When the beer is still very cold, you would swear you were drinking an IPA. Hop bitterness, grassiness, smacking you all over the place. When it warms up a bit, the wheat presence shows it's face and the hops bitterness becomes a little more sweet and citrusy. Mouthfeel is light, slippery, and crisp. Great beer for these hot summer days. I am highly impressed with this offering from FFF, who never fail to impress me. They pulled off the unthinkable, they turned me onto a wheat beer!!

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Photo of doubleipa
3.92/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A bit of a different wheat beer. Had this on tap at KClingers (Hanover). Can definitely smell and taste the hops. Great lemony aroma. Hops adds a little bit of a bite to the taste. Not my favorite wheat, but I'm glad I tried it. Actually has a bit of a hoppy finish.

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Photo of Cresant
2.53/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured this 22 oz. bomber into a weizen glass. Body was a honey golden yellow color. Two fingers of chunky head subsided rather quickly.

Smelled fruity. Fresh hop aroma. As the beer warmed I began to smell the wheat.

Taste was a pleasant tart on the first swallow. Then the aspirin taste of the Amarillo hops kicked in. The hops really obscure the wheat flavor. Like sucking on an aspirin.

Not as smooth as most wheat beers. More raspy and hoppy with less wheat taste than one would expect. Mild carbonation.

Overall this beer is over-rated. I will not buy another. I have liked all other Three Floyds offerings but I would say that the FFF name may be skewing the ratings for this one. If the label said "BUD" I doubt this would rate so high.

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Photo of bjohnson
4.62/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a slighty hazy golden color with a nice foaming white head. Slight retention on the sides . Lots of bubbles coming from the bottom.
S: Huge piney and citrus hop notes dominate the nose. Subtle wheaty malt notes, but the sharp hop presence is very nice.
T/M: Very good hop presence to start off. Pine and ctirus notes come through first followed by grassy hop aftertaste. A fruityness comes through, peach maybe, after it warms. The wheaty malt backbone is noticeable, but not as big as i was expecting. No matter, as I like the hops. Very smooth and refreshing through the mouth with a dry finish to it. Light and fluffy makes this a perfect summer beer. This is the best Pale Wheat Ale available and the best I've had to date.
D: I could probably drink these all day in the sun. Smooth, refreshing, thirst quenching, all with a low abv. Three Floyds has got it figured out.

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Photo of scruffwhor
4.21/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Pours a very bright off amber mixed with a pale light rust hue. Amidst a swarm of bubbles making their ascension to the top trhoughout the entire 22 ounces of beer. Great, thick film mainatins for as long as the bubbling. The best looking APWA yet.

Smell- The strongets hop presence in any wheat beer is in this beer. That is sooo different and I like it. Lots o' Amarillo hops and wheat is an awesome aromatic experience.

Taste- Starts out with mainly hops and a little malt/wheat mix, hard to tell the difference at first. Then the hops settles a little and mixes well with a kind of wheat and crystal lightly toasted crystal malt flavor I've never experienced before.

Mouthfeel- The best bitter tasting APWA I've ver head. very complex palate for a wheat beer. Lots of surprises that were very pleasant.

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Photo of Mdog
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Clear gold, lots of carbonation, big head.

Smell: Strong citrus aroma.

Taste: Lots of grapefruity hops throughout, with a wheat aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Light and crisp.

Drinkability: Really good stuff.

Picked this up a couple weeks ago in Council Bluffs. It lived up to my expectations--hoppy yet light. Too bad 3F doesn't distribute in Minnesota otherwise this could be a constant session beer for me.

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Photo of danielocean03
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz. bomber into two weizen glasses. Appearance is a hazy golden brass-hued amber color with a thin head with a constant ring of white lacing that clings to the glass. Aroma is sweet and hoppy, citrusy notes mainly grapefruit, no real wheat or grain smells present, although may very well be the source of the sweetness I can't quite put my finger on. Taste is very similar to the smell, wheat is exceptionally well hidden behind the hoppiness, and can only taste any wheat in the aftertaste. Tastes much like a milder version of an IPA, maybe a hoppier APA, nothing like any other wheat beer I've had the pleasure of sampling. Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied, lighter end of the carbonation spectrum. Finishes dry and crisp with a slight grassiness from the high amount of hops in this beer. Overall, a very enjoyable and delectable beer that I will definitely purchase again. Yet another fine offering from the good folks at FFF's.

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Photo of Phatz
4.57/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Everything about this beer screams quaffable. It is my one word for this review. Tasty and simply delicious will follow it up =)

Appearance: pours a golden orange color with a smidge of amber dropped in the mixture. It has large bubbles of carbonation rising to fuel a relatively moderate thick white head that fades to a frothy halo. Lacing is minimal but notable.

Smell: It has a juicy aroma of diluted grapefruit (only very mildly pine) with plenty of wheat yeast and sweet -wet bread aroma. A light maltyness lies beneath the grapefruit. Clean.

Taste: The flavor is fantastic, with a grapefruit kick up front that is bold but not harsh as it is immediately followed by sweet juicy apple (almost a bubblegum attribute) and a perfect balancing malt character. It has tones of pine hop flavor (with citrus elements) but with no harsh bites. WOW! How do they do that. Call it an American Pale Wheat Ale if you like but I have never had one like this before. It is hard to describe this taste because I find it more similar to other IPAs I have had, than to any APWheatAles that I am familiar with. The only thing similar is the slight hint of bubblegum esters. But by the time you get to the fantastic finish, which is quite bitter and leaves grapefruit & apple lingering in your mouth, you have almost forgotten about any wheat beer qualities; in my experience.

Mouthfeel: Tight carbonation bubbles combine with the hoppyness to create a prickly sudsy creamy feel that goes down remarkably easily.

Drinkability: This is not even in the same league with any American Wheat I have ever had to date. The hoppy wheat spiciness was completely unique tasty and (Im going to use the word) quaffable! I could drink this all day on a humid summer Saturday while painting the new fence ;-).

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of instrumentality
4.54/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks once again to Lone Hill Liquor in Glendora, CA for making this experience possible.

Poured into a large, rounded mug made of thin, clear glass. Hundreds of tiny bubbles of carbonation swirled to the surface and disappeared into three fingers of fluffy white rippling head that very slowly settled to one finger and stayed there, at least until I started drinking. Body was transparent, color of golden wheat.

The odor was nice and hoppy, similar to an IPA, but with hints of pine, pineapple, citrus, pear, and peach (perhaps not all of the above, but if I were to concoct a smoothie with the same ingredients, I imagine I'd come up with something similar). I had my first Dreadnaught the other day and this one's odor was every bit as complex and tantalizing.

Maybe my taste buds aren't sophisticated enough, but this one actually tasted quite a bit like Dreadnaught as well, only not quite as bitter or as fruity. The odors translated well to my palate.

I know pitting this brew against a Double IPA is somewhat of an apples-to-oranges comparison, but given that I'm a huge IPA fan, I feel entitled to say that I actually think I like this a little more than the Dreadnaught. It tastes slightly more balanced, the aftertaste is cleaner, and the slight reduction in intensity makes it more drinkable and more refreshing. I can taste the alcohol, but it's mild enough to be enjoyable, and the carbonation is just right. No skunky coating left on the tongue, either.

Perhaps a closer comparison would be between this and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. SNPA has been my staple beer for many years, and it will always have a place close to my heart (and my liver), but if all of the places currently serving SNPA on tap switched to Gumballhead, I would shed no tears. Wishful thinking...

This beer is still hoppy enough where I'd have trouble recommending it as a true summer beer to the average person, but it's smooth enough where it stands as a near-*perfect* summer beer for your humble reviewer.

However, my girlfriend, who's not a big piney hop fan, had this to say: "It's not bad, but it's too warm." That's a vast improvement over the face she normally makes when I convince her to try any pale ale or IPA.

The tough part is that $10.99 sticker on the bottle. Still, I will be revisiting this when the opportunity presents itself. And as of today, Munster, Indiana will now officially be part of my route if and when I take another drive across the country.

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Photo of orfeu
4.77/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Review #200.

Peachy gold, miniscule carbonation streams, dense, crater-pocked snow-white foam. Honeyed orange blossom and otherwise variegated citric aromas mix with melon and berry scents. Fierce yet subtly melded hop flavors of orange rind, peach nectar, sugared nasturtiums, etc. I honestly don't taste much in the way of wheat, but there's some sort of sturdy but definitely understated malt bill going on here. The cool thing about this beer is that the hops are definitely the star of the show, so the malt just gets out of the way, playing a strong but demure supporting role. But the hops are anything but brash. They're just all summery floral and the like. Light and airy mouthfeel, goes down substantially enough but remains devastatingly refreshing. I am so goddam jealous of those of you out there with regular access to this beer (not to mention other Three Floyds offerings). I had to drive to freakin' New Jersey to get this bottle! Aah, but it was worth it. Excellent beer.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.77/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer is exceptional. It pours a nice dark golden, with no haze, but also very little head. The nose is very nice- some nice crisp hops and some pronounced fruitiness. The taste is amazing, some nice hop bitterness and spiciness up front followed by a surge of juicy fruitiness that tastes almost like a gumball, followed by a nice clean but full wheat finish. The mouthfeel is rich for a wheat beer and a little less crisp than some, as it coats the mouth a little, but still quite good. I could drink this all night. The flavor keeps pulling you back for another swallow. Unique!

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Photo of blsfreak
4.63/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is quickly becoming one of my favorites. The taste is amazing, the smell is great, it has a amber color that looks inviting...I have nothing bad to say about this beer...Is is such a shame it is a seasonal beer, I could drink this year-round. It is nice to know there is a keg at the bar waiting for me to get off work, makes my day!

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Photo of Realale
3.57/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Incredibly clear pale gold. Disturbingly clear really, particularly for a wheat beer. Bright white, extremely fine head settles pretty quickly to a complete cap, leaving good lace.

Nose is Amarillo. A whole heaping hell of a lot of it. Very intense, but not particularly interesting. No sight of any malt, wheat, yeast, or anything else. Some peach, some fir, some pine tar, and a lot of green leafy hoppy goodness.

Thin side of medium in the mouth. The palate seems to belong to another beer alltogether. Neat trick to have a nose so hoppy, with a somewhat balanced palate. Disappointingly, there's not a whole lot going on in the palate, but at least it's balanced. There's a light maltiness of the crisp, crackery variety, and a lingering graininess balanced nicely by good light hop flavor. Finish is quick, but leaves a fuzzy feeling on the tongue.

Pretty highly carbonated, and it comes across a bit harsh, as if they've monkeyed with the mineral treatment. Definitely easy to knock back a few of these, and a fine companion to bright summer day. Kudos to FFF for making a moderate-alcohol beer with a big hop presence, but I'd prefer more malt to balance it out.

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Photo of westweasel
4.59/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22oz. bomber bottle.

The appearance is a bright yellow/gold, straw-like color. It has about a 1/2 inch, bright white foamy head. The aroma is wonderfull. It is the clean, crisp, grapefruity smell of Amarillo hops. The scent is so strong that it was obviously dry-hopped.

The taste is also great - a light but hoppy flavor. The main taste is definitely grapefruit. It is somewhat bitter, but without being overpowering. The mouthfeel is light and refreshing with a somewhat dry finish.

This is an extremely drinkable beer, especially on hot summer days. Very enjoyable. It is the only beer I can think of where a little burp after drinking tasted as good as the beer did going down.

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Photo of bditty187
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Faintly hazy or am I being susceptible since I read the label? The liquid *is* rather clear. Tawny-gold in hue; it is a lovely color. White foam, at the apex the head was two fingers tall. Head retention wasn’t very impressive as after only a moment or two all that remained was a thin, soapy cap. I’d expect a wheat beer to have better head retention. The subsequent lacing was so infrequent it is really pointless to note it. Overall, the appearance is fair teetering on average.

The nose is very hoppy. The first time I smelled this beer I thought it was sinfully one-dimensional, all I could smell was dank weed. It got boring quickly. This go-around, under better conditions, I still smell some bud but the undercurrents of citrus and pine/flowers really round out the hoppy aromas nicely. I don’t detect any maltiness nor are there any signs this is a wheat beer. This disappoints me greatly. What is the point of touting this as some hoppy-ass American Wheat Ale if I can’t smell the wheat? If I want a hoppy beer from 3F why not just get some Alpha King? The hophead in me is happy, it is very inviting and I can’t wait to take a sip. The side of me that likes wheat beers is sad. The part of me that likes complexity and depth in the nose is worried the palate will get boring. Needless to say I am conflicted about the bouquet.

Again, the first time I had this beer I couldn’t detect even a hint of wheat. I was so bummed. All I could taste was marijuana and a kiss of pine. Boring. I was ready to right this beer off. I couldn’t wait to rip this beer once I opened another bomber to review it. Well, the palate does show the slightest bit of wheat at the end, near the swallow. This does save the day but 90% of the flavor profile is hops and nothing but hops. I love hops but what is the point of brewing a hoppy wheat beer and completely hide the wheat? It almost seems this is some kind of overzealous backhanded smack against all the insipid American Wheats on the market. The hop profile consists of bud, citrus, pine, and a splash of flowers. I get a hint of orange peel too. It is vaguely fruity at the finish. That is about all this beer has to offer. It is a hop bomb… a not very bitter hop bomb. Wow. That’s it? I am totally lost as to why this beer is so esteemed.

Medium in body, soft prickly carbonation, the mouthfeel is quite pleasant really.

I like the fact this beer is so flavorful (but not complex) and low in alcohol. This is a true session beer aside from the fact it is almost $7 a bomber. I like this beer on face value. I think this beer is very lame once I deconstruct it. I can’t help but think what is the point? If I want an American Wheat beer I want, well, wheatiness to be prevalent. Likewise, if I want a hoppy beer I know where to look (APA, IPA, etc…) plus it’s not very bitter. So, Gumballhead is a wheatless American Wheat with tons of hops? Why? See, now I am just ranting and going of the point. This is a very drinkable beer. Enough said. I am happy I finally tried it. I purchased by bombers in Council Bluffs, IA.

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Photo of WeisGuy
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a - bright golden color, one inch white head that virtually disappears, moderate lacing on the nonic

s - very interesting smell, not at all that of a wheat ale, very strong citrusy hop aroma that dominates any kind of wheat

t - as the smell would suggest, citrusy hops dominate, quite sweet after the initial bitterness, long mildly bitter finish, I'm now a big fan of amarillo hops

m - not much carbonation evident, light-to-medium bodied, dry finish

d - I think I could keep drinking this all night, especially at 4.8 abv, the only problem might be the dry finish wearing out the palate

As other reviewers have said, this is no pale wheat ale, much more like a pale ale or ipa with its intense hop taste. The combination of amarillo hops and the wheat make this a unique beer. If you're in the mood for a wheat beer, maybe go for something else, but I'm reaching for this over any true pale wheat anyday. I'm very excited that Gumballhead has finally made it to Iowa!

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.53/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It's kinda silly to call this beer a Pale Wheat Ale. It's not accurate and it's not fair. It's not accurate because this beer is certainly an IPA with an American wheat / barley malt base; whereas most IPAs have a standard barley malt base only. It's not fair because this beer is hands-down a better beer than any other Pale Wheat Ale that I have ever drank. Calling this beer a Pale Wheat is misleading and completely over-hopped for it's style. The alcohols show an interesting evaporative cooling effect without much drying. The hops, although pleasantly citrus, adds a mild dish-soap flavor that becomes distracting as the beer warms. Though I can see why so many BA's rate this beer so high, I'm not going to get carried away with the hype.

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

Hard pour gets you several fingers of white, rocky, big-bubbled head that fell, but never gave up the surface of the beer. Label warns that refermentation will result in a cloudy beer, but mine was clear and bright golden yellow.

Smells like hops, of the piney Amarillo variety, and little else. Some faint bitter orange. Somewhere near the bottom of a glass I caught a whiff of bread. Hello, wheat, eh?

Tastes like the hops, with more orange and a better feel for that wheat.

A wee bit watery, but that's even better for the sun. I could've gone for a bit more carbonation. Hoppy like a pale ale, but it plays well at a refreshingly low temp. This stuff is summertime gold. And I just drank my only bottle. Better stock up. There's a lot of July to go.

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Photo of hoffman
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

The fabled gumballhead. A nice beer...pours up crystal clear honey gold color with a frothy all white lacing to speak of but a nice cap on the beer. The smell is predominately piney hops, not what I expect from a wheat beer but intriguing, also a bit of dry grain and some buttery notes...diacetyl? The taste is good not awe inspiring but good light malts up front, citrus and pine in the center, and a nice hop kick followed by some oily grain aftertaste...decent. The mouthfeel is too watery for me....the smoothness of the flavor is overshadowed by the watery texture. I do have to say that on the top level..for all folks this would be a mighty quaffable could drink these all night and keep coming back for more...enough endearing features to keep me coming back again...if I could pick this up in a seasonal six pack I could convert some macro drinkers in a hurry.

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Photo of plaid75
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a light copper hue with a one finger white foamy head. Good retention and lacing.

The smell was very aromatic citris hop. There was a good yeasty element as well.

The flavor was very clean and refreshing. Excellent citris hop balanced by a strong biscuity backbone. Clean doughy aftertaste. A very unique and hoppy wheat ale.

The mouthfeel was light and clean, but with a little to chew on.

Very drinkable and refreshing. An excellent all seasons ale. Thanks to orbitalr0x for this gem.

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Photo of dogfooddog
3.9/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours huge head in a pint glass...nose is very hoppy, floral with a bitter note that was not present in their other beers, presumably a different hop mix here.

Odd taste - bitter hops up front, with hint of sugar/sweetness. While I assume wheat accounts for the sweetness and excessive initial carbonation of the beer, the odd taste profile, while pleasant, is certainly going to be an acquired taste for repeat sessions.

fades into a bitter finish.

Excellent quality product, kind of weird. worth trying.

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Photo of ski271
4.42/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazy orange-amber with a small, white, creamy, mostly diminishing head. I didn’t read the label first because I don’t like to first try a beer with any preconceived ideas about the beer. So all I read was the front, “Gumaballhead, Three Floyds, Wheat Beer.” Yeah, wheat beer. So of course I was shocked when I took a whiff of this stuff and got bitch-slapped by some serious hops. NOT what I was expecting. Once I regrouped and knew what I was smelling, and took some time to really enjoy the wonderful citrus and piney hops aromas supported by some nice, bready, caramel malts… and THEN the wheat, which is pretty far in the background of the nose. In the taste, there’s more of a wheat presence here than in the aroma, but still not very strong. There’s a good marriage of bitter citrus and sweet malts going on here. The light flavor of wheat brings along a little bit of bubblegum toward the finish but is quickly pushed aside. It has a medium body, dry texture and light carbonation. This beer was a very unique and wonderful experience. Surprisingly easy-drinking for as hoppy as the aroma is. Wish I had more than 1 bottle of this stuff. Thanks to hero27 for allowing me the pleasure of trying this fine beverage.

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Photo of rabsten
4.74/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22oz bomber from Leo's Carryout: poured into a Samuel Smith pint glass. Dead-on amber. Cloudy. Khaki head that disipates quickly. Not much lacing.

Bright, floral aroma. Lightly perfumed with malt. Very nice.

Combines and ESB maltiness with an english IPA hoppiness. Sweeter than either. Very balanced.

Crisp and round at the same time. Perfectly balanced. Feels good to drink.

Very high drinkability. I could drink another right now.

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Photo of DrJay
4.54/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear gold with a frothy white head. Decent retention and a fair amount of lacing. Very fragrant, powdery citrus hops (kind of like crushed up sweet tarts) dominate the aroma, with fruity and piney character as well. Aspirin bitterness with fruity hops and smooth sweetness from the malt and wheat. Fruity bitterness lingers. Moderate carbonation provides a bit of crispness while the body was a little heavier than I expected, but still light enough to make this a highly drinkable beer. The balance was great and the flavour profile was quite unique. Very enjoyable.

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Gumballhead from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
4.21 out of 5 based on 5,785 ratings.
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