Gumballhead | 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

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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: 1,535 | Ratings: 5,696
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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Photo of Graham21
4.07/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Golden in color with mild head that left a trace of lacing.
The nose is hoppy, piney, ctirusy (Grapefruit, lemon. orange).
Tastes of hops, wheat, malt, and your citrus flavors shine threw for this tasty brew, not to mention the almost honey like after taste. The carbonation was good, the mouthfeel was great and the drinkablilty excellent. I really enjoyed this wheat beer from 3F and I thank DOC Jordison from Tucson for sending it up to ames Iowa for me.

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Photo of RedHaze
3.98/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a mildly hazy orange with a fluffy two finger head that fades slowly to a very thin, spotty cap. The thin ring that's left behind leaves quite a bit more lace than I expected.

Smell; mmm....hops, and lots of them for a wheat beer. Pine and citrus smells come floating out of my glass, as well as some mild hints of caramel malts. But where is the wheat in this wheat beer?

Taste; those piney and citric hops are right there in your face, but I like it. The sweet malts definitely make a nice appearance, once you let this warm up a bit. The wheat is more felt than tasted, and lightly at that, which gives this a close to medium bodied mouthfeel. This reminds me more of an APA or IPA than it did of a wheat beer, but despite the lack of any wheat flavors, I still like this offering from Three Floyds. I just wish it felt and tasted more like a wheat beer.

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Photo of vtfan77
4.38/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A- Bright golden color with lots of carbonation and a nice white head. Lots of bubbles swirl throughout this appealing looking brew.

S- All about the hops here. Heavy on the pine with a touch of citrus. Malt is unnoticeable until the beer warms a bit.

T- Delicious hop character upfront with a nice orange-like citrus taste. Ends crisp and wheaty. Fantastic!

M- Medium-thin mouthfeel, goes down smooth. Nothing spectacular here.

D- Incredibly drinkable. Not only is it delicious, but only 4.8% ABV!
A perfect session beer and the quintessential summer brew.

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Photo of crwills
4.52/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Fantastic! So disappointed I only had one bottle. This has to be one of my all time top brews.

Pours a dark, cloudy gold with a nice big head. Looks great. Aroma is very IPA-like, with lots of grapefruity and piney hops.

Flavour is restrained but complex. Smooth, hefe-like mouthfeel but IPA-like hops. The combination works beautifully, and is as balanced as it can get. Aftertaste is well balanced as well -- neither feature of the beer stands out, but rather they combine into something unique.

I look forward to seeking out a greater quantity of this one, for sure!

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Photo of denjen
3.82/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Dennis: Three Floyd's is a very frustrating brewery for me. In many way I want to love them, but in other's they just exasperate me so much it's not funny. For example, I can get a bomber of Hog Heaven by Avery for $4.99, meanwhile I could drive to this brewery and I'm paying almost 6 bucks for this brew. That's the main reason we haven't tried so many of their other brands. That and, so far almost all of them have exhibited the same hop combination. Don't get me wrong, the first time I had dreadnaught or pride and joy I was exuberant, but i'm looking for a little diversity here. At 5%, this is a super, uber hoppy wheat beer. Tastes great, goes down super easy....but at the price I think it's just overrated.
Jen: From first whiff I knew that this was going to be different. I don't normally expect to smell hops, but that is all I could smell. Although shocked, I was looking forward to my first sip. All I could taste at first was the hops, but after I swallowed, I got a definite taste of wheat and a slight honey that was fun. This may be low in ABV, but it is definitely good. Light and crisp and it goes down smoothly.

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Photo of SacoDeToro
3.97/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ahhh... Another solid beer from 3F - they can do no wrong.

This beer poured a deep golden color with a small white head.

The aroma was full of Amarillo hops with notes of sweet wheat malt in the background.

The flavor of the beer was much richer than other American style wheat beers I've tried. The maltiness had an interesting note of honey sweetness, perhaps from the atypical red wheat used in place of white wheat - as in most American wheat beers.

The hops were citrusy and well developed for a wheat beer, but not overpowering.

The mouthfeel was light-to-medium and reasonably dextrinous. This helped the beer to feel fuller than most summer seasonals, but not too heavy.

The carbonation was just right and added a good bite to this summer brew.

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Photo of 51mmz0rz
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Medium golden color, nice white head, but fleeting. The lacing sits on the top, and sticks to the glass nicely.

S: Sweet wheat smell, and hops.

T: Hops, wheat, really nice bitterness, some sweet flavors, and a bunch more I just can't put my finger on. Really, good.

M: Nice full feel, with moderate carbonation. This and the hops make my thonge tingle and mouth water.

D: Really tasty and not overpowering make this really drinkable.

I really like this beer, and it had some complex flavor, though I wish it was a bit more balanced. I will be buying this again though, no doubt.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Found this at McMenamin’s

This beer came a simple pale copper color with a thin film of white head that left a little lace behind.

Smelled of sweet oranges, a bit of orange rind, and a brown sugar and marshmallow malt with a touch of dry pine.

The flavor began with a light dryness that crept along the edges of my tongue but then produced a red grapefruit flavor with some sweet wheat and oats and a touch of honey.

The mouth feel was light to medium bodied and pleasantly smooth with a light and tingly carbonation.

This one’s light, creamy and very easy to drink.

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Photo of villainchiwwin
4.37/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured from 22 oz. bottle into xtra large pint-glass-shaped vessel
golden amber color with a modest head; some lacing. attractive couple of central carbonation columns rising lazily.
nose held honey, sugared fruits (orange, peach, and apricot - also a bit of apple and pear), faint malt and clove.
taste: sweet candied fruit medley dominated by orangey taste with minor hint of clove that rises a couple notches as simultaneously bitter and tangy huge hops aspects come forward and power thru the finish with lemon. some residual graininess too.
oily light-bodied texture starts out syrupy-smooth and gets huskier with aggressive crispness that isn't over-the-top.
delicious but puckering and big for a wheat beer, limiting consumption possibility.

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Photo of Brent
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a standout in the class. Crisp wheat malt flavors with a touch of citrus. Bold hopping that balanced nicely against the malt for a sharp, refreshing finish. Perhaps the best example of a highly hopped wheat ale I've run across. Hard to find a beer with this hopping and still a low abv.

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Photo of PartyHatjo
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Golden yellow, ample white head, though dissipates quickly.

Aroma: Orange, lemon...typical citrus of the amarillos they put in there.

Taste: Citrus orange and lemon hits you first. The wheat comes through surprisingly well for this hop bomb. Definitely fresh hop taste, you can almost taste the hop oils.

Mouthfeel: Medium body backs up the hop bite very well. Not overly bitter. Oiliness seems to come across more on the back of the tongue.

Drinkability: Definitely wouldn't have issues slamming down a couple of these brews.

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Photo of BillyB
4.47/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy burnt gold. Slight white head that quickly disipates.

Aromas of pine, citrus and vanilla.

Taste is slightly biscuity and nutty wheat with a solid citrusy hop balance.

Light bodied, smooth and crisp. Incredibly drinkable.

I think Gumballhead is almost as cool as Fritz the Cat.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
3.46/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Appears like an American filtered wheat with a milky white head up top. Rapidly diminishing, but still retaining a presence.

S: Smells of amarillo hops, nilla wafers with a touch of cedar. Zesty.

T: Lots of low level bitterness. Creamed wheat maltiness with a smack of lemon citrus which adds a slight sour twinge. Biscuit aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied, smooth carbonation.

D: Tasty beer. Bit too bitter without the high range hop flavors.

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Photo of soulgrowl
4.19/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Deep, bright apricot. Big carbonation rises to form a medium-sized white head without much retention.

Smell: Lots of hops; lemon, lime, carrot, pine, and geranium. Light floral perfume notes. A touch of sweetness shines through from underneath. Is there a such thing as a wheat IPA?

Taste: Nutty, toasty wheat with a fruity sweetness and nice resiny hops. Very well-balanced, but with a nice hoppy kick. Well-bittered and flavorful without being aggressive or acrid.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and light-bodied. Airy carbonation. Clean finish.

Drinkability: I wish I had more!

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Photo of bennetj17
3.9/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Color runs between gold and light copper. High clarity, strong appearance of carbonation. Head is wispy and white, but short with decent retention. Smell of sweet malt and grapefruit-like hop aroma is very strong, much like an IPA. The taste opens with a rich grapefruit/citrus flavor, fading toward a relatively clean finish with mild alcohol and moderate bitterness. Mouthfeel is light and perhaps a bit watery, but with nice carbonation. To review this beer honestly, I believe its an average wheat beer, but the over-addition of amarillo hops gives it a strong Alpha King-like flavor to please the hop loving crowd. I just thought it could have been built better, with more balance perhaps...

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Photo of cproioi
3.47/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz bottle.

A: Pours a yellow hazy body with a white head that leaves decent lacing.

S: First smell I was taken aback. What is that I smell Hops? Then I read the label where it proclaims it's made with a boat load of hops which I don't disagree with.

T: Like the smell it's a big hoppy taste. While I understand that this is not along the same lines as most wheat beers, where there is little to no hops at all. This one gives you a big smack of hops with a wheat malt sweetness to try an round it out.

M: Decently thick for a wheat style beer.

D: I would order this again easily.

Let me explain something I'm really not a fan of Wheat beers for the reason of the lack of hops, just a matter of personal taste. So while this wheat beer is not the traditional style of wheat beer it works for me.

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Gumballhead from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
4.21 out of 5 based on 5,696 ratings.
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