Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Gumballhead | 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
1,539 Reviews
Read the review

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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,539 | Ratings: 5,710
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!

 338 characters

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.

 1,178 characters

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.

 704 characters

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.

 3,093 characters

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!

 974 characters

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.

 746 characters

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.

 762 characters

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 head....no 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 entry...you 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.

 893 characters

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.

 505 characters

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.

 514 characters

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.

 1,227 characters

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.

 448 characters

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.

 568 characters

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.

 460 characters

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.

 869 characters

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.

 571 characters

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!

 578 characters

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.

 1,134 characters

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.

 771 characters

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.

 596 characters

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.

 584 characters

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.

 753 characters

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.

 294 characters

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.

 550 characters

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.

 302 characters

Gumballhead from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
4.21 out of 5 based on 5,710 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!