Thunderhead IPA | Pyramid Breweries, Inc.

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Thunderhead IPAThunderhead IPA

Brewed by:
Pyramid Breweries, Inc.
Washington, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.70%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
A golden nectar with a striking floral aroma, Thunderhead holds a harmonious balance between its bold hop bitterness and subtle malt background.

Added by Jason on 09-16-2001

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Reviews: 437 | Ratings: 683
Photo of Ego
3.38/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

on an easy pour this thunders up to almost 2 fingers o foam, it recedes quickly but leaves tell tale traces of lace to tell the story of where it has been, the curtains of lace are in excellent form, rolling cloned microbubbles acting like the tide caressing the shore, slightly burnt orange hue with a just a smudge of haze, carbonation is as steady as jerome jerome the metronome, this is a good looking beer.

fruit candy? or that dried fruit that was always out on the table at Aunt (insert name here)'s house ? you know that dried pineapple stuff that can crack concrete and is covered in mysterious white dust... beneath the malt assault is hints of hops, like frogs on the pond at night you only hear there calls once in a while on the blaring din of constant cricket chatter, that fruit character is bothering me, I can't peg if it is sickly mango or nectarines... it is interesting that is for sure.

taste etc...
mouth feel is right, but this seems bitter in the wrong way, I like hop bombs, hell, I eat hop bombs for breakfast but the bitterness here is really distracting to me, it is out of balance like a midget with one leg in a javelin throwing competition, as I sip down the bitterness is not as brash and the malts decided to show up (don't give me that fashionably late garbage...), some burn from the alcohol is making itself known from the depths of my gullet.

not impressed with what counts the most - flavor and enjoyment. this beer reminds me of chicks from staten island, they look all amazingly hot and then they open their mouth and you hear that god awful accent. sure, you'd still bang them but hey, such is life.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.83/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

would describe this one much more as an american pale ale rather than an ipa, but nonetheless, a great brew. pours a darker goldenrod color with a nice head. lace demarcating every sip. smells sweet and fruity, but hoppy too. taste of fresh honey, raw honey, and hops. fresh hops almost. shockingly bitter in the finish, a front of tongue thing, but still a lot of malt, almost on the amber end of it, sweeter. a really beautiful large body mouthfeel and a nice crisp hop finish. drying. an excellent beer, not quite an ipa, but sessionable as anything!

edit: better in the bottle, bitter as!

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Photo of djbreezy
3.58/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an imperial pint glass.

appearance - gold/amber, mostly transparent, moderate head and retention, some lacing

smell - some faint floral hop notes

taste - about 30% floral hop forward with a malt back that is definitely present, somewhat balanced, has a bit of a chemical/pellet taste going on but subtle

mouthfeel - medium body, good carbonation, slightly dry finish, some slickness

overall - not an outstanding ipa but it's fine in a pinch

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Photo of Nerudamann
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Look – light amber in color, clear, with about half a finger to a finger’s worth of off-white colored foam that dissipates quickly.

Smell – sweet and hoppy at the same time. Not much else that I can pull out of it other than that.

Taste – I can’t taste as much of the hops as I can feel, but the bitterness is there, as is a musky quality that hits hard at the very beginning of the taste. There’s a spicy quality too that’s felt in the beginning and middle. The apex of the bitterness comes just after the middle of the taste.

Mouthfeel – pretty well balanced, but leans a little more on the watery side.

Overall – not a bad brew, and decently interesting to taste, but super intriguing either.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.15/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

33cl brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a generic hefeweissbier glass in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live.

A: Pours a five finger head of light cream, decent thickness, and good retention. Colour is a light yellow-copper.

Sm: Light pleasant floral hop notes, light restrained cream, and generic barley. Aroma is mild in strength.

T: Pleasantly floral hoppy body, with a clean barley foundation. There's nothing special going on here, so in that respect it's simple, but it does avoid the common IPA pitfall of overdone coarseness. It's also nicely balanced.

Mf: Smooth and wet, suiting the flavours of the body. Luckily, it's not too coarse like many IPAs.

Dr: A simple IPA that doesn't lose points, but fails to win many either. I enjoyed it for what it is as part of a sampler pack, but it's far from their best brew. Fans of the style should definitely check it out, but stout lovers like meself are best off leaving it on the shelf.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.58/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Mactarnahan Brewpub in Portland.

A - Poured a bright, clear orange with a near white head. Fades only a bit and leaves lots of streaks of lacing on the glass.

S - Hoppy pine and floral tones up front with some malts following it up.

T - Very similar to the taste. Mild all-around.

D - Good carbonation and body.

O - A more mild ipa with more malt background than most in Portland.

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Photo of doughanson78
3.08/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Orangish copper in color. Slightly hazy. One finger light yellowish head with no retention and ok lacing.

S: Mostly malts. Slightly sweet caramel. A funky citrus and floral hop aroma with sort of a old tangerine apricot aroma bordering on rotten. Some biscuity aromas as well.

T: Light caramel upfront. A tart/sour bitterness from a mostly floral hop taste. Very light citrus coming through. A soapy, bad soapy, aftertaste.

M: A decent medium body, with good carbonation. Slightly slick. No dryness. Aftertaste lingers on the very back of the tongue and throat.

O: Not great. Wouldn't buy myself. Got the 12-pack as a kind of gift. Nice to know this isn't a good one so I don't waste my money. Definitely not a drain pour tho.

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Photo of vande
2.83/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this last at Mariners Vs Angles game, on tap. Way to pricey for the quality, but I was at a stadium. Decent golden color with a light aroma of hops. Nothing overly prevalent, maybe a bit pine. Tasted like a basic IPA. Just not wowed. Drinkable, like a miller light. probably would be one of the last beers I'd grab out of my fridge when grabbing. For the style, I'd put it as average..Wasn't horrible horrible, just that there are so many out there that raise the bar...

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Photo of Briken
2.44/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Clear orange amber with light yellow highlights with thin off-white foamy head with okay retention and lacing. Crisp floral aroma and an adjunct skunk. Malt forward with hop ending with a moderate linger. Malted sweetness with grapefruit and floral hops with an unpleasant linger and light alcohol. Sharp, thin feel with heavy carbonation.

Not a whole lot of flavor except a bit of a hoppy bittering and feel that disappears rather quickly. If you’re in a place with not much of a choice and can deal with at least having the overall impression of an IPA than this is satisfactory.

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Photo of bum732
1.81/5  rDev -46.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

S: Slight fruity notes, orange, cracker malt notes, fairly malty.

L: Fairly clear golden yellow, off white head that dissipates quickly.

T: Malty sweet, caramel mostly with some residual hoppiness. Medium low bitterness. Herbal mostly. Finishes fairly sweet.

M: Medium bodied, medium carbonation.

Couldn't find a bottling date, but there was pretty much no hops in this beer. I guess i'll assume its old and maybe check back, but pretty piss poor.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.53/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12-oz. bottle into a pilsner glass. Looked like a mix of the colors orange and brown with about ¼-inches of head. The film stayed a long time after the initial pour. No surprise but it smells like an IPA. Definitely smells hoppy, but not overbearing. Has a smell of “try me, you’ll love it.” Really good first taste that starts small and ends with strong, alcohol-heavy feel. Unlike other IPA’s, however, the alcohol isn’t really overbeating. Not as carbonated as I would have thought, but there’s some acidity in there that sticks with you long after a drink. It goes down pretty smooth for an IPA. I could see myself ordering this at a bar more than once, which is something that wouldn’t happen with all IPAs for me.

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Photo of mikeg67
3.27/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Pours orange with a small, short-lived, white head. Aroma is of caramel and biscuit malt and citrusy hops. Medium, crisp body. Biscuit malt and citrusy, earthy hops fill the mouth. Finish is long, hoppy. This is not too hoppy, probably, English style IPA.

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Photo of kaseydad
2.92/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy apricot colored ale with some nice white head retention. The smell is citrusy with a big malt presence also. Not getting a lot of hops in the aroma. The taste is much to malty for my IPA liking but there is a noticable hop presence that I wasn't getting in the smell. Lingering grapefruit-like after taste and it does leave my mouth slightly watering. Still nothing out of the ordinary. Overall I prefer this on draft and may re-review from the draft rather than this bottle. Not a bad IPA just nothing special that separates it from the competition.

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Photo of Goliath
3.38/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden/amber color with a one inch bone white head. There is decent head retention and some frothy lacing left behind.

The aroma is relatively unimpressive. It's lightly citrusy and sweet. Outside of some fruity esters, I don't get much else.

The taste is ok. There's some malt sweetness with some basic flavors. Bread and grain is available profiles here. This is followed by a light bitterness that's somewhat piney in nature.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a very fine efforvescence for carbonations.

Drinkability is relatively high. The ABV is moderate making for an easy drinker. The flavor profile is simple and pleasing enough. I'd say it's a run of the mill IPA.

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Photo of whatthehull
3.9/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Tasted April 26th 2011 (from notes)

Poured into a New Belgium snifter

A - golden amber, half finger manilla head and little lacing

S - alcohol, molasses, caramel, brown sugar, sweet yeast, slightly toasted malt, floral and maybe some pineapple

T - the sugar makes a high alcohol taste. Nice hop bitterness and a mix of sweet. Tropical hops, brown sugar, molasses, earth, sweet yeast and a bit of oak

M - light, a bit of carbonation, light to medium acidity and short finish and some what balanced

D - nice for an IPA, easy to drink. Taste higher than a 6.7% but it's still nice

Final thought - I think pyramid is getting better at making beer

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Photo of BilbosNuts
3.18/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a clear golden color. It looks very carbonated. It has a thin, medium sized head that last for a minute or so.

S: It has a strong grassy and herbal smell. There is also some fruitiness to it.

T: Overall, the taste is kind of dull. Nothing really stands out. There is some mild hoppiness, but nothing like I would expect from an IPA.

M: It is kind of thin and light bodied. The high carbonation leaves a tingling sensation on the tongue. It drinks very smoothly for an IPA.

D: It is easily drinkable, but overall, it is very mild. Nothing really special about this IPA.

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Photo of Scotchboy
3.33/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, split and shared with a mate.

Poured clear and well carbonated into a undersized pint glass. Pours a pleasing golden color with a nice off-white head that doesn't fade too quickly.

Smell: Light tropical fruit, spicy hops, honey and malt backbone. Nothing impressive here, the smell is soft and faint.

Taste is ok, mild hop bitterness that includes some citrus bite and some malt sweetness. Its a little toasty with bitter hops in the beginning and end.

The mouthfeel is good and crisp, well carbonated and pretty drinkable. If the taste and nose had been better this beer could have scored higher on the drinkability to me.

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Photo of Hollybee
3.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass, has a nice golden color and is very clear. Pours a nice head, but dissipates quickly and leaves little lacing.

Has only a faint floral smell with a little orange to back it up.

Makes up for the timid nose in it's flavor with a nice sweet malt followed by the hoppy bitterness accompanied with a bit of orange and just a touch of caramel. Bitterness lingers but not too heavily.

The carbonation is pleasing and crisp, has a medium-ish body but leaves a somewhat resiny quality behind.

Overall a fairly good IPA, delivering the hoppy bitterness and golden citrus quality one would expect from a Westcoast IPA. With a fairly strong ABV one or two will be plenty.

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Photo of nezelrac
3.25/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

poured from 12oz bottle into shaker pint

A - pale orange-amber; one finger of persistent dense white head; minimal lacing

S - slightly muted pine and citrus hop nose; rather clean/clear malt in the background

T - some simple malt and pleasant hops; moderate bitterness for an IPA; good length, but not very exciting

M - light end of medium bodied; slightly creamy at the back end

D - a crowd-pleaser, as it were; plenty drinkable, but a beer for beginners

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Photo of gkunkle
3.9/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Although this is certainly not the greatest IPA I have ever tasted, it is a great price for a decent beer. Pours a golden color with a white head. Smell isn't very impressive, slight citrus hop. Taste is pretty average, in the Pacific NW it's nothing to write home about, but in other areas of the country, it would be the talk of the town. Mouthfeel is crisp, refreshing. Pretty drinkable, good price, share it with your friends.

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Photo of MikeThompson
2.71/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This was on sale, I am a big IPA fan so had to get it.

This beer poured well, and I was excited to get an IPA on Friday night. I am a grad student, and good beer comes once a week.

Needless to say, this beer ruined my night. It tasted like crappy malt liquor with hops added. Nasty rotten malt flavor with slight citrus from the hops.

This beer might have been cool 10 years ago, but when I can buy Lagunitas IPA for a dollar more, so screw this crap. Not a terrible beer by its own merits, so I can't give it less than a C, but c'mon dudes, let's put a little muscle in the hustle.

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Photo of NickRivers
2.89/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured From A TWIST CAP?!?! Bottle.

A - Light Golden Color. Nothin' Special

S - Citrusy Hop smell but again Nothin' Special

T - Hoppy. Bitter. More Bitter. Floral. Nothin' Special.

M - Crisp and Bitter

D - Not much flavor for a good session beer. But I guess i'll pick it up again.

Couldn't find anything special about this IPA. There's better session IPA's out there. Its kinda like Long-Hammer, good but nothing great. I gotta say I expected more from Pyramid, considering they make Apricot Ale, a fruit beer that actually tastes good. I ate a lemon and had another Thunderhead but it didn't seam to have effect. the mouthfeel has nice carbonation but the smell is bland. I'm a huge Hop-Head and hate to give this beer a "Meh" review.

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Photo of bsp77
2.87/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into tall glass.

Appearance: Clear yellow orange with moderate stark white head. Light lacing.

Smell: Almost non-existent. Very light sweet malts and very light spiciness.

Taste: Mild, slightly sweet caramel and toasted malts, somewhat balanced by floral and spicy hops. The cheap hops used do not have much flavor, but at least the bitterness kills the sweetness.

Feel: Moderately high carbonation, medium body, almost dry finish that is tarnished by a slight residual sweetness.

Drinkability: Fairly bland IPA, but at least it is fairly dry and refreshing.

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Photo of NWer
2.3/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I haven't had this beer in a long time and gave it a go because it was deeply discounted at the local Fred Meyer's.
For a flagship IPA from one of the premiere Seattle brewers, this is a disappointment.
I know they do better. Their Alehouse Exclusives are pretty good.
So what's with propagating an IPA that may have been above average years ago but is past its prime?
The industry has evolved. This beer is a relic of the past and should be retired.
By todays standard, it is boring and doesn't measure up to current West Coast standards.
I tried to give this another go since I have this sixer that will be finished - eventually - when I'm not in the mood to drink something really good - think eating the grapefruit rind instead of the fruit.
That's Thunderhead.
Pretty pathetic.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.33/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. Probably one of the first stateside IPAs that I tried years ago during a trip there, not surprising, given its ubiquity in grocery stores. Bring on the 'hop heaping'.

This beer pours a slightly hazy, muddled golden amber hue, with two fingers of puffy, then tightly foamy, and then bubbly off-white head, which leaves a decent sagebrush profile of lace around the glass in its lazy-ass wake.

It smells of well-blended (i.e. indecipherable) citrusy, floral, and herbal hops, a metallic stoniness, a touch of soap suds, and a soft, musty, grainy, and bready malt. The taste is wet pine and herbal hops, bready caramel malt, dank florals, and an overripe, yet still zingy citrus essence.

The carbonation is moderate, just a wan frothiness, the body a steady medium weight, mostly smooth (those floral-heavy hops not into causing much of a fuss), and even a touch creamy. It finishes with a stilted flourish of herbal, piney, and perfumed hops, backed by a bland, nondescript grainy malt sweetness.

A so-so IPA, with just a bit more going on than the average underdeveloped bitter hops/caramel malt Mexican standoff. However, those additional elements kind of put me off a bit, particularly the herbal character. Just a little 'unclean' for my liking, and subsequently my endorsement. Not a heap overly worth jumping into.

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Thunderhead IPA from Pyramid Breweries, Inc.
3.4 out of 5 based on 683 ratings.
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