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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Ratings: 685 |  Reviews: 437
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.03/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Although it's not particularly hoppy in the nose, Pyramid has crafted a remarkably drinkable IPA that perfectly melds resinous hops and lightly caramelish malt into one! It's resinous, mildly piney, and softly sweetish/citrusy (with notes of lemon and grapefruit) just as the lightly sweet, caramelish, and somewhat biscuity malt rises towards the arc of flavor (the exact middle of the tasting) where the two become one - a nice place to be! There's a very solid bitterness underneath, but it's not bold or raspy, and the doughy malt can hold its own. It's almost like a baker took some lightly oiled dough, rolled it out, drizzled it with caramel, added a finger-tip smear of butter, a handful of whole leaf hops, and then re-kneaded it and baked it. I found it very interesting and unique, and even compeling in that regard! Except for the strength, which IS there, but never really noticed in the taste, I'd imagine one could put away mass quantities of this stuff during a night out with the lads. And, as an added precautionary note, even having a few of these on hand while cooking up dinner for the missus might lead you into to trouble... regardless, the temptation will still be there!

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Photo of BeerZack
3.54/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured with a nice brite white head which faded with a few sips. Really clear golden/dark honey appearance. Smells of piney hops, sweet malt and a little alcohol.
The taste is pretty astringent. It comes on sharp and acidic, bubbles vigorously in the mouth and bites your tongue with more hops on the swallow.
While not one of the best IPAs (not balanced enough), it does satisfy my hop thirst more quickly and fully than most others... I compare it to Stone, but it's not as tasty.

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Photo of xymyl
2.33/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Deep gold color with a small ring of whitish head.

Aroma light sweetness and a spicey sulfer smell.

Taste starts out soft and lightly sweet then clamps down a bit with harsh acidic citric notes and ugly malt tannins (somewhat unpleasant) finish is bad and tastes toxic. This is the single worst Pyramid beer I've ever had.

Bad enough that I may never try another Pyramid beer again just because they let this stinker through. I couldn't finish it. If this was shampoo there would be a lot more blind bunnys in this world.

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Photo of ElGordo
3.87/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On sale for $1.99/22oz bottle this week at the shop; I'll buy anything at that price. Pours a bright golden color with a small, foamy, stark white head that dissolves rather quickly. Appearance is not unlike a cheap macro. Aroma of nice floral hops, with some piney notes, and some light sweet malt with a touch of adjunct malt lingering in the background. Palate is more aggressively hoppy than the aroma would indicate - sharp, piney hops pervade from the tip of the tongue to the end of the swallow. A thorough, pleasant bitterness shines through on the finish. Pretty darn good for an inexpensive IPA. Body is a little light and a touch foamy, but on the whole, this is a very drinkable beer, especially for the price.

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Photo of BretSikkink
3.48/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Amber bodywith some sparce lacing. Aroma comes up hoppy, but not overwhelming.

Taste: low end of IBUs for an IPA. I would prefer more hop and malt character. The taste is somewhat bland, leading ever so slightly to the British style IPA.

Mouthfeel is acceptable for the style. Easy drinking, but there is a hop aftertaste that bugged me, bringing down drinkability rating. Less hops and there's no aftertaste, more hops and the tongue is stung into submission. This beer occupies no-man's land in between.

Not to be avoided, not to be sought out. Sessionable IPA.

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Photo of vwcraig
2.59/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured an amber color with a heavy ring of bright white head. Large loose bubbles form head. Smells mostly of caramelly malts, very sweet. If blindfolded, I would not think from the smell that this was an IPA. Kind of a confusing taste as well for an IPA. Tastes fruity but not from citrusy hops but almost like fruit juice. Very light, bitter aftertaste. Mouthfeel was on lighter side and slick with no real carbonation. Drinkability for me was not very high. Looked like it should but the smell and taste were "off". Would try something different before picjing this up again.

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Photo of JDK
3.7/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy golden amber color with absolutely no head (which surprised me because of the name!)
No lacing at all
Has a fairly nice flavor, mild hops
Almost no carbonation that left a rather flat mouthfeel
The smell was of very light hops

I think there are much better IPA's out there

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Photo of mynie
4.21/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy gold orange with almost no head. A little off color with it's haze, but really not bad.

Smells like sticky icky centennial pine hops and a big chewy malt. Very nicely balanced.

Tastes like pine hops, caramel bread malt, more pine and bread near the middle and a strong kick of yeast at the end. Very good, but nowhere near as intense as the smell had led me to believe.

A good stab at a Big Boy Beer from a usually decent-but-unexceptional brewery.

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Photo of cameraman
3.59/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

An amber color with a small white head that disappears quuickly. A mild malt aroma at first, then a burst of citrus and piney scents come out and stay with the fragrance till the end. The malt starts the flavor out, but is soon overtaken by an onslaught of hops, bringing a strong grapefruit flavor that lingers long after the beer is swallowed. A well balanced feel, medium bodied and is consistant all the way through. This is an above average IPA, a strong scent and solid flavor makes this an easy drink. I would most likely use this to introduce someone to this style.

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Photo of TheSarge
3.67/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

ThunderHead IPA definitly smells like it's bursting with aromas of hops as suggested by the lable, and smells kind of lemony as well. There is a slight presence of the malt here as well. This tastes very lemony/hoppy, my impression of a good IPA. This is one of my top favorites.

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Photo of TechMyst
2.91/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Consumed one month before exp. date. Hazy, cloudy amber color. medium mouthfeel. malts may be a little too sweet here. Just bitterness. Kind of one dimentional. Middle of the road IPA. It does have High alcohol content so that may be a plus for some...

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Photo of ZAP
3.23/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-Light orange....a little too much foamy head for my liking

S-Unremarkable...some piney notes...also some light caramel

T-Big on the hops....very bitter with strong notes of unsweetened grapefruits, orange rinds, and a piney characteristic as well....lightly balanced with a mild caramel/biscuity malt impression.

M-Medium bodied..finishes very dry and tight.

D-Decent IPA...I expected this to be dumbed down like some of the other Pyramid brews I've had but this is actually a little unbalanced on the hoppiness end. The Columbus hops certainly lend a lip smacking bitterness...overall it has a nice flavor...not incredibly complex and a little one-sided but at least it wasn't dumbed down....I like many better than this but it's ok..

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Photo of Hornet2003
3.75/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pale yellow. Pours with a thick, fluffy white head.

Smell: Very citrusy hop aroma. Very similar to LaConner IPA in that it is dominated by what I think is a cascade hop aroma.

Taste: A little spicy and sweet on the initial flavour. Aftertaste leaves a lot of lingering bitterness. Slight tinge of alcohol as it rests on the tongue.

Mouthfeel: Average carbonation. Kind of a "soft" feel in the mouth. Not overly aggressive feel.

Drinkability: I could see myself drinking a couple of these in a night. My tolerance for hops is probably lower than the average IPA fanatic so I'm sure many of you could polish off the six pack quite easily.

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Photo of jvonkluck
3.68/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a rich copper with a solid finger of thick white head. The head retains moderately and laces lightly down the sides of the glass.

S - Aroma on this one is purely from the hop department with notes of grapefruit or other citrus at first while the head is still heavy. As the head dissipates, the hop aroma subsides and shares some of the nose with the sweeter honey notes from the malt.

M - Rolls around in the mouth and fizzes away happily. This beer is more heavily carbonated or less viscous than some of the other IPA's I've had recently.

T - Although the nose is predominantly hop, the first flavor that hits my tongue is a caramel / honey note from the malt, but you can feel the liveliness and a touch of heat from the alcohol immediately. The flavor moves on to finish out with a balance of grapefruit peel and residual sweetness from the malt.

D - This is definitely a session IPA. Despite the fact that it doesn't blow me away, it's got the characteristics of a solid IPA without bein overwhelming. In particular, it doesn't finish with a uniformly hoppy note and leave your mouth too puckered to drink more than one.

Most of the other reviews I've seen of this beer are mixed - it seems like people enjoy it to a moderate degree or don't. At $7 a six pack, I don't think you can really go too wrong with it. It's not as good as some of the other Pacific Northwest's IPA's, but seeing as I'm in Chicago and can't get my hands on Bridgeport or the like very easily, it works.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.31/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

A - Crystal clear copper brew. Huge two finger head with impressive retention. A single thin ring of lacing forms.

S - Pine meshed with grapefruit pith. A bit of caramel malt backing.

T - A bit of mild pine and a lot of peppery alcohol in the foretaste. A potent pine bitter aftertaste with a lot of peppery alcohol. I wouldn't

M - Harsh from carbonation and the hops. Thin and rather drying.

D - Not too good, I got tired of it quickly. It just tastes like peppery alcohol. Not something I will bother with in the future.

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Photo of Maestro
4.57/5  rDev +34%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A like a little sweet in my IPA. I have had a ton of "dry" IPAs lately. This one has a great malt presence in the first sip. Lots of foamy, white lacing is left by a big, white head. The beer is a golden orange with some real hops and bread in the nose. Mouthfeel is a bit sticky, but not overwhelmingly so. Drinkability is great... I think I'll go pour another.

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Photo of GeoffRizzo
3.65/5  rDev +7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cloudy golden in color, there appears to be some orange offerings; tiny, yet well maintained pure white soapy head, 1/4 inch with great lacing. Ruby red grapefruit juice, tender hops and freshly squeezed orange juice on the nose. Served at close to room temp; slickly malt base with bitter citrus piney hops. Medicinal body with a decent slick bitterness. Close to medium bodied. Overpowering dryness with massive piney residue and cascade hops. Crisp malts are blended near perfectly with sweet piney hops; decent finish of freshly squeezed pineapple and grapefruit juice. Munich-like malts severely off-set the twangy hops which push the ratings down, but overall a solid offering. Very sessionable IPA.

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Photo of Drew966
3.41/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thunderhead IPA pours a copper color with a white head from a brown twelve ounce bottle. I really can't get enough from the aroma to comment on it. Taste starts with a soft hop flavor that builds into more biting hop bitterness. I enjoyed this beer, it's worth a try.

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Photo of HopDerek
4.62/5  rDev +35.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Beer is a cloudy orangish amber color with a thin white head and good lacing. Smells are primarily grapefruit, but has a little malty hint. Tastes very citrusy with a good malty presence in the center, nice long dry finish. Tingles the tongue, has a great body and a good dryness to it. Definitely a beer I want more of, and soon!

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Photo of icefisherman
2.86/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

as the monday tradition goes mystery beer as i pulled this i was open to try anything i could not tell you what it looked like in a glass our waitress was not with it enough to bring glasses it did not smell like much from the bottle but what i could smell was not that good kind of like old hot bud lite like the beer that you left in the trunk of your car over night and then went fishing and then realised your mistake only after you are to far to go back to get something that hasnot baked itself the taste was a little better not overly hoppy but there was still some there not very drinkable but not very offencive but thats just my take on this one i will try it again in the future

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Photo of daliandragon
3.98/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a crystal clear reddish amber with a finger of snowy head and onlly carbonation bubbles tto keep yyou from perfectly seeing through to the other side oof the pint glass. Nose is hoppy with pine flavors but also with undefined soapy notes to it that take it down a slight peg. Lacing is thin but ppresent.

Taste is bold, wet, bitter, piney hops and not a whole lot else. Like being clubbed over the head by the hop troll. Delicate and refined it's not, but it is tasty if you like hops, and why else would you be driinking IPA (or beer altogether) if you didn't? Quite carbonated at first and then quenching and the hops follow the aftertaste for quite a while.

Definitely a west coast hophead's idea of an IPA but I have to admit, I dig it and will be trying it again.

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Photo of merlin48
4/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review based on a sixpack. Pours a slightly hazed, apricot body with a decent offwhite head that leaves some nice patch lacing on the glass.

Aroma is citrusy grapefruit and pine cone, accented by malty notes of caramel and toffee.

Nice mouthfeel for style is medium bodied with strong carbonation and a hop bite.

Taste is bitter citrusy grapefruit, orange rind, and a balancing caramel maltiness. Finishes dry and bitter, with a citrus rind aftertaste.

I wasn't expecting much of this one, but it is a surpisingly solid American IPA. Hop bitterness dominates, as is appropriate for the style. Very sessionable for the style. Well done!

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Photo of Grundle20
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours light copper in color in to a pint glass. There is a minimal head that fades quickly.

Pretty dull floral hop aroma with touches of pine and sawdust, not what I was expecting when the bottle suggests that the beer is "Bursting with hops."

Taste and Mouthfeel:
The beer is bitter and dry with a very minor tropical fruit note towards the finish. The beer leaves me with a piney aftertaste that as time passes becomes less desireable. Not bad, but not making my kettle whistle either.

Compared to other IPAs I find this beer lacking in this department. It's not so much on the good smooth fruity end of the IPA spectrum as much as it is on the overwhelmingly bitter and not much fruit flavor side. It's plenty drinkable but to be fair it just isn't quite as drinkable as other American IPAs in my opinion.

Bottom Line:
A middle road IPA. It's alright and any IPA fan should give it a whirl.

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Photo of pmcadamis
4.5/5  rDev +32%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Unique Pyramid bottle with green lightning in me, this sort of looks how IPA's should tatse....shocking, tart, and electrifying to the palate. The brew is a slightly hazy amber orange with a thin but everlasting head and nice big arcs of lace.

S - Grapefruit with sugar hop aroma is supported by a very nice biscuity malt backbone. Citric but warm.

T - Big on the citrus. Mandarin orange and grapefruit very akin to the scent dominate, with some chewy malts in the supporting role. Moderately sweet in the middle with a long dry finish. This is not outstandingly original or anything, but this is a very good example of the style. Wonderful balance for an IPA.

M - Fizzy, acidic, and tingley on the tongue. Medium bodied and very dry. Excellent.

D - Great flavors, albeit a bit lacking in complexity. Excellent pop rocks candy. Outstanding. I want another!

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Photo of Pegasus
3.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Hazy golden-orange color, with a small head, which quickly collapsed to a scattering of foam, and slight carbonation. I expected that the head would be a bit more substantial for an example of this style.

Aroma: A whiff of alcohol leads, not surprising with the somewhat higher ABV. Beneath the alcohol, there is a solid biscuit malt presence and a slight caramel note. The hop presence is fairly subdued, with herbal and citrus notes, certainly not "over-the-top".

Taste: Opens with a massive citrus and grapefruit hop presence, followed by substantial caramel malt. The hop presence ascends from the beginnig of the taste, culminating in a wave of medicinal bitterness at the close of the taste. The finish is fairly dry.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, quite full, and pleasant.

Drinkability/notes: Competent example of the style, but seemingly a bit harshly hopped.

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Thunderhead IPA from Pyramid Breweries, Inc.
3.41 out of 5 based on 685 ratings.
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