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Thunderhead IPA | Pyramid Breweries, Inc.

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Thunderhead IPAThunderhead IPA
690 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 690 |  Reviews: 437
Photo of daliandragon
3.98/5  rDev +17.8%
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 +18.3%
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 +3.6%
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 +33.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Unique Pyramid bottle with green lightning in Egypt...to 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 mouthfeel....like pop rocks candy. Outstanding. I want another!

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Photo of Pegasus
3.47/5  rDev +2.7%
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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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.64/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a brilliantly clear orange-gold body with a bubbly white head.

Smell: The aroma of fresh-cut flowers and light, sweetish citrus fruits is tainted by a wet dog smell.

Boy, if I wasn't such a positive-minded person and so against any kind of negative thought or expression during a national holiday, I could sure do a number on ol' Thunderhead's aroma.

Taste: Alright, let us just forget the smell. After all, is there anything more valuable in these difficult times than being nice? C'mon! Let's all be nice.

Phew! Well, thankfully, the taste far exceeds the aroma, though it is still a fairly understated flavor. Sweet fruitiness akin to a stick of JuicyFruit™ gum mingles with a toasted, grainy flavor. An herbal bitterness is present, but not overly prevalent. The finish is surprising quick and clean - what's the rush, Thunderhead IPA?

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Lightly carbonated.

Drinkability: Drink it, don't smell, and you should be fine with this one!

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Photo of kmpitz2
3.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. This one is a nice goldened orange color with a half-finger of head that falls to a full coating over top of the brew. There is a solid cascade of carbonation working up the sides of the brew and the clarity is only moderate. The aroma is toasty and bready, with a lighter caramel touch. A nice earthy hoppy character sits under that, but not very strong. Tasting the brew, I get a ton of earthyness from this one. The malt character is very solid in earthy British pale character that imparts a lot of bready character. The sweetness is minimal. Hops are screaming British to me, with major earthy, almost woodsy character, with a pretty strong bitterness on the finish. Mouthfeel is moderate with a lighter carbonation. It could use a little more bubble for my taste. Overall, I am okay with this brew. I would call it a British IPA because it has flavors and aromas I more associate with that style. I'd give this one another shot.

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Photo of mmmbeer
3.43/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. stubby, best by 1/24/07. It pours an orangey/amber with very fine particles and light carbonation that leads up to a quarter inch of khaki head that retains a thin cap and leaves little lacing. The aroma consists of apricot and buttery/sweet malts with light piney/soapy hops. On the palate, the hops are raw, contributing pine/grapefruit, a medium to high bitterness (67 IBUs), and some floral/soapy notes. In addition, there are notes of apricot, buttery/toasted, lightly sweet malts, and some lightly tropical notes. The hops aren't quite balanced correctly, but it has a very nice mouthfeel that is medium and quite smooth, with medium carbonation and a long, bitter grapefruit/pine finish. Not a great IPA, but not bad... could be more balanced.

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Photo of pweis909
2.88/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Orange, little head. Astringent hop tastes make it difficult to find malt when cold. I recommend letting it warm up a bit instead of drinking straight from the fridge to allow some of the malt flavor to surface. It does get better as it warms a bit. The finish is bitter, but the beer is lacking in hop aroma and flavor. Hopping lacks creativity. Not offensive for an IPA, but this one should go back to the drawing board.

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Photo of boblog
3.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Cloudy golden honey color. Medium white head that leaves a fair amount of lacing.
Smell: Citrus and hoppy
Taste: Hoppy, sweet malt, fruit and citrus undertones. Kind of twangy bitter aftertaste
Mouthfeel: Not to heavy, medium bodied. Nice carbonation.
Overall a pretty decent IPA I would recommend it.

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Photo of JohnnyM2002
3.62/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass at 45 degrees.

A - Poured a hazy, dark-straw color with a small head that didn't last long.

S - Grassy, extra-hoppy scent with a hint of lemon and grapefruit. Hoppy bitterness definitely present.

T - Citrus flavor that gives way to a hoppy kick. Higher ABV leads to a warming bitterness upon the finish. A good IPA.

M - Medium body that finishes smooth. Nice amount of carbonation that leads to a bubbly grapefruit flavor.

D - One of the better Pyramid offerings and a very good IPA.

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Photo of SupaCelt
3.58/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer emerges a lovely copper colour and sprouts just a minimal dusty white head even with a plunging pour. The head settles to a ring in seconds. It is carbonated with small bubbles that move quite slowly through what appears to be a chill hazed body.

The nose definitely has sharp hop quality. It smells almost minty to me. At least herbal if not minty. I recognize a fair bit of maltiness as well that smells of caramel and a bit brown sugar like. It smells mostly like the sting of snappy hops. Very earthbound. Not so much fruity and green as dry and brown. I don't pull any citrus character or even pine character from the nose. It has an oddly bland and generic hop scent that doesn't fit with my usual experiences.

The taste is hop dominated. It is bitter right off the bat with only a fleeting malt presence to buffer before the dryness sets in. This reminds me of an English IPA with a beefed up hop schedule. It is clearly American in its brute display of hopping as far as quantity is concerned. This brew doesn't seem to carry much IPA complexity. Not much of a fruity flair or any notable subtley that would make it above ordinary. It is fine. I am not disliking it, it just is not the most interesting version of the style. It seems very traditional and plain. Again the hops are just bland with bitterness and dryness beign the only properties contributed. There is just none of that hop flavour here.

Mouthfeel is fine. It has a great IPA dryness and is around medium in body. Sufficient carbonation.

The drinkability takes a small nick simply because the taste is just not inspiring to my senses. This is not a bad beer. It just pales in comparison to some of the more interesting brews in the field that it competes with. This is overall just a bit bland. Alright. Surely worth a drink.

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Photo of MrHungryMonkey
4.02/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Very hoppy, very good

Light golden/amber/yellow color, half inch fluffy head.

Smells hoppy, pretty strong. Slight honey/sweet undertone. Smells like a nice strong IPA.

Mmmm. Strong solid taste. Really great bitter hoppiness. A little taste of alcohol.
Mostly wonderful bitterness. I can’t detect anything else noteworthy.

Fairly smooth and thick. A nice carbonation in the mouth.

Smooth drinker. Almost too smooth, I could down it faster than I really want to.

Not a bad IPA. I would definitely drink you again Mr. Thunderhead.

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Photo of astronaut888
2.43/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

First review.

Just moved to Memphis from South Carolina, where I was unable to get any beers above 6%, so, I am finding many new brews!
Love IPAs, so, gave this one a try, along with the Dogfish Head 90min.

Appearance: A bit clearer than yer Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - between an yellow and amber - no head to speak of, minimal lacing

Smell: VERY slight citrus with a prominent alcohol burn to the nose

Taste: This is an "ok" beer, I don't want to "slam" anything, however - I now know what folks here are talking about when they refer to beers tasting of cooked vegetables. Not so impressive.

Mouthfeel: Slightly oily with a quick alcohol bite.

Drinkablilty: One is enough

Overall: I like getting the high gravity beers - nice to have only a couple and get pretty warm - however, a couple of these would be one too many.

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Photo of sockeye101
3.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thunderhead produced a huge frothy white head that dissipated to a thin layer and left a decent lace. Color is clear orange/amber with moderate carbonation. Aromas are heavy on the citrus end, light on the spice and pine end. Nice hop bitterness up front and a decent malt balance on the backend ending with a long lasting fading bitterness. This beer is much smoother when drunk in the warmer temp ranges as opposed to directly out of fridge. Overall a decent IPA with good qualities, one I would never turn down, but not one that offers anything unique.

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Photo of dickroop
3.88/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle dated "Enjoy by 112006". Neckwrapper sez: Way back when, IPAs were loaded with hops to stand up to oceans, elephants, finicky colonists, and spicy curries. Likewise our India Pale Ale is a powerful beer for bold tastes.

Poured a light amber with an almost-white head that didn't last. Smells somewhat promising, citrus & floral notes.

Good strong hoppy flavor, a little resinous, citrus (grapefruit) and floral like the smell. In the mid-palate, it develops an abrasiveness, sort of a hop-malt buzz that is confusing, almost medicinal, and it leads to a bitter finish, a sort of toasted-to-burnt caramelly overlay to the hops. Website says: Malts: 2-Row Barley, Munich, Caramel, Carapils. Hops: Tomahawk. That's interesting, good to know. It's a creditable flavor, but not the best.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, quite pleasant, drinkability is good. I had this ale on tap once, and it was quite good then, but not memorable. It's a solid offering, I will get it again if (like this time) it's offered at a price slightly lower (17% less) than the high-fliers. (DFH).

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Photo of LongBeachHopHead
3.4/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thunderhead IPA
Well the label suggests that the beer is "bursting with hops" which will usually get MY attention. This beer seems more like a slightly charged Pale Ale, rather than an American IPA.
As for appearence, its a dark golden color which suggests a lighter hop profile. The smell is almost offensive when considering they are billing the beer as "bursting with hops!" I would expect a more sweet citrus scent.
Taste is not a bad and NOT an IPA in my book. If you told me that this was a Pale Ale, I would say, amazing! I'll pass on the next one offered to me.

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Photo of PartyHatjo
2.75/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: Pours a golden orange hue with good clarity and a small white head with decent staying power.

Aroma: Listed as an American IPA, however the hop aroma is more earthy British than the citrus/pine American. Unfortunately, the hop nose is weaker than I like in my IPAs. Sweet malt is slight. Seems to be an interesting spiciness to the aroma as well.

Taste: Some pine hop character, but again more earthy/herbal british flavor (tending towards grassy as well) present than american character. Very weak hop flavor, but a good bite of bitterness. Malt is fairly weak, not particularly complex in flavor. Alcohol doesn't particularly contribute flavor.

Mouthfeel: While the body leans towards medium, the beer itself is a bit watery. Bitterness is strong, but there is a lack of balance to the brew.

Drinkability: Good thing I got this as a single, I really wouldn't want more of this today or any day for that matter.

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Photo of sloejams
4.07/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on-tap at the Pyramid Alehouse, Sacramento, CA

The last time I was here, I remember the Thunderhead IPA to be far and away the best of the offerings. The rest were kind of lackluster, aside from the stout - which had some meat on it's bones. Early evening happy hour = IPA easy choice.

It came a very cloudy, amber color with almost no head. The aroma was hoppy with a bit of grapefruit. The hop flavors are bold in the taste, more so than I remember. I think this was a fresh batch. In fact, everything about it was better than I remember. It was very well balanced.

It went well with the fried salty appetizers everyone I was with ordered.

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Photo of ultralarry2006
4.2/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Left about a one finger head with decent retention, and some good lacing. Body was a clear light copper. Looks pretty good.

Smell - floral and citrusy hops. Faint toasty and caramelly malt. Pretty straightfoward.

Taste - same as the smell. Floral and citrus from start to finish with hints of toast and caramel. This is a very simple, very straightfoward, but very good IPA.

Mouthfeel - full, smooth, low carbonation, some decent hop oil slickness.

Drinkability - this is pretty good, and goes down well. It's very sessionable.

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Photo of kirok1999
3.71/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a hazy pale pumpkin orange. Minimal head with minimal lacing.

S- Not much noticable in the smell, hops definitely come through, citrus and spice.

T- Lots of hops, almost a mild Hop Devil taste. Also detect some wheat notes as well although I don't believe there's any wheat present.

M- Crisp and well carbonated.

D- Very crisp and light, lots of hops but nothing over the top. Great hot summer day IPA.

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Photo of brentk56
3.08/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear light copper color with a foamy head that has great retention but realtively little lacing

Smell: Moderate piney vegetal aroma; smells a bit like dirty water

Taste: Starts with a bready flavor with grassy bitterness creeping in soon after the mouth swirl; after the swallow, an astringent bitterness arrives; some pithy hop flavors also appear but they are in the background and there's that dirty water flavor that mirrors the aroma

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation; astringent finish

Drinkability: Not terrible, but enough negatives to disappoint the veteran hophead

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Photo of tempest
3.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I don't know about IPA, but it makes for a stand-up pale ale. Looks a nice amber color with white head and good lacing. Smells of grapefruit with similar bitter flavor. There's a lasting bitterness matched nicely with a dry caramel malt flavor. While its not a stellar IPA, its affordable and tasty. Two things that can take you a long ways.

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Photo of kmudrick
3.29/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. In the glass, it seems hazy, almost thick like real apple cider with copper overtones. No head, just a light lacing that swirls and dissipates quickly. The scent is light, hoppy and fruity. There's a heavy concentration on some type of citrus, with a subtle splash of something floral. Not as fragrant as other beers of this class. Taking a sip immediately presented a tanginess on my tongue - some sort of spice I'm not familiar with in any beer I've tasted. It was very bitter towards the front of my mouth - the hops are definitely noticeable. The bitterness and carbonation lead to a heavier presence than I expected, which ends up lingering in my throat after it goes down. Because of this I'd find it somewhat tough to have several of these. Overall - it lives up to the labeling that describes it as powerful, but I don't find any qualities that make it stand out in the crowd of IPAs out there. I certainly would not turn one down if offered, but I wouldn't go out of my way to get one either.

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Photo of jockstrappy
4.1/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy copper color with a creamy off-white head that retains nicely. Aroma is citrus and floral hops, with a hint of sweet malts. Taste has a sweet and toasty malt front, that gives way to a generous dose of floral hop bitterness, a slight alcohol bite follows before a crisp, dry finish. Hops linger a bit, but not to the point of being unpleasant. Medium body and subtle carbonation provide a pleasant mouthfeel, and drinkability...my bottle says 6.7, but I'm going to ignore that! This is a good beer, and I could down a few of these without a problem.

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Thunderhead IPA from Pyramid Breweries, Inc.
Beer rating: 3.38 out of 5 with 690 ratings
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