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 akorsak
2.84/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I am drinking a 12 oz bottle poured into a Hennepin goblet. The ale is chilled.

Appearance: The ale is an orange color with some hazy sediment in the glass. There is a little bit of lace around the mouth of the glass.

Smell: What smell? I don't find anything here that would suggest an American IPA. I pick up a bit of a malt aroma, something like a English pale ale.

Taste: This cames across more like an Amber than an AIPA. There is no discernible hop bite or kick, nothing that would suggest the 'Bursting with Hops' claim on the label. The ale is smooth, and what little hops are there do not taste bad, they just are not forceful enough.

Mouthfeel: The ale is very pleasant in the mouth. As it resembles an amber or plain pale ale, the low-level hops are good.

Drinkability: The ale is surprisingly drinkable. Consider it a pale ale only and you'll be fine.

Overall, Pyramid disappoints again, taking a great concept and dumbing it down a bit.

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Photo of tgbljb
3.73/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured a deep, slightly hazy, amber color with modest white puufy head. Sparse lacing on the side of the glass. Taste is hoppy, with some fresh some fruit also found. Slight strange metallic taste also present. Taste is strong on hops with a slight background maltiness. Finish is a pleasnt bitterness that beckons for another taste. Nice drinking beer.

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Photo of chakadrum
3.05/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Head cleared fairly quickly. Smelled of light hops and some yeasty-ness. Very little lacing.

Good carbonation. Strong bitterness with the initial taste and aftertaste. Almost too bitter.

I enjoy a good hop-bitterness but this feels a bit unbalanced and comes off harsh instead of great hop taste.

I don't think I'd drink this beer again just because it feels harsh instead of enjoyable.

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Photo of clabaugh
3.65/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Clear orange body with some ruby red tones. A bubbly head of off-white gurgles out of the body. Fine retention, with some vigorous lacing.

Smell: Pungent hops with a floral character. Sweet, nectarlike aromas exude from this beer. Some biscuity malts garnish an aromatic dish wherein hops are the feature.

Taste: Hoppy bitterness that is more medicinal, and less floral, than the smell reflects. Well-balanced nonetheless, as a doughy biscuit malt flavor emerges. Leaves a rather strange, synthetic aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Bitter, but not quite biting. Apt carbonation with a medium body. Somewhat lip-smacking.

Drinkability: Easy to imbibe, and some potential in the flavor department. Odd aftertaste, with some unnatural taste properties. Doesn't leaving me craving another, but satisfying in any case.

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Photo of BeerBuilder
3.3/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

There are two entrys in the db for this beer. I think this one just has a new label, but since my bottle has this label I'll use it as well.

Pours to a clear deep golden color with an off-white head that diminishes almost right away to a ring. Has a bit of spotty lacing however.

The aroma is of light citrus hops , a bit grassy, with a caramel malt back.

The flavor is slightly citrus, a bit spicy with a light caramel malt back.

It is medium in body, and drying in the finish. The bitterness is there throughout, but it isn't working. I was hoping for a better play with the hops. It's alright, but nothing too exciting.

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Photo of John1985
4.02/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The ale pours a deep yellow gold with a measly white head that vanishes quickly, some white lacing did develop though. Nose had an aroma of fresh hops. Taste was excellently balanced between malt and hops. Flavor was definitely accented on the hops side. Briskly bitter aftertaste but this was also drinkable. At $7.49/six this was reasonably priced and certainly the best I've had from Pyramid.

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Photo of HardTarget
3.66/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle Inspection: Best before 02 17 06 (sampled late on 03 25 06)

Aroma: Perfumed rich sugary based citric floral hops with a twist of orange rind

Appearance: Deep hazy amber with a fast dropping head that forms a thin cover. Disappointing given the style.

Flavor: Hops are firm and citric, but very little of the sweet base noted in the nose. It seems upside down from smell to taste, going from sweet to bitter. Citric orange rind taste is pleasant but a bit astringent, and late in the glass I noted some tea flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, almost crisp with little oil given the style.

Overall Impression: Ok, almost enjoyable, but needs more base to really shine.

Thanks to Pegasus for the sample.

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Photo of nortmand
3.39/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very light Amber, almost straw colored. White, unexciting head.

Resiny pineapple nose. Subdued to the max!

Sweet up front, similar to Nutra-sweet. Grain midtongue. Aftertaste is bitter rubber in the back and metallic up front.

Thin bodied, but not terribly unpleasant, this beer needs some improvement if it wants a permanent spot in my fridge.

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Photo of Tupperwolf
4.2/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received at Pyramid brewhouse in Seattle. Clear amber, a few rising bubbles, with a fizzy white head that soon dissipated and left just a little lacing behind.

Smooth malts are present, as is a citruisy, building oily aroma of hops. There's a definite floral quality as well; Not a hop bomb, not a weak IPA.

Wow! It really takes a lot to get a five out of a regular IPA from me - A standard IPA usually doesn't satisfy when I'm in the mood for hops, but the taste of this is incredible. It's not that it's overly hoppy, it's that the flavor of the hops is outta this world. They're fruity, floral, and citruisy all at once - an extremely bold, mouth-filling oily wonder. Fantastic!

Crisp and oily all at once - slight carbonation, just enough to notice - very mouth-filling, with a nice finish, lingering just enough to get you back in for more.

Final thoughts - wow! Quitre a distinct and delicious IPA. I'm more impressed than I expected! :)

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Photo of oberon
3.84/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wrong bottle on display,anyways poured a clear golden with a nice tight one finger white that settles slowly leaving a sheet of lace behind.Aromas are nicely balanced the big dose of hops is very prevelant really piney over top of toasted biscuity lightly sweet caramel malt.Like the flavors of this IPA nice big dose of piney,resiny hop with a hint of citrus over top of a big sweetish bready malt base.Why the low ratings on this beer nice hop profile and well balanced I really like this beer.

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

Purchased from Strong Bros. Liquor, Fayetteville, TN.

Reviewed and notes taken 3/9/2006. Verbatim notes follow:

"Orange-yellow body, thin almost nonexistent white head. Strong malty aroma with nice notes of hops. Same with taste, slight astringent aftertaste. Very fruity flavor, nice grapefruit. Moderate mouthfeel, quite drinkable."

A decent enough IPA, I suppose, but I've had a lot better. Nothing much more to say.

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Photo of Shultzerdugen
3.41/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. brown bottle with no dates.

Clear copper/amber with a small white head.

Sweet candy tinted malts dance with pine and citrus notes in the nose. The smell reminds me of a few DIPA/Imp. IPA's I've had.

Medium-light body with moderate carbonation. Grapefruit notes right from the top. Goes super bitter into a peppery, lemony finish that is super long and, yes, super bitter. The bitterness brings to mind the flavor of biting into a lemon or clementine orange seed.

I'm all for bitterness, but I want some damned flavor along with it! The nose was super inviting but didn't deliver the taste it implied.

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Photo of warmstorage
1.64/5  rDev -51.5%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I don't normally bother reviewing beers that already have a lot of BA reviews. But this IPA is so peculiar, so fruit flavored, that I thought it worth it.

Poured from 12 ounce bottle (twist-off: argh, can't bottle hombrew into it) into clean pint glass. Bright orange color, very slight haze, with little head which is almost immediately gone. Noticeable carbonation bubble streams.

Aroma is, well, very little. I think I smell the (clean, dry) glass more than the beer. Slightly sweet/honey aroma, maybe? But I really only noticed that after tasting it.

Mouth is fairly full, carbonation high-ish, and slightly slick on the finish.

Taste... I'm left with the distinct impression of sweetness and apricots, and little else. In fact, I got it into my mouth, and immediately thought "Whoa! Magic Hat #9!" It's not nearly as fruity sweet as #9, but fruity sweet apricots (and maybe a little nectarine?) are really the only distinct flavors.

There is very little distinct hop presence; while hops are definitely there, it isn't the bold, pacific northwest type of hop profile one might expect from a beer from Seattle which boldly claims on the label to be "bursting with hops" in all capital letters. Bursting with hops, this beer is most certainly not. Nor does it have any meaningful malt backbone.

Finishes quickly, with little lingering aftertaste, gone almost as soon as I've swallowed. More physical/mouthfeel presence than taste lingers.

Overall: a surprisingly blah beer, and not at all consistent with the style. (And this isn't the American vs. British debate: this isn't an IPA in either sense.) I might think more highly of it as a bland APA, or even a regular bitter, possibly even a fruit/hybrid beer.

It's pretty consistent with the Pyramid IPA I've had at Pyramid brewhouses, in both Sacramento, Walnut Creek, and Berkeley, though in fairness, I think I've only ever had a full pint of it in Sacramento. I don't recall the weird fruitiness on tap, however.

I didn't hate this beer by any means: with an equally bland dinner, or slugging it down on a hot day, it could be fine. (Yes, even at 6.7%, it's so blah that I would consider this a lawnmower beer.) That said, I'll certainly never bother paying cash for it again: there are WAY better IPAs, and WAY better basic ales available to me, even in Utah. (There are several 4.0% ABV/3.2% ABW Utah tap beers I'd choose over this.)

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Photo of Bcant
3.12/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear golden color with a fluffy white head that settles fast and leaves no trace.

The bouquet features bitter citrus (lemon rind?) and pine but also some sweet dough notes.

The hop profile states out understated but quickly comes to the fore and lasts through the mouthful and beyond the swallow. There is no doubt that he hoping is very pleasant, however, there is not much below – the malt character is very thin and with little complexity, making Thunderhead a one dimensional IPA.

Very sticky in the mouth.

[Note: Many reviews found this Thunderhead IPA overly sweet and under hoped. This is not my experience. While some natural variation of taste is to be expected, I wonder if this brew has consistency problems or if age and or oxidation have strong affects on its taste.]

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Photo of Xadoor
2.68/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not sure if its their existing IPA with just a new label or something different.

Poured a golden colour into the glass with minimal head. Slightly hazy and very low carbonation, only a few thin trails of bubbles rising up through the beer. Thin layer of foam and lacing left in the glass. Aroma was very light, almost non-existent. Flavour was grassy and earthy. Finish was dry and only slightly bitter with a sour grapefruit-like flavour. It certainly wasn't "bursting with hops" as promised on the label either. Its drinkable, but I wouldn't bother buying it again.

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Photo of assurbanipaul
2.78/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a bright clear orange with minimal to no head. Aroma is weak, piney, woody and citrus, not entirely clean.

Taste is malty and slightly sour. Plenty of piney resin, dry, grassy flavors, some hay. This one has a hoppy soapiness that I'm not too fond of. Finish is bitter hops.

Mouthfeel is thin, light and clean. Not really the best balance in an IPA, one is enough for me.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.31/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Transparent tangerine with a few streams of lazy bubbles gliding up to a pale lemon colored cap. It doesn't look like the typical head that one sees on exceptionally hoppy beer, but it still looks good. Pillars of thin, sudsy lace appear on the glass eventually.

For a beer that is 'bursting with hops' (to quote the label), the nose sure isn't bursting with hops or with anything else. It's way too mild for an IPA. I wouldn't even let an APA get away with an aroma like this. As it warms, the beer smells a little like sweaty feet.

On the palate... there's still no bursting goin' on. The malt bill consists of 100% Tomahawk for those who care. As the ounces pass, I'm beginning to sense that Thunderhead IPA is hoppier than I've given it credit for. The citrusiness, kept in check by an impressive maltiness, still manages to make an impression.

There's so much sweet, sticky malt present that the hops don't have that bright, high-intensity flash that I crave. In the end, just enough flavor finds its way to my taste buds for me to bump the flavor score one more notch. An impressive amount of bittersweetness lingers on the tongue, a testament to the sheer amount of ingredients packed into this ale. So why isn't it more flavorful? I suspect the answer is that it's brewed by Pyramid.

The mouthfeel is on the full side for the style. All that malt provides a wonderful lushness and the aforementioned sticky, sappiness. A low, but still effective, amount of carbonation is also a definite positive.

Thunderhead IPA needs one thing and one thing only to be a pretty fair version of the style. The brewers need to find a way to unlock more flavor from their chosen hop. Or, better yet, come up with a new hop bill. Something starting with the letter 'C' perhaps. This is my favorite Pyramid beer to date. Not that that's saying a whole helluva lot.

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

Appearance: Pours a standard light honey color with an ample foamy off-white head that dies out in a minute or so.

Smell: Big strong citric hop aroma

Taste: Aggressively hopped with some nice bitterness in the aftertaste. Nice nutty maltiness in the back. Pleasantly surprising.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied for the style and the hop assault on my taste buds is not too intense.

Drinkability: The alcohol is well-hidden and it goes down smooth.

A nice, inexpensive, underrated IPA. I'll probably pick up a sixer sometime.

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.23/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not sure if this is the same as the old IPA, but here goes.

Appearance: A nice copper color, good visible carbonation. Nice loooking head.

Smell: Nice fruity hops, piney and citrusy, very full.

Taste: Wow, holy hops. I don't remember this from the pyramid IPA. What a large amoutn of hops, this is bordering on a double. Lip smacking, slightly sweet, very good.

A very nice beer, big and hoppy, fairly priced, and one that I could see myself going back to.

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Photo of Ricochet
3.62/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've tried many IPA's , so much that it's getting to be the same , each one I try. I find myself liking them more than the APA because I'm all about the hops hops hops. Here is another good IPA. I could easily drink a few of these tonight. Rough day at work.

Smell was odd, it didn't smell really fruity, really hoppy, a sweet smell that is hard to describe, but not welcoming. Appearence was orange with good head. Average really

Mouth, a little different, low foam factor, went down really quickly. I'd say better than average because it drinks fast.

It's bitter, it tastes a little like grapefruit, but the plus, it seems to make neither of those notes appear center stage. Alcohol was well tempered, and this didn't have the IPA edge. Like it or hate it, it is more like a Pale than an IPA, yet it's all IPA. I loved it.

So, yes, I'll get this again. Reasonably priced and I don't have to smell it if I drink out of a bottle. Good stuff Pyramid.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.13/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Ok, the new branding got me interested in trying the beer again.

After comparing notes to the beer I had four years ago, this seems to be a simplified IPA. It has a moderate hop aroma that edges on pine, lemon-grass, and pine. Malts obviously take a backseat going into the taste. Before then, the beer takes on a brilliantly clear copper appearance, but with little head formation or retention. Malt profile remains moderate to light because of great attenuation and crispness; maybe too light or thin in the end. It seems that the malts are all fermented out. Hops are much more stong in the bitterness than in the aroma or flavor, making it a quite bitey and nearing astringency in the end. Despite the light body and maltiness, the beer acheives a bold alcohol content that becomes evident in the dryness and sensation on the palate.

Ultimately, I think the beer is quite nice because of the moderate price. But compared to the best IPA's this beer doesn't have the togetherness or the restraint on the alpha-acids that it takes to compete.

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

This beer was poured into a pub glass.

Appearance: The beer pours a light amber coloration. The head was an inch thick off honey coloration. Thick lacing was left behind on the glass.

Smell: The beer intially smelled malty then gave way to floral hoppyness.

Taste: Sweet and bready on the intial taste. This gives way to a pine needle hoppyness.

Mouthfeel: The beer is light to maybe meduim bodied. Slightly more carbonation would help this beer.

Drinkability: The beer is not particularly complicated. This beer is a solid drinking beer with minimal geeking. Over all this is a good IPA for the price.

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Photo of kdog630
3.46/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured to a nice light amber with a good head that lasted a good long time. Very clear with a healthy effervescence.

The bottle said it was bursting with hops and the Web site boasts 67 IBU. The hops are there, but is it really bursting? I'd call it average when compared to some of the higher rated examples of the style. Maybe it's the Tomahawk hops that I'm just not used to.

That said, the taste and mouthfeel were excellent. The malt fills the entire mouth as the sweetness gives way to the bitterness of the finish.

A very drinkable brew. Refreshing for sitting around with friends after dinner or while cooling off after mowing the lawn. I will have it again.

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Photo of imrichbeeeatch
4.01/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into pint glass. Copper (new penny) colored with nice head containing big bubbles. Aroma is full; citrus, pine, mint, follwed by malty sweetness. Very nice hope flavor, definitely American. Flavor contained everything listed above, no surprises. Finishes bitter, but not harsh. Very balanced beer, not particularly exciting, but I would drink this again.

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

appearance: Pours a 1" off white head that recedes to a nice looking layer of bubbles on top. The beer is a light copper color.

smell: Balanced towards the aromas of citrusy hops and tropical fruits, with just a little malt character. Slight alcohol presence. Smells good, but nothing stands out.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is smooth, just around a high medium. The body is on the lighter side of the medium range.

taste: There is a big, citrusy hop bitterness that makes itself known at first contact to the tongue and lasts well into the finish. There is definately not enough malt here to balance it out, but it does provide some sweetness. Some hints or caramel, pine resin, and tropical fruit are found.

drinkability: easy to drink, but just a so-so beer as a whole

Single 12 oz. bottle purchased at Whole Foods on a whim

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