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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 Toddv29424
4.23/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The smell of this beer is a little strange...its a bit like spoiled yeast. Usually with an IPA there is more of a hint toward the hops, but I can discern almost nothing from the smell. The taste however is terrific. The initial taste is much like a traditional ale with a bland taste, but about half-way through the sip the taste of hops explodes in your mouth and takes over. Its a very fruity taste unlike many of the IPA's out there, which tent to forsake hop amount over flavor. Much like other Pyramid ales, this is very focused on taste and is a treat to enjoy.

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Photo of whynot44
3.7/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear copper/amber color with a nice ivory head that subsides to a thin layer but continues to leave a nice lacing on the glass all the way down.

The aroma is all hops - pine needles and grapefruit.

The flavor is much the same, the hops strike right up front and continue through the aftertaste with only a hint of caramelly malt surfacing in the middle. This is definitely a hophead's brew. Personally, I enjoyed it with burgers and polish sausage. The hops worked well to cut the grease and clean the palate for another bite.

Definitely worth a try if you are a hops lover.

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Photo of masikon
3.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a very pale amber, with yellow as well...fairly light for style. Head development and retention were grade A+ with a perfect 2 finger white head that left lacing caked on the glass. Nose was very hoppy, full of mostly pine cone scents with very little maltiness to be found. Tastes how it smells, lots of piny hops without much else, no real malt backbone here to save the day. Overall this is ok although it really isnt't very complex at all, the hops are done in a way that makes them one dimensional....I'm not sure if it's just the varity/varieties used or they technique but there is some depth missing. Also the lack of any real malt lends the bitterness to be slightly repulsing after half a pint.

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Photo of Brent
3.85/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not a bad effort at the pumped-up style. Poured a hazy apricot. Aroma of fresh hops. A touch syrupy sweet in the malt with substantial mouthfeel that was a bit too sticky. Blunt fresh hops bittering, with lingering bittersweet finish. An APA that sticks a toe in the double IPA pool to check it out. ABV is a little prominent at first. Reminded me of a more assertive Bert Grant's Fresh Hop Ale.

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Photo of Iguana
4.37/5  rDev +29.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearence - Pours a coppery amber with a nice half inch frothy head.

Smell - Smell is a nice grassy citrus hoppy scent, smells pretty darn good.

Taste - This is good, tastes hoppy, with a nice hint of citrus. Not too bitter, just very hoppy. Really enjoyable which is nice since I havent cared much for any other offering from this brewery. This one hit the spot though.

Mouthfeel - Pretty smooth, nice hop/malt balance which tones down the bitterness which for me is good.

Drinkability - This one is a winner for that hot afternoon, or when I get back from working out. Could toss a few back in a session.

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Photo of amicar
4.3/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice orange- tinged amber with slight white head. Smells flowery and citrusy. Taste is a smooth hoppiness giving way to crisp bitterness and malt predominating. Refreshing with a nice mouthfeel. I could knock a few of these back easily. Very nice.

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Photo of silver0rlead
3.32/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy golden copper color, and a thin white head despite a vigorous pour. The aroma has some nice juicy citrus and pine character, as well as some sweet caramel.malt. The flavor has a muted (for american IPA standards) citrusy and floral hop component, and what really comes through is a caramel sweetness, as well as some toasted bread. Mouthfeel is medium with moderate carbonation, but drinkability is quite good. It seems like they were reaching for a broader audience with this beer, and dumbed it down...a descent IPA but there are a hundred better examples out there for the same price.

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Photo of DogFood11
1.98/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

This highly filtered IPA is Orange to copper and forms a skim layering of head.

Grassy, some faint caramel and a sweet but subtle malt presence.

Grapefruit, hints of apricot. Musky middle to finish really detracts from the overall score as it lingers and is a bit rough in the smell and taste. I have to say on the upside I think this brew just needs some tweeking as the hops are delicious and the malt profile seems decent enough there was just a killer musty musk that I coundn't get passed. It was a fresh sample.

As much as I like pyramid beer this is not their best effort as the middle of this beer gets muddled. it wasn't for me.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I don't know how to tell this is "Thunderhead Pale Ale", but the picture looks like the bottle I have.

Appearance: Poured a hazy golden yellow color with a small 1/4" head that didn't retain at all. There were a few bubbles rising, but they only maintained a small ring around the top of the beer.

Aroma: Super reserved aroma as the beer was cold. As it warms a bit, I can get a bit of the hops, and it seems like there are more British hops in here than American varieties. This is surprising for a brewery from Washington. There is a bit more citrus and caramel coming out as the beer warms a bit.

Taste: Wow! Now this beer has a bitter balance. I didn't see that one coming. I didn't get a bunch of hops in the nose, but there sure are some in the bittering part of the profile. Whew! There is a bit of harshness to it, but nothing more than you get with some of Stone's products. The finish is bitter, and there is a slight warming from the alcohol.

Opinion: Well, I am not too big on IPA's, and for that matter...I didn't really care for Pyramid's Weizen beer. I had preconceived expectation of this beer that I am glad were proven wrong. This beer isn't too bad. The nose is too light for the assertive bittering, but it's not objectionable. I personally would have balanced it differently, but I would try this beer again.

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Photo of allengarvin
3.57/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Crystal clear golden orange color, but even when I tried to induce a head by lifting the pour at the last, the foam faded away very quickly. Aroma is better: a powdery, grassy hop nose and a faint hint of malt. Any maltiness in the taste, apart from a crackery biscuitness, is quickly subsumed under a huge hop flavor (tending spicy, resinous) and high bitterness, forcibly drying the beer into a lingering finish. Medium to thin bodied.

A powerfully bitter beer, but I find it unbalanced. It's one-dimensional.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.08/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From the neck label:"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." On the larger label, "...bursting with hops."

Well, that certainly sounds right up my alley.

Let's see for sure, though.

Appearance: clear, pale tangerine color, brief white head, soon slims to a faint ring...

Aroma: mild hops, soapy, ...floral, a bit spicy, but muted...can't pick out the variety(ies), but it's a very low-key nose, this one. Can't say I approve.

Taste: unremarkable entrance on the palate. Brisk, hoppy bitterness rides along the mouth, sticking to the tongue, gliding around the roof and various crevices and canyons. As for the flavor, we have nothing more than the hops up front, then ...? Surprisingly thinly bodied, with only the bitterness felt, at first.

Further on, I get more fruit, honey, sweetness. But not much more.

Then, I tried something. No elephants or oceans are nearby, but I do have some nicely curried food. Hey, I wonder how it would stack up?

And ....the ThunderHead turns into iced tea next to the spicy maraka sanga hurdi.

A very simplistic, under-acheiving IPA, neither bold, nor bursting. Missing malt, as well something essential: flavor!

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3.5/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - 1/4" off white head that disappears quickly to a ring. Hazy orange beer. Light lace.

Smell - Typical grapefruit/pine hop aroma. A little caramel from the malt. Balanced nose for a West Coast IPA.

Taste - Slight citrus. Mild lingering bitterness. A little toffee. Subdued.

Mouthfeel - Fuller bodied almost thick mouthfeel. Fairly dry finish. Low to mid level carbonation.

Drinkability - Average. Tastes more like an APA. Not nearly as juicy a hop profile as most IPA's. Easy to drink none the less.

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Photo of ztprez
4.3/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden amber with soft white head. Glistens in the glass. Nice smell of hops. The first taste has just the right bite of hop blending with the sweetness of the malt.

This beer goes down smooth and is great alone or with a nice stew. This beer is great for someone who wants that lingering taste of hops, but does not want to be totally overwhelmed with bitterness.

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

Pours a pale dull orange color lightly hazy with a finger nad hald sized white head that laces well.

Aroma is grapefruit dominating everything else might be a bit one dimensional but it smells nice.

Taste is like aroma lots of bitter grapefruit flavors that linger some herbal like hops try to come out. Finish is lingering grapefruit with hints of pine resin. Some might say this is to bitter one sided IPA not much malt just enough to carry the hops. But if you like bitter hops its a decent IPA just don't expect any balance.

Mouthfeel is light side of medium mellow carbonation.

Drinkability is ok not the best IPA but its enjoyable enough if you like hops.

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Photo of GreenWBush
2.35/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A new find at the local liquor stop, reasonably priced at about $7 a sixer.

Emerges from the bottle a prototypical IPA, just-past-macro gold. Smallish head, but impressive incremental lace rings.

Nose is zingy, fresh, appealing. Its easy to say 'grapefruit' with every single IPA but this is one of the first i've noticed that actually reminds me of paring a grapefruit. Fresh peeled orange.

But the flavor, my god the flavor - what an abomination. This is a beer that would make people who have never had IPA think that the style is poison. Pithy, astringent bitterness that bites at the tongue completely lacking any sweetness. Like putting your tongue on your car's battery. A few hints of a buttery malt character at room temperature.

Thin, thin, thin mouthfeel. Like chilled hop-tea.

Completely undrinkable.

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Photo of pjwilson
3.99/5  rDev +18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First off, there is some real confusion here with the mulitple Pyramid listings. Bottling plants are in Berkeley and Seatle, with additional brewpubs in Walnut Creek and Sacto. I've seen it with the Thunderhead label and just plain IPA;it's the same beer. Anyways this is a good beer, on the milder side for IPA's. It's often on sale at the store making it a good fall back beer. Certainly a step above stuff like Redhook.
Appearance: bright orange color. Ok, the head fades pretty fast.
Smell: I really dig the smell on this one alot. It'a great smell. Malts overpower the hops only the slightly. The hops are all Tomahawk, which is the same as columbos. the beer is a good rep of that nice oily hop. It's spicy.
Taste: A knock below the smell. Here the bitterness disconnects with the flavor and sort of rides over it. That maltly taste from the smell is there, along with some spicy hops, and then followed by bitterness. This has a whole different thing going on from most IPAs. Pair this with some Indian or Thai food.
mouthfeel: full, followed by that bitter aftertaste
Drinkability: There are more drinkable beers than this, but this is a good drinker.
This is a solid beer and the best from Pyramid, perhaps their only great beer. BTW, this isn't any better on tap.

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Photo of russpowell
3.97/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bubbly white head rops off quickly to about 1/4" & retains head lace all the way down, Nice amoer hue with good clarity in the body.

Smell: Tons of hops aroma grapefruit and pineyness up front and a bit of malt aroma sneaks in.

Taste: Citrusy and resiny flavors dominate, some pepper-like spciyness and a little bit of malt shows up too little, too late.

Mouthfeel: Despite the ABV of 6.7% , this is out of ballance anf feels thin.

Drinkability: A little too hopped up to drink all night, but this will fire some taste buds up.

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Photo of RoyalT
2.33/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance – This one was light orangish-brown and looked a little thin in the body, but the head was terrific. It came up nicely but not explosively and showed good retention and lacing.

Smell – The hops here are kind of light, but I can pick up some citrus and maybe a touch of pine. There’s a grainy bite here too that kind of creeps me out.

Taste – Well, the light hopping seems to have made its way to the taste all right, but that grain came over something awful. I swear after well over a thousand reviews on the site I have never tasted anything like this. It’s almost like medicine, like some pill that you’re supposed to swallow whole but you accidentally bite.

Mouthfeel – This is in between light and medium-bodied with some modest carbonation and a filmy, unpleasant feel on the teeth.

Sinkability – I’m going to go throw up just to freshen my mouth.

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Photo of JohnfromDublin
3.89/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasted on 7th October 2005, a present from Portland, Oregon. Which brings me to my first note; the bottle is clearly the one shown in the BA site picture, but this is brewed in Portland, not Seattle. No BB date to be seen, bottle with twist-off cap.

Anyway, poured a hazy blonde brew with thin head.
Smell was very nice; apricots at the outset, dimming to reveal hops later.

Taste was strong and bold, with a nice "bite" that developed. Not that complex, but a decent solid tasting beer. Reasonable mouthfeel.

Enjoyed this and would certainly have more, if I got the opportunity.

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Photo of jimdkc
3.77/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours bright, clear gold with about a finger of short-lived off-white head. Leaves a little lace around the top of the glass, but head completely dissipates before it can leave more. Fair amount of citrus/floral hop aroma. Sweet crystal malt flavor up front with strong hop bitterness. Hops not very balanced... good aroma and bitterness, should be more flavor. Decent mouthfeel and drinkability. A pretty good IPA... but not a great one.

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Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice deep golden/copper color, nice carbonation, nice little head which dissapates quickly. There's nice lacing throughout the drink. Scents of sweet hops. This IPA is pretty good, but I've had way better. There is a nice little bite at the end witha medium body. This is a very drinkable IPA for sure, would recommend.

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Photo of ReebShorts
4.4/5  rDev +30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Huge 2 finger head on pour, lacing it's way to a nice thick 1/4 inch off-white layer. Color is a hazy orange. massive carbonation burst on the pour.

Ususally I give the smell test before drinking, but I got excited I guess and went straight to the drinking. It's good. This is an IPA, no question. Not a single trying to be a double, or vice versa, or APA claiming IPA, it is what it says it is. mmmm, hops are present throughout, crisp finish, very drinkable and sessionable (for a 6.7).


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Photo of tjthresh
3.31/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Right out of the shoot, the aroma attacks with spicy and floral scents. It pours light copper orange, with a slight ring for foam around the top edge. This thing has some big time bitterness. Its piney, earthy, resinous, and sticky sweet. Medium/full bodied and oily slick. I’d drink this IPA anytime.

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Photo of Derek
4.22/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer defines the American IPA style.

As expected, it was maltier & more bitter than their APA, but it seem to have more cascade hop flavour as well. Thus, it may not be as approachable to the average consumer, but any beer-geek will surely love it!

More citrous, cascade flavour than Pike's.

I loved it. :D

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Photo of rugger
3.5/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Ok, I just had two of these and my impression is that this is a good beer, but it is for the novice. This is a beginners IPA. If you are a hop head in training this is a good place to start. This beer pours a nice deep copper and has an OK head. The smell is of deep thick hops, not sharp and crispy as a top notch IPA would be. However this beer is very drinkable and smooth as well as any great crossroads beer should be. I could drink tons of this however I think it is slightly better on tap, but a very drinkable IPA. However I think that on the hop scale it is only slightly hoppier than SNPA. Give it a try and tell your local packie runner that you want better.

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