Imperial Hefeweizen Ale | Pyramid Breweries, Inc.

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Imperial Hefeweizen AleImperial Hefeweizen Ale
96 Ratings
Imperial Hefeweizen AleImperial Hefeweizen Ale

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

Style: German Hefeweizen

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Limited edition, brewed with 60% malted wheat with Nugget and Tettnang hops.

Added by Todd on 08-29-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 96 |  Reviews: 91
Photo of t0rin0
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%

Photo of RBorsato
3.25/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of LampertLand
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%

Photo of Lantern
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%

Photo of rab53
4/5  rDev +14%

Photo of joemcgrath27
3.56/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

No brew date, although is says "Brewers Reserve 2007"....
A - a very bubbly copper, short white head dissipated quickly with no lacing
S - sweet caramel malt with nuttiness, light banana and melon notes, perfumy hops and an alcohol presence
T - sweet caramel malts and perfume hops up front, alcohol is noticeable, mild melon on the finish
M - highly carbonated, alcohol bite thins it out, slight lasting tingle
D - interesting flavours though not the hefe flavours I was expecting, the alcohol is noticeable, generally easy drinking, not outstanding but still a decent brew. However I am left wondering if this was too old....

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Photo of barleywinefiend
2.71/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Poured a deep rich cloudy yellow tiha white head and good carbonation

S: Faint. Wheat. Banana

T: Nothing imperial or tasty about this. Murky mess and its hard to pick out any true taste notes

M: Some wheat, light booze nothing more.

D: No way. Avoid

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Photo of JISurfer
4.05/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Never had an Imperial Hefeweizen before, so I had to try it. The waitress said it was a solid 9%, but as with some imperials, you couldn't really detect the high alcohol content, which makes it a dangerous beer. She was saying it wasn't going to be on tap much longer, so I'm guessing it's a spring offering. Anyway, it's a pretty drinkable beer, not too heavy, but not too light. It's a great balance of hops and malt, which is impressive in an imperial IMHO. Most imperials, are seriously hopped up, so this was a welcomed taste. If you have the chance to slide by and try it, give it a shot.

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Photo of misinformed
3.52/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I loved this beer so much when I first tasted that I bought a case of it. I didn't intend to cellar it for this long, but I forgot about it so here I am trying it again for the first time in 2010.

A- Light hazy orange-gold color with some yeast present in the glass. Intense carbonation. Smallish head and thick lacing.

S- Very very faint smell similar to other hefeweizens. I had to stick my nose way down in the glass to get any scent at all.

T- Alcohol dominates with some hop notes and a mild wheat aftertaste. Very smooth with no heat at all which is surprising from the intense alcohol flavor.

M- Slightly thick with good carbonation.

D- This beer has changed considerably from when I first bought it. Still very easy to drink, but not the same beer I remember at all from earlier tastings. I wish I had reviewed it back when I bought it because I remember a slightly bitter, but incredibly wheaty beer with almost no alcohol flavor. Not as good as I remember, but I will definitely still enjoy the last couple of bottles I have left.

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Photo of htomsirveaux
3.62/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle tried 25 May 2008. 2007 version.

Very large yellowish head, quickly dissipates. Well carbonated. Cloudy peachy color. Aroma is yeasty, earthy, sweet. Tastes of honey, wheat, yeast. Pears and honey through the middle. Finish is a bit bitter with some alcohol. Aftertaste is of sourdough bread. Chewy body. Ethanol is warming.

Tasty but expected some bigger flavors from an imperial.

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Photo of scootny
3.83/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A smooth and drinkable treat. A light burnt orange with a big head and vigorous carbonation. Retention and lacing are good as well. It sits invitingly in the glass. Smells of wheat malt and caramel. A light banana and peppery alcohol sweetness. Other yeast esters in the background.

Taste is like the nose. Smooth and big wheat malt with a light fruitiness. Light apple and grape. A dry tartness and subtle clove and pepper spiciness. Alcohol is evident but well integrated. Finish is clean mild and malty with an alcohol bite. Feel is full and chewy with a quenching dryness. Carbonation is just short of creamy. It winds up cleaning and scrubbing the mouth instead.

Drinkability is good enough to have you at the bottom of the glass
in short order.

An American weizenbock. Too bad it is not a year round offering. Nice job Pyramid!

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 ounce bottle. Served in a Weizen glass, the beer pours a hazy golden/orange color with about an inch and a half frothy white head. Head retention is good, not much lacing. It smells like apricots, cloves, wheat and peppery spice. The taste is similar to the aroma, but has the addition of some hops in the finish. This isn't a traditional hefe, as I can't taste or smell any banana in this beer. Mouthfeel/body is medium, and has good carbonation. Drinkability is average, it's not hard to drink at all. Overall I think it's a decent brew, but with that being said there's plenty of other hefeweizens I'd pick before this one.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.7/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a cloudy dirty yellow color weizen with a small off-white head with limited retention as well as lacing. Aroma of wheat malt is dominating with some light notes of banana and cloves. Taste is again dominated by some wheat malt with some light notes of banana and cloves ester also noticeable. Body is full with some very limited filtration and average carbonation with no discernable alcohol. Interesting take on the style but somewhat cloying at the end of the day.

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Photo of magictrokini
3.83/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A surprisingly solid beer from these perennial underachievers. Cloudy yellow pour with a mountainous shite head. Bananas, wheat, cereal, and a small bit of clove. Smooth mouthfeel. Nice balance of wheat and yeast esters. More on the wheat side than the sweet, bubblegum, German side. Still, a very good hefe.

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Photo of bobsy
3.55/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Shadman for sending this to Ontario. Murky apple cider appearance, with a small white head that quickly fizzles out. Faint fruity smell, but no banana. A touch of grain. Lots of honey and caramel biscuit in the flavour. The grain is more apparent in the dry finish, which is also surprisingly bitter for this type of beer. The alcohol is well hidden, but raises its head a little towards the end. The body is thick and chewy with minimal carbonation.

A strange duck... not really like any hefe I've had before, and I'm not sure whether that's because the style doesn't suit conversion to an imperial, or whether Pyramid have just done something out of whack here. I didn't find much of the banana or clean grain flavours I like in the style, and the body was the polar opposite of a regular hefe. Nonetheless I found this to be an interesting beer and one that I'm glad I tried.

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Photo of rowew
3.63/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Presentation: 22 oz bomber, clear label. Brewer's Reserve 2007.

Appearance: Orange color with just a bit of haze. Average head, a bit of lacing.

Smell: Spicy yeast, quite a bit of wheat.

Taste: Main flavor I pick out is a bit of a peppery yeast, some banana esters in there too. Nice wheat flavors.

Overall impression: Interesting - tastes like I would expect a bigger hefe to.

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Photo of MuenchenerKindl
3.8/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber to a snifter the liquid is dark gold, just a bit hazy and has ok carbonation. The head is a bit smallish, white and fades leaving little lace.

The smell is ok, a bit of fuit and a hint of pepper.

The taste follows, small hefe like notes, the peppery banana in this brew is nice. This is a tough style to brew right, while it is not the best by a long shot it is a bit better then I expected.

The mouthfeel is ok good body and carbonation.

The drinkability is good, a fine brew that is worth a try but not something I would go after. Prosit, MK

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Photo of prosper
4.89/5  rDev +39.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow, I'm in love. Too bad this is a limited edition brewing.

The appearance is good, with a honey-amber color. Darker than I expected of a wheat ale. The head is adequate; not a voluminous as I expected of a wheat ale, and it disappears rather quickly, leaving no trace of its existence. There's a slight haze to it, and some sediment left stuck to the bottom of the bottle.

The smell is exceptional, the grassy wheat notes are dominant, but there is a nicely balanced malty smell as well, assisted by a nice proportion of hops.

The taste is stunning. A hugely complex mix of sweet malted grain, bready grassyness and a touch of hops. Lots of bubbles, but kept in a perfect balance. The acidic zinginess from the carbonic acid is present and a nice counterpoint to the grassy bitterness of the wheat. There are plenty of esters present, candy/fruitly notes - lots of cherry, banana, pineapple and the like. No one flavour dominates, and the medium/short finish is much the same. So many flavours, kept in such a perfect balance.

Mouthfeel is medium-light. It's not particularly filling - It's not creamy; rather it's bready/fruity. It's devious - *almost* completely satisfying, but not completely so - leaving you wanting just one more mouthful

The alcohol content is also mischeviously disguised. It would be a simple matter to slam these back all day on a warm, indian summer day.

EDIT: Finished my second bottle a few days back. This bottle tasted completely 'off'. Lots of sour yeast-y notes and a ton of sediment on this one (way more than the first one). Not at all enjoyable, but I'll assume that the bad bottle is the exception, not the rule

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Photo of cvstrickland
3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2007 Brewer's Reserve

22-ounce bomber poured into a weizen glass yields a hazy orange-amber body capped with a thick finger of off-white foam. The head reduces quickly to a ring that leaves no lacing on the glass.

The smell of the drink is faintly sour with mellow banana goodness and spicy clove.

The taste is sweet and fruity, with a soft, rich wheaty character, some crisp red apple and plenty of banana.

Medium-bodied and very smooth. Unremarkable and likely much better fresh.

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Photo of thekevlarkid
4.13/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice tan head formed after I poured it into my glass but it faded quickly to a light rim of beige bubbles. This ring displayed very nice retention though. Very cloudy, exactly as a Hefe should be, so much so that you can barely see stream of constantly rising bubbles inside. The color is golden brown like barley; this beer looks as one would expect it too. Aroma is a little odd and yet complex, semi-sweet, fresh nearly green grains, faint fruit and alcohol. Flavors are equally complex and challenging, citrus, followed by yeast, then wheat, some malt and a little hops at the end. Impressive because all the elements make their presence known. Phenols, some esters, and a pleasant sweetness that makes it all palatable. Truly an Imperial. Hefe and not a beer the uninitiated would appreciate but still drinkable and approachable. Recommended.

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Photo of digitalbullet
4.3/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Good beer. Great body, interesting aromas of apricot and peach but lacking true hefe character of bannana and bubble gum. Pours a nice head but retention is a bit weak. Hoppy for a hefe but expecting that because its an imperial. The beer has a good acidic feel, its almost reminicent of a gueze. The 7.5% alcohol comes through with a warming effect that is not unwelcomed. A good beer and will definatly buy again.

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Photo of Wetpaperbag
3.16/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- The traditional golden yellow haze color is very much there. A good head that lasts. Mostly due to the wheat proteins. Looks like a hefe.

S- There is a faint fruit smell. Given that this is an American Hefe the fruity/banana smell isn't quite as present.

T- There is a taste of honey and clove along with the wheat flavor. Other then that I don't know how this brewery can say this is "Imperial" other then the higher ABV.

M- This feels thicker then most hefes, that must be the imperialness of the beer.

D- It is easily drinkable, but is not what I expected.

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Photo of kosmoraios
4.32/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one as a fresh 750 bottle - delivered same day near the Pyramid breweries in Seattle.

Pours a hazy golden color, a bit darker than other hefes, but maybe not as dark as a dunkel. 2-finger white head that lingers for a while. Carbonation is ample.

Aroma is of malts and yeast, bit of banana, clove, some light toffee sweetness.

Hops? Wow. Flavor is of nutty yeast overlain with spicy hops. Interesting. The banana isn't as evident in the taste. It tastes like a cross between a dunkelweizen and an IPA. Not bad.

Mouthfeel carbonated and spicy at first and then finishes a bit oily on the back of the tongue. Pretty drinkable for what it is.

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Photo of BretSikkink
3.44/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazed over nicely, orange and yellow color that integrates both somehow but adds a touch of brown to tip the balance in favor of the darker. White, very tall head, I didn't use a weizen glass but my globe was about half full when the head got to the rim. Turns out to have beautiful lacing, with that head sticking around for a long while.

Strange aroma, to say the least. I get a strong whiff of alcohol, mitigated by only the sweetest and lightest of grain, and a touch of DMS. To just re-read my description, it would sound like I'm in for something that only comes in 40 oz. bottles.

As it turns out however, there is plenty of wheat character and far too many hops to be anything like a malt liquor. The yeast and hops are very strong, and don't say anything like "hefeweizen" to me. The wheat is certainly a part of the malt bill, but doesn't make up enough ground to me. I don't know what an Imperial Hefeweizen is, but this tastes a lot like an Imperial Pilsner to me. Not that there's anything wrong, but having had my share of Aventinus I can tell you that wheat can play nicely with high alchohol, and my guess would be that adding some hops to the Aventinus boil would not reduce the complexity as far as this Pyramid product.

Strongly fruity is the flavor, with a high dose of sugar. The alcohol is strong up front, in the middle, and on the finish. DMS or cooked veggie character starts in the "savoring" stage and lasts til the finish, but doesn't retain. The hops are very strong and present, quite herbal and earthy, and actually one of the thumbs up I would give to this interesting hybrid (or bastardization, according to your predilections).

The mouthfeel would be medium to medium full for a hefeweizen, but if it's supposed to be imperial, it's supposed to be bigger. I'll rate it medium-thin, with a call out for more carbonation. I guess I can't dock it in the points because they have deemed it a hefeweizen, but I will use this space to declare that it's nothing of the sort. No clove, little banana, nothing easy-drinking. This would be a little like putting 120 Minute in the "British IPA" category.

Did I drink it really fast? Yep. Drinkability is only hemmed in by the strong alcohol content that's pretty noticeable with each sip; it's actually quite hot. But I was done with my first goblet-full almost before I remembered to take some notes. So I can't hate on that end.

Bottom line: it doesn't hit your bottom line very hard. At 2.99$ for a pint and a half, I could go out on the town in my own home for a cheap price...hmm, those similarities to malt liquor seem to be recurring. I'm not going to say don't get it if you see it, but I am saying not to get it if you are spending a quiet night alone with a beer for companionship.

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Photo of elricorico
3.18/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Very orange in colour, with a finger of white head. Visible rising carbonation. Head fades to a thin cap.

Sweet banana smell, and a bit of a booziness. Scents of citrus rind as well.

Candy sweet up front. Some of the wheat spiciness in the finish, but alcohol also shows. Lingering impression of a lemon-lime type cola.

Fizzy, with a medium, slightly sticky body. A little too cola like here.

This isn't my thing, it almost gives the impression of a mixed drink. Cola like mouthfeel and sweetness with a boozy finish. Not terrible, goes down fairly easy, but I won't miss it.

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Imperial Hefeweizen Ale from Pyramid Breweries, Inc.
Beer rating: 3.51 out of 5 with 96 ratings