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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Ratings: 96 |  Reviews: 91
Reviews by BrewMonkey:
Photo of BrewMonkey
3.67/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Pyramid in Sacramento.

Poured very cloudy murky dark tan with off-white head, decent retention, little lacing.

Malty light citrus aroma, some floral notes. Taste of sweet and slightly husky malt character gives way to a suprising hop presense with floral and honey notes, some citrus as well thought light. Mouthfeel is a bit chunky but finishes clean with some tartness at the end. I prefer this over their normal Hefe, as it has some more character and depth, but still nothing really spectacular.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Jason
3.78/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

With 60% wheat in the grain bill there is no surprise that the head is massive, make sure you get a proper weizen glass or at least a big mug to hold this brew and the huge head. Retention is fine, a few sticky patches of lace. Hazy rusty orange color from being unfiltered. Grassy wheat aroma with a hint of wild flowers and nutty yeast. Slick full body has a semi-hard crispness. Big on wheat malt flavor from bready overtones to a touch of hay-like graininess. Nugget of malt sweetness in the middle gets pulled away by a peppery alcohol and a sharp herbal hop bitterness, both help to balance. Faint fruity esters with a definite warming alcohol hit towards the end. Other than the esters, very clean all around which really lets both the wheat malt and hops play. Finishes a bit dry with only a touch of residual maltiness but more of a fruity bitter linger.

Very original, I don't think I have ever tasted a beer like this before except for a strong pale wheat ale I brewed years ago using Harpoon's UFO yeast. American style all the way, love the balance of malt, hops and alcohol. I guess Imperial Hefeweizen sounds better than American Strong Wheat Ale, seriously it has to be hard to market with unflattering style names. By far one of the more interesting and unconventionally complex beers I have had this year.

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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 monkeybeer
3.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

1 Pint Bottle 2007 Brewer's Reserve

A- Pours Very Cloudy golden yellow with a large white bubble head. Some sediment from the bottle gout in to the Glass No lacing on the glass.

S- Very sweet smell with a floral bouquet with a hint of fruit

T/M- Starts off very wheaty turning to a nice warm feeling which is more than likely due to the alcohol content of the beer. Defiantly has the taste of American wheat which I like, but if you do not and are looking for the strong banana and clove taste stay away from this one, they are there but barely

D- Not a bad hefeweizen but at the price not one that I would drink all the time. But would defiantly get more of to have on hand

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Photo of IntriqKen
4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am really surprised with this beer. I was expecting a sweet...sticky sweet...and strong version of a Hef but instead I'm finding a really well balanced brew.

Cloudy tangerine fills the glass with a massive head of white on top showing how 'wheaty' it is. Head melts to something nicely sticky.

Aroma is really subdued...some toasted malt but mostly yeast and bread smells.

Mouthfeel is tingly and taste is light amber malt with bready yeast, wheat pepper, citrus hops.

Aftertaste is clean and fresh and slightly drying from the massive amount of wheat in the grain bill.

Nice...really nice and really unusual.
Pyramid has done 'Imperial" royally with their version of this Hef.

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Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Smooth wheaty aroma and taste, this drinks dangerosly quickly over almost any meal with light whitish transparent colour and some residual white foam. Incredibly drinkable. Cotton candyish and a minority representation of hops. Like drinking malt foam.

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Photo of silver0rlead
2.82/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a very hazy golden orange, with a big beige head that retains well for a high abv brew. The aroma is intriguing, as it has a huge fresh wheat character initially, along with some cheerios like maltiness, some fruity esters, and a touch of the banana/clove yeastiness typical of the style. The flavor starts out like the aroma, with a massive fresh wheat character, followed by some fruity esters, a strange cheerios like maltiness, along with some herbal and grassy hops, and a brash ethanol presence. The mouthfeel is actually a bit thick for my liking, likely due to the large proportion of wheat in the grist bill. Drinkability is pretty good considering the abv, but this is no easy drinking hefe. Overall a descent beer, perhaps a bit one dimensional, since the overwhelming flavor and aroma are wheat based. Also Im not sure how well a Hefe can be ramped up or Imperialized.

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Photo of russpowell
3.94/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly hazed apricot with 2+ fingers of sand colored head. Minimal head retention & lacing

S: Some breadyness, slight peppery notes & apricot & jammy notes once warm

T: Fruitty (appleskins & watermelon), & herbal hop notes up front. More appleskins, a slight alcohol presence, orangey hops & a bit of dryness once warm. Finishes fruitty, dry & with herbal citrus hops

MF: Pretty chewy with minimal carbonation

Drinks pretty easy, I will ding this a little since it didn't display many hefe or even weizen bock characteristics, but pretty nice for a west coast hybrid

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Photo of Kegatron
3.45/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 22oz bottle in a Weizen glass.

Pours a cloudy dark orange with a medium sized off white head, which was actually much smaller than I was expecting. Nice head retention and intermittent lacing as the level dropped. Aroma is somewhat reserved at first, mostly conististing of bready, yeasty aromas but once it warmed up, very strong fruits notes (most noticeably bananas) and spices came forth.

The taste can't quite keep up with that wonderful aroma. Basically tasting like a beefed up version of a regular Hefe. Mostly bready with some intermingling lemon and spice notes. Finishes hoppy and a little hot but that subdues somewhat as it warms. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and slightly beefy. The booze is there but seems to be covered fairly well.

This was my first time with this style and I'm not quite sure what to think. I appreciated the attempt at a bigger and bolder Hefe and in some aspects it succeeded but I just wish that the taste had come through a little more. I would still call the drinkability decent on this one and it's worth a try if you've never experienced one before.

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Photo of bditty187
3.33/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Hazy, dull peachy-tawny beige in hue; off-white head, massive in size, a softish pour still produced more than four fingers of foam. Head retention was excellent, as it should be, the massive amount of bubbles didn’t move. In time, as I removed the liquid, spotty lacing started. Overall, the lacing was thick and clumpy; a small cap lasted the entire consumption. Overall, the appearance isn’t much above average for a Wheat beer.

The nose isn’t overly clovey or wheaty… hell, there is no bubblegum aromas or banana for that matter. In other words, the “hefe” characteristics are minimal. I need to smell cloves, bananas, and wheat in a normal Hefeweizen. An Imperial? Shit, I better smell a lot of it. I don’t. Lame. This is just a big-ass American Wheat beer. I can scarcely detect the high ABV, which is good. Moderately-low potency… the aromas are inviting, in an offhanded way. Still, I am quite disappointed with the nose.

Very wheaty palate, I detect some wheat zippiness (but no sourness)… not much cloves or banana or bubblegum or pepper. The high alcohol content is noticeable. Upfront the beer is wheaty before turning very hot and unlikable, the end is redeeming as a nice sweetness arrives. The palate is to hot for me; is this wheat malt liquor? I don’t have anything positive to say.

Full bodied, moderate carbonation, the mouthfeel is quite agreeable actually. If this was a true Hefewiezen I’d like more carbonation but at this point this “Imperial” has fallen flat, so to speak.

It is drinkable… I guess. I don’t dislike it. Fans of American Wheat beers should really like it. This is not a Hefeweizen; it is an American Strong Pale Wheat Ale. What a mouthful.

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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 andrewm190
3.46/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance-- This is a good looking beer. Poured a mighty thick head, but with minimal retention. A good looking beer: light golden with a darker center.

Smell-- smells as the style should. Light smell of orange, maybe some apple. A scent of yeast is also present but not overwhelming. Every here and there I get a whiff of something not right, but it comes and goes and I can't quite pick it out.

Taste-- Nicely balanced, a sense of the orange and apples. Also the yeast makes itself known. The aftertaste reveals a solid tart, and it sticks around long after the beer. A little bit bitter as well.

Mouth feel-- nice and clean, the tart detracts for me, but I think that is partially just personal preference.

Drinkability-- This score may be partially a reflection of the fact that this isn't my favorite style of beer. However, I think any beer drinker can appreciate that this is a good beer, it is tasty. For me, however, it gets a bit old, the tart and bitter combines in an unpleasant way; but only occasionally, which is weird.

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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 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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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 GimmeAles
3.94/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dusky, opaque apricot capped with biscuit-color 1-finger head. Head quickly dissipates and leaves errant swirls of lace supported by sparse, lazy streamers.

Smells of spicy, tart wheat, foral, fruity esters smacking of apricots, and dry, earthy notes.

A middling, creamy body brings fruit-tinged, whole-grain goodness with a strong honey sweetness coming through. Juicy apricot, and un-ripened plums carry a strong bready presence in the middle. Light toast, and a dry, husky graininess ride out the finish with a pleasant tart twang and ghost-like hint of funk. A very drinkable and ‘present’ Hefe – it doesn’t hit you over the head with cloying sweetness or hot alcohol, so isn’t ‘Imperial’ in that sense, but a very enjoyable, balanced and interesting wheat beer.

Looking forward to more of these Brewer’s Reserve offerings

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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 mikesgroove
2.31/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Picked this one up in Asheville over the weekend. Saw the half full box on the floor at Green life and had to grab one. Poured a very very hazy and cloudy bright yellow amber. This had to be one of the cloudiest I have ever seen, I mean no light was really getting through the haze. Large white head billowed over the top and gradually settled down into a fine layer of lace across the top. Very hot smell, lots of wheat mixed in with alcohol, you could tell this was going to be a monster. Not a lot of depth here as this was pure and simple a very hot Hefe. A ton of grain and sediment filled the first flavors and then a hot rush of alcohol brought up the back. Kind of strong, almost too strong as it seemed to drown out some of the more complex flavors that could have been there. Decent light to medium body with lots of carbonation and a nice dry finish. This was a unique creation in that it seemed it was a good Hefe to start and then just got the alcohol layered on top until it reached an obnoxious level. Really could have been toned down a bit to allow more subtleness, but never the less a really decent experimental brew and something I would probably try again, but maybe after letting it sit down for a year or so.

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Photo of wcudwight
2.92/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Thanks to Enola for sharing.
Pours a cloudy burnt orange color with a fluffy finger sized head that fades to patches of lace on top of the beer.
Nice wheaty lemon grass aroma. Also some orange peel. This smells hoppier than I expected.
Lot's of candy sugar malts, orange, lemon, and alcohol. To me it actually taste bigger than 7.5%. While it's an interesting beer with lot's of different flavors it kind of goes all over the place with out actually going anywhere.
Medium bodied mouthfeel. Kind of to thick to be a hefe but to thin to be imperial. There's a sharp acidic bite to the mouthfeel that turns me off of the beer a bit.
At the end the gamut of flavors, the alcohol, and the acidic mouthfeel became too much and I couldn't finish the beer. While not a bad beer I don't think I'll be trying this one again.

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

Pours a cloudy amber/orange color with a 2 finger white head.

Smells of sweeter wheat - some lighter fruits here. Maybe just a touch of alcohol.

The taste surprises me. Lots of wheat immediately backed by tropical fruit/banana sweetness. A bit of alcohol as well. Possibly not the most complex, but still nice and tasty.

Mouthfeel is relatively creamy with a good richness. Not light like your standard hefeweizen, but it works here. Could use a bit more carbonation.

Drinkability is very good.

Overall, recommended. Not the most amazing beer I have had, but rather tasty.

Edit: After drinking some more, I have to lower the scores a bit. The drinkability definitely goes down as you drink more, as well as realizing the taste is a bit muddy. It started out well, but is not something I'll come back to all that often.

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Photo of IgotsHops
3.6/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

So I admit, I am not a huge hef fan. I do like American style hefs or wheat beers, but not really the Bevarian styles that have banana or clove flavors.
That being said I tried to rate this beer in regards to all of the hefs that I have ever tried.
I was not terribly impressed overall, but it was a fun experience nonetheless.

Poured dark gold with cloudy haze into a snifter. A good two finger head frothed up with fine bubbles.

Smelled heavily of wheat, some banana, and strong hef yeast. Since this was an imperial, I was expecting a little more strength on the esters.

Tasted of sweet wheat malt, a little banana and citrus. Almost tasted like a Beglian Tripple in some ways.

It finished pretty clean with a nice sweet coating on your tongue.

Hefeweizen lovers would probably want to give this a try. After all, Pyramid Hefs are pretty famous around the northwest U.S.

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Photo of IronDjinn
3.45/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Managed to snag one of these at the Sherbrooke Liquor store. Awesome to see Pyramid in Alberta, let alone limited editions. Comes in a 650 ml brown bottle. Not only has a full ingredients list on the back, but also the names of all the brewers involved.

Pours out a somewhat hazed amber, bright hazy apricot hue when held to direct light. Thick splash of white frothy head at first, but it recedes fairly quickly.

Spicy phenols and fruity esters on the nose, the yeast most certainly showed up for this party. Also some soft wheat and citrus notes, along with pepper.

Starts off with pleasant wheat before it is completely hijacked by phenols and warm alcohol, finishing with sharper wheat grain husks. It's bombastic the last 90% of the way, but the label did say Imperial. Carries the same intensity as the darker wheat ales with higher abv%.

Mouthfeel is on the light side, starts off a bit watery, but picks up more body on the finish. Actually gets rather swampy towards the bottom of the glass, pretty thick yeast presence, more cloudy than hazy once the full bottle has been poured.

It balances out quite well as it warms, probably not properly labelled, but it works, and packs the punch that the title implies. Not bad for an Imperial Hefe, definitely drinkable, but not on a reglar basis.

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

Has the yellow hefe glow on the outskirts with a DIPA middle. Big Head, keeps the head.

Hard to smell threw the head but when you do...I hate to say I dont smell anything. I was expecting a lot of smells, but I smell just a regular macro lager like Miller. Maybe my nose is blocked.

Does not taste like a wheat wine like the guy at bev mo said. It tastes ok actually. I usually dont like pyramid stuff, but this isnt half bad. Big malt bill, fruity, floral tastes. Like Mickey, I like it.

Good beer to drink, get it to try it. Im not sure this beer breaks any barriers like I think they wanted to, but it's an interesting beer. Dont know if i've had many like it.

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Photo of dsa7783
3.4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Single, 650 ML copped from State Line Liquors in Elkton, Maryland...
An aggressive pour yielded a faded orange colored hue with a minimal head that quickly receded and left hardly any lacing around the glass...
Wheat-filled aroma replete with yeast, oranges, cream, and honey...
The downside of this beer was that the taste was headily alcoholic - overall the 7.5% ABV wasn't hidden very well and was the dominating factor in the flavor - more so than the citrus, pears, and slight apple notes present...
Creamy, rich mouthfeel along with a decent level of drinkability...
Not bad, but nothing to write home about...
For a better sample of the same style, try Southern Tier's Heavy-Weizen...

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