Imperial Hefeweizen Ale | Pyramid Breweries, Inc.

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BA SCORE
80
good
90 Reviews
Imperial Hefeweizen AleImperial Hefeweizen Ale
BEER INFO

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

Style: 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.

BEER STATS
Reviews:
90
Ratings:
95
Avg:
3.51
pDev:
13.39%
 
 
Wants:
3
Gots:
0
For Trade:
0
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Reviews: 90 | Ratings: 95
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 cswhitehorse
4.33/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Imperial Hefe poured a hazy yellow into the glass with a fast dissipating foam head that left some but not much lacing on the side of the glass.

The aroma is of citrus and a little bit of hops. The taste was good. It hit you with the usual wheat flavor but also had a nice hop kick on the end when it is going down the hatch. In was according to style in the mouth with the small bubbles and I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of wheat and hops. Money brew.

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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 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 RustyDiamond
4.15/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a weisbier glass. Pours a gorgeous cloudy orange, with 3 fingers of uber-frothy head. Quite a nice looking glass of beer.
Aroma of banana & clove, typical for the style.
The taste was something unique all together. Apple nose, obvious wheat with a defined sharp alcohol note. Fairly grassy, with a touch of hops cascading into a spicy finish. Perhaps this should be called 'Imperial Pilsner w/ 60% wheat'?
The hops are present, but in a way that brings out pilsner-like qualities- dry, crisp hoppy finish. Excellent head retention all the way to the bottom.
Very intriguing & tasty beer...can't say I've had anything quite like it.

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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 dnichols
4.13/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured a capped 22 ounce bottle into a Franziskaner Weissbier glass.

A: It poured a cloudy orange hue with a pillowy off-white head with massive bubbles and a sticky consistency that left a intermediate lacing until the head dissipated early in the experience. The head receded quickly to a slender cover over the brew.

S: It had the aroma of fresh baked white bread loaded with yeast as well as ripe light fruits (e.g., banannas and aprocots) and ligth spices (e.g., white pepper.

T: It begins with a creamy, yeasty, bready malt flavor topped by a diluted citrus taste (lemons) and ends with a nip of earthy zesty hops. The brew ends with a layer of yeast that coats the mouth and slowly dissipated under the influence of the relatively robust ABV and spicy hops.

M: It was full bodied with a creamy full flavor accented with spices and fruit. The lingering yeasty aftertaste sours deep into the experience reducing the overall joy of the drink. .

D: This was a comfortable easy to drink beer. For a Hefe Weizen it was not too sweet or yeasty. I could easily put down two or three and still fill ready for a thing called life.

Comment: Nice smooth beer that I will stock in my collection. Not the best Heffe but a solid member of the team. Its a bit more heavily hopped compared to other Heffes but that extra kick adds to its character and complexity.

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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 jbsteiny
4/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a very cloudy (opaque) orange-gold. Excellent initial head (very light orange, very thick, three fingers), but not much in terms of retention -- it was practically gone halfway through my pint (I'll have to try it in the weizen glass next time). Some sticky lacing, but it slides down the glass pretty quickly. Light, fine carbonation.

Faint aromas -- I'm getting herbal hops, honey, malted wheat, and a light citrus. Appetizing, but I was expecting it to be stronger.

Tastes really good, but again, it's milder than I thought. Much better than their regular hefe -- that wheat bitterness is way in the back, with malts and citrus taking the forefront. Fairly dry finish nicely complements the medium-large body. I'd have no idea this was 7% until the second or third pint -- I completely disagree with the reviewers who said it was "hot". Maybe compared to your average Hefe, but this is clearly being marketed as something else -- a Strong American Wheat Ale or something of the nature.

A lot of hype around this beer, and I have to say, I'm not disappointed at all. Probably my favorite brew from Pyramid -- higher ABV than their IPA, but much more drinkable. As Varsity (formerly Magoo's) has pitchers of this for $14, I'll probably be following this up with a review of it on tap later this week.

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

Pours a cloudy dark orange/yellow color with a medium thick and fluffy white head that has good retention. Patches of lacing on the glass. Wheaty, fruity malt aroma. Medium-bodied with flavors of wheat, banana and spices. More crisp at times than a typical Hefe. Mild hops and alcohol show up at times as well. The finish is round and sweet with yeast and banana, followed by touches of peppery hops. Enjoyable all around.

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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 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 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 DoubleJ
3.93/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is like the platypus of beers. It's a lighter style of beer, but it has 7.5% ABV. And in this lighty-hopped style, add a whole bunch of hop flavor. I spotted several bombers of this limited edition ale at Hi-Time in Costa Mesa a few days ago. To add to the platypus theme, this brands main rival to Widmer Hefeweizen gets to sit in a Widmer branded weizen glass. Oh the contrasts! On to the beer:

Darker blonde color, almost orange, cloudy, topped by a three-finger sized head at first. Traditional hefeweizen aroma of phenols and bubblegum are less intense in the nose compared to many of the German counterparts. Lemon zest and light citrus crawl out too. Now for the taste...can't decide what digits it gets at this point. Hops are very noticeable, creating a citrusy flavor. Wheat malt is light, but detectable. The yeast flavors get swallowed by the citrus, creating a unique flavor from the two. The hops lose some of its authority as the beer warms, evening out the balance. Extremely smooth, whipped-like, and fluffy in the mouth. Moderate alcohol is felt in the throat. A bit metallic in the back of the palate. It goes down easy like any other hefe, which was a bit of a surprise from what I was expecting (insert platypus joke here).

No lemon garnish needed for this one, nor does the bottle promote the idea. But the bottle did express "a taste that's uniquely refreshing". I can agree on that. Indeed, this is a hop lover's hefeweizen. It's too bad it's a limited release. I hope this catches on with other brewers, let alone Pyramid making another batch of this.

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Photo of choyhosoi
3.88/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a weizen glass

Appearance-orange-murky yellow color with a nice white lacing.
Smell-Had the usual hints of citrus that you would find in a hefe.I thought there was something else besides the grass smell but couldn't pin it dow.
Taste-The taste was smooth with just a little bite.This is a nice brew with a good mouthfeel that i will be enjoying again and again if you come across one do yourself a favor and pick one up.

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Photo of genog
3.88/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy burnt orange color with a creamy, and frothy white head that spilled over the top of my new Riedel beer glass. Head lingers around forever and leaves some excellent lacing to replace any that falls. Smell is of banana, coriander, vanilla and clove. Initial taste is slightly sour, but then leaves a slight bittering hop taste. Medium mouthfeeling that is dry and fizzy at the same time. Moderate alcohol presence, but seems high for a Hefe Weizen, pretty neat for this style.

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Photo of arizcards
3.88/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber at AJ's in late November for $2.99.

Brew poured a dark cloudy orange with a nice head initially. Nose is very strong wheat upon initial pour with lightly perfumed hops in the background. Taste is heavy wheat, with some balancing by malts, finishing with a surprising lightly citric hop kick. Mouthfeel is full bodied, farily smooth, leaving my palate satisfied in the end. Drinkability is good. This is a unique beer that was definitely worth a try.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.88/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a weizen glass. Hazy, dark orange with a super foamy head. Smells spicy, peppery, and fruity. Interesting flavors of fruit, hoppy, but not similar to a normal hefe as I didn't find any banana or clove flavors here, weird. Nice beer, I wonder if it was better when it was first released back in September.

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Photo of PlaywrightSam
3.87/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber. A: Cloudy yellow/orange, lots of puffy white head that retains for a while. Good amount of lacing. S: Not too aggressive, wheat malt and yeast. Some citrus notes in there. T: Lots of yeast, sweet wheat malt up front with a citrus hop kick in the finish, some dryness, spices. Again, lots of yeast. M: Very creamy, smooth, perhaps a tad thin. D: It's definitely an interesting beer, I've never had anything quite like it--but something seems a little off. It could be just that I'm used to the light crisp character of a normal hefeweizen, but something just seems strange. It could be the large amount of yeast flavor, could be the slight presence of alcohol. Not really sure. Definitely worth a try, though.

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Photo of HochFliegen
3.85/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A rich cloudy golden color with a nice thin white cap. The smell was wheat like with a strong sweet scent and a hint of spice to it as well. The taste was very smooth and sweet. Lots of fruity flavors with a touch of alcohol to it as well. It wasnt an overpowering alcohol flavor but was present. The hop flavor in the end sort of covered the alcohol taste as did the lingering spice in the aftertaste. A very full bodied beer that I really enjoyed drinking.

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

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Franziskaner weizen glass.

A: Pours a very cloudy dark orange color with a large white head.

S: Lots of yeast in the nose along with some floral and herbal accents.

T: Starts out with lots of doughy malts and grainy yeast. In the middle is a complicated mix of fruits, mostly in the form of citrus, along with some herbal and floral flavors. Next is some bitter hops for balance along with quite a bit of peppery alcohol. A lot of the same flavors that one would find in a wheat brew except much more of them.

M: Rather thick and full-bodied due to the huge grain bill in this brew.

D: Decent drinkability for such a big beer. It's got a lot of big and bold flavors, the imperial label suits it well. An interesting beer, certainly worth trying,

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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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Imperial Hefeweizen Ale from Pyramid Breweries, Inc.
80 out of 100 based on 90 ratings.
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