Imperial Hefeweizen Ale | Pyramid Breweries, Inc.

Imperial Hefeweizen AleImperial Hefeweizen Ale
Liked This Beer
3.51 w/ 96 Ratings
Imperial Hefeweizen AleImperial Hefeweizen Ale

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

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.

View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 96 |  Reviews: 91
Photo of mrasskicktastic
1.41/5  rDev -59.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A - A cloudy yellow orange brew that pours with an enormous bubbly head that takes up nearly all of the glass. It is quick to subside however, leaving only large bubbles of foam on the sides. The lacing is all right, but the sheer size of the bubbles make it look rough.

S - It smells a bit like a malt liquor. I'm serious. Maybe it smells like a slightly smoother than usual malt liquor, but the same caustic grain aroma is there joined by a faint fusel alcohol. Maybe a hint of sweetness, but it could just be alcohol fume induced imagination.

T - Ugh! This tastes awful. I can only only imagine the creation of this brew began with a pitch like this: "What could combine the abrasive flavors of a malt liquor with a craft beer price tag?" Well, if that was their goal, they certainly succeeded. The foul, slightly metallic, bitter aftertaste present in many American hefes is amplified here. I wish I had some other flavors to talk about, but it is pretty much just that. I am just wondering . . . if 60% of the grain bill is wheat, is the other 40% rice?

M - Medium body with a slightly harsh presence. The beer is not refreshing and the foul taste lingering on the tongue really doesn't make that any better.

D - I fear cases of this may be destined for a frat party near you - actually, this has too intense of an unpleasant flavor. Might as well go with some abomination of malt liquor over this. I had some hopes for this. I should know then pyramid adds wheat to the mash, the product is simply not meant for human consumption. Now, I am just trying to figure out what to do with the rest of the bomber . . .

 1,622 characters

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.

 1,231 characters

Photo of brentk56
2.64/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: Pours a cloudy apricot color with a surprisingly modest head that qiuckly becomes a ringlet without leaving much in the way of lacing at all

Smell: There is a little bit of a perfumey floral aroma and that's it - nothing else

Taste: Opens with a boozy wheat bread flavor, vaguely honey-like; after the swallow, the bready element expands and then there is considerable bitterness and a fusel alcohol laden finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation and considerable warmth on the finish

Drinkability: Not a terrible beer but an atrocious attempt to brew something distinct; really more like an Imperial American Wheat with no hefe character

 677 characters

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

 256 characters

Photo of TurdFurgison
2.77/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a Pyramid bomber into Sam Adams glasses. I only bought this because it was featured on a BA article, but honestly this was a bad call.

It starts with a strong appearance (hazy dark golden color, wet thick head), and all measures decline from there. The aroma is not so much hefeweizen as it is a subdued pilsner. A little hoppy, no bubblegum or banana or cloves or whatnot. Did Pyramid use the write yeast and fermentation conditions? Or does the "Imperial" in the name render the normal attributes to be irrelevant? I'm sure the beer was a result of some conscious decision at Pyramid so I conclude that they meant it to not seem like a hefeweizen. The taste was likewise not as expected, mostly bitter and biting, and seeming a little oxidized (skunky). I'm not sure what happened here, but this is not a beer I care for.

 836 characters

Photo of lifeboyq
2.8/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I live in Seattle and often visit the Pyramid brewery to grab a bite to eat and have a beer or two before the Mariners / Seahawks games as its right across the street from the stadiums. Even though I'm not typically a fan of their beers or (almost go as far as to say their standard heffe taste like a dirty sock), its a pretty good offering given the proximity and other options. Where can you get decent craft brew at a ballgame? This has been getting good reviews, and this is like something I would brew minus the American hefe yeast, so here goes....

22 oz bomber poured into a Franziskahner hefe glass a yellow, brown orange muddy unfiltered look. The head is decent, not as strong of a carbonation like a typical hefe. Lacing is apparent as the head falls. Smell is woody, slightly phenolic, slight citrus, not much to it. Taste is bland, with a weak body bitter, hard to pick up specific tones. My guess is that its that the grain bill is mostly wheat with almost no specialty malts. Drinkability is pretty decent for the average beer consumer that can handle the blandness that the American Hefeweizen yeasts produce.

I was excited and unbiased to look at this, but I won't revisit. I'll personally stick to the German wheats. A very average beer (and I'm really struggling to be nice here).

 1,302 characters

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.

 886 characters

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.

 815 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.94/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Significantly hazy orange blossom honey with a center that's almost dark enough to be called caramel. I love the rich and creamy, ivory colored crown. It has character to burn and is no slouch when it comes to glass coverage. This one looks the part.

Unfortunately, the nose doesn't smell the part. I never would have guessed the correct style if it didn't say so right there on the attractive, silk-screened label. There's no wheat, no banana and no clove. The only thing that reaches my nose is a mild, 'fruit and vegetables' mustiness that makes me wonder what my taste buds are in for.

Thankfully, the beer doesn't taste as bad as it smells. Having said that, Imperial Hefe Weizen is nothing that Pyramid should be proud of either. The flavor profile is pastiche of odds and ends that doesn't come together into anything worthwhile. If a real hefe weizen yeast was used, it sure doesn't taste like it.

The dominant flavors consist apples and apricots (maybe bananas as well) soaked in a light sugar syrup, with a dash of grain alcohol for the purpose of Imperialization. The same earthy, cooked veggies character that was present in the nose is still lurking beneath the surface. This is an odd beer that is semi-interesting on one hand and forgettable on the other.

An Imperial <anything> with an ABV of 7.5% needs to be bigger and more viscous than this. That said, there's a certain light silkiness going on, and a hint of mouthcoating, that isn't all bad. A few more bubbles would have provided some much needed lift.

Pyramid Imperial Hefeweizen doesn't taste like much of an Imperial hefe weizen as far as I'm concerned. Having tasted their non-Imperial version, I'm not surprised that this offering is no better, it's just bigger. To be short and to the point... don't bother.

 1,797 characters

Photo of paulieatworld
2.98/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

OK. for a hefe, this beer actually looks really nice. pours smooth cloudy, a rich peach color you'd expect with a silky head about a quarter inch off the top of the brew. This brew smells good but definitely par for the course as far as hefe's. Honestly, I expected alot more from this brew especially since it's a "brewer's reserve" edition and i had a hard time keeping on the shelves at the store. This beer is far too grainy in taste. little to no floral taste and as it warms becomes increasingly harsh as the alcohol comes through. this brew sits on the palate alright and i imagine if kept cold you could knock back a few of these, however i prefer my hefe's a bit warmer. perhaps my expectations were a bit high for this brew. in no way is it awful, but in no way is it spectacular either. at 7.5% it's a decent one time ride if you're getting the 1pint 6oz bottle.

 873 characters

Photo of hops4me
2.99/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured an expected hazy orange. The head was a fluffy white that quickly disipated. Aroma was not that impressive. Smelled grainy, bready, and a slight spiciness. A medium body. Taste of alchohol came through slightly. This was followed by a mild peachiness and subdued hop spice.

Not a bad beer but I probably will not buy it again. I just didn't find it that impressive for the $6.99 price tag. I would much rather spend a dollar or two more and get a 6 of a bavarian wheat.

 477 characters

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.

 485 characters

Photo of atsprings
3.02/5  rDev -14%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a somewhat crisp orange with a thin head that diminishes to nothing, aren't hefeweizens supposed to have a decent frothy head? Aroma is some sweet fruits and malt, not much there, though. The taste was a kicked-up version of what I'd expect in a hefeweizen, but it just doesn't seem to work for me. The sweet fruits and bubblegum is there, but the excess in alcohol is a severe detriment to any enjoyment. The beer is somewhat crisp and decently carbonated, but the extra alcohol is counter to the refreshment you'd expect from the style. This was an interesting beer to say the least, but not something I'll drink again.

 627 characters

Photo of Stoneman78
3.03/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Pours a cloudy and hazy orange-amber hue with a nice amount off craggy white head that is sustaining and leaves a fair amount of lacing on the glass
S- Aroma is mostly citrus and floral hops along with yeasty wheat malts
T- Hmmmm, initial taste is of wheat and sweet malts, followed by bread malts and dark citrus in the middle, and finishing with an unassuming touch of dry hops and alcohol
M- Medium-bodied hefe with an almost oily texture, light carbonation
D- At 7.5%abv, this is definitely on the strong-side for a hefe, fairly drinkable overall, but lacks any unique characteristics for a repeat buy. I think the biggest knock on this beer is that it tries to be both an IPA and a Hefe but fails at both, sometimes "hybrids" are not the best picks for beers and this shines with this "Imperial Hefeweizen". . . if I want a good IPA, there are plenty of better choices, and the same holds for Hefes, I see no situation in which I would want the hoppiness of an IPA with the wheat/syrupy maltness of a Hefe. . . BUT props to Pyramid for trying something new

 1,064 characters

Photo of Domingo
3.15/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Been wanting to try this since I saw it on BA.
Pours a cloudy orange color that's a few shades darker than a normal wheat beer. Not quite dunkel territory, but reminiscent of the Erdinger Oktoberfest weizen.
Smell is like a normal pale wheat but a little sharper and it has some peppery yeast in there. Definitely a hops kick, too.
The taste is a little odd. It starts off bitter with the yeast and grapefruity hops. There's some orange peel, bready wheat, and it finishes with a little bit of alcohol burn and bitterness. I'm picking up a little caramel sweetness as it warms, but the overwhelming flavor more bitter than sweet. It's not terrible as there's a decent amount of depth, but it just feels like something is missing. I won't be biased because of the naming convention, but I think a German or Belgian yeast would serve this well. As it is, it's just bitter and it gets old fast.
It's thick, but appropriately so. No complaints there.
This is a sipper and it just feels like it shouldn't be. It's only 7.5% ABV, but it feels like more.
Pretty blah to be honest. It's okay at first, but after 1/2 glass I'd had enough. I put down one weizen glass' worth and I was prepared to dump the rest.
Pyramid can do better than this. I don't mind their normal pale wheat and their apricot's pretty good for what it is. This just needed something else to carry the extra alcohol and hops and it didn't have that.

MISC NOTES: I was actually about to pour out what was left in the bottle after my one glass, but decided to mix it with some apple juice to create a makeshift apfelweiss. It's not as good as a German one, but the extra hops add a nice touch. I'd rather have that mix than this beer by itself. It doesn't justify buying the beer, but if you're stuck with it, it's not that bad.

 1,790 characters

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.

 568 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.16/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy, tanned-orange body with a thin, wispy white head.

Smell: Aroma full of malted wheat but little else. Any notes of bubblegum or banana remain very light. Same goes for the spicy-smelling hops.

Taste: Malted wheat flavor with a subdued sweetness. Spicy hops remain mild at best. Again, any bananas and bubblegum lurking within are nearly imperceptible. A hint of sour lemon rind rolls in midway. Finishes with a soft yeastiness and more of that oh-so subdued sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Mild carbonation. Chewy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Decent, however entirely unnoteworthy it may be.

 621 characters

Photo of Terp96
3.17/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is my second Imperial Hefeweizen. I liked the Southern Tier version so let's give this a try.

Pours a cloudy orange color. Not much in the way of head or head retention throughout. For this I think it misses the mark.

Smell is good. Banana, clove and hops. There is a definite citrusy element as the hops come through. Slight boozy smell as well.

Taste is average at best. I think it has some of the typical hefeweizen characteristics. However, there more of a grapefruit taste with a slight bite in the end. Not expected and maybe a little out of balance.

Mouthfeel is okay. Not cloying. There is an added alcohol warmth and bitter finish.

Drinkability is okay. I probably won't be going back for more. This beer has an identity crisis. It's not a bad thing but hefeweizens are unique for their wheat and lack of hop content. I don't want to mess with that. For my money, Southern Tier got it right.

 911 characters

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.

 580 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.18/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours with a fat-two-finger thick, pale tan colored head that is slightly creamy and sticks a bit to the sides of my glass. The beer is quite hazy and is an orange-tinted, amber color. The aroma is quite clean in it grain-like character; it smells of lightly toasted pale malt and wheat and crushed soda crackers. Underneath this is a yeastiness and a touch of fruitiness that is something like apples with a bit of pear and even a touch of apricot. I can't really smell much in the way of a hop contribution to the aroma.

Somewhat tart tasting up front and it definitely tastes a bit like doughy yeast. There is a hit of hot alcohol towards the finish that seems to fade pretty quickly. A herbal hop character and lightly astringent bitterness tends to linger on in the mouth after that beer has passed on. Bread-like malt and a yeast bit also linger on in the finish. This definitely has a bit more heft to it than a regular American Wheat ale, but is still somewhat quaffable. Tart wheat & yeast notes contribute to fruit flavors of green apples and pears. This is definitely very grain focused in flavor with a touch of yeast and hop character to round things out (which is characteristic of the regular version of this beer).

At times the hot alcohol can really linger and it really detracts from the experience of this brew. I think that it gets to be a bit too much for the simplistic grain & slight hop character that is typically found in an American Wheat Ale. This even despite that fact that this is a "more" beer. Not bad, but it would be much better & more what I expected if the alcohol could somehow be tamed.

 1,637 characters

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

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours a cloudy, light orange, almost amber into a pint glass, my hefe glass broke, with a thick, white head.

S: Smells predominately of wheat, pasta, and alcohol.

T: Tastes basically like their regular Hefeweizen, but with a slug of alcohol put in. Not a bad taste, but not that complex, very wheat, with a fair bit of hops, pretty average actually.

M: Fairly high in carbonation, medium-bodied, spritzy, and a bit boozy.

D: I was expecting more out of this brew, drinkable, yes, but far from something I would buy again, but I would say worth a try for hefe fans.

 587 characters

Photo of ghostwalker
3.21/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thick, syrupy orange body with off-white fluffy marshmallow head. A pretty pour.

Nose is sweet, not spicy, with an alcoholic component.

Some ester sweetness, but none of the clove spiciness that I would expect to find here. Flavor is OK, but very one-dimensional for a Hefeweizen. Warming alcohol is present also. Some fruitiness, but really, it's not all that interesting.

Mouthfeel is slightly syrupy, moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is OK. This is one that I was happy to find, but will probably not seek out again.

 526 characters

Photo of Enola
3.25/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer is a nice cloudy orange with a small head and a few floaters. The smell is wheat, lemon peel, orange. The taste is somewhat bitter, with a noticable grassy taste. The abv is somewhat noticable and there is an off bitter flavor in the aftertaste. The beer is drinkable, smooth for the style.

 300 characters

Photo of RBorsato
3.25/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of HopDerek
3.29/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a murky amber with white and yellow tones, looks much like water poured out of a backed up sink. Little off-white head that fades very quickly, no lacing. Smells of yeast, wheat, lemon, and apricot. Wheat and spices like clove dominate the taste with a slight hint of candied banana and citrus on the back end. Medium in body, low in carbonation, spicy and bready with a dry hop finish, some alcohol presence. Almost like a Belgian ale, but lacking any punch. I was expecting something different considering how well known Pyramid is for their hefeweizens. I wouldn't rush out to get another one of these.

 611 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Imperial Hefeweizen Ale from Pyramid Breweries, Inc.
Beer rating: 31.3% out of 100 with 96 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.