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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: 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.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 96 |  Reviews: 91
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 t0rin0
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%

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

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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 TheManiacalOne
3.53/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Acquired via trade from Solomon420, so a big "Thank you" goes out to him. Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a weizen glass.

A: The beer is a deep gold color, with a short foamy white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is kind of faint but contains wheat, light malts, lemon and hops.

T: The taste starts out with sweet flavors of lemon, bananas and spices. Then a decent breadiness comes in with flavors of wheat and light malts. There's a slight alcohol sting that I wasn't really expecting because even though it's a higher ABV than most on the style, it's not that high overall. There's also a mild hops presence that brings in a little bit of balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, a little filling for the style, good kick, decent representation of style, overall it's a pretty good beer, but I think in trying to be an "Imperial Hefeweizen" it loses some of the "Hefeweizen" part of it.

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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 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 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.

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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.

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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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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 rab53
4/5  rDev +14%

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 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.

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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 RBorsato
3.25/5  rDev -7.4%

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 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.

 629 characters

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 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.

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Photo of ccrida
3.44/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22 oz. bomber poured into a hefe glass, the color is classic hazy gold hefe, with a light, fluffy, off-white head that settles pretty quickly and leaves moderately heavy lace.

Smell is very sweet and floral, with a quinine like dryness to it. In a blind tasting, I'd swear this is a saison, which happens to be my favorite style. Very nice, although the honey maybe to much for some, but not me!

After the very appetizing aroma, the taste is a bit of a let down,as I've noticed on the couple other occasions I've had this as well, on draught and from the bottle. Not very floral, not a lot of hefe esters, mainly a sharp graininess and boozy finish, particularly out of the fridge. The tastes from the nose linger in the background, although less so as it warms. Not bad by any means, but not great either.

Mouthfeel is pretty thick, the sugars and oils leaving a phlegmy film in the back of the throat.

The drinkability is below average. I'm not really scoring this to 'style', but it's just not something your gonna wanna drink a lot of. Tis a shame, I love hefe's and love big beers, and though this would be a match made in heaven...unfortunately it's just an interesting experiment, although I applaud the concept and would like to see Pyramid continue their efforts pushing the boundaries of hefe's.

 1,312 characters

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.

 469 characters

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.

 422 characters

Photo of Reidrover
3.75/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle,very attractive labeling for a change from Pyramid. Very nice strong estery banana aromas, good strong wheat,, some spice and a tinge of alcohol. Nice. Lovelly appearance cloudy orange with a large tight, off white head. All the aroma is there in the flavour but the banana is toned down and the spice/clove turned up. Solid wheat bascground,Hops in the end. Alcohol present but not a distraction. Ok on the palate, with some nice linger clove spices. Overall a weird beer, but I enjoyed this.

 506 characters

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
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