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Imperial Hefeweizen Ale | Pyramid Breweries, Inc.

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90 Reviews
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.

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Reviews: 90 | Ratings: 95
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.

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Photo of smttycty
3.76/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a hard time coaxing much of a head despite an aggressive pour in a freshly rinsed goblet. The off-white cap was gone quickly and the lacing minimal but viscous. The murky orange body was pretty though. Not an easy to describe nose here, kind of musky with subtle orange zest and herbal hints. I guess damp wheat stored in an old barn might fit.

The first sip reminds that you are drinking a higher alcohol beer, which I suppose should not be a brewmasters first goal. None the less, it's not harsh and has a solid grainy wheat character. There are citrus and light herbal notes, and just a touch of balancing hop bitterness. I"m not a big fan of the typical hefe yeast character, and there is little of that here. I was surprised by the astonishingly soft clean finish, encouraging me to take another sip.

Mouthfeel is smooth. A medium bodied, lightly carbonated pull that seems to work. I enjoyed it, but calling it an imperial hefeweizen doesn't make much sense. With the "Brewer's Reserve" status given, I call this a failure in concept that is drinkable none the less.

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Photo of tgbljb
3.73/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a cloudy medium apricot color with moderate white puffy head.
Smell is very light with a slight alcohol note.
Taste is fruity sweet, but lacking manymof the characteristics of this style of beer.
Finishes with a bit of dryness, that leaves a not really pleasant taste in the mouth.
This was was OK, but not worth revisiting again. I like this style of beer, but by making it an 'imperial' does nothing to improve on it.

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Photo of rxdrewthejew
3.4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my new hefe glass from a bomber.

A: Pretty normal hefe color, maybe a bit darker. Very hazy, orange at the top and yellow at the base. Not much head which is a bit surprising, but it was a pretty passive pour.

S: I smell a ton of apricot and that's really about it.

T: Toasty bready wheat and malt dominate the opening with just a touch of sweetness and spice. I don't really note much in the way of apricot even though that was dominant in the smell. Finish is fairly strongly hopped and really not what I would expect from a hefeweizen.

MF: Carbonation is a little over the top for me, especially for the style. Past that feel is pretty good. Nice bit of heat from the alcohol, and the hops give it a very dry finish.

D: This is ok, certainly better than Pyramid's regular hefeweizen. It comes off tasting more like a Belgian Pale Ale to me. I feel that the flavor is lacking a bit, they pumped up the alcohol so where's the extra sweetness? I'll give them credit for being unique, but not something I'd go out of my way to find again.

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Photo of turbine2475
3.48/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to SirChugsAlot for this trade:
A - An extremely milky dark amber that pours a small head that quickly disipates leaving no lace.
S - Yeasty with a touch of earthy hops and citrus.
T - Milky wheat and good clove and chive accent.
M - Very low carbonation with a milky coating that creates a bit of a bitter aftertaste.
D - Good definately worth the trade. Love hefes and is a good alternative when I want a little extra.

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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.

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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 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 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 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.

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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 . . .

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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 elmore
3.73/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a glowing, hazy orange color from a 1 pint 6 oz bottle into a chalice. Minimal head that rapidly recedes with minimal lace. Head is weak for a wheatbeer.

Smells of sweet malt, honey, trace of floral hops. Taste is not as sweet as most Hefeweizens. Nice spicy, peppery hoppiness in the aftertaste, which is more pronounced than most Hefeweisens.

Mouthfeel is somewhat watery and carbonation is low. Not a bad beer, nothing spectacular, but not unpleasant. I am a fan of Hefeweizens and I love the idea of a high ABV Hefeweisen. It would be easy to drink a few of these and I would like to see more breweries experimenting with this style.

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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.

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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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

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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 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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Imperial Hefeweizen Ale from Pyramid Breweries, Inc.
3.51 out of 5 based on 95 ratings.
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