Imperial Hefeweizen Ale | Pyramid Breweries, Inc.

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.

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Ratings: 96 |  Reviews: 91
Photo of Halcyondays
3.18/5  rDev -9.7%
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.

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Photo of Terp96
3.17/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
2.77/5  rDev -21.3%
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 Stoneman78
3.03/5  rDev -13.9%
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

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Photo of ojiikun
3.32/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 650mL bottle into a nice, tall hefe glass. Obviously born recently since this offering just released, but no date to be seen. Nicely clouded like all the Pyramid brews and a surprisingly dark amber for the style. Tons of buttermilk head, tons of lace.

Smells of wheat, wheat, and a little kiwi. Pine; more the wood than the needle. Nice salty-smelling hops anda sweetish yeast, similar to other Pyramid hefes.

Wheat again on the body, subdued in hopping and in yeast flavour. Meaty and salty, tastes like it's balanced with some fairly dark malt. Very simple with only the slightest floral notes and one spice I can't quite place, maybe fenugreek. Finishes with a nuttiness like peanuts or brazils.

Feels light, but is sticky and coating. Drinks fairly well, but lacks the refreshing nature of most hefes.

Was excited to find this, as Pyramid is known for the style and this is clearly intended to be a crown jewel of the line. Sadly, the execution comes of very heavy and seems to put the emphasis on the less-palatable parts of the wheat.

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Photo of rodrot
3.3/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy dark golden color with a solid 2 inch head. Aroma was spicy and citrusy with a hint of malt and cloves in the nose. Taste was spicy and malty with some grainy flavors, but not much else. I couldn't taste any of the bubblegum flavors that are so common in hefes. So far, nothing outstanding. Mouthfeel was medium and alcohol was not really evident. Drinkability was pretty good. This is an average beer that doesn't really taste like an authentic hefeweizen. It's more of an American wheat ale with a higher alcohol content.

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Photo of GimmeAles
3.94/5  rDev +11.9%
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 lifeboyq
2.8/5  rDev -20.5%
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).

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Photo of Murchmac
3.52/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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Photo of orsulacp
3.49/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours very nicely into a weizen glass, the head is about as good as one can get, slightly off white, 2" tall, and good retention. The body is a hazy golden with a heavy orange tint. There isn't much for the nose, a little bready/yeasty with some floral notes, but not much else. The taste is also heavy on the bread side, with a little sweetness and a herbal/woodsy bitter finish. The body is thick, not quite chewy but thick. It leaves a sweet malt and slight bitterness behind. This is very interesting, not as refreshing as a weizen but not overly heavy like anything labeled imperial.

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Photo of willjschmidt
3.8/5  rDev +8%
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 fartingdog
3.3/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy orange-ish gold, not much in the way of head.

Smell is floral, grassy. Tastes pretty much like a stepped up version of their standard hefe, but with alot more hops - the bitterness is definitely there. A very hoppy hefe, you say? Kind of a bastard child of an IPA/hefe sordid back alley knee trembler. Not really to my liking for the style, but I'm sure some will dig it. Mouthfeel is crisp, dry, lingering hop finish, nice effervescence.

I find Pyramid's regular hefe decent, but nothing special, I guess I kinda feel the same about this. I think I was expecting more of a weizenbock experience. If you like American hefe's and wish they jacked up the hop schedule, this is your baby.

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Photo of domtronzero
3.72/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Enjoyed out of my 22 oz. Gordon Birsch weizen glass, WITHOUT a lemon (you are hereby advised to do the same).

Pours a very hazy orangey copper color with a large three finger creamy off-white head. Little patches of lacing left on the glass. Head is thick and dense, and carbonation bubbles are constantly streaming to the top. Aroma is malty with some fruity overtones, but no perceived banana/clove flavors. Subdued grassy hop aroma. Tastes of wheaty/malty bread tones, with some fruity esters from the yeast. Pleasantly surprised by the hoppy aftertaste; plenty of herbal/floral hop flavors in the finish. Ethanol flavor is also noted. Mouthfeel is somewhat crisp and dry, with a definite alcohol presence. I guess its hard to mask 7.5% ABV behind such a dry weizen. Overall, this is perhaps the best brew I've had of Pyramid's. Overall this is a good brew, but the thickness of the unfiltered beer along with the above-average alcohol content makes drinking more than one of these a chore. I prefer it to any other American-style hefeweizen I have had in the past.

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Photo of Imstillthegman
3.73/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy golden orange color. Massive white head with good retention and some decent lacing.

Aroma is a blend of wheat grass, unripe banana, clove, and some bubble gum.

The flavor is of a hefe on steroids. Big wheat flavor, spicy alcohol, grassy hops and a faint banana.

Mouthfeel is fuller than most hefe's. Very lively carbonation. The abv shows up strong at the finish and lingers in the aftertaste. One is enough for me...I am not sure if this whole new "style" of Imperial Hefe is one I will enjoy. Definitely different and worth a try, though.

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Photo of genog
3.88/5  rDev +10.2%
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 sinistermadman
3.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy dark copper with a slight head. Head subsides quickly to a fine crown in my weizen glass. Slightly grassy nose with just a hint of citrus rind to the wheat aroma. Taste is of citrus, wheat and a slight hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is rather slick, with some residual chalkiness and bittering. Overall drinkability is good, as a hefe should be after all. Not sure about the "style", but it is an interesting, original offering from Pyramid.

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Photo of sfoley333
3.35/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 22 oz bottle from BevMo in oceanside. Poured into Warsteiner glass mug. Head foamed up to a good off white head. Color was murky gold orange tea color. Carbontion seemed pretty good throught the murk. Smell crisp pear and apple with citrus nose. Taste bitter banna peel phenolics with wheatgrass followed by alcohol heat. Mouth feel with alcohol warmth bubbly carbonation and chalkness cause it feel a little dry. I love extreme beers this one is just ok to me but believe room in this style is very possible specially a little more sticky mouthfeel.

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Photo of BrewMonkey
3.67/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Pyramid in Sacramento.

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

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

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Photo of Jason
3.78/5  rDev +7.4%
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 silver0rlead
2.82/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

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

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Photo of RustyDiamond
4.15/5  rDev +17.9%
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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Imperial Hefeweizen Ale from Pyramid Breweries, Inc.
3.52 out of 5 based on 96 ratings.
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