Pyramid Imperial Hefeweizen

Pyramid Imperial HefeweizenYes, I admit, ever since I posted about Pyramid‘s new Imperial Hefeweizen, I’ve been itching with curiosity. I found it this weekend and was able to scratch that itch. It’s 7.5% alcohol, which isn’t necessarily huge these days, but it’s high for a wheat ale.

I like the bottle, and what’s interesting—you can see this in the picture there, too—is there is very little headspace in the bottle; the liquid is less than an inch from the top. That’s unusual.

Appearance: Hazy, unfiltered "dirty" orange color with creamy, dense off-white head.

Smell: Strong, wheaty, a bit sour… sour mash-y. The sourness is actually a defining aroma; I noticed it as the bottle opened. Not sour in an infected way, more lemon or (better) lemongrass.

Taste: Strong alcohol character right up front… there’s a raw wheat note lurking beneath this alcohol but it’s the strength that’s the big showcase. The Hefeweizen style here is the American (a la Widmer), not the traditional/German, creamy and yeasty and raw bread dough. Interesting.

Mouthfeel: Alcohol-puckering and dry in the mouth. Oddly enough, it’s still smooth—the alcohol almost has a creamy quality while teetering on harsh—and a bit bubbly.

Overall: It’ll be talked about, and it’s definitely its own style. Different, though, and while not bad and worth trying—it’s not one I would drink regularly.

On BeerAdvocate, it scores 83 out of 100 with 94% approval from reviewers (only 18 total reviews so far). On RateBeer, it scores 3.44 out of 5 and is in their 78th percentile.