Heady Topper - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Heady TopperHeady Topper

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

10,760 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 10,760
Reviews: 2,149
rAvg: 4.73
pDev: 6.98%
Wants: 8,012
Gots: 3,324 | FT: 54
Brewed by:
The Alchemist visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: scottum on 03-27-2004

"An American Double IPA" 75 IBU 8.0% abv
View: Beers (13) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 10,760 | Reviews: 2,149
Reviews by BeTheBall:
Photo of BeTheBall
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Followed instructions and drank from the can, a first for me with an IPA. As a result, I can't judge the appearance, so I gave it an average. Smell was fantastci, grapefruit and pine and grass; hops galore. Taste was intensely citrus and hops, but no super bitter like most DIPA's. Much of tre hoppiness is on the mouth and tongue, but doesn't so much linger down your throat. The grapefruit, orange, grass, pine flavors are huge and awesome. What a great combination of ingredients!
Mouthfeel was not noteworthy; having it from the can. The taste is so good I didn't have time to notice anyway. What a great beer. Only the ABV would prevent me from drinking my entire 4 pack in one sitting. Next one will be in a glass...

More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.17/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #58 (November 2011):

LOOK: Unknown as we drank from the can as demanded by the can.

SMELL: Macerated oranges, minty, herbal, estery alcohol, excessively hoppy

TASTE: Raw, sweet, super bitter, semi-dry, kernel of malt sweetness, hop oil, orangey, mouthful of grass

Hop insanity in a can! Lots of talk about this brewski finally being canned. The greatness forgives the sheer rawness it brings to the palate. In our opinion, this is what sets it apart from other highly hopped ales in the US. Keep it tamed in the can, as pouring it out will only show the extreme rustic measures to make this beer.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.67/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

So if your beer tastes like this, maybe you only need to make one. There's likely no way that you'll ever out do Heady-Topper so just stop right there!

With a controlled and creamy pour of medium gold elixir, this hazy and glowing ale constructs a creamy, cottony white head with substantial retention and islands of lace. Overall, this is one sexy beer!

Seductive and mouthwatering citrus aromas abound from from the rim of the glass. The straight-up juicy fruity scent of the freshly squeezed pulp of ripe ruby red grapefruit with elements of citric acids, fruit sweetness that seems of thin honey, and some softer tropical notes of mango and apricot. It's impossible to put your nose so close to the glass without taking a sip.

The delicious delight of a beer delivers the straight forward grapefruit flavor just as the nose promises. The sweet pulp of fresh-picked ruby reds couldn't be more spot-on. Resiny as the citrus flavors seem to coat the mouth while the stripping of enamel commences. Soft caramel malts support the hops with the supple and elegant sweetness of powdered sugar and honey, but do so without contrast- make no mistake about it, this is a hop-forward ale with the likes that rarely seen. A very delicate yet hop-dominant balance throughout. Any estery fruitiness would weave into the hop matrix and inform the beer with complementary notes of tropical mangoes, apricots, and pineapple. Succulent and savory throughout, even as the beer's elegant hop flavor develops into soft resiny bitterness that grips the gullet with kid gloves in finish and aftertaste. Only the strong taste of alcohol for moderate 8% that reminds me of super glue is the only slight defect in taste.

Very creamy and delicate on the palate from the initial sip and deep into the middle portion of the palate. All the while coating the mouth with citrusy acids, diluted pine resin, and light sticky honey. The beer's carbonation develops a malty-dry finish that retains its soft malty body while contributing pleasant alcohol warmth and an extended citrusy bitterness.

When you're convinced of the impossibility of ever tasting a better IPA, something like this comes along and shows new possibility in flavor intensity, dryness, drnkability, and absolute elegance and finesse. It's hard to keep this beer off of the "perfect" line score.

Photo of TimG_0913
4.16/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Too over hyped. I think people rate this beer to high

Photo of bracelet666
4.91/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Ok being an IPA lover for many years Iv wanted to try this for ever! my amazing girlfriend just got 2 4packs for me for christmas,I got it 2 days early! :)

Looks:
The beer itself looks amazing in a glass,a very thick,non-clear unfiltered,straw colored beer,I like unfiltered:) as I poured into a dogfish head IPA glass is looked even better then I thought,the foamy heady grew and grew and stayed for days it seemed!

Smell:
As I opened the can,and heard that crack of it opening i was smiling ear to ear lol...
the smell is a strong hoppy hop field,with pine resins and more hops! easly the best beer Iv ever smelt! and although I love IPA's more then any other,and iv had some amazing ones before,the smell of this was notches above anything Iv ever had the chance to smell:)

Taste:
Right after smelling it I was so excited! this is the momment Iv been waiting for,for years lol...my dreams have been answered!
It says to drink from the can,I did try the first sip from the can and then gently poured it into a nice IPA glass,spent for mins smelling it! lol...
The first taste was heaven in a glass! the best tasting beer on earth? probably!

Conclusions:
does it live up to the hype?
Oh fuck ya! the best smelling and tasting IPA iv ever had the privlege to try! it was well worth the wait! I drank a can last night without a glass,and out of the can I wouldnt rate it as good,I think this beer needs to be in a glass!
Thanks to my wonderful and amazing girlfriend I now not only got to try the heady topper,I got a few extras as well! these cans are a day or 2 old from the brewery so im happy as can be,will be a great christmas:)

Photo of Thorpe429
4.74/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Damn, this is hoppy. That's about my first impression immediately upon popping the cap off of this. With that, I should say huge, huge thanks to rpstevens and kingcrowing for sending me bottles of this, the latter of which was a complete surprise. One bottle to be consumed tonight, the other to be shared with friends this weekend.

This bottle is shared with Amyliz4 and poured into two of our larger, unbranded tulips. The pour yields a slightly-hazed bright peach body with a two-finger head. Pretty good retention and plenty of spotty lacing as it makes its way down to a bit of rocky foam sitting atop the brew. A fairly-thick collar remains on the brew throughout as more spots settle on the sides of the glass.

As previously stated, the aroma on this is damn near epic and remains amazing throughout. The initial whiff slammed my nostrils with dominant notes of tropical fruit, citrus rind, and a bit of pine. Each swirl kicks up another bit of aroma with some mango skin and passion fruit taking hold at first. Behind that is a flock of citrus and an overload of ripe peaches. Following behind all this when you sniff really hard is a nice finish of some piney resin.

The flavor picks up where the nose left off, though doesn't quite dominate my senses like the nose did. With that said, this is some really, really incredible stuff. I'll start off with one of my only complaints, which is that the hop flavor isn't quite as pungent as the aroma is. Still, there is some fairly-radical hop flavor to balance the hop bitterness. Did you hear that many makers of East Coast IPAs? Malt sweetness doesn't provide balance to bitterness in a fantastic double IPA, lovely and luscious fruit flavors do.

Mango, passion fruit, and guava make their way into the mix. The strong, strong bitterness levels really elevate the citrus presence and make me think of some good grapefruit rind. The body on this does an absolutely remarkable job accentuating the hops. There's not an ounce of sweetness, but there's enough body to really pull everything together. The bitterness in the finish is uber-high and leaves my mouth quite dry. There's certainly a solution for that--have some more.

I've been waiting a long, long time to finally try this one. Unlike an unfortunately-large percentage of other beers with so much hype, I have enjoyed this immensely. Huge, huge thanks again to Ryan and Nick for the chance to finally try this. Cheers to both of you.

Photo of Deshaies
4.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The most perfectly balanced IPA I have ever had. Pours pretty thick with a strong head. Smells very earthy with nice hop aromas. Waves of flavors from sweet to citrus with a crisp dry finish and never wrecks your palette. I went out of may way to tried not to buy into the hype. But in the end it won me over, best beer I have ever tasted.

Photo of mr-jj
4.82/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

16 oz can purchased at Craft Beer Cellar in Waterbury. Drank the first can in my hotel room and poured the second into a snifter just to see the color.

Poured a hazy straw color with a thick head of creamy foam.

The aroma was grapefruit and floral hops. And hops, And more hops. Wow.

Flavor is grapefruit rind and floral hops which almost, but not quite, hide the malt . Hop bitterness that lingers through the finish. Not a beer to be quickly quaffed.

Body was medium with a ton of hop resins left behind to coat my mouth. Its rare that I've tasted this much lingering hop presence. Maybe only on some of the Green Flash beers.

Overall, this is a great DIPA. Definitely deserves to be in the conversation of my top beers.

Photo of SemperIPA
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

Long time awaiting this masterpiece -- was the fortunate recipient of this tremendous beer from a fellow patriot and beer guy from Vermont that hand carried it back to Germany from the Northeast Craft Beer Mecca! Poured into and enjoyed from a Spiegelau IPA glass – sorry, John, I just can’t drink this White Whale from the can.

APPEARANCE -- Cloudy, light amber and alive w/ carbonation. Thick off-white, sticky head that left strong rings of lacing w/ each and every sip – MOTO!

SMELL – Powerful floral & herbal aroma that motivates – GET SOME!

TASTE – Wonderful citrus & flowery hop flavor that is surprisingly NOT overpowering but well balanced and unquestionably an epic DIPA – OORAH!

MOUTHFEEL – Nice smooth feel w/ a carbonized refreshing finish – GOOD PIECE OF GEAR, LAMINATE IT AND TAKE IT TO THE FIELD!

OVERALL – A Top Notch DIPA that absolutely lived up to the hype! A long time waiting for this beer, but w/out a doubt worth the wait! Would love to do a head-to-head w/ PtY and RuinTen to determine who the King of IPAs really is, but in the end a great beer that makes me proud to be an American – SEMPER IPA MAC!

It’s like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder how I keep from going under!

Photo of PBRmeasap1980
4/5  rDev -15.4%

16 oz can... 1/2 drank from can (as directed), 1/2 from tulip

A- Hazy goldn, light head
S- Dank, grass, orange creamcicle, grapefruit peel
T- Grass. pine bitterness, citrus peel bitterness. Obviously very hop forward, but well balanced
M- Medium. Slightly creamy

O- Good and glad I tried it, but it doesn't live up to the hype for me. Probably in my top 5 IIPAs, but I wouldn't call it "the best beer in the world"

Photo of scottum
4.97/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served a pale amber with a small light head. Hops are the flavor of choice here, but they are done right. Such a yummy bite. Actually does live up to it's name as the hops are strong enough to give off the heady within the buzz. Hops are not overly complex, yet not too simple either. This is one of the best IPAs I've ever had. Served only in 12oz glasses, the abv is not at all apparent. Sooo smooth. I'm sad that El Jefe is no longer on the menu, but I'd take the Heady Topper over the chief anyday.

Photo of beercatmatt
1.57/5  rDev -66.8%
look: 1 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.25

Overrated. Brilliant marketing. Mediocre at best. Would not wait in line for this.

Photo of Adel
4.95/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I wish my farts didn't smell so bad after drinking this gift from the gods

Photo of TheBrewologist
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

Huge beer with an enticing nose and massive, complex flavor. Ignoring the print around the top of the can, "Drink From the Can," I poured this into my usual tasting glass and enjoyed the soft aromas of bitter orange, sweet malt and citrus, with spicy and earthy notes. The flavor was intriguing and seemed perfectly balanced.

Tasting from the can I noticed more of a tingle and an edgier hop nose that settled down as it sat.

Is it worth all the hype? The Alchemist is brewing a great beer but I think the limited availability bolsters the mystique. Still, it is one heck of a delicious American Double IPA.

Photo of PSU_Mike
4.33/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

What better way to break in my brand new snifter than with a can of Heady Topper, the #1 rated beer on Beer Advocate.

A - It pours a very hazy light orange with a one finger, white head that retains well.

S - The nose is a bouquet of citrusy goodness. Mangos, passion fruit, grapefruit, pineapple, with a slight touch of pine on the finish. I was quite surprised however at how subdued the nose was. The can is fresh so I was expecting an explosion of flavor that I didn't get.

T - There's the explosion I was waiting for. Follows the nose very closely. Flavor is intense and bright with the aforementioned citrusy notes shining through. Mid-palate turns to pine. Finish is a bready malt backbone that shows its head but doesn't overshadow the hops.

M - Great feel. Medium bodied, light bitterness, relatively dry, and very drinkable.

O - Great beer? Hell yes. Excellent beer? Yes. Best beer I've ever had? A resounding no. Worth the trouble of getting it but just barely.

Photo of JamesStreet
4.45/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured it (I know) into a Parish mini snifter
A- Absolutely gorgeous beer! Somewhat cloudy yellow-orange pour with a fat, foamy off-white head that left a good bit of lacing down the glass.
S- Big citrusy smell like grapefruit coming to the forefront the most. A little resiny dankness as well
T- Citrus, piney bite, nice bitterness throughout with a good balance of malt.
M- Light-medium side with a slight prickly carbonation.
O- Huge expectations with this. Honestly though, not the best DIPA I've ever had. A great beer, no doubt. I would always take it if available but not over EVERYTHING.

Photo of tastybeer
4.55/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Cool can art. Now that's a hophead. For the sake of this review I am disregarding the drink from can directions and inserting in glass.

S: Sweet dank fruit. Orange, juicy melon, grapefruit and grapefruit rind, lemon, and crisp pine resins. Big juicy piles of hop and a very clean malt base. Simple and complex at the same time. All sorts of hop aromas weave together creating quite the mouthwatering situation.

T: Delightful layering of hop flavors on bready cereal malt. Very fresh. Grapefruit, melon, orange, lemon, pine forest, and mango. Bitter but the flavor trumps all. Pretty fantastic. I can see why people are so addicted to this stuff. It's beer candy.

M: Very juicy feel with resinous sticky qualities all over the place. Soft and swirlable. Clings to the buds. Body and carbonation levels are perfect.

O: This is one solid beer. Very pleasurable on the palate all over. For 8% this is impressively consumable.

Photo of Austin32
4.65/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Wow, definitely lived up to the hype for me. Bold hoppiness but with a citrus and almost pineapple fresh flavor complexity that was truly delicious.

Photo of Schlegelq1
3.16/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Amazing beer, but I believe there are many that rival it's flavor, and are much easier to get your hands on.

Photo of fgmiele
4.66/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Damn, finally my excessive beer drinking has paid off and I have been granted the opportunity to at last taste the topper. Served in a can as the label so duly instructs, I did pour a smidge into a snifter for the sole purpose of being able to rate the appearance. And so here it goes...

Appearance.. Seems cloudy enough. I am surprised that the hue is pale gold as opposed to dark like some IPAs. Has the look of a wheat beer almost with a sudsy head, little lacing.

Nose.. This is the cornucopia of IPAs.. Tropical, fruity, floral, bitter. Yes.

Taste.. Follows the nose and more. The right amount of bitterness and heat doing just the trick. All the qualities of a desirable ipa.

Mouthfeel.. Slick and powerful

Overall... Now I know what the hype is about. It's for certain to me now why this brew is so coveted. Not to say I haven't had other excellent IPAs similar to this style. In fact, all things said and done I have had several that could give heady a run for its money. But! An amazing beer. Must get more.

Photo of Ahaller
4.45/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I live in Bridlington vt and would call this brew no more than a fad. I've had people I don't even know (friend of a friend) hit me up just to help them get an extra case to bring home wIth them to New York. It's good, yeah, perhaps my pallet is discerning, but I'd love to see something new from the alchemist or hill farmstead uproot this silly phase

Photo of KaeF
4.87/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Great smell of pine and grassy hops. Actually does taste better from the can! Great fresh bitter taste, citrus, exotic fruits, drank it when it was only 2 weeks old, probably the freshest I can get here in the Netherlands.

Photo of Bigbri2085
5/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The hype is real. Tried my first heady last weekend. There is not much I can say that has not already been said. So, I will say that you have not tried an IPA until you drink one of these bad boys. I was in heaven from the start with the amazing floral smell. The taste is perfect it's crazy. I thought all the hype would ruin it. But no way...Like I said in the beginning the hype is real.

Photo of gopens44
4.82/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I don't think I have rated anything as high as this one. I honestly looked for defects in this as to not let the legacy of the beer sway my review and suck all objectivity out but damn, it really is worth every penny of hype it receives. What I look for in an IPA is balance. Typically when I get into DIPAs, I tend to relax my search for balance as it is typically replaced by too much sweetness or a touch too much heat (and that's in the best DIPAs I've had) The reason I believe that Heady deserves the critical acclaim is that it has re-written the rules so to speak, for me in approaching the DIPA. Yes, it CAN be well balanced and brilliant within the style. This one opens up with a great nose full of citrus AND pine somehow, without overwhelming on either. Taste follows identically until the sweetness in perfect harmony with the perfectly balanced malt backbone join in and combine every sensation together for one, again, very well balanced taste that finished with just a tiny touch of heat that reminds you that it is a DIPA. Full bodied, well balanced, pretty much every superlative that you can find in describing a great experience in drinking a beer belong here.

Photo of detroitpat
3.23/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

This can may have been old, but I was expecting a lot more.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 10,760 ratings.