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Heady Topper - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Heady TopperHeady Topper

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

7,825 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,825
Reviews: 1,589
rAvg: 4.73
pDev: 7.4%
Wants: 5,075
Gots: 1,522 | FT: 33
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:
"An American Double IPA” 75 IBU 8.0% abv

(Beer added by: scottum on 03-27-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,825 | Reviews: 1,589 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Fux:
Photo of Fux
Fux

France

4.8/5  rDev +1.5%

Drinking this beauty on a lazy Saturday afternoon and figured I should have reviewed this a long time ago.
Review is mainly based on a 2 weeks old can, but with comments from other tastings I had before.
First, I think it's useful to have the debate on the best way to appreciate Heady Topper. It took me half a dozen cans to figure out the "drink from the can / review from a glass" thing, but now, it turned as a well-oiled ritual. Flavors and aromas on Heady Topper are really volatile (more than on any other hoppy beer I have had so far), yet, the nose is so great it would be a pity to drink it from the can. So what I do is pouring it in my de Heeren van Liedekercke glass (which is a small, not too wide wine glass, more or less a white wine glass) 2oz. by 2oz., it enables me to enjoy the nose but have the beer rest in the glass with not too much contact with the air. I'm very proud of this technique, it makes me consider myself a professional Heady Topper drinker :-/ And now, let's review it:
A: Everything has been said of how bad-looking this beer is, hazy as hell with lots of sediments floating around (it will be hazy however you pour it, but a gentle pour can avoid the sediments to come to the glass), yet I really love the look of it. Hazy straw / orange in color, with a foamy white head, quite lingering, this looks very juicy, like a fresh pressed grapefruit.
S: This is the best part of it, fruity, juicy, with a resinous scent, very complex and appealing with aromas of mangos, peaches, oranges, passionfruits, grapefruits and pineapples.
T: Taste is very fruity also. If drunk very fresh, one can taste the fresh hops, grassy and floral aromas, which do mellow after a week or so and leave fruity waves of hoppy, fruity goodness flooding from the front end of the tongue to the back end of the throat, with a lingering, resinous aftertaste and a bittersweet dryness on the finish (which also mellows with time). No heavy sweetness, no over-malting defect, no alcohol is to be felt. I could drink 5 liters of this on a single night.
M: Mouthfeel is smooth with a high carbonation and a dangerous dryness on the finish, calling for the next mouthful.
O: Contrary to many DIPAs, Heady Topper is not so focused on hops, but has a real yeasty liveness, light on the malt side but very well balanced, not at all as bitter as expected from the IBU, but still very smooth and fruity. It evolves gracefully (probably at it peaks after one month, but it can be enjoyed even one year after canning, regarding my own experience, being really focused on the yeast quality). One of the best DIPAs I have been able to try, and one I really love revisiting on a regular basis.

12-07-2013 16:15:09 | More by Fux
More User Reviews:
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BeerAdvocate

Massachusetts

4.15/5  rDev -12.3%

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.

04-06-2012 13:46:58 | More by BeerAdvocate
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

4.72/5  rDev -0.2%

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.

12-09-2010 01:28:20 | More by Thorpe429
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BEERchitect

Kentucky

4.65/5  rDev -1.7%

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.

03-15-2012 02:18:50 | More by BEERchitect
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scottum

Vermont

4.97/5  rDev +5.1%

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.

03-27-2004 01:09:10 | More by scottum
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mrob460

Vermont

5/5  rDev +5.7%

I love this beer.

08-20-2014 00:06:18 | More by mrob460
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oberon

North Carolina

4.45/5  rDev -5.9%

A big thanks to Roger at Bestway for GIVING me this beer on Sunday.I know it's snobbery but I can't drink beer out of a can,I hate myself but I just can't.Pours a murky kind of lemony tea looking with a thin white head,the color was hard to pinpoint.Pure hops in the nose,tropical fruit, citrus rind,deep pine resin,and sweet alcohol,all make for a volitile mix.Just hops and lots o' hops on the palate,pine resin,deep overripe tropical fruits,and some bitterness in the finish.It's oily as all get out and slick in the mouth.This beer is pretty damn raw and complex in the hop department to the hilt,bad ass.I love the hop burps!

05-30-2013 21:09:06 | More by oberon
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aszatk01

Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +5.7%

04-28-2013 21:18:43 | More by aszatk01
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DanGeo

Michigan

4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

12-29-2013 04:05:01 | More by DanGeo
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DavyJones

Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +5.7%

04-26-2012 14:19:51 | More by DavyJones
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kidrogers

Illinois

4.76/5  rDev +0.6%

Was everything I hoped it to be. Thank you Danny Mac for sharing! I wish I had just one more sip, then one more can. Everyone can write more descriptive reviews, I just wanted to tell about the experience. Read a ton of opinions and this was one of the few that I whole heartedly agree with. If you have it, I am jealous, if you can find it, count yer blessings! If you have an extra share it with a friend. Drink, be fat and happy all!

09-21-2013 04:58:05 | More by kidrogers
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OhioBobcat

Ohio

5/5  rDev +5.7%

08-05-2013 00:28:35 | More by OhioBobcat
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MadScientist

New York

4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

02-18-2013 22:04:34 | More by MadScientist
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CavemanRamblin

North Carolina

4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

07-15-2014 13:57:26 | More by CavemanRamblin
Photo of jono0101
jono0101

Missouri

5/5  rDev +5.7%

11-27-2013 19:33:18 | More by jono0101
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brownbeer

Missouri

4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

02-14-2014 01:34:02 | More by brownbeer
Photo of gp60
gp60

New Hampshire

4.78/5  rDev +1.1%

Been looking forward to this for a long time. Drove up to Vermont to get me a case. Yes it was worth the trip. Had one on Tap when in Waterbury. I had my first one from the case out of the can as directed the next day I had one from a tulip glass. was impressed with the smell or nose both ways. The appearance is the weak link here. Not ugly but a little hazy you might say. Dose not effect my felling towards the beer at all though but I scored it a 4,25 to be true.

I enjoyed the Heady Topper very much. It is a wonderful beer. One I can not recommend enough. I am enjoying my case with a select few and will drive back for an other when needed.

gp

01-07-2014 13:21:39 | More by gp60
Photo of Schlais
Schlais

Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

12-02-2011 04:11:07 | More by Schlais
Photo of xVERITAS
xVERITAS

Colorado

4.69/5  rDev -0.8%

The OG of the DIPA world. Had 1 from the can and 1 from a glass.

Pours a murky, shiny orange color. Smells very citrusy and piney. The bitterness is extraordinary. Has a thickness to it that makes it unique but not strange. Easy drinking, making it hard not to just chug it after a long day. Lives up to the hype for sure, and would highly recommend it

11-09-2013 20:09:59 | More by xVERITAS
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Spaten454

Louisiana

5/5  rDev +5.7%

06-14-2014 05:58:08 | More by Spaten454
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weatherdog

Illinois

4.2/5  rDev -11.2%

22oz. bottle re-reviewed. Thanks to Richard.

The nose was much improved vs. previous bottle. A huge pineapple citrus hop nose not present in the last bottle. Went from a 3.5 to a 4.5. Taste was pretty similar but it lacked the spicy hopiness and not just didn't have the bright hop character I wanted. It had a maltiness to it which prevented me from loving it as much.

22oz. bottle generously shared by oreo. I normally don't review from tastings, but thought I would this time considering it was the first beer we had, its hyped up status and it being bottled for the first time.

It poured an amber honey orange with a decent cream fresh looking head with minimal lacing.

The nose had a medium to medium high amount of citrus orange with present levels of resinous pine. The nose is nice but not as bright and fresh or light as other world class examples I've had

The flavor really almost exactly mirror the nose with an addition of a spicy hop after taste. This spicy aftertaste reminded me of drinking the wort from a beer using a lot of fuggles hops. I know it sounds crazy, and I'm sure heady topper doesn't use fuggles but that particular hop to me has a distinct spicy aftertaste, much more so pre-fermentation, that my mind went right to the comparison. After the hop showcase a firm light neutral flavored malt sweetness became present.

Mouthfeel was medium light, right where I would prefer it, carbonation was just fine. Drinkability was great personally; no signs of alcohol and an inviting hop flavor with a nice malt finish.

I really appreciated having the chance to sample this bottle but it only had room to disappoint considering the hype surrounding it. While a solid and good DIPA, it's no Piny killer.

12-29-2010 06:01:51 | More by weatherdog
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tbryan5

Louisiana

5/5  rDev +5.7%

03-01-2014 03:36:12 | More by tbryan5
Photo of nickisserious
nickisserious


5/5  rDev +5.7%

07-16-2014 05:07:03 | More by nickisserious
Photo of TimBeaulieu
TimBeaulieu

Massachusetts

4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

08-05-2014 01:32:03 | More by TimBeaulieu
Photo of GameOfBeers
GameOfBeers

Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +5.7%

08-18-2014 18:00:50 | More by GameOfBeers
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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 7,825 ratings.