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Heady Topper - The Alchemist

Heady TopperHeady Topper

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

6,189 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6189
Reviews: 1468
rAvg: 4.73
pDev: 7.19%

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)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,189 | Reviews: 1,468 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of spittingoutteeth


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

Quite simply, it's the best beer I've ever had. I was privileged to be one of the first to try Heady Topper when it was introduced at the Vermont Brewer's Festival quite a few years back. After sampling about a dozen wonderful microbrews (in 3oz samples mind you, so I was still an objective critic), I stopped by the Alchemist tent & tried this new concoction.

I was immediately hit by a strong but delightful grapefruit flavor, quickly followed by a explosion of hops (the IBU rating is reported to be an insane 140+!). The mouthfeel was amazing & the aftertaste was perfection. My companions and I literally gave up on trying any other beers that night & just used the rest of our sample tickets on Heady Topper.

I'm blessed to live only about 45mins. away from the Alchemist brewery, which is unfortunately the only place you can find Heady Topper (I do respect their decision to not bottle as a quality control measure). I am planning a trip there this weekend & can't wait for a pint!

If you are able to make it to the Alchemist for a Heady Topper, do be warned---the alcohol content is over 10%, according to the brewer I spoke with.

Serving type: on-tap

01-28-2009 23:19:37 | More by spittingoutteeth
Photo of stonermouse


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

Was lucky to have a weekend trip up to Stowe, VT planned when Heady was tapped. Settled in for two.

A- Heady looks gorgeous. Cloudy, and a crazy greenish/hazy/yellow color that was invented with the first tapping of this beer. Beautiful head that holds up well.

S- Strong... the hops bite the nose right off the bat.

T- Sweet lord, this is delicious. Hops and more hops, and quite citrusy as well. Starts strong, and finishes clean without too much lingering bitterness.

M- Chewable, if that makes sense. Heady is impossibly dense for how refreshing it is. Unexplainable.

D- Once the shock of the first sip or two wears off, these babies go down nicely. I wish I had opted for a third.

Serving type: on-tap

08-03-2010 01:20:07 | More by stonermouse
Photo of zoolzoo


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

On tap @ The Alchemist..

Two half pints arrive at the table, hop aromas literally fill the air. Heady is so wonderfully pungent I might have been able to smell the waiter coming. Fat juicy hops fill my nose, no malt is detectable.

Hop dominance carries right into the taste. Heady is unique in that it comes off as juicy, citrusy, bitter, grassy, and earthy...all at once. Flavors bounce around with vigor, so incredibly vibrant. Think layers of differing hop profiles to explore, all presented perfectly. Mouthfeel is right on the mark as well; a silky "medium", well carbonated. Drinkability is off the charts for a beer with so much flavor. I finially found an IPA that I enjoy more than Pliny, my previous favorite.

Get to The Alchemist, try this beer, period.

Serving type: on-tap

10-13-2010 01:24:48 | More by zoolzoo
Photo of wattly


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

Consumed December 8th, Bottled November 30th. Thanks to BA member gamanley for picking up the bottle for me.

First, let me state that this is the best beer I've ever had.

The bottle suggests inverting daily to resuspend the hop resins, which is what I did. The beer pours a wonderful hazy color with just enough head.

The smell. Wow, the smell. Like opening up a fresh bag of hops and breathing in as deeply as you can. The smell on this beer is absolutely phenomenal.

The taste follows exactly from the smell. There is a wonderful hop flavor that comes through in waves on every drink. The alcohol is not apparent at all, and it's hard to stop drinking this one, it tastes so good. This beer is not perceived as very bitter at all, the taste is much more focused on the hop flavor rather than setting bitterness records. Just how I like it.

Mouthfeel is great on this one too. Carbonation is enough to keep the drink flowing over your tongue. Each taste brings another burst of flavor without the hops coating your taste buds.

Drinkability is dangerous. Flavor and smell is so amazing, you just want to keep drinking it. Alcohol is not even noticed, and the 22 oz bottle was gone before I knew what happened. Wish I could have had a lot more of this one.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2010 06:06:03 | More by wattly
Photo of Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

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

Bottle shared by Thorpe429. Thanks Mike!

A: This DIPA appears noticeably hazier than other brews of this ilk. The beer itself is light orange in color, with a 1/4" head that leaves a fair amount of lacing.

S: Wow! The aroma is simply amazing. A bouquet of fresh tropical fruits, to include pineapple, mango, grapefruit, guava. No alcohol or malt scents to be found, just as it should be.

T: Wonderfully hop forward and delicious. The taste is fantastic, but not quite as unbelievable as the aroma, which was absolutely world class. The flavor is all about hops, citrus / tropical fruits, and floral notes. Terrific beer.

M: Bitter and dry, in the best possible way. Hop and fruit flavors linger on the palate between drinks.

D: I have wanted to try this beer for a long time. It is absolutely worthy of all the praise it has received. I look forward to drinking some on draft the next time I visit the lovely state of Vermont.

Edit: Drank over a case of this over the summer. Simply phenomenal beer. I'm not sure how or where this beer could improve. One of the best beers I have had. Dangerously drinkable and mouth wateringly delicious. My highest recommendation.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2010 01:41:12 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of renaud112

New Hampshire

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

My favorite beer hands down. My buddy and I compare every double ipa we have to this one ( and regular ipas to their holy cow) and we've found nothing that surpasses either of them. Hopefully their bottle run was a sneak preview. If they truly start canning, everyone outside of new england is in for a treat.

Serving type: on-tap

12-23-2010 00:07:01 | More by renaud112
Photo of willyvt


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

An exceptional IPA from John Kimmich in Waterbury. The heady is about perfect from start to finish. It's slightly cloudy just after pour. You can smell the floral aroma from about 1 foot away. Some IPA's can overpower with hops but this one is all about balance and subtly. They will be releasing the heady in cans late April. I hope they keep the same magic from the tap to the can.

Serving type: on-tap

02-24-2011 00:03:32 | More by willyvt
Photo of VelvetExtract


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

A-As the bartender passes me my first glass I am amazed at the beautiful orange hue of the beer. The creamy head retains incredibly well and laces the whole glass. Just a perfect look.

S-Wow this is disturbingly hoppy. Wreaks of dry-hopping. Luscious, ripe, juicy tropical fruits. Literally smells like perfume. A wonderful fragrance. The hops waft into my nostrils. Very excited to sip.

T-Blew me away. Unbelievably long lasting taste of grapefruits, apricots, mango, oranges, clementines and pineapples. Just purely juicy and fresh. Excellent bitterness, it does not over exceed its bounds and make you forget about the hop bouquet. Resinous and dripping of hop oils. Packs a plethora of fresh cut grass and crushed pine needles too. Quite possibly the best tasting thing that has entered my mouth. A divine amalgamation of tropical fruit fit for the gods.

M-Perfect carbonation. Slick, resinous feel. Big bodied and excellent. Begs to be gulped, not sipped.

O/D-Heady Topper defines my love for craft beer. Just amazingly delicious and perfectly crafted. There is absolutely nothing about Heady Topper that is not excellent. Well worth the long drive to drink this all night. And the cherry on top...$4 for a twelve oz. pour of week old Heady Topper. Perfect.


Finally tried it from the can and the quality is still the best in the entire world. Heady is my perfect beer, regardless of its pouring median.

Serving type: on-tap

07-24-2011 20:54:05 | More by VelvetExtract
Photo of seanwhite


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

Regretfully the brewery got hit hard by Hurricane Irene and only the cannery remains, and thank hop god that it was not impacted.

The first thing I think of with the aroma is straight hops in the face. The aroma is very crisp and refreshing, I could sit and smell this for a while.

The flavor is very hoppy and juicy, like biting into a hybrid hop fruit of all the aromas in one. There is the right amount of bitterness and a nice sweetness that cuts through it.

The mouthfeel is smooth, a little more creamy and thicker then I was expecting, moderate carbonation. Though, as a whole everything works well together.

This is an incredible beer, the best DIPA/IPA I have had in a long time and possibly ever.

Serving type: can

09-15-2011 17:47:30 | More by seanwhite
Photo of cbwufpack

North Carolina

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

Went against the recommendation and poured this puppy up. Deep caramel orange enhanced haziness from hop residues. Immediately the smell is a citrus bomb. This beer combines so many great citrus notes. It is as if the fruit is from some hybrid tree that only grows in Vermont. I would say the grapefruit is the star though. Crisp taste with some tangy bites. Very fresh hop notes. The mouth feel is almost as impressive as the taste. This is almost described as creamy to my palate. Overall this is the best IPA I have tasted.

Serving type: can

10-28-2011 20:12:17 | More by cbwufpack
Photo of JoEBoBpr


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

The Alchemist Heady Topper

Poured into a tulip from a 16oz can.

A – Pours a very nice dark copper color with some slight haze to it. There is a 0.25 inch white head that recedes down to a thin film. (5.0)

S – Starts off with some slight sweet piney hop notes. There are also some nice citrus notes and tropical fruit notes. There is some nice mango and tangerines in there. There is definitely very grassy and hoppy nose. (5.0)

T & M – Starts off with a nice hoppy and grassy note with some nice tangerines and slight orange. There is some nice biscuit malt notes in there as well with some earthy notes. There are definitely some nice piney notes in there. This brew is quite smooth and drinkable. There are tons of flavors in this DIPA with nice mango and some slight passion fruit as well. Tons of grapefruit notes are present. There is some nice bitterness in there as well. This is definitely a top five DIPA. Nice dry bitter finish. Mouthfeel is nice and light-medium with some refreshing notes. (5.0)(5.0)

O – This brew is delicious. Tons of hops with some slight bread notes but definitely a hop heads dream. Might not be as balanced as other highly rated DIPAS (Abrasive, Pliny, Citra) but that’s ok for this hop head. This is a very flavorful brew with tons of hops and great bitterness. (5.0)

Serving type: can

12-17-2011 01:54:18 | More by JoEBoBpr
Photo of guezarka


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

Straight from the can while at Frida's for lunch in Stowe. The tacos were good; the beer was freakin' unbelievable.

Did pour a little into a glass and it had a hazy orange tint with a decent rim of head, but it wasn't more than a couple ounces, so I wasn't checking out the head too much.

Cracked it and smelled a pine forest full of grapefruits. Very intense. Not spicy, but it's aggressive. I had thoughts about getting squirted in the eye by my morning grapefruit as I stuck my nose as deep as the can mouth would allow. I had heard the hype; hype does not smell this good.

And the taste trumped the nose. Gobs of pine and citrus, but the mango stickiness lingered at the finish with an enticing balance of biscuity malts scattered in the middle. No boozy heat, just a smooth coating of the palate that kept me slurping and made me finish the can finish too quickly. The bubbles were small and perfect in quantity. Had to have a second one and take a lingering walk around town afterwards.

The only flaw: they need bigger cans.

Serving type: can

12-20-2011 01:48:20 | More by guezarka
Photo of rowingbrewer


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

I have had 3 batches of the canned heady topper, the first was great, the third was great, but the second batch i had canned sometime in mid november was absolutely sublime.

the beer poursed a golden yellow color with orange hues and a 2 finger head that lasted a long time. the smell was huge citrus and piney hops with a subtle malt hint in the background. the flavors coming forth were huge grapefruit citrus and bitter piney hops in the finish with barely a trace of the malts in the nose. there was high carbonation with a dry light mouthfeel that left the mouth almost watering for more. huge bitterness that almost bit the tounge. overall this batch was the best ipa i have ever had, although when averaging out the batches of head i have had i like double sunshine and abner more. wish i had drank more of this batch and extra'd and traded less.

Serving type: can

01-04-2012 02:14:38 | More by rowingbrewer
Photo of sjverla


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

16 oz can into Piraat tulip glass

Nose: Tone of pine resin. Prickly, sugary grapefruit with a hint of prune.

Appearance: Hazy amber-copper with perfectly sustained head and great lacing.

Taste: Just a downpour of hops. Very bitter and herbal. Almost medicinal in a tasty, holistic way. A touch of lemon, a very slight hint of strawberry. Lively carbonated feel and a super-long bitter finish.

Overall: Just ridiculous. An inordinate, unprecedented amount of hops. However, it does fall off quickly. These cans are about 10 days old. The first one I had two days ago was slightly more citrusy. Absolutely no complaints though. Totally fantastic. HUGE thanks to my brother Mike for the Christmas gift.

Serving type: can

01-29-2012 04:07:08 | More by sjverla
Photo of Spfarner


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

WOW... if this review would accept just a WOW and not making me use 250 characters! WOW is all you need to know!

As soon as you crack the can, you would think you died and went to Hop-Heaven! The nose of this is outstanding, with very high potent citrus and all around American hops! Since the can specifically tells you to drink from the can, that's what i did, So cant really give you an actual perspective of the DIPA! But the taste is out of this world! When drinking this you will encounter a hop bliss! Very very hoppy taste, loads of citrus and pine notes! When i scored this beer i wished i could of scored it higher!

My overall experience with Heady Topper, HOP HEAVEN!
To people thinking of trying this beer, don't think, JUST GET SOME!

Serving type: can

02-05-2012 18:38:22 | More by Spfarner
Photo of Neorebel

New Jersey

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

I scored 3 four packs of this beer thanks to my parents who had vacationed briefly in VT. Trying this out of a glass first, then out of the can for kicks and giggles... because it says so. Something about releasing the hop aromas.

The appearance is a very cloudy gold color... almost yellowish. A few flecks of very fine sediment are visible. The beer is topped with a puffy white head that is very thick at first, but later settles down to the size of about a finger. It looks just right hanging there as it clings lightly to the glass.

The vast aroma give me the chills as I take it in. My first impression is that of an exotic, fresh fruit stand. Of course pineapple, grapefruit lemon/citrus, but also strawberry and mango - all very sweet. Something about the spice reminds me of potpourri and clean linen. There is an underlying piney resin notes are detectable beneath. When I lean in to the can rather than the glass, the resiny cannabis subtleties are much more 'outspoken.'

Now for a taste! Wow - this isn't going to be easy. Very complex to say the least. From the glass - a very quick 'juicyfruit' start coats the mouth and disappears at which point a dose of strong pine flavor, almost like gin for a second pops in. Finally, a very resinous character presents itself and takes over my palate for the bulk of the experience. There seems to be a doughy malt aspect intermingled with this resinous taste as well. The finish is a giant snap of bitterness.

It's interesting that this is kind of a medium bodied beer, does not seem 'boozy' or instantly 'warming' as it goes down, but I would say that after you take a little break from sipping you 'feel the alcohol' in your gut - a good thing if you ask me.

Overall - Definitely an acquired taste but I like it quite a bit. This is the most interesting and complex DIPA I have ever had. It's not so easy to talk about or assess simply.

Now - I am going to try a second one straight out of the can instead of from the glass. *Drum roll* I like it better from the can! Never would have guessed. With this beer - picture drinking a milkshake out of a big straw vs drinking right from the glass. The can is the straw - you get more of a concentrated blast of taste vs from the glass. Perhaps it is because there is no aroma preview, so to speak. The various aspects of the flavor previously described seem more together, hitting me at once instead of in stages this way. The sweetness seems to stick around longer and the resinous aspect seems less earthy and more spicy, more organic. Delicious orange rind dominates. Changing this to a perfect score. I'm glad I have a decent amount of this - will be sharing with close friends. Get some if you can.

Serving type: can

02-16-2012 02:50:47 | More by Neorebel
Photo of secinarot


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

Had this straight from the can as recommended. Was a little strange as I NEVER drink straight from the can/bottle, but I have to say it worked. Such a well balanced beer I could not believe it. Outrageous hop flavor but zero bitter bite. Excellent malt profile. The sweet hop taste lingered well after I had finished the can.

I have had Pliny the Elder fresh from the RR brew pub and Heady Topper from a can is every bit as good. Absolutely one of the best 2-3 beers that I have ever had.

Serving type: can

02-22-2012 02:28:45 | More by secinarot
Photo of CAPorter


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

The balance of a unique hoppiness with just enough malt combines with a smooth mouthfeel that seems almost surreal given the style of beer. I usually feel a bit more bite in even the better DIPA's I've had previously.

It deserves the current 100 rating it has, since I can't say I've ever tasted a better version of this style. Read what everybody else has to say while I enjoy this without distraction:)

Serving type: can

03-04-2012 01:16:18 | More by CAPorter
Photo of rlee1390


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

Have had multiple times since then and updating some things

A-Cloudy yellow orange, one finger head and rather carbonated and some lacing is left behind.

S-Citrus and grapefruit, earthy pine and grass. Very resiny

T-Waves of citrus goodness, very earthy with pine and grass. Ends with nice bitterness. What a beer Once again you taste the hop resins.

M-Medium bodied, good carbonation and the resins are simply wonderful..

O-Wow. Not an over powering hop bomb but a balanced hop force. It is a wonderful beer. I would love to be able to have it every day. I had side by side with PtE. Blew PtE out of the water. The best beer I've ever had.

Serving type: can

03-07-2012 16:42:44 | More by rlee1390
Photo of marcdalke


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

Well, I was going to just do a quick "had" review. That was until I popped the can open and took a whiff. Whoa man...this is perfection in a tall boy can!

The color is lighter than I would have guessed. It's a nice butterscotch color with not much of a head to be found. Its a bit hazy. And the nice hop particles floating in the glass let me know that my hop cravings will quickly be satiated.

The smell is pure heaven. If it tastes even close to what it smells like, I'll be in nirvana.

The taste just blew me away. Hands down the best brew I have had in quite some time. It is incredibly well balanced. Just like the can says: it's not super bitter. The hops just dance on your tongue. Citrus notes abound. I crave more with every sip. Damn my brother for only giving me two cans! I am trying to figure out when I can make it to Vermont to get more...this turned me into an addict needing my next fix! I want to eat it. I want to bathe in it. I want to use it as a shampoo. I want it as a cologne. I want to put it into a humidifier and infuse my bedroom with it so I can fall asleep to Heady Topper dancing through my head.

Overall: must try, must try again...must have on hand Always!

Serving type: can

03-24-2012 21:05:33 | More by marcdalke

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

Oh my god!!! they really hit this one out the park, smells like citrus, grapefruit,and pine. just had a zombie dust the other day and this one is just as nice of a tasty beer. one is not enough, makes you want to have more and more again. and this all comes from a can WOW.

Serving type: can

04-10-2012 22:26:03 | More by BERNUTBAG
Photo of Cuso


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

Can poured into a 12oz pils glass at the Hulmeville Inn 4/24/2012

A: hazy gold unfiltered you can see the resin floating in the glass.

S: Just fresh citrus grapefruit

T: Not so hoppy where you get that bitter taste. But just a in your face grapefruit citrus lemon. You can not taste the 8%abv

MF: This beer is so smooth if your not careful you can drink it real fast.

Overall WOW!!!! This just might be the perfect IPA style beer. Its better then pliny the younger its better then hopslam and its better then 120. I am impressed by this. And its not filtered so all that beautiful hop resin is just floating around. If you have a chance to try this by all means get it!!!

Serving type: can

04-24-2012 18:19:11 | More by Cuso
Photo of Stunmai

New York

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

This is really an amazing beer. I am generally not into double IPA because they usually substitute taste for strength of content. However, I bought a 4 pack of this from Waterbury VT, and I loved it more each time I had it. The hops are incredible, the flavor is ... well try it. Its worth the three bucks that it costs.

Serving type: can

05-20-2012 01:13:09 | More by Stunmai
Photo of cccarson


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

My girlfriend's brother brought us a 4 pack straight from the source. I gave it all 5s for a reason.

A: Beautiful yellow-orange sunset. It's unfiltered and various particles are visible. Note: the label recommends consuming the beer straight from the can. I tried one like this and also one that I poured into a tulip glass. Both were magnificent.

S: Incredible aroma of mango, grapefruit and guava (yes, guava). Some orange and lemon thrown in for good measure.

T: Taste follows the nose perfectly, with the mango standing out beautifully. Astonishing flavor. Important hop note: as stated on the can, this isn't supposed to be a hop explosion, and it's not. What it is, is a perfectly balanced beer.

M: carbonation is perfect. Just enough to let the hops dance around the tongue, and not too much to overpower the hops.

O: This is, by far, the best DIPA I've ever had and perhaps the best beer I've had period. PtE, Hopslam, and Dreadnaught are incredible beers but not even in the same class as Heady Topper. HT leaves them in the dust. I've had CBS on more than one occasion, and almost all Cantillon variants. I'm not exaggerating or going overboard when I say this might be the best beer on earth. A remarkable offering. Do yourself a favor and try this brew. It's worth it and then some.

Serving type: can

06-05-2012 20:43:01 | More by cccarson
Photo of Duhast500

Rhode Island

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

Poured from the can into Harpoon Limited Edition snifter.

The color is cloudy deep orange with some yellow highlights around the edges with a finger of foamy white head and some slight lacing.

The smell bursts out from the can with a bright piney aroma. Nowhere near the can and before the pour the hops are already present. The aroma is fresh hops all the way as if you had a packet of hops about to be poured into a boiling wort.

The taste is hoppy with some pine flavor sitting on top of a juicy citrus flavor. The layers of hop flavor both big and small seem to meld well here. From orange pith to the piney Douglas fur flavor to the slight bitterness toward the end. Sweetness right where is should be with some bitterness that comes in but has out the dull knives and only eases into the bite.

The feel is smooth and goes down easier then expected from a hop forward beer. It is really drinkable and seems to want to go down without a thought. This is may be the most drinkable hop-flavorful beer I have had. Worth the wait and the travel to have this beer.

Serving type: can

06-06-2012 02:08:40 | More by Duhast500
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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 6,189 ratings.