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Heady Topper - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Heady TopperHeady Topper

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,081 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,081
Hads: 11,597
Avg: 4.66
pDev: 16.74%
Wants: 8,450
Gots: 4,019 | FT: 58
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 (9) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Heady Topper Alström Bros
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Reviews: 2,081 | Hads: 11,597
Photo of DanielGJ0
1.45/5  rDev -68.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Honestly, I have either received two of the worst cans in the history of mankind, possibly infected, who knows but let's be honest, I tried this once before Sip of Sunshine and Once the following day after drinking Sip of Sunshine. The absolute worst double IPA I have ever had, and this is my favorite style!

Hops are barely existent, there is an inherent smoothness to the beer but it tastes of wet cigarettes. I wish I could say better things, but it almost tastes like a homebew that was not properly sanitized. But two cans from a two week old batch? What in the world. Now Sip of Sunshine from Lawsons was incredible, but this, not a chance. just awful.

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Photo of HoppyBastard2
2.56/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 1.75 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Murkiest beer I've ever poured. I can see why they want you to drink from the can.
Smells of a used dirty ashtray. Not pleasant.
Taste is on par with most mediocre DIPA's as well as mouthfeel.
So many amazing beers out there, no way this should be rated best beer.

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Photo of wildfire275
2.65/5  rDev -43.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Let me begin with a precursor: I've had Heady on several occasions, my first being almost four years ago. I'm writing this review because this batch from early February when I purchased a case is simply a shell of its former self and must have something wrong with it (and not because it's been 3 months since it was canned; because it tasted the same right after I bought it and it's been refrigerated ever since and should still be plenty drinkable at this stage). Cracking a can brings an overwhelming smell and subsequent taste of peanut butter, peanut oil and peanuts. As I am not a homebrewer, though I work in beer retail, I do not know how to pinpoint this off-flavor/smell (i.e. diacetyl), but it is certainly not the Heady that blew my mind when I first had it four years ago. My main motivation in writing this review is to alert others to the possibility that clearly not all batches of Heady are created equal now. If this can be chalked up to mishandling (exposure to heat), and is not a fault of The Alchemist, I would certainly understand. But as I purchased this case in the midst of a bone-chilling winter, I find that possibility not very plausible. And don't get me wrong; this is not intended to throw The Alchemist, John and Jen or their staff under the bus. They are working tirelessly to bring this beer to the masses of VT, the U.S., and now--yes--the world. Hopefully this is simply an anomaly and their quality control only improves with further batches, yet now with their increased production and the new Stowe facility, this may only become more difficult in the future. As a die-hard craft drinker and one who knows where Heady belongs in the upper echelon of DIPAs, I hope this does not prove to be the case.

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Photo of acostuhhh
2.85/5  rDev -38.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Sorry guys, the smell was good but I just do not like IPAs. I need some other flavor and after taste besides bitter hops. It wasnt smooth at all. ABV isnt noticeable though.

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Photo of mindfulmead
2.87/5  rDev -38.4%
look: 1 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Ok, another double IPA. Hoppy, we get it right? So what is so great abut THIS Ipa? If you were to break the rules and not "drink it IMMEDIATELY out of the can" you end up with a foggy IPA with chunks of hop pellets to chew on while they add to the hoppiness. As it sits, the trub gathers as gravity wins the battle to the bottom of my glass. Don't get me wrong, the hop particles that are suspended add a decent profile to the beer, but at what cost? I think it would be great as a "harvest IPA" if vegetal matter was the intention but there are another 11.5 months to use your hops in that case.

To me it seems like an unkept hop room. Interesting, nice, and Hoppy with some funkiness growing somewhere. I know from reading the can before I drink it I need to follow rules. I broke them all. I think that any homebrewer can create an equitable beer with a draft keggery and one weeks time.

J&J's Robust Porter in their restaurant was much better for my dollar and I just don't see what all the hubub is about. I think they should concentrate on making beer instead of money but I appear to be in the minority here. I do like the beer but know for a fact that there is more talent behind the curtain.

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Photo of amphion1065
2.88/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I've had many a can of Heady Topper over the past few months, and with each one I'd hoped that my opinion of the beer would change for the better. I'll review my inaugural taste here, as it hasn't changed at all really. 16 oz. can poured into a Duvel tulip. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a fairly dark orange with nice clarity, in spite of the small bit of suspended yeast. A one-finger white head recedes pretty quickly, leaving minimal lacing.

The nose is very, very nice. A lot of citrus fruits, bright oranges and mangoes. But there is an off-putting, lingering aroma of quasi-rotten fruit that I just can't shake. It's a very curious sweetness that just seems unnatural.

Hops seems oddly dead in the taste. Waves of malty sweetness seems to obscure any bitter hop bite. At the same time, a very strange vegetal flavor throws the balance of this beer out of whack. It seems disjointed, and though this can was very fresh, it just feels faded.

The carbonation is too low, and the mouthfeel is too heavy. Perhaps some more carbonation would help the flavors open up.

As a rejoinder, I'll add that I've drank Heady Topper straight from the can, though I didn't find that that method of presentation impacted the taste at all. In the end, I suppose it's just not for me, though certainly not terrible.

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Photo of McKinley
2.93/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

After all the hype, I expected more....too much? Pretty much like drinking grapefruit juice. I also question the instructions to drink from the can, a good beer should be able to be appreciated from a glass.

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Photo of derise
2.98/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Typical Double IPA. Had a great crisp citrus taste to it. It was not as smooth as I thought it was going to be. Notice the hops more on the after tastes. cloudy appearance. In my opinion not worth all the hype. I can easily say there are so many better IPA's out on the market.

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Photo of Avool1960
3/5  rDev -35.6%

Well I finally had a chance to try the infamous Heady Topper. A friend was working in Vermont and came across a 4 pak at, of all places, a gas station convenience store. Well, with great anticipation, we sat down at my home bar, popped the top on a can and away we went. First thing to hit you was the aroma. Piney, hoppy. And that's where it ended for me. This beer is better suited to be an air freshener than a drink. I was sitting there tasting what in my opinion is way over the top flavor finished with bitterness. I just don't see what all the fuss is about. With all of the thousands of beers in the world this is the # 1? Not a chance. In the end I felt like a kid who got a beautifully wrapped gift only to discover a bag of sox or underwear inside. What a bummer.

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Photo of jciampa123
3/5  rDev -35.6%

Well.... i live here in the great state of vermont. And i can get heady topper pretty much whene ever i want (im a chef, always have the stuff). This is a good IPA. I like it for its culture shock and I respect its cult folowing, however i actually do not like the beer. Its unbalanced, and dry hopped way to long for my taste. As a chef im always looking for balence and this just does not have it. But i do understand why hop heads around the country flock for it.

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Photo of gory4d
3/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Two cans, one poured, the other straight up. Poured has a nice white head, no lacing. The smell is piney and flowery. The taste is totally raw and bitter, sweet upfront and that's the end, except for a chalky dry aftertaste. It's greasy with a good amount of fizz. Why is a beer like this necessary?

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Photo of GormBrewhouse
3.04/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I do not think this is the best in the world at all, unless you like your DIPA very sweet.
Don't see what the hype is all about. I have drank better IPAs for less money!!!

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Photo of JackRWatkins
3.18/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From the can (this gimmick annoys me but for brewer suggestion I will comply)
A: it's in a can dammit what do you think
S: good intense aroma of hoppy bitterness, a tad tart but only ever so slightly
T: quite bitter, if i'm being honest I find the level of bitterness unpleasant in this beer, I suppose a bit piney and earthy, most of the DIPA's that I have had don't truly impress me with the amount of bitterness they claim to have, hint of melon, decent malt presence here but not overpowering, the bitterness is the strongest element present, sweet on the finish after the beer settles out a bit, at this point the hops help the beer remain crisp though the bitterness has dissipated, malt will come through more the more that it sits
M: silky, dry and clean
O: not bad but I really don't see what all of the fuss is about. This is a good DIPA but there are many that are better. Snake Handler from Good People comes to mind immediately. It is quite refreshing though, and of all of the beers that claim to be hoppy and bitter, this is one of the few I've had that actually lives up to the claims it makes in that regard. The flavor evolves (improves if you ask me) gradually as the beer settles, leaving less pine and more citrus notes. Not bad but tremendously over rated (I should note that if you are a hop head you will very much enjoy this beer), I'm sorry but I'll say it again, just not great

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Photo of kfh227
3.2/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I had one of these in Burlington, Vermont at a bar straight from the can.

I was pleasantly surprised that they had it.

I only care about taste so here it goes. I generally don't like IPAS because they are bitter. Some bitterness is OK. There are two things to know. 1) This one is not bitter at all. 2) this is very hoppy.

Having said that, this is one of the best IPAs that I have ever had. But it is in all honesty, just a good version of Budweiser. A very good version. Point being that I don't understand all the fuss. I could name 20 beers that I'd rather have than drink this ever again. It's honestly not all that special unless you prefer IPAs above all else..

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Photo of sanhedrin
3.23/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I don't get it. Maybe I'm daft but the reasons for the over-the-top love for this beer elude me. It's a very nice, refreshing, not terribly complex brew. Good quaffer on a hot summer day, with a light grapefruity bitterness and a clean finish. It's fine. It's nice. I'll drink it again for $4 a can, but I won't drive to Vermont to get it or pay a scalper $14 for it. If I don't see it again, no big deal, there are hundreds of equally good, similar brews out there.

This seems like one of those "the harder to get the better it tastes" situations.

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Photo of TheBungyo
3.32/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

When a beer reaches the lofty heights of a Heady Topper it feels almost unfair to pen a review. After all, how could I possibly review it based solely on it's merits and deficiencies? Most everyone will either praise it's strengths whilst ignoring the faults or harp on flaws and turn a blind eye toward the many amazing things this drink does so superbly.

If I'm honest, and I'm certainly making a valiant attempt, the color is spectacular. It really is the perfect color for a double IPA. Any darker and it'd be obvious this beer would be far too sweet. Sadly though, it's just too damn cloudy. I can't express the amount of pride I feel as a homebrewer when I pour something I brewed and the body is the proper color and you can see through it like a window. This doesn't happen with this one. Great? Yes. Flawed? Well, that's a second yes.

Fortunately the nose ups the game even more. The malt is assertive, whilst the hops fight for dominance. It's nothing short of a tapestry of aromas: orange, peach, pineapple, and maybe some mango. A sip reveals some pleasant booze, while maintaining hop presence. Lots of tropical notes dance seductively alongside malty sugary caramel. The big problem arises in the finish. Where it should be bitter the sweetness slams on the gas floods the palate like an uninvited guest. After half a can or so, the sweetness becomes overpowering for me.

One of the great things about this brew is the price. The Alchemist could have taken the opportunity to charge through the nose for a beer with this reputation but it certainly is fair. I'm sure if I lived in the distribution area I'd come back to Heady Topper again since the price is very reasonable. That's despite the fact that it doesn't wow me like it does most people. Certainly worth a shot to see if it ever clicks with me.

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Photo of greg1973
3.33/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Had side by side with Surly Abrasive and Pliny. By far finished last! Sorry, good for an east coast IPA, but no match for west coast. Pours a cloudy opaque orange color, odd chalky mouthfeel, and a little thick for the style. Prefer a cleaner, crisper, more bitter, hop forward IPA. I see why they want you to drink from the can, not a good looking beer at all! Taste not too far off. Not even in my top ten. Sorry.
Maybe I received an old can, would love to try again, but not gonna trade across the country for another one. No date, hard to determine freshness.

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Photo of Gig2828
3.33/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Was lucky enough to try fresh Heady. Perhaps its all the talk or maybe it is all the beer that is available now, but I like others much better. This is a great beer just not one I would search out. I am very glad I had the chance to try it and would encourage others to do so as the beauty of beer is everyone has a different palate and even that changes over time.

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Photo of LarryV
3.35/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Straight up hops mishmash, not much more going on - certainly not what I would call a balanced brew. Artificial rarity factor keeps prices high. I've had plenty of DIPA"s that I liked better than this one. Not to say it's not good, but the price is insane. Aroma: hops, hops and more hops. Taste: Hops, hops and more hops.

I don't get the whole drink out of the can thing, 80% of our taste comes from aroma which you don't get from drinking out of the can. Gimmicky at best - the 100 rating baffles me.

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Photo of Auracom
3.36/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

I knew I'd tick this one eventually without having to actively seek it out. Success! Thanks Dan for the share on your extra. 2 oz. into a tulip so I could mark the visuals and aroma, another 3-4 oz. straight from the can on June 14th, 2013.

A - Lightly cloudy, murky medium-golden color with an enormously bubbly head. Good retention and lacing.

S - Deeply resinous, pine-sol, rouge, slightly burnt caramel, touch of peach and herbs.

T - It's really better balanced than I thought it would be. That being said, the hops are sharp, overly-acidic, and disappointingly simple. Grapefruit rind, toasted almond, and lemon peel.

M - Light body, moderate carbonation, very dry (even sour-like) finish.

D - I'm a bit stunned in a bad way. There are scores of other IPA/DIPA's I would choose over this particular can. Another revisit? I don't know.

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Photo of leftde18
3.4/5  rDev -27%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased a can from the Warren Store

A-N/A, Drank from the can

S-Piney and herbaceous but without pouring it out, definitely underwhelming in my opinion

T-Hops on hops on hops, so much so that it obscured the hoppy nuances I was hoping for. Bright, fresh pine sap overwhelms at first, it followed by a pleasant bitter finish. There are other notes of citrus under the sappiness but my pallet was overwhelmed quickly by hop-power before I could pick them out

M-Viscosity trumps its carbonation and it feels sticky, like a liqueur. I didn't really like it, especially towards the end.

O-I could not find this beer's finesse, there were TONS of hop flavors but they didn't sing in symphony. I would buy it again, but I would not seek it out.

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Photo of abriggs1
3.46/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Here it is folks, the single most overrated beer in drinking history. I've been a beer fanatic for a decade and a half, and the beer drinking world has a lot to answer for on this one. The best beer in the world? What a joke. I wouldn't even put this in the top 10 of IPA's let alone beers of any style.

I'm not saying this is a bad beer. It's just criminally over-hyped and overrated.

Let's start with the obvious; drinking this beer out of the can as it says to do on the very can you're supposed to drink this out of = a bad idea. It's much better in a glass, and the right glass with a tulip shape will make the aromas even better. I guess the whole drinking from the can thing is little more than a hipster ideal. I certainly hope this trend doesn't continue.

The hops are right in your face, but ultimately unbalanced. Anyone can throw way too many hops into a beer. But it takes real skill and finesse to create a hoppy beer that's balanced and drinkable. There are heaping amounts of grapefruit, pine, and lemon rinds on the front. And then heaping amounts of grapefruit, pine, and lemon rinds in the aftertaste. The malt backbone is there, but it's too faint to balance out the assault of hops.

So far, the best IPA I've had was another Vermont brew; Lawson's Hopzilla, which I gave a perfect score. It's the perfect DIPA. When I die, I want to be embalmed with it.

Other IPA's that are better than Heady Topper: Ballast Point's Sculpin. Hooker's Hop Meadow IPA. New England Brewing's Gandi-Bot, Sierra Nevada's Torpedo, Southern Tier's 2xIPA, Southern Tier's Hoppe, Southern Tier's Unearthly, 21st Amendment's IPA, Hill Farmstead's Abner, Rock Art's Belgo American IPA, and others that I'll probably think of later.

I've never been so embarrassed for the beer community for rating this so highly. My fear is that the beer scene is being overrun by a bunch of hipsters who think that exclusivity is more important than the art of brewing. Heady Topper is hard to get. That doesn't make it the best beer in the world. People are rating this beer so highly because they want to brag that they drank it. In a blind taste test of the world's best IPAs, Heady Topper would lose miserably.

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Photo of Racatalano
3.47/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I have been a big fan of IPA beers for over a year and have sampled at least 15 of the top IPAs. I finally made it up to Stowe for skiing and got a chance to try the famous Heady Topper. I could not have have been more disappointed. There is nothing extraordinary about this IPA whether you drink from the can or pour in a glass. Stone Enjoy By is by far much better than HT. If you have gotten hands on that one, not need to hunt down HT at least in my opinion.

When I was growing up, Coors was only available west of the Mississippi River, which created this mystique about the beer. When you finally got your hands on one, it was a disappointment as you can imagine.

I give the Alchemist team credit for the marketing behind HT but don't go out your way to get your hands on one - its just an above average IPA.

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Photo of mentor
3.48/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a two-finger slightly-yellowed clingy head over a cloudy and particulated puke-tan liquid. Smells of green onion and wild garlic (Summit hops) with pine and sharp grapefruit pith. Baby aspirin and lemony tropical fruits. Comes across as a blast of very fresh Summit hops.

Tastes sharp bitter with flat oily bitter to complement. Nice malt sweet that blends with the green onion flavor. Juicy hops. Tin, no esters, but nice barley grain flavor. Acidic sour from the hops almost comes across as lactic. Finishes with baby aspirin (Simcoe hops) and a very resiny pine aftertaste. Very grassy rich in cohumulone. Too strong of carbonation. Carb and clean alcohol sting lift the beer from the tongue early. Creamy body is interrupted by rough hops and clean alcohol sting.

A decent beer, but would be *much* better with different hops. I find Summit hops sickening and can't wait for the trend to pass on by. Big disappointment. Judged to style, so scored higher than my palette would offer. The can says "drink from the can!" It was not as good from a can as from a glass.

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Photo of reefer_bob
3.5/5  rDev -24.9%

Consumed in both the Can and out of a glass. Can is a bit better.

This is a very solid DIPA. Is it the best beer ever? I'm not convinced. It's really good though! I think there's a bit of hype.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 2,081 ratings.