Heady Topper - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Heady TopperHeady Topper

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

10,761 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 10,761
Reviews: 2,149
rAvg: 4.73
pDev: 6.98%
Wants: 8,013
Gots: 3,326 | 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: 10,761 | Reviews: 2,149
Photo of DanielGJ0
1.45/5  rDev -69.3%
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.

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 KMC
1.57/5  rDev -66.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Taste was too bitter, the drink too carbonated, and without any redeeming qualities.

Photo of JobiWanKenob
1.69/5  rDev -64.3%
look: 2 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.75

What the hell is going on these days? Drove down from Montreal to Vermont, picked up 6 cans. Im sorry, but this smells like Pine-sol, no joke. Pine-sol. It tastes gross. However, i powered through 2 cans. Cracked my 3rd can, couldn't get Pine-sol smell out of my head. Then came the brutal, pounding headache. Stopped drinking after my third can. Was left smelling like a brewery with a massive headache. So i cant help but think to myself, do those who rave about Heady Topper drink only ONE beer? I don't know anyone who drinks one beer and stops. I do know one thing, this beer is not to be consumed continuously for a night of good times. The stink of it! No sir, i don't like it. I don't like it one bit, and I'm not afraid to say so.

Photo of fupa
2.23/5  rDev -52.9%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

The beer is rusty peaches. Theres a bit of foamy toothpaste on top, but it's not that totes. It smells like my grandma's canned fruit cocktail, with a nub of my buds in it. While I pull this into me, I note the medium viscosity balanced with a tight, penetrating carb. My mouth wants a little more pounding than this. It leaves me dry, and i like being wet at the finish. Okay beer.

Photo of HoppyBastard2
2.56/5  rDev -45.9%
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.

Photo of wildfire275
2.65/5  rDev -44%
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.

Photo of Dookieyeo
2.71/5  rDev -42.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

not easy to find in Korea.

Photo of derekdclark1
2.72/5  rDev -42.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Too bitter for my liking. When the air contacts your tongue after a swig it's impossible to keep a straight face. The flavor then decides to take up an unwanted residence for 30 seconds on your tongue. Super prominent aftertaste.

Photo of TriggerMolyneaux
2.82/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Not sure why there so much hype behind this beer. I loved the old Alchemist pub in Waterbury and miss it a lot. Alchemist makes a few great beers but Heady Topper isn't their best offering. Living near the brewery makes you hate it however. Tourist obsess over it and it's become an annoying attraction.

Photo of acostuhhh
2.85/5  rDev -39.7%
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.

Photo of METALBOOZESOLID
2.85/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Easily the most overrated beer I have ever tasted. Though it isn't bad, it really is just a $12 hop bomb. So many better IPA's out there, it's shocking to me that this is the "top rated" beer on BA.

Pours a hazy light orange color with a light white head, and immediately fills your nose with hops. It has a mild sort of carbonation and goes does easily. If you like hoppy beers, this is a good one for you.

Good, but not that good. Does not live up to hype

Photo of mindfulmead
2.87/5  rDev -39.3%
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.

Photo of amphion1065
2.88/5  rDev -39.1%
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.

Photo of McKinley
2.93/5  rDev -38.1%
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.

Photo of derise
2.98/5  rDev -37%
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.

Photo of Jimmyc5723
3/5  rDev -36.6%

I tried a can (as the can advises) while in Stowe, VT. I had heard it was rated number one in the world so I wanted to check it out. Admittedly, I don't really tend to enjoy IPA's. It has a great aroma, but taste was very bitter, for my tastes. Also, it was not very sessionable at all considering I was fairly drunk before finishing the can. Not for my tastes but I can see why it's so popular if you like happy beers.

Photo of Schmaltzy
3/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Don't know why this beer is so hyped up. I've tried it fresh multiple times and think it is the best east coast attempt at a west coast IPA that I have had. With that said, it falls very short when put up against west coast ipas. Nose is slightly muted and taste is light and slightly too malty. Not much else to say except in glad I live in san Diego...

Photo of Avool1960
3/5  rDev -36.6%

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.

Photo of ErikVT
3/5  rDev -36.6%

This beer is all hype. Most of the people that love this beer don't live in VT. This is not even they best IPA or DIPA in VT.

Photo of jciampa123
3/5  rDev -36.6%

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.

Photo of gory4d
3/5  rDev -36.6%
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?

Photo of m_bell
3/5  rDev -36.6%

This Double IPA is average in its class. I'm guessing that many of these high ratings are more for the category rather than where the beer fits with in the category. I find this beer to be unbalanced. The mouthfeel is a little flat and the hops are all over the place.

Photo of GormBrewhouse
3.04/5  rDev -35.7%
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!!!

Photo of Brento
3.14/5  rDev -33.6%

Did a taste test with Heady Topper versus Pliny the Elder with about a dozen friends. Pliny the Elder received 100% of the votes from our little test. This is a bit odd for a beer that became #1 on this site in a relatively short period of time. Heady Topper is okay, but definitely does not deserve the Number 1 spot.

The most noticeable quality of Heady Topper at pour is the amount of sediment in the glass. I suppose that is why they print "DRINK FROM THE CAN" on the can itself. But, we had to pour it for the taste test so people would not know what they were drinking.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 10,761 ratings.