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Heady Topper - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Heady TopperHeady Topper

Educational use only; do not reuse.

10,159 Ratings

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Ratings: 10,159
Reviews: 1,975
rAvg: 4.73
pDev: 7.19%
Wants: 7,350
Gots: 2,881 | FT: 46
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: 10,159 | Reviews: 1,975
Photo of JonnyRebel
4.29/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of rickbb
4.29/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of charlzm
4.29/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Consumed October 4th, 2013 from an undated can. Poured into a Samuel Adams "perfect pint" glass.

Beer is slightly hazy light yellow. Lots and lots of happy little bubbles rising energetically from the glass's nucleation point. An off-white/pale yellow head erupts three fingers high. It slowly subsides, leaving behind fluffy, splotchy lacing. Some little floaties in the bottom of the glass. To be honest, not the best looking DIPA I have ever seen.

Aroma is sweet with lemon, mango and pineapple and spruce. Good, good stuff, except for that fleeting whiff of onion...

Flavor is similar to the aroma, but with a strong note that's almost, but not quite, lacquer. Slightly tingly with a nice, modulated bitterness on the finish. This beer is in no hurry to finish up the flavor of each sip, so it's one to savor slowly. It comes on strong but not sharp and finishes smooth but not fast. Each sip is a little experience of its own.

Mouthfeel is slightly thin (though with a little extra body - a trace of oatmeal to thicken it up, perhaps?) and tingly with carbonation. Just a few sips will reveal the alcohol in the form of some heat.

I find it quite an impressive achievement, but I let my non-beer-drinking girlfriend try some and she said it tasted like "pine-scented poison".

Photo of maz
4.29/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of WanderingFool
4.29/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had Heady Topper many times at either the pub or the VT Brewers Fest. None of those occasions really allowed me to do a review. Recently, a friend moved to VT and got me a special release bottle of this wonderful beer.

Heady Topper pours a hazy copper color with a one-finger wide, creamy white head on top. The foam dissolves slowly to a thin sheet on the beer leaving behind a fair amount of lines of lace on the glass. Unfortunately, the bottle had many 'floaties' in it that hung in suspension for quite a while.

The strong hoppy aroma has notes of pine and grapefruit citrus with a little grass mixed in. A little bit of pepper and apricot is also present.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is dry with moderate carbonation. The flavor begins with lots of pine, grass and grapefruit citrus. In the background pale malt and light fruit (apricot) help balance out the hops. Once gone the pine and grapefruit linger on the palate.

This is one of my favorite beers from New England that I wish I could get more often. But then, I'd be too spoiled.

Photo of bodhi185
4.29/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

--Update-- thanks to a second from 'dorsch'...this beer is way better out of the can. the green comes out, the dry-hop is more prominent, and it really is a different beer. both good, but like pbr...better in the can.

Canned...pour into a pint glass...although i know this violates the first seven unwritten vermontonian beer laws.

A: Hazy orange with a thin bubbly head. No floaters. I have to admit I was hoping for some resin and shake hanging out in the glass. But, too new, too fresh. I have a feeling I'll find a way to get through it.

S: A little citrus on top of an aromatic double ipa-ness.

T: Bitter, piney, and hop-sweet with lingering grassy kind of notes. This is a great beer. It reminds me of an earthy Double Jack or what a Double IPA version of Two Hearted would taste like. Seriously tasty beer.

M: Sticky with a super long linger and a little bit of lupulin kicking in now. I'd be willing to bet a second or third would still taste pretty good though.

O: Fantastic beer. One that I'm hoping finds its way past NPH into ready availability. I know that Northwest Indiana could support a steady influx. No doubt that this one beer is all that the Alchemist needs...although, in case the northern vermontarians felt like branching out, a fresh hop version would probably be pretty epic.

Photo of adrock7309
4.29/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received a couple cans of fresh HT from BaconSausage as extras in a recent Trade.

Poured both into a Surly pint glass and a bells tulip on two different occasions with varying results.

In the first sampling - one was extremely cloudy and much darker red than i was expecting based on other reviews. The second can was much more orange and clear. Both were adorned by nice white caps

The appearance was the main difference between the two as they both had huge hop blasting noses with heavy citrus/mango pine wafts coming at you.

Flavors i picked up were much different than the nose. I picked up a bit of stale malt hidden behind large grassy citrus hop characteristics.

Overall a great beer and one i wish i had access to.

Photo of micromaniac129
4.29/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a very hazy, cloudy and just plan murky. the color is burnish orange. The head produced was tall with sticky froth that leave plenty of lacing in my glass.
The aroma is bursting with hops, and it should it's dry hopped. Lots of citrus and tropical notes like tangerines, pithy with pine and resiny dank freshness.
Very bold tasting with a sweet bitterness up front and then dries out to a smooth finish.
The hop flavor was more subtle then in the nose but in the taste i got some citrus and pine notes. Malts come to the fore front towards the end.
At the finish I can pick up some tropical fruits. The taste is also somewhat raw or wet.
A very good beer. Worthy to a point of all the praise and hype.

Photo of TheDinger
4.29/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Let me preface this by saying, I'm not much of an IPA hop head. But a buddy scored this and I had to try it out of the can followed by in a glass. I actually like the glass offering better, but here goes: Poured from can into DFH snifter. Great looking light pale yellow beer with an inviting 2 fingers of head. Straw hues and a bit of cloudiness. Smell is awesome. Citrus hops meet earthy/pine hops. Getting grapefruit and apricot on the nose. Taste was pretty balanced and smooth for such a strong announced IBU. For not a big fan of the style, I was glad it went down as easy as it did. More pronounced fruit as it warmed. The can offering just seemed a bit less flavorful? to me than the glass. Feel was great with a medium heft and carbonation that was pleasant. Overall: The best IPA I have had, but again it's not my wheelhouse. I liked the citrus frontend and balance. I can see where those who love the style would really like this. I would drink again and think it's a must try.

Photo of wvsabbath
4.29/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Serving Type - Can

Appearance - Golden tan, burnt yellow with a nice, foamy 1 inch head and lots of sticky lacing.

Smell - Upfront blast of piney, grapefruit hops. Floral note, lemon, banana, tangerine. A slight amount of caramel near the end.

Taste - Ok so here go's, I am drinking about 6oz in a glass, the rest out of the can. At first sip, piney, grapefruit hops. Very smooth, not so much bitter, a little mix of lemon and honey smoothness. Floral and citric , has a little grassy flavor from the hops. Minimal caramel malt is noticed at the finish. Nice hop bitterness with slight alcohol warmth at the finish.

Mouthfeel - Hops coat the tongue with pine and grapefruit. Tongue gets a nice floral, herbal flavor, with some honey and minor caramel malts. Aftertaste is Hop bitter and a little dry.

Overall - Well, The #1 dipa has been conquered. I'm surprised at how smooth, and easy drinking this is. This reminded me of a more smooth, balanced and less alcohol version of hopslam. IMO, which honestly means nothing to anyone else other then me, this is not the best dipa ive ever had. I can think of 2 or 3 locals ive had that I enjoy more. And a few other ipa's ive had that I liked more. I did enjoy It moreso then the other highly ranked, hyped dipa pliny but there's no way id travel a long distance to buy it or I wouldnt trade for it again but,,,,if it was available at local shop id pick it up for sure in when I want a change up from my favorites. I did enjoy this more from glass, as I always do for any canned beers.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.29/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Heady Topper-The Alchemist-Vermont. Ale. Alc. 8% by Vol.,1 pint.

"Heady Topper is an American Double India Pale Ale. This beer is not intended to be the biggest of most bitter. It is meant to give you wave after wave of hoppy goodness on your palate. Tremendous amounts of American hops will creep up on you, and leave you with a dense hoppy finish in your mouth. So drinkable, it scary.
Sometime I wish I could crawl right into the can. Fresh ness and control have always been my main concern when it comes to our beer. We are committed to providing you with an unfiltered and unpasteurized hop experience. Why do I recommend that you drink it from the can? Quite simply, to ensure a delightful, hop experience. The act of pouring it into a glass smells nice, but it releases the essential hop aromas that we have worked so hard to retain. If you MUST pour it into a glass, you may find that some of the hop resins have settled to the bottom --leave them in the can when pouring. This beer is perishable, and at it's best when young, fresh, and hazy. Keep it cold but not ice cold. Drink this beer immediately we are always making more. --John Kimmich, The Alchemist, Waterbury, Vermont."

Bullcrap, it's going into a glass, because I MUST.

It's a hazy one, a deep orange/apricot color, not bright, not golden, but clearly it's own thing. It is what it is. The head is a gigantic, prodigious, brogdignagian thing, mushroom capped, blooming with chalk white froth, lace-leaving and slow to leave. Gorgeous look on it.

Aroma: funky, musty, wicked, and weird. I'm at a loss. Thinking about Belgian yeast, thinking about putting a mare to bed. And then the typical hop aromatics creep out, some orange, some mango, grapefruit. None too bitter, either, not too brash, bold or out of control. Juuust right. A delight for the nose.

Taste: Jumps on the tongue and spills out brilliant hoppy flavor. Tingles the tongue in all right ways. Trickles over the palate, leaving happy hop deliciousness everywhere. …"from the can!"…not as complex, not as …gosh, is there a difference? or are we fooling ourselves? From the can, you get the hop blast, you get the flavor, you get the buzz, it's creamy and palatable…but you don't get everything. It's like having sex with a sock on your man, it's just not bringing it all home, if you know what I mean. I wonder why The Alchemist wants to cover this beer up, hide it in a can? Are they trying to elude the look of the brew, do they think people will dislike the chaos and disarray, the multitude of floating particles, as if it's unnatural and ugly?

Full-bodied, long bitter finish. Really tasty, very satisfying and delicious. Best IPA of all? Naaah…

Photo of justme
4.3/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of dboon
4.3/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Can, thanks Seth! Hazy burnt orange pour with an off white head. Pine and citrus aromas. Outstanding balance, with smooth pine and resiny hop notes off set by a sturdy caramel malt backbone. Light citrus and floral undercurrents. Just a great freakin’ DIPA, and from a can. Kudos to the Alchemist Pub and Brewery...

Photo of grub
4.3/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

got this one in a trade with freud. huge thanks man!

22oz bottle. bottled 11/30/2010. sampled 12/11/2010.

pours hazy orangey amber with a big fluffy off-white head. haze is likely due to pouring the entire bottle including the dregs. the head drops slowly and leaves tons of lace as it falls.

aroma is great. there be hops in there! candied grapefruit and orange. pine. layers of tangerine, apricot, and perhaps even some pineapple. light alcohol. white bread, cracker, and a bit of biscuit. caramel. touch of butterscotch hiding in the background.

taste is good. citrus and pine with a solid malt backbone. grapefruit and orange. bit of tangerine. resiny pine. whole wheat bread and biscuit. bit of cracker. light alcohol. just above medium bitterness level. caramel with a bit of the butterscotch that i noticed in the aroma. the other hoppy layers from the aroma are still present, but at a more subdued level. herbal and earthy hop layers start to appear here, giving it a bit of an english dimension to an otherwise american brew.

mouthfeel is great. just above medium body with a nice dry hoppy finish. medium carbonation level.

drinkability is great. the bitterness never overpowers the solid malt footing. the alcohol is almost unnoticed until a little warmth starts to grow in my stomach around mid-glass. nice hoppy depth. i enjoy the balance of this one - certainly not a palate shredder, and not as in-your-face as some, but it's got much more repeatability as a result. good stuff!

Photo of TMoney2591
4.3/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Rogue shaker pint glass.

Big thanks to apollokim for this can!

The big guns keep on showing up for this Super Bowl party! This one pours a rusty tawn topped by over a finger of cream foam. The nose comprises ruby red grapefruit zest, yellow grapefruit peel, orange zest, strong pine resin, light leek, and buttery toffee (think Crunch 'n' Munch). The taste brings in more of the same, though the pine, leek, and citrus peels come through stronger, taking things in an ever-so-slightly bitterer direction. Things are still very well-balanced, though. The body is a lithe medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a slightly creamy feel. Overall, a damn fine, nicely-balanced DIPA. Good times. (Note: We tried this both in the glass and straight out of the can. There was no consensus, as about half preferred the can and half preferred the glass. I was in the latter, though it wasn't a strong preference by any means.)

Photo of chilly460
4.3/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a straw yellow, very hazy, with a foamy two finger white head. Speckled lacing clings nicely.

S - Smells like concentrated hops, very pungent. Got quite a bit of clean smelling pine, with a unique citrus edge to it. Couldn't put my finger on it, but goes beyond normal orange/grapefruit. No real malt could be picked up in the aroma.

T - Grapefruit hits immediately, nice full ripe taste. Quite bitter, definite clean pine tones in there too for sure. Flavor hits hard in this beer. Malts are there, very dry biscuit.

M - Typical for the style, medium body with midrange carbonation.

O - Really enjoyed this one, just bursts with flavor.

Photo of AaronDio
4.3/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of beergod1
4.3/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Yet another brew I had, but for some reason didn't rate it right after I had it. Pours a hazy amber color with a big white head and nice lacing. Aroma is citrus, grapefruit hops. Medium body with average carbonation. Excellent citrus hop flavor with a nice malt balance and a nice bitter hop finish. Taste is similar to some west coast DIPAs. Which is not a bad thing! This is Delicious.

Photo of dank203
4.3/5  rDev -9.1%

Really enjoyed this but I do think it is slightly overrated. The initial burst of hop flavor is something I will always remember. But the thrill only seemed to last halfway through the can, or my palate just got used to it. Its an aggressive beer for sure and really well crafted.

Photo of Steasy66
4.3/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drinking from the can because the can said so. Poured 25cl into a Boulevard tulip so I can judge the appearance and try it from a glass.

A- Wheaty yellow, lots of floating particles, 1 finger thick white head.
S- Very floral, sweet, a bit earthy.
T- Dank hops, somewhat floral, citrus, bitter but ballanced by a light sweetness.
M- Right consistency, a bit lumpy, could use a bit more carbonation.
O- Looks like homebrew gone bad, but smells and tastes amazing. Only thing I would really change is to up the carbonation just a bit.

Photo of brydeen
4.3/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a rich orange color, with a nice inch thick white head. Tons of sediment floating in the glass. Gives the appearance that they're suspended in a jello mold. Not the most appetizing start.

S: A tropical paradise. Loads of mango and pineapple right off the bat, with a faint piney aroma in the background. Very sweet smell.

T: A nice bitter hop bite on the initial sip. Nice juicy sweetness follows, with mango being the most noticeable fruit flavor. Really nice balance between the sweetness and bitterness.

M: Rich, creamy, full bodied DIPA. Carbonation is very subtle. Much thicker than you'd expect. Almost chewy. Alcohol is noticeable, but not overpowering.

O: Extremely tasty, flavorful brew. Doesn't jump out as the "best beer in the world" to me however, as the ratings show. Very good, but visually unappealing, and heavier than I'd prefer, but that's just nitpicking

Photo of PsilohsaiBiN
4.3/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can from unknown production date:

Smell: Strong smell of orange and some pineapple. Stronger smell than most brews.

Appearance: I started drinking this out of the can as recommended, but couldn't help myself and finally poured it in my trusty beer glass. There is a ton of shit floating around in this beer! Damn! A nice two finger head with shaving cream thick foaminess is prominent. The head thins as you drink the beer, but this is more than made up for by the awesome lacing that lines the glass till the beer is gone.

Mouthfeel: Somewhat chewy with a bit of weight to it, yet this is a good thing for me as I will drink a lot of any beer, be it light or heavy, long as it tastes good.

Taste: I honestly must say, this is unlike any IPA I've ever had. It has this unique, sweet thing going on in the beginning that I can't quite put my finger on(combo of grapefruit, orange and apple?) and then balances itself out in the end, with a slightly bitter finish that is expected of an IPA.

Overall: Definitely a unique IPA. The beginning of this thing's taste is what sets it apart from the rest for me. It starts off with that unique flavor, then finishes with it gently, and fades out nicely. Give credit to The Alchemist for producing a unique brew that leans toward the heavy side but is definitely drinkable. Good stuff.

Photo of Lillie1128
4.3/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasted on 7/18

A - Pours a cloudy amber with a big white fluffy head and some ridiculous lacing

S - Yeast, hops, a little citrus

T - Orange notes, BIG hop bite that actually isn't overwhelming

M - medium, lightly carbonated

D - medium

This beer is very complex, but surprisingly light and refreshing for its hoppiness

Photo of Seabass1964
4.3/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of Maxwell
4.31/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: The beer pours a yellowed brown, like cloudy dehydrated piss. With a thick bubbly eggshell white head with good retention. Lacing is light and droopy, only lasting for a short while above the head.

Smell: Smell is super strong in piney hops with a slight citrusy tinge. A mellower light malty tinge seems to hide itself in the edges of the smell, but for the most part the smell is dominated with floral hops.

Taste: Super bitter with hops, this beer is achingly crisp on the tongue with just an overwhelming sense of bitter from start to finish. Slight citrusy notes can still be felt if you swish the beer around in the mouth, but overall it is just an overwhelming pine based bitter. I also took a couple pulls from the can, since that is what the can demanded, and was surprised to find more fruity notes being accentuated by the can. While still crisp and bitter I detect better note of citrusy flavor. Overall this beer is very heavy in its hops.

Mouthfeel: My initial sip from the cup was harshly bitter on the tongue. The beer is quite watery and smooth on the mouth. It definitely fizzles with bitterness as is peaks over the back of your tongue. The beer is less harsh when drank from the can, with the fruitier notes causing nice freshness on the tongue.

Overall: Great IPA. Fantastic floral hopping with a great hop-filled taste. This is a beer I would have again. The 8% alcohol content, and high drinkability also make this beer phenomenal.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 10,159 ratings.