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Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

Heady Topper - The Alchemist

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Heady TopperHeady Topper

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,987 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,987
Hads: 11,147
rAvg: 4.67
pDev: 7.28%
Wants: 8,227
Gots: 3,646 | FT: 56
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
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,987 | Hads: 11,147
Photo of woosterbill
4.83/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

16oz can, consumed therefrom.

A: Beautiful can. Great contrast between the brushed aluminum and the black design. Funny text, too. Perfect appearance.

S: The can doesn't quite amplify the aroma like a tulip would, but what scent wafts through the widemouth is pure hops candy. Tropical fruit, citrus, pine, and angel deodorant.

T: Hoppy heaven, plain and simple. Fresh, juicy, intense, delicious, complexly flavorful hops. Fruit, flowers, resin, and a clean finish. Truly delicious in every way.

M: Smooth, velvety carbonation fills out the clean, medium body. Lovely.

O: What a beer. While not quite as perfect an experience as it was on tap (HT was my first perfect 5 review), this can was still one of the greatest hop celebrations my mouth has ever known. If I lived closer to the cannery, I might not drink anything else. This beer is the real deal.

Cheers! (868 characters)

Photo of bobhits
4.83/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

So lucky to have gotten a 4 pack of this...so selfish that I've only got 1 can for sharing purposes left.

L. Pours a dense hazed yet bright yellow/gold body. Very bright even for an IPA yet there's clearly a LOT of yeast left in here. This looks big and dense, it looks wonderful. Though I guess I should be looking at a silver can according to said can.

S. Tropical fruits are just blowing this one up. There's a slight and I mean slight alcohol note in here, but beyond that this is one of the smell well balanced aromas I've ever smelled. It hits the line between sweet and tropical fruits in a way that neither seems too strong nor too light. You really have to experience this to fully grasp how perfect it is.

T. Best hoppy beer ever made? Well, that's always a hard one to claim, but we're talking upper upper level. Head-topper doesn't attempt to blow you away with bitterness, instead it nails once again a perfect middle ground that is simply out of this world. A mix of citrus hops with intense passion fruit and pine apple all pushed to perfection with a malt bill that dreams are made of.

M. 8% is so perfect for this kind of beer. Strong enough to give it intense flavors, but no so strong that an over abundance of hops and malt are needed to balance it all out. This one goes down like the liquid candy it is.

O. I love deadnaught. I love Pliny. I don't think either are this good. This is easily one of the best beers ever made and without a doubt proof canned beer works. Seek this one out, even if a weird guy at a bar asks you go behind the bar for a surprise....maybe it'll be Heady-Topper, it was for me! (1,634 characters)

Photo of Maxwell5
4.83/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Amazing east coast IPA. Perfectly balanced beer with piney, citrusy notes and strong hop profile. Really smooth despite the bitterness. Great beer...perfect opposite to Pliny -- a premier east coast IPA opposite of Pliny being the premier west coast IPA. (256 characters)

Photo of B33R501
4.83/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

finally. a beer that lives up to the hype.

drank the first out of the can as suggested, the second, dumped the bottom half into my tulip. love the unfiltered look. thick, hazy, yellow gold, beautiful. thick, fresh, hop aromas all over, tropical and fruity, very pungent. those 2 cans smelled great long after the beer was gone. tastes like it smells, wave after wave of huge hoppy flavor, tropical, citrus, even a little pine. there must be malt in this beer, and its probably perfect, i dont detect any but this is perfectly balanced. fantastic mouthfeel, one of the most drinkable beers ive had, and would make the perfect by the pool beer.

what else to say? definite candidate for if you could drink one beer, and one beer only. (734 characters)

Photo of joberlander
4.83/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Not a big IPA fan in general but a friend happened to bring some to a party. Very citrusy aroma. For taste the bitterness was not overpowering which I expected (not being an experienced IPA DIPA drinker) . I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed the pine and citrus together. I will begin to try more IPAs because of this but from the few I've had, this is easily the best tasting and most enjoyable. (410 characters)

Photo of Zbyler
4.84/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Got to try this for the first time last night at an Allagash tasting event at Decicco's in Brewster.

A- Considering I drank it right from the can (as it so boldly suggests right on the rim) I cannot comment on the appearance. The can is large and silver with a quirky drawing of a mad scientist on the front. It also says "Don't be a D-bag, recycle this can" on the back which I found amusing.

S- Great nose on this beer. Huge citrus hop aroma, grapefruit, orange, pineapple, mango, pine, all mixed together for a lovely bouquet of smells.

T- WOW. Even better than the smell leads on! Fantastic resinous hop flavors, citrus notes, lots of tart grapefruit and pineapple in there as well. Moderately bitter finish, extremely refreshing as well.

M- Amazing mouthfeel on this beer. Moderately carbonated, thick, resinous, oily feel on the tongue.

O- I have had many of the top 250 beers in the recent months and in most cases they did not live up to the hype. This is not one of those cases. Amazing from when you first pop the top to when you take your last sip. Absolutely outstanding beer and it deserves its #1 rating hands down. I had one when I first got to the tasting and then went beer shopping and had to stop and have another on the way out because it makes you crave its deliciousness. Easily my favorite beer that I have had to date. (1,352 characters)

Photo of BergBeer
4.84/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I drank it in the can like everyone advised me too! Sent to me through a trade!

A: As I said before I drank it out of the can because I was too afraid I would some how not get the full heady experience out of a glass! So no appearance review from me!

S: Smell pops out of the can and makes the immediate area smell of pineapples, white peaches, tangerine, lemon, slight honey, and pine! Smells dank and clings to the nostrils!

T: First you get sweet white peach and nectarine that trails to green apple slice with honey on it. Then pineapples which melds into a piney citrus finish that lingers on the tongue! Taste amazing!

M: Medium body with good carbonation! Cloying and thick at first when it hits the tongue but thins out to a beautiful medium body that goes down extra smooth

O: Amazing brew! It really seems like other great DIPAs have just a piece of this ones overall complex puzzle. The fruity citrus of Sculpin, the smooth balance of Pliney, and the drink ability of Dorado are represented here and just as well as its counterparts! Top of it's class and damn near perfect! (1,090 characters)

Photo of ItsMe
4.84/5  rDev +3.6%

Ok there really isn't much I can add the the rep of this beer but rather than just ticking for the sake of ticking, I'll leave a comment.

Super fresh can from the brewery thanks to a fellow BA.

Cracking the can open I'm hit with tropical hop aromas and grass with the fury of a thousand suns. Immediately I'm transported to the moment I had my first whiff of a hoppy beer. Wow. So juicy. Immediately I know this is a treat.

Then came my first hurdle...to pour or not to pour? The answer was simple: do both. With a few size able gulps thrown into the trusty Kane Teku, I could see this beer is unapologetically hazy.

The taste is basically everything you want a DIPA. Very tangible flavors of pineapple, clementines, and mango hit you like a right hand from Iron Mike all the while a very pleasing bitterness lingers long after the finish.

With each taste, you get hit with waves of flavor, as if a war is being waged between tropical fruity hops and the piney/grassy hops. Both vying for your attention.

medium chewy body with no alcohol to be seemingly present. Absurdly drinkable.

Over this was an experience very much akin to that feeling a kid has getting an xbox on Christmas.

Truly a benchmark beer for me. (1,230 characters)

Photo of FiveByFive
4.84/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

What's not to love about this beer? There are no compromises and makes no apologies.
I've had it in a tulip glass to try and accentuate the hops, and took the Kimmich recommendation and drank from the can. Both are great, but prefers a straight from the can approach. And here's why:

In the glass, very orange and murky. Light and pronounced head.
In the can - nothing but a fantastic and constant hop-slam in your face.

In the glass, hop presence remains, and as the beer warms, the various hop aromas come into play.
In the can - hop complexity - this baby will keep you guessing with each sip.

Mouthfeel - for a DIPA, it is deceiving - fruity, smooth, not overly bitter - quite accessible.

Is it the best DIPA ever? It's hard to give it a perfect score, because it means there's no opportunity for another to surpass it - but this is one of a few to emulate - sets the standard.

Last point - had one fresh, had one 'aged' in my fridge for several months, mostly because it was the last one and I was afraid to let it go. For best flavour and overall experience? Drink this baby fresh. It was meant to. (1,113 characters)

Photo of Kdana
4.84/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Absolutely love this beer. Just had it for the first time in Vermont. I'm used to Belgians for this high of alcohol contents. Absolutely love the flowery smell.

Bought a case and down to my last 4-pack. Actually, I'll sell you my last 4-pack! Just got it 2 weeks ago. (268 characters)

Photo of sukwonee
4.84/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks you Kyle for this... man I need more of this for the summer!

A: Light Orange color with one finger head, good amount of lacing. Lots of bubbles. Some stuff floating around. For a beer that the brewery recommends to drink out of the can, it looks decent.

S: Orange zest Lemon citrus grapefruit, pineapple - best smelling DIPA ever!

T: This has got to be my favorite DIPA, I have ever had. This beats Pliny (both Elder and Younger) and Dreadnaught. Perfectly balanced, yet still hoppy as hell, sweet but not overly sweet... I pick up pineapple, grapefruit, lemon, orange, little bit of pine. Hoppy bitterness is there, but not predominent - just kicks it slighly at the end. Taste doesn't linger as long as Pliny, but it's amazing.

M: Compared to other DIPAs, this one is very refreshing. Lighter in body, higher in carbonation. I liked it - I thought it matched (or added) to the experience.

O: This is the DIPA to beat at the moment for me. (955 characters)

Photo of gcamparone
4.84/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 16 oz can into an oversized wine glass. Thank you Surge1311 for hooking me up with this in a trade.

I know the can says to drink straight from the can, but I feel that I'd be missing some key aspects of the review process (aroma, appearance, lacing, head). I don't see any bottled on date. Allowed it to warm as I sip for the full experience.

A- Pours a honey colored hazy body with a thick, bubbly off-white head with high retention. The head reduces to an uneven chunky cloud of foam.

S- Extremely inviting. Fresh baked bread, fresh citrus, clementine, grapefruit, tropical fruits, pine, resin, slight booze in the background.

T- So drinkable and sip demanding that I'm having a hard time putting it down to write this review! Grapefruit, mango, citrus, passion fruit on the start, transcending into subtle but tasty pine and resin notes. Creamy, smooth finish that I just can't find in any other DIPA on the planet, which is why this one gets a 5/5 for taste. Sweet and raw, but in a good way.

M- Medium-light body, medium carbonation. Leaves a sticky hop bitterness on the tongue.

I'm happy to say that this beer did indeed live up the the hype that surrounds it! It's huge tropical, fruity character and smooth creamy finish is in my opinion what gives it the edge over it's competitors. Hopefully Alchemist will expand it's production line so more people can experience the deliciousness of Heady Topper! (1,434 characters)

Photo of trojanshawn
4.84/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I've been lucky enough to grab a can of Heady Topper through a friend who did a trade for it, otherwise I wouldn't have had the sheer pleasure of tasting this beauty. Living near the "Hop Highway", I'm used to good IPAs near me. Put this one up there with Pliny and Enjoy By, which are the best IPAs that I can easily get. (322 characters)

Photo of Brianedonovan
4.84/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Headed up to Stowe VT next week and plan on buying plenty!
I love this beer....this is the beer that got me on this website and started me homebrewing!

The descriptions I have read in the reviews have actually helped me "taste" this beer and appreciate it more. Grapefruit....Mango...Pine...yeah, I get it now. Thank you!

Being unpasteurized is a bit of a downer since I am 5 hours away but I will make it happen!

I drank from the can as advertized and from a glass. I like the glass better, it has such a cool translucent amber color. (538 characters)

Photo of Neekz_Brewz
4.84/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I had this the first time I thought it wasn't impressive. I had it the next time side by side with pliny and I was blown away.Great beer with such a smooth taste and finish. Tons of fruit on the tongue and the finish was silky smooth.For a DIPA this is very drinkable. Can't wait to get some more. (299 characters)

Photo of justforrazors
4.84/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Fairly fresh, received in a trade. Should be less than 2 weeks old. I poured a little bit into a taster just to see appearance, the rest of the review will be from the can, as the brewer intended.

A- Pours a cloudy orange with a half inch white head. Very good retention and lacing. Clarity is downright ugly, although I personally prefer the rustic look for a good double IPA. There is no denying this thing was dry hopped to heaven and back.

S- Grapefruit, citrus, pineapple, some malt. Huge hop aroma that has some floral grassyness, but mainly a full frontal assault of pine resin mixed with grapefruit, pineapple and peach.

T- I missed this beer. Follows the nose very well. Tropical fruits mix with a strong bitterness that overtakes the malt, although not so much that it is overwhelming. In my opinion, the best tasting DIPA out there.

M- Carbonation is spot on, body is a medium with a fairly dry finish. No lingering sweetness, although certainly a ton of lingering bitterness.

O- I am admittedly a huge Heady Topper fanboy. Honestly, I am kind of surprised it has taken me this long to actually review this. Definitely not the best looking beer from the classic definition of how a beer should appear, but I think the cloudy, almost dirty look shows you that they care most about the flavor and aroma of the beer, sacrificing looks for the characteristics they like the most.

(Ok, maybe that sounds like something you say about a really ugly girl.)

Either way, this is a world class example that I hope the alchemist can continue to produce at this level for a long time. (1,595 characters)

Photo of mttaylor
4.84/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a glass:

This beer changes greatly when poured from the can into a glass.

In the glass, the beer has a slightly subdued citrus nose that's hard to place. Pineapple, some say. Grass, others say. Orange rind and crushed orange fruit is what I say.

On the palate it is a heavier beer than other DIPAs... an indication of its quality yeast, IMHO. It has the backbone bitterness needed to balance the malt. Finishes a bit dry and without the fatigueing bite of many DIPAs. You can have two cans of this stuff pretty quickly.

From the can:

From the can the aroma is much fruitier, more orange fruit than orange peel. I was more likely to take constant sips when drinking from the can.

When I score more Heady Topper, it's going from the can to my tongue.

Good stuff, not life-changing, but very well made. (828 characters)

Photo of JohnParadee
4.84/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Finally made it to the Holy Grail. Gratefully, the experience took place in a true Mecca location...Prohibition Pig in Waterbury, Vermont -- appropriately, the very site of The Alchemist's original brewery (prior to Hurricane Irene). In any event, as my good friend Khalil Saliba and I saddled up to the bar here (on Tuesday night, 1/28/14) and nervously ordered the first Heady Topper of our lives, the excitement was noticeably palpable. Hell, I almost shit my pants when the lovely bartendress set the beautiful tulip glass down in front of me. Awesome 2-finger head, which dissipated very slowly. Beautiful, cloudy orange/amber color, with expected cloudiness. Tremendous sticky lacing throughout. The nose was an incredible citrus pine of grapefruit, with hints of orange/mango/tangerine, all of which was replicated on the palate. But perhaps the most remarkable aspect, and (I believe) the signature of the HT experience, was the stupendous balance between the citrusy hops and the chewy malts throughout, with no heat of alcohol evident whatsoever which, along with the lovely, full mouthfeel, makes this beer outrageously easy to drink.

All in all, an outer-body religious experience. If I could paint worth a damn, I'd cut my ear off for a cannot this Joe! (1,267 characters)

Photo of Jeffo
4.84/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Funny story about this beer. At BOREFTS a couple nights ago, an American gentlemen asked me what American brews I'd really love to try. After thinking for a few seconds, Heady Topper jumped straight into my head. Love me some big IPAs, and this was the most recent well-regarded example on the market. Not one hour later I meet tendermorsel at the festival and he pulls two cans for us out of his backpack! The Secret really does work. Thanks for sending these over GoGriz, and thanks for doing the dirty work tendermorsel.

From a 500ml can into a snifter

APPEARANCE: Pours a relatively small, one finger, medium looking, off-white head with good retention. Burnt orange in color, clear, with medium carbonation evident. Head fades to a wisp and ring, sticking to the sides of the glass. A splotchy wisp and ring remain leaving touches of lacing down the sides of the glass. Quite pretty.

SMELL: This is the shit. Big nose jumps out of the can and fills the room on the pour. Pale malts, caramel and honeydew melon, with some nice pineapple aromas. Citrus lemon and grapefruit all over the place as well. Bold, hoppy nose.

TASTE: Just great. Pale malts, pineapple, with some sweet caramel and honeydew melon up front. Very flavorful. Finishes with lots of hops; lemon citrus notes and loads of grapefruit at the swallow. Big, bold and persistent aftertaste of grapefruit and sweet, fruity melon, with a good dose of bitterness as well. Very well balanced and flavorful. Some biting hops linger nicely on the palate.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Creamy on the palate and quite oily slick as well. Goes down fine and finishes somewhat mouth-coating. Is definitely creamy and silky in the mouth, but needs to be a touch fuller for top marks.

OVERALL: This beer is excellent. This rivals Surly Abrasive, both of which beat out the competition for no.1 spot. Piles of wonderful hoppy aroma and flavor that isn’t dominated by that certain overarching bitterness that so many big IPAs suffer from. This is all flavor, and wonderful flavor at that. The can employs me to drink this beer immediately because they are always making more. Good times! This is a perpetual wants list beer, as it totally lives up to its reputation. Thanks heaps GoGriz and tendermorsel for bringing us a couple cans of this gem. Wholeheartedly recommended. (2,354 characters)

Photo of nandemo1
4.84/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I'm following the instructions on the can to bypass the glass. Appearance the last time I poured it was a light copper that was a little hazy. Head was decent despite low carbonation. By the way, I love this giant can, especially that they worked in the term "d-bag" on the back.

Smell and taste are both heavily sweet citrus, I feel like I'm drinking grapefruit juice the way my mouth puckers. There is some pineyness to it and a long lasting bitterness.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with lower than normal carbonation.

This is a very drinkable DIPA. One of the best (572 characters)

Photo of luckyluke1184
4.84/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

After receiving this in a generous pre-wedding gift-box of beers from a friend, I too neglected the bold warning to only drink this straight out of the can. I really wanted to see the beer I was drinking so I busted out a frosted mug for the occasion.

Appearance: A very pleasant golden-wheat color, not the alarming looking orange associated with some less subtle IPAs. As others have noted, there was quite a bit of particulate floating through the beer but I'm assuming that is part of its charm (and flavor).

Aroma: As much as a smell can be crisp, this was. Very up-front, fruity notes and you could sort of smell the bubbles over the top of the glass like you might with a fresh glass of champagne - speaks to the great carbonation of a can.

Taste: Oh man, oh man. After the first small sip I was really tempted to take a backyard PBR-sized gulp of this stuff - that crisp, pleasant hopped fruit taste was really the first wash of flavor and it had an excellent mouthfeel. I'll drink anything, but the IPAs that leave a bubblegum film aren't my thing; the Heady Topper does not have that. It's a clean flavor burst that then leaves you, as I said, ready for a nice big follow-up gulp. So many high-end beers aren't necessarily drinkable, this one is. In terms of other flavor notes, you could really pick out a dry, honey-ish malt flavor throughout and a not-quite lemon peel zestiness on the hop. It's quite possible I just made that up, but that's what comes to mind...

Great beer and, having grown up in VT, I can attest that Waterbury is a very worthy city (aka small village) of an IPA so great. Will look forward to a chance to sample again! (1,657 characters)

Photo of stephenipa
4.84/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Get my hands on this 1x a month. It's a blessing, this is one great beer, so smoothe and flavors just pop in your mouth. It deserves all of the acclaim, great beer. (164 characters)

Photo of clake
4.84/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

16oz can purchased on 7/20 and poured (yeah, yeah, yeah) into a Spiegelau glass. Pours a beautiful hazy, orange color with about a finger of head dissipating to a nice ring. Smell is citrusy grapefruit and the taste does not disappoint. Near perfect mouthfeel and finish. Definitely this hop lover's favorite DIPA. (317 characters)

Photo of donbet69
4.84/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

So I got to try the number 1 rated beer on beeradvocate.com

I found a can purely by accident at my local distributor. I decided to drink some of it out of a glass and some out of the can as suggested.

I could not find much difference either way.

The smell of HT is outstanding. Citrus rules this beer.

The color in the glass was beautiful.

I will remember the taste for a long time. By far the best I have drank, but I am relatively new to tasting great beers. (468 characters)

Photo of ChugginOil
4.84/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75


Pours a very light straw/orange color with a finger of white head. Sticky walls of lace.

The nose is full of dank, oily, hop resins. Pineapple, mango, apricot, guava. In-your-face with a V8 Splash of tropical fruits. The ABV comes in modestly with a big quaff.

Yes! Absolutely living up to the hype here! (completely ignore the review below. Must have been an old can). The cornucopia of fruits noticed in the nose explodes on the palate and really is more like a fruit juice. There is only a bit of sharpness towards the end of each sip which makes this one easy drinking.

The mouthfeel is crisp with medium carbonation. Clean and refreshing.

Overall, this was worth the wait and has all of the components I look for in a DIPA. Seek it! (753 characters)

Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 1,987 ratings.