Heady Topper - The Alchemist

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Heady TopperHeady Topper

Educational use only; do not reuse.

10,761 Ratings

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Ratings: 10,761
Reviews: 2,149
rAvg: 4.73
pDev: 6.98%
Wants: 8,013
Gots: 3,327 | 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 Dynobolt
4.81/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Amazing drink! Tried it with my brother in San Diego. He was able to get from a coworker that has family in Vermont. Definitely lived up to the hype.

Now the second time around.. It's 5-29-15, my brother cracks a can open, I'm nervous, still a great beer but something was missing, not Gina put to much into it, I still believe it's world class, but I have now a whole bunch more west coast ipas and dipas under my belt and they are definitely right there with heady. I rescored this drink cause I'm a little more critical with more experience. Still a top 3 I'm my book.

Photo of Speckerman
4.81/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This beer is quite easy to get in Vermont with some planning and patience. This would fall within my top three DIPA's I have tasted. Has a great smell, color and taste and awesome finish. Not so sure about drinking it out of the can! I just prefer a snifter style glass versus the can. Only thing better than this beer is Patriots winning the Super Bowl!

Photo of ericdavidmorris
4.81/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - More yellow-gold than other DIPAs. Not too much of a head. Nice lacing.

S - Citrus hops smell

T - Very balanced between malts and bittery hops with lovely body.

F - Smooth with a slight tingle of carbonation, good body. Smooth.

O - Yup, world class. Will need to try a fresher batch! Absurdly drinkable.

Photo of BarrelAgedG
4.81/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I was lucky enough to try my first Heady thanks to a very generous fellow BA(mojosly!!)

A: not sure because I "drank it out of the can!" Like it says to do but I gotta believe it looks like all great DIPA's do.. Hazy orangish with a cream head and a good amount of lacing?

S: smells of citrus.. I got alot of lemon and even a little flower bouquet.. Not much pine which was a bit surprising

T: citrus.. Less lemon than the smell.. More sweet.. Zero pine and no bitter after taste.. Devine!

M: medium

O: very very good.. Is it better than other amazing DIPAs that I've had? Maybe? Either way it is damn good and I am stoked to get some more and try it out of a glass to see if it changes anything for me.. Thanks again for the hookup Nat!

Photo of HopStoopid120
4.81/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Review from notes. Consumed on 12/12/10.

Pours a very surprisingly dull, murky, tan leathery, apricot/peach golden color. This is quite different than I remember it on tap. In the past it was the clarity of this beer that had me so impressed before I even brought it to my nose. Two fingers of bright white creamy head sit atop this monster. The lace starts to appear as the head dissipates, sparatic rocky all over my tulip. Thin streams of bubble trickle to the top, showing its moderate carbonation.

Hops, hops, hops. Tons of fruit, mainly grapefruit. This beer is DANK. Somehow it actually smells sticky. Hint of malt sweetness is buried in there. Maybe slightly herbal. I'm impressed.

Follows the nose. Great hop bitterness and crazy fruitiness. The bitterness lingers after every sip. There is a sweetness the starts to show as it warms, almost caramel like.

Medium to full bodied. A slight prickle on te tounge. Light carbonation, but just enough to keep you drinking.

This brew is amazing. I could drink it all day everyday. The only real draw back to this was the color, it just wasn't what I remembered from it on tap. Still amazing though. Glad I was able to drink and share several of these bottles last winter. Now I'm just waiting for those cans... Now that's a game changer. Damn.

Photo of embass
4.81/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Followed the instructions given…drank from the can and recycled.

A: I will update the appearance upon my next review (edit of). I plan on pouring my next one in a glass.

S: Had a very strong hoppy, citrusy, tropical-fruity smell up front. Also got some sweet(ness) notes intermingled in there as well.

T: Starts with citrus, moves to sweetness, then a light bitterness which gives way to more of a mild-to-medium level of bitterness. Left a nice balance of piney sweetness in mouth (aftertaste).

M: Had a light-to-medium body and a low level of carbonation.

O: Fantastically balanced. Not sure that I have tasted the level of complexity that this one offers between the smell and taste (from initial to aftertaste).

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.81/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to DarthKostrizer for sharing this one at the post Bruery Reserve Society party bottle share!

Canned 2/2/12.

Pours a murky honey yellow with a white head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is fantastic with citrus zest, citrus fruit, and tropical fruit aromas. Taste is the same with citrus fruit, citrus zest, and tropical fruit up front with a malt finish. There is a mild bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an exceptional DIPA with some amazing aromas and flavors.

Photo of hopsolutely
4.81/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Canned only 3 days ago (!), this was an incredibly generous trade surprise from mtomlins and a beer I've been hoping to try for ages. It is just plain stunning and actually lives up to my (unduly high) expectations...

Pours a hazy golden orange colour with a respectable white head that has good retention. As the instructions are clearly not to pour it all, am rating appearance mostly on that very attractive can. The aroma is a brilliant blend of my favourite hop-forward elements; resiny pine and citrus with an initial alcohol burn that dissipates dangerously quickly.

The taste is the epitome of its style and I believe it to be the first "5" I can remember giving?! This may well be the ultimate DIPA. A hop-centric ride from start to finish that is strangely well balanced, despite being so hop-forward. The malt backbone respectfully supports the hop lover's ride and that finish is one to savour. It has a delightful blend of bitterness and citrus that lingers...

It's been often discussed, but we may now be well enough motivated to make that pilgrimage trek to Vermont!!

Photo of Ry_Swell_Guy
4.81/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

You simply cannot beat this beer. It looks very cool in the silver can, it tastes amazing, hoppy with low bitterness, it smells gloriously fresh and somewhat citrusy. Smooth. One of the best IPA's I've ever had. It's quite delicious. At first I thought it was over ratted by the time I finished my can, I was converted.

Photo of Tmyhre802
4.81/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Am very lucky to have a steady supply due to my proximity to Waterbury. Due to that I am always looking forward to cracking the next heady that brings that delicious hoppy not to citrusy ipa smell to your nostrils. The taste is the most memorable i've ever had with the perfect bite to accompany it's 8% abv, making it impossible to not savor the last taste. Believe the hype.

Photo of jsearley3364
4.81/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I was hoping to find the Holy Grail of beers but it wasn't quite there. Doing as they say and drinking it from the can, you can't really gauge the appearance. Quite smooth and complex but I find Stone's Enjoy By a bit better to my taste. Heading to San Fran in the summer. Hoping that Pliny the Elder can match the hype.

Photo of drrone
4.81/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a tulip, no I didn't leave it in the can.

A - A beautiful golden copper hue. It liberated a 2 finger width white head, that slowed disappated and left a sparse crown of lace. Plenty of protein floating that eventually settled at the bottom of the glass.

S - A great hop blast, with citrus and pine. I just keep wanting to smell it. Awesome.

T - Damn, the hoppiness that you expect, but very well balanced. Bitter, but not overly so. Fantastic hop dose with a tasty citrus component to it.

M- Smooth, light/medium bodied. Finishes crisp and delicious.

O - Man, what a beer. I love my D/IIPA's and this is the best I've had. It certainly had a lot of floaties, but that didn't bother me, but I can see how it might be off putting to people. I got this in a trade and I'm glad that I have 2 left, but I would love to taste this on tap. Amazing beer, one you must try. I can see why it is numero uno.

Photo of Fux
4.81/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Drinking this beauty on a lazy Saturday afternoon and figured I should have reviewed this a long time ago.
Review is mainly based on a 2 weeks old can, but with comments from other tastings I had before.
First, I think it's useful to have the debate on the best way to appreciate Heady Topper. It took me half a dozen cans to figure out the "drink from the can / review from a glass" thing, but now, it turned as a well-oiled ritual. Flavors and aromas on Heady Topper are really volatile (more than on any other hoppy beer I have had so far), yet, the nose is so great it would be a pity to drink it from the can. So what I do is pouring it in my de Heeren van Liedekercke glass (which is a small, not too wide wine glass, more or less a white wine glass) 2oz. by 2oz., it enables me to enjoy the nose but have the beer rest in the glass with not too much contact with the air. I'm very proud of this technique, it makes me consider myself a professional Heady Topper drinker :-/ And now, let's review it:
A: Everything has been said of how bad-looking this beer is, hazy as hell with lots of sediments floating around (it will be hazy however you pour it, but a gentle pour can avoid the sediments to come to the glass), yet I really love the look of it. Hazy straw / orange in color, with a foamy white head, quite lingering, this looks very juicy, like a fresh pressed grapefruit.
S: This is the best part of it, fruity, juicy, with a resinous scent, very complex and appealing with aromas of mangos, peaches, oranges, passionfruits, grapefruits and pineapples.
T: Taste is very fruity also. If drunk very fresh, one can taste the fresh hops, grassy and floral aromas, which do mellow after a week or so and leave fruity waves of hoppy, fruity goodness flooding from the front end of the tongue to the back end of the throat, with a lingering, resinous aftertaste and a bittersweet dryness on the finish (which also mellows with time). No heavy sweetness, no over-malting defect, no alcohol is to be felt. I could drink 5 liters of this on a single night.
M: Mouthfeel is smooth with a high carbonation and a dangerous dryness on the finish, calling for the next mouthful.
O: Contrary to many DIPAs, Heady Topper is not so focused on hops, but has a real yeasty liveness, light on the malt side but very well balanced, not at all as bitter as expected from the IBU, but still very smooth and fruity. It evolves gracefully (probably at it peaks after one month, but it can be enjoyed even one year after canning, regarding my own experience, being really focused on the yeast quality). One of the best DIPAs I have been able to try, and one I really love revisiting on a regular basis.

Photo of Zrings
4.81/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What is most striking to me about Heady Topper is the smooth, creamy mouthfeel. The hop aroma and flavor are fresh, bright and juicy. The bitterness is about perfect. But to me it's that mouthfeel that is most distinctive. Well, that and the large amount of beautiful yeast sediment that you can culture from any can.

Photo of Jmc181
4.81/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Mouthfuls of fluffy hoppiness. Super smooth and delicious. It's more hoppy than words can describe, and yet, not too much so. Worth drinking every chance you can get your hands on it.

Photo of bendearth
4.81/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A true double IPA. Hard to get unless you wait in line for around an hour or better during the week. Smooth from start to finish and be sure to listen to the can and drink from it

Photo of beermemyfriend
4.81/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Heavenly. The stuff you dream about. Like anything else in VT, very, very fresh. I had it at Prohibition Pig in Waterbury on tap. Haven't stopped thinking about it since. I'll be with everyone else, on the road to VT just to get some as it's only available there. It's that good.

Photo of KMcG
4.82/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After I had a few sips from the can, as suggested by the brewery, I poured it into a tulip glass to have a look.   I'm glad I did! It's an attractive one!  A nice finger of head develops and the color is that of dried apricot fruit. There is a small amount of sediment floating about, but not much and it doesn't detract.  The head dissipates to nearly nothing, but some ultra fine lace remains that sticks to the glass with every sip. 

Big citrus and piney hop aromas. Tangerine!

For such potent nose the taste is quite well balanced for a DIPA.  It follows the nose to some extent with grapefruit citrus, but a hint of slightly sweeter fruit as well.  The malty backbone is there, subtle, but clearly balancing.  The finish is prickly bitterness although not overwhelming.  After it warms, every taste brings something new, oranges, lemon, honey suckle, peach...very interesting and complex!

For 8% ABV this one is quite drinkable.  The body is medium and the carbonation mild but a nicely done complement to the hoppiness. 

Thanks to Dr. B for sending this one.  What a treat!

Photo of jimmy82063
4.82/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass for appearance...the rest of the review is from the can as the brewer intended.

A) Hazy orange with a very nice fluffy head that dissipates pretty quickly.

S) From the can pineapple galore. One of the most aromatic beers that I have tried.

T) Pineapple, Lemon Zest, Grapefruit dominate. The malt is there to balance off a clean finish. This is a delight.

M) Smooth, not overly carbonated.

O) This beer is outrageous...would like to spend a lifetime of deciding which I liked better...this or PTE.

Photo of nc41
4.82/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to satchboogie on shipping this one in a trade. Phenomenal nose, as good as Pliny or Hopslam. I really would say for my taste these 3 would b interchangeable as far as which one I like best. Number ratings don't tell how even they are. I drank from a glass on the first one can the next two. Looks great as fresh world class DIPA should, nice foam and you can get lost with your nose in the glass. Citrus, and lost of it, smooth hops, and a lot of that too, On my 1st can I was thinking of Pliny in a way to compare, but after having a few over the last few days I'm changing that up a bit. It comes on first sip like Pliny, then somewhere along the line the overwhelming hops kicks in and it's more similar to Alpines Pure Hoppiness. Nicely bitter, but not crushingly so, balanced as hell. Just a tremendous brew, surely equal to anything brewed anywhere that's a DIPA. It this was easily available I'd be 300 lbs.

Photo of gopens44
4.82/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I don't think I have rated anything as high as this one. I honestly looked for defects in this as to not let the legacy of the beer sway my review and suck all objectivity out but damn, it really is worth every penny of hype it receives. What I look for in an IPA is balance. Typically when I get into DIPAs, I tend to relax my search for balance as it is typically replaced by too much sweetness or a touch too much heat (and that's in the best DIPAs I've had) The reason I believe that Heady deserves the critical acclaim is that it has re-written the rules so to speak, for me in approaching the DIPA. Yes, it CAN be well balanced and brilliant within the style. This one opens up with a great nose full of citrus AND pine somehow, without overwhelming on either. Taste follows identically until the sweetness in perfect harmony with the perfectly balanced malt backbone join in and combine every sensation together for one, again, very well balanced taste that finished with just a tiny touch of heat that reminds you that it is a DIPA. Full bodied, well balanced, pretty much every superlative that you can find in describing a great experience in drinking a beer belong here.

Photo of donkeyrunner
4.82/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A christmas present from duffextra cold.

I'm not a fan of the unfiltered IPA look but that said, this is a fine lookin' beer. Golden amber color with some floaties swirling about in the haze. Dense head never really diminishes and rides down the glass depositing layer upon layer of foamy rings like my glass is wearing a rugby shirt. As always, bonus points for cans. Super extra bonus points for a tallboy.

Aroma is every wonderful C hop aroma smushed into one glorious beer. Like motorboating a bag of hops. Grapefruit! Pine! Passion fruit! Grass! Yowza! Gadzooks! Spongecake malt underneath. So, so fresh.

Tastes like grapefruit soaked spongecake. Creamy unfiltered mouthfeel is also prickly with hop resin. Chewy.

So hoppy I tried filling my empty glass with water to make a small beer. It didn't work.

I honestly can't think of a way to make this beer much better. I guess filtering out the floaties wouldn't hurt. And at 8% it's a lot for my sensitive self. But I'm being really, really picky and a DIPA is what it is. Hope the brewpub is up and running again soon.

Photo of TheHoppiest
4.82/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was a trade from Cheezy Blaster, where he shared the best New England has to offer, and I sent along some of Northeast Ohio's best brews. This beer was among the batch, all of which came through unharmed and ready to drink!

This comes in a 16 oz silver can featuring a professorial-looking dude sippin a brew with a cloud of hops lingering around his head. The labelling exhorts you to "Drink from the Can!" I, however, wanted to see what I was drinking, so I poured this into a tulip glass.

Pours a hazy mango-orange color, with a decent amount of sediment suspension floating throughout. A sticky three finger off-white head presents upon pouring, and it ever-so-slowly reduces leaving a fair amount of sticky foam down the sides.

Has an intense, floral aroma, with tons of citrus, white grapefruit, pine boughs, mandarin oranges, and nectarines. While there is evident malt from the appearance, you wouldn't know it to smell it.

Taste is simply epic. The malt, while hidden in the nose, is evident in the taste, giving this brew a solid malt backbone. Bitter and hoppy up-front, with grapefruit pith, resin, and oaky herbal tastes combining to form a hopsplosion of flavor. Though strong, the flavor is not overpowering, and it is amazing what little aftertaste is left behind.

This ale leaves the toungue and gums tingling. It is my understanding that at a certain point, beers with a high IBU begin to express that extreme bitterness with the onset of tingling and numbness; this ale is getting me to that point!

Overall, just a fantastic beer. Piney and hoppy with plenty of up-front bitterness, without the lingering dryness you'll get from a west-coast style DIPA. Moreover, while there's an evident abundance of malt, it is not so sweet as to completely kill the spiciness of the hops. What a well balanced brew from The Alchemist!

Photo of dickieb
4.82/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I first poured a few OZ off to get a look then drank the rest from the can. Pours a hazy amber/straw in color with a pretty standard white head and pretty good lacing, points for the cool can as well. The smell fills the room even from the can resiny, piney, and citrus hops with tropical notes, pretty much any hop smell you can think of rolled into one. Taste of pure hop juice for me, not overly bitter but the can describes it best "wave after wave of hop goodness", there are also some malts in there if you try really hard to notice them. The mouthfeel is not all that heavy, the 8% abv is not noticeable at all and if you have access to this one it can be drank can after can. This can was exactly 1 week old.

Photo of GregJ
4.82/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a hazy honey orange with 2 finger white head. Smells floral, orange/grapefruit. Tastes of sweet orange blossom,grapefruit, sweet malt and pine. Silky medium/full body with medium carbonation. Leaves a great hop resin in mouth and lips and back of throat. Incredible beer.

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