Heady Topper - The Alchemist

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Heady TopperHeady Topper

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1,933 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,933
Hads: 10,907
rAvg: 4.66
pDev: 7.73%
Wants: 8,103
Gots: 3,412 | FT: 57
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 (11) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,933 | Hads: 10,907
Photo of luckyluke1184
4.84/5  rDev +3.9%
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 +3.9%
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 +3.9%
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 +3.9%
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 +3.9%
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)

Photo of jaltland
4.84/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This is a treat.

A- Poured from the can. I know, I know DRINK FROM THE CAN! I wanted to enjoy the visual. It's an amazing pour. Gorgeous top of white head about two fingers. The color is the portrait of an unfiltered IPA. I like it when I can't see through my beer. The color is a thick amber-orange. It looks like an orange is smothered in a thin layer of caramel. Goin hard on the imagery.

S- So complex. Hops roll with a grapefruit citrus aroma. There's a subtle light sweetness lingering in the lacing. Great aromas.

T- It hits in waves. Hops and citrus crash followed closely by the bitterness. This reoccurs several times. It's almost as if the flavors are undulating. Closes out with a very nice balance into a strong hop finish.

M- Exceptional. Great balance in the mouth. Medium mouthfeel and a nice healthy dose of carbonation that isn't too dry and actually leaves you refreshed.

Overall I think it's expected to say this beer is amazing but I can't just say that. My first experience with this beer really has me thinking that I could drink 5 or more of these at any time during the year. It's simply a great brew. The Alchemist really knows what they're doing. Cheers! (1,189 characters)

Photo of da_beers
4.84/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It just hit #1 on BA yesterday, and today he local shop sold out in two hours. Jmscowcroft was able to get a four-pack and set me up but when I went at lunch it was sold out.

A - Supposed to drink from the can, but poured a bit to see. Cloudy burnt orange color. Good head of a finger and a half. Can tell that it is unfiltered but looks great.
S - Smell is amazing. Really adds to the taste in a big way. Floral like a bouquet of smells and really hoppy. Also a piney fragrance towards the end. A little citrus at the very end.
T - This one tastes great. Obviously very hoppy but surprisingly smooth. Definitely a citrus taste, it seems bitter but ends so smooth. This beer is so evolving across the palate its hard to put a name on it.
M - It feels very smooth and buttery, but has a way to remind you it's their, it's very "sippable" however. The aftertaste doesn't dominate as some can, but you can taste it in your mouth in a good way.
D - Drinkability was its only downfall. As far as taste, it was great, but I personally didn't want to have multiples. Great for enjoying it smaller quantities. But overall very drinkable.
O - Overall a great beer. The way the smell and taste mingle is artistic. It confuses and makes sense all in one sip. It deserves the efforts to obtain it. (1,292 characters)

Photo of dasenebler
4.84/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

16oz. can, purchased at the brewery. No coding. Told by an employee that it was "probably" canned on 2/10/12. It's fresh, okay?!

Cloudy, glowing orange with some chum floating around. Small head, without much lacing or retention.

Aroma has it all. Hops in spades: pine resin, bright citrus, tropical fruit, melon, and a big floral note. Most IPAs have one or two hop qualities in the nose, but Heady Topper seems to have them all, I do reckon. Wow.

Flavor has some pale, malty heft to it, but not in terms of richness. The alcohol has to come from somewhere, right? This beer is a vehicle for hops, and they come through loud and clear in waves of drinkable goodness. Lots of sappy, resinous hop character. Fruity, but not as strong or citrusy as the aroma. Nevertheless this stuff is really, REALLY good. Mouthfeel seems a touch under-carbonated-- is this intended?

Great to drink some fresh, fantastically hoppy beer from New England. As the Bros. have preached all along, East Coasters know how to hop (even if they are emulating West Coasters). Prost! Slainte! Cheers! (1,077 characters)

Photo of shamrock071521
4.84/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

16oz can; half poured into a Samuel Smith pint glass, half drank from the can

Thanks to EricDu and SammyJaxxxx for sending this beer my way

A: Poured half the can into a pint glass. A very hazy, dark orange/burning yellow color. About a finger and a half of somewhat rocky white head persisted for a couple minutes before dissipating into a thin layer.

S: [from the can]: VERY pungent citrus and piney hop aromas.
[from the glass] : I can distinguish the different citrusy hop flavors more from the glass, but the piney, resiny aromas aren’t as pungent or ‘in your face’ compared to the can, and the piney aroma is kind of lost. Mango is the first flavor that jumps out to me, but it’s really a medley of citrusy flavors.

T: [from the can]: very resiny, piney hop flavors throughout, aftertaste is a refreshing bitterness.
[from the glass]: again, the resin, pine flavors are more muted compared to from the can, with the citrus flavors dominating. The biggest similarity between the glass and can is the aftertaste, which in both cases is a very big and enjoyable hop bitterness.

M: Medium carbonation, the resiny flavors stick to your mouth, but IMO in a very good way.. It’s more bitter and stays carbonated more in the can, while from the glass it flattens a bit more as you drink it. The alcohol is unnoticed,

O: An incredible beer. I can see why this is #1 on BA. As someone who prefers and mostly drinks IPAs, this is as close to the ‘perfect hop flavor' as I've ever had. Well played Vermont. (1,523 characters)

Photo of zunit6503
4.84/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Heard great things about this beer, so when i finally made my way to the brewery i bought an entire case to bring back home because they don't distribute in my area. anyhoo, it was one of the greatest beers I have ever had. What really got me was the aroma, i was practically drinking with my nose. I also love how it comes in a four pack of 16 ounce cans, not a 22 ounce bottle like most of those world class beers. I am definitely making another trip up for some more. The only thing I thought can be a bad thing or good thing i guess is you will have that delicious taste in your mouth for a while. So if you are having any other beer, it may taste like Heady Topper! (670 characters)

Photo of jshusc
4.84/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This beer lives up to the reputation. Had a successful trade that landed me 6 of these beauties and I'm now sans HT.

As instructed, I drank from the can, so I will not rate the appearance.

S: Nice bitter, citrusy nose. Plenty of hops in there, but I wouldn't describe it as particularly "piney." The citrus really comes through and makes the bitterness pleasant.

T: Perfect balance, a barrage of hoppy goodness that holds up over the entire 16oz. Grapefruit provides a tarty sweetness to compliment the hops. Delicious.

M: Low carbonation, medium to full body. Can really get the complexity by letting it sit on the tongue before swallowing.

Overall, this is a great, great brew. A lot of these beers get overhyped to the point of no return, but Heady stands up to the reviews. Alchemist does right by this beer, and I couldn't find a fault. (850 characters)

Photo of mynie
4.84/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Excellent in a manner I don't need to explicate, since everyone else has already done that. It's not, however, the beer beer I've ever had, nor even the best recent-vintage IPA. The hop profile is wonderfully vareigated and citrusy, but also gets a bit unpleasantly heavy in the back end. The malt is totally subordinate to the hops--as is customary for this new style of IPA--but in order for this to work the hop profile must balance itself perfectly. Heady's doesn't. It comes close, and the beer is still a joy, but it's not quite perfect.

In sum, very good. Excellent, probably. But Zombie Dust beats it. (610 characters)

Photo of dexterk1
4.85/5  rDev +4.1%

I can see why they only made this for a while. One of the best beers for sure. I had it on draft a couple times in VT and it lives up to the pretty much lives up to the hype. Hazy and orange in the glass. Odor of citrus, pine and tropical fruit. Taste follows odor with a great balance of hops throughout. Never over powering, well balanced. Ends nice and dry. Overall, an excellent ipa and an outstanding beer. (418 characters)

Photo of bison
4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this at a small pub in Stowe last summer on vacation. Didn't go looking for it, just fell in to my lap. Best I ever drank. Incredibly smooth. Rated the look only because its mandatory. This went right from the can to my mouth so I never really got a look at it. (265 characters)

Photo of naproxen
4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My new favorite DIPA, if not my new favorite beer overall right now! Extremely lucky to have been in VT while this was tapped. Enjoyed multiple times after SIPtemberfest with BeerTruth on 9/26/09. Unfortunately, the cask was already gone.

The Alchemist is dimly lit so as to the color, I can not speak with entire authority, but it is definitely a bit on the hazy side, medium amber/orange.

Oh the smell! Sitting infront of the taps, we could smell it being poured and like Pavlov's pooches, salivation started. It's all hops right in your face, very citrus and grass, a touch sweet as well.

The first sip was like heaven in a glass. The body is not too heavy and the malts are there to stand up to the hops no doubt. The hops are so abundant though that it leaves a sticky residue in the mouth....mmmm. This never came off as an unbalanced hopbomb though! I got a touch of caramel from the malt, maybe a hint of roast as well. This is extremely smooth and creamy, no bitter hop face was made while enjoying this beer :)

Easily drank one of these, a good portion of another, and seriously had to order one of the 3oz samples before leaving just to get that final taste. If I wasn't driving to Waitsfield on dark route 100 right after I easily would have had two more. Easily. Get this while you can folks, it is indeed that good. (1,335 characters)

Photo of EgadBananas
4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

HUGE thanks goes to Spdklz for this!! Thanks Carelton!

"Drink from the can!" It says. So I did. Though, I did pour an ounce or two into a glass to assess appearance.

Pours a light amber, very hazy. With a light off-white colored head. Can't argue with that. Aroma is chock full of pine, flowery hops, and a good grazing of citrus notes. It's bustling, and it's wonderful. Perfectly balanced bitterness on the tongue, with big resinous, pine hop notes, tinges of citrus and healthy amounts of floral hoppiness. There's so much awesome hoppiness going on here, who cares about a malt profile. Body is full, rich, with a pleasant carbonation level. Alcohol is nowhere to be found, drinkability abounds.

The amazing resinous pine and floral notes makes this almost easily one of the greatest Imperial IPA's I've had the pleasure to drink! Guess I'm moving to Vermont! (868 characters)

Photo of RyanJohnCrain
4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Drank most from the can but the appearance from what I did pour in the glass was beautiful. So smooth with tons of Tropical fruit upfront, balanced resin finish. In the top 10 for sure. (185 characters)

Photo of doopiedoopiedoo
4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beauty was given to me by Jeffo from Tendermorsel from some other guy. Thank you all!

It says drink from can but I choose to ignore that because I wanted to see this beauty.

Poured into my Saranac pint glass.

Good thing I didn't drink this from the can because I would have missed out on the orange appricot hazy coloring a good finger and a half head of a white head. Good retention and lacing.

Smells like IPA heaven. Very floral and fruity with a nice hoppy presence.

The flavors are in balance. Nothing is overpowering but everything is there. Malts, fruity flavors and plenty of hop but none of that in your face bitterness. This one is all about balance.

With a great medium to full bodied mouthfeel this one has plenty of carbonation. Flavors linger for a while and leave you wanting more.

This might very well be my favorite IPA so far. Balance, balance, balance. This one gives all aspects of the beer it's own moment. I love it and would like to have one of these at least once a week. (1,007 characters)

Photo of Ohmu
4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served from can.

l: hazy, really hazy. (I had to pour a bit of it up, though this was drunk from the can)

s: herbs, orangey, hops!

t: grassy, sweet botttom tones, dry on top, bitter (but only initally, nice roll off)

This is one beer I wish I could have more of. Initially when opened (straight from the fridge) it's kind of over powering in the bitterness, but some mouths in it's just so balanced and just beautiful all the way. One of the best DIPA's I've had. (467 characters)

Photo of BigMurph
4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: pours an orangeish hazy color with a finger high head that leaves great lacing

S: get a huge smell of citrus hops mixed in with some floral hops

T: the taste is like the smell the citrus hops comes through. it's an amazing taste. it has the hop taste without the overwelming bitterness.

M: medium body with a good amount of carbonation

D: this is a very easy drinking beer. it goes down way to easy for its alcohol content = DANGEROUS

Serving type: Poured from can to glass. (482 characters)

Photo of JonRogers
4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I didn't see the beer in a glass as I drank it from the can as recommended, but I imagine it is beautiful judging from the smell. I also drank it a little on the cold side... to thirsty to wait. Taste is fruitful and as smooth as in Imp IPA gets. Hoppy as hell in the best way. Again, very smooth. I drink IPA's 90% of the time and I cant say I have had a better beer. (368 characters)

Photo of Caudalie
4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This, indeed, lives up to expectations. Grabbed 24 cans in VT while boating on champlain lake. Also got some torpedo, founder's centennial and ruination IPA from stone, but HT is way more interesting. First one was pretty good. The 2 lasts were just delicious.

A: pretty clear golden color, a tad cloudy

S: Really nice, with smells of resin, oranges. Smells like fresh hop pellets.

T: This is hoppy, with intenity and greath lenght, but wow, it's so balanced. It's bitter indeed, without being austere. This is pretty drinkable for such a hoppy, high alc. ale.

M: pretty smooth, nice carbonation. Looong aftertaste, with total balance.

O: Really impressive. Indeed the best IPA I've tried, not cause it's the boldest, but because it's elegant in its own way. Nice one... (775 characters)

Photo of Ninjabrew
4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A beer that can hold its own with Pliny!

A. You should be drinking this from the can as it says. But if you happen to pour it, you will see a great looking beer you can almost see from the color how balanced it is. That said it really does taste better from the can. Weird huh? The best and the worst beers are best consumed from a can.

S. Damn fine! Smells like grass or weed. Not as much citrusy as I would have thought from such a high rated DIPA this may be the only thing Pliny has on this beer.

T. Balanced. There's sweet there and a ton of bitter too but they are balanced perfectly. Hops are abundant but not bitter nor overly sweet or spicy. Don't know how that's done but glad they do.

Mouthfeel is pretty light and drinkabilty is great for a 8 percenter. Would like another one but that wouldn't be a good idea. (829 characters)

Photo of cbutova
4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Hunted the Heady Topper, found out it was on tap, 2.75 hours and $4 later...

A- Hazy orange with a nice one finger white head. Retains but I drink it down out of anticipation. The head leaves a nice cloud, ring and very nice coat of fine lace.

S- Just where a Double IPA should be, reminds me of Sculpin. Fruit, citrus, peach. Such a good hop aroma, does not seem over the top, spot on. Hops glorified. Strength could be just a bit better.

T- Follows up the aroma. Hops everywhere. Peach, pine, earthy and lots of citrus. The best thing is the citrus, it lingers like a fresh fruit on the palate, orange. Perfect balance of hops with a fairly bready light malt backbone.

MF- Spot on again. Moderate body with some creaminess and smooth carbonation. Bitterness is right down the middle, where it should be.

DB- The best draft I have ever had for four dollars. Beats Pliny out in my mind. A truly great balance of many hop flavors, mouthfeel and citrus. I hope the Alchemist sticks to its ways and makes great beer like this for many years. (1,043 characters)

Photo of fps_dean
4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Pours a clear golden color with some head that disappears rather quickly.

It smells like piney grapefruit. It actually smells exactly like Victory's DirtWolf for anyone who has had that.

However, smell was where the similarities to DirtWolf end, as the grapefruit flavor isn't nearly as strong in the taste as it is in the flavor. The piney hops are much more prominent, along with some other fruity flavors and bready malts. They have managed to load up the hops on this one while still remaining a solid balance.

Goes down very smoothly with medium body and medium carbonation.

At first, I was kind of skeptical if Heady Topper could really live up to its rather large reputation, but after trying it I really was not disappointed. Is it the best beer I've ever had? Probably not. But it is in the running. (818 characters)

Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 1,933 ratings.