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Heady Topper - The Alchemist

Heady TopperHeady Topper

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

6,180 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6180
Reviews: 1467
rAvg: 4.73
pDev: 7.19%

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:
"An American Double IPA” 75 IBU 8.0% abv

(Beer added by: scottum on 03-27-2004)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,180 | Reviews: 1,467 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Wetpaperbag


3.73/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A- Orange in color, with a good clingy IPA head.

S- Smells spicy in hop aroma. Definitely an East Coast IPA in that the hops aren't bright and citrusy, but more earthy and vegetal.

T- Tastes of an EC IPA. It tasted solid, but I don't like the hop profile.

M- Solid mouthfeel, I like a good thick IPA.

0- Overall it wasn't a bad beer. Would I want to buy more, no not me personally.

Serving type: can

01-12-2014 21:20:05 | More by Wetpaperbag
Photo of HopHead84


3.75/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5


I'm enjoying my fourth or fifth can as I write this review. Snifter.

A: Dark orange with some cloudiness and a finger of white foam. Lacing is scattered and retention is good.

S: Bright citrus notes, with tangerine, orange, grapefruit, and a dash of pine. There's quite a bit more malt in this can than I found in the bottle I tried, imparting some bread and caramel.

T: Smooth moderate bitterness with no evident alcohol. Malt imparts bread, biscuit, and caramel. Once again, this is quite a bit maltier than the bottle I enjoyed last year, and decidedly less bitter. I get orange, grapefruit, and a little melon. Dank pine is evident throughout.

M: Medium in body with an upper low level of carbonation. The general theme seems to be lower carbonation with these cans.

Overall: This is good, but it's not on the same level as the bottle I had in 2010. This seems much maltier and the hops aren't as vibrant. It's also a bit heavy on the palate due to the low carbonation.

Serving type: can

09-18-2011 04:17:45 | More by HopHead84
Photo of leschkie


3.76/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

16 oz can poured into a tulip. Courtesy of huadog (thanks Russ, you rock buddy).

Pours a vibrant burnt apricot with a white frothy head. Moderate lacing decorates the glass as I continue to guzzle this baby down. Smells of citrus fruits, grapefruit, and malt. Piney hops I was looking for seem to be mellowed down quite a bit in the nose. Taste is very smooth, pretty much zero bitterness whatsoever. Hops (thank goodness) makes its appearance as the beer rolls around my tongue. I was tempted to call in a search party to look for any bitterness from the hops, but it appears it will just remain on the missing persons report. Mouthfeel is quite impressive. Overall, it's a good DIPA. However, I have had better.

Serving type: can

10-07-2011 01:22:15 | More by leschkie
Photo of Rhettroactive

District of Columbia

3.78/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From 16oz tallboy to my Hess Imperial pint glass on 12/15/11
*From notes

-- Many thanks to the multiple BA's who've hooked me up with generous pours and fresh cans of this over the last few weeks. --

A: It looks like a really dingy cider. A good pour yields a fluffy 1.5 finger white head and solid retention. It should be noted that there are large white gobs floating around in the beer. Some settle. Some don't.

S: Wonderful bouquet. Juicy hop oil, it's got that island fruit vibe all over it.

T: It's hoppy alright, yet it's quite bready and rather bitter too. There's not a massive amount of complexity to it, it's simply an easy drinking beer that comes off more like a low key IPA then an Imperial.

M: Meh. It feels alright, but it's not gonna blow any skirts up or anything.

O: Having had large amounts of this at three separate tastings in a six week period, I can honestly say that Heady Topper is a grossly overrated beer. It's not bad, in fact it's a very pleasant brew. It simply doesn't reach the heights one would expect from it's rDev. Don't go out of your way to attain this. I know I won't.

Serving type: can

01-10-2012 23:21:02 | More by Rhettroactive
Photo of pepsican


3.78/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks like dirty sewer water dumped into a light beer, smaller off white head. Aroma is tropical fruit, marijuana, onions. Similar flavor, lots of onions, garlic, tomato, juicy fruit, papaya, and orange. Bitter finish, pretty dry for the ABV. Reminds me exactly of what Toppling Goliath is doing around here.

Serving type: can

10-19-2012 04:23:47 | More by pepsican
Photo of bigfnjoe


3.8/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a can into a Dogfish snifter

A- pours a really dark, murky shade of dark orange with a one finger offwhite head. Looks....ugly, actually

S- nice aroma of tropical fruits, getting a lot of mango out of this

T- taste is a little muted, so I'm not sure how fresh this is...nice bit of citrus with a slight bitter finish. But man, is it muted. Can't be fresh

M- medium bodied. Fine for a DIPA

O- I was assured this was fresh...with no dating, I can't be sure. It's still good, but is it world class? Not in this state, it's not

Serving type: can

11-01-2011 01:26:12 | More by bigfnjoe
Photo of zaphodchak


3.8/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

It's in a can. It appears as a silver can. I got the last bit of the can at a tasting, and at the can's insistence, consumed it out of the can.

Powerful fresh grassy hops are immediately apparent despite the can.

Bitter, powerfully grassy west-coast US hops. Slight undertone of honey, but not nearly enough to balance. One dimensional, perhaps, but good at that dimension.

Decent but a bit fizzy, almost prickly.

Well, it's an IPA, and it's a good one.

Serving type: can

12-11-2011 03:43:12 | More by zaphodchak
Photo of smcolw


3.8/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sorry, I had to pour into the glass despite the can's pleading to drink directly. Thick, slowly receding head. Leaves plenty of chunky, blanketing lace. Cloudy, dark gold color.

Very strong evergreen hop smell. Prickly with a touch of citrus rind. Like smelling a bag of hop pellets.

Extraordinarily bitter. Starts off fairly neutrally with a bit of mild pale malt. Still this is a bitter, bitter hop bomb. Be prepared to pucker up. Hop heads shall rejoice, but I think this might be too much of a good thing (and I lean towards more hoppy beers). The body is predictable and appropriate for the style.

I was very excited to find this beer in Boston, but its hype exceeds my expectations.

Serving type: can

07-29-2012 19:57:18 | More by smcolw
Photo of AleWatcher


3.83/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Can shared by Whitemomba-- thanks Jason!
Served in tulip pint.

Really hazy... Small particulates floating around... Creamy tan head, decent retention, thick legs leave nice bubbles.
Smells waaaay more piney than I remember... Nice grapefruit, some grassy and floral notes too. There's a little earthy dank quality on the back of the nose that has an odd character to it...
The taste follows the nose; dry, bready/crackery malts with big hops at the back end. Citrusy grapefruit, big pine, some floral and grassy notes.
The dank note I got on the nose translates to a VERY strange hint of cedar chips/hamster cage substrate... It is a combination of the hops character blending with the dry malts. It hurts the overall and flavor a bit, but still doesn't make the beer undrinkable.

Serving type: can

09-18-2011 02:06:45 | More by AleWatcher
Photo of Murchmac


3.85/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to masterhomebrewer to try this beer. I really wanted to compare it to PtY

Pours an orangey amber with yellow highlights and a white head.

Piney and citrusy, smells not overwhelming but pleasant.

Taste follows the nose, almost really fresh sweet taste that hangs in your mouth,

Not resinous like a good DIPA should be, and really really light and thin.

Although pleasant was like drinking hop water. It was good but not worth trading the farm away. PtY is a lot better.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2010 22:42:11 | More by Murchmac
Photo of maximum12


3.85/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to baconsausage for shipping this towards the Arctic Circle along with a slate of other great beers. The IPA fiend in me has really been looking forward to this one. 22 oz. bottle split into two pint glasses, with the floaties & several ounces left for later potential rumination.

Pour is wide-mouth orange, clear without the hop poop left in the bottom of the bottle. Smell is startlingly bitter, citrus, pine, & touches of raw onion.

Heady Topper is perhaps the oiliest IPA that's crossed my mucous barrier. Bitterness street-sweeps the senses, separating into grapefruit, citrus, & a knifeful of onion. Strangely reminiscent of Gubna. Definite tang in the back-end, astringent, before the bitterness throttles the life out of everything else in the finish. Strangely, it affects my tongue more than anything else. Bizarre.

Very drying, invitingly sippable, this is a very good beer, but not sure what all the hoopla is about. Not to say I'd ever turn one down!

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2011 03:20:31 | More by maximum12
Photo of jmdrpi


3.85/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

16 oz can, no date.

appears a hazy rust orange color with tons of floaties. bright white head that fades. obviously this is why they want you to drink from the can.

aroma is hop forward obviously. orange, lemon, cut grass, slightly earthy too. taste is super cirtusy. a touch of biscuity sweet malt, but not much. tasty though if you're looking for fruity citrus hop flavors.

medium thickness, but it coats the tongue, a bit oily. good carbonation level, but I'm not a fan about the oily feel.

good, but not sure it lives up to the crazy hype and higher price. seems quite similar to other citrusy DIPA's. still glad I got to try it though.

Serving type: can

04-29-2012 22:06:17 | More by jmdrpi
Photo of Prospero


3.85/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Light in color sort of a amber straw, nice white head and good aroma, not as much aroma as I would have expected, but good citrus and flower comes through. Also drank out of the can as suggested. The taste is nice and smooth, great drinkability. Maybe not as well balanced as others, the bitterness seems to linger with this one and I think it tends to take over the thin malt base. Great beer overall, but needs a bit better balance.

Serving type: can

06-01-2012 16:28:48 | More by Prospero
Photo of paulmack69

New Jersey

3.85/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Got these via a trade with someone from New Hampshire so I'm not sure how fresh they are. I believe he bought them before he shipped them to me. My first impression was not that great for an IPA. It initially tasted just liked steeped hops. Almost like someone just made tea with a bag of hops. Maybe I was drinking it too cold. My second and third cans seemed much better. Maybe I just had to appreciate it more. I still think there are other better DIPA's out there in my opinion. If you love hops then this is the beer for you as it is all hops and nothing else.

Serving type: can

07-10-2013 12:24:19 | More by paulmack69
Photo of beertunes


3.85/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks to Johnmichaelson and Kurmaraja! 2 cans of Heady in one week! I prefer the glass, and the brewery wants you to drink straight from the can. What do you do? Have them side-by-side! This will be a combined review from a straight pint glass, and the 16oz can, switching between sips as I watched the Talladega NASCAR race.

Big piney and citrusy hops wafted out of both cans, whetting my appetite for this much hyped brew. The beer poured a very cloudy, barely translucent, orange color with about 1/2 inch of just off-white head that moderate retention and low lacing.

As mentioned, lots of citrus and pine hops upfront in the aroma, with a low, almost nonexistent malt profile. The taste was the same, tons of hops and low malts. The beer from the can seemed harsher and more bitter, not in an entirely pleasant way, than the beer from the glass. The flavors were smoother and more even from the glass.

The body was fairly typical for the style, but this is one of the driest finishing beers I've ever had. I'm almost thirsty after finishing each drink. Drinkability was dangerously good, I could see a 4-pack disappearing before you realize it. Overall, a very good brew, one that almost matches the hype that surrounds it (which is not the fault of either the beer or the brewery). Certainly a must try if given the chance. Thanks again Ryan and John!

Serving type: can

10-20-2013 18:40:26 | More by beertunes
Photo of JamesShoemaker


3.86/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz can poured into my snifter. Huge thanks to Urbancaver for sending four of these, along with some KRE and HF. Good trade, let's do it again. Can is seventeen days old.

A - yeah, it's godawful looking. Of course, if the instructions on the can were followed, to drink it straight from the can, repeated emphatically around the top, then I'd have nothing to say in this category. Two sips from the can, not much nose, so into the glass it went. Opaque, murky, pissy, orange-yellow with some lingering foam on the forced pour. Sediment is pervasive and really disgusting, but not unprecedented (thinking specifically of Weyerbacher Insanity). My score would be lower, but as I drink it, I realize that the appearance really doesn't affect my opinion, but as a monolithic category, it deserves the hate. The brewery should really take it as a compliment that it's so highly rated despite this.

S - the first thing that pops up is honey, followed by some resinous, floral notes. Fruit comes at the very end, but it's weak on the nose, more prominent in the taste.

T - not a great balance, as I've heard it described. The bitterness overwhelms the fruity flavors, including the citrus. Bitterness recedes to resin, resin to stickiness, and things are capped off by another lingering bitterness. Points for a progression of tastes, but the hop profile isn't to my liking.

M - bitter and sticky, but not totally unpleasant. Can't find any alcohol, but I didn't expect to at only 8%.

O - worth the hype? Not at all in my opinion. I know how often this comparison is made, but fresh Abrasive really blows all other DIPAs out of the water, including this one. Very glad I got to try it for the tick (I'm not a ticker, I swear!), but I won't be seeking it out regularly.

Serving type: can

04-15-2013 02:12:00 | More by JamesShoemaker
Photo of pwoods


3.88/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Big thanks to rpstevens for the bottle in Secret Santa '10.

22oz. brown bomber poured into a Russian River tuliip.

A: Pours a very hazy dark apricot color. Moderate head on the pour but with plenty of retention and lacing.

S: Aroma is heavenly. Amarillo, Simcoe, Centennial. Some pineapple in there as well.. so maybe Citra? A candy like sweet aroma from all of the tropical fruit and citrus fruit hops. Malt is there a bit but this is all hops.

T/M: Massive hop flavor, mostly dominated by the citrus and tropical fruits. Not much bitterness here... it's there but not to the level that I was expecting. Malts don't bring a whole lot here either. There's a good amount of sweetness but more from the fruity hop character and the lack of a firm bitterness. It doesn't finish very dry, either, and I think the low-ish carbonation(which the label says is intentional) adds to the lack of perceived dryness.

D: Pretty easy to drink but a bit one dimensional with only hop flavor and not much bitterness or dryness.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2010 04:02:33 | More by pwoods
Photo of readbaron


3.88/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to KickInTheChalice for the pour.

Pours out golden orange with a finger of frothy white head. Limited lacing, and decent retention.

Smells hoppy - piney and bitter - but with a strong tint of copper/metal in the nose. For an east coast DIPA, not as much malt as I would have expected. The hops and copper do fade into a bit of honey sweetness, but this is a hop forward beer.

Taste is better than the nose - there's still something metalic/copper going on, but it's not as overwhelming as it smelled. Starts off with Sweet honey caramel malts, followed by dank hoppy bitterness.

Feel is solid - medium bodied, crisp and dry.

Overall - I don't get the hype for this beer - actually for all the Vermont DIPAs. Not a bad beer, but certainly not world class.

Serving type: can

10-14-2011 16:12:24 | More by readbaron
Photo of BrownNut


3.88/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Straight from can as recommended, 10 min out of the fridge.

A - ?

S - Smells alternately nice and piney and something sort of chemical-y sweet, partly like sunscreen. Not bad but unusual.

T - That sunscreeny/piney element carries through on the palate. It seems a more green and planty overall now, with the sunscreen aspect leaning more toward something buttery sweet that you'd find in baked goods. It's a very pleasant and smooth taste overall. It's definitely an accomplishment in fresh tasting flavor. It pops. I'm glad the bitterness isn't stunt-grade. It's just enough to give it substantial bite to this fairly lupulin-tolerant palate of mine without becoming that distracting kind of bitter that must be partially tolerated while being partially enjoyed. This bitterness was all enjoy and a pleasant complement to the flavors.

M - Nothing special. Just sort of normal beery, a bit sharp. Leaves some mild hop abrasion on the tongue afterwards for a good while.

O - I knew the hype on this one but have trained myself to go into these things now just expecting a very good beer instead of ecstasy and in that respect I was not disappointed. It's a very good beer. I'll try the next one out of a pint glass and adjust/refine this review. A tornado was coming when I drank this and I figured I'd better go ahead and try the top rated beer in the world before I maybe died (didn't). So next time will be calmer.

Serving type: can

06-06-2013 22:22:06 | More by BrownNut
Photo of siege06nd


3.9/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my Jackie O's snifter. Shared with IrishColonial.

A: Heady Topper pours a darky, rusty orange color. Fairly cloudy. A massive, fluffy three finger head erupts from a fairly aggressive pour. The head color is somewhere between eggshell white and cream. Fantastic lacing and head retention. Excellent.

S: Mmmm, pineapple, creamy citrus, and just a faint touch of pine resin. Very balanced and smooth bouquet going on here. Simply bursting with the promise of a massive (yet balanced) hop bomb.

T: Contrary to the smell, I'm getting a prominent pine resin flavor here. Fairly bitter, but not harshly so. I prefer mine a little creamier and citrusier, the finish here is too bitter.

M: Really nice. Flavors are well-balanced. Relatively light carbonation and an ever so slight malt shine. Nicely done.

O: This is a fine IPA. Well-balanced, hits the right notes, and has a nose that rivals any out there. An overly-bitter finish holds it back, but I wouldn't dissuade anyone from picking this one up.

Serving type: can

11-19-2011 19:50:43 | More by siege06nd
Photo of shleepy


3.9/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from can into snifter glasses.

A: Golden color. Very hazy, with plenty of sediment floating around.

S: Some floral hops, but mainly tons of citrus.

T: Tastes pretty dry (in a good way). The bitterness is not extreme, though some stays in the aftertaste. The main flavors are very pleasant - floral and citrusy (though less citrusy than I expected from the smell). Any bready malt flavor is masked or balanced quite well by the hops.

M: Medium body and carbonation. Certainly not as heavy as would be expected based on the ABV.

O: Quite a nice IPA. I wasn't expecting much, given that it's an East Coast brewery (no offense, but the hoppy beers are not necessarily as world-renowned as some of the West Coast ones), but I was pleasantly surprised.

Serving type: can

05-02-2012 05:33:34 | More by shleepy
Photo of Oxymoron


3.9/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.75

An east coast DIPA trying to be an west coast DIPA. Pours a very cloudy light amber to dark golden color. A good carbonation with good retention through the tasting.

The nose offers a lot of complexity and very malt forward. A nice citrus forward aroma with notes of orange mango and lemon. Some minor grapefruit, more comes out as you taste it. Some piney and hint of herbal undertones as well but more citrus forward. A hint of bready malts but no off yeast notes.

The taste is a bit one dimensional. Hoppy flavors up front with good citrus and orangy flavors. The grapefruit comes out a bit more versus the nose. But the bitterness is a bit lacking and the malt/body is hidden. Some piney and over resiny notes come out as well into the finish. But I would have liked a bit more complexity in the taste.

The body is moderately light. Has more of a single IPA character instead of the DIPA complexity. Carbonation is good.

I do feel like Im nit picking this beer, and there are some fantastic hop notes that really come out, but I am really looking for a bit more character here. Well it's a good thing no one really reads these reviews anyways.

Serving type: can

06-16-2013 07:13:25 | More by Oxymoron
Photo of wedgie9


3.9/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted on 11/11/11 from a can shared by ryan585, thanks Ryan. Pours murky orange with a very thin white head that leaves a thin collar of lace, with some chunky sediment. The nose is intense orange peel citrus, resin bitterness, chewable kids vitamins, caramel malt, and a touch of earthy yeast. The flavor is orange and grapefruit peel, bitter resin, chewable kids vitamins, the same earthy yeast, and just enough caramel malt to keep everything in balance. The body is medium with an oily texture, lighter than average carbonation, and a very long resin and citrus peel bitter finish.

Serving type: can

08-30-2013 07:39:19 | More by wedgie9
Photo of Guinnesslover


3.91/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

As a VTer, I have been fortunate to purchase this on a regular basis directly from the brewery.

It appears slightly cloudy and light in color, though if you drink it from the can as advised you will scarcely notice the color.

It smells glorious, with a strong hop presence on many notes.

Those hops come through in the taste - hops rendolent of citrus (namely grapefruit) give a clean, sharp flavor.

The flavor clings to the tongue, saturating the senses with the layers of hops. Despite this, the flavor cleans exits with each swallow.

Serving type: can

12-29-2013 04:18:50 | More by Guinnesslover
Photo of Goldorak

Quebec (Canada)

3.93/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this bad boy more than once at the brewer's fest, but was salivating when I saw they had it on cask at the pub.

Appearance: Creamy, satiny smooth and lushious orange, with a burly head. It really was a heady topper!

Smell: Hop damn! Resinous, gooey cascade, piney, patchouli, weed and citrus.

Taste: Wicked bitter, but feels almost milky in the gullet (thank you mister cask!). An all-out hop attack, the malt can't do anything but surrender to this unstoppable force. The hops were so intense that I actually had my fill of it, and spent the rest of my weekend drinking lambics and other low-alpha acid brews. I loved it and will have it again, but not 2-3 pints in one session.

Serving type: cask

07-21-2005 20:26:40 | More by Goldorak
Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 6,180 ratings.