Heady Topper - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Heady TopperHeady Topper

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

10,752 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 10,752
Reviews: 2,148
rAvg: 4.73
pDev: 6.98%
Wants: 8,010
Gots: 3,318 | FT: 53
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: 10,752 | Reviews: 2,148
Photo of Schlegelq1
3.16/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Amazing beer, but I believe there are many that rival it's flavor, and are much easier to get your hands on.

Photo of kfh227
3.2/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I had one of these in Burlington, Vermont at a bar straight from the can.

I was pleasantly surprised that they had it.

I only care about taste so here it goes. I generally don't like IPAS because they are bitter. Some bitterness is OK. There are two things to know. 1) This one is not bitter at all. 2) this is very hoppy.

Having said that, this is one of the best IPAs that I have ever had. But it is in all honesty, just a good version of Budweiser. A very good version. Point being that I don't understand all the fuss. I could name 20 beers that I'd rather have than drink this ever again. It's honestly not all that special unless you prefer IPAs above all else..

Photo of detroitpat
3.23/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

This can may have been old, but I was expecting a lot more.

Photo of sanhedrin
3.23/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I don't get it. Maybe I'm daft but the reasons for the over-the-top love for this beer elude me. It's a very nice, refreshing, not terribly complex brew. Good quaffer on a hot summer day, with a light grapefruity bitterness and a clean finish. It's fine. It's nice. I'll drink it again for $4 a can, but I won't drive to Vermont to get it or pay a scalper $14 for it. If I don't see it again, no big deal, there are hundreds of equally good, similar brews out there.

This seems like one of those "the harder to get the better it tastes" situations.

Photo of SteelersX
3.28/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Since the obvious reformulation of this once great beer it has become a harsh onion flavored mess of a product.

Photo of TheBungyo
3.32/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

When a beer reaches the lofty heights of a Heady Topper it feels almost unfair to pen a review. After all, how could I possibly review it based solely on it's merits and deficiencies? Most everyone will either praise it's strengths whilst ignoring the faults or harp on flaws and turn a blind eye toward the many amazing things this drink does so superbly.

If I'm honest, and I'm certainly making a valiant attempt, the color is spectacular. It really is the perfect color for a double IPA. Any darker and it'd be obvious this beer would be far too sweet. Sadly though, it's just too damn cloudy. I can't express the amount of pride I feel as a homebrewer when I pour something I brewed and the body is the proper color and you can see through it like a window. This doesn't happen with this one. Great? Yes. Flawed? Well, that's a second yes.

Fortunately the nose ups the game even more. The malt is assertive, whilst the hops fight for dominance. It's nothing short of a tapestry of aromas: orange, peach, pineapple, and maybe some mango. A sip reveals some pleasant booze, while maintaining hop presence. Lots of tropical notes dance seductively alongside malty sugary caramel. The big problem arises in the finish. Where it should be bitter the sweetness slams on the gas floods the palate like an uninvited guest. After half a can or so, the sweetness becomes overpowering for me.

One of the great things about this brew is the price. The Alchemist could have taken the opportunity to charge through the nose for a beer with this reputation but it certainly is fair. I'm sure if I lived in the distribution area I'd come back to Heady Topper again since the price is very reasonable. That's despite the fact that it doesn't wow me like it does most people. Certainly worth a shot to see if it ever clicks with me.

Photo of greg1973
3.33/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Had side by side with Surly Abrasive and Pliny. By far finished last! Sorry, good for an east coast IPA, but no match for west coast. Pours a cloudy opaque orange color, odd chalky mouthfeel, and a little thick for the style. Prefer a cleaner, crisper, more bitter, hop forward IPA. I see why they want you to drink from the can, not a good looking beer at all! Taste not too far off. Not even in my top ten. Sorry.
Maybe I received an old can, would love to try again, but not gonna trade across the country for another one. No date, hard to determine freshness.

Photo of Gig2828
3.33/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Was lucky enough to try fresh Heady. Perhaps its all the talk or maybe it is all the beer that is available now, but I like others much better. This is a great beer just not one I would search out. I am very glad I had the chance to try it and would encourage others to do so as the beauty of beer is everyone has a different palate and even that changes over time.

Photo of Coffdaddy
3.33/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

This beer is definitely overhyped. Certainly it's a good IPA, but it's not as great as others would leave you to believe. I think Cigar City Jai Alai IPA kicks Heady Topper's butt any day of the week. Found the instructions "drink from the can" a bit ridiculous.

Photo of LSx
3.34/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Poured from the can into Duvel tulip.

A - I understand why they want you to drink it from the can, pretty bad appearance for such a highly rated beer - cloudy light gold color, lots of sediment/dregs that float around in the glass.

S - Definitely interesting smells, peach, banana, not so much pine as is common with the big IPA's.

T - Moderate bitterness, good malt background but the fruit notes overpower the traditional citrus and pine.

M - Good carbonation level

O - Hate being harsh on such a well reviewed beer that I had trouble acquiring, but the three of us tasting this beer at the same time were all quite disappointed in just how mediocre it was. Once you take into account the terrible appearance and odd fruitiness, it's definitely a beer that I will not look to get again.

Photo of LarryV
3.35/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Straight up hops mishmash, not much more going on - certainly not what I would call a balanced brew. Artificial rarity factor keeps prices high. I've had plenty of DIPA"s that I liked better than this one. Not to say it's not good, but the price is insane. Aroma: hops, hops and more hops. Taste: Hops, hops and more hops.

I don't get the whole drink out of the can thing, 80% of our taste comes from aroma which you don't get from drinking out of the can. Gimmicky at best - the 100 rating baffles me.

Photo of Auracom
3.36/5  rDev -29%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

I knew I'd tick this one eventually without having to actively seek it out. Success! Thanks Dan for the share on your extra. 2 oz. into a tulip so I could mark the visuals and aroma, another 3-4 oz. straight from the can on June 14th, 2013.

A - Lightly cloudy, murky medium-golden color with an enormously bubbly head. Good retention and lacing.

S - Deeply resinous, pine-sol, rouge, slightly burnt caramel, touch of peach and herbs.

T - It's really better balanced than I thought it would be. That being said, the hops are sharp, overly-acidic, and disappointingly simple. Grapefruit rind, toasted almond, and lemon peel.

M - Light body, moderate carbonation, very dry (even sour-like) finish.

D - I'm a bit stunned in a bad way. There are scores of other IPA/DIPA's I would choose over this particular can. Another revisit? I don't know.

Photo of leftde18
3.4/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased a can from the Warren Store

A-N/A, Drank from the can

S-Piney and herbaceous but without pouring it out, definitely underwhelming in my opinion

T-Hops on hops on hops, so much so that it obscured the hoppy nuances I was hoping for. Bright, fresh pine sap overwhelms at first, it followed by a pleasant bitter finish. There are other notes of citrus under the sappiness but my pallet was overwhelmed quickly by hop-power before I could pick them out

M-Viscosity trumps its carbonation and it feels sticky, like a liqueur. I didn't really like it, especially towards the end.

O-I could not find this beer's finesse, there were TONS of hop flavors but they didn't sing in symphony. I would buy it again, but I would not seek it out.

Photo of abriggs1
3.46/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Here it is folks, the single most overrated beer in drinking history. I've been a beer fanatic for a decade and a half, and the beer drinking world has a lot to answer for on this one. The best beer in the world? What a joke. I wouldn't even put this in the top 10 of IPA's let alone beers of any style.

I'm not saying this is a bad beer. It's just criminally over-hyped and overrated.


Let's start with the obvious; drinking this beer out of the can as it says to do on the very can you're supposed to drink this out of = a bad idea. It's much better in a glass, and the right glass with a tulip shape will make the aromas even better. I guess the whole drinking from the can thing is little more than a hipster ideal. I certainly hope this trend doesn't continue.

The hops are right in your face, but ultimately unbalanced. Anyone can throw way too many hops into a beer. But it takes real skill and finesse to create a hoppy beer that's balanced and drinkable. There are heaping amounts of grapefruit, pine, and lemon rinds on the front. And then heaping amounts of grapefruit, pine, and lemon rinds in the aftertaste. The malt backbone is there, but it's too faint to balance out the assault of hops.

So far, the best IPA I've had was another Vermont brew; Lawson's Hopzilla, which I gave a perfect score. It's the perfect DIPA. When I die, I want to be embalmed with it.

Other IPA's that are better than Heady Topper: Ballast Point's Sculpin. Hooker's Hop Meadow IPA. New England Brewing's Gandi-Bot, Sierra Nevada's Torpedo, Southern Tier's 2xIPA, Southern Tier's Hoppe, Southern Tier's Unearthly, 21st Amendment's IPA, Hill Farmstead's Abner, Rock Art's Belgo American IPA, and others that I'll probably think of later.

I've never been so embarrassed for the beer community for rating this so highly. My fear is that the beer scene is being overrun by a bunch of hipsters who think that exclusivity is more important than the art of brewing. Heady Topper is hard to get. That doesn't make it the best beer in the world. People are rating this beer so highly because they want to brag that they drank it. In a blind taste test of the world's best IPAs, Heady Topper would lose miserably.

Photo of Racatalano
3.47/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I have been a big fan of IPA beers for over a year and have sampled at least 15 of the top IPAs. I finally made it up to Stowe for skiing and got a chance to try the famous Heady Topper. I could not have have been more disappointed. There is nothing extraordinary about this IPA whether you drink from the can or pour in a glass. Stone Enjoy By is by far much better than HT. If you have gotten hands on that one, not need to hunt down HT at least in my opinion.

When I was growing up, Coors was only available west of the Mississippi River, which created this mystique about the beer. When you finally got your hands on one, it was a disappointment as you can imagine.

I give the Alchemist team credit for the marketing behind HT but don't go out your way to get your hands on one - its just an above average IPA.

Photo of dutesanch
3.48/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Tried for the can and poured into a pint glass. Just OK, PtE beats it every day.

Photo of mentor
3.48/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a two-finger slightly-yellowed clingy head over a cloudy and particulated puke-tan liquid. Smells of green onion and wild garlic (Summit hops) with pine and sharp grapefruit pith. Baby aspirin and lemony tropical fruits. Comes across as a blast of very fresh Summit hops.

Tastes sharp bitter with flat oily bitter to complement. Nice malt sweet that blends with the green onion flavor. Juicy hops. Tin, no esters, but nice barley grain flavor. Acidic sour from the hops almost comes across as lactic. Finishes with baby aspirin (Simcoe hops) and a very resiny pine aftertaste. Very grassy rich in cohumulone. Too strong of carbonation. Carb and clean alcohol sting lift the beer from the tongue early. Creamy body is interrupted by rough hops and clean alcohol sting.

A decent beer, but would be *much* better with different hops. I find Summit hops sickening and can't wait for the trend to pass on by. Big disappointment. Judged to style, so scored higher than my palette would offer. The can says "drink from the can!" It was not as good from a can as from a glass.

Photo of t2grogan
3.5/5  rDev -26%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Was a solid beer that I could drink again, but certainly isn't one of the top beers I've had.

Photo of DeadeyeOTDO
3.5/5  rDev -26%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I do not and probably will never understand the exultation of IPAs. This one in particular. It's so average, Nelson is much better, as are several others. So there's your review for my "bad" score.

Photo of reefer_bob
3.5/5  rDev -26%

Consumed in both the Can and out of a glass. Can is a bit better.

This is a very solid DIPA. Is it the best beer ever? I'm not convinced. It's really good though! I think there's a bit of hype.

Photo of Beardcore
3.51/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: (4.0) Poured from a can into a pint glass. Hazy, straw yellow color, with a one inch head that dissipates fairly quickly.

Smell: (3.0) Hoppy and fragrant, though not floral.

Taste: (3.5) Hoppy flavor that is pervasive though-out the flavor profile. Not as well balanced between malty and hoppy as I have come to expect from DIPA’s, but still a fresh, citrus flavor that is easily drinkable, not even seeming like a “sipping” beer even though it has high alcohol.

Mouthfeel: (4.5) Nice medium body with good medium carbonation. Very easy to drink in that sense.

Overall: (3.5) Good beer. Seems more like an IPA than a DIPA, but maybe that is a bonus, more alcohol with the IPA flavor. Regardless, very smooth and drinkable with a long lingering hop flavor on the back of the tongue.

Photo of alerxovawo
3.53/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good but wasn't blown away

Photo of jethrodium
3.54/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

16 oz can generously shared by colonelforbin. Thanks Mike. Pours a very cloudy light amber with a small light tan head that has decent retention and leaves a good lacing on the glass. The aroma is big mango, floral notes, light caramel, a bit of pineapple, and some sugar cookie. The initial taste is sweet with mango and pineapple going into a bit of caramel, sugar cookie, and some light dankness. There is a very light bitterness on finish along with some lingering mango. Light bodied. Low carbonation. I definitely could use a bit more bitterness and a bit less sweetness. Not bad, but certainly not in the class of the best west coast IPAs.

Photo of Glennlawless
3.56/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Drank from the can as instructed...

Smell wise I just got an abundance of pine and your typical grapefruit.

Taste was just a SUUUPER bitter pine bomb with some malt sweetness.

medium mouth feel and well carbonated...

Overall....Is this beer good? Yes.
Is this beer hoppy? Extremley
Does this perfectly describe the definition of an east coast style IPA? Yes
Does it deserve to be world class and rated 100 - Absolutely not. The only reason I could see it maaaaybe recieving this rating is because for a higher abv ipa...it is CRAZY drinkable.

Photo of Original_Gravity
3.57/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

This smells fantastic, very hoppy and aromatic, but I find it a bit too bitter for my tastes.

Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 10,752 ratings.