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Heady Topper - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Heady TopperHeady Topper

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

8,259 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,259
Reviews: 1,628
rAvg: 4.73
pDev: 7.61%
Wants: 5,355
Gots: 1,713 | FT: 34
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Heady Topper Alström Bros
Ratings: 8,259 | Reviews: 1,628 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of gory4d
3/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Two cans, one poured, the other straight up. Poured has a nice white head, no lacing. The smell is piney and flowery. The taste is totally raw and bitter, sweet upfront and that's the end, except for a chalky dry aftertaste. It's greasy with a good amount of fizz. Why is a beer like this necessary?

gory4d, Aug 04, 2012
Photo of FINEBEERGUY
3/5  rDev -36.6%

FINEBEERGUY, Sep 13, 2013
Photo of jokemon
3/5  rDev -36.6%

jokemon, Apr 30, 2013
Photo of Budinetz
3/5  rDev -36.6%

Budinetz, Aug 04, 2013
Photo of dfernandez77
3/5  rDev -36.6%

dfernandez77, Jan 21, 2012
Photo of jc310
3/5  rDev -36.6%

jc310, May 22, 2014
Photo of Pbyoukil
3/5  rDev -36.6%

Pbyoukil, Jul 30, 2014
Photo of cjgcracker
3.12/5  rDev -34%

cjgcracker, Aug 14, 2014
Photo of madelf66
3.12/5  rDev -34%

madelf66, Aug 31, 2014
Photo of sanhedrin
3.19/5  rDev -32.6%
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.

sanhedrin, Aug 07, 2014
Photo of kfh227
3.21/5  rDev -32.1%
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..

kfh227, Apr 18, 2014
Photo of Spider889
3.25/5  rDev -31.3%

Spider889, Jul 09, 2012
Photo of YoungTeach
3.25/5  rDev -31.3%

YoungTeach, Mar 19, 2013
Photo of PriorDoubleDark
3.25/5  rDev -31.3%

PriorDoubleDark, Mar 19, 2013
Photo of DavidATX
3.25/5  rDev -31.3%

DavidATX, Jul 25, 2014
Photo of gwiedman1
3.25/5  rDev -31.3%

gwiedman1, May 03, 2014
Photo of TheBungyo
3.26/5  rDev -31.1%
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.

TheBungyo, Nov 18, 2013
Photo of portisque
3.28/5  rDev -30.7%

portisque, Aug 31, 2014
Photo of Rage-83
3.32/5  rDev -29.8%

Rage-83, Sep 05, 2014
Photo of Auracom
3.33/5  rDev -29.6%
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.

Auracom, Jun 21, 2013
Photo of greg1973
3.35/5  rDev -29.2%
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.

greg1973, Nov 15, 2013
Photo of LSx
3.35/5  rDev -29.2%
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.

LSx, Apr 24, 2013
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.

leftde18, Jun 09, 2012
Photo of abriggs1
3.45/5  rDev -27.1%
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.

abriggs1, Oct 18, 2013
Photo of smanson56
3.48/5  rDev -26.4%

smanson56, Apr 01, 2014
Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 8,259 ratings.