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Heady Topper - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Heady TopperHeady Topper

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

8,689 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,689
Reviews: 1,677
rAvg: 4.73
pDev: 8.03%
Wants: 5,648
Gots: 1,897 | FT: 35
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: 8,689 | Reviews: 1,677 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of 01001111
4.39/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: A very light orange, almost yellow, and quite cloudy.

S: Heavy tropical fruits and flowers: mango, pineapple, lychee, and jasmine. There's very little hint of hop bitterness in the nose.

T: The fruits are not present in the flavor. Instead it's a wash of hop resin; bitter but not overpowering. The finish is sweet and boozy. The aftertaste is strikingly bitter.

M: Medium bodied with some astringency.

O: Good. Not the best tasting DIPA but perhaps the best smelling.

01001111, Jun 20, 2014
Photo of PBRmeasap1980
4.39/5  rDev -7.2%

16 oz can... 1/2 drank from can (as directed), 1/2 from tulip

A- Hazy goldn, light head
S- Dank, grass, orange creamcicle, grapefruit peel
T- Grass. pine bitterness, citrus peel bitterness. Obviously very hop forward, but well balanced
M- Medium. Slightly creamy

O- Good and glad I tried it, but it doesn't live up to the hype for me. Probably in my top 5 IIPAs, but I wouldn't call it "the best beer in the world"

PBRmeasap1980, Oct 13, 2014
Photo of LinusBohman
4.39/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Tried this one first in a glass and then straight out of the can. It was definetely more aromatic drunken straight from the can, and my scores in terms of smell, taste and overall are modified with the can session.

A: White scattered foam which vanishes fast in order to leave a ring of lacing on the glass. The colour reminds me of apricot marmelade, it's quite murky and has some bubbles playing around in the delicious liquid.

S: Pine needles, cat's pee, tropical fruit such as mango, banana and passionfruit. There is also sweetness which again brings me to think of marmelade.

T: At first it's pine needles, cat's pee as in the smell. Allthough the tropical fruit is slightly different from the smell and the taste adds a dry bitterness to it. The aftertastes are at first tree sap and pine needles but after a while there is some apricot marmelade there as well.

M: Leaning more towards medium than thin. Probably the leanest mouthfeel I've got from a DIPA ever. The carbonation is light and the feel is very dry. Ace!

O: They really managed to combine a hop bomb that would satisfy most hop heads around the globe with sweetness which creates a great balance. A wonderful DIPA with great body allthough the appearance lacks some sexiness because of the lack of head. You won't notice that if you drink from the can though.

LinusBohman, Jan 14, 2013
Photo of Stevedore
4.39/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

16oz can with about the first 1/4 drank out of the can, the rest poured into a FFF teku glass and consumed today 5/10/13. Thanks to shagens for the opportunity to drink this 1.5-2 week old Heady.

Aroma: Holy smokes. Soon as I pop the can: tons of sweet honey, toffee, caramel and biscuits.. followed by quite a bit of tropical fruit- mango, papaya with a bit of grapefruit. Big, big whiffs of tropical fruits. If it drinks anywhere as good as it smells, it's a winner. (5)

Colour: Can't tell when it's in the can, but once I pour it into the teku, it looks good. Burnt orange, like the University of Texas' school colours. Pours with a nice thick 2cm white head that slowly fades into a bubbly collar that persists. There are bits of lacing that doesn't really stick around, but otherwise a good looking DIPA. At the end of the drink, I poured out the last ounce of the can to see what the floaties looked like- and its nasty. I see why they recommend drinking it out of the can. (4)

Flavour: I get a big malt kick up front, with caramel, toffee, honey and sweet bread. But that only sets the stage for a nice-sized blast of tropical fruit which quickly fades away into a bitter citrus finish which is also accompanied by a mellow backend that balances the hoppiness. (4.25)

Mouthfeel: Definitely not lacking in the department. Thicker side of medium body, excellent carbonation, resinous and coats the palate pretty well with the bitter finish- which is mostly citrus and a bit of tropical fruit. I don't feel any heat at all drinking this. (4.25)

Overall: I think the hoppiness quotient is where it needs to be- which balances out the sweet maltiness that predominated the older can. It does come together in a better way which I definitely appreciate. It's hoppy as hell though in a very non-subtle manner, though not as much as Abrasive is. Pliny is hoppy in a more subtle way- mainly in the aroma and flavour (intense grapefruit and citrus), but not so much the bitter aftertaste like Heady gets that starts burning off my palate. Very excellent DIPA, just a bit behind Pliny and Abrasive in my book. (4.25)

Stevedore, May 11, 2013
Photo of scotorum
4.39/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I'd forgotten about the ranty feeling-sorry-for-myself review from last August (Reposted below.) But I am here to report I finally hit Heady paydirt. That is, my friend BigStein88 gave me two precious cans.

I HATE drinking beer out of cans, so I defied the recommendation from the brewer and poured my first can into a Samuel Smith English tulip glass, self-serving at just under fifty degrees fahrenheit out of my beer fridge. Not sure how fresh, but BigStein88 visits his old home state of Vermont fairly often, so I doubt if it's more than two months old.

a: Hazy dark gold, not as hazy as I expected though, although I do see some tiny floaties. Two inch tall white head receded slowly to rocky surface foam and dense lacing.

s: Intense citrus and pine. Later, lawn mower grass clippings. (!)

t: Do not find this as citrusy as on draft. In fact grassiness is the most prominent and persistent flavor, much stronger even than any wet hop ale I have had (yes I know this is not one of those). Moderate hop bite, but little in the way of lingering bitterness as the brewer's text on the can seems to suggest. Blindfolded, I'd have said this is the freshest wet hop IPA ever. 8% alcohol is well concealed in any event.

m: As on draft, moderate, slickish.

o: I want to say this is The Best I've Ever Had. But truth is, and heretical though it is for a New Englander to say, at this point the Pliny the Elder I had last night was even creamier and more enjoyable. Might be my own fault for not following the other part of the brewer's instructions, and pouring it all out into the glass at once rather than saving the yeasty last ounce for a final savory pour.

The intense grassy flavor is different and very good. Definitely unlike any DIPA I have had, but not what I expected, especially in light of my previous, citrusy rather than grassy taste experience with it fresh at the cannery last August and on draft at the Prohibition Pig in Waterbeery (sic).

Will add more to this essay on Heady when I crack the other can. I'll probably bite the bullet and drink at least part of that out of the can to see if it makes a difference.

In view of the above, am changing my original review ratings: a: 3.5-3.75; s:4-4.25; m: 4.5-4.25


8 oz. draft at the Prohibition Pig pub in Waterbury VT and several ounces more in a mini-snifter at the brewery the same day.

a: A hazy gold with a finger thick white head which dropped to a surface film.

t: Sweet citrusy goodness. Alcohol well hidden. Not as hoppy as I had expected, but very tasty indeed.

m: Moderate, slickish and almost chewy, an impression no doubt reinforced by the cloudiness. Probably why the brewer recommends drinking it straight from the can. Oh if only I had had that opporunity! But alas "CANS SOLD OUT" greeted me at the end of the entrance and the front door at the brewery.

o: Excellent, appealing, refreshing, all those good things. Whether I would concur it is the best I can't say for sure. I do feel a bit troubled by the fact that I liked Double Sunshine better at the same sitting at The Pig. But I had that first, and they were different.

I know you know this already, but the friendly gal who poured my sample at the brewery said weekdays are the time to get some in cans. This week they sold out on Thursday. Usually it's Friday. I was there on Saturday, after dinner, around 6 P.M. I had figured they'd be out. But I also visited half a dozen stores where HT was supposed to be available, and even saw two places had hanging signs which read stuff like "Head This Way To The Heady." Nope.

And Lawson's or Hill Farmstead anything? Forget that too. Trek up to Greesboro in the middle of Nowhere Vermont (sorry, I am sure it is very wonderful up in that part of the Kingdom, it just looks like Nowhereland on my maps) and buy Hill Farmstead at the farm if you want some (and I know you do, I can hear your heavy breathing). Call ahead to make sure they have some. Preferably from across the street.

Lawsons might show up at the Warren Store on Thursdays. You may have to haunt the place or get a job there. Or go early on the second Saturday to the Waitsfield Farmers Market. Get a ticket from the Lawson's booth. And Waits in the Field until your turn. Are we getting a bit frustrated with limited availability and frantic buying from craftier-than-thou beer connoisseurs yet? After driving a six hour round trip and coming home empty-handed, Yes.

scotorum, Mar 11, 2014
Photo of Sylk
4.39/5  rDev -7.2%

Sylk, Aug 28, 2014
Photo of SethB4688
4.4/5  rDev -7%

SethB4688, Sep 12, 2014
Photo of hooliganlife
4.4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

big thanks to baconsausage!

this pours a cloudy dirty brownish orange. fluffy creamy white head, great lacing and puffy lacing.

citrus on the nose, bigs of grapefruit and orange. a slight sweetness.

lots of citrus with a faint hint of pine and earthy resin bitterness. the citrus blend is rather interesting as here is pineapple, mango, tangerine, grapefruit, and a touch of pine.

for a DIPA, the body is easy drinking, a bit slick. i want to say watery but i do not mean it in a bad way. mild carbonation, which i would reckon would add to the lighter body.

drinks sooo easy. i would NEVER guess this was 8%.

hooliganlife, Sep 23, 2011
Photo of Vonerichs
4.4/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy brownish orange body with tiny floaters. The head is brief and thin.

Pungent pine and dank aroma, followed by a floral perfume and tropical fruit.

Juicy and fresh citrus hop profile with pine reason and slight caramel and honey. It's very bitter.

Low carbonation and medium body. Mouthfeel is fresh and clean.

This has a great hop profile and the smell and taste are extremely clean. A great DIPA.

Vonerichs, Jan 23, 2012
Photo of thagr81us
4.4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks goes out to YaKnowBrady for sending me a few cans of this for the sole reason that I had never ticked it before! Thanks immensely my friend! Served from can into an oversized wine glass. Poured red-orange with a half finger white head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, citrus, citrus hop, fruit, and fruit hop. The flavor was of sweet malt, citrus, citrus hop, onion hop, earth, and fruit hop. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a fairly great brew. I am so excited I was finally able to try this one now that they can it. Wow! What a beer it was… It had some aspects that reminded me of Gubna, but had a huge amount of balance going on to keep your palate nice and happy so it did not succumb to a palate hop onslaught. Very well balanced and inviting after each sip. You know what… Notre Dame is playing Navy right now as I’m typing this up on my laptop, I think I will have another one of these right now straight from the can! Cheers!

thagr81us, Sep 04, 2012
Photo of k22c4
4.4/5  rDev -7%

k22c4, Aug 15, 2014
Photo of Burtonmars
4.4/5  rDev -7%

Burtonmars, Aug 28, 2014
Photo of eric5bellies
4.4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from my Gulden Draak tulip.

Big thanks to Nick6217

A - Pours a nice cloudy honeycomb colour with a thick frothy head that stays around. Beautiful colour.

S - Heaps of piney hop, and small green grape.

T - Nice hoppy flavour up front with a mango flavour. Reasonable malty finish with no hint of booze.

M - Medium to full body with medium carbonation

O - Very enjoyable beer, past its best but still very drinkable

eric5bellies, Aug 05, 2012
Photo of alcstradamus
4.4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very murky copper/orange color with a finger of thick head and good lacing.

The aroma is a blast of fresh tropical fruit....grapefruit, pineapple, mango, etc etc. West Coast hoppiness with an East Coast blast of sweet caramel maltiness hiding deep in the background.

The flavor is full of bitter pine hoppiness and bready malts. I wouldn't necessarily call it balanced, but there is that solid malt backbone. It isn't really an assault of hops like I may have anticipated, but it is borderline...ok, after a few more sips I take that back. Definitely a hop assault. Bitterness all over my mouth and in the finish, pine resin and floral notes from front to back.

The body is medium to medium/full and carbonation is low, just how I like it.

Drinkability is solid for me, especially considering this isn't one of my top styles. I would definitely stick this beer in the upper echelon of DIPA's, although once you get past a certain point I have a tough time saying any single one is better than the other.

WOW....6 months ago when I was staring at the old BA Top 100 and trying to tick the whole thing I remember seeing a few monsters on the list that were going to be damn near impossible to get. Heady Topper was one of those monsters. Never did I think that before the end of 2010 I would be staring at a glass of it in the comfort of my own home. Thank you Jim for making this happen (and thanks to The Alchemist for bottling it!)

alcstradamus, Dec 09, 2010
Photo of LaCoursiere
4.4/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to mtardiff for sending me a 4 pk. No canned on date. Against the recommendation on the can, I poured into a snifter.

A - A slightly aggressive pour yields a dirty tangerine color with a 1-finger head. It's quite hazy, and you can't see any carbonation. The head retention isn't great, and very little remains once it dissipates. Minimal lacing does not stick.

S - Boom! It's a tropical fruit storm. Lots of pineapple and grapefruit and a hint of lime. So much fruit it's tough to detect any malt character.

T - Juicy grapefruit and orange with honey sweetness, a whisper of malt, then a pine bitter onslaught. Yum.

M - Lighter bodied and slick with light carbonation. The hop oils really coat and there is a slight alcohol warmth.

O/D - I had heard alot about this beer and read outstanding reviews. In my opinion it really lived up the hype. I was able to savor a four pack. Too bad it's not easier to get because I will always want this beer.

LaCoursiere, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of route66pubs
4.4/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours a good orange color with very few bottles, and miniscule what head that quickly fades away. not bad, but unimpressive.

S - huge pine aroma that is quickly and easily enjoyable. massively beautiful from the get-go, with underlying citrus notes. a perfect, varied aroma that promises wonderful delights within

T - slight pine taste, bit of grapefruit, pure hops abound. I wish I knew them better to know what they were exactly, but they are marvelous.

M - hops present an extremely bitter mouthfeel and extreme crispness, presenting a cleansing of the palate. very enjoyable, but perhaps a bit too much crispness lacking balance.

D - very nice, but perhaps lacking a bit of malt balance making this a bit more difficult to enjoy. still, having this EVERY night would never cause me a problem

route66pubs, Dec 11, 2010
Photo of orangesol
4.4/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Deuane for giving me one of his cans so I can finally taste the heady. Can poured into a standard pint.

A - Pours slightly hazed amber orange with a small half finger tall white head leaving small wisps of lace down the glass. It does have a little sediment floating around in there.

S - Smells of pungent grassy hops, rich tropical fruits; mostly mango and grapefruit; and some lightly toasted caramel malt. Still quite floral.

T - The taste is fairly similar to the nose. It starts off with a big dose of grassy hops quickly giving way to a mix of tropical fruits and sweet caramel malts. Fairly tropical flavor that is very easy to drink. The finish is a mix of light dryness and hop bitterness, lingering on the pallet for a short period of time.

M - Medium body and flavor with moderately low carbonation. Smooth, hoopy, feel with plenty of hop bitterness lingering through the finish.

O - Very nice IPA. I had no problem finishing my glass and I was left wanting more. The balance of juicy fruit and grassy hops to the slightly sweet malt is very nice. I hope to try this one on-tap some day soon.

orangesol, Nov 07, 2011
Photo of jduff
4.4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this beer in a pint glass from the can and directly out of the can (as the label suggests). Liked it better in the glass. It is by far one of the finest beers I've ever had. Excellent pour brilliant finish. Place it up there with Pliney the Elder.

jduff, May 31, 2012
Photo of macrosmatic
4.4/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ActonBrewer for this one. Reviewed from notes. Drank from the can (as instructed).

A: I did pour a little bit into a pint glass to see what it looked like. Light yellowish color. It looked hazy, even with the small pour.

S: Pine and citrus hops predominate a really nice aroma profile. On a side note, I did feel a little self-conscious trying to smell through the opening in the can.

T: Flavor follows the nose well. Citrus hops predominate.

M: A bit on the heavy side for an IIPA. Also is somewhat less bitter than I expected.

O: Really good IIPA. Couldn't tell you the last time I had a beer out of a can, but I can promise you it wasn't anywhere close to this tasty! Would definitely like to have again.

macrosmatic, May 21, 2012
Photo of scottyb88
4.4/5  rDev -7%

scottyb88, Sep 09, 2014
Photo of brureview
4.4/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured in a tulip at the British Beer Company in Walpole, MA.

There was a lot of drum roll about this beer. It is not sold in stores
in the Boston area, and a limited number of bars served it starting last week. There is a limited availability.

The beer is served in a can and was not too cold- a good start.
The directions on the can recommend against drinking it in a glass in order to savor the hops.

This is the IPA lovers dream beer. It's the hoppiest beer I have smelled and tasted.

I preferred it in the glass. The color was a very light amber and it pours a small head.

The smell of hops is overwhelming. A wonderful lemony finish with a slight sour bitterness.

There is a lot of thoughtful artistic brewing in this beer. It is a highly unusual beer.

I am not a big fan of IPAs. It's not my style. However, if this beer is available, one shouldn't miss the opportunity to savor it.

brureview, Feb 13, 2012
Photo of Apellonious
4.4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

16 oz can poured into...wait...not pouring it anywhere.

A - A glorious silver with black lettering and artwork.

S - Floral and dank hops. Onion and faint malts.

T- Hops, funky with some faint onion and herbal notes, and balanced with some sweet malts. Definitely hop forward.

M - Carbonation above average. Mouthfeel is spot on. Somewhat sharp on the finish.

O - A pleasure to drink. Thanks to Rick G for making it possible.

Apellonious, Jul 05, 2014
Photo of Colby8938
4.4/5  rDev -7%

Colby8938, Sep 02, 2014
Photo of Urbancaver
4.4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

At Kuhnhenn winter solstice (thanks to whomever shared this!)

Appearance- Copper and orange. Clear crisp and a really nice head. Definitely a solid looking DIPA.

Smell- lots of great hops on the nose. Pine, grapefruit, a hint of citrus. The pine was a bit too much I think but otherwise a very pleasant aroma.

Taste- nice malt backbone supporting a great hop profile. Very tasty with all the different citrus and pine flavours coming off the hops but falls short I think of Pliny and Hopslam. Smells better than it tastes I think

Mouthfeel- decent carbonation, about the right thickness I think. Would be better on cask

Drinkability- a bit of bitterness and the overly pine nose turns me off to this one a bit

Urbancaver, Jan 14, 2011
Photo of sayork
4.4/5  rDev -7%

sayork, Oct 11, 2014
Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 8,689 ratings.