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Heady Topper - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Heady TopperHeady Topper

Educational use only; do not reuse.

9,890 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,890
Reviews: 1,897
rAvg: 4.74
pDev: 6.96%
Wants: 7,023
Gots: 2,670 | FT: 41
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 (14) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 9,890 | Reviews: 1,897 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.29/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Heady Topper-The Alchemist-Vermont. Ale. Alc. 8% by Vol.,1 pint.

"Heady Topper is an American Double India Pale Ale. This beer is not intended to be the biggest of most bitter. It is meant to give you wave after wave of hoppy goodness on your palate. Tremendous amounts of American hops will creep up on you, and leave you with a dense hoppy finish in your mouth. So drinkable, it scary.
Sometime I wish I could crawl right into the can. Fresh ness and control have always been my main concern when it comes to our beer. We are committed to providing you with an unfiltered and unpasteurized hop experience. Why do I recommend that you drink it from the can? Quite simply, to ensure a delightful, hop experience. The act of pouring it into a glass smells nice, but it releases the essential hop aromas that we have worked so hard to retain. If you MUST pour it into a glass, you may find that some of the hop resins have settled to the bottom --leave them in the can when pouring. This beer is perishable, and at it's best when young, fresh, and hazy. Keep it cold but not ice cold. Drink this beer immediately we are always making more. --John Kimmich, The Alchemist, Waterbury, Vermont."

Bullcrap, it's going into a glass, because I MUST.

It's a hazy one, a deep orange/apricot color, not bright, not golden, but clearly it's own thing. It is what it is. The head is a gigantic, prodigious, brogdignagian thing, mushroom capped, blooming with chalk white froth, lace-leaving and slow to leave. Gorgeous look on it.

Aroma: funky, musty, wicked, and weird. I'm at a loss. Thinking about Belgian yeast, thinking about putting a mare to bed. And then the typical hop aromatics creep out, some orange, some mango, grapefruit. None too bitter, either, not too brash, bold or out of control. Juuust right. A delight for the nose.

Taste: Jumps on the tongue and spills out brilliant hoppy flavor. Tingles the tongue in all right ways. Trickles over the palate, leaving happy hop deliciousness everywhere. …"from the can!"…not as complex, not as …gosh, is there a difference? or are we fooling ourselves? From the can, you get the hop blast, you get the flavor, you get the buzz, it's creamy and palatable…but you don't get everything. It's like having sex with a sock on your man, it's just not bringing it all home, if you know what I mean. I wonder why The Alchemist wants to cover this beer up, hide it in a can? Are they trying to elude the look of the brew, do they think people will dislike the chaos and disarray, the multitude of floating particles, as if it's unnatural and ugly?

Full-bodied, long bitter finish. Really tasty, very satisfying and delicious. Best IPA of all? Naaah…

Photo of justme
4.3/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of dboon
4.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Can, thanks Seth! Hazy burnt orange pour with an off white head. Pine and citrus aromas. Outstanding balance, with smooth pine and resiny hop notes off set by a sturdy caramel malt backbone. Light citrus and floral undercurrents. Just a great freakin’ DIPA, and from a can. Kudos to the Alchemist Pub and Brewery...

Photo of grub
4.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

got this one in a trade with freud. huge thanks man!

22oz bottle. bottled 11/30/2010. sampled 12/11/2010.

pours hazy orangey amber with a big fluffy off-white head. haze is likely due to pouring the entire bottle including the dregs. the head drops slowly and leaves tons of lace as it falls.

aroma is great. there be hops in there! candied grapefruit and orange. pine. layers of tangerine, apricot, and perhaps even some pineapple. light alcohol. white bread, cracker, and a bit of biscuit. caramel. touch of butterscotch hiding in the background.

taste is good. citrus and pine with a solid malt backbone. grapefruit and orange. bit of tangerine. resiny pine. whole wheat bread and biscuit. bit of cracker. light alcohol. just above medium bitterness level. caramel with a bit of the butterscotch that i noticed in the aroma. the other hoppy layers from the aroma are still present, but at a more subdued level. herbal and earthy hop layers start to appear here, giving it a bit of an english dimension to an otherwise american brew.

mouthfeel is great. just above medium body with a nice dry hoppy finish. medium carbonation level.

drinkability is great. the bitterness never overpowers the solid malt footing. the alcohol is almost unnoticed until a little warmth starts to grow in my stomach around mid-glass. nice hoppy depth. i enjoy the balance of this one - certainly not a palate shredder, and not as in-your-face as some, but it's got much more repeatability as a result. good stuff!

Photo of TMoney2591
4.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Rogue shaker pint glass.

Big thanks to apollokim for this can!

The big guns keep on showing up for this Super Bowl party! This one pours a rusty tawn topped by over a finger of cream foam. The nose comprises ruby red grapefruit zest, yellow grapefruit peel, orange zest, strong pine resin, light leek, and buttery toffee (think Crunch 'n' Munch). The taste brings in more of the same, though the pine, leek, and citrus peels come through stronger, taking things in an ever-so-slightly bitterer direction. Things are still very well-balanced, though. The body is a lithe medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a slightly creamy feel. Overall, a damn fine, nicely-balanced DIPA. Good times. (Note: We tried this both in the glass and straight out of the can. There was no consensus, as about half preferred the can and half preferred the glass. I was in the latter, though it wasn't a strong preference by any means.)

Photo of chilly460
4.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a straw yellow, very hazy, with a foamy two finger white head. Speckled lacing clings nicely.

S - Smells like concentrated hops, very pungent. Got quite a bit of clean smelling pine, with a unique citrus edge to it. Couldn't put my finger on it, but goes beyond normal orange/grapefruit. No real malt could be picked up in the aroma.

T - Grapefruit hits immediately, nice full ripe taste. Quite bitter, definite clean pine tones in there too for sure. Flavor hits hard in this beer. Malts are there, very dry biscuit.

M - Typical for the style, medium body with midrange carbonation.

O - Really enjoyed this one, just bursts with flavor.

Photo of AaronDio
4.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of beergod1
4.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Yet another brew I had, but for some reason didn't rate it right after I had it. Pours a hazy amber color with a big white head and nice lacing. Aroma is citrus, grapefruit hops. Medium body with average carbonation. Excellent citrus hop flavor with a nice malt balance and a nice bitter hop finish. Taste is similar to some west coast DIPAs. Which is not a bad thing! This is Delicious.

Photo of dank203
4.3/5  rDev -9.3%

Really enjoyed this but I do think it is slightly overrated. The initial burst of hop flavor is something I will always remember. But the thrill only seemed to last halfway through the can, or my palate just got used to it. Its an aggressive beer for sure and really well crafted.

Photo of Steasy66
4.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drinking from the can because the can said so. Poured 25cl into a Boulevard tulip so I can judge the appearance and try it from a glass.

A- Wheaty yellow, lots of floating particles, 1 finger thick white head.
S- Very floral, sweet, a bit earthy.
T- Dank hops, somewhat floral, citrus, bitter but ballanced by a light sweetness.
M- Right consistency, a bit lumpy, could use a bit more carbonation.
O- Looks like homebrew gone bad, but smells and tastes amazing. Only thing I would really change is to up the carbonation just a bit.

Photo of brydeen
4.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a rich orange color, with a nice inch thick white head. Tons of sediment floating in the glass. Gives the appearance that they're suspended in a jello mold. Not the most appetizing start.

S: A tropical paradise. Loads of mango and pineapple right off the bat, with a faint piney aroma in the background. Very sweet smell.

T: A nice bitter hop bite on the initial sip. Nice juicy sweetness follows, with mango being the most noticeable fruit flavor. Really nice balance between the sweetness and bitterness.

M: Rich, creamy, full bodied DIPA. Carbonation is very subtle. Much thicker than you'd expect. Almost chewy. Alcohol is noticeable, but not overpowering.

O: Extremely tasty, flavorful brew. Doesn't jump out as the "best beer in the world" to me however, as the ratings show. Very good, but visually unappealing, and heavier than I'd prefer, but that's just nitpicking

Photo of PsilohsaiBiN
4.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can from unknown production date:

Smell: Strong smell of orange and some pineapple. Stronger smell than most brews.

Appearance: I started drinking this out of the can as recommended, but couldn't help myself and finally poured it in my trusty beer glass. There is a ton of shit floating around in this beer! Damn! A nice two finger head with shaving cream thick foaminess is prominent. The head thins as you drink the beer, but this is more than made up for by the awesome lacing that lines the glass till the beer is gone.

Mouthfeel: Somewhat chewy with a bit of weight to it, yet this is a good thing for me as I will drink a lot of any beer, be it light or heavy, long as it tastes good.

Taste: I honestly must say, this is unlike any IPA I've ever had. It has this unique, sweet thing going on in the beginning that I can't quite put my finger on(combo of grapefruit, orange and apple?) and then balances itself out in the end, with a slightly bitter finish that is expected of an IPA.

Overall: Definitely a unique IPA. The beginning of this thing's taste is what sets it apart from the rest for me. It starts off with that unique flavor, then finishes with it gently, and fades out nicely. Give credit to The Alchemist for producing a unique brew that leans toward the heavy side but is definitely drinkable. Good stuff.

Photo of Lillie1128
4.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasted on 7/18

A - Pours a cloudy amber with a big white fluffy head and some ridiculous lacing

S - Yeast, hops, a little citrus

T - Orange notes, BIG hop bite that actually isn't overwhelming

M - medium, lightly carbonated

D - medium

This beer is very complex, but surprisingly light and refreshing for its hoppiness

Photo of Seabass1964
4.3/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of Maxwell
4.31/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: The beer pours a yellowed brown, like cloudy dehydrated piss. With a thick bubbly eggshell white head with good retention. Lacing is light and droopy, only lasting for a short while above the head.

Smell: Smell is super strong in piney hops with a slight citrusy tinge. A mellower light malty tinge seems to hide itself in the edges of the smell, but for the most part the smell is dominated with floral hops.

Taste: Super bitter with hops, this beer is achingly crisp on the tongue with just an overwhelming sense of bitter from start to finish. Slight citrusy notes can still be felt if you swish the beer around in the mouth, but overall it is just an overwhelming pine based bitter. I also took a couple pulls from the can, since that is what the can demanded, and was surprised to find more fruity notes being accentuated by the can. While still crisp and bitter I detect better note of citrusy flavor. Overall this beer is very heavy in its hops.

Mouthfeel: My initial sip from the cup was harshly bitter on the tongue. The beer is quite watery and smooth on the mouth. It definitely fizzles with bitterness as is peaks over the back of your tongue. The beer is less harsh when drank from the can, with the fruitier notes causing nice freshness on the tongue.

Overall: Great IPA. Fantastic floral hopping with a great hop-filled taste. This is a beer I would have again. The 8% alcohol content, and high drinkability also make this beer phenomenal.

Photo of Drsven
4.31/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Tough call on this beer. I received two fresh cans overnight that were both kept cold the entire time. One can tasted awesome, but the second had a smoky almost burnt flavor to it. I've talked to a friend that had a similar experience. My rating would be much higher if both cans had tasted the same.

Photo of Vincev27
4.31/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of LSUPT
4.31/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16oz can poured to a Duvel Tulip.

Very aggressive pour yields a 1” white head. Ok retention and some webs of lacing. Very cloudy medium amber with a hint of orange when held to light.

Way too cold when a first poured it but as it warms the nose greatly improves. Quite complex and stronger as it warms: tropical up front, mango and slight pineapple, with a big juicy hop presence and slight pine and malt. Taste doesn’t quite live up to the nose. Grapefruit makes an appearance here along with the mango pineapple and big juicy hops but the bitterness is just not really balanced here it builds and builds and really hurts the aftertaste and mouthfeel but is still pretty good. Low carbonation, medium bodied and creamy.

Overall, this is still an elite DIPA but having this right after Bad Boy did not help its case. Medium drinkability with the odd aftertaste but still up there near the top of the DIPA mountain.

Photo of 1Adam12
4.32/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Finally. Pours a hazy light orange. Crazy hoppy smell, citrusy. Taste is really nice. Hoppy, but light for the style. Citrusy. Mouthfeel is really nice n creamy. Overall, over rated. Very solid DIPA, top 5 for sure, but over rated. Num 1 in the world, I think not. Not as hoppy as most from 3 floyds. Seek out 3 floyds before you seek this out.

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.32/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Inflatablechair supplied this one at a recent tasting.... badass... finally, I got to try Heady topper.

Pours a hazed yellow.... nice lacing and retention.

Wow... the nose is pretty damn good... citrus zest... grapefruit... tangerine... maybe some lemon.... balanced just slightly by a light pale malt presence.... smells very fresh and very yummy.

Big bitterness up front quickly moves to a palate blast of citrus hops that have a touch of pine in there.... even some tropical fruitiness is accentuated by a slight pale maltiness... very good.

Body and carbonation are spot-on for the style.

Pretty damn good.... If I could get this regularly, it would be a fridge staple.... Thanks a ton Sammy.


Photo of Didier
4.32/5  rDev -8.9%

Photo of Gobzilla
4.32/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for sharing this one drew

Poured golden orange with yellow highlights that had a half finger of head and left some bubbly lacing sticking to the glass. The aroma was quite piney, grassy, earthy, and hoppy with a good malt prsence but had lots of fruitness as well. I was able to detect a little citrus. Candied sugar. and wood character. The taste was really grassy piney with woody, caramel, and citrus zest accents but did have good sweetness from the malts to balance out the bitterness. The brew was medium in body with a good amount of carbonation which had a sweet, slighty fruity, woody, earthy, hoppy, bitter, and crisp dry finish. It drank above average and was glad to have been able to try this beer. Hopefully this stuff makes it to the west coast some day. Have to say it was a solid IPA from the east coast.

Photo of PeterIngemi
4.32/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank from a 16oz can... Thanks to Brett for giving me this can

A- the can looks beautiful, and clearly states to drink it from the can, which is what i did, the one other time I tries this we split a can between 4 people, I remember it looked nice, but it was too long ago to be specific, and for the review I felt it best to follow the brewers instruction.

S- Smells awesome, grass, resiny pine, a bit of citrus, a very pleasant aroma.

T- piney and resinous just like the nose, a bit of grass and citrus tastes very fresh!!! Very nice balance of flavors working here, delicious hops throughout.

M- medium bodies with medium carbonation, extreemly drinkable, with a slightly bitter finish, kinda chewy on the end too, which i like.
the only part of this that imam not a fan of is the lingering bitter aftertaste, seems to coat the mouth with bitter resins.

O- an excellent dipa, very nice, great aroma and flavor , everything is spot on, the only thing negative I have to say is or the aftertaste, I feel as though this beer is excellently well rounded until that point, and not that it is overly offensive, but it sticks out to me, and seems a bit out of place, I wish there were more of a crisp clean finish.

P.s. in retrospect, I am much more impressed with this straight from the can then I was the first time when I had my portion in a glass.

Photo of BattleRoadBrewer
4.32/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served cold from a 16 oz can into a 7 oz taster. This is contrary to instruction from the brewer to drink straight from the can.

Pours with light-medium body and a modest white head. The room fills with fresh hop aroma as you pour!

Nose is hops. Perfect hop perfection. Usually the nose of an IPA is citrusy, piney, grapefruity, catty, grassy--describable. Heady Topper smells in the glass (or straight from the can) exactly like when you take cones and rub them between your palms! I've never smelled another beer like it; no other beer effuses that overwhelming essence of fresh cones ready to brew with.

Color is hazy straw, almost green, suggestive of a white ale or hefe.

Taste is hop forward but not overwhelming. I've sampled and brewed IPAs with extraordinary flavoring hops, this one does not deaden the tongue, instead it excites the tongue! Neutral to dry finish, no sweetness to mar the hop-forward nectar.

Edit: Myoriginal review sadly sufferd from grade inflation. Tasted side by side with Pliny, the Toppa is missing the clarity and bitterness that make a more perft beer.

Mouthfeel is light-moderate, smooth, easy-drinking, with no evidence of alcohol warmth or fusels. Bitterness is light.

As it warms in the glass, it perfectly maintains its balance. It is a pleasure to drink from start to finish, goes down very easy and smoothly. Wish it had a hint more bitterness, but flavor and aroma are dead on.

Overall an amazingly drinkable beer, one that I enjoy again and again. Literally, because you can actually buy this--any time you want as much as you want (well I saw somebody buy 10 cases the other day--I suppose you could want more...)

I must taste this head to head with PtE--have case will travel, need to hook up with BAs when The Elder is on tap.

12/22/11 edit:
Quoting from the can: "Drink this beer immediately, we are always making more."

This is a no b.s. warning to the wise. If you're drinking old Topper, you're not really drinking Topper. It changes character so much in just a few weeks, loses a lot of the raw-hop-cones-shoved-up-your-nostrils sensation.

Vinnie counsels regarding Pliny the Elder: "Drink fresh, do not age! Pliny the Elder is a historical figure, don't make the beer inside this bottle one ... Age your cheese, not your Pliny ... Pliny is for savoring, not for saving! ... Respect hops, consume fresh!"

This admonishment for Pliny the Elder applies likewise to Heady Topper.

Photo of kenstogie
4.32/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

So I must say I thoroughly enjoyed this beer and it packs a deceiving kick. Though I do think this is a great beer for hop heads and I do enjoy massive doses of that piny spicy flower I am not sure I could give this a 100. Great yes but a 100 no. The best beer not to me.

Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 9,890 ratings.