Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

Heady Topper - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Heady TopperHeady Topper

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

1,987 Reviews
THE BROS
95
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,987
Hads: 11,148
rAvg: 4.67
pDev: 7.28%
Wants: 8,228
Gots: 3,648 | FT: 56
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 (10) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Heady Topper Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,987 | Hads: 11,148
Photo of timc100
4.69/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A: Perfect looking unfiltered IPA. Completely opaque due to dense haze - the color is a beautiful blend of sunshine and orange juice. A nice, slightly off white head coats the top of the beer and leaves great sticky lacing.

S: Holy shit - has so many layers of flavors. I have never experienced an aroma fly out of the bottle/can before like this - smacks you in the face. Incredibly clean and fresh. Sweet pink grapefruit, bitter grapefruit rind, outrageously fresh pine and a touch of resin. Some orange juice and mango that blends with the sticky astringency. So much going on, I am not able to do it justice through my description. Just overwhelmingly fresh and clean, balanced with bitterness and astringency.

T: Huge, full, intense, completely fulfilling. I actually find drinking from the can is notably better, just too bad you can't look at it that way. A blast of fresh pine, sweet pink grapefruit and bitter grapefruit, much more astringency than on the nose and decently bitter. Incredibly balanced and outrageously flavorful.

P: Hard to say this, but almost the best part. Smooth and creamy - fullest bodied IPA I've come across, and one of the smoothest beers in general.

O: I, as all who haven't had this beer before, have had this on the top of my wants. Almost always this type of hype gets in the way of truly enjoying the beer as an unreachable mark has been set. Well, this destroyed any mark I could have imagined for myself. Truly an amazing beverage and one of the best tasting anythings I've ever had. (1,531 characters)

Photo of caskstrength
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After several cans, time for a review.

Pours a murky, chunky orange. For those of us who like pulp in our fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, it's perfect.

S: Explodes out of the can with juicy fresh citrus fruit, grapefruit dominant, with pine sap weaving into the citrus rinds. Some peaches there too. Bitter, sweet, fresh, all intermingled.

T: Bright, zesty, fresh, popping citrus and pine. I can't decide who's in charge, but it doesn't matter. Jordan and Pippen. Hetfield and Hammett. Farrar and Tweedy. The sweetness (peaches!) works with the resin which works with the bitterness which works with the pine which works with the fruit. Intense flavors bouncing around, all settling in their proper places on the tongue. A wonderfully choreographed dance on the palate.

M: Sticky, sweet, bitter, fresh, and clean (yes, all of those). Lingers just enough as it sticks to enamel. OK if you want to drink slowly, but I hate drinking this beer slowly.

O: I wouldn't change a thing. (984 characters)

Photo of HoppyKilaMonster
4.9/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured out of a can, 1 day after canning.

A- A hazy Apricot color. Not too much head.

S- A sweet hoppy aroma, not too bitter on the nose

T- A lot of things going on. Fresh Hops, and a lot of them! Grapefruit, a mild citrus, finished off slightly bitter.

M- Very crisp, good amount of carbonation, a little bit of bitterness on the back end.

O- A great DIPA. One of the best I have ever had. This needs to be drank fresh. It does make a difference. (453 characters)

Photo of Mattys21
4.88/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Just straight up awesome.
The nose is fresh floral hops in your face...smack!!!
Then taste is straight hop central...like if you had a handful of them and just took a huge whiff...so powerful and fresh. Sweet, hoppy, bitter, citrusey.
Love this beer...bottom line. A+ (268 characters)

Photo of Rinkor16
4.63/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So I've had Heady Topper before. Figured I'd finally review it. This review is going to be pretty harsh since I drink PtE regularly on tap at the pub.

A: Very cloudy and hazy orange. Nice head that dissipated slowly.

S: Tons of citrus, hops and pine.

T: Taste is mostly what I expected. Huge hop bomb with lots of citrus and pine. Extremely well balanced and no out of place tastes.

M: Very smooth and medium bodied. Right amount of carbonation.

O: I love this beer. It definitely is worth of the top 10. Now is it worthy of number 1? Ehhh that is definitely debatable. (574 characters)

Photo of JamesShoemaker
3.87/5  rDev -17.1%
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. (1,770 characters)

Photo of DaveAnderson
4.78/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 2.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First off, many thanks to SammyJaxxxx who sent me some of this out of the blue.

This may be the most hyped beer I have ever tried. The can instructs me not to put it in a glass. I put some in a glass anyway, because I want to compare. It tastes great in both, but the glass reveals the true reason for the warning. This is one ugly beer. But seriously, who cares?

Back to what matters. It smells great, both in and out of the can. It tastes like it should be the IPA reference type. As I drink it, I can't imagine a way to improve it. Carbonation is good, it's not a sticky mess -- in short, this lives up to the hype.

Just don't look at it. (644 characters)

Photo of Hendry
4.08/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"Grapefruit Bomb" is a highly overused term, yet it pretty much nails the flavor of Heady Topper: so many of the super hopped-up ales have a strong bitter aftertaste.HT has just the right combination of pleasant bitterness on the palate and carbonation, making it a superbly brewed DIPA, one that is very drinkable,and most enjoyable from start to finish.

The unpasteurized unfiltered Heady drinks like a meal, is chewy and not suited to chugging, but is completely satisfying

If you are lucky enough to get your hands on a 4 pack, you may well find yourself enjoying each can more than the last one (like myself), especially after making the rounds with other DIPA offerings in between tastings. Wait until at least can #3 before writing a review, and try other DIPAs in between: you may agree that Heady Topper comes out on top!

HT has become one of the few elite DIPAs by which all others are judged, worth the legendary Pliny status (though completely different in character). This top notch DIPA is readily available to me fresh from the "cannery" and I am looking for someone with fresh Hopslam and/or Zombie Dust to trade. (1,133 characters)

Photo of bcm75
4.54/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I will agree with what's been said - this isn't the prettiest beer. But of the reviewing categories, it's certainly the least important factor to me. Drank mostly from the can, but poured a bit into a tulip to see what it looks like. Wonderful hop aroma and taste. It's easy to be disappointed by heavily-hyped beers but this doesn't disappoint. (345 characters)

Photo of YieldToNothing
4.96/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

poured half into a mini tulip, drinking the rest from the can.
i first tried this beer a couple of days ago and was blown away, now i'm having my second one and last for a while....
pours a copper orange, with a foamy head. not the prettiest beer in the world.
smells fantastic, citrus notes, like all good DIPAs, but the taste...
like biting into a grapefruit. i personally prefer it out of the can, it retains a certain crispness that just isn't there when i sip from the tulip.
this is a great beer. believe the hype (519 characters)

Photo of SeaOfShells
4.7/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

16 oz. can directly from the vessel to my mouth. I poured a fraction for appearance.

A: Golden honey color with a white head. Pretty typical for the style.

S: A remarkable achievement in the aroma department. This is the beer that I will use to judge all others on aroma. Pungent, stinging hops, with a balanced biscuity, bready backbone. Pure citrus hops, and dense pine. A pleasure for the senses.

T: You know, being from Southern CA, I see a lot of IPAs come and go. We have quite a few to chose from after all. Most don't live up to the hype, but a few do. This is one of those few. I haven't experienced grapefruit bitterness like this in a beer before. It's honestly like biting into a ripe grapefruit. I love my IPAs bold and pungent, and this delivers more than any other. A bitter assault.

M: Again, this is average for the style. Medium bodied and good carbonation helps to scrub the palate, but in the end, the hops win. Leaves a hop coating.

O: yeah, it's as good as they say, and maybe even better. And I still have a can left. (1,047 characters)

Photo of cradke
4.92/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Review is done on can that was picked up from Alchemist and delivered with less than 2 weeks on it. Ratings are done from beer out of can as is intended to be drank.

Appearance: I think the can logo is pretty sweet... (only knock is because it's not 'beautiful' as some beers are. I know it's unfiltered and 'floaties' are part of the reason it's supposed to be drank which would normally knock appearance.)

Smell(Can): Pure, unadulterated sweet pine. Holy. Buckets

Taste (Can): Wow. Just pure hoppiness. So much more sweet and balanced, lively almost.

Mouthfeel: Light, Air-y. Great Carbonation. Damm.

Overall: Wow. I just can't even put to words how good this beer is. Just, perfect almost. The hop level is amazing (724 characters)

Photo of yankeepride
4.38/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The first words I heard about this from a cicerone buddy was "please, don't drink it from the can like they say." So, I poured 80% into a glass and left the rest in the can. After it hit the glass, I understood the desire for the can. The unfiltered, resin-floating view was less than flattering. But, I figured, two million people can't all be wrong. So I took a whiff, and enjoyed the crisp, apricot notes coming back at me. Nothing piney, no citrus, just clean. Next was where the rubber meets the road - the taste. My wife summed it up best, when she said "wow, an IPA I wouldn't have to pair with food to drink!" I absolutely agree. It's perfectly brewed, and is surely the best, most balanced IPA I've ever had. First taste threatens to turn into piney hops in your mouth, yet never does. It just slides away, leaving you with a tasty, refreshing treat that doesn't stay past its welcome. Now I know why this is such a revered brew, and why people love to have more than one at a time. It's just that inviting, and one I wish was closer to me in availability. (1,065 characters)

Photo of nimrod979
4.72/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

No can date but I know it's pretty fresh from the source. Drank about half from the can as it says to do so numerous times. Poured the other half into a DFH snifter.

Appearance: Quite hazy unfiltered orange-ish color. Plenty of sediment. Medium sized white head. Decent retention. with some sudsy lacing.

Aroma: Good blend of citrus and pine lead it off and carry all the way to the finish.

Taste: Juicy hops, Mandarin oranges, grapefruit, and a tropical blend followed by layers of pine resin. delicious well done DIPA. Fresh flavor. Pretty much perfection. Delivers on hops, bitterness and flavor all while being completely drinkable.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with an exceptional drinkability. Never comes across as too bitter. Carbonation is soft though perfect for what this beer needs. Glad & thankful I finally got an opportunity to try this one. Something I would look forward to drinking for years to come. (916 characters)

Photo of lic217
4.54/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Looks like orange juice, nice lingering head
Smell: Tropical fruit, floral, sweet,orange
Taste: Sweet start and finishes dry/bitter, bitterness does not linger, tropical fruit, dank,floral, slight citrus,orange
Feel: Perfect, soft, full bodied, outstanding
Overall: It is a sought after beer for a reason. I have had 3 HF hoppy beers, second fiddle, sip of sunshine, julius and tribute this week. Heady is not only the best, but also the most unique. The conan yeast makes it one of a kind... (501 characters)

Photo of drrone
4.81/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a tulip, no I didn't leave it in the can.

A - A beautiful golden copper hue. It liberated a 2 finger width white head, that slowed disappated and left a sparse crown of lace. Plenty of protein floating that eventually settled at the bottom of the glass.

S - A great hop blast, with citrus and pine. I just keep wanting to smell it. Awesome.

T - Damn, the hoppiness that you expect, but very well balanced. Bitter, but not overly so. Fantastic hop dose with a tasty citrus component to it.

M- Smooth, light/medium bodied. Finishes crisp and delicious.

O - Man, what a beer. I love my D/IIPA's and this is the best I've had. It certainly had a lot of floaties, but that didn't bother me, but I can see how it might be off putting to people. I got this in a trade and I'm glad that I have 2 left, but I would love to taste this on tap. Amazing beer, one you must try. I can see why it is numero uno. (917 characters)

Photo of TallSaint
4.78/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

April 14th, 2013

In the nose pungent grapefruit, citrus, mango and other tropical fruits dominate. There's a bit of biscuit-y malt underneath.

On the palate the hops are very bright; layers and layers of hops barrage the palate. Grapefruit upfront then a bit of pine in the midpalate, then citrus with nice clean, sweet malty finish. The sweet malt balances out the hops and their bitterness excellently. It's dense and extremely well rounded on the palate.

Absolutely incredible. Best DIPA I've ever had, hands down. It has a hop profile like no other, its so vibrant and juicy. (583 characters)

Photo of beermemyfriend
4.81/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Heavenly. The stuff you dream about. Like anything else in VT, very, very fresh. I had it at Prohibition Pig in Waterbury on tap. Haven't stopped thinking about it since. I'll be with everyone else, on the road to VT just to get some as it's only available there. It's that good. (279 characters)

Photo of bpd6120
4.94/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm enjoying a Heady Topper right now. All around, its an incredible drink. It's become the beer that I judge other beers against. The flavor is bone deep, The aftertaste stays with me for minutes. When swishing it around in my mouth it turns into this delicious creamy foam. Its what I want other beers to taste like. Man, this is the real deal. I can't think of anything I don't like about the stuff.
I'm giving it a 4 for appearance because I prefer to drink from glasses, which i'm discouraged from doing. (509 characters)

Photo of CommanderOfAwesome
4.68/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

No date on the can, drank the first half from the can, poured second half into a snifter.

A: Drank the first half from the can like they recommend, the can is a sight for sore eyes but hard to judge a beer's appearance on that. When poured into a snifter....my god what a sloppy looking beer. Solids all over the place. Color of orange juice with tons of floaters. Didn't want to dock the beer too much, but honestly it's not an appealing looking beer.

S: Holy shit, its literally like smelling a bag of hops. I opened a bag of hops next to it to make sure my mind wasn't playing tricks on me. It's a hop bomb, like no other beer I have ever smelled in my life. When poured into a snifter, the aroma gets more floral and closer to other DIPAs on the market. In the can though, wow. Citrus and pine, along with some sweet tropical fruits, but they're all sitting backseat on Mr. toad's wild ride to the hops. Bam! Hops in your face.

T: A bitter assault on your palate. This beer is a palate wrecker like I've never seen. Bitter hop finish, pine crisp bite, along with some sweet fruit to help round it out.

M: Had side by side with a 2 day old Pliny. Made Pliny seem thin and watery by comparison. Thick, full bodied with a long lingering bitter finish that changes with the amount of breathes after a sip.

O: This beer lived up to the hype in that it blew my mind. It reminded me of the first time I had a sip of beer when I was about 10 yrs old, except that I liked it. As an avid IPA fan, I've been around the block the a few times and this was like the first time I had an IPA. Literally have tasted nothing like it before. However, my goodness, this beer made me full and bloated. Anything but drinkable. I got through the can just fine, but I did not want another. Also, the appearance of the beer in my glass is one of the worst I have seen. Even a shaken up belgium beer isn't this bad. Not sure if that's necessary to achieve the hop profile or not, but seems a bit sloppy to me. Def worth checking out and a fantastic world class brew, one like I have never experienced before. Big thanks to SanFranJake for hooking me up with 4 cans. (2,153 characters)

Photo of BltByKrmn
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've tried many many IPAs and there's only 1 that has come close to Heady. It really is the most amazingly over the top yet balanced IPA I've ever tried. (153 characters)

Photo of Synergy87
4.9/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to sirsteve42 for the trade.

This can of Heady Topper is 5 days old from the cannery. I truly wish this wasn't a Vermont only beer.

A - Bad assery, silver can that has instructions on it explaining why you should drink it from the can. The aroma burst you get from pouring will let out too many essential volatiles that should stay in the can. I have no problem drinking this beer straight from the can as the Alchemist Brewery suggests. Though if you pour this baby out, it isn't very pretty given its unpasteurized, unfiltered, and pouring it stirs up the sediment from the bottom of the can. Lets be honest, this is best left in the can.

Smell - Grass after a morning rain, fresh hops, pine. This aroma is ridiculously awesome. Best smelling IIPA I've ever had the privilege of smelling.

Taste - Almost indescribable... It is so balanced, it is hard to pick out individual flavors as they've melded together. Then again, if I focus on the flavors hard enough, it is the taste of multiple hop varieties, pine up front and a deliciously smooth dry citrus finish. This is hands down my favorite IIPA. The west coast may have Pliny the Elder but the East Coast has Heady. God damn this is one tasty beer.

Mouthfeel - As good as the taste and aroma are, the mouth feel is almost nitro tap like, but slightly more carbonated. Think of foam from a beer but with more consistency, almost creamy. Its extremely smooth and light to medium bodied, which blows my mind given the flavors and aroma.

Overall - This is the most deserving hype beer I've ever had, and hands down my favorite IIPA and beer. If I had access to this, this would be my go to beer. I cannot praise this beer anymore, the orgasmic aroma, perfectly balanced taste, and amazing mouthfeel make this way to easily drinkable for 8% abv. As I end this review, I have already finished this pint in a can. Wow! Looks like the wife and I are going to need to plan a trip to the east coast and hit up the cannery. You should seek this beer out at all costs. (2,026 characters)

Photo of lunarbrew
4.63/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Finally got around to writing the full review of this guy. I'm glad I waited; now I have a full mode of comparison after trying some of, what I consider to be, the best iipas out there (DS, S&S4, Ephraim, and Abner). Beer pours hazy amber into a Duvel tulip. Has a slight red glow.

Heady is certainly aromatic, but it doesn't quite stack up to the others in this regard. For some reason, the nose is a tad muted. Notes of pineapple, mango, honey, and candi sugar. A bit of pine, but mostly citrus. I can almost smell that this is a Vermont ipa. What is it about these damn Vermont beers!? What's the secret!?

Taste is rich and just as delicious as the others. Where it falls sort is on complexity. I get a lot of sweetness from all of the tropical fruit flavors, but it isn't quite dry enough for my taste. I think it could be a tad more balanced with a bit less sweetness or more bitterness (which is such a ridiculous thing to say! This is Heady Topper!) Nonetheless, the flavor is brilliant and so tasty.

Mouthfeel ranks up there with the rest. Creamy, medium-full bodied (especially for an iipa). Extra-drinkable.

Overall, this falls just short of the aforementioned brews for me. However, it does edge out Pliny in my book. I get the hype and I love its [relative] accessibility. It's always a treat to drink this, and I plan to have some in my fridge as long as it's being brewed! (1,392 characters)

Photo of chrisgalvin
4.35/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Living in San Francisco (a couple of miles from Toronado) I've been privy to a lot of "West Coast IPAs," PtE, PtY, etc. The Heady Topper defiantly can hold it's own in this category and tak ehte top spot in the Top 250.

The HT has a fantastic smell, great mouthfeel with wonderful malt and hop balance and a nice finish. Seriously, once of the best DIPAs. (357 characters)

Photo of RichardMNixon
5/5  rDev +7.1%

Had it first from the can in VT, once more in PA.
As commonly stated, it doesn't look that impressive. Very pale and cloudy, decent head. For a beer this good, who cares?
Smells fruitier than some beers with actual fruit in them. If this was sold as an air freshener, I would buy it.
The fruit comes through just as strong in the taste, very tropical and sweet balanced by steady bitterness throughout the whole sip. Some crisp, snappy malt comes through later in the glass after your tongue has numbed to the hops.
Mouthfeel isn't terribly thick, but very oily, coating the tongue and leaving the flavors to chew on. Way, way too drinkable for an 8% beer, or for a beer you know you won't have again for months/years.
I've had a number of beers that didn't live up to the hype. This one does. (796 characters)

Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 1,987 ratings.