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Heady Topper | The Alchemist

2,201 Reviews
For Trade:
Heady TopperHeady Topper

Brewed by:
The Alchemist
Vermont, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
"An American Double IPA" 75 IBU 8.0% ABV. "Drink from the can."

Added by scottum on 03-27-2004

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Reviews: 2,201 | Ratings: 12,343
Photo of evanforbeer
4.61/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A friend gave this to me out of nowhere, he said it was canned within the week.
pours an odd, murky brownish orange with lots of sediment chunks floating around and a think white head

aroma- mango, peach, pineapple, fresh grains, some rose, spicy hop zest

taste- sweet citrus hits the palate up from with tangerine and lemons, fresh tropical fruits mango/pineapple, a little hop spice with subtly sweet bready malt. Some berries in there. Finishes with a grip of pine/hop spice and a bit dry-malty

feel- medium bodied, drinkable, mild booze, delicious, juicy, zesty, dry

this is a great beer. Obviously a lot of hype, probably mostly due to its limited availability, but this is probably one of the best IPAs out there. Juicy, resinous, clean. I'm glad I got to try it!

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Photo of TheBungyo
3.32/5  rDev -28.8%
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.

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Photo of vinny21bal
4.56/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very nice IPA. Fresh nose, with tons of citrus. The mouth feel has kind of a oil texture to it. This really is one of the best out there. I have been told that it is not as good if not fresh. I would actually like to try one a couple months old to taste the difference.

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Photo of doddja
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A great hop beer with a smooth finish. The best micro brew I have had yet.
Hard to get, only made in limited runs and available from local shops that limit 1 four pack per customer. So if you want to stock up be ready to travel around and visit several shops. Get there early, they sell out fast.

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Photo of JC333
4.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

I'll start by saying I am first and foremost a Belgian fan but wanted to try heady simply because it was number 1. Definitely one of the best IPAs I have ever had, beating out sculpin and stones enjoy by... The bitterness is non existent and you get swept by the grapefruit and pine flavors immediately. And even after settling a bit, the typical dry ipa bitterness never arrives. A must for every beer fan but with the understanding that there is a hype factor. Once again...I could think of many more Belgians I would prefer.

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Photo of greg1973
3.33/5  rDev -28.5%
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.

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Photo of pgrenvicz
5/5  rDev +7.3%

What can I say? This beer is the reason I joined BA today. Turned on by a friend, i am eager to begin trading for this and other great beers. Heady Topper embodies everything I look for in an IPA. Seriously, this beer has it all. Great aroma, piney, tropical fruit flavored goodness. There is an excellent balance to this machine. Kudos to all at The Alchemist, you have earned my business if you can ever get down to Atlanta!

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Photo of michaelg137
4.92/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First time having this beer thanks to a trade. Soon as i took my first sip i got a blast of hops on the tongue. Hints of pine and grapefruit come through. This is simply one of the best if not the best DIPA out there. Zombie dust is a close second for me. cheers!

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Photo of Darth_Ryan
4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This beer deserves to be at the top of the charts. An incredible refreshing double IPA. As soon as you crack the can open you are delighted with a burst of great smell, taste and hops. Citrus smell and flavor comes through well. The fact it taste so good out of can gets a big thumbs up.

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Photo of Lkell30
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a useless review, I'm no critic but I love heady topper. Got a case the last canning day at their current location. No refined palate here, but I appreciate great beer and I consider ht a leader of the pack. I love the can, I prefer drinking out of a can across the board, and I am no stranger to Budweiser or miller lite. To me all these beers have a place, but as far as double IPA's go, this is my favorite so far.

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Photo of dobmaster
4.91/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Firts time i stop at the alchemist (driving from Ottawa Canada to Cape-Cod) they were out... i was mad. On the way home...they were still out of beer. I was really mad. The free samples were nice...but its more like torture.

Then last week i manage to take a trip down Vermont, Skip the monday craziness lines.
Whent back on thuesday...waited maybe a hour in line. Now im happy :)

This is a great beer! not a big crazy hop megabomb ( i REALY like hop megabomb) but its a very very good beer. Sooo easy to drink, you just want more more and more...Now i actualy think its a good thing that its hard to find and 4 hour drive from my place coz if i ad easy access to this beer ? it could become a problem lol

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Photo of T-34-85
4.91/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Stopped by the brewery as part of a tour around New England, having an onsite sample and picking up a case of cans.

Poured into a balloon glass (tried from can as well):

A: Orange and cloudy with a nice foamy head.

S: Intense and complex hop aroma with citrus and pine notes.

T: Hop bitterness with surprising level of sweetness.

M: Intense mouthfeel that really attacks the tongue.

Overall: Intense beer that leaves you hard pressed to have another right away. Great hop aroma and intense flavor. Worth the effort to get your hands on this beer. Amazing Double IPA.

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Photo of 11JON11MO
4.89/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

OK we made the pilgrimage from the Capital District in NY to Vermont. The Alchemist will not be open to the public past 11/15/13 while they look for another place to open up. Yep it was worth the trip.
A - If you are looking for clear then look for a filtered beer. This is and was meant to be unfiltered. Nicely done
S - Pine, Grapefruit, Citrus very nice smell.
T - Again the Hops shines and the pine, grapefruit taste comes out.
M - Very nice not too much alcohol.
O - very nice almost perfection.

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Photo of xVERITAS
4.66/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The OG of the DIPA world. Had 1 from the can and 1 from a glass.

Pours a murky, shiny orange color. Smells very citrusy and piney. The bitterness is extraordinary. Has a thickness to it that makes it unique but not strange. Easy drinking, making it hard not to just chug it after a long day. Lives up to the hype for sure, and would highly recommend it

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Photo of plaid75
4.64/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured a hazy bronze hue with a two finger frothy white head. There was excellent retention and excellent lacing.

The smell featured waves of balmy pine, grapefruit and pineapple.

The taste was nothing short of a hop laden punch in the mouth. Puckering pine and grapefruit assault the palate initially, with a secondary and somewhat soothing tropical fruit and grainy malt.

The mouthfeel was full and round with a drying bitterness.

An extraordinarily complex use of hop additions makes this one a world class experience. Believe the hype.

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Photo of Scipio
4.89/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Heady Topper from The Alchemist is the counter-point to Pliny the Elder. It's brash, fun, and overpowering. This is not a subtle beer. Truth be told, I'm not sure I've had enough of it to rate it.

But every time I crack one, I am reminded that God loves us and wants us to be happy, whether we're up to our assholes in alligators, or sitting on the back porch watching the dogs play. I may prefer Pliny, but I can't shake the feeling that Heady Topper is better. It's hard to admit your favorite ain't the best.

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Photo of ItsGotaBeUrBull
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Acquired in a trade from member on HBT Forum.

Appearance - Drank from can so nothing to report here.
Smell - Opened the can and was immediately hit by waves of grapefruit, peach, pine, lemon, and flowers. Aroma continued throughout the entire can.
Taste - Huge hop presence upfront that is balanced very well by the sweet flavors contributed from the tropical hops. No harsh or lingering bitterness to speak of. Get tastes of orange, grapefruit, lemon, peach, pine, mango.
Mouthfeel - Smooth bitterness with a soft carbonation on the tongue. Dry finish with a medium body that makes you instantly want to go back for more.
Overall - This a wonderful beer that is deceivingly strong as you get no sense of any alcohol in it. The amazing aroma paired with the fantastic tropical and piney flavors makes any hophead rejoice. I normally pour every beer into a glass to consume butnI chose to follow the instructions on the can and I do think it makes for a more enjoyable drinking experience. I will try pouring the next one into a glass to compare. Regardless, this beer has set a new bar for all IPAs moving forward. Well done!

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Photo of TheCuriograph
4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This review is based on a couple Headys I've have over the last week (following a great trip with the girl up to northern Vermont). Drank one from the can, another from a snifter.

A - I can see why Alchemist encourages you to drink from the can. Heady pours a muddy amber, not the least bit of clarity, with a surprisingly robust fizzy head. The odd yeast floaty is visible. Resembles White Oak Jai Alia or Burton Baton, or some other barrel-aged IPA.

S - Now the substantive argument for drinking out of the can. Crap the top and you're smacked with a barrage of grand aromas: pine needle, passion fruit, tangerine and doughy malting. What's amazing is how each note is distinct and sharp. Really assured. Poured in a snifter, the nose dissipates quite a bit.

T - Heady is more salad than stew. The IPA flavors are bright and they don't so much meld as dance off each other. The grass, grapefruit, and lemon flavors are held together, it seems, from Alchemist's proprietary yeast and the slight malt back. Sweet and earthy, tart and succulent.

M - Dances that fine line between substantial and refreshing. This is a deviously drinkable IIPA.

Massively tasty IPA. I can simultaneously understand the fanaticism surrounding it and am perplexed that people speak of it as a total mold-breaker. What it is is incredibly well-made. Perhaps I'm being harder on it because of the hype, but Heady hasn't ruined all other IPAs for me. That said, pretty psyched to have a case of it.

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Photo of MattyBones
4.94/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The legendary Heady Topper! I was able to get my hands on this quite a few times at a local bar that was selling them in NYC. After having Pliny I was most definitely curious to see how heady ranked next to it. So....

Appearance: I chose to ignore the label and drink it out of a glass rather than the can. It pored an extremely cloudy golden color. The color and head it pored with made it extremely appealing, but it lost points to me as all the sediment floating around definitely takes away from it.

Smell: HOP BOMB loaded with citrus. Very strong nose which lead me to believe that my palate would soon be demolished. Beautifully potent smell.

Taste: An absolute explosion of flavors. Hops attack loaded with tangerine, grapefruit, a slight hint of pine. This is what I love about DIPA. The alcohol is almost non-existent which is extremely dangerous for something that tastes this good.

Mouthfeel: stick yet very smooth. Doesn't wreck the palate like I thought it would as it goes down 100% clean making me want more and more.

Overall: Couldn't be more pleased with this beer. Definitely wish it was more readily available, but there is something cool about seeking it out and getting it on rare occasion. Like finding the holy grail. Is this better than Pliny? In my opinion, I remember enjoying Pliny a tad bit more, but would love to get a hold of each to do a side by side comparison.

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Photo of HookemHoos
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served from the can approximately one week after the canning date. The beer was kept cold from the initial purchase. The smell when you first crack the can is one of the best smells I've experienced while enjoying beers. The perfect balance of hops hits your palate with perfect balance. When poured from the can, the color is slightly hazy and beautiful. Overall one of the best beers I've had the pleasure of having.

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Photo of ArsMoriendiOU818
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I retried this beer this past weekend at The Reservoir in Waterbury, VT. Drank straight from the can. I still consider it the king of DIPA's. How this beer is so crushable yet 8% ABV is beyond me. Time always makes me forget. I'll try a Trillium or a Tree House here and there and think, is Heady really still #1? Every time I retry it I re-affirm "yes. Yes it is."

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Photo of JamieDuncan
4.6/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Christmas Heady muled down from Vermont by my sister in law. Broke rule number one and poured it into a glass. Outstanding looking beer, not that clear watery look that many have, looks full and rich, orangish color, impressive head that stuck around and lacing was ideal. I know I am supposed to drink it from the can but it is a great looking beer. The smell is unreal, the citrus really jumps out at you. The flavor follows and is also incredible, the juicy citrus jumps out at you, real smooth except for the bitter. May be just a bit to much for me (not a hop head). Plus, the bitterness lingers on the back of the tongue. Rich, full texture with great carbonation, the perfect amount. I did not notice any alcohol, it was an extremely easy to drink beer with the exception of the lingering bitterness. Not the top for me but I completely understand why the hop heads love it.

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Photo of sommersb
4.91/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Tasted On: 11-01-2013
Freshness: Canned on 10-29-2013
Packaging: 16 oz. can
Glassware: Tulip
Purchased: Sample brought from the Alchemist brewer

I shared a can of this during the Music City Brew Off where John Kimmich was the featured speaker.

The beer is a murky honey-colored affair, with a rich head and lacing. The aromas are delightful with tons of hop character but also a big malty presence. The hop smells are tropical fruits primarily, with also pine and citrus notes.

The taste is hop-forward as you'd expect, with a big juicy bitterness made up of grapefruit, mango and other tropical fruits. But this isn't a one-trick pony that just kills you with hops -- it's a complex and well-rounded beer despite focusing on the hops. The feel is creamy with a thick and chewy body.

The tasting we had left me wanting more of this world class double IPA!

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Photo of Danismaximus
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Wow. An outstanding beer. This really lived up to the hype (which is really saying something). I felt like I could truly taste the varietals of hops and it was magnificent. I am sold on this beer. One of the best I've had. My favorite part about this is that it says in the can to drink this straight from the can! This place is progressive and has fully embraced the superioriority of the can to the bottle.

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Photo of gbgreg1
4.91/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a great beer to pick apart.

When the beer hits your mouth you easily taste the malt and body of the beer. It is very full and has a silky feeling. After that's is a beautiful aroma of citrus and grapefruit. The hops are very distinct.

It was a great experience having this beer!

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 2,201 ratings.