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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

8,409 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,409
Reviews: 1,654
rAvg: 4.73
pDev: 7.82%
Wants: 5,445
Gots: 1,775 | 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
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Ratings: 8,409 | Reviews: 1,654 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.15/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #58 (November 2011):

LOOK: Unknown as we drank from the can as demanded by the can.

SMELL: Macerated oranges, minty, herbal, estery alcohol, excessively hoppy

TASTE: Raw, sweet, super bitter, semi-dry, kernel of malt sweetness, hop oil, orangey, mouthful of grass

Hop insanity in a can! Lots of talk about this brewski finally being canned. The greatness forgives the sheer rawness it brings to the palate. In our opinion, this is what sets it apart from other highly hopped ales in the US. Keep it tamed in the can, as pouring it out will only show the extreme rustic measures to make this beer.

BeerAdvocate, Apr 06, 2012
Photo of BEERchitect
4.65/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

So if your beer tastes like this, maybe you only need to make one. There's likely no way that you'll ever out do Heady-Topper so just stop right there!

With a controlled and creamy pour of medium gold elixir, this hazy and glowing ale constructs a creamy, cottony white head with substantial retention and islands of lace. Overall, this is one sexy beer!

Seductive and mouthwatering citrus aromas abound from from the rim of the glass. The straight-up juicy fruity scent of the freshly squeezed pulp of ripe ruby red grapefruit with elements of citric acids, fruit sweetness that seems of thin honey, and some softer tropical notes of mango and apricot. It's impossible to put your nose so close to the glass without taking a sip.

The delicious delight of a beer delivers the straight forward grapefruit flavor just as the nose promises. The sweet pulp of fresh-picked ruby reds couldn't be more spot-on. Resiny as the citrus flavors seem to coat the mouth while the stripping of enamel commences. Soft caramel malts support the hops with the supple and elegant sweetness of powdered sugar and honey, but do so without contrast- make no mistake about it, this is a hop-forward ale with the likes that rarely seen. A very delicate yet hop-dominant balance throughout. Any estery fruitiness would weave into the hop matrix and inform the beer with complementary notes of tropical mangoes, apricots, and pineapple. Succulent and savory throughout, even as the beer's elegant hop flavor develops into soft resiny bitterness that grips the gullet with kid gloves in finish and aftertaste. Only the strong taste of alcohol for moderate 8% that reminds me of super glue is the only slight defect in taste.

Very creamy and delicate on the palate from the initial sip and deep into the middle portion of the palate. All the while coating the mouth with citrusy acids, diluted pine resin, and light sticky honey. The beer's carbonation develops a malty-dry finish that retains its soft malty body while contributing pleasant alcohol warmth and an extended citrusy bitterness.

When you're convinced of the impossibility of ever tasting a better IPA, something like this comes along and shows new possibility in flavor intensity, dryness, drnkability, and absolute elegance and finesse. It's hard to keep this beer off of the "perfect" line score.

BEERchitect, Mar 15, 2012
Photo of brianlapointe
4.25/5  rDev -10.1%

poured a orange/yellowish color with a bubbly white head. smells like like grapefruit and earthy pine. taste was almost so grapefruity it was tart and sour. amazingly smooth and each sip grew with more hops. Texture was kind of thick. Def overrated in my eyes for a double ipa but I would say this is top 15 dipas in my book

brianlapointe, Sep 10, 2014
Photo of LittleDon
4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

By far, the nicest look and feel of a bottled/canned IIPA. Big fluffy white head and oodles of glass sticking lace. Low-medium carbonation give it a very soft and creamy feel, particularly when pared with the medium+ body. Aroma and flavor are as good as you could want for the style. Lots of pine and a long lasting bitter finish. Residual sugars lean it a click toward the sweet side and there's a touch of alcohol in the finish. Big thanks to Chuk for securing this one for me.

LittleDon, Sep 07, 2014
Photo of weaf
4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

Had never heard of this before but my local place got it on tap and wow it was excellent with a bit heavy on the froth but still a great pour. Not in your face like many imperials but smooth with a ton of hops and flavor. Didn't realize it was 8% until it started to hit me as I finished it as I hadn't eaten yet.

weaf, Aug 31, 2014
Photo of Scipio3
5/5  rDev +5.7%

For my tastes, this beer is the perfect IPA.

The Hops explode in your mouth. There is just enough citrus and alcohol flavor. If you are looking for subtlety, this is not for you.

Scipio3, Aug 23, 2014
Photo of argock
4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

Consumed directly out of the can as directed on the labeling. No canned on or best by date present. Purchased at Bueno Y Sano (Burlington, VT).

A: Unknown other than the little dribbles on the brim of the can which is golden.

S: Aroma is readily assessed through said can opening with a gamma ray like propulsion of tropical fruit including passionfruit, mango, and pineapple topped off with grapefruit and lime citrus and finished with a blast of pine and some floral notes as well. Pale maltiness is one-dimensional and a bit crackery without much residual sweetness. (4.5)

T: An extremely well-executed beer with a mirror of the aroma, yet intensified with tropical fruit and citrus notes blending with pine resin, floral, and a bit of grassy-herbal honeysuckle in there as well. Pale maltiness is light caramel and crackery, but it mainly serves as a vehicle for abundant hops assault. No yeast or alcohol and bitterness is surprisingly medium -- I think I consumed the entire tallboy in about 12 minutes. It is a very good American DIPA, but I still think there are a few more unique (ST Oak Aged Unearthly) and more aromatic and flavorful (KR Citra DIPA). (4.5)

M: Extremely smooth without being creamy, more slick related to the medium body and lowish carbonation. (4.5)

O: I really enjoyed my first experience with Heady Topper -- it is an exceptional beer and I trust it was fresh since I was close to the source. It was worth the trouble to track it down, and I found it in an off-the-beaten-path place in Burlington. Check it out for sure.

argock, Aug 20, 2014
Photo of fgmiele
4.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Damn, finally my excessive beer drinking has paid off and I have been granted the opportunity to at last taste the topper. Served in a can as the label so duly instructs, I did pour a smidge into a snifter for the sole purpose of being able to rate the appearance. And so here it goes...

Appearance.. Seems cloudy enough. I am surprised that the hue is pale gold as opposed to dark like some IPAs. Has the look of a wheat beer almost with a sudsy head, little lacing.

Nose.. This is the cornucopia of IPAs.. Tropical, fruity, floral, bitter. Yes.

Taste.. Follows the nose and more. The right amount of bitterness and heat doing just the trick. All the qualities of a desirable ipa.

Mouthfeel.. Slick and powerful

Overall... Now I know what the hype is about. It's for certain to me now why this brew is so coveted. Not to say I haven't had other excellent IPAs similar to this style. In fact, all things said and done I have had several that could give heady a run for its money. But! An amazing beer. Must get more.

fgmiele, Aug 14, 2014
Photo of PSU_Mike
4.35/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

What better way to break in my brand new snifter than with a can of Heady Topper, the #1 rated beer on Beer Advocate.

A - It pours a very hazy light orange with a one finger, white head that retains well.

S - The nose is a bouquet of citrusy goodness. Mangos, passion fruit, grapefruit, pineapple, with a slight touch of pine on the finish. I was quite surprised however at how subdued the nose was. The can is fresh so I was expecting an explosion of flavor that I didn't get.

T - There's the explosion I was waiting for. Follows the nose very closely. Flavor is intense and bright with the aforementioned citrusy notes shining through. Mid-palate turns to pine. Finish is a bready malt backbone that shows its head but doesn't overshadow the hops.

M - Great feel. Medium bodied, light bitterness, relatively dry, and very drinkable.

O - Great beer? Hell yes. Excellent beer? Yes. Best beer I've ever had? A resounding no. Worth the trouble of getting it but just barely.

PSU_Mike, Aug 11, 2014
Photo of Thorpe429
4.72/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Damn, this is hoppy. That's about my first impression immediately upon popping the cap off of this. With that, I should say huge, huge thanks to rpstevens and kingcrowing for sending me bottles of this, the latter of which was a complete surprise. One bottle to be consumed tonight, the other to be shared with friends this weekend.

This bottle is shared with Amyliz4 and poured into two of our larger, unbranded tulips. The pour yields a slightly-hazed bright peach body with a two-finger head. Pretty good retention and plenty of spotty lacing as it makes its way down to a bit of rocky foam sitting atop the brew. A fairly-thick collar remains on the brew throughout as more spots settle on the sides of the glass.

As previously stated, the aroma on this is damn near epic and remains amazing throughout. The initial whiff slammed my nostrils with dominant notes of tropical fruit, citrus rind, and a bit of pine. Each swirl kicks up another bit of aroma with some mango skin and passion fruit taking hold at first. Behind that is a flock of citrus and an overload of ripe peaches. Following behind all this when you sniff really hard is a nice finish of some piney resin.

The flavor picks up where the nose left off, though doesn't quite dominate my senses like the nose did. With that said, this is some really, really incredible stuff. I'll start off with one of my only complaints, which is that the hop flavor isn't quite as pungent as the aroma is. Still, there is some fairly-radical hop flavor to balance the hop bitterness. Did you hear that many makers of East Coast IPAs? Malt sweetness doesn't provide balance to bitterness in a fantastic double IPA, lovely and luscious fruit flavors do.

Mango, passion fruit, and guava make their way into the mix. The strong, strong bitterness levels really elevate the citrus presence and make me think of some good grapefruit rind. The body on this does an absolutely remarkable job accentuating the hops. There's not an ounce of sweetness, but there's enough body to really pull everything together. The bitterness in the finish is uber-high and leaves my mouth quite dry. There's certainly a solution for that--have some more.

I've been waiting a long, long time to finally try this one. Unlike an unfortunately-large percentage of other beers with so much hype, I have enjoyed this immensely. Huge, huge thanks again to Ryan and Nick for the chance to finally try this. Cheers to both of you.

Thorpe429, Dec 09, 2010
Photo of scottum
4.97/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served a pale amber with a small light head. Hops are the flavor of choice here, but they are done right. Such a yummy bite. Actually does live up to it's name as the hops are strong enough to give off the heady within the buzz. Hops are not overly complex, yet not too simple either. This is one of the best IPAs I've ever had. Served only in 12oz glasses, the abv is not at all apparent. Sooo smooth. I'm sad that El Jefe is no longer on the menu, but I'd take the Heady Topper over the chief anyday.

scottum, Mar 27, 2004
Photo of GRUUMSH
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

GRUUMSH, 38 minutes ago
Photo of mbmiche
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

Yeah. I could drink this all day. And night. And day again...

mbmiche, Today at 05:35 AM
Photo of ptat
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

ptat, Today at 04:28 AM
Photo of Brob245
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

Brob245, Today at 02:31 AM
Photo of Therealkdc
4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

Therealkdc, Yesterday at 11:25 PM
Photo of mathou265
1.84/5  rDev -61.1%

mathou265, Yesterday at 07:58 PM
Photo of jman42
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

A quick review as I didn't take tasting notes and had a few days ago. Drank from a 16 ounce can poured into a pint beer glass and drank with friends after a 10K race.

I loved it... understand that. But my underlying belief came true: more hype than anything else. It is an extremely good double IPA, but there are others out there (Breckenridge 571?) that I've also enjoyed thoroughly.

Great citrusy (grapefruit?) overtones, but as one friend put it, a bit sweet.

If I get to Vermont this winter and can call a liquor store to reserve a case, I'll certainly pick some up. However, I won't be skipping a morning's skiing to drive from store to store to see if they happened to have gotten any in overnight and if they happen to have any left (which is what I've been told I'll have to do). Too many other quality beers out there that I won't have to jump through hoops of fire to get my hands on.

jman42, Yesterday at 07:45 PM
Photo of Ropowers3
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

Ropowers3, Yesterday at 03:17 PM
Photo of danhahm
5/5  rDev +5.7%

I was fortunate to try this beer twice thanks to a good friend. Once when it was ranked #3 back in 2011 or 2012 when I was still a novice beer drinker and had no idea what dIPA beer was or how it was suppose to taste. Now after trying over 200+ beers I would say my taste for beer has developed alot more esp. enjoying Sours, IPAS, and any stouts barrel aged I cam to appreciate this beer much more. Loved the aromas and taste of all the hops and flavors delivered from
start to finish. Cheers to Heady-topper

danhahm, Yesterday at 06:19 AM
Photo of Robrawr
5/5  rDev +5.7%

Robrawr, Yesterday at 06:17 AM
Photo of hbmertz12
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

an amazing DIPA, don;t get me wrong. I wish i could try it without having known any hype around it to get an unbiased opinion.

hbmertz12, Yesterday at 03:26 AM
Photo of Drewb1
4.8/5  rDev +1.5%

Drewb1, Yesterday at 03:21 AM
Photo of kjd13
5/5  rDev +5.7%

kjd13, Yesterday at 02:39 AM
Photo of mbfolk
4.24/5  rDev -10.4%

mbfolk, Yesterday at 02:18 AM
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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 8,409 ratings.