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Heady Topper - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Heady TopperHeady Topper

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

2,138 Reviews
THE BROS
96
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,138
Hads: 11,921
Avg: 4.66
pDev: 16.52%
Wants: 8,667
Gots: 4,310 | FT: 63
Brewed by:
The Alchemist
Vermont, United States | website

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 (9) | 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: 2,138 | Hads: 11,921
Photo of Catracho5
4.68/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

16 ounce can poured into a tulip glass

A: Pours a hazy orange color with a nice white bright head that did not last, lots of lacing, not seeing much carbonation, it looks like orange juice with a white head, clearly unfiltered.

A: Lots of citrus, like crushed grapefruit and orange peels, hint of garlic/onion like aroma, hint of resin, definitely getting more citrus aromas than pine, it's a big smell, solid aromas, very nice. I am not getting any alcohol on the nose, very impressive.

T: It is as if someone took grapefruit and orange peel, crushed them, then blended them into orange juice, grapefruit like bitterness mixed with some orange juice/peel sweetness/bitterness, there is a hint of onion/garlic like flavor in the middle, some citrus forward bitterness, hints of pine and resin, aftertaste of grapefruit peel, amazingly drinkable, amazingly smooth.

M: Big juicy mouthfeel, very smooth on the palate unlike other IIPAs I've tasted that leave a raked feeling on my palate, this doesn't, it's smooth like orange juice, not sure if it being unfiltered adds this layer of smoothness, but it's very nice.

O: Very impressed, Heady Topper is amazingly drinkable, smooth, not a big bitter beer, has a nice balance of bitterness with lots of citrus notes and flavors, hints of pine and resin, very easy on the palate, a world class beer. I was expecting a big bitter beer but it's not, full of flavor, if you have a chance, pick it up, it's worth it.

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

I've bought into the hype full on. At first, I wasn't sure this was a perfect IPA, but after a case...and a year later, I'm sold. The grassy, dank hops wave that blasts you in the face with each sip, damn...just perfect.

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Photo of frasergrove
4.2/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a light gold, very hazy, medium head with lots of tiny bubbles. Aroma is rich with mint, ripe pear, some mixture of citrus, light pine, faint hint of earthiness. Interesting bitterness taste, light up front, then hits you a bit, then fades and lingers. Definitely a "juicy" VT IPA.

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Photo of osc1123
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

thanks to the beer advocate trading community...i've had this on several occasions! The nose on this beer is incredibly citrus & juicy and the taste does not disappoint. No aftertaste. Just a wonderfully crafted IPA.

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

L - Kate Upton in a glass. In other words, a 20-something babe who's voluptuous and will never look this good again. Yet, here's the difference: Heady Topper will always look this good because Alchemist has gone to great lengths to perfect this beer. Super turbid, excellent head retention and brilliant variations of orange when held to the light. Only poured to extract a true interpretation of the look. This isn't my first dance with Heady. Drink from the can!
S - I want to apologize to my daughter's mother in advance, because I've never smelled anything like this. I used to smell her when I was at work; I could smell her on the pillow weeks after she was gone. This f*cking beer. Where do I even begin? People brag about opening something and smelling it clear across the room. I have gotten hints of that before, yet not on this level. You crack the can and it consumes your area. It doesn't exist in your space; you exist in the confines of it, which is far reaching. The absolute perfect blend of grapefruit and grass character. The best smelling beer of all-time, period.
T - Let's be real, if the nose doesn't hit the tongue equally, the beer isn't shit. This beer caresses the palate like young lovers exploring each other for the first time. The grapefruit character is the first thing that hits your tongue, along with faint hints of grainy cracker. Mid-palate I get the slightest dose of pineapple, with a gentle wisp of orange peel. The entire time it's so fucking balanced that Mary Lou Retton keeps texting me about her gold medals. Relax, girl. They aren't going anywhere! I could literally drink this for the rest of my life.
F - Tongue smacking bitterness, yet mastered. It's not a full on assault; actually, every time I reach for that OMG moment, there's a soft pillow of excellence that caresses my head to remind me how much effort was put into this beer.

There was a time when PtE and HT were compared to each other. Then the new wave IPAs started to appear. This isn't my first encounter with Heady, nor my last. I, for one, am a fan of the modern day interpretation of the IPA and it begins and ends with this one. I haven't had them all, but I've had enough to know what I like and don't like. This is a masterpiece. They will never have to release a 2.0 or modify the recipe slightly. It doesn't stand toe-to-toe; it stands above anything I've ever drank.

Can you hear that sound? It's the f*cking angels singing. Or maybe it's Lauryn Hill. Heady-la-la. That's the way Kimmich sound when he's doing his thing!

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Photo of Seanem44
4.67/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Probably the best smelling IPA I have ever come across. Comparing to Pliny the Elder, Heady is more "In your Face". The taste is bold and the Hops hit you all at once. Its almost an overload, but that's a good thing. Do drink it from the can as it tells you. This deserves its spot amongst the best.

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Photo of madbrewer9
4.51/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Fortunate enough to have this at Hunahpu day '15. I'm not at all fond of IPA's in general, opposite of a hop head. But this one delivers! Fantastic fresh citrusy hop aroma! Taste follows aroma, very bright, fresh hop flavor, with substantial but not overwhelming bitterness. Drinks light for an 8%. A phenomenal example of the style.

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Photo of More_betterness
4.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed out the can

A: Silver aluminum! Poured a bit into a glass and it was a murky unfiltered glowing orange with a fluffy white head, per usual for vermont ipas. Good retention.

S: Straight hop juice. Massive pineapple, mango, and guava layered with some pine notes. Malt character isn't even registering, smells like you dumped a jamba juice smoothie on a pine tree. Just nuts.


T: Juicy pineapple, orange, and peach upfront. Resiny and bitter pine and grapefruit follows. Maybe a hint of crackery malt in the long, drying finish.

M: Incredibly soft mouthfeel with moderate, airy carbonation. The moderate body and resiny, lingering finish contributes to the juicy feel of the beer and make this insanely drinkable.

O: Just amazing. The hype is justified. Wish I could drink this literally every day.

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Photo of Dopen993
4.81/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

16oz can into pint glass.

Hazy yellow, light orange in color with 1 inch head. Lots of sticky lacing, covers the whole pint glass.
Good amount of grapefruit and lemon on the nose, with a hint of sweetness at the end.
Very much hop forward, with some citrus (I'm getting a lot of lemon with a little orange). Lots of bitterness on the finish.
Medium body, with a really nice mouth feel. No taste of alcohol.

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

This brew is as good as everyone says it is. On a recent trip to Burlington, VT I spent a good hour in hopes of finding some. I was able to score a 4pack in store and a single can with dinner on Church Street. This beer is the standard which all other IPA's are judged against nowadays, and with good reason.

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Photo of tonytiger27
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

Easy to see why this is the world's best IPA. Crisp, super hoppy, citrus and pine notes make for an interesting flavor profile. The aroma is out of this world. Traveling to Vermont for this beer makes for a truly unique experience. A must for any beer lover

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Photo of StJamesGate
4.29/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

CAN
Loose crusty off white over slightly cloudy orange. 3.75
Tangerine, pineapple, and herbal oil nose. 4
Toffee, peach, more pineapple than mango, orange rind, lemon zest, and some herbs. 4.5
Tropical fruit smoothie end and forever lemon.
Medium, a bit of heat, clingy, oily. 4

Feels like you only start tasting it when you swallow - possibly the longest citrus linger I’ve ever had. But as it opens, it shifts gears entirely to tropical fruit - it can be different with every sip. A kaleidoscope that way: there’s kiwi that I picked up, I suspect you could find nearly whatever aspect of hops you looked for.

At the same time, I was surprised how unfiltered, hot, and not especially delicate-bodied it is: I expected more finesse. I can see how this would certainly be worth exploring over many cans, so I get the fuss, but not a world beater on first encounter. 4.5

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Photo of mklever42
4.57/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Aroma: pineapple, citrus, pine, little bit of onion
Appearance: Nice, bright orange. Hazy and chunky
Taste: tropical fruits, pine and some onion.

Now that New England is booming with some serious hops, Heady is one that I won't track down anymore. I would rather drink Trillium, TreeHouse and HF IPAs.

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Photo of mswatpup293
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

If you can ever get your hands on one. Enjoy it. Cause they are so hard to find. Roumor has it people have sold one can of that wonderful bliss in DC for around $50. That's crazy. But I've payed $9-10 for one.

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Photo of Back_in_the_Saddle
4.79/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

With respect to John Kimmich, most of the time, I have drank this out of the can. However, for reviewing purposes, one must understand that as beer geeks we need to see this as it is.
With that in mind, I have poured this into a snifter and as I gaze upon it, I realize why John always wants his drinkers to drink this out of the can. Oh boy, the floaties, oh snap, yes, I get it, John, most of the world gets it who have had it poured. A solid burnt golden color forming a one finger white foamy head that dissipates fairly quickly and leaves some lacing to be desired.
The smell wraps up bitter juicy dry pine slapping around a big bouquet of floral, grassy and citrus hops bleeding into a wonderful nose zapping aroma. With that in mind, I go to taste this and the flavor is spot on in cueing up the previously mentioned flavors to lead the charge into the feel of this beer. Do you think this is good? I know this is good as the slick oily coat just bends my tongue over backwards arranging an unprecedented sharpness succumbing my tongue down.
My last question and I will start with this: I've only lived in Vermont for less than a year, do you think I like this beer? Just check my numbers.

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Photo of jared-beer
4.94/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is the best I have had the few times I have been (legally) drinking. After pouring a can (which I know you're not supposed to do), I believe that IT IS TRULY BETTER FROM THE CAN! This beer OUT OF CAN appearance is amber in color and slightly cloudy (similar to a micro-brew high ABV cider). However In the can it's one of the best IPA locally produced.

Heady topper is heavy in flavor and ABV. The initial mouth flavor begins as a traditional IPA but QUICKLY overtakes you with a hoppy, citrus taste masking any indication of its relatively high ABV. This beer is truly a must try at least 2x to understand the flavor, because as most people will find it develops over time.

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Photo of Junkforadam
4.74/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Drank from the can, smells very citrusy, has a hazy yellow color, tastes of citrus with a great malt balance. Excellent imperial pale ale would certainly recommend this if you love DIPA.
I'm from Oklahoma, I'd like to recommend you try the Hoptometrist DIPA from Roughtail Brewing, also a great DIPA!

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Photo of OCT4VIOUS
4.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This was one of the best beers I have ever had and undoubtedly the best IPA. Very well balanced and complex the smell is much more different than the taste. The citrus and hop flavor cascades over your tongue and down your throat wonderfully, and has an indescribable complex flavor. Truely a beer lovers beer

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

The best - bar none! This IPA lived up to its legend and exceeded my expectations. I would not have words to do it true justice. Also to note that I enjoyed this beer most when drinking it from the can for a little more of a fresh and piney hop quality.

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

This beer is truly flawless. Unfortunately, I now compare every IPA/DIPA to this and none can replace it (although I've yet to try Focal Banger). I like it better than SOS, Pliny, Julius, Zombie Dust as well as any other beer I've ever had (although SOS is a close second). I'm not going to get technical on every aspect since there are plenty of those types of reviews. I will say that this beer smells amazing, has a fruity taste (grapefruity) and goes down smooth. I almost wish I never tasted this because now I am going obsess over acquiring as much as possible. Good luck! Cheers.

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Photo of MonkeyKnfeFight
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Hand-picked from a market in Waterbury, VT I highly recommend this beer. Flying from CA to VT for a day to pick up fresh cans instead of trading for them is highly-recommended no matter the expense. Treat yourself to the experience.

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Photo of RoddyMedina
4.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Just got around to trying this beer from The Alchemist and it definitely lived up to its hype. Unfortunately I only had one during a bottle share but i hope to get my hands on more. I first poured a little to try it in a tulip but left some to compare because on the can it literally states in bold "DRINK FROM THE CAN" and it honestly tasted way better from the can.
The look was a little light compared to most DIPA's I've had, but it still had a nice light orange color to it, it didn't leave much head either. The smell was very citric, oranges with a slight grapefruit scent to it. The taste from the can was super crisp and smooth, it didn't leave kick in the back of your throat like a Maharaja would, which isn't bad either. Overall I'm really hoping to score more of these to give it another go as one can wasn't sufficient.

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Photo of Lobina
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Finally got my hands on 4 cans. Thanks Mike and Mary.
Look nice cloudy east coast IPA.
Aroma. Great orange scent one even my wife liked.
Taste. Extremely smooth for a dipa. Could have drank several more
Feel. Pleasant and quenching. Again could have had more.
Will need to make a trip to Vermont. Still have one left and will consume with much appreciation.

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Photo of Ebla
3.78/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 4

Appearance - Nice golden orange color, good lacing, but has the clarity of Yak Wool.
Smell - Uplifting orange blossoms!! Citrus/earth/sunshine/springtime, tiny bit of caramel.
Taste - Similar to the smell; almost overpowering hop profile. Grapefruit, tropical snorkeling. Pineapple juice gives way to an earthy, minty, BOOZY finish.
Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied, lightly malted with good carbonation. Ineffable, enigmatic texture that starts off abrasive but has a dry finish and leaves me wanting to sip again, sip again, sip, sip, chug!
Overall - Scored last in a blind taste test with Pliny and a small army of comparable local brews (DuganA, Mercenary, Raja, Maharaja, Drydock IIPA). I was surprised it even lost to Dales Deviant. I would compare it more to Vortex, but I don't think this east coaster holds a candle to any of the west coast IIPA's any better than it did against Colorado's finest. Now that I've enjoyed many cases of Heady, I place it high on the list of tasty IIPA's; perhaps top 50, but certainly not top 20. Definitely better from a glass like any beer. I feel like the brewers recommend drinking from the can because it's unfiltered and looks like a homebrew in the glass, but no self respecting beer nerd can abide drinking from a can! Here in Colorado we have many superior double IPA's. I would call heady an old-school, low-brow IIPA that gets laid based on it's irresistible pheromones but causes some coyote mornings when the lights come on.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
4.27/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Canning date unknown, but purchased on October 23rd, presumably from the 10/22 delivery day.

Appearance - Poured a few ounces into a glass to give a description of the appearance, but the rest of the review will be from the can as requested to be drank by the brewer. The brew is hazy and kind of a dull golden orange color, like watered down orange juice. Very little head that is quick to dissipate, leaving a mostly barren surface and thin ring around the edge of the glass. Lace consists of a few small spots around the glass, with fair stick.

Smell - Strong citrus and minty/leafy character. Light pine. Very subtle caramel note.

Taste - Follows the nose. Caramel malt underbody is more noticeable, and play wonderfully off the prominent, but controlled hop profile. Leafy/minty hops nearly outshine the citrus, grapefruit punch, while undertones of pine pop through. There's also a hint of pineapple zing, though it's quick and fading. Finish is leafy and slightly minty with a touch of citrus.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation. Texture is smooth, oily slick and dangerously chuggable with a semi-dry finish. Possibly the best attribute here.

Overall - I can see how this is a popular beer, but it's nearly impossible to live up to the legendary expectations that precede it; an awesome brew with very little distribution makes for a hell of a whale. That's what I've found. If this were more widely distributed I don't think it'd quite have the fanatical following it has, but by that same token it's one of the better DIPA's I've had. My advice: don't go Ahab for it.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 2,138 ratings.