Heady Topper - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Heady TopperHeady Topper

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

10,754 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 10,754
Reviews: 2,148
rAvg: 4.73
pDev: 6.98%
Wants: 8,012
Gots: 3,320 | FT: 53
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 (13) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 10,754 | Reviews: 2,148
Photo of BMMillsy
4.52/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Trade from A generous trader. Thanks man!!!! Can poured to tulip so I can see it. Some sediment. This isn't super pretty, but the beautiful creaminess of the head brings the appearance up a bit, otherwise not a good look. Will go from can next time. Pours a hazy light golden copper color with just under one finger head. Big floral pineapple and grapefruit aromas, sweetness, mango. Yum. Flavor is heavier on the bitter pine up front, some earthy dirt (in a good way), with some beautiful tropical fruit lingering on the palate, and a pretty dry finish. Almost a creamy feel as I get through this. This highlights the tropical hops for sure. Slick mouthfeel but plenty of carbonation to lighten things up. Is this am excellent DIPA? Yes. Did it live up to the hype for me? Probably not. But very nice in a very different way from some other in the style. Would still likely go for Dreadnaught, Hopslam, Pliny, and Enjoy By before this one. But that's pretty good company. I will revisit tomorrow with a fresh palate to make sure, and try out of a can.

Have had a couple of disappointing cans of this recently and hoping it's not a trend in the wrong direction. Knocking the rating a bit for now, but will be in Vermont in June and perhaps some fresh from the tap experiments will lead to another readjustment.

Photo of Cavanaghty
4.93/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served on tap in a Tulip Glass at the brewery as a sample.

Appearance: Hazy amber color with a thick white head. Heavy lacing on the glass.

Smell: Hops and citrus were strong but not unpleasent. Very floral characteristics.

Mouthfeel/Taste: Smooth medium bodied. Taste was complex, bitter all around but a good sweetness to balance it out. Pine and citrus were the dominate flavors.

Overall: This beer certainly lived up to it's reputation. It was a complex beer and the taste got better with every sip. Very hard to get, if you want to get it be at the brewery just as it opens otherwise it sells out almost instantly.

Photo of Treyliff
4.59/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a tulip glass, Taste rated from the can

A- Pours a murky golden-orange color, looks like the color of the sun, with some sediment and floaties swimming around near the bottom of the glass. Big foamy and pillowy white head that has great retention and leaves a few small patches of lace as it settles.

S- LOTS of hop resin up front with a leafy and dank aroma, notes of fresh cut grass, herbal & earthy hop aromas, pine and just a hint of sugary malt sweetness

T- Right off, the first thing I notice is the freshness of the flavor of the hops, big leafy and grassy notes are complimented by some danky herbal/medicinalflavors, there's a touch of malty sweetness that kicks in mid-palalte but only as an underlying addition. The finish is piney and dry with an inviting hop linger

M- Medium body and moderate carbonation leads to a big foamy and creamy mouthfeel, finishing smooth and crisp. Probably the most drinkable DIPA I've ever had

O- We've all heard the hype, was it the best beer I've ever had? No. But it is world class and one that I would seek out again. The biggest thing that sets this and Pliny apart from other DIPA's are their amazing drinkability. The hops are packed in, but they are not overbearing. I could drink a 4pack of this in one setting, which is nearly unheard of when it comes to this style

Photo of raynmoon
4.65/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Overall an outstanding beer. Not perfect but very good. The first few sips may have you thinking " disappointed" but if you are like me you'll have yourself smelling the can afterwards. Such a complex mix of resin, earth, and pine. Very well done. Better than pliny? They are on the same tier.

Photo of deparker
5/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the most amazing beers I have ever experienced. From the pour it looks great, a carmel brown. The smell is crisp hopps, the taste starts in one place and ends in another ( to me a sharp grapefruity finish), that leaves you ready to open the next one because the first one is gone! One of the best beers I have ever tasted.

Photo of beertunes
3.83/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks to Johnmichaelson and Kurmaraja! 2 cans of Heady in one week! I prefer the glass, and the brewery wants you to drink straight from the can. What do you do? Have them side-by-side! This will be a combined review from a straight pint glass, and the 16oz can, switching between sips as I watched the Talladega NASCAR race.

Big piney and citrusy hops wafted out of both cans, whetting my appetite for this much hyped brew. The beer poured a very cloudy, barely translucent, orange color with about 1/2 inch of just off-white head that moderate retention and low lacing.

As mentioned, lots of citrus and pine hops upfront in the aroma, with a low, almost nonexistent malt profile. The taste was the same, tons of hops and low malts. The beer from the can seemed harsher and more bitter, not in an entirely pleasant way, than the beer from the glass. The flavors were smoother and more even from the glass.

The body was fairly typical for the style, but this is one of the driest finishing beers I've ever had. I'm almost thirsty after finishing each drink. Drinkability was dangerously good, I could see a 4-pack disappearing before you realize it. Overall, a very good brew, one that almost matches the hype that surrounds it (which is not the fault of either the beer or the brewery). Certainly a must try if given the chance. Thanks again Ryan and John!

Photo of GeneralSpecific
4.8/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Wow I finally get to try the Topper!

Heard so much about this beer I was afraid it may have been over-hyped and the expectations would not be met but fears were gone after the first sip.

It really is an amazing beer with incredible mouthfeel, balance and aroma.

Cheers to the brewers at the Alchemist I just wish it was available in Canada.

Photo of Mbager1114
5/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the best beers or let alone double ipa i have ever had very resiny sticky mouthfeel, balanced with citrusy piney hop flavors and a nice sweet subtle malt backbone. Very comparable to pliney the elder in taste maybe just a little more heavy and flavorful both really amazing.

Photo of Destructutorial
5/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Theres nothing I can say about this beer that hundreds of people haven't said before. It's that damn good. I've paid $10 a can and I gotta say I'd pay $20. Looking forward to finally making a trip up to Waterbury next year. Pro tip: Makes a great wedding present. Tuck that knowledge away.

Photo of abriggs1
3.46/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Here it is folks, the single most overrated beer in drinking history. I've been a beer fanatic for a decade and a half, and the beer drinking world has a lot to answer for on this one. The best beer in the world? What a joke. I wouldn't even put this in the top 10 of IPA's let alone beers of any style.

I'm not saying this is a bad beer. It's just criminally over-hyped and overrated.


Let's start with the obvious; drinking this beer out of the can as it says to do on the very can you're supposed to drink this out of = a bad idea. It's much better in a glass, and the right glass with a tulip shape will make the aromas even better. I guess the whole drinking from the can thing is little more than a hipster ideal. I certainly hope this trend doesn't continue.

The hops are right in your face, but ultimately unbalanced. Anyone can throw way too many hops into a beer. But it takes real skill and finesse to create a hoppy beer that's balanced and drinkable. There are heaping amounts of grapefruit, pine, and lemon rinds on the front. And then heaping amounts of grapefruit, pine, and lemon rinds in the aftertaste. The malt backbone is there, but it's too faint to balance out the assault of hops.

So far, the best IPA I've had was another Vermont brew; Lawson's Hopzilla, which I gave a perfect score. It's the perfect DIPA. When I die, I want to be embalmed with it.

Other IPA's that are better than Heady Topper: Ballast Point's Sculpin. Hooker's Hop Meadow IPA. New England Brewing's Gandi-Bot, Sierra Nevada's Torpedo, Southern Tier's 2xIPA, Southern Tier's Hoppe, Southern Tier's Unearthly, 21st Amendment's IPA, Hill Farmstead's Abner, Rock Art's Belgo American IPA, and others that I'll probably think of later.

I've never been so embarrassed for the beer community for rating this so highly. My fear is that the beer scene is being overrun by a bunch of hipsters who think that exclusivity is more important than the art of brewing. Heady Topper is hard to get. That doesn't make it the best beer in the world. People are rating this beer so highly because they want to brag that they drank it. In a blind taste test of the world's best IPAs, Heady Topper would lose miserably.

Photo of jshusc
4.84/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This beer lives up to the reputation. Had a successful trade that landed me 6 of these beauties and I'm now sans HT.

As instructed, I drank from the can, so I will not rate the appearance.

S: Nice bitter, citrusy nose. Plenty of hops in there, but I wouldn't describe it as particularly "piney." The citrus really comes through and makes the bitterness pleasant.

T: Perfect balance, a barrage of hoppy goodness that holds up over the entire 16oz. Grapefruit provides a tarty sweetness to compliment the hops. Delicious.

M: Low carbonation, medium to full body. Can really get the complexity by letting it sit on the tongue before swallowing.

Overall, this is a great, great brew. A lot of these beers get overhyped to the point of no return, but Heady stands up to the reviews. Alchemist does right by this beer, and I couldn't find a fault.

Photo of KVNBGRY
4.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Can was about 2 months old, thanks brian!

Appearance - Hazy, light gold, sticky off-white head.

Aroma - Soapy, peachy. A flowy grapefruit and citrus in the back end.

Taste - See aroma.

Mouthfeel - Tiniest bit of bitterness keeps you interested in this juicy bomb. Medium bodied perfect for an imperial IPA. Slightly sticky / chewy.

Overall - Well done. Worth the hype. Would like to rate after having fresh from brewery.

Photo of santomark
5/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Had the luxury of having this on tap while visiting my hometown of Middlebury VT but I will review the can considering everyone is drinking this from a can. Appearance from pouring from a can, you will quickly notice that this brew is unfiltered, sentiment at the bottom, slight bubble carbonation, pours a nice murky orange color with a two finger head that slowly will disappear. The color is enough to tell you this is unfiltered.

Smell - Aggressively hoppy at first, when you crack open the can you will definitely smell the hops coming from the can. Grape fruit, mango, peach, nectarine, grapefruit; you can immediately tell this is an IPA, not the strongest but smells very balanced in combination with the slight breadiness and sweet tones.

Taste - Man, where do I start here? It's this great combination of grapefruit, bitterness, sweet, bready, goodness. I mean to pick apart each individual characteristic is a disservice to this brew, everything is so balanced.

Mouthfeel - A slight carbonation, if you hold it in your mouth there's not enough carbonation to burn the tongue, it is very smoothing going down the pipes and will leave this bitterness that will make you return for more.

Overall - Upon first drinking this, I thought it was extremely over hyped. But when you realize you've hit the middle of the can in 2 minutes, you'll understand it's drinkability. This isn't the most aggressive IPA out there, the ABV is a bit high; however, considering it is a DIPA, I'd say this brew is spot on. It's a great brew; however, to you that are buying this on the gray market, I strongly suggest not paying more than $8 a can. These run $12 a 4 pack in Burlington and I've seen locations out here in Los Angeles reselling them for $12 a can. This is completely ridiculous... It's a great experience to try, but don't get taken advantage of. Cheers!

Photo of 33nickadams
4.52/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my neighbors Nate and Erika for bringing this back for me. This is a Holy Grail beer that I have wanted to try for a long time now.

I can see why they say to drink from the can. It's a cloudy, murky yellow amber color with a slight head. It reminds me of homebrew in how it looks. I guess I have gotten used to super bright IPA's like the ones from Stone. The appearance is the only knock. The smell is magnificent. Super citrus, pine and resin. Upon tasting, I really can't believe the lack of bitterness that does not come with all that hop flavor. The hop flavor must come from a killer hop stand. Small amount of sweetness at the end of the sip, but make no mistake, this is all about hop flavors and aromas. I've never had an IPA quite like this. Mouthfeel is moderate and well-carbonated. Overall, this is a new type of IPA that I will look out for. Huge hop flavor and aroma and slight bitterness. This one kills it!

Photo of Dommel
5/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the nectar of the Gods! Wow!

Didn't look at the color because as recommended I drank it out of the can. The smell is a punch in face of juicy hops and tropical fruit. Each sip gets better and better.

This beer lives up to the hype. I can't get enough of it.

Photo of BergBeer
4.84/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I drank it in the can like everyone advised me too! Sent to me through a trade!

A: As I said before I drank it out of the can because I was too afraid I would some how not get the full heady experience out of a glass! So no appearance review from me!

S: Smell pops out of the can and makes the immediate area smell of pineapples, white peaches, tangerine, lemon, slight honey, and pine! Smells dank and clings to the nostrils!

T: First you get sweet white peach and nectarine that trails to green apple slice with honey on it. Then pineapples which melds into a piney citrus finish that lingers on the tongue! Taste amazing!

M: Medium body with good carbonation! Cloying and thick at first when it hits the tongue but thins out to a beautiful medium body that goes down extra smooth

O: Amazing brew! It really seems like other great DIPAs have just a piece of this ones overall complex puzzle. The fruity citrus of Sculpin, the smooth balance of Pliney, and the drink ability of Dorado are represented here and just as well as its counterparts! Top of it's class and damn near perfect!

Photo of justforrazors
4.84/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Fairly fresh, received in a trade. Should be less than 2 weeks old. I poured a little bit into a taster just to see appearance, the rest of the review will be from the can, as the brewer intended.

A- Pours a cloudy orange with a half inch white head. Very good retention and lacing. Clarity is downright ugly, although I personally prefer the rustic look for a good double IPA. There is no denying this thing was dry hopped to heaven and back.

S- Grapefruit, citrus, pineapple, some malt. Huge hop aroma that has some floral grassyness, but mainly a full frontal assault of pine resin mixed with grapefruit, pineapple and peach.

T- I missed this beer. Follows the nose very well. Tropical fruits mix with a strong bitterness that overtakes the malt, although not so much that it is overwhelming. In my opinion, the best tasting DIPA out there.

M- Carbonation is spot on, body is a medium with a fairly dry finish. No lingering sweetness, although certainly a ton of lingering bitterness.

O- I am admittedly a huge Heady Topper fanboy. Honestly, I am kind of surprised it has taken me this long to actually review this. Definitely not the best looking beer from the classic definition of how a beer should appear, but I think the cloudy, almost dirty look shows you that they care most about the flavor and aroma of the beer, sacrificing looks for the characteristics they like the most.

(Ok, maybe that sounds like something you say about a really ugly girl.)

Either way, this is a world class example that I hope the alchemist can continue to produce at this level for a long time.

Photo of easong
4.37/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Drank it from the can as advised (6 days old) and also poured into pint glass. Lived up to the hype. Lugged some back to CA, drank it side-by-side with Pliny. In that pantheon. Loved visiting the brewery in Waterbury -- simply evil that it is essentially next door to Ben and Jerry's. Evil.

Photo of TheDoctor
4.71/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A:
*- Since it says to drink it from the can, this is a moot point as far as their presentation of it goes, I suppose. Nonetheless, I don’t think it looks bad at all (I had read that is wasn’t pleasing to look at).

Pours a greenish, slightly cloudy orange with a fat creamy white head. Good retention; good lacing.

S:
Green. Stanky citrus, crisp twinge of astringency (it kinda tickles something inside you) and bold resinous hops. Hits you square in the face upon opening the can.

T:
Waves of piney, medicinal, skunky, grassy, and citric hop flavors with the same weird twinge of astringency as the smell; pineapple, grapefruit, weed, and hops of all stripes intermingled with rich odorous grass flavors. If hops have the flavor, it is here in varying degrees.

M:
Good carbonation, medium body very slightly creamy with a finish that manages somehow to both linger and disappear quietly.

O:
I hate hype and I think that oftentimes it does a disservice to otherwise enjoyable things. As such, I was not expecting HT to live up to the myth created around it. Boy was I wrong. I had multiple audible gasps while trying it and have savored it every time since.
Part of what skewed my expectations was the general tendency towards intense IPAs that a lot of breweries have. Because of this, I assumed that it would be the bitterest hop-bomb to ever destroy my taste buds. However, it is so good because it is so restrained. It tastes like hops; no question about it, but it tastes like little else. This means that it can be as hoppy as it is without being needlessly ‘confrontational’ in its flavors and aromas. Actually my girlfriend (who can’t stand hoppy beer) tried it, liked it and sneaks tastes of it when I drink it now.
Anyway, I am gushing.
It is a world-class beer for what it is. Is it the best beer in the world? I honestly don’t think so. Is it one of (if not the) best double IPA in the states (and possibly the world)? Without a doubt.
Would fight to be able to try again. A must-have for any beer enthusiast.
With apologies to Chuck D, do believe the hype.

Photo of jhartley
4.47/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a pint can to a poco grande style glass; just enough to look at the body, drank the rest straight from the can. Hey it's right on the can to enjoy it that way!

Cloudy orange-gold body light skim of a head on top. Didn't pour enough out to really let one form or allow any lacing. A slight swirling of the glass brings it back to life; small tight bubbles.

Smells...Holy Sheeet! Citrus. Grapefruit. Lemon. A dank hoppy aroma on the end. Some malt sweetness.

Tastes...Wow! Can see why this is so highly rated. I just fills the mouth with hops and a great amount of carbonation that fills the whole mouth with hoppy goodness. A dry finish.

Drank it out of the can and out of the glass and I gotta say...I prefer it out of the can! It seems to retain a nice bite to it. This isn't to say that I would refuse to pour it into a glass to enjoy it either. An all around great DIPA, no doubt in my mind as to why this is on top!

(Thanks again to jzeilinger for the hook-up!)

Photo of CowsandBeer
4.55/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jbaker67 for the can! Poured at fridge temp into a Tallgrass Brewing cervoise glass.

Appearance: Pours a tight and creamy looking two finger head. Cloudy, peach colored body. Looks like pulpy peach juice. Yum!

Smell: Hell of a nose. Hop resins, a bit of onion, bright citrus fruit, pine, sweet tropical fruits, and a sweet malt maltyness.

Taste: Tastes like caramelized hop candy. Very resinous hops. Follows the nose; citrusy and fruity. Some piney bitterness. Sweet malt backbone and a lingering breadyness. Despite the hop overload this is very balanced and never too much.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy, low carbonation mouthfeel. Sticks to your teeth, bro. Very little heat.

Overall: Definitely a must try for any hop head and a wonderful example of what a DIPA can be. Outstanding nose and spot on mouthfeel. Overall, a hoppy, balanced tribute to American hops.

Photo of ncketchum
4.71/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally got my hands on this guy. A bit poured into a pint glass, rest enjoyed out of the can.

A - pours a hazy yellow, fluffy white head.

S - amazing nose, tons on citrus fruit - orange, pineapple, lemon, followed by piny finish

T - more subdued than the nose, but still excellent. Piny bitterness come through more than the sweetness of the nose, but still a good amount of pineapple. Well balanced relatively with some bready malt backbone, with a bitter, lingering hop finish.

M - smooth, lingering bitterness in the end

O - again, I'm glad to have had the chance to try this one. Definitely one of the best double ipa's out there that I've had, more balanced than I expected, great hop profile.

Photo of mrz200
4.73/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Does HT really need another review saying how equally good and unattainable it is? Well I thought so, so here it is.

If you are a craft beer fan with any level of affinity for hops, you will love this beer. I say that because there is so much more to it than the "DIPA" classification suggests.

Is good cold, is good a little warmer, is good as an IPA, is good as citrus-ey hop blended ale, oh and it's incredibly drinkable for a high ABV... If you could actually get your hands on enough of them to have a HT session!

If you've never had it, or fear you never will, take solace in the fact that HT gets less unique every year of this craft beer era. Sure, I've still never had this perfect combination of flavors and craftsmanship, but you've tasted everything in HT before. Ithaca, Lagunitas, Maine Beer, all of them seem to owe a tip of the glass to HT with some of their IPA's.

Photo of flowdiggity
5/5  rDev +5.7%

I can honestly say I bought at least 10 cases of Heady over the past year. Drank more of these than any other beer over the past 12 months. Love driving up from PA to Vermont. And also love sharing this amazing brew with people that never had it. Vermont beercations are amazing!

Photo of offthelevel_bytheplumb
4.77/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Drank from the can. Did not pour into a glass, so I can not say what it looks like, but the can is very cool. My dad will love this addition to his beer can collection. Bittersweet grapefruit and dank hop resins dominate, I can already tell this drinks like juice. A bit of pineapple and mango are noticeable on the nose as well. On the first sip, I couldn't believe how complex a one dimensional beer could be. This beer really doesn't need a malt backbone, what a use of hops. Drinks so easy from the can.

Overall: If I lived in Vermont, I would buy this every week. What a treat.

Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 10,754 ratings.