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Heady Topper - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Heady TopperHeady Topper

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

9,048 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,048
Reviews: 1,712
rAvg: 4.72
pDev: 8.26%
Wants: 5,925
Gots: 2,071 | FT: 38
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
Ratings: 9,048 | Reviews: 1,712 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of UnionMade
4.5/5  rDev -4.7%

After driving all day through winding Vermont by-roads with my wife (she wasn't a problem, but endless construction was) and waiting in a long-ass line at Beverage Baron, you bet I was going to pour this into a glass. I could smell tangy hops as soon as I cracked the can, which was a good sign.

Looks an awful lot like a hefeweizen of some sort, with a nice, even cloudiness. Great head retention and gloppy lacing down the glass. I broke out my rather old Humble Patience 20oz nonic glass, for some Vermont nostalgia.

Really nice resinous hop aroma. Very floral with some fruity malt esters mingling well.

I've had a lot of big IPA in my day, but this one is pretty singular. It's neither too oily, too malty, or too hoppy. It has almost an orange juice sweet n' tangy thing going up front, with a surprisingly creamy mouthfeel that somehow makes me think of milk or a rootbeer float. The carbonation is perfect. The brew is very hop forward of course, but in an unusually gentle, somehow elegant way. Sweetness is always there, but somehow hops are presented and showcased throughout the entire sip without ever being shocking or abrasive. There's a lot of juiciness in the finish, with a really pleasant citric/resin hop scent wafting up into my sinuses. It's a big beer, but has such an impossibly mellow demeanor that you can easily forget you're drinking an 8% beer.

I had more than a little pessimism about how good this beer really is, mostly attributing the hype to scarcity and mythology, but it really is pretty outstanding. I was skeptical about Westy 12 when it ruled the roost, and was largely let down, but I think the reviews are accurate in this case. I don't think I'd drive 8 hours round trip to wait in line at a specific time to buy it again, but it is worthy of the hype.

Of all the beer styles in the world, a double IPA is one that I'd never expect to call gentle and smooth, but this one certainly is. My only complaint is a touch of alcohol heat, especially on the first sip. It creates a dissonant tone after such a perfect first experience. Its not very bothersome, and I don't even notice it halfway through the beer, but it was a bit of an off note after a surprisingly great first sip. After drinking this beer, I have a new perspective on double IPA, and I'm realizing that there's a lot of really bad ones out there. For me, it's sort of like the first time I heard Metallica's Master of Puppets album at age 11-12. I realized that most of the other heavy metal I thought I liked was absolute garbage or at least not as good as I thought it was.

UnionMade, Oct 14, 2014
Photo of PBRmeasap1980
4/5  rDev -15.3%

16 oz can... 1/2 drank from can (as directed), 1/2 from tulip

A- Hazy goldn, light head
S- Dank, grass, orange creamcicle, grapefruit peel
T- Grass. pine bitterness, citrus peel bitterness. Obviously very hop forward, but well balanced
M- Medium. Slightly creamy

O- Good and glad I tried it, but it doesn't live up to the hype for me. Probably in my top 5 IIPAs, but I wouldn't call it "the best beer in the world"

PBRmeasap1980, Oct 13, 2014
Photo of jciampa123
3/5  rDev -36.4%

Well.... i live here in the great state of vermont. And i can get heady topper pretty much whene ever i want (im a chef, always have the stuff). This is a good IPA. I like it for its culture shock and I respect its cult folowing, however i actually do not like the beer. Its unbalanced, and dry hopped way to long for my taste. As a chef im always looking for balence and this just does not have it. But i do understand why hop heads around the country flock for it.

jciampa123, Oct 11, 2014
Photo of TheRossness
4.5/5  rDev -4.7%

At the time of this review, Heady topper is ranked on Beer Advocate as the best beer in the world. I was up at Stowe in Vermont for a british car show and found a bar that served this infamous beer on tap. Overall, if I didn't know this beer was so highly ranked, I would have thought Its good, but not memorable. If anything, all the flavors are very well balanced. The only decreeable flavor i could pick out was mandarin orange. I think this would be a nice session beer, but this is absolutely not a memorable beer. For all the hype, this was a letdown as there's nothing memorable, special or unique about it. FWIW, I'm also not really an IPA guy.

TheRossness, Sep 25, 2014
Photo of RancidAggro
5/5  rDev +5.9%

World class. Finding one can be a bit tricky though. My friend got me one at a phish concert but I was left with a feeling of disappointment. I think they had allowed it to get warm which affected the taste. I then took a trip to Vermont and headed straight for Waterbury. I thought it would be easy to find once I got to the home town but I may as well have been in California. I struck gold at the best Western hotel I stayed at because their cafe had some in stock. I did end up finding some to bring home after following multiple leeds taking me to multiple towns.

RancidAggro, Sep 18, 2014
Photo of brianlapointe
4.25/5  rDev -10%

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 -4.7%

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 OliOxenFree
5/5  rDev +5.9%

First and foremost, gotta give a BIG thanks to DCLAguy11 for hooking me up with this brew I've been wanting to quaff for over a year. Seriously, thank you. I was really excited to try this. Re-he-he-heally excited.

So, to begin with, I drank this within 24 hours, making sure it was chilled. Drank straight from the can because, duh, it says 3 times around the rim, "DRINK FROM THE CAN!" With that, no color description.

The smell is best described as hop heaven. So tropical. Pineapple, grapefruit, some pine, peach, guava... Amazing.

The tasting? ... Oh man... Oh, man... OH MAN! So delicious! Trying my best not to be affected by hype and hopes, but it is very well balanced and like it says on the can, "wave after wave of hoppy goodness." The first sip gives off a very tropical dry hop taste. Guava, peach, ever so slight, along with papaya and pineapple. Then after the dry tropical taste, I get this wet, traditional IPA flavor; so full of grapefruit, pine, light lemon. That "second wave" is juicy. Finally, it just ends with a nice resiny mouthfeel that grows like a ghost pepper: more and more hops as you drink, but ever so subtle and leaves a craving for more sips.

I gotta say, this is indeed the best DIPA I've ever had. Here in Texas, I've had good Double IPAs, such as Deep Ellum's Dream Crusher & Karbach's Rodeo Clown (which are very very good), which are both amazing (can't help but praise), but this one takes the cake. It's just head and shoulders above the rest, and if I could get it here, I would probably go broke. Immediately after I drank this, I needed to continue the amazing feeling it left, a blonde ale I consider solid tasted like swill. This is both good and bad; it goes to showcase how well crafted Heady Topper is. This whole heartedly deserves the hype.

Citizens of Vermont: consider yourselves blessed.

OliOxenFree, Sep 07, 2014
Photo of weaf
4.5/5  rDev -4.7%

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 +5.9%

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 -4.7%

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 Dietter
4.24/5  rDev -10.2%

I have been waiting a year to grab this beer. Even though I hate IPAs, I wanted to see if this beer is worth the hype. I wasn't disappointed, an IPA I actually didn't mind drinking, which is the ultimate sign of respect from anti-IPA drinker. I can see why you "hop heads" dream over it

Dietter, Aug 18, 2014
Photo of getkrunkhoe
5/5  rDev +5.9%

Amazing Aroma. Had from Can as well as Glass. And man o Man, THis shit is bANging. Very nice lush mouthfeel, smooth drinking, and just overall balanced and well madE.

getkrunkhoe, Aug 15, 2014
Photo of fgmiele
4.68/5  rDev -0.8%
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 -7.8%
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 Bigbri2085
5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The hype is real. Tried my first heady last weekend. There is not much I can say that has not already been said. So, I will say that you have not tried an IPA until you drink one of these bad boys. I was in heaven from the start with the amazing floral smell. The taste is perfect it's crazy. I thought all the hype would ruin it. But no way...Like I said in the beginning the hype is real.

Bigbri2085, Aug 09, 2014
Photo of sanhedrin
3.19/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I don't get it. Maybe I'm daft but the reasons for the over-the-top love for this beer elude me. It's a very nice, refreshing, not terribly complex brew. Good quaffer on a hot summer day, with a light grapefruity bitterness and a clean finish. It's fine. It's nice. I'll drink it again for $4 a can, but I won't drive to Vermont to get it or pay a scalper $14 for it. If I don't see it again, no big deal, there are hundreds of equally good, similar brews out there.

This seems like one of those "the harder to get the better it tastes" situations.

sanhedrin, Aug 07, 2014
Photo of vermontskier
5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Best DIPA in the world. Feel like the ABV % is much higher than stated, which is a bonus.

Keep it cold, always. Never let it warm, it will change the taste. Drastically. I think lower reviews for Heady on this site had this beer shipped or let it warm up and re-cool.

vermontskier, Jul 30, 2014
Photo of 802Brewing
5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am looking at all of these reviews from people all around the country,getting this beer shiped or allowed warm at any time, the taste seems to get compromised and you dont get to enjoy the full experience. If your in Vermont, waiting every Wednesday at 10 am outside of the store for the truck to arrive, hoping you'll get a 4 pack or 2, when it's as fresh as ever.

This beer has a truly one of a kind taste and smell. A bright hazy gold, with a fluffy head. It's by far one of the most unique beers in Vermont, and anyone who's from here knows, that's a lot to compete with. Absolutely the greatest IPA out there. We're all hoping for "The Crusher", "Focal Banger", "Holy Cow IPA" to start bigger production. Keep it up Alchemist.

802Brewing, Jul 30, 2014
Photo of WhiteHillsStore
5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I thought maybe the hype was too much for this beer, but god damn! This is amazing! The appearance is a dark golden hue with a nice head that lasts and then trails down the glass. The smell is full of citrus and baked bread. The taste is crazy complex with different sensations of hops coming through all through out the taste. Love this one, maybe a new favorite.

WhiteHillsStore, Jul 28, 2014
Photo of Swettenham_Shire
4.35/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Received as an extra in a trade with malfunxion. First time trying this - and as advised from The Alchemist, I drank it straight from the can. The artwork on the can draws you in to that first sip. Taste is a perfect blend of hops with very little bitterness; delicious. Well done, but best beer in the world? No way.

Swettenham_Shire, Jul 27, 2014
Photo of odomosan
4.5/5  rDev -4.7%

odomosan, Today at 03:25 AM
Photo of Goalcam
3.75/5  rDev -20.6%

Goalcam, Today at 03:18 AM
Photo of SeattleBoB76
4.25/5  rDev -10%

SeattleBoB76, Today at 01:40 AM
Photo of Egrant08
4.96/5  rDev +5.1%

Egrant08, Today at 01:38 AM
Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 9,048 ratings.