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Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

Heady Topper - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Heady TopperHeady Topper

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

1,988 Reviews
THE BROS
95
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,988
Hads: 11,151
rAvg: 4.67
pDev: 7.28%
Wants: 8,229
Gots: 3,650 | FT: 56
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 (10) | 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: 1,988 | Hads: 11,151
Photo of Misfit2209
4.73/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I'm not sure how old the can I drank was at time of consumption. I gave "smell" a 4.25 however I have to believe a beer this big has a big aroma when fresh. With that said, please take the 4.25 aroma as suspect. Taste and Feel live up to the hype for sure! (259 characters)

Photo of JohnnyB
4.16/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I can see how people think of this as a trophy brew. It's very good,huge citrus smack. Like drinking a glass (yep,didn't read the instructions) of grapefruit juice. Had a slight,bitter (lemon) aftertaste. Overall,a wonderful brew. (230 characters)

Photo of 57md
4.51/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Purchased in Montpelier, VT on July 20, 2015 (the same day that it came off the delivery truck) and consumed with notes taken the following day. In other words, this baby was fresh.

This rating comprises notes from two cans - one poured into a tulip and the second consumed directly from the can.

Appearance is a hazy light orange color with plenty of floaties. The nose has dank notes but the real feature is the overwhelming grapefruit that comes through (especially when kept in the can). The flavor is dominated by wave after wave of hoppy goodness. The body is a bit thinner than I expected but seems to complement this beer as is.

The array of hop flavors seems to grow more potent as this offering warms.

All-in-all, a fabulous drinking experience but not quite the greatest beer every brewed. In parting I will echo the suggestion of the brewer: "Drink from the can!"

Update (Sept 2015): Saw a video made by brewmaster John Kimmich in which he stated that, at one time, his tasting notes indicated that Heady was best at 10 weeks. Ever willing to experiment, I saved the last Heady in my haul until it reached the 10 week mark (4 weeks before hitting the shelves, plus six weeks in my fridge). This offering definitely loses something with age. The strong hop notes are still there but the citrus has been dialed back considerably. It also oddly appears more boozy. My suggestion is to again listen to the can and "drink this beer immediately." (1,466 characters)

Photo of brew02
4.89/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the few Double IPA'S that deserves the hype it gets and definitely the one that set the bar. Yes, there is Treehouse and Hillfarmstead but heady in my opinion paved the way for other great New England Ipa's. (214 characters)

Photo of JonathannRobert
4.29/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I'm going to go similar to Blackboard on this review...

Every time I drink heady, I want it to meet the hype that surrounds it. Most recently I drank it 3 days after canning, and as good as it was, it was still not mind blowing. Don't get me wrong, its a great DIPA in every sense, but there is some heavy competition especially in it's neck of the woods.

Super unfiltered and cloudy/hazy orange in appearance. Super piney and bitter. The IBUs labeled don't match the flavor profile. If Heady is present, I'll never turn one down, but I won't put myself through hell to get a can. A great DIPA, but not the best in the world. (627 characters)

Photo of hutchscouter
4.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I don't throw around high scores on beers but this one totally deserves it. This does not taste like any other Double IPA I have tried before. Even with its 100 IBUs, the first thnig that washs over your palate is not 'bitter' but 'fresh'. Like drinking a newly mown lawn fresh. And smooth. It's hard to describe. The only knock is on the look which is pale and slightly cloudy but maybe that's why they encourage drinking from the can :-). Drove 900 miles from Virginia and waited in line for 90 minutes at Winooski Beverage to get my hands on a case to bring back to share with friends. (589 characters)

Photo of Blackboardbrewing
4.17/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is one of those beers that I've had on multiple occasions at multiple different freshness dates. It's fantastic don't get me wrong, but I've never had a can (even one that was canned less than 5 days old) where I was absolutely dumbfounded how good it is.

Look: That typical Vermont hazy orange-ish yellow hue with a good amount of sediment, yep I am a Douchebag and poured it into a glass, I had to see what I was drinking right?

Smell: This is where I was perplexed. Big peachy citric pine notes, with a overwhelming amount of bitterness lingering in the background. Almost smells too piney. I get a big herbaceous and floral character as well. Detractor to the initial peach-like tropical notes.

Taste: More like the nose, but damn is this beer dry and long lastingly bitter. I had to look up the IBU's, seriously 75 that's all? Feels like 100+. There is also something to be said for the fact that I can taste this Vermont like yeast character that I get in this and a lot of Hill Farmstead brews, kinda drives the malt forward, especially in the older cans I've had.

Feel: Okay, this is where it wins me. Mid to full on the palate, but dissipates quickly enough to keep me coming back for another sip. Creamy per se?

Overall: An awesome double IPA. But I'm not sure it ever warranted #1 in the world. Still awesome stuff that I like to have every now and then, but I never go out of my way to trade for it because there are much better local IPA/DIPA in the midwest here. (1,488 characters)

Photo of Karibourgeois
4.62/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Best IPA I have ever had. Most amazing aroma off of a beer. Lots of juiciness in the taste with citrus and pine dominating. Taste lingers with a great bitter finish. (165 characters)

Photo of winningwes91
4.9/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Well, here it goes. The number 1 (now 2) beer in the world. Pours a gorgeous hazy orange. Smells of citrus, pine and hoppy goodness. Tastes follows through. Awesome creamy mouthfeel. I can definitely see why this is the top beer. It's amazing, if just a hair under focal banger, due to a bit too much bitterness on the backend for my taste (but I'm just splitting hairs). Amazing stuff! (386 characters)

Photo of KingCobra686
4.64/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I never get tired of drinking this. Drinking this against most other popular IPA's and Double IPA's will make them taste too harsh or malty or grassy. (151 characters)

Photo of Mattymystique
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Oh, What a beautiful buzz, what a beautiful buzz. Special beer, from a special place. Truly not much more needs to be said. Drink it from the can and drink it in Vermont. (173 characters)

Photo of Wyurm
4.87/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I was extremely lucky to be given a can recently. This is definitely an excellent DIPA and the best I've ever had. I drank half from the can as it recommends and half from an IPA glass. Honestly it was better from the glass but to each their own.

Look: Hazy amber color

Smell: Strong citrus / grapefruit pronounced. Slightly floral

Taste: Very hoppy, bitter, citrus upfront giving way to a smooth taste with a bite of bitter at the end

Feel: Perfectly carbonated

Overall: It was an easy to drink DIPA. Well-balanced and nicely hopped. While my expectations are usually too high, this was a definite exception. Heady-Topper is the real deal. (646 characters)

Photo of RyanJohnCrain
4.85/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Drank most from the can but the appearance from what I did pour in the glass was beautiful. So smooth with tons of Tropical fruit upfront, balanced resin finish. In the top 10 for sure. (185 characters)

Photo of beardown2489
4.25/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Not the best IPA I've ever had, but it's something every beer fanatic should try. It revolutionized the beer game and for that I am thankful. An excellent beer (159 characters)

Photo of Mehinaman
4.78/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I feel like trying this beer is a craft beer lovers rite of passage and I was finally able to cross this one odd my list. I really enjoyed it and found it to be extremely drinkable and not overly hoppy for a DIPA. At the same time I can't say it was the cathartic experience I was hoping for, but rather just a very good beer. Will habe again if given the opportunity, but this will probably be my last time hunting it down (423 characters)

Photo of kjstharris2000
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It is the best beer I have tasted. It has a very smooth inviting aroma, great body, and what I personally like best, a great after taste. It literally lingers in my mouth for a couple hours after I finished the beer. (216 characters)

Photo of mandy_mic700
4.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I had this brew for the first time the other night. I work at a homebrew supply shop in Southern PA and a customer was kind enough to get some cans for us. It is a fantastic brew, but certainly not the best I've had -- but it's all subjective! I compare this to Lawson's Sip of Sunshine, and I have to say that Lawson's beer wins this one for me. Nevertheless, if you get a chance the try this beer, do it! You certainly won't regret it. (437 characters)

Photo of OGFGabv
4.72/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Just an all around show stopping beer. Lots of tropical fruit that comes in wave after delicious wave with a touch of a lemon grass in there. Bitterness not overwhelming, but a nice balance . A truly great beer. (211 characters)

Photo of rogerdandy
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was hooked at first sip. After lusting after this beer for years I finally got to try it several times recently, thanks to friends, and I have to say it really lived up to the hype. I can't think of a beer I've heard more about and the whole experience still managed to live up. I can understand know how this beer really broke the way for others like it that have come since. Also more good beer like this needs to be put into cans. (435 characters)

Photo of anteatr23
4.88/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours golden orange and hazy and chalky. Smells like fruit with some hops and sweet malts. Taste is like a breath of fresh air. Bitter and crisp, with citrus and dry bready finish. Fantastic malt flavor and so perfectly balanced. I was prepared to be critical of this beer as I figured it had to be over-hyped. It's not. This is certainly the tippity-top-tier of IPAs/Double IPAs. Incredible flavor and drinkability from start to finish. (445 characters)

Photo of reds2harleys
4.99/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've been looking forward to trying this for years now. Living in NJ I can't tell you how many times I've had friends or co workers promise they would bring back some from a trip to VT or " my buddy/cousin/whoever lives up there, I'll get them to bring it down " but all fell through. I finally decided to take a road trip. I planned it well and did the round trip in a day, came back w 2 cases plus some other VT beers. Successful trip I'd say. Anyway, with all the hype and what I had to go through to get some Heady I was finally ready to see for myself. Well - I can see why this beer gets all the talk. This isn't even my favorite style, I'm a BBA Stout guy but I must say this is a fantastic brew. Outrageous flavor that just keeps getting better. No question Heady is deserving of its # 1 status. Long live the king !! (834 characters)

Photo of JParlow
4.96/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A friend brought me a can from his VT trip. WOW! Nice aroma. Well-balanced. I like the use of malt that allows you to enjoy the hops and not be overrun by them. Heady has now moved into a first place tie with Bell's Hopslam as my ATF. Problem is now I want another one and I'm not planning any trips to VT in the near future! (331 characters)

Photo of buckslayer50
4.94/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I was given a can by an extremely generous BA on here, this was my white whale and I have now slayed it and it was worth every ounce of hype. I took the first sip and it was great, maybe not the best beer I've ever had but it was up there. The more it warmed up it got better with every sip until I could literally think of nothing I would change about the beer. A steady supply of this would be dangerous, and IIPA's aren't even my favorite style of beer but this is my favorite beer I have tried yet in my short time diving in to craft beer. Side note, I drank about half from a glass and half from the can, and maybe it's just in my head because they tell you to on the can, but I think I liked straight from the can a little better. (740 characters)

Photo of DrDusty
4.94/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm not going to do the typical L S T F O stuff that is on this site for this beer. I have frequented the site for years and years and this is the beer that made me have to do a review. I was skeptical when I obtained this beer. It can't be worth the hype. It can't be as good as this website says it is. I'm here to write that it is, without a doubt, the most incredible DIPA I have ever had. Not too strong, yet still flavorful. Still aromatic. I drank it form the can so I can't comment on the look but I don't care. This is a beer that is extremely hard for me to obtain in the area I am. I never thought I would get this beer. And now that I have, every IPA I have ever had fails in comparison. It was perfect. (715 characters)

Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.83/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A - The beauty here is in seeing what is coming, but the golden orange body, opaque, and moderate thin white head, are not stunning. The can art is great, and it is not a bad looking beer, but it is not exceptionally good looking.

S - On the other hand, the smell is a full range of fruit notes, from hints of orange and grapefruit, to stone fruit elements, tropicals and mild grain and grass elements underpinning. The depth and fullness stun, and my wife, who hates beer, even agreed that this is a good smelling brew. As full and ranging as this is, it avoids the harsher hop notes common in bold IPAs I've had.

T - Man, oh, man. Delivering a broad, full range of fruit flavors, mango and grapefruit, peaches, couples with deep grains and floral and grassy notes. The depth is extraordinary.

M - For how bruising and bold the hop profile, this could have been a scraper. Many this bold are. But the feel, though full, with a touch of drying in the close, is not abusive. A gentle giant.

O - So this is what the hype is about. A tremendous treat, with bold complex flavors that do not overwhelm the palate. The real trick here is getting all of these elements to sing in harmony, and the brewers earned their name on this one. Worth every bit of credit this beer gets. (1,285 characters)

Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 1,988 ratings.