Heady Topper - The Alchemist

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Heady TopperHeady Topper

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2,032 Reviews

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Reviews: 2,032
Hads: 11,334
Avg: 4.66
pDev: 16.95%
Wants: 8,323
Gots: 3,802 | 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
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 2,032 | Hads: 11,334
Photo of SpasmWaiter
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

What else can I say about this beer that hasn't already been said? Very few beers actually live up to the hype - Heady Topper does. Im not one to stand in line for hours to get a case of beer but the stores around here serve me well enough. One of the finest beers in the world with out a doubt.

11/04/13 update: Enjoying a can that is 17 days old right now, and I have to say, its better than a day-of freshie. The flavors seem to have blended a bit and it is FANTASTIC.

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Photo of MNishCT77
4.91/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

16 oz. can gifted from a friend, unclear bottling date but about three weeks old (one week old when gifted at NHC2013), poured into my FFF Teku glass, drank 7/14/13 over an hour.

A: 3/3 - golden-orange coloration, minimal clarity (can both see or read through), off-white head dissipates into a one finger head that persisted throughout drinking, moderate alcohol legs for an imperial IPA

S: 11/12 - as expected, huge hop aroma right up front: grapefruit, orange/tangerine and lots and lots of pine....some alcohol and malt notes are also present but the hops are front and center; I detracted one point because I recall even more intensity of prior consumption

T: 19/20 - on the anterior tongue, there's a dank bitterness (that I suspect is from an ample amount of CTZ and/or Simcoe), in the middle of the mouth, the remaining hop qualities really kick in (from Centennial, I guess)...big time grapefuit and other citrus fruits; the alcohol is present in the taste with some minor malt characters to hint at balancing

M: 5/5 - full-bodied with thick hop oils coating the tongue, 8% is present but not overbearing (more like a single IPA at times); high carbonation for style/ABV and moderate alcohol legs

O: 9/10 - one of the best imperial IPAs and lives up to the hype; this is a Centennial, CTZ and Simcoe bomb that, with PtE, set the standard for an American DIPA, in my eyes; however, I think that certain other more recent examples may have overtaken it - Surly's Abrasive, Founder's Double Trouble and DC Brau On the Wings of Armageddon

TOTAL = 47/50

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Photo of Casey10
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am giving this review for both the can and on tap. I was able to go through Waterbury for a vacation through Vermont.

On a side note if you have a chance to take a trip up through Vermont do it beautiful country fantastic people.

So I picked up a case of Heady, it's cold cant wait to try it, 2 hours later I have to wait while it chills when we arrive at our destination.

Everything about this beer is awesome.

A - 5
S - 5
T - 5
M - 5
O - 5

Well worth the trip.

If you wish a great beer trip check out Waterbury. A lot going on their as well !!

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

I just came back from a 3 day mini vacation from Vermont, I talked my wife into going to see this "beautiful state" we dragged our 16 year old boy with us, after 1 day in Vermont it was pretty obvious why we were there in the summer.... dad's lust for the "Holy Grail " The Alchemist brewery and heady topper.. We stayed at Green mountain inn ( very nice ) and did enjoy the mountain views at smugglers notch, anyway Heady topper was everything I hoped it would be. I was at the hotel's pub when I got my long awaited first can, my wife and son were looking at me like I was nuts, I cracked open the brew and low and behold it was liquid gold. Sorry for the not very scientific review, but it's that good!!

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Photo of not-mel-brooks
4.41/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

had this tonight for the first time . poured from can at a beer tasting at http://goo.gl/P2J7P .(good time,) one of the 3 best beers i have ever had . very floral aroma. nice bite. clear. clean. hoppy. favorable comparison to Stone Ruination IPA . this is my first review . i felt compelled to write it.

i will look for this

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Photo of GuitarIPA
4.1/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from can
L - orange, white foamy head
S - light floral and citrus, sweet smelling
T - surprisingly malty and sweet, plenty of hops
F - medium body, clean finish, minimal bitterness

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Photo of paulmack69
3.83/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Got these via a trade with someone from New Hampshire so I'm not sure how fresh they are. I believe he bought them before he shipped them to me. My first impression was not that great for an IPA. It initially tasted just liked steeped hops. Almost like someone just made tea with a bag of hops. Maybe I was drinking it too cold. My second and third cans seemed much better. Maybe I just had to appreciate it more. I still think there are other better DIPA's out there in my opinion. If you love hops then this is the beer for you as it is all hops and nothing else.

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Photo of guityler83
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: i poured about 1/3rd of the can into a snifter glass (despite the recomendation to drink from the can) to see the beer I'm drinking (you have to!). It poured with a half finger of bright white head that quickly fell leaving a dusting of tiny bubbles gracefully on the top and a slightly thicker edge around the glass. The beer was a murkey, cloudy pale orange to dark yellow color. Holding it to the light there was a soft glow around the edge, but the center was as dark and murkey as it was without a back light.

S: Tropical explosion of strong lasting grapefruit, lingering strawberry, subtlely disapating caty pine and fresh squeezed orange. Peaking through the complex yet distinct hop aromas is a breadyness that comes out as it warms up. Fruity yeast that intertwines with the tropical fruit hops and a tad bit of alcohol.

T: Complex hop flavors from begining to end. The same tropical fruit and pine flavors detected in the aroma comethrough on the first sip. The bittering lingers on the pallet with a more pine and bread flavor than was detected in the middle. The bittering is high on the radar but it almost seems less than other DIPAs because of the sheer flavors comeing at you from all angles.

M: A sticky icky tounge feel as it washes over the tounge. A nice dry finish but the malt flavor is still detectable. Low to moderate carbonation dialed in perfect to emphasis the hops in just the right spots.

O: A fully complex hop-afire explosion in your mouth. I will seek more and share with others as much as possible so they can enjoy this as much as I did. Thanks to Ataraxia for his amazing generosity. CHEERS!

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

You simply cannot beat this beer. It looks very cool in the silver can, it tastes amazing, hoppy with low bitterness, it smells gloriously fresh and somewhat citrusy. Smooth. One of the best IPA's I've ever had. It's quite delicious. At first I thought it was over ratted by the time I finished my can, I was converted.

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Photo of Bowdoinbeerboy
4.49/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured with a good bit of head, definitely looks like there is some wheat malt in there. Beer itself is almost an orange color and is completely opaque. If I were to look at this without knowing what it was I would guess it was a hefeweizen. This isn't even a weakish opaqueness, this beer is opaque right up to the edge of the glass!

The nose here is a bit more subdued than I had expected. I get some mild citrus notes and just a hint of bitter hop funk, not much else going on than that.

This beer has a very strong malt backbone (it is an 8% abv afterall, that alcohol has to come from somewhere!) but is well balanced with citrusy hop bitterness. Definitely not the most grapefruity beer I have ever had (that would be MBC Lunch) but its quite good. The hop bitterness really lingers on the palate and is quite pleasant. The aftertaste is the most bitter bit.

The moutfeel here is great. Very smooth, fills the palate, its just wonderful.

This is a great beer, its not my favorite IPA, but it sure is close. Additionally, for the price, this beer is tough to beat. Very tasty IPA with lots of bitterness and moderate citrus. Definite buy if I can get my VT cousin to bring me back more.

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Photo of mentor
3.48/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a two-finger slightly-yellowed clingy head over a cloudy and particulated puke-tan liquid. Smells of green onion and wild garlic (Summit hops) with pine and sharp grapefruit pith. Baby aspirin and lemony tropical fruits. Comes across as a blast of very fresh Summit hops.

Tastes sharp bitter with flat oily bitter to complement. Nice malt sweet that blends with the green onion flavor. Juicy hops. Tin, no esters, but nice barley grain flavor. Acidic sour from the hops almost comes across as lactic. Finishes with baby aspirin (Simcoe hops) and a very resiny pine aftertaste. Very grassy rich in cohumulone. Too strong of carbonation. Carb and clean alcohol sting lift the beer from the tongue early. Creamy body is interrupted by rough hops and clean alcohol sting.

A decent beer, but would be *much* better with different hops. I find Summit hops sickening and can't wait for the trend to pass on by. Big disappointment. Judged to style, so scored higher than my palette would offer. The can says "drink from the can!" It was not as good from a can as from a glass.

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Photo of iJyuken
4.55/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Drank from the can, very nice artwork!

S: Sticky resin. not a hop bomb but layers and layers of sticky hops. lots of grass and citrus.

T:Bursting with citrus, citrus and bitterness stick around the whole way through.

M: Great body for an 8% abv beer. well carbonated and highly drinkable..

O: A great DIPA. I can see where all the hype comes from, definitely an easy drinking, tasty beer.

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Photo of AdamF625
4.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- poured only half into a glass to experience different flavors from can and glass. golden/orange in color very cloudy, unfiltered. Thick Fluffy white head.
S- A blast of citrus hops, a lot of grapefruit, resin/piney hop notes coming from the can.
T- more of the same from the nose citrus/tropical fruits like orange, pineapple, mango, lemons, and resinous hops.
M- medium body and carbonation. This is very juicy upfront then a slight dryness on the finish. Hops linger on the palate.
O- This beer is close to perfect, tons of flavor that hides the alcohol and it is super drinkable for a DIPA. I prefer it straight from the can.

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Photo of TriggerFingers
4.28/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Drove through Waterbury and stopped in. Monday at Noon there was a line out the door to get cases. Tried the beer first while in line. It was good, but nowhere near as dramatic as I was hoping for (Lawson's Double Sunshine has ruined me). Wife gave the green light for 2 cases, but after tasting opted for 1. Opened the first one later in the evening when home. This is the review.

A- Very light for an IPA. Very little if any crystal in this beer. Cloudy.

S- The overall smell can best be described as this--take a bag of Trolli Peachi-o's Candy, hold the bag about 4 inches from your nose and sniff. Its peachy, but not like natural peaches (I grew up in a family of peach farmers). Its almost like a candied peach (thanks in part to the Conan yeast) with maybe a touch of a green herbal quality (which is very faint). Perhaps a little citrus coming through? Peach is dominant note with a little bit of other subtle smells mixed in.

T- And the peachiness continues. Peachi-o candy, natural peach pit, some pineapple juice laced with a little bit of bitter orange marmalade. Alcohol is not really pronounced. Bitterness was pretty balanced for an IPA (if this is possible) and grassy notes are restrained. Flavor was good and unique.

M- Its crisp, and light for an IPA. I rather like it. Not syrupy or viscous.

O- I like it. Is it the greatest IPA ever? Maybe its the hype, but I don't think so. Its a great beer and worthy of an A/A+ rating, but I still think beers like Double Sunshine, Maharaja, and Pliny are more memorable. I will enjoy and share this case with friends.

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

I have one person to thank for this mrKennedy what a brilliant unexpected bday present you are the man and I know they say drink out the can but this definitely deserves a glass and pours a cloudy pineapple juice hue with a fluffy cloud like three finger head and lacing everywhere looks so inviting,the smell is pineapples,piney hops,tangerines,grapefruit and a tonne of Valencia oranges,the mouthfeel is perfectly carbonated and medium bodied with tastes of pineapples,mangoes,grapefruit,tangerines and finished with a soft citrus bittersweetness and overall what a sublime AIPA it's right up there with the best I've tried and just wish this and the rest of their range was available here cheers.

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Photo of kingston2
4.96/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am a stout lover at heart. I have never taken to the hop head beers out there... well that was until I got my first taste of Heady Topper. It is absolutely deserving of the number one beer on beeradvocate.

Hazy yellow appearance when poured into glass.. of course they tell you right on the can to drink it out of the can but I wanted to see the beer.

Smell is GLORIOUS!! Pine, grapefruit, citrus... Just gorgeous. I could smell it all day.

Drinks so smoothly considering the high IBUs. Has a great malt backbone that offsets the hop punch. The hops never seem to overwhelm your palate. They push your senses just to the edge and then back off due to the malt.

I love this beer. I am making a pilgrimage to Vermont later in the summer and I hope I luck into a couple cases. It is truly one of the best brews I have ever had.

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Photo of n2185
4.05/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours a hazy orange with a finger of beige head that fades into a thin layer with a little lacing.

S: Grapefruit, citrus rind, and pine dominate with dank weed notes also present. There are grassy and herbal aromas underneath it all.

T: Similar to the aroma, grapefruit and pine dominate with earthy citrus rind and dank weed flavors underneath. The finish is moderately bitter with grassy characters and caramel malts.

M: Medium body with carbonation on the lower side of moderate, this beer is slightly oily feeling but avoids being watery.

O: A pretty good DIPA overall. Lots of earthy hop characters without being overly bitter. I wish the aroma were a bit more pungent, but what's there is nice.

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Photo of briankrespan
4.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Okay, so this is my second Heady experience. My first one was during a bottle share with a good friend of mine, and what followed felt magical. I couldn’t believe the flavors I was tasting, and feeling, and comprehending.

Now, 8 months or so later, I got my hands on a second can (thanks to the same friend), and just cracked it this morning. I finally ventured to pour a small amount into a glass (completely against the very big and bold instructions on the can to “DRINK FROM THE CAN”) But, I just had to see what it looked, felt, and tasted like out of a snifter. I was a little disappointed to say the least. I’m glad that it tells you over and over on the can to drink from it, because it was really pale in color, with a light IPA flavor to it. NOTHING like the powerhouse I had remembered… Thankfully I had just poured 2-3 ounces.

So, now that I was following instructions and drinking from the can, my second taste of this amazing elixir was just as memorable as the first. It is an incredibly resin-y beer with just absolutely incredible hop flavor. The resins coat your tongue BUT beg for more at the same time. The flavors dance on your palate for just long enough that you need more. This beer, at 8% is crushable, but also begs to be sipped, savored, and enjoyed. They tell you to drink it fresh because they’re always making more… but an 8 hour drive isn’t in the cards all the time.

The Alchemist, you brilliant, brilliant brewers. You sell over 90% of your product from your own brewery…. And I know that you know you’ve made one of America’s best beers. And I know that you are proud of it… and you should be. This gem is to be savored, enjoyed and drank straight from the can. Do it, don’t even consider pouring this into a glass… just drink it from the can. Lick your lips, say “ahhh” and beg your friends to get in their cars and go buy more.

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Photo of KFBR392
4.74/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Canned just over a week ago. For this review I poured it into a snifter, I just need the aroma and carbonation release.

Appearance: An ugly looking beer. An orange/yellow color sits with the murkiest body of an IPA I've ever seen. The unique appearance of this beer has some charm and mystery to it. A solid finger of lacing on the pour with an average amount of lacing randomly left on the sides of the glass.

Smell: Once I popped the can open, the hops explored out. Sitting in the glass, an extremely potent combination of straw and tropical fruits. The grass and pine notes provide a biting bitterness while the fruity accents lighten up the aroma. The bitter tones no doubt dominate but there is plenty else going on here.

Taste: The sweet tropical fruit lacing hit the palate right away. The grass and straw tones burst through on the front as well and provide delicious bitter front. The bitterness is beautifully matched with bright hop tones and a balanced malt backbone. I really think the malt is key here. Allows the hops to have a bright presence yet keeps them grounded and balanced. The finish is some sticky hops and sweet malt. Not sure if there is anything I would dream of changing about this part of the beer, simply wonderful.

Mouthfeel: Balanced in every way it should be. Not much else I can say, this is what an DIPA should feel like.

Overall: This beer is so much more then just another hop bomb that you continually see today. A beer with truly complex character, balance, and hop presence. I got a case of this from a friend and thought about trading some, but I think I'll just be selfish and keep them all. An all-timer in my book, no doubt lives up to every bit of the hype.

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Photo of masshops
4.96/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Popped the top on the can and was blown away by huge citrus and pine. The smell alone is worth the price of admission.

Took a sip from the can and found it to be a little malty with big citrus flavors. I immediately have to take another sip. It is very well balanced and drinkable.

After a few more sips I poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint to get a look at this amazing beer. It's a pale yellow with a creamy head and is very cloudy with hoppy goodness.

Overall, I am blown away by this beer. I actually had a friend from work bring me back a case from Vermont for my 4th of July party. Now I have to look at 23 of these sitting in my fridge for the next few days.

Maybe we can get by on 18?

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Photo of MWolverines66
4.44/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Was very excited to try this beer and wanted to see if it could live up to the hype. Obeyed what the can said and drank this out of the can, but poured a little out to see the color. It was a golden color with a little cloudiness.

Smells of pine, citrus and tropical fruits with a huge wave of hops. It smelled completely different than anything I have had before. The taste followed the smell as it was a complex combination of sweet, sour, bitter hops. That's as detailed as I can get because I can't really explain what it was. From sip to swallow the flavor was constantly changing.

Overall I don't know if this would be the best tasting beer in the world for me, but it was definitely the most complex and interesting tasting beer I've ever had.

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Photo of SigEp
4.57/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

First off thanks to my cousin Michael for shipping me a case of incredible North Eastern beers that incorporated a 4-pack of Heady Topper. He is dripping with beer karma indeed.

Appearance: very light straw color with significant haze and chunk; looks a lot like the consistency of cigar city's jai alai with regards to it's floaty fish-food. Significant, firm, head.

Nose: Unique; hops-forward but very earthy, intense hops, pine and pitch/asphalt; biscuit/grainy right behind the hops

Taste: Pine resin, chewy hops, round rotund mouthfeel, up front bitterness smoothed out by a perfectly balance malt backbone; highly quaffable still; incredibly balanced, hops lingers on the tongue in equal amounts with grainy and clean malt flavor

Overall: impressive. hyped to the point of disbelief and still surprised me a little with it's uniqueness. I don't know if this is the "best beer on earth" but it is certainly unique and wonderful in it's own way.

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Photo of almightyme3
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

World class ipa not just for the hopheads but in general. Even if you do not like ipas you have to give this a try. It's like biting into a hoppy pineapple without a hint of its true abv. Simply amazing. Follow directions and do not pour in a glass...

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Photo of sitarist
4.26/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

16 oz. can pours a cloudy, deep, golden color. About an inch of white head falls quickly to a dusting. (4.0)

Mega hop aroma.... YUMMY! Mainly tropical fruits, with some herbal & tea notes. It is really inviting, it begs me to dive in. (5)

Its flavor is hop forward, but not overly so. Nice balance between sweet, ripe tropical fruits, and its herbal bitterness. (4.25)

Could maybe use a bit more carbonation. Its heavy body, and minimal carbonation are like a hop-syrup. (4.0)

Great aroma, and taste, but falls short in feel. Almost weird: one mouthful has a sweet finish, the next bitter. (4.0)

Its either an IPA or DIPA, not sure which one. Reveal is HEADY TOPPER... WoW I remember this being an almost perfect beer in the past. Wonder if its me that changed?

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Photo of 1Adam12
4.32/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Finally. Pours a hazy light orange. Crazy hoppy smell, citrusy. Taste is really nice. Hoppy, but light for the style. Citrusy. Mouthfeel is really nice n creamy. Overall, over rated. Very solid DIPA, top 5 for sure, but over rated. Num 1 in the world, I think not. Not as hoppy as most from 3 floyds. Seek out 3 floyds before you seek this out.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 2,032 ratings.