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Heady Topper - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Heady TopperHeady Topper

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

9,719 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,719
Reviews: 1,857
rAvg: 4.74
pDev: 6.96%
Wants: 6,741
Gots: 2,547 | FT: 42
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 (14) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 9,719 | Reviews: 1,857 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GRG1313
5/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of kjkinsey
5/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of metter98
4.66/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: The beer is hazy yellow in color and has some hints of amber hues. It poured with a finger high off white head that quickly died down, leaving a thin film of bubbles covering the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass. There is a slight amount of carbonation visible along with some fine particles floating in suspension.
S: There are strong aromas of citrusy hops in the nose along with some hints of pine resin. As the beer warms up, the piney hops become replaced by aromas of mangoes and other tropical fruits. I poured a little from the can into a snifter glass to give due justice to evaluating its appearance and aroma, but the smell is so strong that you can get most of it by simply sniffing the mouth of the can.
T: Like the smell, the overall taste is dominated by flavors from the hops—grapefruit really stands out in particular and contributes a moderate amount of bitterness that lingers into the finish. There are also some interesting hints of tropical fruits such as mangoes, which lend to the complexity and become a little stronger as the beer warms up. The hops also taste extremely fresh and seem a somewhat reminiscent of a wet hopped beer.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: Despite being an Imperial IPA, this beer is a citrus hop bomb that drinks more like a regular IPA and has no traces of alcohol whatsoever in the taste. If I could find a four pack of this, I would have no problem knocking back each one of the cans in a single sitting.

Photo of olradetbalder
4/5  rDev -15.6%

Photo of brentk56
4.42/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Presents a slightly hazy honey color capped by a couple of inches of foam; swathes a few strands of lace

Smell: Bursts with citrus, pine and pith; rather tropical, with orange, pineapple and mango

Taste: The intense bitterness jutts forward from the get-go, with the tropical citrus flavors featuring prominently in the middle, bringing orange, pineapple and mango flavors, along with ruby red grapefruit; the sweetness from the malts builds into the finish, balancing the bitterness

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: A great DIPA; while it is big on the hops, there is a lot of malty sweetness, too and that is necessary to balance the intense bitterness

Thanks, wildcats10, for the opportunity

Photo of kylehay2004
4.5/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of ygtbsm94
4.5/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of BEERchitect
4.67/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

So if your beer tastes like this, maybe you only need to make one. There's likely no way that you'll ever out do Heady-Topper so just stop right there!

With a controlled and creamy pour of medium gold elixir, this hazy and glowing ale constructs a creamy, cottony white head with substantial retention and islands of lace. Overall, this is one sexy beer!

Seductive and mouthwatering citrus aromas abound from from the rim of the glass. The straight-up juicy fruity scent of the freshly squeezed pulp of ripe ruby red grapefruit with elements of citric acids, fruit sweetness that seems of thin honey, and some softer tropical notes of mango and apricot. It's impossible to put your nose so close to the glass without taking a sip.

The delicious delight of a beer delivers the straight forward grapefruit flavor just as the nose promises. The sweet pulp of fresh-picked ruby reds couldn't be more spot-on. Resiny as the citrus flavors seem to coat the mouth while the stripping of enamel commences. Soft caramel malts support the hops with the supple and elegant sweetness of powdered sugar and honey, but do so without contrast- make no mistake about it, this is a hop-forward ale with the likes that rarely seen. A very delicate yet hop-dominant balance throughout. Any estery fruitiness would weave into the hop matrix and inform the beer with complementary notes of tropical mangoes, apricots, and pineapple. Succulent and savory throughout, even as the beer's elegant hop flavor develops into soft resiny bitterness that grips the gullet with kid gloves in finish and aftertaste. Only the strong taste of alcohol for moderate 8% that reminds me of super glue is the only slight defect in taste.

Very creamy and delicate on the palate from the initial sip and deep into the middle portion of the palate. All the while coating the mouth with citrusy acids, diluted pine resin, and light sticky honey. The beer's carbonation develops a malty-dry finish that retains its soft malty body while contributing pleasant alcohol warmth and an extended citrusy bitterness.

When you're convinced of the impossibility of ever tasting a better IPA, something like this comes along and shows new possibility in flavor intensity, dryness, drnkability, and absolute elegance and finesse. It's hard to keep this beer off of the "perfect" line score.

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.61/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Can (thanks Stephen): Poured a cloudy light yellow color ale with large chunks of protein floating around and a large foamy head with good retention. Aroma of super intense pine hops notes with some citrus and resin notes. Taste is also a super intense mix of pine, resin and light citrus undertones hops with a dry malt backbone that is hard to distinguish from the hops attack. The floral aromas are huge end very enjoyable. Body is full with great carbonation. I must admit the hype is totally justified for this one, truly one of the great IIPA.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.68/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Finally made the long trek up here to be able to taste it in person. Reviewed from notes after my trip, I am finally getting around to getting these all caught up. Served in a pint glass.

The pour was what dreams are made of. All big IPA's should look this way. Seriously. Intense dark amber in color, nearly brown when all is said and done as it really just was darker then I ever would have thought. Big head of white caps it perfectly, two to three inches in height with a rocky and cratered appearance that really seem to hang on forever. Really just a tremendous looking beer I have to admit. The lacing coating the sides alone is enough to make you quiver, but then you decide to reach forward and try and take a big whiff, and that's when you will nearly fall over. It is just sublime. Huge citrus aroma here, tart and bitter as can be with pungent orange and pineapple mixing with the pink grapefruit aroma we come to expect in our big double IPA's. Huge nose, warming brings out a touch of butter malts underneath and a light, but discernable grain note. Each sip is like a step into hop heaven. Unreal freshness here. No hint of the ABV at all, in fact it was so smooth I could have sat here all day and drank this one, just remarkable. Rich orange and grapefruit tear at the taste buds, ripping every ounce of moisture from your palate and replacing it with a wonderful buttery flavor that is second to none. Smooth even carbonation and a rich medium body stacks it all up to being just a tremendous double IPA.

Overall I am just floored. I have been able to try this twice now and each time I am more impressed then before. Simply amazing and I wish more people would get to try this one. It can hold its own with any of the big boys any day of the week.

Photo of Knapp85
4.94/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is incredible stuff, this beer was drank mostly from the can... only poured a sample of it out to enjoy the orange yellow color of it with a nice looking white head on top. Had a nice unfiltered cloudiness to it also. The smell of the beer is very hoppy, lots of pine aromas in it with the delicate floral and citrusy notes in there as well. The taste is probably worthy of a 5.5 honestly. There is no doubt that this has some of the best transitions of flavors I've had from any IPA. There is a huge rush of floral sweet citrus notes on the tongue in the very beginning, as the liquid settles there is a very subtle burst of malts on the tongue right before the aggressive pine resin starts to claw away at your taste buds. The mouthfeel is smoothly carbonated making this beer very easy to drink, it's medium bodied and has a nice dry finish to it. Overall this is something very special, The people up at Alchemist aren't screwing around here, they are setting out to make the best IPA in the world and I would say that they just might have it. This is a beer I would drive to Vermont to get cases of. I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. Looking forward to drinking the next 3 in the pack.

Photo of SocalKicks
4.5/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.25/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of womencantsail
4.47/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks for sharing this one, Drew.

A: The pour is a cloudy dark orange with a finger's worth of white head.

S: The nose is intensely perfumey with lots of grapefruit, mango, pine, and lemon zest. There's a pretty nice pine aroma, and just an overall fruitiness to it.

T: Mango, pineapple, grapefruit, and lemon zest give this a big fruitiness. Though it does have a lot of fruit notes, it's also pretty intensely bitter and piney, which is very nice.

M: The body is medium with a pretty lively carbonation and a dry, bitter finish.

D: Certainly a very, very good IPA. Actually reminded me a lot of Sculpin, but more bitter. Would definitely like to have this one again.

Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to bring for the bottle. Bottled on 11/30/2010, consumed 12/13/2010.

Heady Topper pours a murky, rusty copper hue. Nearly opaque from sediment, and showing fairly weak head retention, this isn't the most visually impressive beer.

The aroma, on the other hand, is an outstanding display of juicy citrus and tropical fruit. Mango and papaya, pineapple and grapefruit, the hop profile has impressive depth. Malt is barely perceptible, almost imaginary.

Malt is more noticeable on the palate, lending a bread-like backbone that's quickly washed away by an assault of hop flavor and bitterness. Grapefruit, pineapple and papaya flavors try their hardest to balance a huge resinous hop bitterness. This is dry and light, decidedly West Coast style, with a lower to moderate level of carbonation. The bitterness grows astringent after a while, and while I do appreciate high IBUs, I feel that in this case it's out of balance with the hop flavor. It's an excellent DIPA nonetheless, and one of the best hoppy beers I've had from the East Coast.

Photo of oberon
4.42/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A big thanks to Roger at Bestway for GIVING me this beer on Sunday.I know it's snobbery but I can't drink beer out of a can,I hate myself but I just can't.Pours a murky kind of lemony tea looking with a thin white head,the color was hard to pinpoint.Pure hops in the nose,tropical fruit, citrus rind,deep pine resin,and sweet alcohol,all make for a volitile mix.Just hops and lots o' hops on the palate,pine resin,deep overripe tropical fruits,and some bitterness in the finish.It's oily as all get out and slick in the mouth.This beer is pretty damn raw and complex in the hop department to the hilt,bad ass.I love the hop burps!

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours out a hazy, light yellow-orange body strewn with fine particles and topped with a barely off-white head.

Smell: Heavy, heady resins, staunch florals, crushed aspirin tablets, and a squirt of white grapefruit juice over a thin cracker-toned malt base.

Taste: Lightly bready, lightly crackery malts with just a little bit of honeyish sweetness. Strongly floral, heavily resinous rounded with a fruity kick of grapefruit. Medium-high bitterness. Dry, citrusy, pithy finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Oily mouthfeel.

Overall: Not bad. Not bad at all.

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.47/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

an affordable can at farmhouse tap in burlington. they say drink it from the can, but i poured it for more careful study. it looks lovely, hazy, definitely unfiltered. radiant hay color with thick white suds floating on top that leave some mean lacing as it drinks. smells like quite the hop bouquet. grapefruit and spruce are the most prominent hop esters im picking up, but there are many. it tastes like it smells, deep and complex, worthy of patient consumption. its fruity, in addition to citrus there is also nectarine and mandarin orange on my tongue. its got upbeat carbonation which keeps its oily medium taffy sticky body moving along. the aftertaste is long and bittersweet, as it should be. alcohol is well hidden in taste, but can certainly be felt. this is one hell of a big ipa, and i dont want to hear anymore debate about pliny/heady, because both are outstanding and distinct brews, and that should suffice for all of us.

Photo of biboergosum
4.45/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

16oz can, thanks to Phyl21ca for getting this across the continent to me. If we are entreated to "Drink from the Can!", then why does the label illustration show the dude getting his mind literally blown ('heady topped?'), using a GLASS?

This beer pours a cloudy medium apricot amber hue, with three fat fingers of puffy, billowy, and chunky off-white head, which leaves some thickly rendered, sudsy webbed lace around the glass as it slowly ebbs away.

It smells of sharp, bitter grapefruit and orange pith, acrid pine resin, musty forest floor detritus, a crackery sourdough maltiness, and a hint of spicy yeast. The taste is still bitter, but in a more leavened sense, as the grapefruit, tangerine, and other muddled tropical fruit display a modicum of their sugary, fleshy nature, with the pine needles still pleasantly in neutral, the yeastiness going native and ethereal, a caramel essence attaching itself to the steady bready (and, why not - heady) honey-tinted malt sweetness.

The bubbles are fairly laid-back, manifesting mostly in a mild frothiness, the body a sturdy medium weight, and smooth like unfiltered orange juice. It finishes off-dry, the slightly yeasty, and now toasty bready malt faring surprisingly well amongst the hovering hipster hops. Still no alcohol notes readily perceptible.

A DIPA worthy of its stature, but for reasons I did not quite expect - this is a hop bomb, sure, but more of the neutron variety - the attack leaves the infrastructure (i.e. my tastebuds) intact. It's all about flavour here, rather than overt bitterness or astringency, and while my mind remains unequivocally unblown, I can surely admit that this is the best combination of tasty and easy-drinking that I have ever encountered in the style. Oh, and I took a sip out of the can before I poured it - seemed the same to me.

Photo of emerge077
4.57/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks Alex for sharing this one, you generous SOB.

Slightly hazed orange due to it's unfiltered nature, and the bottle was approaching it's end. In a tulip glass, there initially was a solid finger's width of white foam, fading to a wispy skim dotted with minor spotty lacing.

Huge tropical aroma, fresh hops galore, sweet citrus, bitter grapefruit, mango, resiny dank herbals. Rooty Tooty Fresh 'N Fruity.

Flavor is similarly fruity, with a big grapefruit presence, moderately bitter, lush and packed with resinous hop flavor and a slight undercurrent of pale malt sweetness. Sticky and dank. Body is fairly light, and with no trace of the abv, it's almost too easy to drink. "Carbonated to pub draft levels" as the label states. A bomber or two of this hop nectar would be awesome, on tap even better. Thanks again Alex!

Photo of TMoney2591
4.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Rogue shaker pint glass.

Big thanks to apollokim for this can!

The big guns keep on showing up for this Super Bowl party! This one pours a rusty tawn topped by over a finger of cream foam. The nose comprises ruby red grapefruit zest, yellow grapefruit peel, orange zest, strong pine resin, light leek, and buttery toffee (think Crunch 'n' Munch). The taste brings in more of the same, though the pine, leek, and citrus peels come through stronger, taking things in an ever-so-slightly bitterer direction. Things are still very well-balanced, though. The body is a lithe medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a slightly creamy feel. Overall, a damn fine, nicely-balanced DIPA. Good times. (Note: We tried this both in the glass and straight out of the can. There was no consensus, as about half preferred the can and half preferred the glass. I was in the latter, though it wasn't a strong preference by any means.)

Photo of JAHMUR
4.75/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of nickfl
4.25/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.89/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 16oz can into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a murky gold color, with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains a lot nicely blended of floral hops, fruity citrus and caramelized malts.

T: The taste starts out with a very strong grassy hops bitterness along with a big fruity citrus sweetness. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and creates an excellent balance. The after-taste is hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Very crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, not too filling, good kick, very good representation of style, this beer is exactly what you look for in a 2IPA and is worth drinking for a whole evening.

Photo of Jason
4.45/5  rDev -6.1%

Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 9,719 ratings.