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Heady Topper - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Heady TopperHeady Topper

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,078 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,078
Hads: 11,589
Avg: 4.66
pDev: 16.74%
Wants: 8,445
Gots: 4,019 | 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 (9) | 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: 2,078 | Hads: 11,589
Photo of FFreak
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Purchased and consumed many times over the past couple of years. I typically ignore the can and drink from a tall glass.

If fresh, it pours out a hazy lemonade yellow with a thick foamy head that slowly dissipates and leaves a bit of lace.

Smell is heavy with citrus and a touch of tropical fruit and dank.

Taste varies a little by batch but is typically a grapefruit bomb, with some cannabis, and finishing with a perfect balance of soft bitterness.

Mouth feel is just right - medium body, clean and refreshing.

Overall, this is the ultimate Vermont style IPA - as good as it gets. I wish I could brew it.

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Photo of Pourharddrinkslow
4.88/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look - Light and inviting, golden yellow with a slight amount of murkiness

Smell - Nothing overwhelming, a mix of citrus, pine, and hops

Taste - Unlike any IPA i've ever had, I don't even know how to describe it. Smooth and delicious.

Feel - Incredibly smooth, which is unfortunate (not really) because as good as this beer is I wish I didn't drink it so quickly.

Overall - Outstanding

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

Quick review. There's nothing I can say here that hasn't already been said. This brew is a classic for a reason, one of the very best IPA offerings that I've tasted.

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

Served cold from a 16 oz can into a 7 oz taster. This is contrary to instruction from the brewer to drink straight from the can.

Pours with light-medium body and a modest white head. The room fills with fresh hop aroma as you pour!

Nose is hops. Perfect hop perfection. Usually the nose of an IPA is citrusy, piney, grapefruity, catty, grassy--describable. Heady Topper smells in the glass (or straight from the can) exactly like when you take cones and rub them between your palms! I've never smelled another beer like it; no other beer effuses that overwhelming essence of fresh cones ready to brew with.

Color is hazy straw, almost green, suggestive of a white ale or hefe.

Taste is hop forward but not overwhelming. I've sampled and brewed IPAs with extraordinary flavoring hops, this one does not deaden the tongue, instead it excites the tongue! Neutral to dry finish, no sweetness to mar the hop-forward nectar.

Edit: Myoriginal review sadly sufferd from grade inflation. Tasted side by side with Pliny, the Toppa is missing the clarity and bitterness that make a more perft beer.

Mouthfeel is light-moderate, smooth, easy-drinking, with no evidence of alcohol warmth or fusels. Bitterness is light.

As it warms in the glass, it perfectly maintains its balance. It is a pleasure to drink from start to finish, goes down very easy and smoothly. Wish it had a hint more bitterness, but flavor and aroma are dead on.

Overall an amazingly drinkable beer, one that I enjoy again and again. Literally, because you can actually buy this--any time you want as much as you want (well I saw somebody buy 10 cases the other day--I suppose you could want more...)

I must taste this head to head with PtE--have case will travel, need to hook up with BAs when The Elder is on tap.

12/22/11 edit:
Quoting from the can: "Drink this beer immediately, we are always making more."

This is a no b.s. warning to the wise. If you're drinking old Topper, you're not really drinking Topper. It changes character so much in just a few weeks, loses a lot of the raw-hop-cones-shoved-up-your-nostrils sensation.

Vinnie counsels regarding Pliny the Elder: "Drink fresh, do not age! Pliny the Elder is a historical figure, don't make the beer inside this bottle one ... Age your cheese, not your Pliny ... Pliny is for savoring, not for saving! ... Respect hops, consume fresh!"

This admonishment for Pliny the Elder applies likewise to Heady Topper.

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Photo of CurtFromHershey
4.46/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

9 day old can poured into a snifter for inspection (inductions be damned!). Very hazy, between straw and copper in color. Fluffy head which recedes to a thin cap. Pretty.

Smell is out of this world. Freshly opened bag of hops. Tangerines, mangos, and lemon grass.

Taste follows the nose but emphasises the citrus and grassy notes instead of the tropical aromas. Sweetness gives way to a dry finish.

Mouthfeel is creamy yet dry. Too dry for my preference.

Overall a really nice beer but not one that would be worth the 16 hour round trip or trading expenses to me.

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Photo of AutumnBeerLove
4.68/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Poured into an Alchemist Willy glass (Sorry Alechemist, I won't have it from the can again). It pours a cloudy orange with a finger white head. I tried to hold back on the yeast with a gentle pour.

N: Very tropical with pineapple, orange, and citrus. There's a pleasant zest to it.

T: Citrus, caramel and hops. Wonderful, wonderful hops.

M: Carbonation, not too light and slightly sticky. Lingers for a bit, which is nice.

O: This is an all time favorite. The balance is amazing and you can't tell one bit that it is an 8% beer. A trip to VT is incomplete without going to the Alchemist.

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Photo of 01001111
4.42/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: A very light orange, almost yellow, and quite cloudy.

S: Heavy tropical fruits and flowers: mango, pineapple, lychee, and jasmine. There's very little hint of hop bitterness in the nose.

T: The fruits are not present in the flavor. Instead it's a wash of hop resin; bitter but not overpowering. The finish is sweet and boozy. The aftertaste is strikingly bitter.

M: Medium bodied with some astringency.

O: Good. Not the best tasting DIPA but perhaps the best smelling.

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

On tap @ The Alchemist..

Two half pints arrive at the table, hop aromas literally fill the air. Heady is so wonderfully pungent I might have been able to smell the waiter coming. Fat juicy hops fill my nose, no malt is detectable.

Hop dominance carries right into the taste. Heady is unique in that it comes off as juicy, citrusy, bitter, grassy, and earthy...all at once. Flavors bounce around with vigor, so incredibly vibrant. Think layers of differing hop profiles to explore, all presented perfectly. Mouthfeel is right on the mark as well; a silky "medium", well carbonated. Drinkability is off the charts for a beer with so much flavor. I finially found an IPA that I enjoy more than Pliny, my previous favorite.

Get to The Alchemist, try this beer, period.

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Photo of tubbnik
4.74/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16oz can thanks to youbrewidrink.

3/4 of the can into a Duvel tulip. 1/4 from the can. I actually liked that there was a significant change in the beer's profile glass vs can. Both treatments were very nice.

I can't believe it's been over two years since the last time I got to drink Heady. This can was a long time coming. Pours a brilliant golden orange with a mad amount of hop floaties (the only part of the beer I wasn't thrilled with). Aroma is out of this world. My favorite kind of red grapefruit juice and tropical fruit candy. Flavor matches the nose in a pretty straight forward but completely complementing way. It's a whole mouth filling fruit forward hop flavor that I really dug. The slightly viscosity of the liquid was very nice in the mouth and carried the flavor well. Overall I'm just thrilled. Good show.

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Photo of Roland45s
4.41/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

for not being an IPA guy this definitely hit the top of my list of favorite IPAs. it's lived up to the hype in my mind. I haven't tried the infamous Maine Lunch. But it's solid....

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

Don't know how it looks, following the directions and drinking from the can! Smells of hops, pine, grapefruit, kind of muted coming from the can. Taste is as advertised, wave after wave of hops, juicy citrus and some resinous pine but just enough malt to keep it balanced. Moderately carbed and medium body keeps this pretty easy drinking. Overall, good IPA, still not sure it deserves all the hype, a lot of others out there that are just as good.

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Photo of timc100
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A: Perfect looking unfiltered IPA. Completely opaque due to dense haze - the color is a beautiful blend of sunshine and orange juice. A nice, slightly off white head coats the top of the beer and leaves great sticky lacing.

S: Holy shit - has so many layers of flavors. I have never experienced an aroma fly out of the bottle/can before like this - smacks you in the face. Incredibly clean and fresh. Sweet pink grapefruit, bitter grapefruit rind, outrageously fresh pine and a touch of resin. Some orange juice and mango that blends with the sticky astringency. So much going on, I am not able to do it justice through my description. Just overwhelmingly fresh and clean, balanced with bitterness and astringency.

T: Huge, full, intense, completely fulfilling. I actually find drinking from the can is notably better, just too bad you can't look at it that way. A blast of fresh pine, sweet pink grapefruit and bitter grapefruit, much more astringency than on the nose and decently bitter. Incredibly balanced and outrageously flavorful.

P: Hard to say this, but almost the best part. Smooth and creamy - fullest bodied IPA I've come across, and one of the smoothest beers in general.

O: I, as all who haven't had this beer before, have had this on the top of my wants. Almost always this type of hype gets in the way of truly enjoying the beer as an unreachable mark has been set. Well, this destroyed any mark I could have imagined for myself. Truly an amazing beverage and one of the best tasting anythings I've ever had.

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Photo of Streetcore
4.94/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured a sample in a glass and drank the rest out of the can

A: Pours a hazy orange

S: Tropical fruit, fresh cut grass, lemon zest, pineapple, lots of herbal hops, musty hop smell

T: Pineapple, herbal hops, grass, grapefruit, some light pine

M: Light, crisp, lingering tropical fruit hop bitterness

O: Easily one of the best DIPAs out there. The smell of this beer alone is unbelievable. I can't wait until The Alchemist can get Topper in to the Boston market regularly. Cheers!

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Photo of Tonyjenlasc
4.79/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

16oz can

Look - Poured a little out in a glass to get a look at this bad boy (don't worry, drank the rest from the can). Pours a beautiful hazy golden orange color.
Smell - As soon as you crack the can open the aroma jumps out at you. Tons of grapefruit, orange and pine on the nose. Just a wonderful fresh hop smelling beer
Taste - HOP HEAVEN! Huge amounts of grapefruit, citrus, orange and pine overtake the taste buds. A slight bitterness throughout but nowhere near as aggressive as I thought it was going to be. Drank every last drop out of that can and was legitimately sad when it was gone.
Feel - Awesome chewy/creamy'ish mouthfeel with a super dry finish that pretty much forces you to take another drink.....which is a good thing because it's so damn good!

Overall - This was my first Heady experience and let me tell you, my mind is blown. Understandable why this is one of the top beers in the world! I will seek this out every chance I get.

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Photo of clake
4.84/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

16oz can purchased on 7/20 and poured (yeah, yeah, yeah) into a Spiegelau glass. Pours a beautiful hazy, orange color with about a finger of head dissipating to a nice ring. Smell is citrusy grapefruit and the taste does not disappoint. Near perfect mouthfeel and finish. Definitely this hop lover's favorite DIPA.

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Photo of TTAmod
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to the DreamWeaver. Word on the street is this can is approximately 3 weeks old. Not ideal, but I'm not complaining (too much.)

A: I'm drinking it from the can (like they suggest.) However, the can is pretty badass. I'll give it a 5.

S: Nice wave of citrus smelling hops are released upon popping the can. Bringing the can up to my nose gives me a really, really strong dose of ruby red grapefruit. It smells extremely sweet and citrusy. I also pick up a bit of alcohol and pine. Smell is pretty good, but not perfect. For comparison, Zombie Dust, in my opinion, has pretty much the perfect IPA smell.

T: Way more going on the nose will lead you to believe. Starts of slightly sweet. Melon and guava are fruits most present in the beginning. I get that ruby red grapefruit that was in the nose somewhere in the middle. It gets slightly piney and bitter toward the end with a distinct caramel taste. Slightly bitter and alcoholic on the way out.

M: The mouthfeel is pretty much perfect. Minimum carbonation. Unbelievably smooth. The body just seemlessly allows the waves of hop flavors to hit the palate unhindered. Alcohol isn't very noticeable in the taste, but it's very, very sneaky.

O: I've been blessed with amazing IPAs over the last couple of weeks (DirtWolf, Abrasive, this..) Is this the best beer in the world? Probably not. Is it the best DIPA? In my opinion...probably. What's great about this is that it's not a hop or IBU assault...the hop flavors are a bit more subdued than you'd believe, but that's a actually a good thing because it allows you to experience such a huge range of hop flavors. The malt base is really sweet, too. Normally, I like drier IPAs, but I don't seem to mind the sweetness here.

This is one of the few times that a beer has met the hype.

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Photo of shleepy
3.89/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from can into snifter glasses.

A: Golden color. Very hazy, with plenty of sediment floating around.

S: Some floral hops, but mainly tons of citrus.

T: Tastes pretty dry (in a good way). The bitterness is not extreme, though some stays in the aftertaste. The main flavors are very pleasant - floral and citrusy (though less citrusy than I expected from the smell). Any bready malt flavor is masked or balanced quite well by the hops.

M: Medium body and carbonation. Certainly not as heavy as would be expected based on the ABV.

O: Quite a nice IPA. I wasn't expecting much, given that it's an East Coast brewery (no offense, but the hoppy beers are not necessarily as world-renowned as some of the West Coast ones), but I was pleasantly surprised.

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Photo of Stevem68
4.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured a little into a glass and color is a cloudy golden orange. Deep hop aroma, lots of pine, resin & citrus. I drank the rest from the can. Flavor is huge resin and pine. You get citrus, a touch of sweetness. The flavor continues to develop with a bubbly crispness. The finish is smooth and leaves a pleasant hoppy aftertaste. This beer is definitely better out of the can and overall I can't find any issue. This is a perfect beer. Maybe not the best I've ever had but still a perfect beer

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Photo of stonermouse
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Was lucky to have a weekend trip up to Stowe, VT planned when Heady was tapped. Settled in for two.

A- Heady looks gorgeous. Cloudy, and a crazy greenish/hazy/yellow color that was invented with the first tapping of this beer. Beautiful head that holds up well.

S- Strong... the hops bite the nose right off the bat.

T- Sweet lord, this is delicious. Hops and more hops, and quite citrusy as well. Starts strong, and finishes clean without too much lingering bitterness.

M- Chewable, if that makes sense. Heady is impossibly dense for how refreshing it is. Unexplainable.

D- Once the shock of the first sip or two wears off, these babies go down nicely. I wish I had opted for a third.

Revisit 10/26/14
My initial review (from the tap at the restaurant) was all 5s. Unfortunately, after drinking the canned Heady many times over the past few years, I can say this beer has finally fallen off a bit. The most recent batch I sampled had a muted profile, with a heavier booziness and milder citrus flavor. The old wallop of flavor has become more of a jab. It's still delicious, it just isn't quite the same beer, and certainly isn't "perfect" any longer. Perhaps I will get a particularly good batch at some point in the future, but my days of running around trying to find Heady are over, if the quality indeed does vary batch to batch.

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

Poured from a chilled can into my iced Cigar City pint glass. I know the rage is to drink this delight from the can, but I will offer another perspective.

A: Pours an amber like hue with a lovely white, frothy head that recedes awfully slow. Lacing just sticks to the glass and stays there for a long time.

S: Smells of a tropical fruit delight, pineapples, mangoes and grapefruit over whelm the nose. I also detect some sweet malt in there as well.

T: Talk about a sweet hop wallop, this beer is a hop lover's dream. The sweet malt backbone balances the hops brilliantly.

M: Very smooth and easy drinking. Has a nice oily, resinous aftertaste to it.

O: Just sprung to the top for me. What a delight to try this beer and I would have this in the fridge at all times if I could.

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Photo of von_kaiser
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2 months old
A: I don't know. It's in a can. Staying in the can. (Remember it being unfiltered golden brown)
S: this hop scent is nothing like I've ever smelled before. Like cotton candy
T: cotton candy. So sweet and bitterly good. Perfect balance of everything.
M: just stays with you. The resin is sweet. Hop sweet. I get no citrus. Just a sapy hop resin
O: prior to this I had coriolis. Coriolis was unbelievable! Heady Topper...god damn! This is by far the greatest beer I've ever had. Hands down.

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Photo of juhl31
4.47/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

reviewing the taste 1st out of the can as suggested before i pour in a glass to review the rest.

-pours a light orange color with a good looking white head on top. it leaves both above average retention and lacing. there is a good amount of hop sediment lingering within

-big time grass, weed mix with a hint of grapefruit

-big time hop flavor right off the bat. the hop flavors for me are grass mainly with a bit of grapefruit following behind. after this some malt sweetness rolls in to balance out the big hop flavor leaving a lot of hop resins, but not a big lingering bitterness

-there is a good body on this one with a lot of hop oiliness that coats the mouth tools

-i got a 4 pack of this on tuesday. drank the 1st the night of and it was pretty epic. i was a bit bummed to find by friday that the hop smell and flavor had changed so much. most of the flavor and smell was still there, it had just gained some soapy, harsh accent. for this i cant give it a 5 in both those categories. that being said, this is a great IIPA and i would put it right behind both plinys and citra. it just didnt have an unbelievability to it in certain areas like those

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Photo of hoptualBrew
4.76/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Big thanks to gtreid for sendin me home after our tasting with a can of this! Pours a clear honey orange color first followed by all the yeast towards the bottom of the can. The floaties are everywhere! Looks like a gelatin almost. Smells like a tropical Christmas tree - big pine sap, pineapple, mango, and sweet malts. Hop bomb from the get go, but not so bitter, just really delicious citrus hop characters. Not incredibly complex, but just brewed to near perfection. This has to be my favorite DIPA next to Pliny the Elder. If you haven't had it, you've got to get some.

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Photo of anaids
3.99/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Was very happy to grab a few when i could. Sadly it didnt live up to what i was expecting. i guess it's all the hype on it being so limited in availability. Overall its a solid IPA just not the BEST AROUND... in my opinion.

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Photo of GregJ
4.82/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a hazy honey orange with 2 finger white head. Smells floral, orange/grapefruit. Tastes of sweet orange blossom,grapefruit, sweet malt and pine. Silky medium/full body with medium carbonation. Leaves a great hop resin in mouth and lips and back of throat. Incredible beer.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 2,078 ratings.