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Heady Topper - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Heady TopperHeady Topper

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

8,410 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,410
Reviews: 1,655
rAvg: 4.73
pDev: 7.82%
Wants: 5,449
Gots: 1,774 | FT: 34
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
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Ratings: 8,410 | Reviews: 1,655 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bnoise11
4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

Bnoise11, Jun 23, 2013
Photo of ahbithwabm
5/5  rDev +5.7%

ahbithwabm, Mar 06, 2014
Photo of TheHoppiest
4.85/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was a trade from Cheezy Blaster, where he shared the best New England has to offer, and I sent along some of Northeast Ohio's best brews. This beer was among the batch, all of which came through unharmed and ready to drink!

This comes in a 16 oz silver can featuring a professorial-looking dude sippin a brew with a cloud of hops lingering around his head. The labelling exhorts you to "Drink from the Can!" I, however, wanted to see what I was drinking, so I poured this into a tulip glass.

Pours a hazy mango-orange color, with a decent amount of sediment suspension floating throughout. A sticky three finger off-white head presents upon pouring, and it ever-so-slowly reduces leaving a fair amount of sticky foam down the sides.

Has an intense, floral aroma, with tons of citrus, white grapefruit, pine boughs, mandarin oranges, and nectarines. While there is evident malt from the appearance, you wouldn't know it to smell it.

Taste is simply epic. The malt, while hidden in the nose, is evident in the taste, giving this brew a solid malt backbone. Bitter and hoppy up-front, with grapefruit pith, resin, and oaky herbal tastes combining to form a hopsplosion of flavor. Though strong, the flavor is not overpowering, and it is amazing what little aftertaste is left behind.

This ale leaves the toungue and gums tingling. It is my understanding that at a certain point, beers with a high IBU begin to express that extreme bitterness with the onset of tingling and numbness; this ale is getting me to that point!

Overall, just a fantastic beer. Piney and hoppy with plenty of up-front bitterness, without the lingering dryness you'll get from a west-coast style DIPA. Moreover, while there's an evident abundance of malt, it is not so sweet as to completely kill the spiciness of the hops. What a well balanced brew from The Alchemist!

TheHoppiest, Oct 20, 2011
Photo of Agentveba
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

Agentveba, Sep 15, 2013
Photo of jsurfs82
4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

jsurfs82, Jul 06, 2013
Photo of tkdchampxi
5/5  rDev +5.7%

tkdchampxi, Nov 02, 2013
Photo of sukwonee
4.85/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks you Kyle for this... man I need more of this for the summer!

A: Light Orange color with one finger head, good amount of lacing. Lots of bubbles. Some stuff floating around. For a beer that the brewery recommends to drink out of the can, it looks decent.

S: Orange zest Lemon citrus grapefruit, pineapple - best smelling DIPA ever!

T: This has got to be my favorite DIPA, I have ever had. This beats Pliny (both Elder and Younger) and Dreadnaught. Perfectly balanced, yet still hoppy as hell, sweet but not overly sweet... I pick up pineapple, grapefruit, lemon, orange, little bit of pine. Hoppy bitterness is there, but not predominent - just kicks it slighly at the end. Taste doesn't linger as long as Pliny, but it's amazing.

M: Compared to other DIPAs, this one is very refreshing. Lighter in body, higher in carbonation. I liked it - I thought it matched (or added) to the experience.

O: This is the DIPA to beat at the moment for me.

sukwonee, May 01, 2012
Photo of gpblackgt
5/5  rDev +5.7%

gpblackgt, May 30, 2012
Photo of JellyJacket
4/5  rDev -15.4%

JellyJacket, Apr 27, 2013
Photo of RMoeNay
5/5  rDev +5.7%

RMoeNay, Jul 15, 2012
Photo of MattSharpless
5/5  rDev +5.7%

MattSharpless, Jul 06, 2014
Photo of scotorum
4.39/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I'd forgotten about the ranty feeling-sorry-for-myself review from last August (Reposted below.) But I am here to report I finally hit Heady paydirt. That is, my friend BigStein88 gave me two precious cans.

I HATE drinking beer out of cans, so I defied the recommendation from the brewer and poured my first can into a Samuel Smith English tulip glass, self-serving at just under fifty degrees fahrenheit out of my beer fridge. Not sure how fresh, but BigStein88 visits his old home state of Vermont fairly often, so I doubt if it's more than two months old.

a: Hazy dark gold, not as hazy as I expected though, although I do see some tiny floaties. Two inch tall white head receded slowly to rocky surface foam and dense lacing.

s: Intense citrus and pine. Later, lawn mower grass clippings. (!)

t: Do not find this as citrusy as on draft. In fact grassiness is the most prominent and persistent flavor, much stronger even than any wet hop ale I have had (yes I know this is not one of those). Moderate hop bite, but little in the way of lingering bitterness as the brewer's text on the can seems to suggest. Blindfolded, I'd have said this is the freshest wet hop IPA ever. 8% alcohol is well concealed in any event.

m: As on draft, moderate, slickish.

o: I want to say this is The Best I've Ever Had. But truth is, and heretical though it is for a New Englander to say, at this point the Pliny the Elder I had last night was even creamier and more enjoyable. Might be my own fault for not following the other part of the brewer's instructions, and pouring it all out into the glass at once rather than saving the yeasty last ounce for a final savory pour.

The intense grassy flavor is different and very good. Definitely unlike any DIPA I have had, but not what I expected, especially in light of my previous, citrusy rather than grassy taste experience with it fresh at the cannery last August and on draft at the Prohibition Pig in Waterbeery (sic).

Will add more to this essay on Heady when I crack the other can. I'll probably bite the bullet and drink at least part of that out of the can to see if it makes a difference.

In view of the above, am changing my original review ratings: a: 3.5-3.75; s:4-4.25; m: 4.5-4.25


8 oz. draft at the Prohibition Pig pub in Waterbury VT and several ounces more in a mini-snifter at the brewery the same day.

a: A hazy gold with a finger thick white head which dropped to a surface film.

t: Sweet citrusy goodness. Alcohol well hidden. Not as hoppy as I had expected, but very tasty indeed.

m: Moderate, slickish and almost chewy, an impression no doubt reinforced by the cloudiness. Probably why the brewer recommends drinking it straight from the can. Oh if only I had had that opporunity! But alas "CANS SOLD OUT" greeted me at the end of the entrance and the front door at the brewery.

o: Excellent, appealing, refreshing, all those good things. Whether I would concur it is the best I can't say for sure. I do feel a bit troubled by the fact that I liked Double Sunshine better at the same sitting at The Pig. But I had that first, and they were different.

I know you know this already, but the friendly gal who poured my sample at the brewery said weekdays are the time to get some in cans. This week they sold out on Thursday. Usually it's Friday. I was there on Saturday, after dinner, around 6 P.M. I had figured they'd be out. But I also visited half a dozen stores where HT was supposed to be available, and even saw two places had hanging signs which read stuff like "Head This Way To The Heady." Nope.

And Lawson's or Hill Farmstead anything? Forget that too. Trek up to Greesboro in the middle of Nowhere Vermont (sorry, I am sure it is very wonderful up in that part of the Kingdom, it just looks like Nowhereland on my maps) and buy Hill Farmstead at the farm if you want some (and I know you do, I can hear your heavy breathing). Call ahead to make sure they have some. Preferably from across the street.

Lawsons might show up at the Warren Store on Thursdays. You may have to haunt the place or get a job there. Or go early on the second Saturday to the Waitsfield Farmers Market. Get a ticket from the Lawson's booth. And Waits in the Field until your turn. Are we getting a bit frustrated with limited availability and frantic buying from craftier-than-thou beer connoisseurs yet? After driving a six hour round trip and coming home empty-handed, Yes.

scotorum, Mar 11, 2014
Photo of TheMultiYeast
4.93/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had my first Heady Topper from the can..this ones from a tulip. Pours a very hazy pale orange with 2 fingers of head. Great retention and lacing. Some bubbles rising in the glass.

I could smell big tropical fruits upon opening the can. Pineapple sweetness, juicy hops, mint, really intense fresh hop aroma.

Taste doesn't disappoint either. More ripe tropical fruit, more citrus than the nose, incredibly clean bitterness and finish. An explosion of hops but insanely balanced and drinkable.

Perhaps the pinnacle of DIPAs

TheMultiYeast, Sep 21, 2012
Photo of mscudder
4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

mscudder, May 14, 2013
Photo of beerdrifter
4.48/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this baby up from a great friend at the Borefts Bier Fest! It's a little over a week since it was canned so it's super fresh. Cloudy amber-orange pour with a huge 2+ finger fluffy white head with decent retention and lacing. Fresh, dank, resiny hops totally dominate the nose along with some great perfumey, floral and citrus notes. This is one of those really special smelling beers that you'll always remember. The taste is just as big and bold. It starts off like the nose as a total fresh hop monster, full of resiny pine and bitter grapefruit along with some nice tropical notes. About midway through there's a measure of balance as some of the caramel malt sweetness emerges along with some orange peel, tangerine, and a bit of grassiness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and oddly creamy for an IPA. Surprisingly balanced and incredibly drinkable for such a big, hoppy beer. Overall, not sure it lived up to all the hype, but still one hell of a beer!

beerdrifter, Sep 29, 2013
Photo of Diomede
5/5  rDev +5.7%

Diomede, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of Bwagner1122
5/5  rDev +5.7%

Bwagner1122, May 04, 2014
Photo of ArsMoriendiOU818
5/5  rDev +5.7%

ArsMoriendiOU818, Nov 06, 2013
Photo of DSlim71
5/5  rDev +5.7%

DSlim71, Dec 18, 2011
Photo of MrVonzipper
4.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Hazy caramel color with a bubbly white head with medium retention and low lacing.

Nice bright and fresh floral hopped nose with an underlining mild sweet malt presence

Very nice flavor and balance. Nice fresh floral hop character balanced very well with a subtle candy-like malt character. Notes mild fruit and citrus hidden here and there.

Mouthfeel is light, fresh and fairly crisp yet creamy. Medium carbonation.

Overall a very nice DIPA. The best I've ever had outside of Cali. IMO better than PtE and close to Alpine and Citra. Overall great nose, flavor and balance. Highly recommended.

MrVonzipper, Sep 18, 2011
Photo of tclipse
5/5  rDev +5.7%

tclipse, Mar 17, 2014
Photo of Inglewood
5/5  rDev +5.7%

Inglewood, Dec 24, 2013
Photo of afksports
4.38/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to KristinCooks for this one in a trade! I'm enjoying this while pre-gaming for a Phish show - my first Heady Topper and my first Phish show... I'm officially a ... hippie?

It pours with a short head and lovely lacing. I'm a bit late in drinking this - and I will have to make it to the brewery to have it freshly brewed - because this one is from the bottle release back in November. It's amber and rich, hazy and with some sediment in it. Lacing sustains throughout the glass. The smell is richly hoppy, with some excellent malts coming through in the nose too. Straight pine and rich goodness.

Taste follows the nose, and is remarkably smooth. The cleanest finish I've had in a while, and I can definitely say that this is one East Coast IPA ready to take on the West Coast big guys. Not sure if it tops them - for that I'll have to drink it fresh.

UPDATE: had this on tap 2/23/11 at Blind Tiger. Thank you, Alan. This beer on tap looks better, smells more complete with more citrus and malts, and tastes just as hoppy and thick. I will never reject a Heady Topper. Definitely raising my review score on this. A- to A.
With a smooth medium body and drinkable crispness, The Alchemist Brewpub's Heady Topper is certainly a top IPA. Cheers to 2010!

afksports, Dec 31, 2010
Photo of CarolinaKev
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

CarolinaKev, Jun 09, 2012
Photo of craft_shannie
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

craft_shannie, Sep 13, 2013
Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 8,410 ratings.