Heady Topper | The Alchemist

2,190 Reviews
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Heady TopperHeady Topper

Brewed by:
The Alchemist
Vermont, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
"An American Double IPA" 75 IBU 8.0% ABV. "Drink from the can."

Added by scottum on 03-27-2004

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Reviews: 2,190 | Ratings: 12,271
Photo of BillDon
4.96/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Crack open the can and smell the hops then take a sip, heaven.

Appearance the can is well done with nice artwork. It fits nicely in your hand. I put a koozie on the can to prevent heat transfer from my hand, it doubles to keep my hand warm. Since it's opaque you can't see what the beer looks like.

Smell: piney, citrusy, resiny, that quickly drops off. Drink this one quick.

Taste : hop forward with lovely malt backbone. So balanced.

Mouthfeel: nicely carbonated gives the back end a little tingle to match the front end hops.

Overall: I guess this is a pretty good beer. Maybe even a top ten beer but I haven't tried them all yet so I want to keep my options open. :-)

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Photo of ales4baldo
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to MBAcoach for sending this my way.

P-Like the scientist on the can and nice long story on the beer and how it should be drank on the back.

A-Well this beer pours a cloudy and foggy orange peel. Keeps about a finger of head. Not much.

S-No lie, this beer smells like straight up sweet hops, pure and simple. Just imagine a bunch of hops in your hands and shoving your nose into it.

T-Sweet man. Very sweet. Nice hops and well, more hops. Has a sweet malt presence that seems to stick. Grapefruit and green grapes along with pineapple.

M-This is a more full bodied IPA. Not too full though or heavy. Really smooth man. Great flavor. Has a quick dry finish.

O-Very impressed with these beer. Man, i think it might be better than the Pliny, I dont know though, thank god i got more to figure out this crazyness.

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Photo of ScottyTheBeerGuy
4.93/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Enjoying the last Heady of my 4-pack tonight... from the can, obviously. This is easily one of my top 2 favorite beers. The hoppy, citrus flavor makes this beer incredibly easy-drinking. Its a game-changer. Can't wait to get my hands on some more.

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Photo of brydeen
4.3/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a rich orange color, with a nice inch thick white head. Tons of sediment floating in the glass. Gives the appearance that they're suspended in a jello mold. Not the most appetizing start.

S: A tropical paradise. Loads of mango and pineapple right off the bat, with a faint piney aroma in the background. Very sweet smell.

T: A nice bitter hop bite on the initial sip. Nice juicy sweetness follows, with mango being the most noticeable fruit flavor. Really nice balance between the sweetness and bitterness.

M: Rich, creamy, full bodied DIPA. Carbonation is very subtle. Much thicker than you'd expect. Almost chewy. Alcohol is noticeable, but not overpowering.

O: Extremely tasty, flavorful brew. Doesn't jump out as the "best beer in the world" to me however, as the ratings show. Very good, but visually unappealing, and heavier than I'd prefer, but that's just nitpicking

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Photo of mattbk
4.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - An orange, almost amber color. Quite cloudy. Limited carbonation.

S - Amazing smell. Rich and full of fruits. I immediately get pineapple (SImcoe?), mango, and pine. THe smell is luscious almost.

T - Same as the smell, with just a bit of hop bitterness, and a little bit of alcohol warming. But all very well balanced, with hop flavor taking center stage. The malt sweetness is there to balance it out also. This almost like eating a slice of peach pie - but also nothing like that. Frankly, it's delicious. There are no flaws at all.

M - Medium, definitely low carbonation, I would have preferred the carb just a tad higher; but maybe that would have masked the flavor.

O - If you can, please try this beer. I live on the right coast and don't trade, so I haven't been privy to Pliny, but it would be hard for me to imagine it being any better.

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Photo of SplitsAtoms
4.9/5  rDev +5.2%

This is a work of art. Big thanks to metsfan1 for the trade. this is now the standard bearer for me for any ipa from the east coast. Or damn near anywhere for that matter. Believe the hype.

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Photo of sprat1960
4.58/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: I drank most from the can, as directed, but did cheat and poured into a glass.
Deep golden color; cloudy (opaque); rich creamy white head with thin lacing on the sides of
glass. Visually very appealing.

Smell: Mild hoppy aroma, slight amount of malt and citrus. Smelled delicious and rich.

Taste: Delicious mild hoppy taste, some malt flavor and some citrus/acidic flavor. Very nice.

Feel: Medium body. Rich, substantial and velvety feel. Medium, but smooth, carbonation.
Starts off smooth then progresses to slight tingle from the carbonation and ends with a
slightly dry finish.

Overall one of the best IPA that I have ever had. Delicious. I could drink this over and over
when reaching for an IPA.

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Photo of squaremile
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

So excited that I got my hands on this. Pours a dark amber/orange with a frothy head and bubbles of all sizes. Good retention and some lacing. Smell is excellent, dominated by pink grapefruit, powerdy pine, and vines. Beautiful. Taste accomplishes what the bottle said was the goal: amazing complexity. Reminds me a bit of Mikkeller Ten in that you can find almost every hop flavor in the taste. Waves of different hops flow and ends with a biscuity malt finish, then hops linger for days in the aftertaste. Moderate bitterness but intense hoppiness. Mouthfeel is very smooth and medium-light bodied. Drinkability is ridiculous and I could have glass after glass, zero etoh.

I have had almost every major IIPA in the world, this is easily in the top tier, and deserves all the hype. By far the best IIPA not made on the west coast, and blows 99% of those away. Awesome awesome beer.

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Photo of Seakyden
4.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Un. Real.

Waited patiently for this to hit Boston and got the first can at a bar in JP tonight.

Believe the hype. Tasted like Pliny, but with more bite. This beer was fresh as can be. Smell was so powerful, taste was robust. It's a slow sipper to be sure. I savored every sip.

Looking forward to seeing this around Boston more.

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Photo of Ungertaker
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Drank from the can, as instructed! (poured a little into a pint glass to get an accurate review. (reviewed from notes) Thanks to TimmyJ21 for this can!

A- hazy yellow/orange with a head that is foamy and white.

S- Tropical fruit (mango, pineapple, papaya), citrus peel, faint pine

T- complex- a great blend of tropical fruits and a bitterness that has both pine and citrus peel.

M- smooth and refreshing with just enough carbonation to know it is there.

O- This is up there with all my favorites in this category (Pliny, Abrasive, etc.). I will definitely try to obtain some more of this.

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Photo of TheBeer
4.07/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed once before and once after an 8 mile mountain trail run.
A: Reminds me of someone throwing up Keystone Light on an empty stomach. Hazy appearance that is not very appetizing. The appearance is not judged on the can/bottle as many of the other reviews seem to think, which just adds hype to this beer.
S: Very potent odor given off by this beer. Strong scents of pine and citrus.
T: Tastes like a hop bomb on the forward palate and then subsides into a pleasant taste. The forward taste is however to overpowering for the aftertaste and makes you want to take another drink to wash away what's on your mind. The aftertaste is actually very pleasant and worthwhile, but the forward taste kind of ruins it for me. Granted I enjoy stouts and prefer a strong malt backbone which this beer fails to deliver, I have had much better than this.
M: Very amazing body to the beer. Reminiscent of a stout's body. Very thick and coats the palate. Best aspect of the beer in my opinion.
O: Was it worth the 4 hour drive? No. Will I ever seek out this beer again? No. Over hyped beer that is not worth your effort to obtain. It is not bad by any means, but it is not a top tier beer. Even Lawson's Double Sunshine IPA(sold in Vermont) is better than this beer. I prefer Surly Abrasive Ale and Stone Double Bastard Ale over this any day. Turns out even the piss taste of Corona Light is satisfying after a physical adventure.

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Photo of Ghrymm
4.93/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Well after many years and having tried over 300 IPA's i finally got my hands on a can of Heady Topper.
The hype is real its as good as people say i have to rate it just about Pliny the Elder (I have not tried the Younger yet) and i am a West Coast guy.
An outstanding Double IPA,no need to say more.

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Photo of Justin_Neff
4.78/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: Hazy, orange body. Small fizzy bubbles. Moderate retention.

S: Pine. Floral hops. Mangos. Citrus.

T: Tons of piney hops. Virtually zero malt character. Loads of mango, grapefruit. Hype - exceeded.

M: Oily. Medium body. Prickly. Booze completely hidden.

O: This is incredible. Enough said.

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

Appearance - Had the luxury of having this on tap while visiting my hometown of Middlebury VT but I will review the can considering everyone is drinking this from a can. Appearance from pouring from a can, you will quickly notice that this brew is unfiltered, sentiment at the bottom, slight bubble carbonation, pours a nice murky orange color with a two finger head that slowly will disappear. The color is enough to tell you this is unfiltered.

Smell - Aggressively hoppy at first, when you crack open the can you will definitely smell the hops coming from the can. Grape fruit, mango, peach, nectarine, grapefruit; you can immediately tell this is an IPA, not the strongest but smells very balanced in combination with the slight breadiness and sweet tones.

Taste - Man, where do I start here? It's this great combination of grapefruit, bitterness, sweet, bready, goodness. I mean to pick apart each individual characteristic is a disservice to this brew, everything is so balanced.

Mouthfeel - A slight carbonation, if you hold it in your mouth there's not enough carbonation to burn the tongue, it is very smoothing going down the pipes and will leave this bitterness that will make you return for more.

Overall - Upon first drinking this, I thought it was extremely over hyped. But when you realize you've hit the middle of the can in 2 minutes, you'll understand it's drinkability. This isn't the most aggressive IPA out there, the ABV is a bit high; however, considering it is a DIPA, I'd say this brew is spot on. It's a great brew; however, to you that are buying this on the gray market, I strongly suggest not paying more than $8 a can. These run $12 a 4 pack in Burlington and I've seen locations out here in Los Angeles reselling them for $12 a can. This is completely ridiculous... It's a great experience to try, but don't get taken advantage of. Cheers!

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Photo of Yagman3000
4.17/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16 oz can shared by fellow BA CosmicEvan. Consumed outbid a snifter.

Appears a mid peachy yellow gold. Very little head remains.

Smells very piney and super tropical. Do I detect tobacco?

Tastes of that same tobacco. Some hop bitterness bleeds into it to give it a double ipa edge.

Mouthfeel is very fizzy in a pleasant way. It has a thickness that's pleasing.

Overall a good time but I feel that the smoke flavor that comes through is a but odd.

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Photo of HorseheadsHopHead
4.9/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I can't believe this finally happened. Snagged a partial can at The Site in Corning. Poured into a sample glass.

Look: Cloudy yellow with a thin fluffy white head.

Smell: Juicy red grapefruit, pulpy orange, lemon peel, bitter pineapple and unripe mango, papya, yeast, pine needles.

Taste: Sweet upfront. Honey, biscuit, and clover. Then a huge punch of grapefruit, orange, lemon, pineapple, papaya, and pine cone his the palate. Finishes fairly clean, but grapefruit and delicate pine coats the mouth and lingers.

Feel: Medium, filling, just carbonated enough, lingering sticky finish.

Overall: Ecstatic to finally be able to try this! It's so worth the hype!

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

16oz can with no canned on or freshness date, but I know it is fresh because it is from the first canned batch that was canned not too long ago. I didn't listen to the "Drink from the can" instructions and poured into Hair of the Dog tulip. Reviewed on 9/14/11.

A: Pours a slightly hazy golden orange with fluffy whitish head that leaves some nice lacing around glass.

S: Tons of hops of all varieties, citrus, pine and some tropical fruit in there as well. Hints of sweet malt blend well with all the hops and there is very little detectable alcohol.

T: A bit of hop bitterness at first but far less than many DIPAs. Extremely smooth and resinous, tons of pine, floral, citrus and other fruity hops along with some honey and sweet malt as well. The hop flavors and malt mingle and balance each other out perfectly. Leaves an extremely pleasant lingering taste of hops with some sweetness from the malt. Delicious!

M: Very smooth and slightly creamy medium body with low-moderate carbonation, no sharpness whatsoever.

O: Possibly the most drinkable DIPA that I have ever had, much more balanced than most DIPAs that are tipping the IBU scale. Packed from start to finish with delicious hops. I would have never guessed that this is 8% ABV. Extremely glad that I finally got the chance to try this one!

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Photo of Guess2814
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I FINALLY went to Vermont and I got the Heady Topper! I felt like a little kid once it was in my hands. This beer is the best thing since slice bread.. If you haven't had the Heady Topper find a way to get this beer in your hands...I went on Saturday October 26. They were sold out of the cans.. The lady who was handing out the samples told me on Monday they will have more for sale.. Once I walked in to the brewery on that Monday... Wowww!! You can smell the hops once you walk in.. The machines were cranking! Bottles we're being filled and my smile grew. I bought myself two 4 packs.. I'm happy with what I bought BUT something is telling me I'm going to have to drive from Boston back to VT - this time I'm grabbing a case.

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Photo of PGD120
4.89/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Can drank from can with 2 oz poured into snifter for appearance rating

Appearance: hazy golden color lots of particulates. White 2 finger head

Aroma: resinous and grapfruit.

Taste: same as aroma. Finishes off a little bitter but super drinkable

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, basically just perfect

Overall: what more can I say it's heady. My favorite d ipa

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Photo of Czarkazm
4.6/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

First time pouring it from the can. A very hazy, bright, golden yellow body with a snowy white head. The hops make themselves known the moment you crack the can. Lot of ripe citrus, lemon zest, tropical fruits, papaya, mango, a hint of melon, peach, and pine resin. There's an excellent underlying sweet maltiness to this beer that I suspect is partially thanks to the conan yeast strain. The mouth feel is very cream, medium-full, washed down by nice carbonation, followed by a pleasant sweet tropical lemon aftertaste. On the flavor, sweet lime, grapefruit bitterness, lemon candy, peach, pine sap, some grass, papaya, honey malt, and melon.

I've been able to score some heady on occasion at some craft beer bars but this is the first time I was able to enjoy a can at home. It's clear why this brewery has gotten so much hype over the years but I think there are some newer breweries currently closing the gap. I need to make a trip up to VT eventually because even for this world class DIPA, the $11/can prices around here makes it a one and done purchase for me.

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

First had a taste of this at the VBF 2011. Liked it so much we made our way out to Waterbury for dinner @ The Alchemist Pub on Sunday night. Had four of these with dinner (including one on Cask) along with some other really excellent beers.

I thought I'd had some really good DIPA's, but this one is def at the top of the list. I also tasted Lawson's @ VBF and this one is easily on par if not slightly above Lawsons.

A - They pour 12oz glasses at the brew pub. Comes out looking nice and unfiltered, a nice cloudy bronze reminiscent of unfiltered apple cider.

S - A thing of beauty. Hoppy, sweet, tangy, piney. Didn't know what to think after the first sniff, only that it had to be something special.

T - Huge fan of this style, I've had some of the better ones that his country has to offer. I would make the trip to VT just to go to Alchemist. Wish they did growler fills so that I could bring some home with me. One of the best beers I've enjoyed this year.

M - Great body and thickness. Excellent carbonation, there really isn't much missing from this beer.

Will def be going back for VBF next year and this is easily one of the reasons why.

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Photo of legalpete19340
4.88/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Poured a vibrant golden amber with a huge white fluffy head that I could eat with a spoon. Retention and lacing were phenomenal. Looks much darker than expected.

S: Perfect pine with accents of ripe grapefruit and tangerines. Just the right amount of buttermilk biscuit holds it up. A hint of grain too. Truly amazing.

T: Comes on with great citrus and grapefruit then I get smacked by a sappy pine tree. More tangerines and then it hints at a bitter bite...but it never comes. Somehow more grapefruit and hop oil perseveres and smooths this elegantly into a clean finish. Amazing.

M: Creamy, firm, a little chewy with a bit of fizz.

O: It lived up to the hype. Simply phenomenal. A hop bomb that doesnt leave me feeling like I drank syrup. The sweetness is toned down and this is just perfectly hoppy and clean.

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Photo of 321jeff
4.94/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

16 oz can thanks to Michael.

Since The Alchemist has so emphatically instructed me to drink from the can, I gave it a try. It felt kind of weird drinking such a potent beer from the can so I poured some into my Bell's tulip and I'll review from that.

The pour is a hazy deep burnt orange with a thin tannish head.

The aroma, from the moment you crack the can open, is an inviting bouquet of pine and citrus. It's a nearly perfect balance of pine and citrus with a nice resiny feel to it.

The taste is intensely piney with some sweet citrus in the finish. The bitterness is just north of assertive but well short of overpowering. I did find it interesting that the flavor did seem a little more intense straight from the can.

The mouthfeel is fairly thick and sticky and the carbonation level is moderate, right where it should be for this kind of beer. Overall, this is really a spectacular DIPA and is deserving of it's lofty reputation.

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Photo of scoot64
4.96/5  rDev +6.4%

Had this on tap at the Alchemist about two months ago.

(A) Pour was amber/orange with a small head. But to be honest, the smell is what first hooked me and any thought of appearance was overshadowed.

(S) WOW, it was everything I could have expected and more. The aroma of hops are evident immediately. I smelled a citrus bomb (mainly grapefruit) offset nicely by herbal / pine. Nicely balanced.

(T) Well balanced and just as good as it smells. Although you clearly taste the hops it does not overpower the experience. The 8% APV is well concealed.

(M) Medium body and moderate carbonation, very easy to drink for am imperial IPA.

(D) One on the best beers I have had. I would like to try Pliny the Younger on draft and one day compare.

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Photo of Brianedonovan
4.84/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Headed up to Stowe VT next week and plan on buying plenty!
I love this beer....this is the beer that got me on this website and started me homebrewing!

The descriptions I have read in the reviews have actually helped me "taste" this beer and appreciate it more. Grapefruit....Mango...Pine...yeah, I get it now. Thank you!

Being unpasteurized is a bit of a downer since I am 5 hours away but I will make it happen!

I drank from the can as advertized and from a glass. I like the glass better, it has such a cool translucent amber color.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 2,190 ratings.