Heady Topper - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Heady TopperHeady Topper

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BA SCORE
100
world-class

9,434 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,434
Reviews: 1,768
rAvg: 4.73
pDev: 7.82%
Wants: 6,314
Gots: 2,280 | FT: 37
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)
View: Beers (14) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 9,434 | Reviews: 1,768 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mdfb79
4.6/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From 08/28/10 notes. Had on tap at the Alchemist on my trip up to Vermont. Review number 600!

a - Pours a golden color with one inch of white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells very heavily of pine hops; very dominating. Also smells of citrus hops, grape fruit, tropical fruit, and faint, sweet fruity malts. Hint of floral hops. A very nice mix of pine and fruit in the smell.

t - Tastes of citrus and grapefruit, fruity malts, pine hops,and a hint of floral hops. Some nice bitterness in the initial sips that fades as you drink it.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation, very easy to drink.

d - Overall, I thought this was a great DIPA. I was a little worried it wouldn't live up to the hype, but it pretty much did. Personally I think I might rank HopSlam and PTE a bit higher, but this is a great IPA I would love to have again. I got a lot of pine in the smell and a nice mix of fruit and pine in the smell and taste, and I thought it was really easy to drink at 8% ABV. If I was up in Vermont again, I would definitely go back to the Alchemist for this beer.

Photo of drewone
4.25/5  rDev -10.1%

Photo of Mora2000
4.43/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to mar for trading me this can.

The beer pours a dirty yellow color with a white head. The aroma is very heavy on the grapefruit, but I also get a little bit of orange citrus and some biscuit malt notes.

The flavor is more intense than the aroma. I get some huge grapefruit and orange citrus notes, as well as a little bit of pine and some pineapple. Mixed in with all of the hop notes is a little bit of biscuit malt. The bitterness is low to medium.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of smcolw
3.8/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sorry, I had to pour into the glass despite the can's pleading to drink directly. Thick, slowly receding head. Leaves plenty of chunky, blanketing lace. Cloudy, dark gold color.

Very strong evergreen hop smell. Prickly with a touch of citrus rind. Like smelling a bag of hop pellets.

Extraordinarily bitter. Starts off fairly neutrally with a bit of mild pale malt. Still this is a bitter, bitter hop bomb. Be prepared to pucker up. Hop heads shall rejoice, but I think this might be too much of a good thing (and I lean towards more hoppy beers). The body is predictable and appropriate for the style.

I was very excited to find this beer in Boston, but its hype exceeds my expectations.

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.97/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Heady Topper pours a turbid orange with a soft white, two finger head. An early pour is relatively hazy while the last dregs contain flocculants that reintroduce themselves into suspension.

The smell is glorious! A cornucopia of hops produce notes of pine resin, fresh basil, ruby red grapefruit sweetened with sugar, wet grass (the kind you smoke;) and candied orange zest.

The taste is in your face fresh, fresh hops. A remarkable combination of all the scents, with a fantastic paradoxical blend of slight candied sweetness and a long dry finish. This is one clean beer with no trace of alcohol whatsoever.

Mouthfeel is perfect. Low to moderate carbonation fits this beer to a T. A creamy lush softness again shows the chameleon-like aspects of this top-notch DIPA.

This beer is exceptional and very deserving of the accolades that have come it's way so far. If I could get this locally, it would be a once-a-week purchase and I think a lot of people would think the same way. In this day and age of johnny-come-latelys and ticker mentalities, that really says something!

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.38/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours from a 16 oz can, nice hazy orange color. Smell is of sweet hops. Taste is medium bodied, great balance to it. Not overly hoppy (as warned by the outside of the can) and has a great maltiness to it that most IPAs (specifically double IPAs) are missing. Delicious aftertaste.. I can see why this has such a high rating. Felt lucky to try this beer, definitely worth seeking out if you get a chance.. one of the better imperial IPAs I've gotten to try.

Photo of kojevergas
4.6/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Boy oh boy oh boy. I've been waiting a long time for this one. Heard the hype for months and finally picked one up locally in SoCal. Yeah, imagine that. I bought a can of this in L.A. at retail. 1 pint aluminum can served into a New Belgium stem-goblet in me gaff in Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. 8.00% confirmed. Consumed in celebration of completing my grad school applications. I don't see canned-on date, but my local beer store guy informed me it was two weeks old when I bought it yesterday.

Served straight from the refrigerator and allowed to warm slightly over the course of consumption. I went back on forth on whether to pour this one into a glass because the label advises me not to. I'm compromising and taking my first sip from the can, but then pouring some of it into a glass and leaving some in the can for later consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

T (Early):On the first sip I get delightful grapefruit and citrus esters, with pale clean malts and lovely floral hopping. Oily hops abound, with hints of pine. Boy, this is going to be interesting.

A: Pours a one finger beige colour head of nice thickness and cream, and decent retention for the high ABV. Body colour is a fairly vibrant burnt orange-auburn. Nontransparent. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Not the best IPA appearance I've seen, but pleasant.

Sm: Grapefruit, pale malts, citrus esters, floral hops, and heavy oily hops - but surprisingly little pine. Quite light in strength, but appealing.

T: Perfectly balanced; never too bitter. Grapefruit zing but not in an overbearing way. Floral hops and heavy hop oils (a component I think is rather unique and special to this beer; I've never experienced it quite like this). Citrus, tropical fruit on the back end. I even get pinapple and mango. Maybe apricot too. Passion fruit? (I'm never sure; I've never had an actual passion fruit). Pale malts a are a perfect complement to the hop choices. No alcohol or yeast comes through. That's tasty stuff. I'm shocked at the lack of bitterness; I don't even remember Pliny The Younger (let alone Elder) mitigating the bitterness this well. There's some (very very little) on the climax, but just enough to add a welcome dimension. Well layered and quite subtle. It doesn't beat you over the head like most beers in the style. No metallic taste despite being from a can. Perfect sweetness to suit its hoppiness.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with perfect crispness and coarseness to coax out the subtler flavours. Fresh, refreshing, and perfectly carbonated. Oily. A bit buttery.

Dr: This is probably the most drinkable IPA (not just Double IPA, but IPA as well) I've ever had the delight to consume. It's refreshing as hell, the 8% is nowhere to be seen, and I imagine it would pair brilliantly with any food. A master class in balance and what an IPA should be. I hate to buy into the beer versus beer debates, but in my book this is clearly better than Pliny The Elder. I expected something different based on the hype, but this surprised me with its balance and sophistication. Wow. This is definitely one of the best beers in the style that I've had. I look forward to trying more beer from the Alchemist and to one day having this on-draught. If you see this, buy it. I'm not a big IPA fan and I'm loving this stuff. Brilliantly built. I could easily down this one all night. If there's a better IPA out there, I have yet to find it.

This beer is nearly perfect in its style. The main thing holding it back is its appearance.

A+

Serve cold. Drink cold.

Would pair well with anything. Even chocolate.

Photo of InspectorBob
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of GClarkage
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of Halcyondays
4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

Photo of imperialking
5/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of orangesol
4.4/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Deuane for giving me one of his cans so I can finally taste the heady. Can poured into a standard pint.

A - Pours slightly hazed amber orange with a small half finger tall white head leaving small wisps of lace down the glass. It does have a little sediment floating around in there.

S - Smells of pungent grassy hops, rich tropical fruits; mostly mango and grapefruit; and some lightly toasted caramel malt. Still quite floral.

T - The taste is fairly similar to the nose. It starts off with a big dose of grassy hops quickly giving way to a mix of tropical fruits and sweet caramel malts. Fairly tropical flavor that is very easy to drink. The finish is a mix of light dryness and hop bitterness, lingering on the pallet for a short period of time.

M - Medium body and flavor with moderately low carbonation. Smooth, hoopy, feel with plenty of hop bitterness lingering through the finish.

O - Very nice IPA. I had no problem finishing my glass and I was left wanting more. The balance of juicy fruit and grassy hops to the slightly sweet malt is very nice. I hope to try this one on-tap some day soon.

Photo of dbrauneis
4.79/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

A: Pours a hazy dark straw yellow in color with some hints of golden yellow and very light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall dense and creamy off-white head that slowly reduces to a mottled thick film covering the entire surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Huge aromas of citrus and tropical hops - lots of citrus/grapefruit along with pineapple, mango, and peach tropical aromas. The smell of this beer makes me want to drink it, and want more and more of it.

T: Just like the smell, the taste of this beer is completely dominated by the hops. Moderate to strong flavors of grapefruit/citrus, pineapple, mango, and peach hops with a light amount of bitterness that does not linger. Upfront there is a light amount of malt sweetness.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Extremely smooth and creamy.

O: Poured half the can into a glass for my review and drank the other half from the can as recommended on the can. This is definitely a world class DIPA, great aroma and great flavor...and it comes in a can to top it off. This beer is super easy to drink but I think it could really sneak up on you because the alcohol is very well hidden. Delicious!

Photo of yourefragile
4.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Day old can picked up at the new cannery. Despite the advice of the can, poured into a nonic.

An aromatic wave of dank pine and citrus hops emerge immediately upon cracking the can open. Pours a fairly dark, dull copper/orange. Cloudy and thick with a thick cream colored head. Clumpy streaks of lacing and a thin retentive layer of bubbles throughout. Sweet, juicy, ripe aroma of grapefruit and pineapple, with grass, pine and citrus rind balancing out the profile. Thicker side of medium body, chewy and oily on the palate with a resiny and pulpy finish. Strong bready malt body hides underneath the rich, fresh, intense hop flavor. Much more resiny and pulpy than the aroma, grapefruit and pine flavors dominate. Finish is dry and remarkably smooth. Just about perfect, this is a miracle in a readily available can.

Photo of duceswild
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of stakem
4.55/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Big thanks to SFLpunk for another fine trade that landed this treat in my hands. Much appreciated Jeff. Poured from a pint sized can into a tulip. This brew appears a hazed copper color. Very fine particulate is stuck throughout the suspension of this brew keeping it from being clear. A solid finger of creamy off-white head sits atop this brew and hold with very solid retaining powers. As the cap slowly fades, it completely coats the entire wall of the glass with an entire wall of lace.

The smell of this brew is very fruited and so much so that it is unlike the typical fruit aromas imparted by hops. It is quite tropical smelling primarily of pineapple with a light touch of mango. Some very light leafy to grassy hop inclusion is present across the back but this is all about the fruity sweetness of the hops here. A very light tingle of alcohol helps to accented the fruited quality of this brew.

The taste of this brew is pretty darn fantastic. The fruit aromas that the hops display in the nose completely transpose themselves in the flavor of this beer. This brew is littered with tropical hop flavoring tasting of pineapple, passion fruit, mango and agave. There is a very mild herbal bitter flavoring that keeps things in check and almost a minty aspect is thrown in there as well. The alcohol is very well hidden initially but starts to make itself known with a warmth and a bit of solvent kick once the brew comes up to temperature. The aftertaste is a bit herbal and lightly grassy which is a nice contrast to the sweetness throughout the brew. There is a perfect amount of toasted malt character present in this brew to hold the hops in place. Fantastic stuff right here.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. All in all this is the perfect package. The hop inclusion is bright, fresh and fruity. The alcohol is seemingly nonexistent until it comes up to temperature. The flavors of this brew run the full spectrum of hop characteristics. I killed a pint of this brew effortlessly. As far as drinkability goes, this is perfect and dangerously so. The label boasts that this should be drank from the can but I just cant do that. To not be able to sit and sniff this brew is a crime. I had this when it was first released from a bottle and thought this beer was all hype. Sitting here enjoying a can by myself I an throughly impressed. Fantastic stuff here Alchemist!

Photo of woodychandler
4.38/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Unbelievable! 537 CAN reviews with my CANQuest (TM) entry as # 538. I CANnot remember any other craft CANs with this many reviews! Impressive.

From the CAN: "DRINK FROM THE CAN! [x3 for added emphasis]"; "Heady Topper is an Ameri[CAN] Double India Pale Ale. This beer is not intended to be the biggest or most bitter. It is meant to give you wave after wave of hoppy goodness on your palate. Tremendous amounts of Ameri[CAN] hops will creep up on you and leave you with a dense hoppy finish in your mouth. So drinkable, it's scary. Sometimes I wish I could crawl right into the [CAN]. Freshness and control have always been my main concern[s] when it comes to our beer. We are committed to providing you with an unfiltered and unpasteurized hop experience. Why do I recommend that you drink it from the [CAN]? Quite simply, to ensure a delightful, [sic] hop experience. The act of pouring it in a glass smells nice, but it releases the essential hop aromas that we have worked so hard to retain. If you MUST pour it into a glass, you may find that some of the hop resins have settled to the bottom - leave them in the CAN when pouring. This beer is perishable, and at its best when it is young, fresh and hazy. Keep it cold, but not ice cold. Drink this beer immediately, we are always making more. [Undersigned] John Kimmich, The Alchemist, Waterbury, Vermont"; "Don't be a D-Bag, recycle this [CAN]!".

My apologies to Mr. Kimmich, but a basic tenet of The CANQuest (TM) is to deCANt the beer into a glass. I do not tell him how to do his job, I would appreciate if he did not tell me how to do mine. I hear from too many people that "CANned beer tastes metallic", mostly because they are French Kissing the goldanged CAN. I may pour some and drink some from the CAN, but how CAN I review it without seeing it in all of its glory, which is another tenet for inclusion in The CANQuest - review only, no "Hads". The last tenet is to drink it all, no matter how vile. This is to separate the men from the boys, hear me, Minhas?!?

At last, after all of that transcription, it is Crack & Glug time! Anticipation, it's makin' me wait! Man, but Carly Simon was a babe in her prime. Still in all, I would not kick her out of bed for eating crackers in the sack, even today. It's like I was telling the young honey honey the other day, we all age and if you think you will be the hardbody you are now in twenty-five years, you got another think comin'. But I digress, as I am often wont to do.

Wow, but the room smelled dank! I had just under two fingers of dense tawny head that was creating the kind of lacing that would require a jackhammer to remove as it fell. The amber liquid was hazy, dense, viscous and I wanted to dive into it just to see where it would lead. Nose was resinous, if that adjective may be applied to a liquid. Pine, wintergreen, menthol, green, baby! Holy overwhelming, Batman! Mouthfeel was sticky and in the way that napalm was sticky. Man, you get that burning craziness on your skin and you start running down the road stark naked. Phan Thi Kim Phuc, I feel your pain. I suddenly got the urge to strip down and run up the street with my tongue lolling out of my mouth in the hopes of some cooling action. It is a good thing that people are used to this sort of thing from me or there might have been real trouble. I'm back and to great applause as the late-1960's and early-1970's are making a comeback and streaking is again fashionable. This is some groovy weed, I mean, beer. Finish was so gaspingly dry that I am reaching for my asthma inhaler. Let's do this again, real soon. No, really, man, how soon CAN I score some more? I mean, you're always growing, I mean, making more, right?

Now directly from the CAN: Oh yeah, it's an epiphany! I CAN rap with my late Pops while going bowling with Jesus. Dude, you CANnot pick up the 7-10 split to save your life, CAN you? That, and now I got this metallic taste going on that was not present before. Wow, baby, wow! Groovy.

Hey, dig this, hep cats, this is what'll send you (and I don't mean via FedEx, in fact, the less the feds are involved, the better). Stamp help out. Lenny Bruce is not afraid. I am now going to operate a heavy crane near an orphanage. That, or procure a tank and drive that around. It all makes sense now. Say, who left murph the surf on my ceiling?

Photo of corby112
4.47/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to mkabull and AutumnBeerLove for sending me fresh cans(on the same day)!

Pours a hazy golden orange with tangerine hues and a 1.5 finger white foam head that slowly settles into a lasting ring.

Dank, uber-fresh hop aroma with lots of resinous hop oils and grassy pine along with a ton of citrus and tropical fruit character. Spicy with hints of pine needle, orange peel, grapefruit, mango and pineapple as well as a subtle biscuity malt presence.

Chewy fully body with a blast on dry, oily hops that linger over the sweeter fruit notes and subtle malt backbone into a nice dry finish. The hop profile is pretty complex with dry, earthy pine needle flavor countered by sweet citrus and tropical fruit notes. Hints of papaya, mango, pineapple, grapefruit and orange peel give this beer some nice sweetness and great balance without overpowering the bitterness. In fact, these two flavors continuously bounce off of each other back and forth throughout. In addition, there is a faint malt presence which gives the beer a good backbone, again without taking anything away from the hops. Toward the finish there is slight boozy heat but overall the ABV is very well masked and this beer is dangerously quaffable.

This beer is legit, living up to the hype I wish that I had easier access so I could add it to my regular rotation.

Photo of superspak
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of weeare138
4.72/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appears a cloudy golden amber...looks unfiltered and super appealing with a frothy, bubbly 1 finger white head that lasts. Tons of huge, chunky bubbly lace...uhhhh, WOW.
Smell is of the hoppiest kind of orange citrus and grapefruit with pine sap.
Taste is of well blended hops with lots of resinous pine and sugar filled grapefruit saturating the palate.
Mouthfeel is well balanced kick ass malt rounding out the killer hops.
Drinkability...is this really 7.5%? Fuhget aboudit! This won't even feel like a 5%, it's so well hidden. I really wish I had gotten this on cask at the pub. Maybe next time.

Photo of Billolick
4.53/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Can purchased at the source one week ago, canned two days before that, so yeah its fresh...

Decanted into a New Belgium tulip. Its clouded darker tangarine, off white head, leaves a lasting collar and a super fine film and again fine bits of lacing.

Nose is loaded with pineapple, mango and fruity/spicy hop goodness.

More of the same on the tongue and palate, pineapple and citric hops seem to dominate. Flavorful, fresh and pleasingly complex DIPA. As advertized this is not designed to blow away your senses with overwhelming loads of hops, but instead dominates your palate with wave after wave of hoppy goodness.

Fine creation in brewing..Every self respecting BA should pick up a case of this nectar everytime they find themselves in the general area of the cannery.

Photo of mothman
4.43/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Steve for sending this out.

Poured into pint glass.

Pours 1 finger of beige off-white head. Color is a burnt golden orange. Sediment in the glass.

Aroma: Dank, weedy hops. Onion flavors from what I think is summit hops. Grapefruit citrus. Very hoppy. Very weed-like. Massive hop attack.

Taste: Starts out with a big dank weedy hop bite. Huge hops. Hop resin. A bit of malt shows, but hardly any. Grapefruit citrus. Sticky goodness.

Mouthfeel: Bitter and sticky. Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Ends sticky with a lot of hops.

Overall, this is a really solid DIPA. It is pretty drinkable. A lot of great flavors and very fresh. I had no problems with my glass of this. Good stuff. Thanks Steve!

Photo of tempest
4.47/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked up a couple six-pack at the cannery. I'm told they were packaged just a week ago.

I wasn't sure what to make of this beer at first, which says a lot because DIPAs aren't usually a surprising style with a lot of leeway. It's most easily described as "hop juice," not an IPA. The balance of hops is unique in that the flavor is huge, but it's never over the top, where overly-hoppy beers become perfumey messes (I'm thinking of Weyerbacher's Hop Explosion).

The aroma has a clean and clear floral grapefruit character with an earthy, citrus seed edge—think about when you're eating an orange and you get a seed on your tongue. The flavor is intense but manageable. In addition to the vivid grapefruit and orange peel citrus, there's a vague grassiness, tropical notes, and an odd (and thoroughly unexpected) touch of barbeque sauce that fades as the beer warms.

I approached this beer as a skeptic, but it's easily one of the most complex beers I've tried, and one of the most drinkable at that. I should have bought a case.

Photo of Gonzoillini
5/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of ejimhof
5/5  rDev +5.7%

Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 9,434 ratings.