Heady Topper - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Heady TopperHeady Topper

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

1,941 Reviews
THE BROS
93
outstanding

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Reviews: 1,941
Hads: 10,934
rAvg: 4.66
pDev: 3.22%
Wants: 8,123
Gots: 3,443 | 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 (11) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,941 | Hads: 10,934
Photo of jethrodium
3.54/5  rDev -24%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

16 oz can generously shared by colonelforbin. Thanks Mike. Pours a very cloudy light amber with a small light tan head that has decent retention and leaves a good lacing on the glass. The aroma is big mango, floral notes, light caramel, a bit of pineapple, and some sugar cookie. The initial taste is sweet with mango and pineapple going into a bit of caramel, sugar cookie, and some light dankness. There is a very light bitterness on finish along with some lingering mango. Light bodied. Low carbonation. I definitely could use a bit more bitterness and a bit less sweetness. Not bad, but certainly not in the class of the best west coast IPAs. (646 characters)

Photo of infinitebruner
4.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

November 29, 2014

16 oz can, highball glass

A – Bright, but slightly darker orange, with lemon yellow highlights. Creamy white head, about a centimeter tall, with very high retention.

S – Tons of grapefruit and very clear mango aromas. Incredibly high hopping. Resiny scents shine through next, especially while the beer is still in the can (as they indicate it would.) Some slightly doughy malt is present, but the hops are the star.

T – Grapefruit is very high, and the mango is present but much more mild than in the aroma. Again, some bread dough.

M – Very well carbonated, creamy and bitter, and very well balanced. Incredibly refreshing.

O – Obviously this beer’s reputation precedes it, and it’s hard to drink it without that in mind. Regardless, this is an incredibly well-made Double IPA, that I would love to drink over and over again, if only I could get my hands on a supply. Best beer in the world? That’s debatable, but it is definitely fantastic. (992 characters)

Photo of thegoon55
4.91/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Heady is the real deal.

A- standard golden color, big white head disappears into little lacing.

S- wow. Grapefruit bomb. I love.

T- massive grapefruit notes, pipe, little bit of bitter hops. Lovely.

M- medium perfect body medium carbonation

O- understand why this is the number one beer in the world. Is it the best or my favorite beer? No. But there is nothing wrong with it. (382 characters)

Photo of RAlmeida77
4.52/5  rDev -3%

Finally had a chance to get my hands on a can of HT. Poured into a glass, even though it says to drink from the can. The aroma of this beer is fantastic. Very floral and pleasant. First sip was no different. It's a very unique Imperial IPA. Not over bearing with the hops but you know they're there. Very smooth and easy to drink, which is dangerous for an Imperial IPA. I wish this stuff wasn't so hard to get because I'd have a fridge full of it right now. Easily one of the best beers I've ever had. (502 characters)

Photo of BrownNut
3.86/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Straight from can as recommended, 10 min out of the fridge.

A - ?

S - Smells alternately nice and piney and something sort of chemical-y sweet, partly like sunscreen. Not bad but unusual.

T - That sunscreeny/piney element carries through on the palate. It seems a more green and planty overall now, with the sunscreen aspect leaning more toward something buttery sweet that you'd find in baked goods. It's a very pleasant and smooth taste overall. It's definitely an accomplishment in fresh tasting flavor. It pops. I'm glad the bitterness isn't stunt-grade. It's just enough to give it substantial bite to this fairly lupulin-tolerant palate of mine without becoming that distracting kind of bitter that must be partially tolerated while being partially enjoyed. This bitterness was all enjoy and a pleasant complement to the flavors.

M - Nothing special. Just sort of normal beery, a bit sharp. Leaves some mild hop abrasion on the tongue afterwards for a good while.

O - I knew the hype on this one but have trained myself to go into these things now just expecting a very good beer instead of ecstasy and in that respect I was not disappointed. It's a very good beer. I'll try the next one out of a pint glass and adjust/refine this review. A tornado was coming when I drank this and I figured I'd better go ahead and try the top rated beer in the world before I maybe died (didn't). So next time will be calmer. (1,421 characters)

Photo of duracell
4.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had the 3/4 straight from the can, then poured the rest into a snifter.

A (last 1/4 of the can) - Surprisingly super clear, dark gold color. Small head disappearing quickly without leaving much of lancing.
S - Very intense herbal, fresh, piney, mango, citrusy aromas. Extremely aromatic and quite balanced by some malt.
T/M - Big hops flavors. Lemon zest, piney, grapefruit, tropical fruits sustained by a lively carbonation. Very juicy. Leads you to a nice fruity bitterness at the end that lingers forever.
O - Definitely one of the best DIPA I was given to try! Tons of flavors and complexity. A must try!! (610 characters)

Photo of BEER88
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am sorry!!! the Beer is cloudy as hell and better in the can. However, i came from around the world and have been Homebrewing for 8 years; just to drive countless hours and wait in line; only to take a sip of the worlds finest! Yes, it lives to its standards! I e-mailed the company and all the stores to assure myself and acquire some of this brew! I got turned down by both saying to follow the truck and wait in line. I did and popped my first can at Route 7 in Shelburne VT at 945 in the morning to find the LOve of my IPA's!! A very balanced and strong double IPA leaving resigns of pine flavor in my mouth many minutes after drinking. 5 out of 5 for sure and still to this day worth the wait as i did on 30-March-2015 at Route 7 in Shelburne VT. Thank you, I will do this again just to get a case. Chris (811 characters)

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

I finally got my hands on some HT, and in one of the most unlikely places of all. A cheese and wine shop. Through word of mouth I got the scoop that there's some HT a few doors down, so I had to take the rest of the afternoon to dabble.

It is definitely a standout beer. Just the hype surrounding it makes it difficult to be impartial. In a few words, it's a very well balanced DIPA with a massive citrusy blast . In my opinion the citrus is what makes it unique. Would I put it @ #1?... not sure, it's definitely up there. In any case, it's definitely worth a try. Massive hype aside, this beer will not disappoint even the most picky beer snob. (648 characters)

Photo of TheDudeRules
3.65/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very hazy amber pour. Sediment is suspended throughout. Two fingers of pillowy off white head. Scant lacing is left behind on my glass. Hops and citrus collide in my nose. Looks and smell are living up to the hype. The first striking character upon taste is the creaminess. Incredibly so especially for an ipa. Pine and grapefruit up front. Sweetness to finish the swallow. Ends lightly bitter. Honestly it is not as hoppy as I expected. Very easy to drink regardless that it is an imperial.

I find I had a preconceived notion on what it was going to be. Pure greatness. Well, it isn't. It's damn good but not as much so as the hype train says. I'm trying not to have a mind explosion right now. All hail the king of imperial, Abrasive from Surly. (749 characters)

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

Been trying to track this one down for a long while, finally scored a solo can. Enjoying from the Can as the can instructs you to. This is my first review.

A: Didn't get to see what was inside but the can is a gorgeous pint with a sweet black/grey color scheme. Definitely one of the coolest designs i have seen.

S: This thing just reeks of fruit, getting some mango, pineapple, grapefruit, and passion fruit all combined into an orgasmic aroma.

T: Holy cow, one of the most refreshing, fruity, drinkable IPA's i have ever had. Loads and Loads of Citrus on the palate along with notes of mango, pine, and orange apricot. Has a sweet malt backbone in the middle that leads to a fruity bitterness aftertaste. Wow.

M: Mouthfeel was surprisingly light, with medium carbonation. This beer is extremely drinkable. One of the smoothest beers i have had, and enjoying it from the can certainly helps.

O: Well i would say this is the best DIPA i have had, and i have had a lot of the top competitors offerings of this style. I was most blown away by the Citra hop presence, balance perfection, and drinkability. This is a must have! (1,128 characters)

Photo of chilly460
4.3/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a straw yellow, very hazy, with a foamy two finger white head. Speckled lacing clings nicely.

S - Smells like concentrated hops, very pungent. Got quite a bit of clean smelling pine, with a unique citrus edge to it. Couldn't put my finger on it, but goes beyond normal orange/grapefruit. No real malt could be picked up in the aroma.

T - Grapefruit hits immediately, nice full ripe taste. Quite bitter, definite clean pine tones in there too for sure. Flavor hits hard in this beer. Malts are there, very dry biscuit.

M - Typical for the style, medium body with midrange carbonation.

O - Really enjoyed this one, just bursts with flavor. (655 characters)

Photo of abuliarose
4.87/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Heady Topper pint glass, revealing hazy caramel body under a few fingers of thick white head. Some lacing. Smells deliciously hoppy with an unctuous meaty caramel malt backbone. Lots of sweet honey floral smell. Holding up well post-release.

Tastes almost as bitter as having it fresh on tap. The hop punch-to-the-jaw has started to fade a little already but it still tastes like biting into a grapefruit rind covered in burnt caramel. Lots of fresh citrus hop bitterness with a clean and juicy finish. A little meaty. Very flavorful. Mouthfeel is big and smooth, medium-bodied with a creamy soft carbonation that plumps up each sip. Very flavorful and very very drinkable. So well-balanced.

Very impressed at how this held up post-release. Wish I could have a case of it to go through over the winter holiday. (826 characters)

Photo of JayAre46
4.62/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Joe you are the man and thank you for this one. alright from notes i reviewed this one at a christmas party, which i ran away to a dark corner to review like a zero. have to start off with the awesome can, silver and black tall boy with the alchemist on the front lovin life. pours a deep transparent amber with a big off white head and it shows great retention. solid in the nostrils very citrusy with light pine and lemon peel dryness. very fresh hops and minimal malt sweetness, pale and biscuty. the taste is absolute cash, very fresh hop resin, again the citrus peel with an amazing bitterness that cuts the palate. bone dry finish. medium bodied and lightly carbonated and flows really easy without any "spiking" to my surprise. this is the one that will make your gf not want to kiss you, the one where your breath still reeks of hops the next morning. flying hop dragons punching babies, can't stop em'. what a brew! (924 characters)

Photo of nimrod979
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

No can date but I know it's pretty fresh from the source. Drank about half from the can as it says to do so numerous times. Poured the other half into a DFH snifter.

Appearance: Quite hazy unfiltered orange-ish color. Plenty of sediment. Medium sized white head. Decent retention. with some sudsy lacing.

Aroma: Good blend of citrus and pine lead it off and carry all the way to the finish.

Taste: Juicy hops, Mandarin oranges, grapefruit, and a tropical blend followed by layers of pine resin. delicious well done DIPA. Fresh flavor. Pretty much perfection. Delivers on hops, bitterness and flavor all while being completely drinkable.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with an exceptional drinkability. Never comes across as too bitter. Carbonation is soft though perfect for what this beer needs. Glad & thankful I finally got an opportunity to try this one. Something I would look forward to drinking for years to come. (916 characters)

Photo of YieldToNothing
4.96/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

poured half into a mini tulip, drinking the rest from the can.
i first tried this beer a couple of days ago and was blown away, now i'm having my second one and last for a while....
pours a copper orange, with a foamy head. not the prettiest beer in the world.
smells fantastic, citrus notes, like all good DIPAs, but the taste...
like biting into a grapefruit. i personally prefer it out of the can, it retains a certain crispness that just isn't there when i sip from the tulip.
this is a great beer. believe the hype (519 characters)

Photo of welldigger888
4.67/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to a great friend for sharing with me.

Nice frothy snow white head, leaves brief sheets of lacing down glass. Opaque orangish hue with a charming rustic feel to it.

WOWY WOW WOW WOW! This is a citrus bomb in a can, me likey. Orangey pineapple mango piney resony goodness.

This like an adult version of a creamcicle, abundant sweet orange grapefruity goodness. Packs a wallop on the bitterness too. Touch of booze (in a good way) gives way to a hint of grainy malt. Long citrus finish and smoooth bittering.

Creamy smooth with excellant carbonation.

Loved it, ranks up with the exsellant boyking batches and the pliney I had last fathers day. I need a friend in that part of the country to ship. (706 characters)

Photo of eclipse54
4.59/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A massive "thank you" to optimator13 for this 16 ounce can from my "Want" list. Archaic date code reads "1 07 20A2 B B" though I'm at a loss for how to accurately convert that to a canning date. Ignoring the "drink from the can" instructions near the lip, this one is poured into a Deschutes tulip glass...

The copper/orange/brown body pours much darker than anticipated, and is perhaps as dark as a DIPA can get before it begs consideration as something else. White unfiltered particles give the appearance of a colloid, and when observing closely, the body does appear to have a gel-like nature because of these particles. About an inch of off-white, foamy, bubbly head develops but subsides quickly to a ring and patches of bubbles. Legs of wet, gooey lacing cling to the glass.

The aroma is phenomenal, consisting of grapefruit, mango, orange, lemon, and a host of other citrus fruits all masterfully balanced with a piney, earthen, resinous hop character. Some grasses, hay, and a touch of malt round out the nose beautifully. It tastes of spicy, earthen hops in the front, followed by pine, grass, loads of citrus (grapefruit, orange, mango, lemon) in the middle. The rear brings the bitterness of the hops and a glimpse of caramel from the malt. Very well done here.

Mouthfeel is crisp through and through, the carbonation dancing off the tongue, and finishes a touch dry, leaving one wanting for another sip. Overall, a phenomenal DIPA that is truly deserving of its “world-class” status. Do not hesitate to seek out this one if given the opportunity. (1,568 characters)

Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
4.31/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Outstanding beer overall. I enjoy it every time I have it, but it is exceedingly hard to get. I liked it better when I could pick up a four pack or two at the brewery. Alas! No longer! (188 characters)

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. (2,441 characters)

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. (569 characters)

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. (596 characters)

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. (475 characters)

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

It just hit #1 on BA yesterday, and today he local shop sold out in two hours. Jmscowcroft was able to get a four-pack and set me up but when I went at lunch it was sold out.

A - Supposed to drink from the can, but poured a bit to see. Cloudy burnt orange color. Good head of a finger and a half. Can tell that it is unfiltered but looks great.
S - Smell is amazing. Really adds to the taste in a big way. Floral like a bouquet of smells and really hoppy. Also a piney fragrance towards the end. A little citrus at the very end.
T - This one tastes great. Obviously very hoppy but surprisingly smooth. Definitely a citrus taste, it seems bitter but ends so smooth. This beer is so evolving across the palate its hard to put a name on it.
M - It feels very smooth and buttery, but has a way to remind you it's their, it's very "sippable" however. The aftertaste doesn't dominate as some can, but you can taste it in your mouth in a good way.
D - Drinkability was its only downfall. As far as taste, it was great, but I personally didn't want to have multiples. Great for enjoying it smaller quantities. But overall very drinkable.
O - Overall a great beer. The way the smell and taste mingle is artistic. It confuses and makes sense all in one sip. It deserves the efforts to obtain it. (1,292 characters)

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. (768 characters)

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. (829 characters)

Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 1,941 ratings.