Heady Topper - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Heady TopperHeady Topper

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BA SCORE
100
world-class

1,943 Reviews
THE BROS
93
outstanding

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Reviews: 1,943
Hads: 10,940
rAvg: 4.66
pDev: 7.73%
Wants: 8,128
Gots: 3,454 | 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: 1,943 | Hads: 10,940
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.... (183 characters)

Photo of shadetree67
4.98/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Many thanks to shawnp for hooking me up with this one.

Appearance - A very cloudy straw colored beer. The cloudy appearance is expected as this is an unfiltered beer.

Smell - Hops, not much in the way of malts. Like citrus and grapefruits - smells fresh.

Taste - A perfect level of hops and the taste is similar to the smell - citrus and grapefruit. It is more sweet than bitter. Sometimes IIPAs can be overwhelming, but this is a very well balanced example of the style.

Mouthfeel - Medium amount of carbonation and it goes down smooth

Overall - This one lives up to the hype. It is very well balanced and quite drinkable. Would love to try it side by side with pliny and abrasive (687 characters)

Photo of Prop28WasBetter
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Heady topper pours a hazy golden orange (I prefer it from the glass, despite what is written on the can). Smell and taste are citrus and some bitterness, less tropical fruit than other New England style ipas. Mouth fee is spot on. Overall, deserving of its high ratings. (270 characters)

Photo of IvoryFoxhole
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%

Case purchased 8/8/14 at Hunger Mountain Co-Op. Gave away half, drank half. Not much variation between cans, which is what they strive for.

Drank all from can as directed, had tried a sampler at brewery in 2013 so I have a rough idea what it looks like. Can does focus nose, but a good tulip glass will do the same. You can definitely tell the difference between a fresh and month-old Heady, but the month-old is still fantastic.

Nose to me is mostly grapefruit with some lemon. Subdued floral component as this isn't quite a West Coast (or quite an East Coast) style DIPA. Subdued malt profile as this is about the hops.

Taste is all citrus and hops, as much as one could possibly want in a beer.

Medium to full-bodied, strongly carbonated, incredible balance, dry finish.

Had to leave some room in my rating for something better to come along (hope to grab one of their other beers at a truck sale sometime, for example).

I do a round-trip drive from VA each August to get my case (or as much as I can get). Very difficult to get if you aren't willing to travel to VT and not easy to get unless you plan before you get there. I recommend the Heady Spotter website to maximize your opportunities. Worth the trouble, though. There's nothing quite like it. (1,265 characters)

Photo of HopBomb515
4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A - beautiful bright light orange, cloudy, nice two finger white head and lacing all over on the drink down.

S - Citrus, grapefruit primarily, then some resinous piney notes and sweetness work their way in as well. Smells amazing!

T - Sweet malt is the backbone to big citrus flavor. Grapefruit dominates and the parts to reveal some tangerine, mango and lemon notes. Finishes dry, slightly bitter and piney. Layers of flavor, this is a complex IPA. Taste lingers on the tongue, the hop resins making themselves known.

M - Exactly what you'd expect. Medium toward full body and perfect carbonation. Coats the palate.

O - Amazing beer! This beer deserves the hype. Is it the best in the world? To me, yes, so far. Best execution of a popular style. I will grab it anytime I can. (784 characters)

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. (1,794 characters)

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. (452 characters)

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. (782 characters)

Photo of Mongrel
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

It may sound blasphemous, but really not much separates a lot of the top American IPAs - Sculpin, Resin, Double Jack, etc. They're extremely good, but somewhat similar. But Heady Topper has that x factor that keeps you wanting more. Not sure if it's the well-rounded mouthfeel or supremely fresh taste. It's just infinitely drinkable.

First you get juicy hops and it's almost a little too bitter. Then after a couple sips the bitterness mellows out a bit, yielding to a wide range of fruity hop flavors -- citrus, grapefruit, mango and apple. There's also a big, green piney/grassy/herbal hop presence. The mouthfeel is big, round, creamy and balanced, but also resinous and sappy at times. Combined with the tangy fruit profile, it's somewhat reminiscent of a sophisticated cider or champagne. Really dry, bitter finish.

It's a thoroughly American IPA and there is a distinct lack of nutty/biscuity/malty characteristics that you might find in more internationally-inspired brews. That's the only negative thing I can think of to say. But it's surely better off as is.

This beer just keeps giving and giving and it's difficult to pin down why you enjoy it so much. You just keep reaching for cans until you realize that it's still an 8% abv brew and you should probably not kill that precious 4-pack by yourself tonight. (1,324 characters)

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 (1,162 characters)

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. (574 characters)

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. (223 characters)

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

Pours an opaque lemon yellow color with a huge fluffy bright white head. Lemon, celery and cucumber with a bit of pine on the nose. Taste is bright and lemony up front with a juniper hop bitterness on the back. (212 characters)

Photo of weatherdog
4.22/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bottle re-reviewed. Thanks to Richard.

The nose was much improved vs. previous bottle. A huge pineapple citrus hop nose not present in the last bottle. Went from a 3.5 to a 4.5. Taste was pretty similar but it lacked the spicy hopiness and not just didn't have the bright hop character I wanted. It had a maltiness to it which prevented me from loving it as much.

22oz. bottle generously shared by oreo. I normally don't review from tastings, but thought I would this time considering it was the first beer we had, its hyped up status and it being bottled for the first time.

It poured an amber honey orange with a decent cream fresh looking head with minimal lacing.

The nose had a medium to medium high amount of citrus orange with present levels of resinous pine. The nose is nice but not as bright and fresh or light as other world class examples I've had

The flavor really almost exactly mirror the nose with an addition of a spicy hop after taste. This spicy aftertaste reminded me of drinking the wort from a beer using a lot of fuggles hops. I know it sounds crazy, and I'm sure heady topper doesn't use fuggles but that particular hop to me has a distinct spicy aftertaste, much more so pre-fermentation, that my mind went right to the comparison. After the hop showcase a firm light neutral flavored malt sweetness became present.

Mouthfeel was medium light, right where I would prefer it, carbonation was just fine. Drinkability was great personally; no signs of alcohol and an inviting hop flavor with a nice malt finish.

I really appreciated having the chance to sample this bottle but it only had room to disappoint considering the hype surrounding it. While a solid and good DIPA, it's no Piny killer. (1,731 characters)

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

Thanks to jsthomas for sending this to me.

A: Drank most of this directly out the can as directed but poured a few ounces into glass; presents clear blonde color with small white head.

S: Srong, and like a bed a flowery hops

M: Good carbonation, actuallyperfect

T: Wow!Hops, hops and more hops! A great mix/balance of floral hops and sweet citrus; bitter on the back end

Overall: At or near the top of the class for DIPAs, a world class beer. Easy to drink, especially if you like hoppy beers (498 characters)

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! (483 characters)

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

Cloudy golden yellow with a short pale white head. Pale malts, light citrus, fresh and dry hops, lighter fruits grapefruit, pineapple and even tones of peach on the aroma. Fruity and floral from the nose. Rich, smooth fruity and nectar-like hop flavor on the first sip. Rolls into a more floral body with big hits of hops, grapefruit, peaches and dry bitterness. Dry, hoppy, sour finish. Heavily carbonated with a medium body. Intensely impressed with this, easily the best brew I could ever dream of having out of a can. (521 characters)

Photo of Vogie
4.21/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Drank this beer straight from the can. Aromas of grapefruit, tropical fruit, pomegranate, mango, kiwi, oranges, pine. Taste is wave after wave of hops. Tropical fruits upfront followed by a piney resinous bitterness on the back. Medium body, carbonation is moderate, extremely refreshing at 8.0% abv.

I can see why hopheads flock to this beer. Even long after I finished my can the hop flavors were still lingering on my tongue. Its impossible to appreciate the complexity of this beer if you don't like hops. I am not a hophead myself but this brew deserves its world-class ranking. (593 characters)

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. (1,347 characters)

Photo of donbet69
4.84/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

So I got to try the number 1 rated beer on beeradvocate.com

I found a can purely by accident at my local distributor. I decided to drink some of it out of a glass and some out of the can as suggested.

I could not find much difference either way.

The smell of HT is outstanding. Citrus rules this beer.

The color in the glass was beautiful.

I will remember the taste for a long time. By far the best I have drank, but I am relatively new to tasting great beers. (468 characters)

Photo of raznug
4.92/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Heady Topper pours a hazy pale orange color and is topped with ¾” of head that tends to linger nicely, while Belgian lacing lines the glass.
Smell: This is not an overpowering hop explosion like I was expecting but it does have a well designed blend of hops that work together.
Taste: I have drunk quite a few IPA’s over the years and this maybe the best that I have ever had. The hops dominate the flavor but that isn’t all that I can taste the malt does make an appearance but it isn’t a long appearance but it does make for a well balanced beer that still has all the makings of one of the best IIPA’s in the world.
Mouthfeel: This is a tasty medium to heavy bodied beer that isn’t as easy drinking as some IIPA’s but a world class IIPA shouldn’t be able to drink like a BMC. The hops of the beer should stick around for a while. (863 characters)

Photo of mikeyv35
4.76/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Date: 02/13/2013
Type: 16oz. Can
Glass: Southampton Large Tulip (I know this is against the rules, per the can!)
Canned: 01/15/2013 *Pretty fresh, but not uber fresh.

I cannot believe it took me this long to get around to sampling the mighty Heady Topper! Ranked #1 in the world on BA, only one way to find out the truth. Thanks to BA ajfa531 (Joe) for providing me this 16oz. can to sample.

Poured this brew from the can into a Southampton large tulip glass, breaking the rules written on the can, in order to give a more accurate review of appearance and nose. Future samples will be consumed straight from the can in accordance w/ the rules.

Poured a burnt orange to light brown mahogany in color w/ a skim coat white head that produced light lacing. I did not realize this brew had huge amounts of remaining yeast in the can that soon entered the glass due to me pouring it too quickly. Aromas of pine, grapefruit, and citrus fruits (mandarin orange, cantelope, and nectarine). The flavor started off w/ big, sweet citrus flavors of mandarin orange/grapefruit in your face, transitioning to a blast of piney bitterness, finishing with floral notes. Medium bodied and lush w/ moderate carbonation that suits the beer well. Drinkability? I was done with the 16oz. can & starting the 2nd before I even finished writing out the review. Insane!

Overall, this beer is the truth! What can I say? This is dank, hoppy, awesomeness in a can! I now understand why this is currently ranked #1 in the world in all style categories. Take Pliny The Elder as good as it is and kick it up a notch & you have Heady Topper. The only reason it is not possible for this beer to attain a perfect score is due to the fact that it is by far the ugliest DIPA one will ever encounter. However, the ugliness grows on you and it works. Not only does the brew taste like all of the flavors that could possibly be extracted from a hop flower, but it is brewed so well that there is not very much bitterness at all. Crazy stuff! (2,005 characters)

Photo of xenjoiii
4.92/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Courtesy of the Black Sheep Ale House in Mineola, NY.

Poured half of a can into my SH Snifter and consumed the other half from the can side by side.

A: Poured a bright orange color. Extremely cloudy.

S: Insane aroma. Huge notes of tropical fruit (mango came immediately to mind) coupled with massive pine/resin notes.

T: Waves of mango and citrus dominate the front of the mouth. By the middle of the mouth the bitterness begins to emerge; the bitterness is tamed out back with a sweet malty presence.

M: Medium carbonation. Medium body. Extremely sticky.

Oh my, easily one of the top 3 IIPAs that I have had to date. This IIPA towers above the hype that surrounds it. This beast from the east stands tall among the ''big guns'' of the west ( specifically the offerings from Russian River and Alpine). I can only hope that the crew over at The Alchemist make these shipments of Heady Topper to NYC more often. (920 characters)

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. (758 characters)

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

Can given as an extra by SpdKilz, you rock man. Ridiculous extras as always, I've never had anything but great exchanges with that BA. Thanks again!

Poured into generic tulip.

A: Murky brown, bit darker than I'd expect for the style. Tree stump core with some give towards light wet wood yellows. Water drenched woods really nails the visual for me, raw honey stored at a cold temp. Thai iced teas that are light on the soy. Definitely a darker/cloudier dipa.

S: grapefruit rind, honeydew melon with rind, and some real pungent passion fruit. Guava doesn't hit me here as much as other citra (assuming citra, seems very apparent) in the nose. A little bit of green mango makes for a nice fruit cocktail in the nose.

T: First of all, this is a really balanced dipa. tropical, melon, and citrus with it being difficult to tell who's winning. Light cantaloupe with repeat sips. Alcohol really accentuates the melon as it warms. flavors come off dry and crisp. Drying fruit juice flavors really implies a fresh pineapple. The alcohol in this really makes me think fruity desserts. Scorched sugar tropical fruit, tropical fruits and rum. Really nice flavors, extremely well integrated; even the alcohol.

M: Soft mouth with a medium body and fair amount of chewiness. Alcohol puts a candy shell coating on the mouth throughout the course of drinking. Satin glove on the mouth with some really fine textures. Some dryness that limits the wetness of the alcohols, and keeps it drinking crisp in all temperatures. Really well done.

O: Simply, this is an outstanding DIPA. One of the very best that I've had, and easily the best from the east coast I've had to date. This has the type of balance I long for in a DIPA, and it delivers in the flavor. Seemed to have more of a sweet character than I'd expect to find, but it's really balanced. Alcohol is perceivable, but it's well integrated. Outstanding from Alchemist (1,918 characters)

Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 1,943 ratings.