Heady Topper - The Alchemist

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Heady TopperHeady Topper

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1,948 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,948
Hads: 10,952
rAvg: 4.66
pDev: 7.73%
Wants: 8,139
Gots: 3,468 | 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: 1,948 | Hads: 10,952
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 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)

Photo of timc100
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A: Perfect looking unfiltered IPA. Completely opaque due to dense haze - the color is a beautiful blend of sunshine and orange juice. A nice, slightly off white head coats the top of the beer and leaves great sticky lacing.

S: Holy shit - has so many layers of flavors. I have never experienced an aroma fly out of the bottle/can before like this - smacks you in the face. Incredibly clean and fresh. Sweet pink grapefruit, bitter grapefruit rind, outrageously fresh pine and a touch of resin. Some orange juice and mango that blends with the sticky astringency. So much going on, I am not able to do it justice through my description. Just overwhelmingly fresh and clean, balanced with bitterness and astringency.

T: Huge, full, intense, completely fulfilling. I actually find drinking from the can is notably better, just too bad you can't look at it that way. A blast of fresh pine, sweet pink grapefruit and bitter grapefruit, much more astringency than on the nose and decently bitter. Incredibly balanced and outrageously flavorful.

P: Hard to say this, but almost the best part. Smooth and creamy - fullest bodied IPA I've come across, and one of the smoothest beers in general.

O: I, as all who haven't had this beer before, have had this on the top of my wants. Almost always this type of hype gets in the way of truly enjoying the beer as an unreachable mark has been set. Well, this destroyed any mark I could have imagined for myself. Truly an amazing beverage and one of the best tasting anythings I've ever had. (1,531 characters)

Photo of mechamifune
4.2/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass at the Alchemist

Poured with a healthy .5 in head, cloudy appearance with an orange/golden color. Much "murkier" looking than most DIPA's, but still inviting.

Smell is a whole lot of pine to me... hints of citrus obvious, but the pine really dominates. All in all though not an overly floral DIPA, but still a decent amount to work with.

Taste is lots of pine up front.... finishes bitter but not overly so. Citrues notes throughout, but not overwhelming as with some DIPA's.

Mouthfeel is very smooth, and in turn very easy to drink. Not particularly crisp per se, but certainly pleasant. A very good DIPA.... not in my absolute upper echelon (double trouble, PTE, PTY, and Pure Hoppiness) but just a slight step below it. Certainly seek it out if you're in the area. (798 characters)

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

look N/A i'm fallowing instructions and not pouring any into a glass

smelling it in the can. it pretty damn good. citrus and grapefruit (not super easy to grasp through the can but nice)

the hops are amazing, citrus and fruitiness mild pineyness is found

med-high carbonation and light-medium bodied leaving a wet mouth feel

overall GREAT glad i finally got a hold of one (376 characters)

Photo of winningwes91
4.9/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Well, here it goes. The number 1 (now 2) beer in the world. Pours a gorgeous hazy orange. Smells of citrus, pine and hoppy goodness. Tastes follows through. Awesome creamy mouthfeel. I can definitely see why this is the top beer. It's amazing, if just a hair under focal banger, due to a bit too much bitterness on the backend for my taste (but I'm just splitting hairs). Amazing stuff! (386 characters)

Photo of TangTKE402
4.62/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Golden straw colored with an unfiltered haze. 2-finger head and great lacing. Poured on-tap into a 12oz. glass.

S: Big smooth hop aromas: flowers, pine, a hint of raspberry. I could crawl inside this aroma and never leave!

T: Full-bodied and well-rounded. Hop-forward with an herbal, floral-pine flavor. Finishes with a bready bitterness. Clean, crisp, and delicious!

M: Even-keeled and well-balanced. A touch sticky with a dry aftertaste.

D: For a beer of its abv, it's amazingly sessionable. (500 characters)

Photo of fear025
4.79/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma:Sweet orange and grapefruit, peaches, cotton candy. Smells delightful.

Appearance:I'm drinking it from the can, so it looks great.

Taste:The foretaste is nicely hoppy with grapefruit, and peaches. It's pretty sweet, which holds up well to the hoppyness. The fruit and hop flavors fade slowly, until there is a nice nuttyness in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel:Medium body, good carbonation. Feels a little sticky as I drink it.

Overall:This is one of the best DIPAs that I have had. It has a great complexity of delicious flavors. (534 characters)

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

First of all this is my favorite beer definitively. Its in the top 5 best things about living in Vermont for me (I still lovermont) so take this review with a grain of salt if you must

Can to HFS sniffer but I went ahead and drank one straight from the can because the paragraph on the back tells me to.

A:Pours like an DIPA should hazy cloudy orangey honey with plenty of hop floaters and completely opaque with a nice fluffy white head.

(rest of review is direct from the can)

S:citrus hop smells are more powerful then any beer I've ever smelled its overwhelming and fantastic at the same time. There is definitely hints of pine resin from the blast of hops but other then hops there really isn't anything else but in a DIPA thats all i need.

T: This stuff is liquid hop juice there really just aren't many beers that can even compare. There is just a massive amount of hop flavor (citrus orange pine resin) and bitterness with a wide range but they do not overpower one another and still maintain balance. This thing is the hop bomb of all hop bombs and it still tastes balanced. WTF?!?!??!

M:Oily and dripping with resin you can feel it in your mouth for a long time after just a single sip. It is very pleasant though and I consider it the proper bitterness feel as it is good and matches the tremendous amount of hops used

O: LIke I said I love this beer, I don't know what I will do if/when I leave VT it really is that good it makes my day every time I pick it up and never lets me down I can't recommend it enough. Get it if you like ipa's it is the top of the mountain. (1,590 characters)

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

made the haul up there t0o northern VT got there at 10:30 on a Monday line was around the building

it only took about 20 min to get my purchase limit so kudos on the service

the color is like a hazy cloudy sunshine

the smell is awesome orange fruity goodness

taste is hard to describe almost tastes like honey too me I love it little bitterness mixed with sweet

I had numerous trade offers before I went to get this but now IDK if I would give one to a family member

it's probably the new shine talking maybe I will feel different after the 1st case is gone

def the best craft beer I have had in my young career

I don't know if I would drive 4-5 hours for it but it is DAMN GOOD (686 characters)

Photo of CowsandBeer
4.55/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jbaker67 for the can! Poured at fridge temp into a Tallgrass Brewing cervoise glass.

Appearance: Pours a tight and creamy looking two finger head. Cloudy, peach colored body. Looks like pulpy peach juice. Yum!

Smell: Hell of a nose. Hop resins, a bit of onion, bright citrus fruit, pine, sweet tropical fruits, and a sweet malt maltyness.

Taste: Tastes like caramelized hop candy. Very resinous hops. Follows the nose; citrusy and fruity. Some piney bitterness. Sweet malt backbone and a lingering breadyness. Despite the hop overload this is very balanced and never too much.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy, low carbonation mouthfeel. Sticks to your teeth, bro. Very little heat.

Overall: Definitely a must try for any hop head and a wonderful example of what a DIPA can be. Outstanding nose and spot on mouthfeel. Overall, a hoppy, balanced tribute to American hops. (878 characters)

Photo of IPAdams
4.55/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Only poured about an ounce as this one is supposed to be enjoyed from the can. Pours a hazy golden orange, decent sized white head for the pour and moderate lacing. Quite hazy but the can states that it is the intention.

Smell- Wow, as soon as I lifted the tab on the can the smell poured out. Pine and more pine, some grapefruit and orange in their as well. I actually get a bit of bitter orange in there also, very pleasant.

Taste- Very well balanced, not bitter at all for a DIPA. Some caramel and malty sweetness, good amount of orange in there. I get some lemon and citrus on the back end with a bit of pine. Awesome taste.

Mouthfeel- A bit thick for the style but it works well. A bit of a creamy texture. Not overly drying and leaves a slick feeling in the mouth.

Overall- Awesome DIPA and a great beer in general. Balance is awesome for such a hoppy beer and one with a higher ABV. Definitely recommend it. (930 characters)

Photo of ixodus
4.82/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a hazy, hop particle filled, reddish-orange color with a thick billowing white head that slowly retracts to a couple centimeters. Leaves a ton of lacing as sipped down.

S: The smell of this beer is simply amazing. At the first whiff it reminds me of a fresh bag of hops or hop pellets. Juicy mango, luscious grapefruit, and juicy pineapple, a long with some resinous pine.

T: Bursting with flavor! Pineapple, grapefruit, apricot, mango, orange and a slight bit pine resin. The taste lives for minutes beyond the sip. Even though this is brewed in Vermont, it tastes like Hawaii. Definitely balanced towards this bitter side.

M: Smooth, medium bodied, soft carbonation, juicy.

O: Hand down best IPA I have ever had. Previous IPA World Champion went to Pliny E/Flower Power but this just blows them away. All I gotta say is MOAR!!!! (843 characters)

Photo of CNoj012
4.99/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Side by side tasting with Pliny the Elder and it wasn't even close, Heady by a mile. The aroma is nothing short of amazing and the taste is so hoppy and complex. Absolutely fantastic beer! (188 characters)

Photo of bonbright7
4.67/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was brewing beer with friends when this appeared out of the fridge and in my glass. It's blood-orange and gold appearance made me wonder as the story of how it wound up in Rocky Point, NY was explained to me.

The fresh aroma of this immense ale was overwhelming as I dove into the first taste with eager anticipation. This complex and tremendous IPA with aggressive, but balanced, characteristics captured my attention. It reminded me of some great IPA flavors I had tasted from casks.

The malt elements surfaced in various ways as I promised myself to find more of this in the future.

While I could compare it to any number of IPA's that are stoutly hopped, this seemed to hold a magic that I could not quite describe. (726 characters)

Photo of nas5755
4.6/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks Chris.

A- Cloudy, hazy, chunks of yeast or hops. Pale golden orange color.

S- Pineapple, citrus, navel oranges, lots of pine and pine sap. Very Dank.

T- So awesome. Very clean, lots of citrus, tangerine and pineapple lead the way with a brisk move towards a very nice piney resin finish. Nice and dry. The hop profile is balanced in the sense that the progression from citrus/tropical fruits to piney bitterness is just amazing. The malt and sweetness levels are present in this beer yet they dont overshadow the hops, they just provide a nice background to let the hops play.

M- Good carbonation levels. Nice hop resin notes. Clean tasting.

O- This is one amazing dipa. As the label says this is not the most bitter or most insanely dry-hopped dipa. It is however one of the best that I have ever had. The hop profile as I mentioned above is perfectly balanced. The hops are present from start to finish and each hop element has depth. A very awesome beer. (969 characters)

Photo of Homebrew35
4.58/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a tulip with a foamy white two finger head. Hazy straw colored body.

Smells like a bag of hops. Citrus, pine, passion fruit and candy.

Taste is fairly complex with notes of citrus, pine, juicy fruit and light earthyness.
I'd like a bit more hop flavor but that's a minor point. Quite bitter, dank and lingering.

Medium bodied and fairly high carbonation keeps this one quite drinkable for an 8% hop bomb.

Overall this is a fantastic beer. I love a touch more hop flavor and nothing more. The beer drinks very easy for such a high hop load and high abv. I'll easily order this again next time I'm in the area.
$6.50 12oz at the Prohibition Pig in Waterbury VT (673 characters)

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

I just came back from a 3 day mini vacation from Vermont, I talked my wife into going to see this "beautiful state" we dragged our 16 year old boy with us, after 1 day in Vermont it was pretty obvious why we were there in the summer.... dad's lust for the "Holy Grail " The Alchemist brewery and heady topper.. We stayed at Green mountain inn ( very nice ) and did enjoy the mountain views at smugglers notch, anyway Heady topper was everything I hoped it would be. I was at the hotel's pub when I got my long awaited first can, my wife and son were looking at me like I was nuts, I cracked open the brew and low and behold it was liquid gold. Sorry for the not very scientific review, but it's that good!! (706 characters)

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

I drank it in the can like everyone advised me too! Sent to me through a trade!

A: As I said before I drank it out of the can because I was too afraid I would some how not get the full heady experience out of a glass! So no appearance review from me!

S: Smell pops out of the can and makes the immediate area smell of pineapples, white peaches, tangerine, lemon, slight honey, and pine! Smells dank and clings to the nostrils!

T: First you get sweet white peach and nectarine that trails to green apple slice with honey on it. Then pineapples which melds into a piney citrus finish that lingers on the tongue! Taste amazing!

M: Medium body with good carbonation! Cloying and thick at first when it hits the tongue but thins out to a beautiful medium body that goes down extra smooth

O: Amazing brew! It really seems like other great DIPAs have just a piece of this ones overall complex puzzle. The fruity citrus of Sculpin, the smooth balance of Pliney, and the drink ability of Dorado are represented here and just as well as its counterparts! Top of it's class and damn near perfect! (1,090 characters)

Photo of MatthewWilde
4.42/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sample: 1 can 2012

A: Party cloudy, light orange-yellow with a small foamy head that quickly becomes nice lacing and pretty strong internal carbonation

S: Heavy citrus, hops of course, pineapple, grapefruit, quite fragrant and appetizing as a result

T: Mimics the nose, citrus, hops, tropical fruits, even granny smith apple is present, deliciously bitter to finish but great balance

M: Intense in flavor but very smooth, aftertaste is minimal and is as pleasing to the palate as the taste

O: An excellent hop crazy beer, easy to drink, decent abv and refreshing as well (575 characters)

Photo of regspeir
4.51/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I can't report much on appearance because I tried this as directed - from the can. Nose was citrus - grapefruit, mango and pineapple along with some pine, grassiness and floral elements. Taste followed with big citrus flavors, especially grapefruit and orange, but with a biscuity, caramel malt for balance. Bitterness was there but not overwhelming. It predominates in the aftertaste as well, along with pine oil and honey. Mouthfeel was medium and mildly carbonated. There is little to no alcohol burn. I can understand why so many people love this beer…it was great…just not my all-time favorite, as it is for so many. (625 characters)

Photo of codysjb
4.37/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Heady Topper
Poured from a can into a pint glass
A: Cloudy orange brown with hop resin through out. Little head but I tried extremely hard to pour with no head so I could divide a can between my glass and my girlfriends glass.
S: Lemon, grapefruit and HOPS! Lots of hops.
T: Water up front molds into a nice hops character that become full bodied and leaves a hop note on the tongue for a long time.
M: Lots of well rounded hops all throughout the mouth.
O: Great, wish I could get this as a regular everyday beer. (516 characters)

Photo of MalibuKenny
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A: (Sure, Alchemist tells you to drink straight from the can, but how can you review appearance when you do that? I'm a f**king rebel. I drink it from my IPA glassware) If kept in proper temp, this should look translucent and dark orange to you. No suspension, no settlement (if you see protein settlement, you kept it for too long!)

N: Take a big whiff as soon as you pop the top, and you'll get a noseful of sweet malty and some prominent but not at all overpowering hops

T: Not straying too far from the nose. Just perfect balance of what IPA should be. Malts. Hops. Water. Sweet, then bitterness, then sweet + bitterness. It's complicated without feeling complicated.

M: If you take it in all too quickly, you can feeel that 8% ABV burn on the roof of your mouth and the back of your throat; take it slowly, and you'll see how magical it is to blend the bitterness of the hops from last sip with the sweetness on the front of your tongue from the next sip.

O: In the past 2-3 years of my trading years I've had probably a case worth of Heady. I'm happy that I've got friends in high (latitude) places that can keep sending me a 4-pack or two every drop. It's definitely worth the chase folks. (1,200 characters)

Photo of Hophead21
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Absolute perfection in a can. Strong grapefruit aroma, and taste does not deviate from the scent. Mouthful loaded with grapefruit and sweet hop goodness, with a smooth finish. Beer actually gets better with each passing sip and is extremely drinkable. Straight from the can is the way to go as instructed . (306 characters)

Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 1,948 ratings.