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Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

Heady Topper - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Heady TopperHeady Topper

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

1,988 Reviews
THE BROS
95
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,988
Hads: 11,151
rAvg: 4.67
pDev: 7.28%
Wants: 8,229
Gots: 3,650 | 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 (10) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Heady Topper Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,988 | Hads: 11,151
Photo of Dirtinabottle
4.75/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I followed the rules and drank from the can. The can appearance is intriguing by itself.

This beer is what got me into craft beer and specifically doubles. The smell was bright and citrusy. It kept coming before, after, and during every sip. I may have spent more time smelling the beer than actually drinking it. Totally unique.

Like biting into an explosive, carbonated starfruit. So many citrus and floral flavors going on.

More carbonated than I am used to in a beer. This, however, allows more taste to penetrate the palate.

Overall, this is my favorite beer of this style. I look forward to every opportunity to have another. Please allow access to this hop combination for a long, long, time. A blind tasters dream. (730 characters)

Photo of HopLuva
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

As soon as I opened the can,the fresh aroma of tropical fruits hit me in the nose. The best hop beer ive ever had. Its well balanced aroma is amazing.Just the right amount. The 8.0 abv is perfect too...If you havent tried this beer,seek it out. Its well worth it (262 characters)

Photo of BarRoomHero88
4.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

So, my first review! Had it a few times, and it's surely the best beer I've had.

A: Hazy, cloudy orange

S: Dank, Citrusy sweetness. Just ridiculously hoppy

T: Surprising malt backbone. But the hops are crazy. Piney, floral, tropical. So perfect!

M: I'd say medium bodied. Superbly drinkable. Delicious.

O: Maybe I'm biased, since it's semi local, but I cannot get enough of this. Easily the best beer I've ever had. (420 characters)

Photo of bobhits
4.83/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

So lucky to have gotten a 4 pack of this...so selfish that I've only got 1 can for sharing purposes left.

L. Pours a dense hazed yet bright yellow/gold body. Very bright even for an IPA yet there's clearly a LOT of yeast left in here. This looks big and dense, it looks wonderful. Though I guess I should be looking at a silver can according to said can.

S. Tropical fruits are just blowing this one up. There's a slight and I mean slight alcohol note in here, but beyond that this is one of the smell well balanced aromas I've ever smelled. It hits the line between sweet and tropical fruits in a way that neither seems too strong nor too light. You really have to experience this to fully grasp how perfect it is.

T. Best hoppy beer ever made? Well, that's always a hard one to claim, but we're talking upper upper level. Head-topper doesn't attempt to blow you away with bitterness, instead it nails once again a perfect middle ground that is simply out of this world. A mix of citrus hops with intense passion fruit and pine apple all pushed to perfection with a malt bill that dreams are made of.

M. 8% is so perfect for this kind of beer. Strong enough to give it intense flavors, but no so strong that an over abundance of hops and malt are needed to balance it all out. This one goes down like the liquid candy it is.

O. I love deadnaught. I love Pliny. I don't think either are this good. This is easily one of the best beers ever made and without a doubt proof canned beer works. Seek this one out, even if a weird guy at a bar asks you go behind the bar for a surprise....maybe it'll be Heady-Topper, it was for me! (1,634 characters)

Photo of Huffs
4.7/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a pint glass and a nice fluffy head developed which lasted through the drink. Aroma was very hoppy with flower and citris notes. Appearance was a cloudy straw color with nice sediment chunks. Tast was super hoppy with strong flower and hop notes with grain on the back. Mouthfeel was light but with a hint of creamyness. Aftertaste was dry and bitter on the end. (374 characters)

Photo of Frddymck
4.62/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I have really been enjoying this beer. Its easily available to me and I find that I'm picking up a four pack of it at least a couple times a week. Seems to be the beer that everyone wants to trade for as well. Overall, it's become my go-to beer. Just like many others, I have tried this poured in a few different glasses but prefer it out of the can. (350 characters)

Photo of doughanson78
4.65/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

16oz can poured into a pint glass. HUGE thanks to kingcrowing for this MAJOR want!!! Reviewed side by side with Pliny the Elder

A: Darker orange than Pliny and hazy, Pliny was super clear. One finger off white head with great retention and lacing.

S: Huge citrus hops with dominate grapefruit. Tangerine, and orange zest. Just a touch of caramel malts coming through. Would be nicer if the grapefruit was more subdued.

T: Huge grapefruit bitterness with a slight orange zest in the middle. Caramel comes through in the end to mellow it out. A touch acidic in the finish.

M: Light to medium bodied. Slick. Very very dry. Nice.

O: Definitely an exceptional DIPA. Not on par with Pliny, and I'd have to do a side by side with Dreadnaught and Double Trouble to really classify all these tasty beers. But yes, TOP notch. (820 characters)

Photo of jknutsen09
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the best beers I've ever tasted. The balance and aroma is top notch. The can is inviting to just grad and take one big long sip. The taste is smooth and full of hoppy goodness. The smell once can is cracked just invites you to drink its deliciousness. My vote for beer of the year!!! (290 characters)

Photo of babbules
4.94/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this in a glass at lunch and in the can for dinner. Since the brewer recommends drinking directly from the can, that's how I'll rate it....although I will say it's coppery and cloudy in the glass. First off, the aroma is BRILLIANT. This is an awesomely hoppy-smelling beer with notes of candy and tropical fruit (maybe even peach?). The first thing I tasted was the roasty, nutty malts followed by a bitter punch in the mouth! The finish is fruity, falling somewhere between papaya and peach. What I found most surprising was the creamy, soft mouthfeel. This is to date the best beer I've ever had. It's well worth the hype and the drive to VT (since you can't get it anywhere else). (689 characters)

Photo of Trilogy31
4.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very few brews make bring a shit eating grin to my face - wow this is good! Starts with a hazy belgian blond hue with a slight finger of creamy white cap that quickly dissipates leaving just a few small islands of foam. Nose brings bright juicy citrus (mandarin, grapefruit) pineapple, slight floral pine, very juice and a hoppy earthiness. This beer reminds me alot of Nelson - big tropical notes and juicy with pine dankiness play a small secondary roll. The taste brings bitter papaya, lime rind, light caramel malts and some pine needle covered forest floor - as it warms almost an herbal, minty licorice note comes out. The mouthfeel is creamy and lush but is quickly balanced by a strong hop bitterness. Best beer not sure about that but at least top 3 ipa's i have ever had and well worth trading for. (808 characters)

Photo of codysjb
4.37/5  rDev -6.4%
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 Malty_Matty
4.34/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- pours a hazy amber with little head. Almost no lacing.

S- so complex. Hops abound, wave after wave of aromas, spicy, fruity, earthy. Slight bit of malt sweetness.

T- a simple grain bill leaves a little to be desired. The hop complexity strikes again, the citrus strikes last after the spicy grassy notes have made the first advance.

M- slightly thick, but very drinkable.

Big thanks to jmmy3 for the trade. (413 characters)

Photo of FickleBeast
4.64/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

16 oz can poured into a nonic, despite the urging of the can. Maybe I'll drink the next one from the can. I left about an eighth inch of beer in the can.

Pours clear amber with huge chunks of hop matter floating everywhere. Reminds me of egg drop soup. Minimal head.

Aroma is HUGE. As soon as I crack the can, citrus hop aroma fills the room. After pouring and taking a deep whiff, I am overwhelmed with hoppy goodness. This is crazy.

First sip is a rush of hop flavor. Very citrusy, with a very smooth and not bitter finish. This is like the perfect vessel to showcase hop flavor... so oily, slick, and bursting with pine and citrus flavors.

I can understand the hype surrounding this beer. It is amazing, and I wish I had a way to easily get more. (754 characters)

Photo of jrenihan
4.7/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to Papat444 for this one. Very excited to try it!

Beer is a very cloudy orange/yellow. Small white head, dissipates quite quickly.

Wow, the nose is huge and juicy. Mango, orange, pineapple. Pine as well. A real hop monster. Terrific scent.

Taste does not disappoint the lovely aroma. Pine is more upfront than in the nose, although the citrus and tropical fruit flavours are in full effect. The citrus comes out a bit more than the tropical, whereas I found the reverse in the nose. Grapefruit, orange, some pineapple. Aftertaste has lots of citrus and tropical fruit. Quite bitter. Very drinkable at 8%- the alcohol is there but not aggressively. Very, very good.

Medium bodied, moderately carbonated, oily. Really nice feel. Not overly heavy, goes down very smoothly, but still has a real heft to it.

Overall, truly terrific. Does not disappoint a bit. My wife tried it, her eyes went wide and she remarked "this is delicious!"... and she is not even much of a beer fan. That says it all to me. (1,013 characters)

Photo of MCain04
4.85/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Gifted from BostonRyan, much appreciated. 16 oz can , 8 oz poured into a HF glass and the rest consumed from can as per instructions. 2 weeks fresh.

A: Dark yellow/orange/amber opaque color with 2 fingers of fluffy thick white head with great retention and lacing. They say that Alchemist recommends drinking from the can to avoid having to see the beer poured, but I think it looks very nice. Almost identical to Abner when poured into a glass.

S: Citrus, citrus, citrus. Lemon and lime dominate, with some orange, pine, and grassy notes. Nice nose.

T: Follows the nose perfectly and builds on that note. Citrus, bitterness, piney and grassy, just a great hop-forward taste. Just enough malt to balance without dominating the flavor. Perfectly balanced flavor with great bitterness and overall taste. Gold standard for IPAs.

M: As good as the taste is, the mouthfeel is even better. Medium body with moderate carbonation and dry finish, with a wonderfully smooth feel throughout. Just awesome.

O: Lives up to the hype. Get it if you can, trade for it, travel for it, don't pass it up. Better than Abner, and a touch better than Pliny. Just really great. (1,159 characters)

Photo of klaybie
4.88/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got this one in a trade. Damn good stuff.

A: I'm only giving it a 3 because I didn't pour it into a glass, as demanded on the can. If I can't pour it, it must not look too good. Average

N: The nose on the other hand...amazing! The aroma is straight resinous hops. Glorious hop aromas can be detected even from a few feet away!

T: Sweet mother of God! Resin, pine, some bitterness, not overpowering but instead perfect. This can not taste any better.

M: Medium bodied, I believe I got some sediment or hop nugget pieces in mine but I don't care. No improvement needed.

O: The only thing that would make this beer better is pouring it in a glass. I am standing by my 3 score on appearance. However, based on everything else, this beer is a perfect 5/5 in my book. (767 characters)

Photo of LinusBohman
4.4/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Tried this one first in a glass and then straight out of the can. It was definetely more aromatic drunken straight from the can, and my scores in terms of smell, taste and overall are modified with the can session.

A: White scattered foam which vanishes fast in order to leave a ring of lacing on the glass. The colour reminds me of apricot marmelade, it's quite murky and has some bubbles playing around in the delicious liquid.

S: Pine needles, cat's pee, tropical fruit such as mango, banana and passionfruit. There is also sweetness which again brings me to think of marmelade.

T: At first it's pine needles, cat's pee as in the smell. Allthough the tropical fruit is slightly different from the smell and the taste adds a dry bitterness to it. The aftertastes are at first tree sap and pine needles but after a while there is some apricot marmelade there as well.

M: Leaning more towards medium than thin. Probably the leanest mouthfeel I've got from a DIPA ever. The carbonation is light and the feel is very dry. Ace!

O: They really managed to combine a hop bomb that would satisfy most hop heads around the globe with sweetness which creates a great balance. A wonderful DIPA with great body allthough the appearance lacks some sexiness because of the lack of head. You won't notice that if you drink from the can though. (1,334 characters)

Photo of Homebrew35
4.58/5  rDev -1.9%
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 crager013
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Best. Beer. Ever. Well maybe but its incredible. The hops smell from the can is overwhelming. It must be drunk from the can. For all the hops smell the bitterness is smooth and just right. Drink this if you can find it. And if you find it buy me a few extra cases, I will pay ya back! (284 characters)

Photo of Keyportnick
4.7/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

16 oz can of deliciousness served into a tall tulip.

A- pours golden pale with a lot of sediment floating around giving a very unfiltered look.

S- big huge hops orange and citrus floral notes.

T- the taste pairs right up to the nose.

M- medium body and carbonation. Very smooth week rounded body for such a big beer.

0- heady is a great offering. Big bold hops and great drinkability make this beer great. The only problem is never having enough of it! (458 characters)

Photo of KELPAK
4.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is definately my favorite IPA.

Smell: Great aroma with a nice piny kick that lets you know that these hops mean business.

Taste: Great residual taste that stays with you for nearly fifteen minutes after you've completed the can. Certainly has a ton of hops but what i love most about this beer is it seems to have a yeast strand that i both love but am unfamiliar with.

Mouthfeel: Great mouthfeel with alot of yeast sediment which i personaly am fond of however i know not everyone feels the same sentiment. (515 characters)

Photo of Drumomatic
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Keeping it simple, this is a fantastic beer worthy of the praise it gets. Great job Alchemist on brewing a single beer perfectly. Please don't change that focus. You can't miss with a singular objective like that!

Smell, taste, and appearance sum up to be a beautiful thing! I made it up to Waterbury at the brewery where I picked up some stock and had an excellent experience. Stopped by the Prohibition Pig afterwards for a full serving and lunch, which was epic. (467 characters)

Photo of lonewolfcry
4.61/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Second time around with this beer in the last week.
The first I think might have been less than fresh or didn't travel well (?) - I guess I really don't care now.
Thanks to RandyKemka for hooking me up with this one.

I have to give an average 3 for appearance - although I'm drinking from the can, I owe it at least a par score for that.
The smell is what I expected - pungent grapefruit hop citrus...very nice
The taste kind of took me by surprise - a biting hop resin up front, and then WHAM...it did a disappearing act on my tongue, as if my mouth was a cloud drawing little droplets of water and nothing else.
Then just as I was focusing on the amazing nothingness - the hops came back and gave my mouth a little hop resin kick (or should I say re-kick)
The mouth feel is nothing short of amazing...medium to full body on an IPA? WoW!

Overall, I would say I will have to bow to the hype on this one. A+
It reminds me of an AIR Abrasive (if they made such a beer) - except Abrasive doesn't have the magic trick in the middle of the show. (1,044 characters)

Photo of Lakemonster
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Best way to drink a Heady Topper, pick it up from the Alchemist Brewery on your way to Stowe for an epic day of skiing. Crack that delicious beer on the lift and enjoy, of course remembering to recycle. Ohhhh how I love Vermont. If only Hill Farmstead was on the way to Stowe. (276 characters)

Photo of sweemzander
4.87/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

16oz can poured into a tulip. Big thanks to Kevanb for graciously giving up his last can of this for me to try!

(A)- Pours a cloudy golden orange colored hue. Produced a light layer of pure white froth.

(S)- A really nice big burst of bright citrus: orange, pineapple, and peach. Finishes with some nicely dry pine bitterness.

(T)- A bit backwards from the smell, but rewardingly so. The big pine bitterness is all up front in your face. What really helps this is the jump back to the juicy citrus in the finish. Quite complex and dynamic with the play between bitter pine and vibrant citrus fruit.

(M)- A great carbonation level and balance. Its a rewarding beer to experience due to how it jumps from bitter to crisp fruit and back again as it warms. The bitterness is actually quite intense, but is met with an equally intense citrus fruit body.

(O)- This is absolutely fitting the deserving of the reviews it gets. An absolute classic for the style that is easily up there in the top for for the style for me. A nice treat since I have been kind of bored with this style for awhile, but this one is very rewarding. (1,123 characters)

Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 1,988 ratings.