Heady Topper - The Alchemist

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Heady TopperHeady Topper

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BA SCORE
100
world-class

10,746 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 10,746
Reviews: 2,147
rAvg: 4.73
pDev: 6.98%
Wants: 8,006
Gots: 3,307 | FT: 53
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 (13) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 10,746 | Reviews: 2,147
Photo of bpd6120
4.94/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm enjoying a Heady Topper right now. All around, its an incredible drink. It's become the beer that I judge other beers against. The flavor is bone deep, The aftertaste stays with me for minutes. When swishing it around in my mouth it turns into this delicious creamy foam. Its what I want other beers to taste like. Man, this is the real deal. I can't think of anything I don't like about the stuff.
I'm giving it a 4 for appearance because I prefer to drink from glasses, which i'm discouraged from doing.

Photo of CommanderOfAwesome
4.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

No date on the can, drank the first half from the can, poured second half into a snifter.

A: Drank the first half from the can like they recommend, the can is a sight for sore eyes but hard to judge a beer's appearance on that. When poured into a snifter....my god what a sloppy looking beer. Solids all over the place. Color of orange juice with tons of floaters. Didn't want to dock the beer too much, but honestly it's not an appealing looking beer.

S: Holy shit, its literally like smelling a bag of hops. I opened a bag of hops next to it to make sure my mind wasn't playing tricks on me. It's a hop bomb, like no other beer I have ever smelled in my life. When poured into a snifter, the aroma gets more floral and closer to other DIPAs on the market. In the can though, wow. Citrus and pine, along with some sweet tropical fruits, but they're all sitting backseat on Mr. toad's wild ride to the hops. Bam! Hops in your face.

T: A bitter assault on your palate. This beer is a palate wrecker like I've never seen. Bitter hop finish, pine crisp bite, along with some sweet fruit to help round it out.

M: Had side by side with a 2 day old Pliny. Made Pliny seem thin and watery by comparison. Thick, full bodied with a long lingering bitter finish that changes with the amount of breathes after a sip.

O: This beer lived up to the hype in that it blew my mind. It reminded me of the first time I had a sip of beer when I was about 10 yrs old, except that I liked it. As an avid IPA fan, I've been around the block the a few times and this was like the first time I had an IPA. Literally have tasted nothing like it before. However, my goodness, this beer made me full and bloated. Anything but drinkable. I got through the can just fine, but I did not want another. Also, the appearance of the beer in my glass is one of the worst I have seen. Even a shaken up belgium beer isn't this bad. Not sure if that's necessary to achieve the hop profile or not, but seems a bit sloppy to me. Def worth checking out and a fantastic world class brew, one like I have never experienced before. Big thanks to SanFranJake for hooking me up with 4 cans.

Photo of Synergy87
4.9/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to sirsteve42 for the trade.

This can of Heady Topper is 5 days old from the cannery. I truly wish this wasn't a Vermont only beer.

A - Bad assery, silver can that has instructions on it explaining why you should drink it from the can. The aroma burst you get from pouring will let out too many essential volatiles that should stay in the can. I have no problem drinking this beer straight from the can as the Alchemist Brewery suggests. Though if you pour this baby out, it isn't very pretty given its unpasteurized, unfiltered, and pouring it stirs up the sediment from the bottom of the can. Lets be honest, this is best left in the can.

Smell - Grass after a morning rain, fresh hops, pine. This aroma is ridiculously awesome. Best smelling IIPA I've ever had the privilege of smelling.

Taste - Almost indescribable... It is so balanced, it is hard to pick out individual flavors as they've melded together. Then again, if I focus on the flavors hard enough, it is the taste of multiple hop varieties, pine up front and a deliciously smooth dry citrus finish. This is hands down my favorite IIPA. The west coast may have Pliny the Elder but the East Coast has Heady. God damn this is one tasty beer.

Mouthfeel - As good as the taste and aroma are, the mouth feel is almost nitro tap like, but slightly more carbonated. Think of foam from a beer but with more consistency, almost creamy. Its extremely smooth and light to medium bodied, which blows my mind given the flavors and aroma.

Overall - This is the most deserving hype beer I've ever had, and hands down my favorite IIPA and beer. If I had access to this, this would be my go to beer. I cannot praise this beer anymore, the orgasmic aroma, perfectly balanced taste, and amazing mouthfeel make this way to easily drinkable for 8% abv. As I end this review, I have already finished this pint in a can. Wow! Looks like the wife and I are going to need to plan a trip to the east coast and hit up the cannery. You should seek this beer out at all costs.

Photo of lunarbrew
4.63/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Finally got around to writing the full review of this guy. I'm glad I waited; now I have a full mode of comparison after trying some of, what I consider to be, the best iipas out there (DS, S&S4, Ephraim, and Abner). Beer pours hazy amber into a Duvel tulip. Has a slight red glow.

Heady is certainly aromatic, but it doesn't quite stack up to the others in this regard. For some reason, the nose is a tad muted. Notes of pineapple, mango, honey, and candi sugar. A bit of pine, but mostly citrus. I can almost smell that this is a Vermont ipa. What is it about these damn Vermont beers!? What's the secret!?

Taste is rich and just as delicious as the others. Where it falls sort is on complexity. I get a lot of sweetness from all of the tropical fruit flavors, but it isn't quite dry enough for my taste. I think it could be a tad more balanced with a bit less sweetness or more bitterness (which is such a ridiculous thing to say! This is Heady Topper!) Nonetheless, the flavor is brilliant and so tasty.

Mouthfeel ranks up there with the rest. Creamy, medium-full bodied (especially for an iipa). Extra-drinkable.

Overall, this falls just short of the aforementioned brews for me. However, it does edge out Pliny in my book. I get the hype and I love its [relative] accessibility. It's always a treat to drink this, and I plan to have some in my fridge as long as it's being brewed!

Photo of chrisgalvin
4.35/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Living in San Francisco (a couple of miles from Toronado) I've been privy to a lot of "West Coast IPAs," PtE, PtY, etc. The Heady Topper defiantly can hold it's own in this category and tak ehte top spot in the Top 250.

The HT has a fantastic smell, great mouthfeel with wonderful malt and hop balance and a nice finish. Seriously, once of the best DIPAs.

Photo of RichardMNixon
5/5  rDev +5.7%

Had it first from the can in VT, once more in PA.
As commonly stated, it doesn't look that impressive. Very pale and cloudy, decent head. For a beer this good, who cares?
Smells fruitier than some beers with actual fruit in them. If this was sold as an air freshener, I would buy it.
The fruit comes through just as strong in the taste, very tropical and sweet balanced by steady bitterness throughout the whole sip. Some crisp, snappy malt comes through later in the glass after your tongue has numbed to the hops.
Mouthfeel isn't terribly thick, but very oily, coating the tongue and leaving the flavors to chew on. Way, way too drinkable for an 8% beer, or for a beer you know you won't have again for months/years.
I've had a number of beers that didn't live up to the hype. This one does.

Photo of Zaximus
4.8/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I thought my first full review should follow my first can of Heady. Thanks to patric11 for the trade on this one. Was told it was picked up from the brewery on 8/2/2013.

A - Aggressive pour into New Glarus Fat Squirrel pint yields a strong three finger head. Cloudy, peachy color persists.

S - Love the nose on a fresh IPA and this one about knocks me over. Intense floral nose. Grass. Something sweet. Just fantastic.

T - And there it is. I get sweet at first followed by a nicely balanced bitterness and perhaps a little alcohol at the end. Delicious. Though I do get a little alcohol I get the feeling I could drink quite a bit of this on a hot summer day. Subtly different from many of the IIPAs I've had. Not sure what that taste is but it's delicious.

M - Full. Almost a little creamy with just the right amount of carbination.

O - Fantastic. Very well balanced. Not overly hoppy. Just very well done. As advertised.

Photo of msondel
5/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I made it up to Waterbury last weekend and had my first (and 5th) Heady Topper on that visit. I went into the weekend figuring it couldn't be as good as all the hype. I also doubted whether drinking anything out of a can would be one of my best beer drinking experiences. I was blown away by how great this tasted and by how drinkable it was. I had a game plan to try the first one in the can (per the instructions on the can) and then try one in a glass so I could see what I was drinking...I scrapped this plan after tasting how good the first one was in the can. The rest of my tastes were directly from the can. Apparently there are only two places that serve this beer on draft (the brewery and the Prohibition Pig)....the rest of the places in town serve it in a can (when they can get it).

Warning: we went up on a Friday night and it was very hard to find any stores (including the brewery) that had any for sale...only places that had it were bars and the rest of the places were waiting for the next release on Monday. Therefore, plan your trip for mid-week if you want to ensure you take some home.

I'm hoping the expansion of the cannery makes this beer more available....looking forward to the next one.

Photo of sben88
4.49/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Though a very good IPA, I wouldn't consider HT in the same breath as either Pliny. I think with this beer we have an extreme case of confirmation bias. I can think of 5 or 6 other beers I'd rather drink. I drank my first HT a couple hours after it was canned.

Photo of TheFugitive
4.9/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured into a goblet style glass also sipped from the can <not recommended

A: Copper orange color with a two finger head

S: Hops and Pine dominate this one

T: Heady Topper is the finest DIPA avaialble. The balance is perfect, I wouldn't change a thing. Big Hops and Pine, finishes with a huge burst of citrus, it's like no other DIPA

M: Carbonation and body are light to medium, very easy drinking

O: As good as it gets

Photo of dfillius
4.72/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured gently into a pint glass
A: 1/2 finger of off-white head with good retention. Hazy/cloudy greenish orange. I'd like less cloudiness, but could it be as hoppy without this?
S: Juicy citrus and tropical fruit. Man Candy. Papaya, a lot of pine, slightly dank. Slight sulfurous allium. Slight esters in the finish are the only sign of alcohol in this beer.
T: Brilliant hops are quite bitter up front but stop shy of soapiness. Middle of the taste into the aftertaste is citrus and fruit from hope. The end is not punishingly bitter but is assertive. Delicious. New waves of hops cascade over each other, as opposed to many other DIPAs that build in estery quality as they warm. Perfect.
M: Bright, bitter, full but not chewy. Not hot or boozy at all for its 8%
O: A very good to great DIPA. Assertive hops and bitterness, little to no maltiness but full feeling. Fresh hop flavor with bold American character.

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

This is not a balanced beer by any means. If you're a hops lover, this beer certainly celebrates it like no other. It's almost comical and whimsical if I had to think of fundamental words to describe it. When you first crack open the can, you get hit with a sledgehammer of aroma; notes of citrus and pine hit you hardest. With every sip, the bitterness provides for a lingering complexity that makes this beer unique.

I found myself laughing at the experience of the entire first can. Not sure how much of it was the reputation that preceded it, but I enjoyed every sip like a fat kid knee deep in chocolate cake. I only wish it was more easily accessible in NYC. As of the time of this review, it's available exclusively at Uncle Barry's in Park Slope, Brooklyn via Union Beer distributers.

Photo of vicsju1991
5/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - (only poured a little out to see) cloudy, kinda apple juicey, small white head, but since your supposed to drink it outa the can, amazing can art, really cool looking and nice write up on the beer.
S - huge mix of pine and floral hops
T - perfectly balanced between both hops and malts, and floral and piney hops
M - very easy to drink, slightly creamy, very smooth
O - quite possibly the best beer I have ever had, totally worth the wait it took me to get in pa, the perfect IIpa

Photo of david131
4.97/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to warnerry for supplying!

A- Pours a very hazy, luminescent orange liquid with a thin and creamy white head that settles to a splotchy covering. This would be perfect with a little more meat to the head.

S- Pungent fruits (mango, pineapple, tangerine), grass, mint, honey, and herbs. Astounding.

T- Bitter, fruity, sweet. All the aspects of the aroma are picked up in the flavor. Enough malt backing to keep the extremely bitter hops from spiraling out of control. Money.

M- Starts out exceedingly creamy and smooth but then the hops take over. This is one of the most bitter beers I can remember having.

O- Tastes extremely fresh, bitter, and fruity. Tastes "hand-made" without feeling even the slightest bit homebrew-y. I love that the alcohol content is kept in check. This is what it is all about.

Photo of Doc_Hops
4.91/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to Trevor at Pinnochio's for this very surprising gift!

A- (I only poured a little at see what it looked like but most was enjoyed from the can, as instructed) Heady Topper pours a glowing, cloudy yellow/ orange with a nice, bubbly white head that is leaving moderate lacing.

S- Big bursts of citrus in the nose! Lots of grapefruit and lemon with fantastic pine resonating. Not much malt to speak of here. The nose is pretty much exclusively dominated by the hops, and I'm perfectly okay with that.

T-Holy shit! Huge wave of citrus in the beginning! It's crisp and biting and lip-smacking. There's an unexpected smokey character as well. It's faint but it's noticeable. All the hop resins are incredibly present and I can clearly see why the say to drink it from the can. The finish is resinous, tart, and bitter... but not overly bitter; it's just right.

M- Just like the can says, so drinkable it's scary. I'm trying not to drink it too fast, as I only have one, but damn, this is so good. Medium to full bodied but still drinks with incredible ease.

O- So good, just, just so so good. This beer has lived up to the hype for me. It is incredibly well crafted and incredibly delicious. Heady Topper is a powerful brew that doesn't over power you. I am so glad I got to try this and i absolutely cannot wait to have it again.

Serving Type- 16oz can. Thank for reading.

Photo of TheFightfan1
4.86/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

After much searching I finally got a can of this at The Churchville Inn. Poured into a tulip, a very hazy golden color with alot of hop sediment at the bottom of the glass. Left a nice two finger heading with soapy rings left over after every sip. A non-stop fizzing action from the bottom of the glass to the surface.

I'm getting alot of mango and tangerine at first. Solid piney hop notes with really no sugary or hot alcohol aroma's. Finishes with a pineapple touch of zestiness.

Taste is explosive... Hoppy resins attack the palate immediately, a second wave of a more tropical fruit and juicy flavors come into play. A final wave of a bitter hop lingers on the palate for a big green finish.

Medium bodied, excellent balance. Dry finish.

Not bad...not bad at all. A great balance of bitter hops,fruitiness and light malts. Not a heavy IPA and the alcohol is extremely well hidden. This rates in my top ten for IIPA's but numero uno in all styles ??? I don't know that's for you to decide.

Re-review 7/29. After a friend recently visted Vermont he bought a few cases of heady and wasn't all that greedy and let me have some. Anyway this stuff very fresh is amazing. I left it in the can a big no no for you beer geeks. LOL. All I can say is yes this is the best IIPA on the market today and yes beats my beloved hopslam. Embrace the hype !Tremendous beer.

Photo of luckyluke1184
4.84/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

After receiving this in a generous pre-wedding gift-box of beers from a friend, I too neglected the bold warning to only drink this straight out of the can. I really wanted to see the beer I was drinking so I busted out a frosted mug for the occasion.

Appearance: A very pleasant golden-wheat color, not the alarming looking orange associated with some less subtle IPAs. As others have noted, there was quite a bit of particulate floating through the beer but I'm assuming that is part of its charm (and flavor).

Aroma: As much as a smell can be crisp, this was. Very up-front, fruity notes and you could sort of smell the bubbles over the top of the glass like you might with a fresh glass of champagne - speaks to the great carbonation of a can.

Taste: Oh man, oh man. After the first small sip I was really tempted to take a backyard PBR-sized gulp of this stuff - that crisp, pleasant hopped fruit taste was really the first wash of flavor and it had an excellent mouthfeel. I'll drink anything, but the IPAs that leave a bubblegum film aren't my thing; the Heady Topper does not have that. It's a clean flavor burst that then leaves you, as I said, ready for a nice big follow-up gulp. So many high-end beers aren't necessarily drinkable, this one is. In terms of other flavor notes, you could really pick out a dry, honey-ish malt flavor throughout and a not-quite lemon peel zestiness on the hop. It's quite possible I just made that up, but that's what comes to mind...

Great beer and, having grown up in VT, I can attest that Waterbury is a very worthy city (aka small village) of an IPA so great. Will look forward to a chance to sample again!

Photo of JRoth420
4.01/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I also didn't buy into the hype of "Drink it from the Can" because I wanted to see what I was working with. I can see why they wanted me to though, because there was a ton of gnarly looking sediment in my glass when it was all said and done.

Aroma was really nice, but not quite as strong as I was expecting from reading all of the reviews and hearing from friends.

Great tasting IPA for sure, but not nearly as aggressive as most of the West Coast styles that I am accustomed to like Pliny, Green Flash, or Alpine.

Certainly a decent IPA, but it definitely doesn't deserve the hype it receives. I bet it would be far better on tap than in the can, but since I live at the complete opposite side of the country from where that could happen I will just settle for the little taste that I got.

Overall, there are far better IPA's and DIPA's out there, but this one is definitely worth a try!

Photo of Ethanol4one
4.9/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Outstanding in every respect, fresh and wonderfully aromatic. Little cloudy, so there's that.
But all in all, most of the positive stuff you'll read and hear about it is true, so get up to VT and get you sum.

Aroma: hoppy, good mild cheddar cheese, pine.
Froth: massive and abiding, beyond the empty glass.
Color: cartoonishly gold, cloudy.
Taste: hops balanced bitter to sweet, mild cheese, perfectly bittered, and balanced with malt.
Texture: rich full balanced mouthfeel.

Let's talk hops. They don't disclose what they are using, but there are several, which in combination, like 36, 24, 36, makes a winning hand. It tastes as packed with them as they claim.

If you like hops, The Alchemist is making one Brick House of a beer-- it's the winning can, right on par with other hopped monsters, such as Tall Grass' 8 Bit, Half Acres' Daisy Cutter and FFF's Zombie Dust.

Photo of kguard
4.93/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Straight from the can.
Poured a little into a glass for appearances. More caramel than anticipated.
Smell: sweet hops, grapefruit, floral.
Taste: definition of what and IPA should taste like. Citrus hop, slightly bitter but fades fast to a clean finish. Sweet like honey without being dominant.
Feel: smooth, light to medium-light. Great carbonation, not to the point of champagne or a Duvel by any means.
Overall: Has the right to hold down the top spot. Beautifully crafted, makes me want to plan a trip to Vermont so I can more. Simple but the complexities keep coming the more you drink it. More you drink, more you love it.

Photo of jsearley3364
4.81/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I was hoping to find the Holy Grail of beers but it wasn't quite there. Doing as they say and drinking it from the can, you can't really gauge the appearance. Quite smooth and complex but I find Stone's Enjoy By a bit better to my taste. Heading to San Fran in the summer. Hoping that Pliny the Elder can match the hype.

Photo of Cubatobaco
4.99/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My first Heady Topper

Poured into a snifter (will drink from the can next time)

Appearance: beautiful golden copper in color with a fairly large amount of sediment. A good amount of lacing as the sediment sits rather still during the session. Slight haziness.

Smell: as soon as I started pouring it into the glass, an array of aromas hit me like no other beer ever has. Pineapple consumed me followed by grapefruit, lemon zest, tropical fruit, pine, and every citrus scent imaginable. Too complex for words!

Taste: all of the aromas above were ever present on the palate. Fresh hops and pine explode across your tongue after each sip. A very delightful bitterness and sweetness together follows each time swallowed. Wonderful to say the least!

Mouthfeel: light carbonation with a medium-bodied, viscous feel. Lighter in the mouth than I would expect from a DIPA which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Overall: Surely lives up to the hype! I could only imagine what this tastes like on tap fresh from the brewery. I will have to consume the other three I have soon as not to lose any complexity this beer has to offer.

Photo of M_C_Hampton
4.99/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: poured from a 16 oz can into a tulip glass, orange amber with a huge white head that lingers leaving great lacing, very cloudy with floaties

S: amazing hop smells, floral, grapefruit, pineapple, mango, pine, stick your face in it good

T: absolute hop explosion, great bitterness, flavor follows above smells, pine, mango, great malt profile, delicious

M: full and creamy, no alcohol presence, perfect

O: an amazing beer, on par with the hype, delicious, thanks Jeff for hooking this one up

Photo of BrewsterPunky
5/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Happy to say I'm no longer a Heady Topper virgin. I live in CT and a friend made the trip to VT recently and grabbed ONE can for me. Best IPA I've ever had. It set the bar impossibly high for any other IPA out there. The freshest and most incredible hops in this brew. Amazing stuff.

Photo of blakelive784
4.43/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to kojevergas for this one!

Reviewed live directly from the 16 fl oz can:

S - Vibrant fresh fruits including pineapple, mango, orange and grapefruit. The tropical fruit notes are fantastic. Light pale malt body. Juicy. It's moderate in strength but I'm certain there'd be more if I poured it.

T - Fresh, raw floral hops notes open, followed by the juicy citrus and tropical fruits notes I'd found on the nose, though the grapefruit's the most dominate. I wish more of the pineapple was present. Woody/grassy hops on the finish provide a touch of bitterness. Caramel malts provide a sturdy backbone, but it's far from sweet. Impeccable balance, and the layering of the hops is superb. The alcohol's never present. This one's a real treat.

M - Oily. Medium bodied, crisp, and a little thick. Pretty much perfect.

D - The best IPA I've had, hands down. I could kill a few of these easily. Definitely a treat and I'm glad I was able to try it.

Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 10,746 ratings.