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: 10,951
rAvg: 4.66
pDev: 3.22%
Wants: 8,134
Gots: 3,465 | 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
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,948 | Hads: 10,951
Photo of Rutager
4.66/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Hoppypocket for the opportunity to try this bad-boy!

Appearance. Pours a very murky straw-orange (maybe just a little blue-green??)with a massive, frothy off-white head that lasts forever, but doesn't leave much for lace. I know it says to drink from a can but c'mon, let's be civilized here ;-)

Smell. Pine needles and citrus rinds, some good toasty malt, a little floral soap-like smell as well.

Taste. Big bitter floral, grassy hops with a splash of citrus juice. Some great roasty malt is there and there's a bunch of bitter citrus rind and grass in the finish that stays on the tongue.

Mouthfeel. Just below full body with medium-low carbonation. Very nice.

Overall. Had this side by side with my (previously) favourite dipa. I still have a great love for the other one, but this has to be the best tasting dipa I've had to date. Looks kinda' iffy, but a guy gets over that after one taste. (910 characters)

Photo of Duhast500
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from the can into Harpoon Limited Edition snifter.

The color is cloudy deep orange with some yellow highlights around the edges with a finger of foamy white head and some slight lacing.

The smell bursts out from the can with a bright piney aroma. Nowhere near the can and before the pour the hops are already present. The aroma is fresh hops all the way as if you had a packet of hops about to be poured into a boiling wort.

The taste is hoppy with some pine flavor sitting on top of a juicy citrus flavor. The layers of hop flavor both big and small seem to meld well here. From orange pith to the piney Douglas fur flavor to the slight bitterness toward the end. Sweetness right where is should be with some bitterness that comes in but has out the dull knives and only eases into the bite.

The feel is smooth and goes down easier then expected from a hop forward beer. It is really drinkable and seems to want to go down without a thought. This is may be the most drinkable hop-flavorful beer I have had. Worth the wait and the travel to have this beer. (1,067 characters)

Photo of Mounty4Life
4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is my second time having this super hyped up beer. Both times I really enjoyed it. This time I am reviewing and only poured 5 ounces out of can to see appearance and get more smell than outta can...not that you can't smell the hops as soon as you crack the can. Really hazy yellowish with minimal head. Laces but not as sticky as I was anticipating, dissipates as the head did. This beer you can smell as your drinking it, rinds, grapefruit,citrus, and don't forget the hops. Different than any dipa that I ever had. Great hop pop, Med Carb,and balance that makes you want more!! Big hop aftertaste that keeps you wanting more. Overall lives up to hype and will seek out again. Hop heads dream and really really leaves hops for days in your mouth. In my top 5 just unsure until I have access to more where it falls. (820 characters)

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

My girlfriend's brother brought us a 4 pack straight from the source. I gave it all 5s for a reason.

A: Beautiful yellow-orange sunset. It's unfiltered and various particles are visible. Note: the label recommends consuming the beer straight from the can. I tried one like this and also one that I poured into a tulip glass. Both were magnificent.

S: Incredible aroma of mango, grapefruit and guava (yes, guava). Some orange and lemon thrown in for good measure.

T: Taste follows the nose perfectly, with the mango standing out beautifully. Astonishing flavor. Important hop note: as stated on the can, this isn't supposed to be a hop explosion, and it's not. What it is, is a perfectly balanced beer.

M: carbonation is perfect. Just enough to let the hops dance around the tongue, and not too much to overpower the hops.

O: This is, by far, the best DIPA I've ever had and perhaps the best beer I've had period. PtE, Hopslam, and Dreadnaught are incredible beers but not even in the same class as Heady Topper. HT leaves them in the dust. I've had CBS on more than one occasion, and almost all Cantillon variants. I'm not exaggerating or going overboard when I say this might be the best beer on earth. A remarkable offering. Do yourself a favor and try this brew. It's worth it and then some. (1,299 characters)

Photo of yamar68
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I decided to go for this long awaited treat from The Alchemist for my 200th review.

Poured from 16oz can to imperial Surly pint glass...

Pours a hazy honey gold, gorgeously unfiltered. I like my orange juice with pulp, I like my beer with floaties. A big, rocky off-white head swells to fill the 20oz glass. Spotty, sticky lacing. Great looking beer, I don't really understand why this beer is suppose to be hidden inside of a can.

The nose is stuffed with fresh hop aromas - tangerine, orange peel, fresh floral bits, plenty of evergreen harshness to balance the heavy citrus. Not really any detectable malts here.

On the tongue... hop abrasion like I've never really experienced. Grapefruit, orange peel, massive flavors. Exceedingly hoppy and bitter. The super dry, bitter afterburn keeps me going for more. What a delicious thing this is.

Overall, I can see why people go nuts over this stuff. A unique, aggressive, very satisfying drink. (948 characters)

Photo of Prospero
3.83/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Light in color sort of a amber straw, nice white head and good aroma, not as much aroma as I would have expected, but good citrus and flower comes through. Also drank out of the can as suggested. The taste is nice and smooth, great drinkability. Maybe not as well balanced as others, the bitterness seems to linger with this one and I think it tends to take over the thin malt base. Great beer overall, but needs a bit better balance. (434 characters)

Photo of Rau71
4.52/5  rDev -3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Re-Review. Drank this beer from the Can, as stated on the Can the first time, the second time I poured it into a glass. As soon as I poured it I understood why they want you to drink from the can. The beer looks like I cloudy mess with hop particles in it. It smells like a floral hop party as soon as the can was opened. The taste followed the nose, with a very thin malt backbone, this beer was smooth and very easy to drink. It tastes so citrus-y it almost tastes like juice was added. No booze present. This is probably my Third favorite DIPA behind Kern Citra, and PtE. (574 characters)

Photo of jduff
4.38/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this beer in a pint glass from the can and directly out of the can (as the label suggests). Liked it better in the glass. It is by far one of the finest beers I've ever had. Excellent pour brilliant finish. Place it up there with Pliney the Elder. (256 characters)

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

Thanks to Joe for breaking this out and sharing.

Poured a nice coppery hue with a long lasting white head. The beer itself is cloudy with particulates all over the place. Impeccable smell. Huge gobs of pine resin and orange/grapefruit rinds all over. I don't even know if words can appropriately describe this. Pine, earth, grass, and citrus fruits battle it out on my palate amongst delicate carbonation. A healthy honey-grain malt backbone keeps everything together. Wow, quite a treat. (489 characters)

Photo of thecheapies
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My first can of Heady Topper. A clean snifter glass ready-to-go, but I promise I’ll take that first sip from the can.

Pours an extremely hazy yellow-amber with a lush, creamy head that is kept at bay at an inch plus. Impressive hop-haze, if that’s what it is. 4.0

Don’t think I was catching whiffs from the moment I opened the can to the moment I was typing out my appearance description. This beer has some serious hop aromatics. Pineapple, fir tree, mango nectar, tangerine, grapefruit, and herbal tea. A top three ranking for best-smelling DIPAs. 5.0

Amazing fruity hop profile. Phenomenal flavors of a cornucopia of tropical fruits; notably pineapple, grapefruit, starfruit, and mango. Mildly bitter, which works to balance some sweetness, yet not obscuring the showcase of the hop flavor profile. Hardly a malt presence other than some light syrup (as in the light syrup in canned fruit) and biscuity character. The hop character is dank and oily and complex in that it has a plethora of different varietals’ flavors. Exactly what an Imperial IPA should be. I could drink this all night. 4.5

One milky brew with heft. Pockets of bubbles in the back of the mouth. Velvety smooth and a sly strength make for an incredible mouthfeel. 4.5

Elite class. Hoisting my empty can up high to pay homage to one of the greats. 5.0 (1,335 characters)

Photo of tone77
4.27/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to woodychandler for coming through big time with this beer. Poured from a 16 oz. can. Has an orange/brownish color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is alive with hops and citrus. Taste is also very good, hoppy, citrus and tropical fruits abound, bitter but not overly so, a well constructed beer. Feels full bodied in the mouth and overall was a pleasure to drink, worth seeking out. (391 characters)

Photo of DrDemento456
4.62/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Wow they were right about one thing if you pour the can it's full of tons of hop floaties. Color is a hazy amber brown with a 1/2 inch of thick bubbly head.

S - Straight up 5 here and I don't understand how you could give it a rating any lower on the smell. It was like fresh squeezed hop juice with very strong mostly noted grapefruit like hop dankness. Man this stuff smells good!

T - As expected it drinks freaking amazing. Hops are strong almost acidic or piney but the caramel like malts keep it from going overboard. I also love how well it hides the ABV it's almost non existent. Summed up perfect!

M - It has a medium bodied and drinks with the best of em.

Overall I could completely see the hype behind this beer being worth it but not worth trading away too much for it. Thanks again for the can Rick! (820 characters)

Photo of Pahn
4.82/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

16oz can into Duvel tulip (drank small amount from the can--prefer it in the glass, *as with every beer*). No freshness info, but my friend just bought it for me when a stray case hit Boston a couple days ago. Sold out in a day at 1 can per customer.

Appearance: Free pour yields a 3/4 inch fluffy white head that dissipates quickly. Pours an opaque orange-ish yellow. Some spotty lacing. I quite like the solid yellow color; gives a real nectar impression.

Smell: Grapefruit, mango, and lemon, with a slight pungency and some pale malt. With time, it's all grapefruit and lemon--dankness disappears as does the malt. Bursting with bright citrusy hop aromas.

Taste: Up front, beautiful citrusy hops with a tinge of tropical fruit. Finishes with just enough bitterness along with some subtle pale malt.

What a simple, direct, but genius beer. Every sip is that succulent citrus and mango hop explosion up front, leading to a sort of soothing balance of slightly toasted malt, alcohol heat, and bitterness. The latter three all read as "soft", and the hop flavor persists on top of them through the dryish finish into the aftertaste. Excellent.

Mouthfeel: Just right. Medium bodied and smooth, juicy with a slight creaminess. Low to moderate carbonation comes across as an occasionally noticeable tingle. Perfect dryness, bitterness, heat.

Overall: This beer reminds me of a great jazz band. The malt, heat, IBU, and mouthfeel are all playing wonderfully subdued parts, supporting the hop oil virtuoso soloist. DIPAs don't get much better than this. (1,554 characters)

Photo of pez000
4.96/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Amazing. by far my fav ipa. Drank a Pliny the elder and heady topper side by side and hands down heady topper came out on top just amazing. Once you crack the can you get an abundance of fresh grapefruit. Usally I drink straight from the can as it indicates to do. But not bad in a snifter as well. So well balanced. All I can think of when drinking this ipa is a super fresh grapefruit coated with a tad of granulated sugar. Hands down perfection. (448 characters)

Photo of M1A2
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Hazy pale orange with all sorts of floaties in it but who cares?

S - Wow! giant hop notes. Smells like pineapple, citrus, tropical fruits, and a big bag of weed! It's completely unique.

T - Unreal! The best way I can describe it is like citrus fruits, mango, and grapefruit. If you've had Heady, you know what I'm talking about. No malt what so ever.

M - There is basically only a little bit of bitterness to this beer, it's all sweet flavor and hops from here on out and i love it. Creamy and pretty decently carbonated. if you like hops this is your beer.

O - You need to seek this out right now. (610 characters)

Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.47/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks merc for sharing this, super stoked to try this.

The beer pours a hazy golden amber with a white head that fades quickly. There is some thin lacing, but I'm not really letting it sit long enough to cling to the sides. The nose is potent, orgasmic citrus hops with some potent ethanol. The beer drinks like a sweet hop elixer with an incredibly smooth mouthfeel that leaves a slightly lingering bitterness. Excellent beer for a reasonable price, and yes, this one is definitely worth the hype. (500 characters)

Photo of BBP
4.74/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a golden with nice haze. Head is minimal, even for the style. A pinch of lacing

The aroma hits you right after you open up the can. Pine and lemon zest come off of the aroma and it's quite floral while at the same time a bit bitter. Despite all of this, the aromas aren't blurred and it's pretty crisp.

The taste is considerably elaborate without being muddled. This, like the can describes, is not an over the top DIPA, yet it does provide some solid bitterness. It focuses mostly on the hop character, so in that regard, the bitterness that comes through is quite impressive. It begins with major pine resin from the hops, and then takes a citrus spin, only to come back to the resin for the finish.

The mouthfeel is quite nice. Everything is quite smooth, and it's not noticeably too thin or too thick. The finish is moderately dry and slightly sticky. A bit of alcohol heat takes away from it, but aside from that it's perfect.

Overall, this beer isn't what I expected, but it is as good as I expected. This was incredibly refined, while also giving a solid dose of bitterness and aggression. I would really love to get my hands on more of this stuff. (1,167 characters)

Photo of mgp2675
4.54/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After having this beer many times I figured it's finally time to review it.

A- Poured into my Alchemist pint glass, blonde-amber in color, darker than a traditional IPA. Very cloudy appearance, it has lots of particles floating around in it.

S- The first thing that blew me away about this beer when I had it the first time was the aroma, because I could smell it from about 5 feet away. The initial smell is hops, lots and lots of them. But it's a lot more complex than that, there's tons of citrus fruits in there like grapefruit and orange, definitely some pineapple as well. Awesome aroma.

T- The taste matches the aroma so well. It is very hoppy, but it's smooth at the same time. Heady Topper is so drinkable because in my opinion it tastes so much like juice. It has a good amount of alcohol in it and you definitely taste all of the hops, but the grapefruit and orange in it reminds me of fresh-squeezed juice every time. It's just so good.

M- Like I said, goes down easy. Perfect amount of carbonation for a crisp IPA like this, I always prefer something like this on a hot day to quench my thirst but it's just as good in the winter if you get it fresh.

O- This has been my favorite DIPA since I tasted it and after having Pliny, Abrasive, Hopslam, Citra, and most of the other well-knowns out there, I really don't see that changing. It has an element to it that the others don't bring to the table the same way. This truly is the only IPA that I would seek out at this point, with good reason. (1,510 characters)

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

Drank a few swigs from the can then poured into a snifter (I know, a sin). Can't verify freshness.

A: Very hazy pale orange, lots of sediment. Not an especially good looking beer but then again I went against their very clear specific instructions and poured it into a glass. Looks like homebrew. Beautiful tenacious head and plenty of lacing.

S: Cat pee, floral, citrus fruits. Got to say, the aroma isn't nearly as huge as I anticipated (but I cant verify how fresh this is). Either way it's very nice if a bit oxidized. Smells like homebrew.

T: Tangerines & oranges, some resinous oniony aftertaste. A very nice DIPA.

M: Creamy and very juicy. Extremely quaffable for this strength.

O: A very nice DIPA, though not a pliny-slayer by any stretch. This can probably wasn't super fresh. (791 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 BeerLover99
4.47/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: dirty orange/cloudy, finger white head,
gorgeous lacing

S: orange/mango, grassy/pine

T: mango/orange, grassy pine, light grain/malt,
long sticky/bitter hop finish

M: med/heavy body, oily/sticky mouth

O: FINALLY, got my hands on this beer!
It did not disappoint. If you are a hophead
you must treat yourself and get a hold of a can.
Dare I say it, but a "sessionable" or at least you want
to gulp this amazing Double IPA.
Well done, Alchemist brewing. Proof that
outstanding beer CAN come from a can.


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

This is the one and only. No clue how old, but definitely my most anticipated beer I got from phyl21ca in CanBIF 2012. Took a sniff and a mouthful from the can as directed, then poured into a tulip. 

A: Hazy sunset orange with a giant fluffy white head that drops to a superbly lacing ring
S: Initially took a giant hit of citrus and tropical hops. Mango, passionfruit...  Some sweet malts with a hint of pine perhaps?  Incredibly strong nose for a commercial beer. 
T: A little less strong on the hops. The bitterness builds to a biting nature over some sweet bready malt. Some alcoholic heat is definitely at play. Fruity hop profile with grapefruit rind and pineapple. 
M: Spot on, although I would have preferred it drier. 
O: Really nice beer. Worth the hype?  I guess, but I can drive 3 hours for Surly so I don't see this supplanting my needs, especially at the trading cost it now asks... (904 characters)

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

had this beer many times both from the can and poured out into a glass. I really hope I can get the chance to try this brew on tap (if they do that). I have to be honest, I love the smell you get when you pour the beer into a glass and the color is spectacular, however I like the taste better straight out of the can. I wish their was a happy medium that could be found. So poured out of the can it is a golden copper color with a nice cream colored head. The smell is floral hops and very inviting. The taste is very crisp and hoppy but not overpowering. I love how balanced this IPA is. (589 characters)

Photo of macrosmatic
4.39/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ActonBrewer for this one. Reviewed from notes. Drank from the can (as instructed).

A: I did pour a little bit into a pint glass to see what it looked like. Light yellowish color. It looked hazy, even with the small pour.

S: Pine and citrus hops predominate a really nice aroma profile. On a side note, I did feel a little self-conscious trying to smell through the opening in the can.

T: Flavor follows the nose well. Citrus hops predominate.

M: A bit on the heavy side for an IIPA. Also is somewhat less bitter than I expected.

O: Really good IIPA. Couldn't tell you the last time I had a beer out of a can, but I can promise you it wasn't anywhere close to this tasty! Would definitely like to have again. (722 characters)

Photo of threeviews
4.89/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 16oz can into an oversized, high stemmed, red wine/goblet glass.

A- Pours a very hazy orange with noticable sediment (i.e. yeast buds) producing nothing more than a 1-finger, soapy, white head. Personally, I prefer an appearance of other bottle conditioned IPA's like that of Dogfish Burton Baton, Lagunitas' Maximus or Founders' Double Trouble.

S- Absolutely out of this world! A piney/tacky, yet sweet orange, grapefruit, pineapple and other tropical fruit aromas are all present.

T- Despite 120 IBU's and 8% ABV, this is one easy-to-drink beer...bitteringly refreshing as a sugar-topped grapefruit. The bitterness is masked with late (flavor) hop additions and the alcohol is never present. The palate is never dominated by astringent hop bitterness...but your are always wanting more...an extremely well-crafted Double IPA. To be very infantile, I would say that this is nothing more than alcoholic citrus juice...wow!

M- The light/moderate carbonation allows the flavors to open up on your palate leaving nothing more than another taste.

O- As commented by so many others, this is an exceptional brew and no surprise that they made this their flagship (in the wake of the mess Hurricane Irene wreaked on their brewpub). If you find yourself in Vermont, search it out. In the meantime, I will be thankful that copious amounts are at my taking.

PS- Despite the instruction...No, I have never consumed from the can...Blasphemy! (1,449 characters)

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