Heady Topper - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Heady TopperHeady Topper

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

1,938 Reviews
THE BROS
93
outstanding

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Reviews: 1,938
Hads: 10,922
rAvg: 4.66
pDev: 7.73%
Wants: 8,117
Gots: 3,432 | FT: 54
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: 1,938 | Hads: 10,922
Photo of VncentLIFE
4.47/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Ted!

Had out of the can, and in a glass.

Pours bright orange with white head. Theres bits of hops floating around, some are green and some are bright white.

Actually smells better out of the can. All the aroma hops of pine needles, fresh grapefruit, and hints of lemon.

Taste is pretty much exactly what the nose leads you to believe. Grapefruit takes the lead, but dont forget about pine needles and lemon zest. Unlike Pliny, there is a pervading bitterness that just goes about a full-frontal assault on your tongue. (529 characters)

Photo of Gfunk720
4.92/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Adrian for this one.

A- A beautiful golden amber color. Healthy white head that clings all over the glass. The beer is extremely clear, and bubbley.

S- Like sticking your face in a bag of hops. Notes of grapefruit, lemon, and mango. A distinct piney scent is present, as well as some fresh grassiness. SOOOO hoppy

T- Very smooth initially, but then the hops just go crazy. Piney hops and citrus just pound your taste buds. Lots of pineapple and fruity notes, with strong floral piney flavors as well. It's just so fresh tasting, and the flavor goes on for ever. Nice hoppy aftertaste as well.

M- Pretty much spot on. A bit dry at times, but carbonation and body are perfect.

O- Grade A DIPA all the way. This stuff is incredibly tasty, and tastes just like it did at the brewery. After drinking a significant amount of this, it really ruined most other IPA's for me. Nothing else I've had really compares to the smell and depth of flavor. Pliney tasted pretty boring next to Heady. If you are a hop head, this is a must have

-GFunk (1,048 characters)

Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is a really good beer. The can says to drink from the can, so who am I to disobey a direct order. I can't really judge the appearance this way, but the can has a cool design. The smell is a certain citrusy aroma with hints of the can mixed in the smell. The taste is perhaps the most balanced DIPA. the hops are not overpowering, and the flavor is exceptionally complex. Flavors of grapefruit, pine, and a sour hop flavor come to the forefront. The most remarkable element is the smooth mouthfeel. One might even say it goes down soft. The aftertaste does not limit the experience, but takes it in a different direction. The citrusy flavors sweeten like candy. Most DIPAs express punch of bitter hops at this point, so this was surprising and refreshing. This beer is definitley worth the hype. (799 characters)

Photo of tempest
4.45/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked up a couple six-pack at the cannery. I'm told they were packaged just a week ago.

I wasn't sure what to make of this beer at first, which says a lot because DIPAs aren't usually a surprising style with a lot of leeway. It's most easily described as "hop juice," not an IPA. The balance of hops is unique in that the flavor is huge, but it's never over the top, where overly-hoppy beers become perfumey messes (I'm thinking of Weyerbacher's Hop Explosion).

The aroma has a clean and clear floral grapefruit character with an earthy, citrus seed edge—think about when you're eating an orange and you get a seed on your tongue. The flavor is intense but manageable. In addition to the vivid grapefruit and orange peel citrus, there's a vague grassiness, tropical notes, and an odd (and thoroughly unexpected) touch of barbeque sauce that fades as the beer warms.

I approached this beer as a skeptic, but it's easily one of the most complex beers I've tried, and one of the most drinkable at that. I should have bought a case. (1,034 characters)

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

Recieved in a trade with Fluke828! What a great guy! Thanks man.

I poured a slight amount into a glass to fully appreciate the vibrant color and intoxicating aroma.

Appearance: A lustrious hue of burnt golden wheat

Smell: A pungent aroma of grassy hops and tropical citrus, pineapple. A strong lighter malt backbone, earthy.

Taste: As they command, from the can, creamy grassy hops, light resin and hints of pineapple, sweeter malts finish in a floral hop-bitterness. No heat from the 8% at all. Fantastic!

Mouthfeel: Quite amazing, creamy and full and yet still wonderfully juicy.

Overall: What can be said that already hasn't? (636 characters)

Photo of Auror
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Canned on Tuesday, Drank on Wednesday (from the can, naturally).

Appearance- Poured some out of a 2nd can for friends so I glimpsed the appearance. Hazy, a little more amber than most IPA's. Looks like a serious beer (whatever that means).

Smell- Pine, hops, and some fruits..can't exactly pick out which ones

Taste- Unlike any beer I've had. Some sips, it has powerful cirtusy and piney hops that challenge the drinker with bitterness and leave with a very dry finish. Then other sips, it's got a refreshing sweetness coming from juicy fruits...kind of like juicy-fruit gum (maybe not quite that sweet) with a very clean finish. It's bizzare, but makes it super flavorful AND insanely drinkable, which is a potent and marvelous combination.

Mouthfeel- It's very creamy with full carbonation. Coats the mouth nicely and lingers.

Overall- I already mentioned how drinkable this is for how hoppy and bitter it is. Why am I trading half this case again? (955 characters)

Photo of legalpete19340
4.88/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Poured a vibrant golden amber with a huge white fluffy head that I could eat with a spoon. Retention and lacing were phenomenal. Looks much darker than expected.

S: Perfect pine with accents of ripe grapefruit and tangerines. Just the right amount of buttermilk biscuit holds it up. A hint of grain too. Truly amazing.

T: Comes on with great citrus and grapefruit then I get smacked by a sappy pine tree. More tangerines and then it hints at a bitter bite...but it never comes. Somehow more grapefruit and hop oil perseveres and smooths this elegantly into a clean finish. Amazing.

M: Creamy, firm, a little chewy with a bit of fizz.

O: It lived up to the hype. Simply phenomenal. A hop bomb that doesnt leave me feeling like I drank syrup. The sweetness is toned down and this is just perfectly hoppy and clean. (819 characters)

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

Drank from the can mostly.

I poured a little bit into a glass and it's a hazy orange color with a decent head and some pretty good lacing

Nice aromas of citrus and pine blast out from the can. Immediately noticeable.

Taste is an onslaught of citrusy and piney hops with some good tropical fruit flavors too. Very mild bitterness on the front and shows up only slightly at the end. It lingers along with the hops. 
Full-bodied but not sweet at all. 

Really liked this beer. I'd have to say I prefer it in the can but maybe it's the suggestiveness of the brewer telling me I should. (589 characters)

Photo of flannelman808
4.41/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

no date on the can...

A: Yellow/amber with lots of little uniformly sized particles floating around. Thick off-white seafoam head forms and retains quite well. Good lacing also.

S: Recently fallen pine needle dominates as well as a resinous punch of a cannibisian nature. Subtle biscuit cookie shows as an afterthought.

T: Pine and grapefruit pith wash over the palate as well as that resinous quality aforementioned in the aroma. This is quite bitter I must say, and evokes a nice tingly sensation on the middle of the tongue which sort of amplifies that quality. Sticky tobacco leaf tar like flavors creep into the finish in an interesting sort of way. Great stouts often carry "layers" of flavor and usually they revolve around chocolate. This carries layers of hop driven complexity. Overall I find it to revolve around herbaceous flavors. Not much citrus and what's there resembles more pith than zest. Overall this is bitter however there is a sort of burnt sugar cookie quality which provides some sweet balancing notes. This is not quite as dry as pliny overall.

M: Despite the prickle, this is very sticky on the back-palate contributing to a nice long finish.

O: Really a very good beer, and I would love to try more of it at the freshest stage possible. All the same, however old this was it's very good, but lets be honest, it's not deserving of a 100 rating. (1,377 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 OneDropSoup
4.62/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to Jordan23 for the awesome surprise!

Starting off drinking straight from the can, as per instructions: Awesome fresh grapefruit & floral smell, like I just tored open a bag of hop pellets & took a whiff. A sweetly creamy & even dank, "organic" character develops before long, kind of like a pudding under the citrus hops. This smells fantastic.

Taste follows the smell, with a beautifully fresh hop character that's primarily grapefruit, with a moderate pine bitterness. For a DIPA, this is neither heavy on the bitterness or the malt, just very fresh, brisk, & clean, with the only thing weighing it down the tiniest bit is a little alcohol. Still remarkably light & refreshing for the style. That sweetness comes in a little in the taste, but not super sugary, more like a mild whipped cream. Some tea-like tannin character. Damn.

Medium-bodied, very smooth, with the bitterness lingering & causing a nice counterpoint but nothing overwhelming my palate. A little bit of heat from booze, but again nothing overwhelming. Very pleasant.

It's weird commenting on the appearance so late in the game, but here goes: Poured into a shaker, forms a nice three-finger off-white head over a just-hazy copper-gold. Head is lumpy & rises like a souffle. Even looks awesome, like lots of tiny nucleation.

Wow, this is one hell of a beer! I'd really hit a lull with IPAs lately, & it's great to be reminded of what a really transcendent one can be like - such an awesome experience. I've heard a lot of talk about this giving PtE a run for the money, & I can see why. (1,573 characters)

Photo of chilly460
4.3/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a straw yellow, very hazy, with a foamy two finger white head. Speckled lacing clings nicely.

S - Smells like concentrated hops, very pungent. Got quite a bit of clean smelling pine, with a unique citrus edge to it. Couldn't put my finger on it, but goes beyond normal orange/grapefruit. No real malt could be picked up in the aroma.

T - Grapefruit hits immediately, nice full ripe taste. Quite bitter, definite clean pine tones in there too for sure. Flavor hits hard in this beer. Malts are there, very dry biscuit.

M - Typical for the style, medium body with midrange carbonation.

O - Really enjoyed this one, just bursts with flavor. (655 characters)

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

16 oz can poured into a Sierra Nevada Tulip, shared with KevinmusPrime, reviewed from notes

A: pours a hazy orange with a 2 finger white head that dissolves to a thin layer and leaves a nice lacing pattern on the side of the glass

S:  intense citrus and piney hop aroma with a hint of must, smells delicious, they should make Heady Topper cologne

T: juicy citrus and tropical friuts with nice lemon, orange, tangerine, grapefruit, pineapple and mango flavors complimented nicely by a piney hop bitterness with a hint of malty sweetness

MF: medium bodied, moderate carbonation, hoppy bitterness lingers on the palate

O: Heady Topper has set the standard for DIPAs for me, and it's a pretty high standard, blows fresh Pliny out of the water in my opinion, no contest, will continue to seek this out as often as possible (823 characters)

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

Received in trade w/ a VT BA (Cheers!)
Poured from fresh 16oz can recently purchased at the brewery.

A: STRONG piney aroma, supported by black tea leaf, and a light honey note. Simple, yet delicious aroma profile.

A: Clover honey-colored body with a decent haze and some floaties. 1 finger head with that fluorescent yellow tinge that I've come to recognize in an IIPA. Head is not quite as thick as anticipated, but then again, I should be drinking this from the can... The brew leaves decent lacing after each sip.

F: Pine up front, some nice, not overpowering, bitterness. Honey-graham sweetness to balance. Some delicious green tea on the finish. DELICIOUS!!!

M: Medium-full body with medium carbonation. Right where it should be. Some sticky tannins cling to the inside of my mouth and lips.

O: I want more of this one! I can't think of an IIPA I've had that was better than this. A great mix of aromas and flavors. Everything just seems to work well together! Highly recommended! (On a side note, I drank my second HT straight from the can, and actually enjoyed it even more this way. Contrary to what you might think, if you get your hands on this beer, you should try it from the can. (1,197 characters)

Photo of dougfur
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

This one pours pretty cloudy, with little bits floating around. If you pour it into a glass (which I prefer, but the brewery discourages), leave the dregs, as you would a homebrew.

The hop aroma is intense and wonderful.

Taste is intense and wonderful, but with just a bit of a sourness.

Mouthfeel is perhaps the weakest aspect of this beer to me, it's pretty resiny and while I appreciate the flavor/aroma of the hops, this one's a little sticky.

Overall, this beer deserves the attention it's getting and is very, very, very good. Perhaps the coolest aspect of it is that for all its hype and popularity, it doesn't cost any more than the regular DIPA's you get off the shelf. Kudos to the Alchemist for that! (716 characters)

Photo of VtBeerRun
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

One of the beers in it's class. We are very lucky to have this beer up here in Vermont. The taste, as it should be, is the best part to this beer. It tastes great from the can or in a glass (even though it recommends drinking it straight from the can. The appears is good and the smell is great very fruity. Outstanding taste and a great overall beer. Hard to top this one!

Cheers,
Dave (387 characters)

Photo of Digimaika2
4.82/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a fresh 4-pack at the Healthy Living Market in Burlington, Vt. Definitely one of the more beautiful cans I've ever purchased.

A: Pours a slightly hazy bronze-copper colour with a marshmallow-like creamy foam head. Decent retention and very good lacing down the glass.

S: Amazing. Damp earthy moss funkyness, lumberyard pine, a big grapefruit and mango element, and creamy walnut. Incredibly smooth and well integrated aromas.

T: Buttered biscuit-like malt serves as the backbone, with an earthy pine bitterness and tart grapefruit and sweet mango upfront. An earthy damp wood and mushroom-like elements are present. The taste screams fresh. Smooth, creamy, and very well balanced. Alcohol pretty much undetectable.

M: Full body with a moderate carbonation. Quite oily (welcoming) with a slightly resiny and grainy texture.

D: One of the best IPA's I've ever tasted. What else can I say? (904 characters)

Photo of Rhettroactive
3.81/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From 16oz tallboy to my Hess Imperial pint glass on 12/15/11
*From notes

-- Many thanks to the multiple BA's who've hooked me up with generous pours and fresh cans of this over the last few weeks. --

A: It looks like a really dingy cider. A good pour yields a fluffy 1.5 finger white head and solid retention. It should be noted that there are large white gobs floating around in the beer. Some settle. Some don't.

S: Wonderful bouquet. Juicy hop oil, it's got that island fruit vibe all over it.

T: It's hoppy alright, yet it's quite bready and rather bitter too. There's not a massive amount of complexity to it, it's simply an easy drinking beer that comes off more like a low key IPA then an Imperial.

M: Meh. It feels alright, but it's not gonna blow any skirts up or anything.

O: Having had large amounts of this at three separate tastings in a six week period, I can honestly say that Heady Topper is a grossly overrated beer. It's not bad, in fact it's a very pleasant brew. It simply doesn't reach the heights one would expect from it's rDev. Don't go out of your way to attain this. I know I won't. (1,114 characters)

Photo of Tschnab
4.86/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to Jason for getting me a can of this! I drank it from the can but poured some out to get a look at the beer.

A- pours a orange/copper with a slight haze and a decent sized head that dissipates to about 1/3 of an inch, a little bit of lace.

S- the second my nose gets close to the can I'm hit with an incredible punch of really fresh, piney, resiny hops that immediately bring with it citrus rind and tropical mango aromas. A feint but solid bready malt aroma is present as well.

T- this is just incredible. At first I want to call this an extreme hop bomb, but it isn't. Instead, it is the perfect display of extreme hopping and a good malt presence in one. It is ridicuously easy-drinking, and hits the bitter and sweet notes at once better than any other beer I've had.

O- I think this is the best DIPA I've had, and one of if not the best beer I've had. Really lives up to the hype. (901 characters)

Photo of perrymarcus
4.57/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

16oz can divided between a snifter and the can.

pours a golden / medium amber tone with some haze to it while yielding a finger and a half of a creamy, off-white head. excellent retention and lacing.

nose offers a nice, fragrant bouquet of hops, heavy on the tropical / citrus, some floral and some grass notes and a hint of sweet malt.

flavor follows the aroma. lots of tropical / citric hoppiness - lemon zest, grapefruit, and mango among others - with a little malt in the background. with medium bitterness. nice, medium bodied mouthfeel with average carbonation.

overall an outstanding beer. i'd probably be enjoying it even more had my expectations not been so incredibly sky high. and while it's not the best IPA/DIPA i've ever head, it's certainly up there - it just works. world class brew. (804 characters)

Photo of donkeyrunner
4.82/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A christmas present from duffextra cold.

I'm not a fan of the unfiltered IPA look but that said, this is a fine lookin' beer. Golden amber color with some floaties swirling about in the haze. Dense head never really diminishes and rides down the glass depositing layer upon layer of foamy rings like my glass is wearing a rugby shirt. As always, bonus points for cans. Super extra bonus points for a tallboy.

Aroma is every wonderful C hop aroma smushed into one glorious beer. Like motorboating a bag of hops. Grapefruit! Pine! Passion fruit! Grass! Yowza! Gadzooks! Spongecake malt underneath. So, so fresh.

Tastes like grapefruit soaked spongecake. Creamy unfiltered mouthfeel is also prickly with hop resin. Chewy.

So hoppy I tried filling my empty glass with water to make a small beer. It didn't work.

I honestly can't think of a way to make this beer much better. I guess filtering out the floaties wouldn't hurt. And at 8% it's a lot for my sensitive self. But I'm being really, really picky and a DIPA is what it is. Hope the brewpub is up and running again soon. (1,079 characters)

Photo of korguy123
4.62/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16oz can. Poured 4oz sample glass and drank the rest from the can.
Special thanks to TheSevenDuffs for this beauty.

A- Slightly hazy orange juice colored pour. Half finger snow white head that disappears quickly. Lacing sheets beautifully.

S- Bright grapefruit and mandarin with a nice tropical lime and mango that I've never experienced. It's sweet and tangy in a citrus way. Pine and floral hops tie everything together. I can't get over how tropical this smells; it makes me think of a tropical Jugo Juice.

T- Bright grapefruit and mandarin and mango. Sweeter than the noise leads on but not too sweet. Pine bitterness with an orange juice concentrate syrupy finish. Well balanced bitter and sweet. Dry lingering finish.

M- Medium bodied, lively carbonation with heart burn inducing bitter (my stomach telling me it's good)

O- This beer really is, remarkable (866 characters)

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

After I had a few sips from the can, as suggested by the brewery, I poured it into a tulip glass to have a look.   I'm glad I did! It's an attractive one!  A nice finger of head develops and the color is that of dried apricot fruit. There is a small amount of sediment floating about, but not much and it doesn't detract.  The head dissipates to nearly nothing, but some ultra fine lace remains that sticks to the glass with every sip. 

Big citrus and piney hop aromas. Tangerine!

For such potent nose the taste is quite well balanced for a DIPA.  It follows the nose to some extent with grapefruit citrus, but a hint of slightly sweeter fruit as well.  The malty backbone is there, subtle, but clearly balancing.  The finish is prickly bitterness although not overwhelming.  After it warms, every taste brings something new, oranges, lemon, honey suckle, peach...very interesting and complex!

For 8% ABV this one is quite drinkable.  The body is medium and the carbonation mild but a nicely done complement to the hoppiness. 

Thanks to Dr. B for sending this one.  What a treat! (1,095 characters)

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

I have had 3 batches of the canned heady topper, the first was great, the third was great, but the second batch i had canned sometime in mid november was absolutely sublime.

the beer poursed a golden yellow color with orange hues and a 2 finger head that lasted a long time. the smell was huge citrus and piney hops with a subtle malt hint in the background. the flavors coming forth were huge grapefruit citrus and bitter piney hops in the finish with barely a trace of the malts in the nose. there was high carbonation with a dry light mouthfeel that left the mouth almost watering for more. huge bitterness that almost bit the tounge. overall this batch was the best ipa i have ever had, although when averaging out the batches of head i have had i like double sunshine and abner more. wish i had drank more of this batch and extra'd and traded less. (854 characters)

Photo of SkiBum22
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

16 oz. can brought straight from the brewery. Drank first half from the can as per the instructions and then second half I had to pour into my dogfish snifter to take a look at this great brew.

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

S: The nose on this is incredible. Tropical fruits, oranges, grapefruit, and resiny hop aromas dominate the nose. Insane citrus nose.

T: Hoppy and complex, citrus and tropical hops stand out right away and are nice complemented with good bitter piney and resin hops, nice malt backbone.

M: Smooth, medium body, a little creamy.

O: This lived up to the hype. My second favorite IPA behind Pliny. I'm glad I will be making another ski trip to Stowe so I can pick up another case of this amazing brew. (856 characters)

Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 1,938 ratings.