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Heady Topper | The Alchemist

2,219 Reviews
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Heady TopperHeady Topper

Brewed by:
The Alchemist
Vermont, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
"An American Double IPA" 75 IBU 8.0% ABV. "Drink from the can."

Added by scottum on 03-27-2004

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Reviews: 2,219 | Ratings: 12,454
Photo of middletonman2001
4.94/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had heard alot about Alchemist in the beer world and had yet to try any of their beers. The other day I was in Waterburry and decided to find their brewery. Apparently the brew pub was flooded badly during hurricane Irene along with the rest of Waterburry. Luckilly their new 15 barrel canning brewery was not damaged and now produces Heady topper exclusively. I went into their store and they were selling Heady Topper for $12 a 4-pack as well as a Glutein-free saison, but I was only interested in the Heady Topper, which is fairly hard to get a hold of unless you are in the Waterburry/Burlington area of Vermont. I live in north eastern Vermont and I hadn't seen it around, but have heard it can cost alot more than $3 a can in some gas stations.
I have allready drank the first 3 cans on a camping trip so iv'e decided to review my final can. The can says not to pour it out into a glass because it releases the essential hop aromas that they wish to retain. I decided to pour about a 1/3 of it into my 16 oz Long Trail pint glas just to see what it looks like. It has a light brown oily look to it with a good amount of head when poured quicly but it then disipates to just about a quarter inch or so. There is no comparison in smell between the can and when you pour it into a glass. When you first open the can and you put your nose to it and strongly inhale, it gives off a fantastic potent citrus piney smell that is boarderline orgasmic. If I could live in the can I would. Its similar to when I home brew and I take a big whiff of a bag of Cascade Hops, but you can smell the different layers of Hops, which is quite complex.
I am a big fan of IPA's and this double IPA does not disapoint. The taste is fantastic, at 8% you don't taste any alcohol that you would expect at a 8% ABV. The reason is the hops, you definitely taste hops, very crisp clean taste of citrus and pine, but very fresh at the back end, it doesn't have the bad sour after taste like some IPA's. I definitely do recomend you listen to the brewer and drink it out of a can, you just don't get the same experience out of a glass, which makes me wonder if I would order it at a bar, but probably I would because even out of a glass you would be getting a fantastic beer. I was skeptical about all the hype that this beer was getting, but I have to say this product definitley lives up to it. I'm never good at picking a favorite anything, but this would definitely be in my top 3, an absolute must try.

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

Had on Tap at the Blind Tiger some months back... from notes

A- a cloudy pale straw unfiltered delight

S- juicy, fruity, hops, hops and more hops. Pine, some grapefruit and a little orange peel. Also a touch of malt

T- just simply unbelievable. a hop head's wet dream

M- This is were this beer shines. Its so unbelievably smooth and well balanced

O- This is a perfect beer. Nothing else comes close. Was lucky enough to have side by side with Lawson's 'Double Sunshine', Hill Farmstead 'Galaxy' and 'Society #3' and Heady is better hands down.

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Photo of Onenote81
4.25/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Celtic001 for a couple of these sent my way. I was so excited for the arrival of these, that once they were chilled to perfection, they disappeared quickly. Poured into a pint glass. Pours a murky dark orange/gold with a thick lustrous off-white head on top.

Slick yet heavy feel. Lightly oily on the back end. Big bitter pop of juicy hops. Full of lush flavor of bitter fruits, semi-sweet syrup on finish. White peppery "burn" in the midst, but this is bitter all out. Surprisingly an easy finish with such a boisterous profile. Great beer. Not my top IIPA, but by the far the best from a can.

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Photo of atrain0187
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Let me tell you about the mythical adventure that this beer bestowed upon me....

After trolling for this beverage, I was luckily blessed with the notification that an coworker (who will remain nameless but will never be forgotten) was traveling north for vacation. I politely asked if he would be traveling through Vermont on his trip and gave the coordinates of the location where this beverage could be obtained...My expectations were low but I remained hopeful.

Today at work I asked if he struck out. To my delight he informed me that not only did he not strikeout, he hit the motherload. He had 40 16 oz cans on ice in the back of his chariot. After work, we met in the parking lot with trunks open to exchange cash for services rendered. I immediately rushed home, called my delinquent brother who had been previously informed about the intricate details of the spoken beer.

Now for the review....I cracked my first beer at 17:36 EST. Initial waft was heavenly and I achieved 1/2 a stock. For those that don't know that is a semi...First sip and holy hopness my 1/2 stock had turned to full blown chub. I called my brother immediately and found he was in route. Sip after sip it got better. I chose to drink from the can as recommended and the swill sucker punched me with a full hop slam to the face. I thought best IPA I ever had....

I waited for my brother to arrive and cleansed my palet. He arrived and I handed him a cold can and cracked my second. First sip and the same thing happened to him (1/2 stock for those keeping score). The reaction continued through his 1st can.

Honestly I can say this is the best beer I have had. I am a big IPA fan, and this blows them all away. Highly recommended but difficult to obtain. Sell your children if needed to obtain a case.

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Photo of TheHopMonster
4.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A friend of mine gave this beer to me as a belated birthday present and I was a bit surprised that it came in the form of a can but don't let the can intimidate you.

Pours an extremely hazy orange, cloudy with chunks of unfiltered deliciousness. The appearance and posture of this beer is something really special. I have yet to come across an IPA that's looks this raw.

The smell is powerful with dominate c hops, floral, citrus, and pine are extremely noticeable. The aroma is just as intense as the appearance.

The taste is smooth yet incredibly hoppy, surprisingly drinkable for such a complex beer. The hops are very forward initially and then the it ends with that amazing dry hoppiness that I love ever so much.

One of the best beers to ever come out of a can and I can't wait to get my hands on some more.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
4.35/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours from a 16 oz can, nice hazy orange color. Smell is of sweet hops. Taste is medium bodied, great balance to it. Not overly hoppy (as warned by the outside of the can) and has a great maltiness to it that most IPAs (specifically double IPAs) are missing. Delicious aftertaste.. I can see why this has such a high rating. Felt lucky to try this beer, definitely worth seeking out if you get a chance.. one of the better imperial IPAs I've gotten to try.

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

What more can I say about this beer? Drove 7 hrs from PA to the brewery. People were very nice there. Bought 3 cases, only trouble is you have to keep it cold because it is unpasturized I believe.

I had one beer out of the can and one poured out. The poured one is very cloudy like a hefe. Put it up to your nose and it may burn your eyebrows off it's so hoppy. First sip, pungent, piney hop flavor, balanced with the sweet citrus, but also tastes creamy like a hefe, whereas a lot of IPAs taste thinner. Nice thing about this beer is that some IPAs lose their hoppiness the closer you get to the end of your glass. Not this one. As the advertising says, wave after wave of hoppiness till the finish. Very very enjoyable, if you have a free weekend and don't mind road trips, go seek this beer out. Bring some coolers to keep it cold on the ride home!

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

I got this beer from a fellow advocate beerMeFitz, thanks man! Following the advice of a friend, I poured some in my Half Acre Tulip and drank the rest in the can. The pour was a hazy beautiful orange color with very little head that disappeared rather quickly. I Swirled it around in the glass a little and noticed that the lacing was not as much as I expected.

The smell was an awesome smack in the face with freshness. The hops were bursting with pine and maybe some peach and grapefruit.

The first sip was pretty great and as I kept drinking I noticed a lot of the flavors developing. Being an 8% abv beer, I am very surprised how easy this was to drink. Their was a slight bitterness from the hops, but the aromatic hops cut right through that creating an extremely well balanced DIPA. Though the hops are definitely the star, I really appreciate the malty sweetness of this beer as well. An amazing beer and I can't wait to get another can of this ale.

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

The verbiage on the can states that you should drink this right out of the can. Sacrilege to most beer geeks, but the request comes from the brewers and I understand why. I tasted this out of a snifter since it was being shared with a really good beer guy I met at the Cloverleaf Tavern in Caldwell. He brought a few cans in with him and he was sharing, so I was gratefully drinking.

Rating the appearance on this must be hard for those who heed the brewers' advice and drink from the can but in the snifter is was a nice golden orange, pretty darn clear with a half finder of foam. I would have liked for the head to stick around a little, but it didn't and no lacing was left behind.

The smell bursts with citrus and floral hop notes, with a biscuit malt backing. This is one of two beers that took me quite a while to actually drink since I was very content to just sit and sniff at it (Rochefort 10 was the other). The freshness of the hops is about as close as you're going to get to that smell you get crushing fresh cones in your hand.

This is where I fully understood why they want you to drink it from the can. The first sip delivers what you get in the nose, an amazing burst of fresh, citrus hops with wonderful floral notes. The biscuit continues to act as a great balance and the bitterness you'd expect never exerts its dominance. This is truly an extremely drinkable IPA. How they deliver the aroma and the flavors of the hops as successfully as they do without ratcheting the IBUs into the stratosphere is incredible. I'd love to see more IPAs built on this blueprint. Don't get me wrong; every now and then I want something that will destroy my palate, but I know that I can only drink one or two of them and then not much of anything else. With Heady Topper I imagine I could finish can after can...all day long.

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Photo of IronLover
4.24/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Despite the "directions" I've been conditioned to only drink BMC out of the can. Dark orange-yellow in color, looks like dirty orange juice, and murky. Poured with a short white foam that quickly reduced to a sturdy white cap that left sheets of sticky lacings on the glass.. Pungent citrus pineapple aroma with solid sweet, sticky malt and orange beneath and just the slightest hint of booze. The aroma almost has a feel to it. Like hop resin and dust in the sinuses. Amazing. Thick and chewy feel with dense, rich carbonation that lazily rolls through. Pungent citrus hop flavor from start to finish that are propped up by a strong sweet malty backbone.. Finishes with a lingering pine hop bitterness with a touch of citrus bitterness and booze.

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Photo of mjw1200
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I just opened my first ever Heady Topper. In the words of the great Homer Simpson "Jebus, Buddha, I love you alll." This is different than anything I have had before. Nothing relates to it. I have had Pliny the Elder, Hopslam, and a number of other amazing beers. I am not sure I am saying its the best beer I have ever had, but its in the discussion and its definitely unique. I am drinking it straight from the can as the rim of the can says to do. Its extremely bitter to in the begining but citrus in the end. Do whatever it takes to get your hands on this (outside of taking one of my glorious new friends from my fridge).

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

No question the best IPA I've had. Can not review appearance, you should only drink from the can, as designed. (But gave it a 5 because I'm sure it's perfect, website makes you enter value here) Desperate to find more, may have to take a trek... Grab this if you can, beats them all.
Thanks to Kevin for the gift, I'll be sure to return the favor!

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Photo of UnderJoath
4.41/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fresh can given to me by Beermefitz, a complete stranger until today. Thank you so much for the generous gesture. Good beer karma shines down on you this day.

Drinking out of a Pipeworks Brewing goblet. Pours a cloudy golden hue with a fingers worth of bubbly white head.

Smells great. A nice balance of resin and citrusy fruit.

Speaking of balance, wow. First taste knocked me on my butt. Sweet and bitter tangoed on my tongue both getting a turn at lead.

Not too sticky on the mouthfeel, but leaves behind a bit of hop to bring you back for another drink. Carbonation tickles the throat as she goes down.

Overall, fantastic beer that completely lives up to the hype and well deserving of my first review. Hope I didn’t let it down.

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

A: Perfect... clear golden with a thick lasting white head.
S: Wow! smells amazing...like a bag of super fresh hops.
T: A lot like the smell, but better...add a subtle malt character to this hop bomb and you've got a perfect marriage of of both. Superbly balanced!
M: Not too thin or thick...Goldie Locks would be proud!

I really can't say enough about this beer...It's all that and more! Get a can NOW!

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

Pint-sized can served cold.

No date on the can but I purchased in myself from the brewery two weeks ago so I know it's still fresh.

Serving suggestion is straight from the can so I'll try it that way to start.

Opens with a soft hiss and almost immediately I smell the fresh citrusy hops. Big notes of grapefruit with secondary lemons and oranges. Beautifully bright and crisp.

Flavor is big and intense with more grapefruit, bitter blood orange, citrus pith, rind, zest... You name it! Almost like whole fruit was thrown into a blender and then into the boil. It's definitely bitter but without being overwhelming. At least not for us hop heads.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, a little heavier than some, with a good level of carbonation. Reasonably balanced and drinkable for the style. Obviously not a session beer but one where the can is easily consumed solo.

Overall an excellent beer and a wonderfully enjoyable big citrus DIPA. If only I could get this in Colorado.

P.S. - after a few good sips from the can, I poured the rest into an imperial pint glass. Very hazy golden yellow color and thick white head that settles to a rocky top with great lace. Nothing much lost by pouring it into a glass but there's something a little rebellious about drinking one of the world's best beers straight from the tall boy!

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Photo of ceolach
4.94/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the shiznit. Been drinking and home brewing for years. DIPA's are my thing and this is amazing. Best beer on the east coast IMHO and probably the best beer I've had. I lived on the west coast 15 years ago but haven't had the west coast stuff fresh in years but this stuff is amazing. $4 for a can is a steal. Planning another trip to VT just to stock up. I ruined myself.

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Photo of EParry84
4.89/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Following the rules is really difficult for me but when the can tells you to drink it straight from the can, I listen. Hey, who am I to go against the way this beer was meant to be drank. I have heard from others though that this beer isn't very pretty. I can imagine that's true since this thing is truly hop heaven.

The aroma from the small opening of the can is very pungent with lots of citrus. If you love hops, you're going to want to smell this thing.

Couldn't tell you what this thing looks like but I do know this thing is all about the hops on the first sip. Right away you can taste that citrusy, grapefruit. It's got some sweetness and a little bitterness to cut through those hops and it's all a wonderful concoction. Truly my favorite IPA.

Get it if you can.

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Photo of Thehuntmaster
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

500ml can 8,0% ABV.
Two cans both served chilled, one in an over sized wine glass and one straight from the can as recommended.
No canning date (WHY????)

Appearance: Murky, golden-orange body topped by a large white head. The head displays good retention and leaves some great looking lacing as it slowly recedes.

Smell: Thank the pope, this smells fresh!!! Wonderful juicy fruit aromas (orange, peach, passion fruit, mango and tangerine) combine with grapefruit, pine resin, and a dank leafy character.

Taste: Mmmmm, this is absolutely delicious! Sweet, juicy citrus (orange and tangerine) dominates, with mango, peach, grapefruit, resiny pine and a dank herbal character all well noted. With this much hop flavour, the beer is surprisingly balanced - moderate bitterness and sublime drinkability.

Mouthfeel: For my personal tastes, this is just about perfect! Medium bodied and quite oily, with a medium-high level of smooth carbonation.

Overall: Heady Topper certainly lives up to the reputation! This is a phenomenal IIPA that (unlikely as it seems) DOES taste better out of the can than out of a glass! Initially the difference between can and glass is quite small, however as the beer warms the can certainly comes out on top!

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Photo of anichols70
4.89/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bought a 4-pack from the Beverage Warehouse while in Winooski last weekend.

A - No idea. Drank straight from the can as instructed.
S - Wow. Big citrus, dank, wet hops. Got even better as the can warmed a bit. One of the best hop aromas I've ever smelled.
T - Strong hops, citrus, pine resin. Good bitterness without being completely overwhelming. Sweet malt comes through just enough to keep everything together. To me, this beer is all about the hops though.
M - Not as syrupy as many DIPAs I've had. Medium mouthfeel that comes across as "fresh" in my mind.
O - Rough around the edges in all the right ways. The type of beer that grows on you and leaves you wanting more when the last one is gone. Worth the hype in my opinion, and something I'll seek out again.

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

A - I know it says to drink from the can but I wanted to see it. It's a hazy, orange with hints of lemon near the edges. Light carbonation near the bottom. Had a few inches of white head that slowly disappeared

S - What a nose on this. Tons of resin, wet hops come forth of this as I get hints of grapefruit, pine, and lemon. There is also a slight sweet orange and pineapple that comes forth. It just smells great without being overpowering

T - First, there is a sweet tangerine and orange. Then, you get grapefruit and pine hops on the middle. Near the end of the beer, there is a stronger grapefruit hops that comes through without being overpowering. This is one of those beers like Pliny that bring multiple hop flavors with each sip and manages to never be overpowering. It has a nice malt backbone that brings nice sweet flavors as well.

MF - Medium body with light carbonation. Actually not too heavy for a DIPA which makes it easy to drink. Slight resin near the end that lingers on the tongue

O - This is one heck of a DIPA that I wish was available locally as you could drink one after another. It is well balanced and brings a ton of hoppy flavors without being bitter or overpowering. Definitely one of the best DIPAs out there.

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

I did not go into this with too big of expectations. Most of the highly rated IPAs I've had have not lived up to my expecations and I was disappointed. Maybe going into it with open expectations is the way to go, because this floored me. I am so sad it is gone.

A- A bit mirky. I know they said to drink it out of the can, but I just couldn't. Cloudy gold with white lacing

S- never smelled anything like it. So hoppy, citrusy, skunky almost. Smell really sticks with you. I know it probably does not make sense, but it just has a clean smell to it

T- It is one of the hoppiest beers I've ever had, but at the same time, it is not a hop bomb. Don't know how they do it. Most beers this hoppy are a mess. This is perfect. citrusy. velvety.

M- great body. Good carbonation. More carbonated than I like, but it works perfect with this blend. Oily. Stays with you for quite a while

O-perfect. I'm so sad its gone. Better than any big IPA Ive ever had

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Photo of BostonHops
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. 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.

(originally reviewed: 01-09-2012)

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

Served in a nonical pint glass just for appearance. Drank 1st from the can, the way it is meant to be drank.

A - Pale amber slightly opaque with 2 finger frothy white head with excellent retention and good lacing.

S - One of the best smelling beers out there. You almost feel you are smelling the true essence of grassy, citrus, peach, grapefruit hops with a touch of bready malt, but not much. It is all about the hops here.

T - Once again, I cannot believe the level of hop aroma and flavor this beer has resolved. All the presence of hops in the nose is here from the beginning and develops even further with chiefly citrus and grassy hops but also a touch of spicy and piney notes. The alcohol is present, but just barely for balance and that is just how big the hops are in a beer with 8% you really don't notice the EtOH. This is simple, unadulterated hops fun.

M - Medium body, moderate-high carbonation. Smooth and creamy.

O - I think this is easily my favorite beer in a can and among the best ever. I like this as much as Pliny the Younger. Where that beer was complex, rich, and subtle at the same time, this beer just does one thing, but does it PERFECTLY. It captures the soul of the hops.

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Photo of Teleweizen2
4.64/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a slightly hazey marigold color. A fingers worth of froathy white head which quickly dissipates to just a white ring around the rim. No lacing.

S - the aroma just permiates from the can as soon as its opened. The nose is bright and intoxicating in itself. Bright grapefruit, orange and lemon peel lead the charge followed by a basket of tropical fruit filled to the brim with candied pineapple and fleshy mango. The nose is rounded out by notes of fresh cut grass, and crusty bread.

T - taste follows the nose for the most part. At first it seems more on the dry side but seems to get sweeter as it warms. Dough and bread crust are first detected on the tip of the tongue. Lots of sweet fruit and malt character aid in keeping the grapefruit bitterness balanced. Pineapple and banana peel seem to be the predominant tropical fruits while the grassy flavors keep the flavors well rounded in the middle of the palate. A strong bitterness in the long finish as well as a touch of lemony acidity.

M - slick textured medium verging on full bodied with a light bubbly carbonation.

O - excellent. Almost everything I love about IPAs in a single can. Alchemist really hit the nail on the head with this one.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.57/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

thanks to egrace84 for sending this can my way! Thanks elliot!

tall boy can into duvel tulip.

Appearance: yellowish/orange opaque bodied beer with alot of white floaties. 2 to 3 fingers of white head that drops down to a small thin cap with some decent staying power. Spotty thin lace everywhere that the head touched the glass. I love how it says to drink the beer out of the can; I did not follow those orders.

Smell: This smells amazing! Big dank resinous hop oil upfront. Big citrus notes mostly oranges. Some mangos and peaches too. Also has a little bit of sweetness in the nose, similiar to honey.

Taste: This beer tastes very hoppy without being over the top bitter. Thats a great trait for any hoppy beer to have; I dig it for sure! Very nice balance between the malt and hops! The hops have a fairly complex profile here, probably the best that I have ever tasted. Oranges, tropical fruits(mango and pineapple), melon, grassy, herbal, hint of pine resin, and all the hops taste really juicy. The beer finishes with a mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation. Not a hint of booze at all...very nice! Semi-dry finish, yet still juicy and dank thanks to the hops!

Overall: Fantastic DIPA that lives up to its name. The only DIPA that I have found to be better is Lawson's Double Sunshine.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 2,219 ratings.