Heady Topper - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Heady TopperHeady Topper

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

1,949 Reviews
THE BROS
93
outstanding

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Reviews: 1,949
Hads: 10,954
rAvg: 4.66
pDev: 7.73%
Wants: 8,140
Gots: 3,469 | FT: 56
Brewed by:
The Alchemist visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: scottum on 03-27-2004

"An American Double IPA" 75 IBU 8.0% abv
View: Beers (11) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,949 | Hads: 10,954
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)

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

Can poured into a couple Spaten glasses. Thanks so much to Azdback for sharing this with me!

The head is about 1 and a half fingers, slightly off-white, and creamy. Fades down but has really nice sticky lacing and leftover 'foamyness.' The color of the beer is a cloudy bright orange with some sediment floating around (not much though).

The aroma is REALLY nice! Fresh bright citrus fruits, blood orange, pungent grapefruit, tangerine, mango, just a plethora of those types of aromas, along with piney, bitter, leafy hops. Really great smelling!

The taste is really quite similar and very nice. Fresh citrus, blood orange, and really overripe citrus flavors, tropical fruits, grapefruit, mango, and maybe passionfruit, along with some bitterness and piney, wet, and hop cone flavors.

Mouthfeel is nice and creamy, almost luscious. Nice creamy consistency, medium carbonation, body is medium (maybe closer to the lighter side), and the finish is nice and light and dry. Superbly drinkable!

Overall this is a really damn good beer. I'm not quite sure where I rank it amongst my top DIPAs but actually I get to have a bottle of Pliny and can of Abrasive right after this haha. And after having all three, I honestly can't pick a favorite. I'd give Pliny the edge when on tap, super fresh bottle, or fresh growler. But Pliny really does seem to drop off after 2 weeks. If I had to rank them from this tasting, I'd say Abrasive > Heady Topper > Pliny. Thanks again for sharing these, Paul! (1,496 characters)

Photo of bwmichaud
4.55/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cracked the can and poured into a glass. A nice orange color with lots of head and tons of shit floating in it. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind the floaties but I certainly needed to deduct some points for that. I would normally just drink it from the can, as the can states, so it would not be an issue for me. This is a hop bomb, plain and simple. It is up there with the best of the best hop bombs. I love this beer and you will too. (437 characters)

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

Received a 1 PINT can of this from mdvatab in a recent trade (fresh!). Poured from the silver can w/ the "Alchemist", HEADY TOPPER, & DRINK FROM THE CAN! all in black into a 16oz pint glass (but only half the can). Enjoyed the rest straight from the can so I could review half and enjoy "how it should be" the rest. Has 11020B2BB on the back but no sign of freshness date.

Aroma- Has the biggest citrus, piney hop aroma I've ever experience! Reminds me of a FFF brew. Grassy as well. Packed with more hops than can describe. Try for yourself!

Appearance- Pours a 3 finger, bubbly head that lasts for great time. Has a nice orange/reddish copper body with no haziness. Leaves suds down the glass (but only got to see what 1/2 a pint did).

Flavor- VERY fresh and perfect complexity. Mango and citrus hit the palate hard and then has a piney flavor. Sweet nectar, this thing rocks! Medium-High Bitterness and finishes rather sweet. Can't get enough...

Mouthfeel- Medium-Full Bodied, Medium-High Carbonation, Smooth, Pure sweetness, and then grapefruit actually came out on the ending, leaving the palate with pure pleasure.

Overall Impression- And this is why I was looking for this one for the past year! Unbelievable! Thanks for sharing Mark. Both drinking from the glass and the can were enjoyable but from the can was very fun! Intense, fruits like crazy, and great amount of hop all kept this one above many I've ever had. Will be looking for this again! HIGHLY recommend. (1,484 characters)

Photo of Ohiovania
4.44/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is magical. Had it brewery direct via a couple buddies just a few days after it was "canned". This is by far the best IIPA I have ever tasted. I'm sorry Pliny.

Grapefruits, citrus, pine, gummy bears. Mouthfeel was great and it was so refreshing. I refused to drink mine out of the can though. (304 characters)

Photo of Humulus85
4.52/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to tjkinate for this one. The infamous Heady Topper! Now I can say I've had the three best DIPAs out there (Heady, Abrasive, and PtE). Served from the can with a bit poured into my Darkness snifter for appearance.

Pours a vibrant, sunburst orange. Hazy, with a very dense, white head. Killer retention and some fine lacing.

Smell is of juicy hops. A lot of citrus and tropical fruits, with some pine and grass thrown in. Not much in the way of malt, and a touch of alcohol.

I love me these juicy hop bombs! Wonderful hop profile. Tropical fruits upfront meet with some dryer piney/grassy notes in the middle. Some bready malt keeps everything in check. A bit of alcohol rounds it all out. Super clean throughout.

This is where this brew really stands out. So smooth and surprisingly light on the pallet. Perfect carbonation. By no means overly bitter or sweet or dry; just perfect. Just as smooth as Pliny.

Overall this is truly a world-class DIPA, and a damn fine beer. I now know why this beer is alway mentioned in the top five for the style. It isn't as aggressive as Abrasive, but more so than Pliny. A must have to any hop-head. Cheers! (1,158 characters)

Photo of rvdoorn
4.79/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jeff and Erik for sharing this one during the BA tasting in Utrecht. Had this one side-to-side with the Dreadnaught IPA
Look: the beer pours a golden-orange color with a nice white head
Smell: Citrus, grapefruit, other tropical fruits, freshly cut grass and pine. This is the best smelling IPA I ever had by far.
Taste: Lemon zest, mango, grass and intensively bitter, dry and piney aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Medium high carbonation, medium bodied.
Overall: By far the best IPA I ever had. This one, compared to most other IPAs, is not only smelling great, but has a perfect balance and doesn’t dry out the tongue. I never thought I would say this about an IPA, but can drink this any time of the day. (712 characters)

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

A : Golden to amber color, large bubbles, some chill haze, some hop/protein coagulates, but if allowed to sit, you can decant most of this off if it bothers you (doesn’t bother me). Not much lacing or head retention.

S: Pine and citrus/orange hop aromas with some nice malt behind it. Complex aromas meld together really well. Great!

T: Wow! Hop bomb backed up by a great malt backbone, really nice mix of hop/malt flavors. Excellent bitter bite at the finish, just right. One of the best DIPAs out there.

M: Very “chewy” mouth feel, nice! Some warm alcohol finish.

O: Simple: one of the best DIPAs out there! While Pliny the Elder may have set the style, I think this beer takes it to a better place. (711 characters)

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

I finally made the 3 hour drive to get some Heady Topper.
I'm going to drink some out of the can, as they suggest, and some out of a snifter, as I tend to prefer.

pouring half(ish) of the can into an oversized snifter gives a glowing golden orange body and a pure white head that is not too oversized, but sticks around and laces well.

tropical fruits slam my nose with tons of citrus, juicy and bitter, and some pine, lemon zest, some earthy/floral hops and some light malts. very aromatic.

tons and tons of resiny hop flavors with tropical fruits, juicy and bitter citrus, tons of pine, a good amount of bitterness, and a sweetness that comes in for a visit before it finishes resiny and bitter. (when I took a 1 ounce sample at the brewery, I tasted it the whole 3 hour drive home!) what a tasty, intense beer.

medium bodied and over-the-top resiny with just enough carbonation to add a prickly feel. it starts and ends as pure hop resin though.

oh my god. definitely meets the expectations. I'm glad I spent my Christmas money to buy an entire case. I was going to share a lot of it, but I have a feeling I'll be drinking a lot of this the next week!!! Happy new year to me!!! (1,185 characters)

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.32/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Inflatablechair supplied this one at a recent tasting.... badass... finally, I got to try Heady topper.

Pours a hazed yellow.... nice lacing and retention.

Wow... the nose is pretty damn good... citrus zest... grapefruit... tangerine... maybe some lemon.... balanced just slightly by a light pale malt presence.... smells very fresh and very yummy.

Big bitterness up front quickly moves to a palate blast of citrus hops that have a touch of pine in there.... even some tropical fruitiness is accentuated by a slight pale maltiness... very good.

Body and carbonation are spot-on for the style.

Pretty damn good.... If I could get this regularly, it would be a fridge staple.... Thanks a ton Sammy.

4/4.5/4/4/5 (714 characters)

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

From a glass with about a third from the can.

Very pale yellow with a foamy, two-finger white head. Very small flecks of yeast float around.

The aroma from the can is an exceptionally concentrated hop. Just potent hops. Mostly pine, musky, with a citrus edge. Maybe a little grass in the back. I get no malt in the aroma. A glass tames the smell--same stuff at lower concentration.

Tastes like a musky, piney grapefruit--but not a red grapefruit. It lacks the sweetness and lush, tropical juiciness of the best of the best. Still, it's a great hoppy taste. Very bitter, minimal malt that's only in the back end, which is just the faintest bit of biscuit. It's all that great bitter hop.

It's fairly thin, though. That was disappointing. Red's Rye and Sierra Nevada Celebration are thicker, and they're singles. I expected more from a double. It's nicely carbonated, but finishes thin. It tastes more full from the glass and thinner and more single-noted from the can. (972 characters)

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

Canned on Dec 13, 2011. Poured in to CBS Snifter.

A - Murky orange colour with one finger of thick, foamy off-white head and some very good lacing.

S - Huge pine and citrus aromas up front with a big bitterness evident. Grapefruit, tangerine and some light peach and lemon zest aromas along with a slightly sweet caramel malt bill in the background.

T - Massive bitterness up front. Grapefruit rind, pine and orange zest flavours come through with a very fresh and juicy hop bitterness. There are some tropical fruit flavours present as well - some mango, peach and pineapple. The malt bill is almost non-existent and provides a touch of sweetness to compliment to the big hop bitterness. The finish is dry and bitter with the hop resin lingering on the tongue. The ABV is extremely well hidden.

M - Light to medium body with a big chew. Light to moderate carbonation. Resiny, oily, tongue coating.

O - A great example of the style. (942 characters)

Photo of Duff27
4.67/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an inch tal white head. Spotty lacin, average head retention.

Citrus aromaright from the crack of the can. Oranges, grapefruit.

More outratgeous citrus. Leaves the mouthwatering. Wonderful malt backbone. Well hidden ABV!

Thicker mouthfeel than the average DIPA.

Excellent excellent wxaple the style. Presents the citrus aspect as well as any other. Thanks a ton bhollas! (380 characters)

Photo of brewerburgundy
4.68/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16oz can, Sam Adam's Perfect Pint and red wine glass, canned 12/6/11. Huge, big thanks to Jayli in Secret Santa 2011!

It's quite hazy in sunset oranges and yellows. The head is white, but there isn't much of it.

MMMM, passionfruit, marijuana, tangarine, orange hard candies. Explosive fruity aroma all over the place. Fleeting alcohol heat.

Orange peel bitterness, grapefruit, dank and resinous hops abound. A sexy hop tango between grapefruit and orange bitterness and tropical and resinous flavors. There is the sweetness of significant caramel malts tempered by the bitterness and mellowed by alcohol.

It's really soft in the mouth. I would say a bit undercarbonated, but it's got that nice softness that transfers bitterness so wonderfully. A little slippery with wonderful alcohol integration.

World class is right. The hops are so vibrant. It has a much more substantial malt base than, say, Pliny the Elder, but it is so tasty. I rarely give fives. (964 characters)

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

Fresh from the can...then poured into my Darkness snifter.

Body is beautiful, clear orange, even though I know it's unfiltered. Head is moderate to thin and off white. I recall the head being thicker at the brewery, maybe my pour was too gentle.

Nose is unsurpassed. This smells like true hop heaven. I can't see how they get this intensity without using a hopback, bet they do.

Flavor is so smooth and juicy, it's hard to believe this is a DIPA. It wears the 8% ABV so well it could cause trouble. Serious citrus hop flavor, but without extreme bitterness. Malt is there too, but hides in the back, as it should with this sort of beer.

Mouthfeel is slick, coating and enamel etching. Oh yeah!

Overall is tops. Worth the drive to VT. Worth whatever you need to trade to get some. I love this beer! (802 characters)

Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 1,949 ratings.