Heady Topper | The Alchemist

2,186 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: 2,186 | Ratings: 12,246
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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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...

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Photo of bobbypaulson
4.42/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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.

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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.

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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!

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Photo of foureyedgeek
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Paid almost $13 for a single can of this beer. Worth it? We shall see.

Finally a beer that demands you drink it from the can! I cheated and poured a little in a glass to get a better look. Hazy, funky with a nice head and good lacing.

Smell is hoparific. Pine citrus hops oh my!

Taste is exceptional. This is one delicious beer. Bitter without being bracing, balanced without being tame. Absolutely great.

Mouthfeel is on the light side of creamy with enough prickly carbonation and dryness to bring you hack for me.

Overall, I'd say 13 bucks is highway robbery, but this beer almost makes extortion worthwhile. I'll justify by saying this is a limited tough to find release that easily trounces a bomber of other DIPAs at the same price. I won't pay that again, I'll trade instead. But I love canned beer and I had to try this one. It lives up to the hype.

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

This is really an amazing beer. I am generally not into double IPA because they usually substitute taste for strength of content. However, I bought a 4 pack of this from Waterbury VT, and I loved it more each time I had it. The hops are incredible, the flavor is ... well try it. Its worth the three bucks that it costs.

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Photo of tony32408
4.88/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from the can. An unfiltered cloudy orange/yellowish/bronze color with a light bubbly white head, and yeast particles abound. This beer is not the prettiest thing to look at.

The smell is of immense citrus and some pine.

The taste...This is an 8% American Double/Imperial IPA that is as smooth and easy to drink as any a 6% American IPA. As the beer starts to warm, all of the delicious tropical flavors just explode in your mouth.

Overall, this is how you make a World-Class Double IPA. It deserves all of its hype. I'm going to travel all the way to Vermont just to pick up a case this summer. I declare this Summer of Heady Topper!

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Photo of drinkmorebeer07
4.89/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Its the real deal. Hoppy, Cirtusy, delicious. Smoothest finishing IPA / DIPA ever. No idea that it packs any extra booze than a smooth IPA. Wish I had more.

I hope they up production, because they could charge triple what they do now, and still sell everything they could produce and more.

Hopefully they will distribute in Boston soon.

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

Can at Deccico's in Brewster - and several since. Poured into tulip. Pours a hazy sticky orange. Smells fantastic. Fruity intense hop aroma! Pineapple and pine. Taste is very hop forward with a bit of fruity sweetness, pineapple, pine bitter, and some nice malt balance. A nice bitter but smooth mouthfeel...
Overall, quite an amazing DIPA! Always ISO...

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Photo of WillCarrera
4.64/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

16 oz can, no date, drank most of it out of the can, poured the rest into a snifter. Big thanks to Agold for sharing this with me.

A- Pours a cloudy amber color, nearly opaque, has some floaty stuff in it.

S- Huge juicy citrus aroma, grapefruit and orange, lots of resinous pine, lots of different fruits, a bit of sweet malt and caramel in the back. The aroma is huge and smells totally delicious.

T- Powerful bitterness combines with citrus and tropical fruit, some pine resin, big hops, everything is very vivid and bright but also in complete balance.

M- Medium-bodied, perfect amount of carbonation, very dry and bitter finish.

O- One of the best DIPA's I've had, insane drinkability, this definitely lives up to the hype for me, I've always been a huge Pliny fan, but this is just as good (not getting into that argument). This is the kind of beer I would drink every day forever if I could.

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Photo of 4thelvofbeer
4.48/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Wow! Now I know why this beer has a 100 rating! Popped open my first Heady Topper tonite (am drinking it right now) thanks to a great trade bonus from rudzud (thanks again!) Notes follow:

A: Hazy orange copper color, a bit of a slight head that dissapates quickly....(still very carbonated...)
S: Oranges, grapefruits, big citrus notes.
T: Nice bitter IPA! Really nice! Big Citrus, almost sweet but at the same time bitter. Very smooth with absolutely no crappy aftertaste found in cheap IPAs.
M: Silky smooth, no harshness here..
O: A really, really nice IPA. Definitely enjoy these higher-powered IPAs!!

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Photo of Agold
4.56/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Heady topper is ridiculously cloudy with a nice head they yields a bit of lacing. There is some beer dandruff floating around as well. Aroma is very fruity and citrus pine explosion. There's a huge pungent aroma, this beer doesn't fuck around. Flavor is Lindy and citrusey. Very nice but not quite as pungent as the aroma and a bit sweeter. The sweetness however does not increase the mouthfeel at all. Light and dry. Very frighteningly drinkable. Definitely happy to have traded for this.

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

look N/A i'm fallowing instructions and not pouring any into a glass

smelling it in the can. it pretty damn good. citrus and grapefruit (not super easy to grasp through the can but nice)

the hops are amazing, citrus and fruitiness mild pineyness is found

med-high carbonation and light-medium bodied leaving a wet mouth feel

overall GREAT glad i finally got a hold of one

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Photo of r0nyn
4.74/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a can (despite the admonishments on the rim) into a Duvel tulip. Courtesy of and split with BA infi, along with BA NYManc.

Cloudy golden and translucent with a thinnish head that dissipates quickly enough. Doesn't leave too much lacing at all, but what little there is sticks in spots to the inside of the glass. Not really that chunky, but it's not that easy to see through. Smell is out of this world, holy God. It smells like someone squeezed fresh pineapple, grapefruit, mango and passion fruit straight into the glass. There's a mild peachiness that follows this initial tropical fruit onslaught, coupled with some smooth maltiness on the end. No booziness detectable.

Taste follows through on the smell, with all of the fruit essences making an appearance, though they do seem a bit subdued on the tongue after getting punched in the nose with all these amazing scents. Bitter hops appear next, though the flavor is balanced by the sweetly pungent fruit. There's maltiness in here, but it's definitely not the featured attraction. Mild bitterness comes through on the tail end, but doesn't ride through into the aftertaste. The finish is very, very smooth and dry, leaving you wanting more (and you definitely will). The body is just so right, equal parts smooth and gently carbonated. Very well done.

This stuff is miles above 99% of the DIPAs I've had, wow. Totally complex yet eminently drinkable, this is the new standard. Definitely deserving of the score and the hype.

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

Cumulative review after about 5 in the past 2 weeks...

Can to tulip at about 45 degrees.

Pours with 1F of off-white head over an opaque, deep gold body with tons of floaties. Touch of lacing.

Aromas contain a tropical fruit explosion, full of pineapple, coconut, some grapefruit, and surprisingly ... plenty of charred log as it warms.

Bold and sharp on the palate. Flavors move slightly off tropical over to orange, mango, and pine, with lots of white pepper, and some young pineapple rind. Definitely a DIPA, as the hops seem to engulf the sweetness.

Crisp and full of carbonation... could be smoother for higher points here.

Not the be-all, end-all of DIPAs. I thought it was very reminiscent of Mongo (bottle variety, not draft). Sharp, hop-forward, and full of floaties.

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

A: I guess this is the only "knock" (what a joke) on this beer. Cloudy with sediment and a lght burnt orange color. It doesn't look that pretty, but I don't want wall art, I want great beer.

S: strong citrus notes, mild piney smell with a hint of sweetness.

T: Initially a citrus rush. Mild hop flavor with a sharp, but not biting, finish. Absolutely delicious. .

M: "Thicker" than I thought it would be. Great full body with light carbonation. Very smooth, slides over tongue.

O: Highly recommeded. If you're looking for a DIPA, this one really has it all. Complete package. I.M.H.O., second only to Citra by Kern River.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 2,186 ratings.