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Heady Topper - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Heady TopperHeady Topper

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

8,655 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,655
Reviews: 1,674
rAvg: 4.73
pDev: 8.03%
Wants: 5,633
Gots: 1,873 | FT: 35
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:
"An American Double IPA” 75 IBU 8.0% abv

(Beer added by: scottum on 03-27-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Heady Topper Alström Bros
Ratings: 8,655 | Reviews: 1,674 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of andrewroose
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

andrewroose, Apr 09, 2014
Photo of FiveByFive
4.85/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

What's not to love about this beer? There are no compromises and makes no apologies.
I've had it in a tulip glass to try and accentuate the hops, and took the Kimmich recommendation and drank from the can. Both are great, but prefers a straight from the can approach. And here's why:

In the glass, very orange and murky. Light and pronounced head.
In the can - nothing but a fantastic and constant hop-slam in your face.

In the glass, hop presence remains, and as the beer warms, the various hop aromas come into play.
In the can - hop complexity - this baby will keep you guessing with each sip.

Mouthfeel - for a DIPA, it is deceiving - fruity, smooth, not overly bitter - quite accessible.

Is it the best DIPA ever? It's hard to give it a perfect score, because it means there's no opportunity for another to surpass it - but this is one of a few to emulate - sets the standard.

Last point - had one fresh, had one 'aged' in my fridge for several months, mostly because it was the last one and I was afraid to let it go. For best flavour and overall experience? Drink this baby fresh. It was meant to.

FiveByFive, Apr 09, 2014
Photo of CaptainPancakes
5/5  rDev +5.7%

CaptainPancakes, Apr 08, 2014
Photo of 510a
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

510a, Apr 08, 2014
Photo of KCBeerNerd
4.25/5  rDev -10.1%

KCBeerNerd, Apr 08, 2014
Photo of ralerwen
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

ralerwen, Apr 08, 2014
Photo of alexbutler
5/5  rDev +5.7%

alexbutler, Apr 08, 2014
Photo of KevBot89
5/5  rDev +5.7%

KevBot89, Apr 08, 2014
Photo of beautato
4.89/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: amber or even an off gold colored, not really cloudy, just opaque enough not to be able to see through.

Smell / Nose: Smells strongly of fresh cut grass, rich hops, pine and citrus tones.

Taste: Big Grapefruit flavor, apricots, smooth creamy, but hoppy finish. The can is right, its very drinkable.

Mouthfeel: It has a slight mineral taste, like spring water. Each sip leaves your mouth clean and extremely pleasant, your pallet is fresh after every sip making it very drinkable.

Overall: Would enjoy over and over again. I am not so much of a hop-head, but this was a very enjoyable beer I would always have again.

beautato, Apr 08, 2014
Photo of Wayne17
4/5  rDev -15.4%

Wayne17, Apr 07, 2014
Photo of Saudereth
5/5  rDev +5.7%

Saudereth, Apr 07, 2014
Photo of jebrew
5/5  rDev +5.7%

jebrew, Apr 07, 2014
Photo of Erick_G
5/5  rDev +5.7%

Erick_G, Apr 07, 2014
Photo of Murph-Dawg
5/5  rDev +5.7%

Murph-Dawg, Apr 07, 2014
Photo of Uhler
5/5  rDev +5.7%

Uhler, Apr 07, 2014
Photo of Pelican5
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

Pelican5, Apr 06, 2014
Photo of Brick_Frog
4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

Brick_Frog, Apr 06, 2014
Photo of delgotit99
5/5  rDev +5.7%

delgotit99, Apr 06, 2014
Photo of zackward
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

zackward, Apr 06, 2014
Photo of tpaetow
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

tpaetow, Apr 06, 2014
Photo of Zack_B
4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

Zack_B, Apr 06, 2014
Photo of mewanderinghome
4.23/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Heady Topper. Yes, the 'holy grail.'

Well, the can orders you to drink from the can, so I did that first. Okay, I can see why this has a following. And not just because of the obvious: yes it's ridiculously hard to get hold of outside Vermont. Or inside Vermont, frankly. At least as of this date in early 2014- I drove to the Hunger Mountain Coop in Montpelier VT on an early spring Friday and dutifully waited in line with folks from all over (like literally- the couple from Switzerland standing next to me included) for 3pm to roll around.

People who know me know I don't taste hard-to-get beer haphazardly. I do this scientifically. This is my 107th IPA I've formally reviewed (I've only posted a handful of reviews here on BA..but they are comprehensive :), and I always have a control IPA I know well as a taste reference. My usual control, Two Hearted, was sadly not available at Hunger Mountain. I went with one of my fave SD brews they had available, Green Flash West Coast. For good measure, I threw in a Maine Lunch that happened to be available at the Coop (effing score!)

On to the head-to-Heady review (after pouring into Worthy glasses):

Appearance: quite yellow for an IPA. Clarity: not cloudy...impossible to see through. Very little head on the Heady

Nose: hops, pure and unadulterated. I'm getting hardly anything else. Maybe a hint of citrus, but it may just be left over in my nostrils after the West Coast (or Maine Lunch, which has similar color, a bit more clarity, and a really sweet fruity nose).

Now to where it counts, down the gullet: Overwhelmingly full mouthfeel. Creamy. More creamy full hop than I think I've ever tasted. Which is saying something.

And the verdict: Honestly? Too much. Weedy. Here's the jist of it: IT TASTES LIKE YOU'RE DRINKING PURE HOPS & KIND BUD WHIPPED UP IN A BLENDER WITH PURE O2 AND MOUNTAIN SPRING WATER.

Yes, I know that statement may now drive a whole new wave of people to consider this beer the unattainable holy grail. It's definitely not a bad beer. Not at all. But in reality, after the first few sips, vs other really good IPAs, it's maybe A LITTLE MUCH. As a drinkable beer, the Maine Lunch I'm having beside it wins. Solidly. But this shiz is def worth trying sometime. Holy crap.

UPDATE: Despite losing in the head-to-head with Maine's Lunch IPA in my initial review, there really is something about the incredible mouthfeel and DRINKABLE intense hoppiness that keeps calling me back to the fridge for another can instead of trading. It really is a surprisingly unique IPA experience and not just a case of scarcity helping ratings. After several more, I feel I need to give Heady even better scores in a couple areas.

It's quickly becoming an addiction, and not the right addiction to have for those of us living on the opposite side of the country. Damn you, Alchemist.

mewanderinghome, Apr 06, 2014
Photo of hail_seitan
4.99/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed from a 16 oz can as instructed.

A - Poured some out into a shot glass to see what it looks like. Pale pilsen color. The body is hazy from the yeast and hop resin. I enjoy the minimalist design approach of the can as well.

S - The smell of hops wafts tremendously from the open can. Scents of peaches, flowers, grass, and a touch of resin fill the nostrils. Delightful.

T - Even better than the smell. A rush of tropical fruit and ripe orange taste assaults the tongue. Just a touch of pine to remind you that the flavors come from hops, not actual fruit. Compared to other famous DIPAs, there is no discernible onion/garlic/savory taste at all. The malt backbone is appropriately sweet and balanced, but really serves as a showcase for the amazing hops. A touch of bitterness hits the palate toward the end, but astoundingly does not linger. The aftertaste is of the tropical fruit and honey.

M - Wonderfully creamy with enough viscosity to remind you of the 8% ABV. Carbonation is present but inconspicuous so as not to distract from everything else going on.

O - This beer is seriously good and perhaps the best DIPA I have ever tasted. Whereas there is usually something lacking in even the best of beers, there is nothing I can think of to make this beer better. Believe the hype.

hail_seitan, Apr 06, 2014
Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 8,655 ratings.