Heady Topper - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Heady TopperHeady Topper

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BA SCORE
100
world-class

9,436 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,436
Reviews: 1,769
rAvg: 4.73
pDev: 7.82%
Wants: 6,317
Gots: 2,282 | FT: 37
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)
View: Beers (14) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 9,436 | Reviews: 1,769 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ECalebrews449
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of powz87
4/5  rDev -15.4%

Photo of dczernic
4/5  rDev -15.4%

Photo of JoshTellez
5/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of MRsojourner
4.23/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

the look outside of the can is super hazy....but what do you expect with this many hops! the foamy light head persisted till the end of the glass.
the smell is citrus and a strange musty aroma.
the taste is not that bitter at all....it's like super hop orange juice that is very drinkable. it keeps you coming back. very easy to drink given the abv level and hop usage. very glad I got to try this and will drink it out of the can next time to see if there is any difference given there recommendation.

Photo of dc4three
5/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of Rogorama
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of nawset
5/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of basickness
5/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 1 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

i searched low and high for this bad boy. i listened to the directions and drank straight from the can. no idea how old it was when i got it. IPA's are my go to all the time, and this thing is awesome. i will say not worth the $15 a can ive seen charged for it, but i'd drop an easy $8 on it.

Photo of ScaryHairy44
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of goalie33
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of IrishKevin
4.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had a real hard time getting this beer. A friend hooked me up with 1 can from his 4 pack.
My expectations were really high to finally try this. Split it with my brother who was also trying it for the first time.

Poured into a pint glass out of can.

Grapfruit and citrus hop aroma jumped out of the glass which was awesome.

Taste followed the nose extremly hop forward, which was to be expected. Citrus notes stood out the most to me. Hard time tasting the malt. Very fresh with extremly long aftertaste.

Overall, I was not that impressed, maybe because my expectaions were too high. Still a great beer, especially if you love this style. Need to try directly from can.

For what it is worth my brother absolutly loved it.
---
Edit: Tried a second time from the can.
THis time I purchased straight from the brewery so the freshness was insured.

This beer is very good, I think having it in a glass and getting it third hand had effected it the first time.

It is easy drinking for such a hoppy beer, I would almost call it juicy. Really kicks ass.

Photo of Thirsty_Rob
4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

Photo of magictacosinus
4.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I'm so glad that angrybabboon could provide me plenty of these for the coming weeks. I've already had this once, but I'm reviewing it today 15 days since canning day - about the widely considered perfect time to drink this. For this review, I got a bit experimental. I love how this is in the can, but I poured it alongside in a glass and reviewed both side by side - half in the glass, with the other half in the can. Poured into a teku glass.

A:
Can: Has a silver label with a fun, delightful illustration showing what could be the brewmaster himself demonstrating the wonderful hoppy things to come. Not having this in the glass is the only downside of drinking this out of the can, but I can live with that.
Glass: Pours a sunset orange amber complete with a frothy as hell, bubbly head. I left the sediment in the can, so it looks slightly hazy with a good deal of floaties. Patches of carbonation streak the glass's edges, as does lacing. Head eventually vanishes, with very frothy bubbles remaining at the sides. Slightly hazy without the extra gunk. Looks very pretty and rustic, and very much near perfect in its presentation as a full-bodied, rich DIPA.

S:
Can: Huge, earthy, hoppy citrus rind zest immediately captivates my nose, with slight tropical fruits to boot. Guava, papaya, oranges, limes, lemons, hop vine mineral-y characteristics, as well as a pungent, floral finish. This has everything you'd expect in the style, only incredibly well spread out and balanced. No metallic aftertaste from the can. Yeasty phenols are all out here, in in a way that's delightfully funky yet sharp and robust. Cannot smell any alcohol, although there is a slight sweetness underneath. No malts or grains here - the hops are completely victorious. Absolutely unlike any DIPA I've ever had.
Glass: It's incredible how much this loses a lot of the hoppy, resinous profile when poured in the glass. While there's still a strong, sharp flavor of well dried citrus notes, and maybe some apricot and grassiness, a lot of the tropical flavors are pretty much gone, and the malty flavor is far more present, in a classic East Coast, caramel/toffee profile. Slightly funky and rustic for sure, but a lot of that initial earthy flavor has definitely been lost.

T:
Can: I think the first time I ever took a sip of HT straight out of the can, my head exploded. This is unbelievably good and lives up to every bit of hype. Right at the front of the tongue there's a juicy, creamy, completely refreshing cascade of hoppy and fruity flavors, ranging from oranges to lemons to mangoes to papaya and pineapple in a way that seems to last forever. TONS of grapefruit. However, rather than feel sweet and overwhelming, these fruity phenols are immediately followed by a pungent, dank, earthy flavor in the sense that takes you to the core of the hop aromas in a fresh, lively, and robust manner. Some slight butterscotch, maybe even toffee aromas follow, but the hops do their job and finish in a ridiculously astringent manner to the point of nearly tying up the tongue in knots, only to release and reveal the smoothened creaminess from the well carbonated feel of the beer, thickness of the malts and oils, and well accentuated alcohol bite that goes down well and warms up the throat in the long run. Thick, hearty, juicy, and pretty much fabulous. It's not balanced, but it's flawless as far as great drinking experiences go. Never thought I'd ever say it, but here we are.
Glass: Out of the glass, it's delicious as well, although you get far less of those earthy flavors, as expected. The only difference otherwise is it feeling a little bit more balanced and allowing the malty syrupy feel to meld with the remaining hop oils, which still gives it the impression of being a full-bodied and well integrated beer. Less tropical notes too, although there's a delightful grassy flavor that sticks around and combines very well with the citrus. Definitely more mellow than out of the can, but still world class.

It's clear that the full experience of this beer lies in the can, and it's definitely how I'll be drinking my Heady Toppers from now on, regardless of how pretty it looks to me. This is really an experience unlike any other, and while it remains an world class beer in the glass... Out of the can, it's utterly mind blowing with all of its flavor, earthy nuances, and scarily drinkable qualities. Do seek it out. It's simultaneously glorious and humble. It's super flavorful but never overwhelming. It's designed for anyone to enjoy of any background, if they enjoy a good beer. Absolutely brilliant.

UPDATE (1/6/2014): I pitted this against some other DIPAs of similar nature (no Pliny), and this was the loser overall. All were about 2 months old. This is really good, but best consumed fresh - it becomes more piney and funky over time, and loses a lot of its fresh squeezed juicy flavors that I enjoy in the style. Worth seeking out, but make sure you know the date!

Photo of profbobo
4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

Photo of campfirebrew
4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

Photo of JaymeAyotte1
5/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of majaqua
5/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of tastyville
4.93/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

My homeboy Javier at Vendome Wine and Spirits in Placentia had a can of this. He knows to go to the backroom where he keeps all his exclusive collection when I arrive. He brought a can of this out and I asked him what he would trade for it. He said he would take $4. What a steal! I shared it with my other homeboys at Art and Craft Brews (and homegirls). They all got excited when I showed up with it. You should have seen their eyes open up and mouth the words Oh My God! So here is my review, trying my very best not to be biased since I'm west coast and the west is the best...
It poured out a bit murky- I expected it to have been filtered, but the color was a nice golden orange. The aroma was a prelude to nice balance. Exactly what is to be expected from an exquisite IPA- rich pine, citrus and apricot all in a perfect blend- and in that order! The taste was very smooth. I only had two gulps so I had to make them count! Like I said the aromas were a prelude to the taste and it tasted very predictable (which is good) and inviting. The rich flavor profile and dynamic masks the alcohol which is very nice too. I just wish it was filtered to get a more acute, pure flavor without the murk masking anything. The aluminum in the can added to the brightness of flavor. Very close to Pliny the Younger, which nobody could help but compare it to. What makes this slightly inferior was that it is nearly 4% less ABV than Younger and not as smooth. So there. Can't wait for another can! The hunt is on.

Photo of tommyguz
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of Skrypt
5/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of Scalzo
4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

Photo of BenTenison
5/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Having had this beer on multiple occasions...I can not say enough about Heady Topper. When compared to the other top DIPA's I've had there is a few traits that set this beer apart from the rest. The main two are its balance and drink-ability. It is an unrelenting wave of hops across the palate yet still has you coming back for more.

A - Appearance on this beer is perfect. Hazy, unfiltered, and loaded with yeast. While some may count such characteristics against the beer I prefer unfiltered beer. Makes the beer feel less refined and more what it truly is, just a beer.

S - The smell you pick up as you crack a can is an assault of grapefruit on your nose. It never truly fades and if drunk from the can the aroma lingers for days after consumption.

T - Grapefruit and pine, a mixture of citrus and hop bitterness that bombards your tongue with flavor but never goes overboard.

M - I chill my cans to ice cold before drinking and I like to let it warm as I drink it, the mouth feel from a heavily chilled can comes off as crisp and refreshing and it thins as it warms with a growing bitterness.

Overall - While I can understand why some people do not regard Heady Topper to be the best beer in the world or even the best double IPA, I personally enjoy Heady Topper in any and all situations. I give this beer a perfect score because no matter my mood, location, or food pairing I can always enjoy a can of HT. John Kimmich is also a super friendly hands on brewer who truly cares about the beer he brings to market.

Photo of BrettHead
4.25/5  rDev -10.1%

Photo of JerryG
4.95/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This is one well hyped beer. Usually that would make for some disappointment, however this one lives up to the hype... Almost. I had a friend from NH ship out a 4 pack about six months ago, of which I distributed 3 and drank one. I have just had a case shipped out, and am enjoying the rare nice weather here with this beer.

Great complete hoppy nose, like the best imperial/double IPA's the hops fill the full spectrum of smell and flavor. I disagree with keeping it in the can. I think it is better served in a chalice where you can appreciate the plethora of smells.

In my opinion, the Northeast style of DPA is too malty. This one is more malty than Pliny, but not too much and is still about right to balance the bitterness of the hops.

The single most unique characteristic of this beer is the drinkabililty. Despite the strong flavors, after you are finished, you want more. It should be leaving a strong aftertaste, but it doesn't. In that respect it is a 5/5.

Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 9,436 ratings.