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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

8,236 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,236
Reviews: 1,628
rAvg: 4.73
pDev: 7.61%
Wants: 5,333
Gots: 1,701 | FT: 34
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
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Ratings: 8,236 | Reviews: 1,628 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of chefduff2
5/5  rDev +5.7%

chefduff2, Sep 25, 2012
Photo of batkinz
5/5  rDev +5.7%

batkinz, Sep 25, 2012
Photo of beermanbrian
4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

beermanbrian, Sep 25, 2012
Photo of Shnanign
4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

Shnanign, Sep 24, 2012
Photo of JimsArcade
4.83/5  rDev +2.1%

(Notes from an April 2012 sampling)

The brewers at The Alchemist are forthright in why Heady Topper should be enjoyed from the can. While the beer pours a gorgeous ruby-amber, tan chunks of what I believe to be yeast and hop resin spread throughout the beer. They do not affect the mouthfeel in or out of the can, though. If you can stomach the visuals, I highly recommend pouring the beer in a large snifter to experience the explosion of citrus and herbal aromas from the hops. The taste: it's like an orange was cross-bred with a hop and squeezed into the can. There is a perfect bittersweet balance at play here. I could drink these one after the other if availability allowed me to,

Simply put, this is a world-class IIPA. As far as I'm concerned, it's the new flagship for the style. I'm glad I got it when I did as I'm sure future releases will reach Pliny the Young levels of insanity.

JimsArcade, Sep 24, 2012
Photo of HumanParaquat
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

HumanParaquat, Sep 24, 2012
Photo of IcemanCometh
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

IcemanCometh, Sep 24, 2012
Photo of Davit
5/5  rDev +5.7%

Davit, Sep 24, 2012
Photo of Dennoman
4.35/5  rDev -8%

Reasonably fresh can, as fresh as I can get them in Europe. Thank you PaulMcConnell, been dying to try this hype monster since I first heard of it. Canned September 5th, had September 23rd. Poured a small amount into a glass for the appearance.

A: A muddy yellow attractive looking DIPA. Foam dies down very quickly: is this intentional because of the can drinking gimmick, or is there just not enough attention to details like PH levels during brewing?

S: O... M... G. This is where this beer shines. Waves upon waves of citrus. Pineapple is predominant, followed by overripe peach. Slight lemon and orange zest. Some honey and even a tiny bit of booze. Every time you take a whiff off this, you get something new.

T: Everything you get on the smell is what hits the palate first. After the swirl and swallow, it magically turns into a dry bitterness that cleans the palate completely. I might have enjoyed some more fruitiness, which is why it scores lower in the flavor department for me than i.e. the Three Floyds Zombie Dust. It beats any other IPA I've had in the smell department hands down, but the taste just turns overly dry and bitter for me. Not disappointing, but a lot different from what I expected.

M: Nice medium carbonation that befits the style beautifully and makes this beer insanely light (and dangerous) to drink. You need to drink this fairly fast though, as mine went almost completely flat after a good ten to fifteen minutes.

O: Wow. It's hard to say this considering there are so many different styles, each with their own distinct smell and taste profiles, but this is probably the best smelling beer I've ever had. The pineapple and peach aroma is simply divine and one of the easiest 5/5 I've ever handed out. I would drink this by the case-load for the rest of my life, if only it wasn't damn near impossible to get here in Europe. I'm very thankful to have tried this, and it was very interesting to taste a non-West Coast IPA that's still considered one of the world's finest.

A true honor and a reminder to how very humbling it is to be a part of this great community. Thanks again Paul!

Dennoman, Sep 23, 2012
Photo of cochan
5/5  rDev +5.7%

cochan, Sep 23, 2012
Photo of rand
4.08/5  rDev -13.7%

Poured from a can to a nonic pint

A: Well the first thing you notice is the dank appearance and a s$%t-ton of suspended yeast...I'd assume this is why the brewers have all-cap instructions to drink straight from the can - they don't want to scare you off!

S: But without a proper pour, you're not going to experience the bold, robust bouquet, which will result in an improper review, IMHO. Orange rind meddled with various ripened fruit teases your senses up-front. Booze and piny, vinous hop-essence surround the bouquet, with lingering sweet, bready malts.

T: Ripe citrus meets vinous hop astringency at the front of the palate. Orange pith blends nicely with toffee-sweet malts. There's a unique dank element (unique to the IPA's that surround me in San Diego) to the brew, I suspect from the yeast, that cuts through the malty sweetness, accentuating hop astringency. Finishes long and bitter.

M: Chewy for the style; as oily-slick as I've come across.

OK...there's no question that this is a good beer. A damn good beer. But #3 in the world? I can name 5 or 6 new imperial IPA's I've tried locally that are better crafted than this (Super IPA, The Pupil, this year's batch of summer YuleSmith to name a few). And they don't need to hide in a can. This points to a geographical bias that I've suspected of BeerAdvocate for some time...I'm sorry, but there's no way this is better than Pliny the Elder or any number of Alpine's IPA's. That being said, this shouldn't be reviewed against expectations. If I was handed this blind - say, in a keg cup so you don't see the crazy complexion - I'd be talking about it all night. It delivers on all the levels a fan of imperial IPA's expect (other than appearance). But given that this was pretty hard for me to come by I'll probably stick with more local treats.

rand, Sep 23, 2012
Photo of jcsarette
5/5  rDev +5.7%

jcsarette, Sep 23, 2012
Photo of danedelman
4.93/5  rDev +4.2%

A-I drink from the can but have poured into a glass and it is an amber with tons of sediment.

S-mango, pineapple raw hoppiness with a caramel maltiness. So good. So good.

T-holy poop. Not a hop bOMB like I thought. Very citrusy hopped but has a great balance to it with the Pearl malt. Wow! My favorite ever.

8%abv!!!! It drinks like a 5%er. Man this is smooth. So good.

danedelman, Sep 23, 2012
Photo of raznug
4.93/5  rDev +4.2%

Appearance: Heady Topper pours a hazy pale orange color and is topped with ¾” of head that tends to linger nicely, while Belgian lacing lines the glass.
Smell: This is not an overpowering hop explosion like I was expecting but it does have a well designed blend of hops that work together.
Taste: I have drunk quite a few IPA’s over the years and this maybe the best that I have ever had. The hops dominate the flavor but that isn’t all that I can taste the malt does make an appearance but it isn’t a long appearance but it does make for a well balanced beer that still has all the makings of one of the best IIPA’s in the world.
Mouthfeel: This is a tasty medium to heavy bodied beer that isn’t as easy drinking as some IIPA’s but a world class IIPA shouldn’t be able to drink like a BMC. The hops of the beer should stick around for a while.

raznug, Sep 22, 2012
Photo of JPortillo
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

JPortillo, Sep 21, 2012
Photo of bryang002
4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

bryang002, Sep 21, 2012
Photo of qcmicro
5/5  rDev +5.7%

qcmicro, Sep 21, 2012
Photo of robbiecola
2/5  rDev -57.7%

robbiecola, Sep 21, 2012
Photo of cackerman76
5/5  rDev +5.7%

Although the can directs not pour I couldn't do that. After taking a sip or two from the can I poured out and got the full hop aroma which I have to have with an IPA. This is beer is talked up so much I feared I would be let down but even with lofty expectations this beer exceeded them. Best IPA in northeast, Hands down.

cackerman76, Sep 21, 2012
Photo of BrandonDZ
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

BrandonDZ, Sep 21, 2012
Photo of jimilayne
5/5  rDev +5.7%

Appearance: His mama name him 'Clay', I'ma call him 'Clay' - straight from the can as advised by the maker. Who am I to defy him?

Smell: Whoa. Very strong citrus burst as soon as the can is cracked. Pineapple is the dominant aroma. Almost overwhelming.

Taste: Grapefruit, pineapple, obviously incredible hops. It lingers and doesn't let up for a good 20 seconds. Expands in your mouth.

Mouthfeel: Smooth like Miles Davis at his Kind of Blue peak. Toes the line of having a creamy feel but doesn't quite get there. Pretty much perfect.

If Superman was a beer drinker, he would drink Heady.

jimilayne, Sep 21, 2012
Photo of TheMultiYeast
4.93/5  rDev +4.2%

Had my first Heady Topper from the can..this ones from a tulip. Pours a very hazy pale orange with 2 fingers of head. Great retention and lacing. Some bubbles rising in the glass.

I could smell big tropical fruits upon opening the can. Pineapple sweetness, juicy hops, mint, really intense fresh hop aroma.

Taste doesn't disappoint either. More ripe tropical fruit, more citrus than the nose, incredibly clean bitterness and finish. An explosion of hops but insanely balanced and drinkable.

Perhaps the pinnacle of DIPAs

TheMultiYeast, Sep 21, 2012
Photo of bigedct
5/5  rDev +5.7%

bigedct, Sep 20, 2012
Photo of GimmeAGuinness
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

GimmeAGuinness, Sep 19, 2012
Photo of dcraig13
5/5  rDev +5.7%

dcraig13, Sep 19, 2012
Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 8,236 ratings.