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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

9,376 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,376
Reviews: 1,756
rAvg: 4.73
pDev: 7.82%
Wants: 6,212
Gots: 2,233 | FT: 39
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: 9,376 | Reviews: 1,756 | Display Reviews Only:
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5/5  rDev +5.7%

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5/5  rDev +5.7%

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5/5  rDev +5.7%

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4.16/5  rDev -12.1%

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5/5  rDev +5.7%

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4.7/5  rDev -0.6%

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4.76/5  rDev +0.6%

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4.68/5  rDev -1.1%

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4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

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4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

After driving all day through winding Vermont by-roads with my wife (she wasn't a problem, but endless construction was) and waiting in a long-ass line at Beverage Baron, you bet I was going to pour this into a glass. I could smell tangy hops as soon as I cracked the can, which was a good sign.

Looks an awful lot like a hefeweizen of some sort, with a nice, even cloudiness. Great head retention and gloppy lacing down the glass. I broke out my rather old Humble Patience 20oz nonic glass, for some Vermont nostalgia.

Really nice resinous hop aroma. Very floral with some fruity malt esters mingling well.

I've had a lot of big IPA in my day, but this one is pretty singular. It's neither too oily, too malty, or too hoppy. It has almost an orange juice sweet n' tangy thing going up front, with a surprisingly creamy mouthfeel that somehow makes me think of milk or a rootbeer float. The carbonation is perfect. The brew is very hop forward of course, but in an unusually gentle, somehow elegant way. Sweetness is always there, but somehow hops are presented and showcased throughout the entire sip without ever being shocking or abrasive. There's a lot of juiciness in the finish, with a really pleasant citric/resin hop scent wafting up into my sinuses. It's a big beer, but has such an impossibly mellow demeanor that you can easily forget you're drinking an 8% beer.

I had more than a little pessimism about how good this beer really is, mostly attributing the hype to scarcity and mythology, but it really is pretty outstanding. I was skeptical about Westy 12 when it ruled the roost, and was largely let down, but I think the reviews are accurate in this case. I don't think I'd drive 8 hours round trip to wait in line at a specific time to buy it again, but it is worthy of the hype.

Of all the beer styles in the world, a double IPA is one that I'd never expect to call gentle and smooth, but this one certainly is. My only complaint is a touch of alcohol heat, especially on the first sip. It creates a dissonant tone after such a perfect first experience. Its not very bothersome, and I don't even notice it halfway through the beer, but it was a bit of an off note after a surprisingly great first sip. After drinking this beer, I have a new perspective on double IPA, and I'm realizing that there's a lot of really bad ones out there. For me, it's sort of like the first time I heard Metallica's Master of Puppets album at age 11-12. I realized that most of the other heavy metal I thought I liked was absolute garbage or at least not as good as I thought it was.

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4.12/5  rDev -12.9%

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5/5  rDev +5.7%

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4.8/5  rDev +1.5%

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4.04/5  rDev -14.6%

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Skunky before you even taste it olfactory is in overdrive.

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4/5  rDev -15.4%

16 oz can... 1/2 drank from can (as directed), 1/2 from tulip

A- Hazy goldn, light head
S- Dank, grass, orange creamcicle, grapefruit peel
T- Grass. pine bitterness, citrus peel bitterness. Obviously very hop forward, but well balanced
M- Medium. Slightly creamy

O- Good and glad I tried it, but it doesn't live up to the hype for me. Probably in my top 5 IIPAs, but I wouldn't call it "the best beer in the world"

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 9,376 ratings.