1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Heady Topper - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Heady TopperHeady Topper

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

8,232 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,232
Reviews: 1,627
rAvg: 4.73
pDev: 7.61%
Wants: 5,333
Gots: 1,701 | 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: 8,232 | Reviews: 1,627 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of eric5bellies
4.4/5  rDev -7%

Drank from my Gulden Draak tulip.

Big thanks to Nick6217

A - Pours a nice cloudy honeycomb colour with a thick frothy head that stays around. Beautiful colour.

S - Heaps of piney hop, and small green grape.

T - Nice hoppy flavour up front with a mango flavour. Reasonable malty finish with no hint of booze.

M - Medium to full body with medium carbonation

O - Very enjoyable beer, past its best but still very drinkable

eric5bellies, Aug 05, 2012
Photo of alcstradamus
4.4/5  rDev -7%

Pours a very murky copper/orange color with a finger of thick head and good lacing.

The aroma is a blast of fresh tropical fruit....grapefruit, pineapple, mango, etc etc. West Coast hoppiness with an East Coast blast of sweet caramel maltiness hiding deep in the background.

The flavor is full of bitter pine hoppiness and bready malts. I wouldn't necessarily call it balanced, but there is that solid malt backbone. It isn't really an assault of hops like I may have anticipated, but it is borderline...ok, after a few more sips I take that back. Definitely a hop assault. Bitterness all over my mouth and in the finish, pine resin and floral notes from front to back.

The body is medium to medium/full and carbonation is low, just how I like it.

Drinkability is solid for me, especially considering this isn't one of my top styles. I would definitely stick this beer in the upper echelon of DIPA's, although once you get past a certain point I have a tough time saying any single one is better than the other.

WOW....6 months ago when I was staring at the old BA Top 100 and trying to tick the whole thing I remember seeing a few monsters on the list that were going to be damn near impossible to get. Heady Topper was one of those monsters. Never did I think that before the end of 2010 I would be staring at a glass of it in the comfort of my own home. Thank you Jim for making this happen (and thanks to The Alchemist for bottling it!)

alcstradamus, Dec 09, 2010
Photo of LaCoursiere
4.4/5  rDev -7%

Thanks to mtardiff for sending me a 4 pk. No canned on date. Against the recommendation on the can, I poured into a snifter.

A - A slightly aggressive pour yields a dirty tangerine color with a 1-finger head. It's quite hazy, and you can't see any carbonation. The head retention isn't great, and very little remains once it dissipates. Minimal lacing does not stick.

S - Boom! It's a tropical fruit storm. Lots of pineapple and grapefruit and a hint of lime. So much fruit it's tough to detect any malt character.

T - Juicy grapefruit and orange with honey sweetness, a whisper of malt, then a pine bitter onslaught. Yum.

M - Lighter bodied and slick with light carbonation. The hop oils really coat and there is a slight alcohol warmth.

O/D - I had heard alot about this beer and read outstanding reviews. In my opinion it really lived up the hype. I was able to savor a four pack. Too bad it's not easier to get because I will always want this beer.

LaCoursiere, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of route66pubs
4.4/5  rDev -7%

A - pours a good orange color with very few bottles, and miniscule what head that quickly fades away. not bad, but unimpressive.

S - huge pine aroma that is quickly and easily enjoyable. massively beautiful from the get-go, with underlying citrus notes. a perfect, varied aroma that promises wonderful delights within

T - slight pine taste, bit of grapefruit, pure hops abound. I wish I knew them better to know what they were exactly, but they are marvelous.

M - hops present an extremely bitter mouthfeel and extreme crispness, presenting a cleansing of the palate. very enjoyable, but perhaps a bit too much crispness lacking balance.

D - very nice, but perhaps lacking a bit of malt balance making this a bit more difficult to enjoy. still, having this EVERY night would never cause me a problem

route66pubs, Dec 11, 2010
Photo of orangesol
4.4/5  rDev -7%

Thanks to Deuane for giving me one of his cans so I can finally taste the heady. Can poured into a standard pint.

A - Pours slightly hazed amber orange with a small half finger tall white head leaving small wisps of lace down the glass. It does have a little sediment floating around in there.

S - Smells of pungent grassy hops, rich tropical fruits; mostly mango and grapefruit; and some lightly toasted caramel malt. Still quite floral.

T - The taste is fairly similar to the nose. It starts off with a big dose of grassy hops quickly giving way to a mix of tropical fruits and sweet caramel malts. Fairly tropical flavor that is very easy to drink. The finish is a mix of light dryness and hop bitterness, lingering on the pallet for a short period of time.

M - Medium body and flavor with moderately low carbonation. Smooth, hoopy, feel with plenty of hop bitterness lingering through the finish.

O - Very nice IPA. I had no problem finishing my glass and I was left wanting more. The balance of juicy fruit and grassy hops to the slightly sweet malt is very nice. I hope to try this one on-tap some day soon.

orangesol, Nov 07, 2011
Photo of jduff
4.4/5  rDev -7%

I've had this beer in a pint glass from the can and directly out of the can (as the label suggests). Liked it better in the glass. It is by far one of the finest beers I've ever had. Excellent pour brilliant finish. Place it up there with Pliney the Elder.

jduff, May 31, 2012
Photo of macrosmatic
4.4/5  rDev -7%

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.

macrosmatic, May 21, 2012
Photo of scottyb88
4.4/5  rDev -7%

scottyb88, Sep 09, 2014
Photo of brureview
4.4/5  rDev -7%

Poured in a tulip at the British Beer Company in Walpole, MA.

There was a lot of drum roll about this beer. It is not sold in stores
in the Boston area, and a limited number of bars served it starting last week. There is a limited availability.

The beer is served in a can and was not too cold- a good start.
The directions on the can recommend against drinking it in a glass in order to savor the hops.

This is the IPA lovers dream beer. It's the hoppiest beer I have smelled and tasted.

I preferred it in the glass. The color was a very light amber and it pours a small head.

The smell of hops is overwhelming. A wonderful lemony finish with a slight sour bitterness.

There is a lot of thoughtful artistic brewing in this beer. It is a highly unusual beer.

I am not a big fan of IPAs. It's not my style. However, if this beer is available, one shouldn't miss the opportunity to savor it.

brureview, Feb 13, 2012
Photo of Apellonious
4.4/5  rDev -7%

16 oz can poured into...wait...not pouring it anywhere.

A - A glorious silver with black lettering and artwork.

S - Floral and dank hops. Onion and faint malts.

T- Hops, funky with some faint onion and herbal notes, and balanced with some sweet malts. Definitely hop forward.

M - Carbonation above average. Mouthfeel is spot on. Somewhat sharp on the finish.

O - A pleasure to drink. Thanks to Rick G for making it possible.

Apellonious, Jul 05, 2014
Photo of Urbancaver
4.4/5  rDev -7%

At Kuhnhenn winter solstice (thanks to whomever shared this!)

Appearance- Copper and orange. Clear crisp and a really nice head. Definitely a solid looking DIPA.

Smell- lots of great hops on the nose. Pine, grapefruit, a hint of citrus. The pine was a bit too much I think but otherwise a very pleasant aroma.

Taste- nice malt backbone supporting a great hop profile. Very tasty with all the different citrus and pine flavours coming off the hops but falls short I think of Pliny and Hopslam. Smells better than it tastes I think

Mouthfeel- decent carbonation, about the right thickness I think. Would be better on cask

Drinkability- a bit of bitterness and the overly pine nose turns me off to this one a bit

Urbancaver, Jan 14, 2011
Photo of brewandbbq
4.4/5  rDev -7%

16oz can, with no canning date, $17.99/4-pack at Andover liquors.

Pours hazy gold with a peachy hue and loads of chunky flakes of yeast. Seriously, a beer of this caliber should have a far better presentation! Beyond the murky, sedimentary body there is a very nice display of tattered lacing and a partial skim coat on the surface for the duration.

Aromatics lead off with fresh peaches, mango, pineapple, and sugar-dusted apricots. Very tropical in nature with lots of lush, ripe fruit.

Just short of medium bodied with a smooth but crisp mouthfeel. A bit lush and velvety.

Fresh, juicy tropical fruit start the palate. A drying, smooth bitterness quickly follows. Peaches, pineapple, mango, and melons aplenty.

Finishes with lingering fruit and a smooth bitterness.

The beer is bone-dry, extremely fruity, and has a very low bitterness for the style. The result is an insanely drinkable treat of which I wish I had a keg of.

brewandbbq, Jun 08, 2012
Photo of nelson4
4.4/5  rDev -7%

A - Cloudy and overall not a deterrent but it is cloudy. It depends on your expectation for a great IPA. Pliny is clear, heady is cloudy. So what. What do you want

S - Grapefruit and citrus. Very clean. Not over the top but prevalent. Overall it has a great aroma and it's not about the intensity but rather the completeness.

T - If you don't like it, you are just wrong. It is a very balanced blend of bitterness and sweetness. It isn't sweet, but it is balanced in the sense that the sweetness is not ever overpowering.

M - Very smooth and perfect carbonation. This is not up for debate.

O - There is the magic that is heady topper, but there is also the facts. The facts are that even if you want to be hater you cannot. It is a very balanced, hoppy and smooth IPA. It is hard to imagine that this is the best beer I will ever taste, but it is harder yet to imagine a beer being superior. Don't kill your first born, but don't stop trying to find it.

nelson4, Nov 04, 2012
4.4/5  rDev -7%

Thanks to Robtobfest for this one. Reviewed from notes 09/29/11.

Pours a hazy amber/gold with little head an retention. Lots of floaties when decanted. Aroma is a big blast of grapefruit, pine, and some weed-like astringency. Great smell. Mouthfeel is slightly slick and resiny but still nice and full-bodied. Super drinkable.Taste is heavy on grapefruit, orange, and pine before giving way to a solid malt backbone. Shows great balance despite the heavy bitterness. This is a world class DIPA but I'd hesitate to call it the best I've ever had. Nevertheless, I'm depressed that I can't get this gem of a beer regularly, not to mention 4 packs.

I tried one from the glass (the basis for this review) and one from the can (as it says to do) and honestly, I liked the one from the can better. Maybe it's just my mind playing tricks on me because that's how the brewers wanted it but I usually never drink from the can unless I have no choice.

THEOPTIMATOR88, Oct 08, 2011
Photo of Boto
4.4/5  rDev -7%

16oz. can! This one pours a cloudy darker golden color. There a few floaties in there. Small white head that doesn’t linger long but does leave some lacing. Big nose of hops, hops and more hops! Grapefruit is the main contributor. Maybe some pineapple, peach and orange in there too. Nothing else making past the hops. The taste is good. Not nearly as bitter as you think it might be. Nice rounded flavor, fairly bitter, but there is a touch of sweetness hiding in there. Grapefruit and pine hops, with a strong malt body behind it. I’d say it definitely lives up to the hype. Now to get some more...

Boto, Feb 13, 2014
Photo of barleywinefiend
4.4/5  rDev -7%

A: Poured a lightly cloudy apricot color with good carbonation and a small dirty white cap which turns into a small thing bubbly layer

S: Fresh bread, a little caramel, pine, grapefruit, apricot

T: Pine, apricot, dash of orange peel, liight melon, pineapple; a nice breadiness, hints at caramel with a nice persistent bittering from beginning to end.

M: Very clean, bitter, medium body, flavor persists

O: Heady is a solid IIPA indeed and extremely easy to drink

barleywinefiend, Sep 23, 2011
Photo of arburt02
4.4/5  rDev -7%

arburt02, Thursday at 05:42 PM
Photo of MWolverines66
4.41/5  rDev -6.8%

Was very excited to try this beer and wanted to see if it could live up to the hype. Obeyed what the can said and drank this out of the can, but poured a little out to see the color. It was a golden color with a little cloudiness.

Smells of pine, citrus and tropical fruits with a huge wave of hops. It smelled completely different than anything I have had before. The taste followed the smell as it was a complex combination of sweet, sour, bitter hops. That's as detailed as I can get because I can't really explain what it was. From sip to swallow the flavor was constantly changing.

Overall I don't know if this would be the best tasting beer in the world for me, but it was definitely the most complex and interesting tasting beer I've ever had.

MWolverines66, Jun 30, 2013
Photo of not-mel-brooks
4.41/5  rDev -6.8%

had this tonight for the first time . poured from can at a beer tasting at http://goo.gl/P2J7P .(good time,) one of the 3 best beers i have ever had . very floral aroma. nice bite. clear. clean. hoppy. favorable comparison to Stone Ruination IPA . this is my first review . i felt compelled to write it.

i will look for this

not-mel-brooks, Jul 11, 2013
Photo of Mora2000
4.43/5  rDev -6.3%

Huge thanks to mar for trading me this can.

The beer pours a dirty yellow color with a white head. The aroma is very heavy on the grapefruit, but I also get a little bit of orange citrus and some biscuit malt notes.

The flavor is more intense than the aroma. I get some huge grapefruit and orange citrus notes, as well as a little bit of pine and some pineapple. Mixed in with all of the hop notes is a little bit of biscuit malt. The bitterness is low to medium.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Mora2000, Dec 16, 2011
Photo of OTB
4.43/5  rDev -6.3%

Recieved in a trade along with fresh Hopslam from NDAK, thanks man, we will swap again.

First off the can thing, I was told to drink it from the can so I am.I like good canned craft brew, Caldera IPA is IMHO world class in a can.So I forgo the appearance to be loyal. Wow ! Not what I was expecting. Huge bitter hops, the first wave is insanity, then the tropical fruits come into play, grapefruit is the most predominant initially, then wave after wave of mango, bitter orange, huge mint, and fresh ground black pepper. The finish goes on for ever ! This is one complex beer, each sip reveals more layers of fruit and bite. I am digging this bad boy big time.

I have one more can to play with and I think I may split it between my glass and the can for a more traditional experience and to see what this delicious brew looks like.

I am so glad I have finally been able to get a taste of east coast goodness, it really lives up to the hype, truly unique and original.

OTB, Feb 18, 2012
Photo of nataku00
4.43/5  rDev -6.3%

Fresh can poured into a tulip glass (even if the can tells you to drink it straight out of the can, maybe for the next one). Thanks to AshleyMiller for the fast trade. Beer pours a dark bronze, very very hazy with lots of particles suspended in the beer making it so that you cannot see through the glass. Initial finger of off white bubbly head, mostly small and medium bubbles, recedes to a nice collar of bubbles and wispy film across the surface. Lots of gentle carbonation visible near the edge of the glass, floating slowly up.

Cold out of the fridge, it wasn't too impressive an aroma. It improved a little after it warmed up closer to room temperature. Nose is a good amount of sweet grapefruit, bitter grapefruit peel, with some sweet orange and floral hops as well. Good strong malt presence to balance it out, toasted grains, caramel, toasted bread.

Nice balanced flavor profile over all. Grapefruit and orange peel and pith bitterness initially, but not so strong as to kill your tongue, some lighter floral and pine hop notes as it sits on your tongue. Then midtongue, the malt balance really comes through, good amount of toasted grain and bread and caramel sweetness to complement the hop flavors and bitterness. A fairly dry finish with light lingering citrus and floral hop flavors. Alcohol is non existent in the flavor.

Medium body with light carbonation contributing to a smooth velvety liquid that somehow coats your tongue while in the mouth, but still finishes cleanly so your tongue is ready to taste the next sip. Very easy to drink as the bitterness is not overwhelming at all, but still very much there. Excellent imperial IPA, though the weaker than expected aromatics knocks it down a small tick for me.

nataku00, Sep 25, 2011
Photo of Thomahs
4.43/5  rDev -6.3%

The legends are true. This is an especially tasty, and dense IPA.

Gobs of hops (grapefruit, orange, pine) burst out of the can upon the first sip. Drinking it from the can (as they keep demanding you do) adds to it's mystique. It causes you to focus entirely on taste and smell, and this beer does not let up.

What really impressed me is how the last sip hit me just as hard as the first. Usually with these really big double IPAs, my pallette gets overwhelmed about halfway through (I'm looking at you, Palate Wrecker), and I no longer really taste as much as I did at first. I did not have this sensation with Heady Topper. Its a very well balanced, complex, and huge, double IPA.

Thomahs, Feb 17, 2014
Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.43/5  rDev -6.3%

Thanks go out to Ryan for hooking me up with this stellar double IPA. I have had it a couple times now, both directly from the can and decanted into a pint or tulip on various occasions.

This beer is a hazy brownish amber color covered by wisps of sticky foam after the pour. Some lacing, but not nearly as sticky as I have seen on my favorite-looking imperial IPAs. Looks significantly better in the glass than it does in a can...go figure!

The aroma right out of the can is unreal. Concentrated mango, pineapple, and grapefruit, as well as a hint of pine. When decanted, it gets a but more citrusy and brings out some sweet stonefruit and toasted coconut aromas. On the palate, the pine is certainly more assertive, and it does drown out the citrus to a good extent, but the grapefruit and orange notes remain. The bitterness is kept in check, but that which does come through is a dank bitter flavor...my favorite. The alcohol is masked completely, and there is almost no malt backbone present. Just delightful.

While not as sticky or resinous as other DIPAs, the nearly perfect carbonation level makes this an extremely enjoyable beer to drink. One of the most enjoyable "new" DIPAs that I have had in a long time!

NittanyBeerFan, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of KevSal
4.43/5  rDev -6.3%

got this guy this morning thanks to gueshue3, thanks buddy! I've been thinking abou this alll day at work.

16oz can into a SN imperial pint glass (love this guy for 16oz cans) leaving the last sip in the can. can says "drink from can" around the lip, I first thought it was a shot at surly but gueshue informed me it's because of sediment (hence the leftover in the can, thanks for the tip)

a- nice 2 inch off white head. very dark hazy orange hue. looking good!. good thing I left the floaties in the can.

s- ohh man this one smells delicious. Very reminiscent of the first six-pack of the year of SN celebration ale. rich hops aroma. screams west coast to me. nice maltiness behind the hops.

t- taste follows closely with the nose. not overly bitter with a fantastic hop flavor! seriously this guy feels likes celebrations big brother. nice maltiness mid palate, perfect amount if sweet. very crisp with fantastic balance.

m- medium bodied on the thinner side of dipas but very juicy. not overly carbonated ( maybe less than usual dipas) but it helps to coat the mouth.

o- the drinkability on this guy is Insane!! it gies down super easy, and at 8% could get you buzzed mighty fast. I could seriously drink this all day long. the beauty of this beer is it's balance, and I believe thats why it's been getting attention. back of can says it the best "not intended to be the biggest or most bitter, it is mean to give you wave after wave of hoppy goodness" and it indeed delivers.

this is what I was hopin SN hoptimum was going to be like, a bigger badder celebration which is exactly what this guy is. deserves the attention. I never thought I'd get a chance at this guy. thanks gueshue for the chance!

KevSal, Sep 27, 2011
Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 8,232 ratings.