Heady Topper - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Heady TopperHeady Topper

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

1,943 Reviews
THE BROS
93
outstanding

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Reviews: 1,943
Hads: 10,939
rAvg: 4.66
pDev: 7.73%
Wants: 8,124
Gots: 3,453 | FT: 56
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:
Beer added by: scottum on 03-27-2004

"An American Double IPA" 75 IBU 8.0% abv
View: Beers (11) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,943 | Hads: 10,939
Photo of beagle826
4.52/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Per their request, drank it out of the can. Guess I'll have to rate the appearance of the can. Silvery and tall, not the best logo I've ever seen but not too bad.

Incredible aroma hops hops hops, most aromatic beer I've ever smelt.

First sip and...nice...not too bitter, not too floral, just the right balance of sweet, citrusy hops.

Nice finish, but as I progress into the can, the bitterness begins to build up a bit.

Overall, I loved this beer. Do I think it lived up to the epic hype? Probably not, they never do. It was an incredible IPA, maybe not the best I've ever had though. Does make me wish I lived in VT. (623 characters)

Photo of MikeB1984
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I took a trip to Vermont with my brother and a friend of mine from Boston for a guys day out. This beer was well worth the 3 hour drive. Normally prefer bottles over cans but this beer was outstanding.

I am not normally a big fan of IPAs but i loved this one. One of the best beers I've ever had. (297 characters)

Photo of 80x2HopHead
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Easily in my top 5 Imperial IPA's out there- wonderful aroma every time I pop the can piney and fruity in nature. Taste matches the smell- piney undertones and strong citrus overtones- I generally pick up on grapefruit, pineapple, orange and tangerine.Just the right amount of malty goodness makes this heady retardedly drinkable. If you can get your hands on this brew do so without a second guess- no chance you will ever regret it! (434 characters)

Photo of Greywulfken
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: tried from the can initially (mandated on the can) - "cold but not ice cold" - but then gave in - I had to see what I'm drinking (we are visual creatures): cloudy medium gold beer kicked up a couple of fingers of off-white head from a near-center pour into a tulip. Left some lace behind.

S: mostly hoppy (as expected): floral, herbal, citric, resinous; sublte pale malt in the background

T: again, hop-forward: lots of bitter citrus (is that a contradiction in terms?) and resiny pine; a little tart; bitter not sweet - some undercurrents of honey'd malt; some medicinal notes

M: crisp, slight tartness, bittering, light-to-medoim weight, moderate carbonation on the tongue

O: a good DIPA, but the best, #1 ranked beer on the site? I don't agree. I've had too many great DIPAs and IPAs to jump onboard here (*ducks the hurled vegetables and garbage*). I'd say its a good buy, a MUST try, but nothing to lose sleep over if its not available in your area. (961 characters)

Photo of nUgZ
4.92/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

16 ounce can poured into a snifter. Big thanks to st9647v3 for this opportunity.

A: Pours a hazy orange color with a 2-3 finger head, excellent lacing, and some suspended sediment.

S: Citrus, piney, and floral hops abound with a hint of sweet malts.

T: Tons of hops up front with some sweet malts and a slight grassy flavor. Quite bitter.

M: Medium bodied with good carbonation.

O: What an amazing brew!! Super tasty, easy to drink, and hides the alcohol almost completely. Lives up to the hype for sure. (511 characters)

Photo of Immortale25
4.81/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

OK, here we go. The unofficial holy grail of IPAs. Great appreciation goes out to SatlyMalty for this excellent surprise! Poured into a snifter (screw what the can says). The code on the can is apparently not a freshness date.

A- Pours a hazy amber color with a 1/2 inch beige head that retains well before becoming an 1/8 inch ring around the edge of the glass and a light sheet of surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing slides down the glass. Once the can is emptied into the glass, little specs of sediment are suspended in the body.

S- The hop aroma has a remarkable balance of citrus and pine but mostly citrus with bursting notes of pineapple, mango and guava. Also has a sweetness from the malts making this pretty perfect, smell-wise.

T- The flavor has much of the same: piney, earthy bitterness with a tropical fruit kick to compliment. Alcohol is well-hidden but still present and there's a graininess to the relatively sturdy malt backbone. The bitterness is stronger than I expected but is also welcome. Good hop burps. The sweetness of the malt is picked up more as the beer warms. Incredibly drinkable, even when warm.

M- A bit dry and prickly from the hops. Medium carbonation and a solid body.

O- Not as amazing as Zombie Dust IMO, but still easily one of the top 5 IPAs I've ever had. I really must say that it's a travesty to encourage the buyer to drink this from the can since the aroma is so sublime. Oh well, he has his reasons. (1,453 characters)

Photo of VinoGuy
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Drink it from the can...yup, follow the directions printed on the top of the can. The hops are incredible, spicy and super floral. There is plenty of malt to back up the massive amount of hops and it keeps the beer in balance. No question, this certainly ranks up there on the list of greatest beers ever enjoyed. If you are ever in the area of Northern VT and have a chance to pick some up, don't think, just buy it! (417 characters)

Photo of RaulMondesi
4.43/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured out into a glass

*First and foremost, Raul has to grade this review with an asterisk because Raul was sicker than a hound dog after eating a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich for 10 days or so, so the Heady's sat in the fridge for awhile. So without further ado...

Good, but not great. Raul was simply reminded of a Racer 5 - and Raul likes him some Racer 5 - but he don't get Cialis excited over it like he was for Heady.

Smooth, but it had a slightly astringent aftertaste. Raul does not approve.

Raul is pumped on life, but not too much on Heady.

Peace!

*Overall, Raul graded this a 3.79. But then he tried it out of the can which changed things and made it necessary for a re-review.

Quite simply: boom went the dynamite! All of a sudden, more flavor came out; the beer was tastier, smoother, and overall, insanely drinkable.

Mass props to the Maple State. (881 characters)

Photo of mikeyv35
4.76/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Date: 02/13/2013
Type: 16oz. Can
Glass: Southampton Large Tulip (I know this is against the rules, per the can!)
Canned: 01/15/2013 *Pretty fresh, but not uber fresh.

I cannot believe it took me this long to get around to sampling the mighty Heady Topper! Ranked #1 in the world on BA, only one way to find out the truth. Thanks to BA ajfa531 (Joe) for providing me this 16oz. can to sample.

Poured this brew from the can into a Southampton large tulip glass, breaking the rules written on the can, in order to give a more accurate review of appearance and nose. Future samples will be consumed straight from the can in accordance w/ the rules.

Poured a burnt orange to light brown mahogany in color w/ a skim coat white head that produced light lacing. I did not realize this brew had huge amounts of remaining yeast in the can that soon entered the glass due to me pouring it too quickly. Aromas of pine, grapefruit, and citrus fruits (mandarin orange, cantelope, and nectarine). The flavor started off w/ big, sweet citrus flavors of mandarin orange/grapefruit in your face, transitioning to a blast of piney bitterness, finishing with floral notes. Medium bodied and lush w/ moderate carbonation that suits the beer well. Drinkability? I was done with the 16oz. can & starting the 2nd before I even finished writing out the review. Insane!

Overall, this beer is the truth! What can I say? This is dank, hoppy, awesomeness in a can! I now understand why this is currently ranked #1 in the world in all style categories. Take Pliny The Elder as good as it is and kick it up a notch & you have Heady Topper. The only reason it is not possible for this beer to attain a perfect score is due to the fact that it is by far the ugliest DIPA one will ever encounter. However, the ugliness grows on you and it works. Not only does the brew taste like all of the flavors that could possibly be extracted from a hop flower, but it is brewed so well that there is not very much bitterness at all. Crazy stuff! (2,005 characters)

Photo of Cvescalante
4.79/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- this beer is quite ugly, but like an ugly puppy and you still love it

S- fruity fruity hops. it smells fantastic!

T- heaven on the tongue. citrus and tropical fruit

M- light-medium bodied, perfect carbonation

O- best ipa I've ever had... period

..apparently my review wasn't long enough, so I have to continue writing lol (329 characters)

Photo of MrMcGibblets
4.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

a: orange/light amber with a creamy off-white head. from what i'd read i was scared of huge fugly floaties. instead i only see some fine particulates in this hazy beer. i can't ding it for being unfiltered.
s: wow, this pops with juicy hops. like being in an orange grove at harvest time. maybe some mango or other tropical fruit along with some fresh green notes ala citrus leaves. despite what the brewer says the aroma cums thru way more via proper glassware than from the can. i forgive him for this.
t: follows through. juicy, juicy, fresh fruity hops. not the overripe kind either-like peeling a great orange. honey sweet malts provide just enough to support these beautiful hops. finishes somewhat clean and definitely more-ish.
m: just over medium-bodied but very crushable. i want to pound this but restrain myself to small sips. carbonation is perfect. so, so smooth for a dipa. hardly any astringency and no sharp bitterness.
o: lives up to the hype. will continue to trade anything for this. em me w/trade offers anytime.
update: this fades fast for being in a can-the little floaties get bigger and darker. the fresh hops quickly turn to the overripe fruit/banana thing. still good but a different animal after a few weeks. (1,236 characters)

Photo of jacksback
4.4/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the can into a proper glass. Since any half knowledgeable beer geek sees right past the whole "drink it from the can to trap all those hop aromas" BS. Yeah, I'd like to smell- and hence taste- my beets.

And... This beer looks bad. Everyone knows this. Turgid, beyond cloudy dull light orange color. Visually, looks like a bad homebrew hefeweizen.

But... Also as anyone who has had Heady knows... That's really the only thing wrong with this brew. Passing the appearance, one gets to the nose. The big, loud, glorious hoppy nose. Loads of sharp, bright citrus notes all over the place. A nice earthy resinous character to the aroma as well. All hops and loads of them on the nose.

As soon as you're done taking in the nose- which can be a while- you move on to the flavor. The payday. The real deal. And what a deal. The promise of the aroma is entirely and completely delivered on. Hops, hops, and more hops. Hefty, rather aggressive bitterness that starts right up front and lasts to the finish. Loads of citrus on the flavor... with a good bit of pine resin and dirty sharp earthy action. Nothing significant in terms of malt sweetness to distract from the brilliant hop profile.

mouthfeel... Yeah, it's fine. Clean enough, big bitterness that sticks on the finish. Moderate carbonation. Enough weight to make this beer noticeable without being overbearing.

Overall... Superb. What a DIPA should be... But with a more interesting and unique hop character than most. Shit, give it a quick filter to clean up the appearance, and you've easily got one of the absolute best DIPAs brewed now. (1,607 characters)

Photo of gtermi
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: The beer pours a hazy golden body with a thin white head that quickly fades. It also las some random floaties.

S: Tons of spice and citrus hops with a nice bit of sweet malt.

T: The flavor of this beer is pretty amazing. At first it hits with a sweet fruity hop, but then quickly turns into a bittery spicy flavor. It has to be the most complex tasting DIPA I have ever had in my life.

M: There is a decent amount of crispness on the tip of the tongue and the back of the throat. It goes down rather easy and leaves a dry feeling in my mouth.

O: This is a pretty awesome beer and I am so happy to finally get to try this. I would for sure say that this is one of best DIPAs in the world. (695 characters)

Photo of phillybeer7779
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 1.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured a can into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

Appearance- orange-ish in color, large amount of floaties in the glass. Not the prettiest beer in the world.
Smell- Pure citrus hops, mainly get simcoe on the nose
Taste- More citrus, grapefruit up front with a lemon lime aftertaste
Mouthfeel- Kinda numbs the tongue a little with the hop blast, alcohol is pretty much completely hidden.
Overall- Great beer! One of the uglier examples of the style, but appearance is probably the least important attribute of a beer. Still, anyone giving 4-5s across the board are wrong. (572 characters)

Photo of devilheels
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

There are several things that make me proud to be from Vermont. This is one of them. This is a hoppy beer, but not one that makes you choke. John Kimmich, the brewer, has somehow taken an extremely hoppy beer and made it so palatable that even people who don't typically like IPA's can enjoy it. I miss the Alchemist of old (Wild Child, Holy Cow, Ouroboros, etc) and hope that Kimmich decides to can those in the future. You can't go wrong with the Alchemist. (459 characters)

Photo of HattedClassic
4.67/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance:
The beer pours a dark and cloudy orange with white head. The beer leaves some nice white lacing.

Smell:
Orange and grapefruit hop notes strongly dominate the nose with bits of caramel malt coming up.

Taste:
Strong hop taste upfront and leaves a bitter aftertaste. There are also slight hints of malt to balance out the hops and keeps it from being too overwhelming.

Mouthfeel:
Medium bodied with biting carbonation. Also the feel is a little bit syrupy.

Overall:
A very good Double IPA. My only regret is not drinking this fresher. (547 characters)

Photo of adamjfrantz
4.96/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Perfect in lots of ways. The explosion of hoppy goodness is over the top. I've only had it fresh and oh boy is it good. Thought about letting some age but then I read on the can drink it young so here's to all of you cheers!

Also I might add drink it from the can. the glass or plastic cup( as we were forced to drink from around the hottub at the resort in VT) is a huge mistake the flavors are lost imeadiatly and it was depressing! Drink it up, if you can get it! (468 characters)

Photo of raydogfresh
4.16/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Really wanted to love this. Maybe something happened on the long trip from VT to CT, but man was it just...okay. Smells fantastic, looks good enough, but it just doesn't taste as good as other IPAs I've had. I hope to give it another shot soon. It probably tastes better than I'm giving it credit for, I think I just got my expectations too high...you know for the #1 rated beer here. (384 characters)

Photo of nedvalton
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Drank 1-31-13
Free the hops snifter

A- golden light amber. Hazy but massive dry hopping causes haze. Small head

S- wonderful hop burst. Definitely pickup american hops citrussy resinous but balanced by earthy maybe piney background

T-awesome. Hop heavy but not overly bitter as many others are. Malt backbine to support hops but not overpower them.

M-good carbonation not excessive but enough to be effervescent and release the hops.

O-wonderful beer. Top iipa i have tried. Unfiltered is the only way to do iipa's. Will love to get my hands n more. (555 characters)

Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.9/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks again to Rutager.

A: cloudy and resiny amber liquid and very minimal cream colored head. A ridiculous amount of solutes floating around and settling at the bottom of the glass.

S: grass, lemons, tangerines, earth and leaves.

T: the taste came in three waves. First wave of lemon, grass and aspirin. Second wave of earth, leaves and grapefruit. Third wave of lemon and oranges.

M: thick resinous viscosity and a medium level of carbonation.

O: a religious experience. I keep coming back for another palate wrecking sip of wave after wave of citrus and forest hop flavors. (583 characters)

Photo of KYGunner
4.33/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Does appearance include the can? Canned beer with a message "Drink from the Can" on it and you know you have a brewer with a sense of humor. If I did that than how do I know what the true appearance is? Pour it into a glass and see the beautiful iridescent orange and a bright white head.

The scent is pungent, strong and pure hops.

The taste is so incredibly interesting that I truly can't articulate what I found. No citrus, just pure hop flavor. No complexities, per se, but the hops flavors are diverse within themselves. It's as if you taste each and every hop variety yet its perfectly blended. If my palate were talented enough I believe I could name each hop variety this is so distinct. This is a truly special IPA! (727 characters)

Photo of Davihaw
4.86/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Drinking directly from the can as instructed.

A: I poured this once and remember it being really cloudy and not very pretty. It says drink it out of the can so I am doing it, therefore I can't see the beer. The can is beautiful though.

S: Smells of citrus and fruit initially and finishes with a pine bite.

T: A great piney flavor at first, followed by an amazing assortment of tropical fruits.

M: Good even carbonation that helps aid in the piney bite you taste.

O: Currently ranked the #1 beer in the world and I can not disagree. There are a few beers that I would consider perfect, and this is one of those. Perfect example of a delicious DIPA. (657 characters)

Photo of tectactoe
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to Ataraxia, I finally get a chance to slay this one! The directions say "drink from the can" but, at least for the first one, I have to pour it out and get a good look at it. Pours a golden-orange color, some straw around the very edges - mostly opaque and hazy. Many people bring up the unadulterated, unfiltered look of Heady Topper, though mine doesn't have the liberal amounts of sediment that would showcase this. Rather it appears quite clean, with maybe a tiny bit of very small particles that have seemingly vanished five minutes into this one. Either way, a nice looking beer with a super foamy, just-off-white head that leaves pretty tremendous lacing atop the glass.

The aroma - simply fantastic. It's fruity, all right. Huge amounts of grapefruit, mango, pineapple, citrus. Very interesting - the fruit has a nice, pithy aroma along with the typical component of juicy, tropical sweetness. Despite being so vibrant and powerful, it's almost difficult to say the fruit component "stands out", seeing as how the hops are nearly just as amped up. Heavy, heavy pine, super slick and resinous oils, grassy and floral, with a dank weed aroma following it all up. The bitterness can be spotted from the nose, but is combated by the fruity goodness. Definitely one of the most unique smelling beers out there, the aroma is doing nothing but getting me excited to finally bring this one to my lips.

HT glides through my palate; across my tongue and against every corner of my mouth, with a medium, slick body, pumped full of carbonation. The flavors explode all at once, like a time bomb of hop-filled citrus fruits going off inside my jaws. From the fruit-side of things, you've got the intense grapefruit, pineapple, mango, and some other tropical fruit that is hard to identify, but clearly stands out - I want to say maybe guava? Either way, very tropical and exploding with fruit. "Juicy" would be a good way to describe the fruit profile. Mouth-watering juiciness.

But it doesn't stop there, just like in the aroma, the hops match the fruit on the palate as well; thick and heavily resinous hop oils cascade over your taste buds, pine needles left and right, wet, dank weed, grass, flowers and intense floral flavors. Bitterness is abound and definitely resounding far into the aftertaste. The malts bring a bready and somewhat sweet character to the table, but don't do much else than that. From a DIPA this highly acclaimed, though, you don't really expect much from the malt, do you? Super bitter, piney, resinous, and citrus peel-y aftertaste.

Guuuhh. Well all you people certainly weren't kidding. Heady Topper is a delicious fucking beer and if I was in Vermont, it's probably all I would drink. How does it compare to my other favorite hop monsters, like Pliny the Elder, Hopslam, or DRIPA? Well, it'd be hard to say whether I like HT "better" than any of them, because despite being a Double IPA, it is still vastly discernible from the rest. Nevertheless, the acclaim Heady Topper receives is deserved - this beer is fantastic. A true hop-head's wet dream. Next time, I will drink from the can. (3,127 characters)

Photo of DocJitsu
4.21/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a murky, pale, wheat golden color with a cottony, stubborn white head. Flecks of barley and vegetable matter float all around the beer. Juicy grapefruit with some pine on the nose. ONce the beer settles, sweeter fruit breaks through. Grapefruit up front then grass and pine emerge. But, the flavor suddenly falls of a cliff for an abrupt finish. Alcohol and unami get picked up right away and pervade throughout. The mouthfeel is a little thin for the style. It dries a little toward the finish. Pretty big disappointment. Pliny, Abrasive, Sucks, all way superior in my opinion. (584 characters)

Photo of THANAT0PSIS
4.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The Alchemist Heady Topper

Appearance: This quasi-legendary brew pours a pale, almost pilsner-like golden orange but much cloudier. The beer is almost entirely opaque and the yeast floaters are everywhere. Upon the initial pour there is a finger and a half of nearly pure white head. It has decent retention, but nothing spectacular. The lacing is spotty and there are no alcohol legs. I have never seen such plentiful sediment in a beer before. It is not a perfect appearance, but it is extremely close.

Aroma: Outrageous. This is everything it should be, based on the hype. Grapefruit is incredibly pungent, backed up by a cornucopia of tropical fruits. Orange, pineapple, mango, tangerine, peach, lemon, rinds of all sorts, there may even be a bit of pear here. The diversity is astounding, and is backed up by a slight malty sweetness and a ton of yeast, which should be expected based on the visual. The hops are, as evidenced by the can art and the reputation that precedes the beer, the star of the show, and are juicy to the point of impossibility. This is perfection.

Taste: Follows the taste to a “T”, with a clean, slight, and sweet malt bill. The yeast shows up just slightly as well, but it only supports the brilliance of the hops. Every tropical fruit imaginable with brilliant hop bitterness and astringency, plenty of rind, and outrageous juiciness. Taste-wise, this could be a tropical fruit smoothie, and blindfolded, the drinker would have no idea. The aftertaste is so perfectly clean and evanescent that the drinker must constantly keep drinking to keep the taste in his or her mouth. Again, perfection.

Mouthfeel: Perfectly carbonated, just syrupy and thick enough to keep from being watery, but thin enough to be ridiculously refreshing, and with great astringency. The 8% ABV is slightly warming. This is the height of IIPA (and beer in general) mouthfeels.

Overall: Why…Why God? Why must The Alchemist be based in Vermont and have an extremely small distribution range? The drinkability and refreshment paired with the brilliant hop profile and clean, sweet malt bill make this the stuff a hophead’s dreams are made of. The necessity to continue drinking to keep the taste in my mouth makes this akin to meth. This is beer meth. Get addicted. 19.5/20 (2,289 characters)

Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 1,943 ratings.