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Heady Topper | The Alchemist

2,205 Reviews
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Heady TopperHeady Topper

Brewed by:
The Alchemist
Vermont, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
"An American Double IPA" 75 IBU 8.0% ABV. "Drink from the can."

Added by scottum on 03-27-2004

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Reviews: 2,205 | Ratings: 12,361
Photo of chefhatt
4.33/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I poured just a little bit into a glass, to see the color. It says to drink it from the can. It has a light burnt orange color it. The aroma is strong piney hops. The taste is a little bitter than the citrus comes in. At the end the hops bite your tongue like a rattlesnake. It leaves a bitter after taste and overall one hell of a beer.

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Photo of ianmatth
4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A - Yellow-orange and hazy. I could care less about appearance, so unless it's really beautiful or really ugly, it will get the average of the other ratings. Who drinks a beer for appearance anyway?

S: Piney, flowery, spicy, and a little sweet which is actually a great balance to the spicy. I have a feeling the sweetness is from the Conan yeast as it supposedly produces fruity esters. Probably the second best smelling beer after Stone Enjoy By (thankfully The Alchemist isn't using Nelson Sauvin to get that aroma though as Nelson Sauvin would put a serious hit on the taste.) Also, it smells better outside of the can.

T - Good bitterness, great malt balance, and of course all the piney, fruity, spicy hoppy goodness you would expect from a beer that claims to give you wave after wave of hoppy goodness. And it gets better with age. After drinking a 5+ month old Heady Topper I'm now giving this beer a 5.

M - Good bitterness, very smooth, nice light carbonation

O - Great stuff. Nothing bad about this beer. I homebrew, and if I was going to personally brew this beer I might go with a little less upfront bitterness and a little more over the top late addition/dry hop fruitiness, but I think they did a great job balancing things out with dank hops.

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Photo of AaronHomoya
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks, Kristen.

I poured it into a glass. Cloudy, orange/gold/copper color. A thick, light tan head tops it off. Aroma is supper hoppy. Awesome, big piney and citrus smells. Like a bag of hops. The flavor has a light malt backbone with some noticeable caramel malt in there. This is a very smooth imperial IPA. The hop flavor does have some sour citrus rind notes, but mostly bright grapefruit and some tropical fruit sweetness. Also a bit of floral, vanilla notes.

Overall, really top notch, of course.

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

From the can distributed during the week of August 26, 2013. Sampled on September 1, 2013.

It pours a pale yellow with a humongous white puffy head (on the top ha ha) with a bit of a haze. Moderate carbonation.

On the nose is a bevy of floral hop sensations with a dash of orange peel, tropics, and grapefruit. Malts are downplayed.

A medium to full body with a slight astringency.

The taste has a slight biscuit feel at first but it does not last long as the hops explode on the palate and linger to the end. At the same time it does not become hops and nothing else like some double IPA's can be. The alcohol is well-integrated.

I understand why this beer has won praise and accolades from beer enthusiasts all over the world but to me it is about the same as Shipyard Pugsley's XXXX and Smuttynose IPA.

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Photo of Jason
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

16oz tallboy, purchased cans from the brewery.

Beautiful blend of hops in the nose and on the palate, bitterness toys around with the taste buds but never surpassed any kind of overkill level. Piney, citrus rind, & dank flavors. A thing of greatness.

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Photo of FondueVoodoo
4.64/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Phyl21ca for sending a 4 pack of these out together with some other awesome beers in a great trade. Review #200 - and some amazing beers left to try!

A: Solid with hazy and a dusty apricot colour, the head is bone white with just a micro film that skiffs the top. Do yourself a favour and leave it in the can.

S: Bright and citrus with floral scents that develop to a sweet malty backbone. Sweet orange and pineapple juice with scents of fresh crisp apples and pears, and a familiar soapy smell similar to floral candies.

T: Smooth creamy malts wash through up front teasing the palette with rock sugar, but then takes a left turn a runs headlong into delicious bitters, piney resins and grapefruit pith that sucks onto the tongue and palette. A unique and delicious note of fresh cracked white pepper on the finish. The flavours are dialled up to 11, without challenging or taxing the drinker - its enjoyable from start to finish.

M: A mid range carbonation that supports both the hops and the malts expertly. The smooth creamy malts up front lend way to a enjoyable and bitter pucker on the back end.

O: Heady Topper truly holds it's own in the upper echelon of incredible brews. The scent and flavours are dialled up as intensely as could be possible, while still offering the drinker a fresh hoppiness and sweet malts. The lingering bitters hold onto the tongue like a drowning man to a life raft. A treat for any hop head looking for a stunning mix of hops and malts.

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Photo of WiscoBrewsco
4.92/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big shout out to my fellow Beer Advocate Mikeypnh for the hookup on this one

Appearance - Cloudy dark gold in color, almost verging on reddish orange, a creamy thick white head clung for dear life to the side of the glass and left massive residue behind

Smell - Where to even begin? The smell is just pure raw hops like I have never smelled before. Even at a decent distance from the glass the aroma was still noticeable. This is hops personified and it is just amazing

Taste - Absolutely unreal! Just a massive smack in the face of hops. Then followed up by a huge mango and grapefruit presence but the second half of the flavor experience is what really did it for me. It was almost like drinking hop syrup, as if the resin was slowly oozing through the beer down my throat. I have never experienced that before drinking an IPA/DIPA and it really sets itself apart from any other beer I've ever had. This was perfection in a can.

Mouthfeel - This is easily the best mouthfeel of any IPA/DIPA I have ever had. The cloudy thick profile of the beer itself, not to mention the syrup like elements of the hop resin just made it a liquid dream

Overall - This is without a doubt right up there as the best IPA/DIPA I have ever had. Believe the hype and accolades this beer receives because it deserves every single one of them. What John Kimmich and his crew are able to bring out of hops is something like I have never tasted in a beer before and quite frankly I didn't know was possible. This beer pushes the envelope of not only what an IPA/DIPA can be, but beer in general. This stuff is absolute liquid gold in a can and if you like hops then you must taste it sometime in your life. Amazing amazing stuff

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

In short, lives up to the hype for sure.

Appears cloudy, orange-yellow, this beer is just beautiful. I would say the absolute best component of beer is the floral nose. Definitely the most citrusy, piney, robust nose you can find in an IPA. Taste echoes the smell. Perfect balance with the hops here, not like a lot of big hoppy beers where all you taste is grass. This beer is complex and beautifully built. Did a comparison to Lawson's Double Sunshine, and I felt that the DS was only every so slightly superior with regards to taste. DS has a cleaner mouthfeel than HT ever so slightly while maintaining the same balanced hop amazingness.

Bottom line: This beer is amazing. Worth the $50/4pk it goes for online if you've never had it. Otherwise, find a VT-er who can send you a steady stash for your own great locals.

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

Tasted it for the first time yesterday in the studios of VPT in Colchester, VT: MAMMAMIA! That thing knocked me off my socks!

The only problem is that you cant find it anywhere! So... they should change the name for "TUMOR"! Cause every store we visited had the same reply: Sorry, no stock, We get it TUesday MORning and absolutely evey can goes out the door TUesday MORning: Seeya tuesday!

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Photo of wedgie9
3.88/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted on 11/11/11 from a can shared by ryan585, thanks Ryan. Pours murky orange with a very thin white head that leaves a thin collar of lace, with some chunky sediment. The nose is intense orange peel citrus, resin bitterness, chewable kids vitamins, caramel malt, and a touch of earthy yeast. The flavor is orange and grapefruit peel, bitter resin, chewable kids vitamins, the same earthy yeast, and just enough caramel malt to keep everything in balance. The body is medium with an oily texture, lighter than average carbonation, and a very long resin and citrus peel bitter finish.

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Photo of adnielsen
4.54/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Can @ Dan’s house, courtesy of doodler. Huge thanks! Cloudy, yellow orange appearance with an orange tinged off white head. Slightly resiny, piney, organic hoppy, citrusy aroma. Very nice, piney, somewhat resiny, hoppy, tasty citrusy flavor. Awesome!

Update: This is my third time drinking this beer (courtesy of Glouglouburp. Thanks Dany!) It has an even more intense piney, resiny aroma with a slightly dull citrus element than I remember. Huge fucking resiny, grapefruity, sticky hoppy flavor. Sure this fucker is a little over the top, but it’s fun. My next trip to Vermont I will be getting blasted on this shit.

Another update: This one comes from nightrider, a friendly trader in California that has gotten me my freshest can yet! This can has traveled 5,000 miles and it’s the freshest one I’ve had, go figure.Super resiny, piney, grapefruity hoppy aroma. More potent that I remember. Soft mouth feel. Very sappy, resiny, richly piney, grapefruit citrusy, floral hoppy flavor. Very fresh hops. Nice as always.

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Photo of pjkelley82
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this (along with other dipa's) at a East VS. West Dipa Head to Head Showdown I hosted on 8/27/13

Round 3: East-Heady West-Pliny

Overall heady won the battle.. matter of fact Heady was the best "BEER" I've ever had period and clearly won the whole thing.. plineys appearance as far as color goes was better but heady had a better head and lacing... smelt a tad... just a schmidging better than pliney (pliney was a bit sweeter which i liked but heady was balnced) and blew pliney away on taste, mouthfeel and overall.. if you have not tried this beer yet than shame on you.... and shame on them for not having this beer readily available as they do with bmc product... this is deserving of the best dipa and #1 overall.

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

I absolutely love this beer. The first time I had it I wasn't overly impressed. Since then it has grown on me and I love it. I had been shying away from IPA's and there were few DIPA's I really enjoyed. Since having Heady several times over the last month I keep drinking more and more DIPA's only to be disappointed that it doesn't live up to Heady. Some may match it in 1 or 2 area's but I don't think there is an IPA or any style I would rather drink than Heady.

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Photo of bsm789
4.93/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This beer is amazing and quite unlike most other beers I've had, even DIPA's.

I'm drinking it from the can, but I've seen it poured before. It's a murky, cloudy yellow bordering on orange that is pretty nice to look at, but won't win any awards for its appearance.

The smell. Oh god the smell. Grapefruit, pine, and citrus mixed into a beautiful cacophony of awesome.

Tastes about as awesome as it smells, and unbelievably smooth. I still can't honestly believe it's 8%. Begins sweet, with an awesome bitterness that builds over time and begs for another sip. Gets fruitier as it warms.

Mouthfeel is light and with decent carbonation, maybe could be a little fuller, but I'm nitpicking.

Overall probably my favorite beer (though I acknowledge my local bias). Definitely worth having if you're in the area.

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Photo of s_wit
4.49/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first shot at HT and I have to say, it wasn't what I expected. I was expecting a hop bomb being a dipa at 8% abv but it wasn't. Definitely the most well balanced ipa/dipa I have ever had. Taste and mouth feel were definitely great (alcohol was very well hidden). Appearance and smell were very good but not the best. Overall it was an awesome beer and I can't wait to have it again!

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Photo of mjpolzin
4.1/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I often mention how my opinion of a beer can affected even before I drink it because of what I have heard about it before hand. Heady Topper is definitely one that fits into the category. Being the highest ranked beer on this site, this brew was pretty hyped up in my head before hand. I am happy to say it didn't disappoint but I don't think it is quite worthy of being ranked as high as it is.

Heady Topper has a pretty bitter taste but it has just enough smoothness that it is plenty drinkable. The citrusy, piney hops are very noticeable and add a bitterness that make it worthy of being a double IPA. What's nice though is this beer stops just short of being a "palate wrecker". My guess is it is this quality that makes this beer so popular. It is a powerful brew that reminds you that it is an 8% beer but it goes down easy enough that you could drink a few of these without getting sick of it.

If you look at the list of my top rated beers, you will see that my personal preference leans towards bourbon barrel aged beers and stouts. I don't know if an IPA is a style that I would rank ahead of some of my favorite darker beers. That said, this beer was outstanding and I am glad I got the chance to try it.

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Photo of DonFrap
4.93/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured out of the can (you don't own me Jon kimmich) into an HT stemless glass. Pours cloudy, a few floaters, nice orange color. To me this beer has the perfect smell. So floral and citrusy. I go to the cannery if I'm in VT, even if they are out, mostly because of the aroma there. Taste is outstanding. So citrusy, with a very complementing bitterness. This beer is worth the 7 hour round trip i take just for a couple cases. There's a reason it's #1.

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

I finally got my hands on this beer from a beer distributor on Long Island...and it was worth the money i spent on it...never took it out of the can as per the instructions on the can, so i couldn't even tell u what it looks like lol...the smell jumps out of the can and smacks u in the face, very orangey citrus and piney on the nose...the taste is legendary, like its reputation..for me the high carbonation carried the piney hop hues to the back of the mouth and completely distracts u of any alcohol that a high alcohol brew might be characteristic of...therefore it is ridiculously drinkable...one of the better beers u will try as advertised

since this review, ive made my trips up to vermont a couple of times for cases instead of the marked up 4pack i found on long island...i also since have poured it once into a glass and i personally love the cloudy bright yellow-orange look....i have fallen more and more in love with this beer each time i have it and i have to say its my favorite beer at this point...nothing like it...5 across the board

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Photo of Jas45678
4.74/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Finally able to try this, thank you lucas1801. Pours a hazy golden orange color. Smells is heavy citrus, orange and tangerine. Taste is very citrusy kinda like the citrus notes in Jai Alai, not overly hoppy. Overall this beer is worth seeking out and unlike any other IPA I have had.

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Photo of dowen17
4.81/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a snifter.

Well, here goes nothing.

Pours an extremely hazy golden yellow. No chunks as I've seen some people say. Poured a little light so I only received a one finger head. But it has nice retention.

This beer smells so so so fresh. I can't describe how fresh it smells. Tangerine and grapefruit on the nose. I can smell this beer from the other end of my table. No alcohol presence. Smells wonderful.

Taste is of fresh hops and citrus. Very well balanced. Fruit esters at the forefront. As soon as the beer hits my mouth it's tangerine and grapefruit. Very very fresh. Hops dominate the rest of the taste. The middle and end of the sips are all hops. Very fresh and balanced. Not too bitter. Very earthy.

Mouthfeel is great. Perfectly carbonated. The carbonation really keeps the flavors alive in your mouth and gives a nice bite on your tongue.

Overall this is a wonderful beer. Number one in the world? Eh... Not sure. That's something you'll have to decide for yourself. But what I can say is that it's an amazing beer and well well worth the try. If you can get it, get it. Drink it and enjoy.

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Photo of asabreed
4.47/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So here it is. Never thought I'd get a chance to try it, or if I did I'd have to pay a ton to get it, which I wouldn't at this point, so I guess this makes this a rare and valued occasion, for which I am indeed grateful.

Appearance: Though I'm trying to drink some out of the can, I'm also pouring it into a North Brewery snifter / tulip glass to get what's coming from all the supposed eye candy. Retention is decent, though not spectacular, but what's great about this beer is the haze within the color of it. Pour at least some in a glass, people. I imagine you are. It's a gorgeous yellow-orange-copper hue, hazed up beyond belief, looking more like a dirty Witbier than a DIPA.

Smell: An amped up and balanced bouquet of effervescent fruit, being orange, lemon, pineapple, and probably many tropical indigenous fruits I've never had or may never have. There's definitely a good amount of sweetness going on here too. Not sure if that's from any additional sugars or honey malt, but they're there. Really, though, the heady rush of beautifully crafted ingredients is there. Each whiff reminds of this or that or this or that, but either way, this is up there.

Taste: What gets me most about this beer is how this isn't necessarily a hop bomb, as I maybe thought it would've been. I guess even if the IBUs are up, the point, as with, I imagine, all good beers are, is that it IS balanced. That said, again, there is sweetness, and not the point of being cloying, but man, it's there. But I imagine it's there because of necessity. And again, honey malt? Honey? Brown sugar? Anything else added here to quell the said monumental hops? The finish is insanely long, the good and balanced sweetness is there, and the fruits are monumental without being overpowered by bitterness.

Mouthfeel: One of the best if not the best things about this brew. Heavy enough, yes. But insanely velvety overall. Not perfect, but close.

Drinkability: It's impossible to say what's the best, but as far as DIPAs go, this is up there, at least in my top three. Many are, I imagine, saying the same thing, versus some you've reviewed and have in your mind, with matching characteristics and equally good balanced. Don't pay an arm and a leg for this, I'd say, but I'm thrilled I got to try it, and if it comes across again, I'll definitely be one who's ready to crack it open and enjoy it.

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

Finally trying the famous Heady Topper, thanks to an awesome gift from Ljudsignal!

Poured half into a tulip, drinking the other half from the can to get both experiences.
Pour is translucent bright orange-yellow, like orange juice, with a fluffy white head that leaves slick lacing. Smells AMAZING. Waves of flowers, mango, pineapple, passionfruit, melon, grapefruit, orange, lemon, lime, pine...best smelling beer I've ever had. Now the taste...
Taste is perfect. Sweet malt backbone quickly bows out of the way to seemingly infinite hops. Tropical fruit, melon, berry, citrus, pine, herbal/leafy, bitterness...it's all perfectly balanced and in harmony with itself, the malt, the mouthfeel...this is a perfect beer. Amazing!
As far as from the can, it's a slightly more concentrated experience and is amazing in its own way as well. It's somehow simultaneously managed to taste complex and amazing while being incredibly refreshing as well. I know now why this is the only beer The Alchemist makes...it's because they've perfected it.

Thanks again to Ljudsignal for sending me this amazing beer and giving me the opportunity to try the [currently] best beer on BA!

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Photo of MrIncognito
4.49/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Had at the Skinny Pancake at Burlington Airport

A - Hazy orange body with a thick white cap that leaves great lacing.

S - One of my favorite parts of the beer. Like smelling a hop bouquet. Sweet, floral hops and a bit of orange zest. Just a hint of sweet malt and a smooth alcohol aroma as the beer warms. Piney and citrusy at the same time. Love it

T&M - Tons and tons of hops but I would not say this is an overly bitter beer. A little less than moderate carbonation allows the beer to coat your mouth with each sip. Pine and citrus hops with a sweet malt backbone. Warming alcohol on the swallow but not overly forward; just enough to balance things out. Every time I take a sip I think of aromatic flowers.

O - Insanely drinkable for a IIPA. I had this at 12pm which is usually way too early for me but I couldn't pass it up. Still went down now and easy. The key to this beer's greatness is its balance. All the flavors and aromas meld so well together and compliment each other wonderfully.

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Photo of Thia417
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

I have driven 3 and half hours just to get this beer. That's saying enough about how awesome it is. I just can't get enough of it!

I went to the Alchemist's new brewery a couple months back and bought as much as they would let me. This beer is in high demand and in general not distributed very far as they're still a small brewery. But it's definitely worth the trip.

This is extreme hop heaven. But unlike some it is not too overwhelming as it is perfectly blended. The smell and taste are like heaven.

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Photo of maxcoinage
4.9/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

First off, thanks to mshull for trading this to me! My first Heady on my 31st birthday

I poured a few ounces into a snifter so that I could properly rate it - but drank the rest from the can and I must say I enjoyed it more from the can!

Appearance - hazy golden/orange. As i swirled in snifter left some good lacing on the side of the glass.

Aroma - on point!! Burst of hops and citrus, pine/ resinous and floral

Taste - nice hop bite with a bit of sweetness and a good malt backbone. Grapefruit, citrus, pine

Mouthfeel - didn't seem to carbonated. so smooth and drinkable it's crazy.

overall - just an amazing brew and definitely worth the hype, I couldn't believe how smooth this beer went down. I wanted to have another one right after but with only four might have to stretch them out over a week.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 2,205 ratings.