Heady Topper | The Alchemist

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BA SCORE
100
world-class
2,244 Reviews
Heady TopperHeady Topper
BEER INFO

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
2,244
Ratings:
12,632
Avg:
4.66
pDev:
16.74%
 
 
Wants:
9,056
Gots:
4,923
For Trade:
67
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,244 | Ratings: 12,632
Photo of Bwag
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

So much hype, but almost worth it. An amazing beer - certainly one of the best I've ever had. Not sure I'd wait in long lines for a 4-pack, but I'd also never turn one down!

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Photo of spicelab
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had on-tap and in can numerous times during East Coast trip in May/June. This review is for the canned version.

Pours a light apricot, downright turbid, with a healthy near-white head that abates lazily until a raised curtain and lattice remains.

Tropical assault of pine-lime, guava, orange-mango and tangerine held together by a crisp backbone of light and biscuity malts.

Hops are initially so intense I struggle to identify a dominant flavour - just big, green, dank hoppiness. Gradually the palate adjusts and the full array of fruit-salady tropical notes opens up. Hop profile is still predominantly tropical fruits but a good dose of grapefruit joins in.

Palpably chewy and oily but without any hint of heaviness, thanks to silky carbonation which very effectively distributes it across the palate. Finishes with a robust, green, resinous kick.

Brilliantly constructed from the ground up. Probably the best IPA I've ever had, and I've had a few. "Party in your mouth" seems a pretty apt term for this beer.

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Photo of fmccormi
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Straight pour from a 16oz can to a straight-lipped Ommegang flute (the glass included in the 2011 gift packs), but sampled partly from the can for tasting and aroma notes as well. No date on the can, but one week ago the (very, very good) friend who gave this to me said he bought it the weekend prior, so my guess is this is 2 ½ - 3 ½ weeks old at the most. I’d say it’s pretty fresh. And yes, I did drink this from the can first!

Appearance (4.0): One and a half fingers of very light tan head sticks around for a while, leaving some good lacing on all sides of this glass—thought I still want more, and I still want a chewier head. Body is the color of unfiltered honey, a slightly tan-orange. And this is the definition of hazy—almost opaque. Very lovely.

Smell (4.5): From the glass, it’s all sweet citrus fruit—super-ripe pineapple, some passion fruit, grapefruit, mango, etc. From the can, it’s all resin and pine with a grassy background, some tobacco in the back and some light caramel tones help smooth it out. Very, very intense pine and grapefruit tones. Goddamn beautiful.

Taste (5.0): Blindingly bitter, but not astringent, with enough malt sweetness to lend it some gravitas—from both the can and the glass. The hops are like a wad of fresh-cut grass stuck in a big, warm glob of pine sap, on top of half of a red grapefruit. The malt is relatively light—pale, enough to be inconspicuous, but thick enough to anchor the hop profile—and has a very subtle, sweet caramel note in the back. From the glass, there’s an interesting tobacco note that pops up in the body that’s actually very enjoyable. From the can, it’s just a hop explosion slowly taking over your brain. Yeast character? Typically neutral American ale yeast probably, but who could tell with this ridiculous hop load. A little booze in the finish, but it blends so seamlessly with the long, grassy, piney, extremely grapefruit-pithy finish that it’s integrated perfectly with a nice drying effect.

Mouthfeel (4.5): Ugh. So nice and dry. Just on the heavy side of medium, maybe, definitely a full-feeling beer, but damn you don’t want to take it slow. It invites you to keep going way too easily. Carbonation is nice and smooth, with the finest prickliness mixed in—it’s like hop cones are giving my tongue acupuncture.

Overall (5.0): What’s interesting about Heady Topper is that I can fully recognize that this is just one point on the spectrum of (d)IPAs, in terms of the flavor profile and perhaps more specifically the hop profile. But, it seems almost inherently clear that this is more or less the pinnacle of one of those points in the spectrum. There’s undoubtedly other beers at least as enjoyable with different flavor and aroma profiles, maybe more citrusy and fruity or whatever, but they’re not better or worse so much as different. Like a pantheon of pinnacle (d)IPAs. And this almost certainly has a seat in that pantheon. Waxing poetic, maybe, so let me put it differently: this beer is totally tits. Go out and buy it, because especially at $12-13/ 4-pack, it’s worth every penny. Long Live The Alchemist.

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

Everything about this beer screams Hop bomb from the beginning

A - Cloudy copper hue

S - HOly $hii! Huge tropical tones overwhelm the nose pineapple resin sticky hops very pungent

T - This has to be one the best IPA i have ever tasted. The bitterness hits down hard enough to be an imperial but then vanishes and becomes delicate tropical fruity flesh and pit rinds. I want to bathe in this heavenly beer.

M - Huge sticky resin balance is something that cannot even be mentioned. Its flawless. You cant ask for anything more.

O - Picking up 2 cases of this was the best investment ever. One of the best IPAs i have ever had and im sure it will be for a while. Drink it fresh!!! This one degrades FAST and tastes better than most also when its a couple weeks old. DRINK IT FROM THE CAN!!!

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Photo of foureyedgeek
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Paid almost $13 for a single can of this beer. Worth it? We shall see.

Finally a beer that demands you drink it from the can! I cheated and poured a little in a glass to get a better look. Hazy, funky with a nice head and good lacing.

Smell is hoparific. Pine citrus hops oh my!

Taste is exceptional. This is one delicious beer. Bitter without being bracing, balanced without being tame. Absolutely great.

Mouthfeel is on the light side of creamy with enough prickly carbonation and dryness to bring you hack for me.

Overall, I'd say 13 bucks is highway robbery, but this beer almost makes extortion worthwhile. I'll justify by saying this is a limited tough to find release that easily trounces a bomber of other DIPAs at the same price. I won't pay that again, I'll trade instead. But I love canned beer and I had to try this one. It lives up to the hype.

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

A: Poured a white foam which dissipated slowly with excellent lacing. Nice golden color and a bit cloudy.

S: Nice Strong hops smell. Perhaps a bit sweet. Very intense

T: Hoppiness stays in the mouth, increasing in intensity then you swallow and get a rush of the flavor.

M: Carbonation was just right.

O: Overall this is a great beer with a hops flavor that builds and builds.

Serving type: can

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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.

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Photo of Greggio
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This beer reminds me of fresca for some reason. It smells great and has a strong citrus taste and a perfect amount of bitterness to it.
Nothing special to look at, but I don't buy it for it's looks.

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Photo of offthelevel_bytheplumb
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Drank from the can. Did not pour into a glass, so I can not say what it looks like, but the can is very cool. My dad will love this addition to his beer can collection. Bittersweet grapefruit and dank hop resins dominate, I can already tell this drinks like juice. A bit of pineapple and mango are noticeable on the nose as well. On the first sip, I couldn't believe how complex a one dimensional beer could be. This beer really doesn't need a malt backbone, what a use of hops. Drinks so easy from the can.

Overall: If I lived in Vermont, I would buy this every week. What a treat.

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Photo of cjoc83
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

My first go with the one, the only, Heady! Super stoked right now. Fresh 16oz can poured into a tulip (what's the big deal about all the "DRINK FROM THE CAN" stuff anyway?) a super hazy, almost totally opaque pastel orange with an initial 2 finger bright white head that recedes quickly to a ring that leaves moderate lacing. A little hop sediment is visible floating around. Great looking beer.

Basically a tropical and stone fruit hops explosion in the nose. Big grapefruit and grapefruit rind, blood orange, mango, peach, and some earthy, dank herbal hops with a slight hint of sweet caramel malts. Truly remarkable aroma...I wish they made Heady Topper air fresheners. I could just smell this all day.

The dank, piney hops give a nice kick in the mouth in the front, but quickly gives way to huge, juicy citrus; mango, grapefruit, orange, pineapple, maybe even some slight apple and pear, a little lemon zest. Sweet caramel malts kick in towards the finish, giving this nuclear hop bomb great balance. Leaves a beautiful, sweet, juicy hop aftertaste with just a touch of bitterness. There's so much citrus that there seems to be an almost tart-like note to the beer, like fresh grapefruit dusted with sugar (which also happens to be one of my favorite fruits). Just straight up delicious.

Smooth, creamy mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Velvety and inviting.

I'm always interested in seeing if the beer lives up to the hype when it comes to "whales" like Heady. In this case, Alchemist deserves all the praise it gets. Enjoy By DIPA by Stone has just been replaced. Beautiful hop bouquet, great looking and even better tasting. Amazing hop depth with just the right amount of bitterness (which is quite low for a DIPA). Alchemist really needs to start distributing outside of VT! Best beer in the whole world? Not sure about that, but best DIPA and one of the best beers I've ever had? Indeed. So glad I have 4 more of these.

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Photo of russwbeck
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Can picked up straight from The Alchemist Cannery. This specific can is a bit more than a month old. I enjoyed two out of glasses over the last few weeks. As the can suggests, I am reviewing this directly from the can.

A: Well I can't really tell now can I? From the picture of one I took a few weeks ago into my Russian River goblet. Muddy orange brown pour with a pretty thick white head.

S: The hops smack you right upside the face on your first sip. Metal hints from the can seem to bolster the big piney hoppiness, but certainly a caramel malt backbone is noted.

T: Honestly, the taste is not entirely different than it was out of the glass. Big hit of piney hops up front, citrus and other tropical fruits. Bitter, but the fruitiness is pretty formidable as well. The malt backbone from the smell is only slightly noticed, this one is all about the hops. The balance between bitter hops and fruity hops is phenomenal.

MF: Carbonated very well, medium body, very crisp dry finish. The booze is noted every so slightly.

O: Best beer I have ever enjoyed straight from a can, and one of the better ones I've had period. I've had Pliny this fresh and they are both phenomenal in their own regards.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

16oz can served in a can.

L - I have no idea what this beer looks like so I gave it a 4.

S - tropical fruits and pine.

T - tropical fruits and pine resin, you can tell there's a malt backbone holding things together but the hops are dominating.

F - medium bodied with mild carbonation for a smooth feel.

O - an excellent example of the style, very well done.

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

Poured a chug into pint glass just to see what it looked like. Drank rest out of can.

A very cloudy but love it.
S pine and grapefruit dominant but complex. Not as pungent as i was expecting
M very nice malt backbone compared to some ipas and still very drinkable
T excellent. Maybe perfect. Reminds me a lot of fff permanent funeral but with more citrus
O this actually lives up to the hype. Im only docking slightly b/c it didnt improve imo as it warmed. Also i think ill drink the next one from the glass as the can did nothing for me

Thanks BA ironchefmiyagi

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Photo of kawilliams81
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from the can, but a few oz. poured into a tasting glass to see the beer's appearance.

A- Light caramel colored, hazy, with 1 finger white head and good lacing.

S- Loads of sweet citrus and pine hops. I could smell the citrus when I opened the can a arm length away from me!

T- Fairly sweet malts and a lot of citrus in the beginning. Nice blend of citrus, spices, and pine hops with a very good pine hop finish.

M- Medium bodied. Medium carbonation and very drinkable.

O- Like the the can says, "So drinkable it's scary." It that is no lie. I could drink 3 or 4 of these over a a course of night, and not be tired of it at all. Love the aroma, taste, and lower abv (for a DIPA at least). Will try and get more whenever possible!

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Photo of squaremile
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

So excited that I got my hands on this. Pours a dark amber/orange with a frothy head and bubbles of all sizes. Good retention and some lacing. Smell is excellent, dominated by pink grapefruit, powerdy pine, and vines. Beautiful. Taste accomplishes what the bottle said was the goal: amazing complexity. Reminds me a bit of Mikkeller Ten in that you can find almost every hop flavor in the taste. Waves of different hops flow and ends with a biscuity malt finish, then hops linger for days in the aftertaste. Moderate bitterness but intense hoppiness. Mouthfeel is very smooth and medium-light bodied. Drinkability is ridiculous and I could have glass after glass, zero etoh.

I have had almost every major IIPA in the world, this is easily in the top tier, and deserves all the hype. By far the best IIPA not made on the west coast, and blows 99% of those away. Awesome awesome beer.

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Photo of alexrufio666
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Drank from the can as advised, to say the least this was a phenomenal DIPA. And to be honest it was exactly what I expected it to be. Wether or not it belongs at the number 1 spot is not for me to decide but it is a great beer defiantly worth a try! Cheers!

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Photo of Ungertaker
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Drank from the can, as instructed! (poured a little into a pint glass to get an accurate review. (reviewed from notes) Thanks to TimmyJ21 for this can!

A- hazy yellow/orange with a head that is foamy and white.

S- Tropical fruit (mango, pineapple, papaya), citrus peel, faint pine

T- complex- a great blend of tropical fruits and a bitterness that has both pine and citrus peel.

M- smooth and refreshing with just enough carbonation to know it is there.

O- This is up there with all my favorites in this category (Pliny, Abrasive, etc.). I will definitely try to obtain some more of this.

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Photo of HopHead_44
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Took ski trip this weekend to burlington area with a stop at the hunger mountain coop to grab a few cases to take back to new york. Hunger Mountain Coop is the place to go for Cases but generally sells out in a few hours so you have to time it right.

This Stuff is the real deal, believe the hype cause this stuff is awesome. So many complex flavors that roll through the entire palete from start to finish. This is one of my favorite beers right now with lawsons double sunshine right there. If you can get your hands on some you are a lucky person.

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

Drank from can as recommended and from tulip glass. Preferred the tulip glass as way more aroma was present.

Appearance - poured a golden yellow, cloudy. Slightly off white head, with nice retention and lacing.

Smell - Ripe Citrus, mostly pink grapefruit, orange, and pine.

Taste- Layers of citrusy hops followed by some pine, and an almost unoticealbly smooth malt backbone. The hops really shine in this beauty.

Mouthfeel- well carbonated, the flavors bring multiple mouthfeels if that makes any sense.

Overall- #1 IPA for good reason. This beer is as described. Not the hoppiest, not the strongest, just a damn good, super flavorful ipa that hits all the senses. The most pungent aroma I've ever sensed in a beer. Pink grapefruit, pink grapefruit, a little pine, and more pink grapefruit. In the aroma and in the taste. Cheers!

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Photo of zbellino
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - A delightful deep orange, even the head, which was two fingers of irregular froth dithering to an uneven lace (really a sloppy cobweb) has an orange hue. Sediment chunks that float about make this the Goldschlager of DIPAs.

S - The Topper doesn't mince words ... it's like smelling a bag of tropical skittles. It smells unreal and fruity, with a hint of pine. Or perhaps like a nice fruit taffy, because there is a bit of cooked sugar in there. Not quite caramel. There aren't too many beers that would appeal to that sense so viscerally. This is select.

T - Imagine biting into a starfruit that grew from a balsam fir. That is about it. Juicy and amazing, with a pitchy taste. OK, so pine aromas are normal. But starfruit is something else. Impeccably balanced. All of the aromas deliver. No false scents.

M - It has legs in the mouth. Perhaps it's one chink, it's a hair thicker than perfect for me. But perhaps that is good, because if it weren't I would drink it too quickly.

O - Only rivaled, not beaten. This is the best DIPA you can get, or at least that I've tasted.

This is one of those beers that makes you want to quit tasting beers, and just drink a whole lot of beers.

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

Canned on Tuesday, Drank on Wednesday (from the can, naturally).

Appearance- Poured some out of a 2nd can for friends so I glimpsed the appearance. Hazy, a little more amber than most IPA's. Looks like a serious beer (whatever that means).

Smell- Pine, hops, and some fruits..can't exactly pick out which ones

Taste- Unlike any beer I've had. Some sips, it has powerful cirtusy and piney hops that challenge the drinker with bitterness and leave with a very dry finish. Then other sips, it's got a refreshing sweetness coming from juicy fruits...kind of like juicy-fruit gum (maybe not quite that sweet) with a very clean finish. It's bizzare, but makes it super flavorful AND insanely drinkable, which is a potent and marvelous combination.

Mouthfeel- It's very creamy with full carbonation. Coats the mouth nicely and lingers.

Overall- I already mentioned how drinkable this is for how hoppy and bitter it is. Why am I trading half this case again?

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Photo of drseamus
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice golden amber body. Slight amount of white head. I only poured about 2 ounces into the glass because the can specifically advises to "DRINK FROM THE CAN!"

S: If this smell eminated from my apartment the DEA would show up with cuffs. It is some dank shit. Tons of resiny hops and a good bit of sweetness.

T: Tastes like it smells. The natural thing to compare this to is Pliny. It is sweeter and more resiny than Pliny but on the same level for sure.

M: Thick and resiny. It sits heavy but leaves light. It is probably a bit heavier than I would like but definitely acceptable.

D: It's 8% so it's not exactly an all day drinker. That said, I would drink it all day if I could.

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Photo of CaptCleveland
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

1 pint can from recent trade with mountainsnow 1010--a big thanks!
No can dating.
The inscription implores "DRINK FROM THE CAN!".
Started that way, then realized I would not be able to comment on the appearance-Duh!.
Golden-orange, clear elixir poured into SA glass. Thin, white head, quickly dissipates. Nice lacing.
From the can, huge hop resin and floral notes--heaven to this hophead. After the pour, grapefruit, lime, sweet and tangy fruit explode. Wow.
This is all about the hop. Full bittersweet hop all over the tongue, smooths out to leave a nice tingling sensation across the landscape. Grapefruit to lemon aftertaste but the sweet hops do not die! Awesome!
Medium body, plenty of bubbles, alcohol hidden (cannot believe 8%).
This is a keeper and one that all hopheads should seek. The standard for DIPAs. Now you can argue that Hopslam is sweeter, but really, for those that crave the hops and all of its glorious characteristics, this is the one. And in a can. The debate is dead.

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Photo of CayseyW
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Given the new rating system, I felt compelled to add a review to my score, even though this beer speaks for itself by now.

L: Well, it looks great in the can because of the great art, but when poured out into the glass its very rustic, cloudy brew. I actually love when beer looks like this, and I think it perfectly embodies the New England style.

S: Sometimes I get fresh-cut grass, spruce or pine, and other times it smells like slicing into a grapefruit.

T: Juicy citrus mouthful with piney notes. This is a super delicious beer, but you probably already knew that.

F: Ridiculous; the bitterness of this beer should be overwhelming but it's just so smooth on the front and backend. No booziness at all. Amazing carb, and a nice full mouthfeel, but also extremely drinkable.

O: While it's not my personal favorite DIPA, this beer deserves to be in the conversation for the best in the world. It's revolutionary and nearly flawless.

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Photo of wburch1967
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My buddy grabbed me two four packs from the Brewery in VT. Fresh canned two days ago!!

The appearance is a can. It says drink from the can. The can is an attractive can.

Smells of hoppy yumminess and the taste is a well balanced cascade of hoppy goodness.

the hype is deserved!!

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 2,244 ratings.
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