Heady Topper | The Alchemist

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BA SCORE
100
world-class
2,262 Reviews
Heady TopperHeady Topper
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
The Alchemist
Vermont, United States
alchemistbeer.com

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:
2,262
Ratings:
12,732
Avg:
4.66
pDev:
16.74%
 
 
Wants:
9,079
Gots:
4,990
For Trade:
67
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Reviews: 2,262 | Ratings: 12,732
Photo of RichKent
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Heady is delicious - no doubt about it. I wouldn't say it lives up to the hype like Double Sunshine or Abner, but it's definitely not a disappointment either. I'm drinking my 8th can as I type this FYI.

Pours a perfect orange-peach color if poured (I prefer it in a tulip) with 1 finger head if poured carefully. lacing on the glass is thorough - lots of foam left when done.

The smell is bright, juicy, and citrusy with lots of melon, mango, and other tropical fruits. Surprisingly little grapefruit, and next to no pine/grassy.

Taste follows the nose. Delicious as I said, and a combination of cantaloupe, mango, and guava, with incredibly smooth bitterness on the back end. I get something slightly sharp - you might call it onion if you think hard about it, but it's a nice balance to the fruit. Very little in the way of malts on the taste. I do get a little alcohol - especially in older cans (month+). It's not an issue - , and far less than in a DFH 90min. This is a juicy, fruity hop bomb. Awesome.

It's also perfectly carbonated, although it's slightly more syrupy than I prefer. It coats your mouth and takes a minute to disperse. Again, not an issue, but slightly more than I prefer.

Heady is close to a perfect double IPA - but it's still a solid notch down from the best offered by HIll and Lawsons. Still a delicious beer and for the price it's tough to beat ($4/16oz can).

My biggest knock on Heady is the Alchemist's attempt at keeping it exclusive and hard to find. I've visited liquor stores that had plenty of Heady, but couldn't sell me any due to agreements to only sell it on specific days. It's a pain, but visit the Alchemists website and go to the stores recommended on the days recommended and you'll have no problem buying as much Heady as you can afford. I've always found as much as I wanted without an issue.

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

On my visit to Chicago, I stopped by Beer Temple with my companion and got an opportunity to meet the famed Christopher Quinn. As we approached the counter to inquire about any rare beers in his store a silver can caught our eye. Needless to say what luck to have walked in on this tasting.

Pours a dark orange with some haze, medium head that dissipates.
Smells immensely of citrus -- specifically grapefruit -- flowers/pines.
Initial taste profile was amazing; executed as one of the most balanced IPA's I have come across. Its on the level of Pliny the Elder if not surpassing that. It was a mix of just the right amount of hops, citrus and pines.

I appreciate IPAs and DIPAs that are beautifully executed as such; I don't partake in IBU pissing contests because sometimes being the bitterest is not better.

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Photo of Prop28WasBetter
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Heady topper pours a hazy golden orange (I prefer it from the glass, despite what is written on the can). Smell and taste are citrus and some bitterness, less tropical fruit than other New England style ipas. Mouth fee is spot on. Overall, deserving of its high ratings.

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

The beer is excellent overall. A phenomenal nose of citrus starts it off, smooth citrus flavors, cooling and slightly sweet touch the front and mid palate with a trumpet of hoppiness on the finish. A very inviting, thirst quenching, taste-bud delighting IPA.

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Photo of adapt313
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

How many hops can you cram into a can yet still make it well balanced and insanely crushable? Pretty much the gold standard of ipas. I've tried it in every kind of glassware imaginable but enjoy heady so much more right out of the can.

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

Thanks to Craig for giving my one of these. Check this one off the list. I was sharing this with my neighbor so it was not consumed from the can per the directions.

Poured a light orange with a nice white head, hazy as hell. The nose was a wonderful combination of citrus, orange, piney, resinous hops, grapefruit, dank and delicious. A nice malty backbone supported the massive hop bloom. The taste followed the nose and was delicious. Grapefruit, orange, lemony, piney and resinous, dank and delicious. So glad I got to try this beer.

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

Finally got my hands on 4 cans. Thanks Mike and Mary.
Look nice cloudy east coast IPA.
Aroma. Great orange scent one even my wife liked.
Taste. Extremely smooth for a dipa. Could have drank several more
Feel. Pleasant and quenching. Again could have had more.
Will need to make a trip to Vermont. Still have one left and will consume with much appreciation.

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Photo of JMB
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%

If the color and head are not impressive enough, the taste is dazzling. Grapefruity, hoppy, raw, full, malty, bitter, smooth are some of the many descriptions that come to kind. A great and complex drink. I am usually jot an IPA fan, but thia beer is in a class of its own.

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

This is an extremely, well-crafted beer. It is wonderfully balanced and well-hopped. Truly made by an Alchemist, or the devil himself.

I now understand why it is the #1 beer on BA. My favorites were always Pliny the Elder and Enjoy by. This one boasts them both. I immediately opened a Pliny to compare while I still had some Heady left at the bottom of my glass. To me, the Heady looks much better. The PtE is clear and the Heady is cloudy with yummy goodness. The Heady smells scrumptious and emits a better aroma. The PtE is crisp and clean and the Heady is complex tasting. PtE is a bit more carbonated than the Heady, however, I believe this Heady is nowhere near as fresh as the PtE. In the end, I love them both.

If I were to be stranded in the mountains for any amount of time and I had to select one of these to keep me company, I would have to select the Heady, and the PtE would be his backup.

Nauseatingly good.

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Photo of squarooticus
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%

One does not simply quaff Heady Topper. It needs to be enjoyed with complete awareness and yet total relaxation, in the fullness of time, each sip a journey to an exotic Roger Dean-esque alien landscape, where you sit beneath a strangely geometric tree, listening to the far-off flesh-eating birds chirping, and think, "This couldn't get any weirder. Well, maybe if I were tripping, too."

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Photo of jazzface78
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Its the complete package. Had my first can last night at One Mile House which they were serving for their anniversary. Actually ordered a Maine Lunch first upon seeing it on their extensive beer list. They have it on tap. After taking my first sip I noticed the guy next to me drinking a Heady Topper out of the unmistakable can. I was shocked and immediately order one - now double fisting a heady topper and a main lunch. The rest is between me and my taste buds, but all of the accolades here are spot on.

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

Finally got my hands on some of this, first off let me say this beer is awesome. The second you open the can you are hit with an explosion of hops.

Everything about this beer screams DIPA

Definitely one of the top 3 IPAS I've had!

The questions is Pliny the Elder vs. Heady

Verdict HEADY TOPPER

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Photo of BostonKyle
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Was lucky enough to take a trip up to Stowe and Burlington last weekend. As a non-hophead this is incredibly drinkable. The bitterness does not destroy your tastebuds like most DIPAs and the taste is fantastic. I came across it in a liquor store later in the day and bought the limit for an individual.

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Photo of HopBrad31
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Smuggled some Cans down to my surf lodge in Nicaragua. YEAH BUDDY!
A Perfect IPA. Perfect Bitterness, Perfect Hop Flavor and Aroma - DANK, Citrus, Piney, Resin. The creaminess mouthfeel is what puts this over the top as well. One of my favorite beers.

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Photo of jhmiv
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Out of the can as instructed. Great, consistent hoppy flavor. Terrific enhancer of sharp cheddar resting on tongue. Makes cheese pop and the finish of this ADIPA holds up. Very drinkable.

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Photo of Halfbrother83
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Drinking straight from the can, as instructed.

A: It is a good can. The aesthetics of the font and the illustration are pleasing, and I dig the black tab. One of the best can designs I've seen for a beer, so I'm rating it accordingly.

S: Upon cracking the can open, I'm getting waves of pineapple, orange juice, lemon, piney resin, and some apricot, with no one scent overpowering the other.

T: Wow! Very juicy, but not overwhelmingly so. Citrusy notes of grapefruit, orange, lemon, and apricot all flow out of the can and coat the palette in a perfect harmony. There is a slight bitter hop tinge towards the finish, which is when the light, well balanced malt comes in for a smooth finish.

M: Incredibly smooth, medium bodied with a lighter carb level than I'd expect for a DIPA, but it works. The smoothness of this beer is, for me, what helps it excel to the top of the top 250. Very little alcohol presence, making this an exceptional easy drinker.

O: A superb beer that deserves it's high demand, and one that I'll be jealous of not being able to get easily once my allotment is gone. #1? Eh, maybe... I prefer Pliny, but that's just my personal taste, and I would never, ever turn down the opportunity to get more Heady in my fridge.

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

I have one person to thank for this mrKennedy what a brilliant unexpected bday present you are the man and I know they say drink out the can but this definitely deserves a glass and pours a cloudy pineapple juice hue with a fluffy cloud like three finger head and lacing everywhere looks so inviting,the smell is pineapples,piney hops,tangerines,grapefruit and a tonne of Valencia oranges,the mouthfeel is perfectly carbonated and medium bodied with tastes of pineapples,mangoes,grapefruit,tangerines and finished with a soft citrus bittersweetness and overall what a sublime AIPA it's right up there with the best I've tried and just wish this and the rest of their range was available here cheers.

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

This is a really good beer. The can says to drink from the can, so who am I to disobey a direct order. I can't really judge the appearance this way, but the can has a cool design. The smell is a certain citrusy aroma with hints of the can mixed in the smell. The taste is perhaps the most balanced DIPA. the hops are not overpowering, and the flavor is exceptionally complex. Flavors of grapefruit, pine, and a sour hop flavor come to the forefront. The most remarkable element is the smooth mouthfeel. One might even say it goes down soft. The aftertaste does not limit the experience, but takes it in a different direction. The citrusy flavors sweeten like candy. Most DIPAs express punch of bitter hops at this point, so this was surprising and refreshing. This beer is definitley worth the hype.

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Photo of rodmanfor3
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

When you get the right batch, there is no beer better than Heady Topper.

In a blind taste test that included Abner, Dinner, Double Citra, Focal Banger, Gandhi Bot, Mastermind, Pliny the Elder, Second Fiddle, Sip of Sunshine, Society and Solitude #4, the Substance, and Zombie Dust, Heady Topper was crowned king.

There is great batch variability, but the right batch will reaffirm why this is considered the #1 beer in the world.

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

I finally got to try this thanks to a coworker who got some in a trade. I drank it from the can as directed. It was very good, however, I feel this beer should not still be at #1. I had Pliny the Elder a week ago and liked it a lot more. But, fwiw, I think I like FW Double Jack more than this, so do what you will with this review.

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Photo of Jfriz25
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance- Poured about 6oz into a snifter before drinking the rest from the can. Pours a hazy yellow-orange with an inch of head that quickly fades to a film of bubbles on the surface. Some sediment but this pour was off the top of the can so it isn't bad.

Smell- If my world could smell like one thing it would be Heady Topper. I get some pine up front then just waves of juicy tangerine and a little alcohol.

Taste- Again, waves of hop flavor come through to the point where it is hard to pick out individual notes. The bitterness is pretty subdued which is amazing for the amount of hops used. I don't get pine in the taste just more juicy fruit and a little sweetness.

Mouthfeel- Medium to full mouthfeel. I get stickiness that allows the flavor to linger but not necessarily the resiny mouthfeel of some other DIPA. Moderate carbonation..

Overall- I don't think there is anything quite like this. I would describe it as liquid hop extract without the bitterness. Just juicy and delicious plus with 16 ounces at 8% you have a nice little buzz afterwards. Can is right, it is so drinkable it's scary.

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

I followed the rules and drank from the can. The can appearance is intriguing by itself.

This beer is what got me into craft beer and specifically doubles. The smell was bright and citrusy. It kept coming before, after, and during every sip. I may have spent more time smelling the beer than actually drinking it. Totally unique.

Like biting into an explosive, carbonated starfruit. So many citrus and floral flavors going on.

More carbonated than I am used to in a beer. This, however, allows more taste to penetrate the palate.

Overall, this is my favorite beer of this style. I look forward to every opportunity to have another. Please allow access to this hop combination for a long, long, time. A blind tasters dream.

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

Big thanks to merc7186 for picking up a few cans of this for me...

A: Pours a wonderful cloudy yellowish pink. It reminds me specifically of grapefruit juice. There is a full finger of pure white puffy foam that settles fairly quickly. Some lacing as it drinks.

S: This beer has some serious citrus, a good amount of pine, and a mild underlying sweetness. There are some fruit notes and herbal tea in there as well. It's really pleasent.

T: Mmm. This is awesome. It's juicy citrus, herbal tea, and pine. Wow. I'm amazed by how smooth this beer is. Tons of flavor, but very little harsh hop bite or booze. It's really enjoyable.

M: Medium bodied beer. The citrus and tea envelop the palate to start, but it fades in the middle as the pine comes on strong. The finish is bitter, and it lingers for a bit, but it's never overwhelming.

O: This beer is pretty fantastic. I was expecting a lot, and it delivered. I only have one can left, and I want more immediately! Road trip to VT... anyone?

Side Note: I never took the "drink from the can" seriously, but it's legit. Maybe it's just mental, but it tastes better straight from the can.

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Photo of jjanega08
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Got two cans from MPLSbrewer. Decided to pour one for the review.

A= Pours a beautiful golden yellow color with a nice two fingers of head that holds some steady retention and lacing.

S= The smell is amazing. Tons and tons of hops. It smells like hop candy to be honest. Waves of flavor and amazingness comes over my nose. Resinous and fruity. I've honestly never smelled an IPA quite like this one before.

T= The taste is similar to the nose. The can says that it's not ment to be the most over the top IPA in the world and it definitely isn't. It's a beautiful mix of sweet and bitter. He hops come through with a pineapple like sweetness and just enough bitterness. I really can't explain the taste besides awesome.

M= Smooth and creamy. They didn't over hop it at all.

O= I wasn't expecting much from this beer to be honest. I figured it would be just another super hoppy IPA. This is a unique beer however. It transcends most IPAs in the way that the hops are so flavorful and fruity. This beer is better than I expected somehow. I can't explain it really. Worth seeking out and trying over and over.

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

I'm so glad that angrybabboon could provide me plenty of these for the coming weeks. I've already had this once, but I'm reviewing it today 15 days since canning day - about the widely considered perfect time to drink this. For this review, I got a bit experimental. I love how this is in the can, but I poured it alongside in a glass and reviewed both side by side - half in the glass, with the other half in the can. Poured into a teku glass.

A:
Can: Has a silver label with a fun, delightful illustration showing what could be the brewmaster himself demonstrating the wonderful hoppy things to come. Not having this in the glass is the only downside of drinking this out of the can, but I can live with that.
Glass: Pours a sunset orange amber complete with a frothy as hell, bubbly head. I left the sediment in the can, so it looks slightly hazy with a good deal of floaties. Patches of carbonation streak the glass's edges, as does lacing. Head eventually vanishes, with very frothy bubbles remaining at the sides. Slightly hazy without the extra gunk. Looks very pretty and rustic, and very much near perfect in its presentation as a full-bodied, rich DIPA.

S:
Can: Huge, earthy, hoppy citrus rind zest immediately captivates my nose, with slight tropical fruits to boot. Guava, papaya, oranges, limes, lemons, hop vine mineral-y characteristics, as well as a pungent, floral finish. This has everything you'd expect in the style, only incredibly well spread out and balanced. No metallic aftertaste from the can. Yeasty phenols are all out here, in in a way that's delightfully funky yet sharp and robust. Cannot smell any alcohol, although there is a slight sweetness underneath. No malts or grains here - the hops are completely victorious. Absolutely unlike any DIPA I've ever had.
Glass: It's incredible how much this loses a lot of the hoppy, resinous profile when poured in the glass. While there's still a strong, sharp flavor of well dried citrus notes, and maybe some apricot and grassiness, a lot of the tropical flavors are pretty much gone, and the malty flavor is far more present, in a classic East Coast, caramel/toffee profile. Slightly funky and rustic for sure, but a lot of that initial earthy flavor has definitely been lost.

T:
Can: I think the first time I ever took a sip of HT straight out of the can, my head exploded. This is unbelievably good and lives up to every bit of hype. Right at the front of the tongue there's a juicy, creamy, completely refreshing cascade of hoppy and fruity flavors, ranging from oranges to lemons to mangoes to papaya and pineapple in a way that seems to last forever. TONS of grapefruit. However, rather than feel sweet and overwhelming, these fruity phenols are immediately followed by a pungent, dank, earthy flavor in the sense that takes you to the core of the hop aromas in a fresh, lively, and robust manner. Some slight butterscotch, maybe even toffee aromas follow, but the hops do their job and finish in a ridiculously astringent manner to the point of nearly tying up the tongue in knots, only to release and reveal the smoothened creaminess from the well carbonated feel of the beer, thickness of the malts and oils, and well accentuated alcohol bite that goes down well and warms up the throat in the long run. Thick, hearty, juicy, and pretty much fabulous. It's not balanced, but it's flawless as far as great drinking experiences go. Never thought I'd ever say it, but here we are.
Glass: Out of the glass, it's delicious as well, although you get far less of those earthy flavors, as expected. The only difference otherwise is it feeling a little bit more balanced and allowing the malty syrupy feel to meld with the remaining hop oils, which still gives it the impression of being a full-bodied and well integrated beer. Less tropical notes too, although there's a delightful grassy flavor that sticks around and combines very well with the citrus. Definitely more mellow than out of the can, but still world class.

It's clear that the full experience of this beer lies in the can, and it's definitely how I'll be drinking my Heady Toppers from now on, regardless of how pretty it looks to me. This is really an experience unlike any other, and while it remains an world class beer in the glass... Out of the can, it's utterly mind blowing with all of its flavor, earthy nuances, and scarily drinkable qualities. Do seek it out. It's simultaneously glorious and humble. It's super flavorful but never overwhelming. It's designed for anyone to enjoy of any background, if they enjoy a good beer. Absolutely brilliant.

UPDATE (1/6/2014): I pitted this against some other DIPAs of similar nature (no Pliny), and this was the loser overall. All were about 2 months old. This is really good, but best consumed fresh - it becomes more piney and funky over time, and loses a lot of its fresh squeezed juicy flavors that I enjoy in the style. Worth seeking out, but make sure you know the date!

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.66 out of 5 based on 12,732 ratings.
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