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Heady Topper | The Alchemist

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2,274 Reviews
Heady TopperHeady Topper

Brewed by:
The Alchemist
Vermont, United States

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: 2,274 | Ratings: 12,787
Photo of drrone
4.81/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a tulip, no I didn't leave it in the can.

A - A beautiful golden copper hue. It liberated a 2 finger width white head, that slowed disappated and left a sparse crown of lace. Plenty of protein floating that eventually settled at the bottom of the glass.

S - A great hop blast, with citrus and pine. I just keep wanting to smell it. Awesome.

T - Damn, the hoppiness that you expect, but very well balanced. Bitter, but not overly so. Fantastic hop dose with a tasty citrus component to it.

M- Smooth, light/medium bodied. Finishes crisp and delicious.

O - Man, what a beer. I love my D/IIPA's and this is the best I've had. It certainly had a lot of floaties, but that didn't bother me, but I can see how it might be off putting to people. I got this in a trade and I'm glad that I have 2 left, but I would love to taste this on tap. Amazing beer, one you must try. I can see why it is numero uno.

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

Drinking this beauty on a lazy Saturday afternoon and figured I should have reviewed this a long time ago.
Review is mainly based on a 2 weeks old can, but with comments from other tastings I had before.
First, I think it's useful to have the debate on the best way to appreciate Heady Topper. It took me half a dozen cans to figure out the "drink from the can / review from a glass" thing, but now, it turned as a well-oiled ritual. Flavors and aromas on Heady Topper are really volatile (more than on any other hoppy beer I have had so far), yet, the nose is so great it would be a pity to drink it from the can. So what I do is pouring it in my de Heeren van Liedekercke glass (which is a small, not too wide wine glass, more or less a white wine glass) 2oz. by 2oz., it enables me to enjoy the nose but have the beer rest in the glass with not too much contact with the air. I'm very proud of this technique, it makes me consider myself a professional Heady Topper drinker :-/ And now, let's review it:
A: Everything has been said of how bad-looking this beer is, hazy as hell with lots of sediments floating around (it will be hazy however you pour it, but a gentle pour can avoid the sediments to come to the glass), yet I really love the look of it. Hazy straw / orange in color, with a foamy white head, quite lingering, this looks very juicy, like a fresh pressed grapefruit.
S: This is the best part of it, fruity, juicy, with a resinous scent, very complex and appealing with aromas of mangos, peaches, oranges, passionfruits, grapefruits and pineapples.
T: Taste is very fruity also. If drunk very fresh, one can taste the fresh hops, grassy and floral aromas, which do mellow after a week or so and leave fruity waves of hoppy, fruity goodness flooding from the front end of the tongue to the back end of the throat, with a lingering, resinous aftertaste and a bittersweet dryness on the finish (which also mellows with time). No heavy sweetness, no over-malting defect, no alcohol is to be felt. I could drink 5 liters of this on a single night.
M: Mouthfeel is smooth with a high carbonation and a dangerous dryness on the finish, calling for the next mouthful.
O: Contrary to many DIPAs, Heady Topper is not so focused on hops, but has a real yeasty liveness, light on the malt side but very well balanced, not at all as bitter as expected from the IBU, but still very smooth and fruity. It evolves gracefully (probably at it peaks after one month, but it can be enjoyed even one year after canning, regarding my own experience, being really focused on the yeast quality). One of the best DIPAs I have been able to try, and one I really love revisiting on a regular basis.

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Photo of Zrings
4.81/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What is most striking to me about Heady Topper is the smooth, creamy mouthfeel. The hop aroma and flavor are fresh, bright and juicy. The bitterness is about perfect. But to me it's that mouthfeel that is most distinctive. Well, that and the large amount of beautiful yeast sediment that you can culture from any can.

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

Drank from the can as instructed on the can.

Look: No clue as drank from the can

Smell: Awesome, citrusy, hoppy

Taste: Absolutely delicious - it lives up to the hype.

Feel: I felt it was a near perfect mouthfeel - very balanced

Overall: 4.75 - absolutely delicious and lives up to it's high rating. I want more!!!

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Photo of Jmc181
4.81/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Mouthfuls of fluffy hoppiness. Super smooth and delicious. It's more hoppy than words can describe, and yet, not too much so. Worth drinking every chance you can get your hands on it.

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

A true double IPA. Hard to get unless you wait in line for around an hour or better during the week. Smooth from start to finish and be sure to listen to the can and drink from it

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

Heavenly. The stuff you dream about. Like anything else in VT, very, very fresh. I had it at Prohibition Pig in Waterbury on tap. Haven't stopped thinking about it since. I'll be with everyone else, on the road to VT just to get some as it's only available there. It's that good.

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Photo of Dopen993
4.81/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

16oz can into pint glass.

Hazy yellow, light orange in color with 1 inch head. Lots of sticky lacing, covers the whole pint glass.
Good amount of grapefruit and lemon on the nose, with a hint of sweetness at the end.
Very much hop forward, with some citrus (I'm getting a lot of lemon with a little orange). Lots of bitterness on the finish.
Medium body, with a really nice mouth feel. No taste of alcohol.

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Photo of rareif
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This is one of the best beers i have ever had. Made a trade and pulled some strings and was able to have one for myself within a week of it being canned.

Big Piney, Citrusy, Hoptastic DIPA. With some malt. Dont forget the malt

A fantasic brew that plays on the montra; "If you can only do one thing, at least be the best at it"

All in all, if you are a IPA/DIPA fan, and you do not enjoy this brew, you may want to look into your past... remember that licking a cheese grater moment as a kid, dont you!?!

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at the Alchemist in Waterbury, VT. $4 for a 12 oz. pour. Can't beat that.

A - Hazy orange body with a delicious white head. The beer sticks and leaves lacing all down the side of the glass. This looks delicious.

S - Waves of hops. Unbelievably delicious citrus and floral hops. It has the strongest citrus hop aroma I've ever smelled. It's wonderful.

T - Great hop flavor up front that just lasts and lasts. Somewhere in the distance is a slight sweetness to balance it out. There is hardly any bitterness, so it only takes the slightest bit of malt to keep this guy balanced.

M - Slick and easy to drink. A gulpable IPA. I put back 3 of these easily. The low bitterness with such a strong hop character is remarkable and allows this beer to be quaffed with ease.

O - The best IPA I have had and a great endnote for my east coast beer trek. Worth the drive and something I hope to get once it is canned!

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Photo of JoeBloe
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I mentioned to a co-worker that I was just in Vermont and found nothing (good) locally other than 'Long Trail' and he hit me with a pint can of Heady Topper - Thanks Will !!! - I poured some into a tulip and left some in the can whilst alternating sips - and before I knew it - it was all gone !! - and i wished I had more - poured hazy and light orange with suspended spherical globules (of the hop resin?) - like a little universe of it's own in my glass - a 1 finger head that dissipated into a slight film reaching out to a 1/4 inch ring - the hops were in the air as soon as i 'pulled the pop-top' - the zing and zest of hops resin was immediate and awesome - just sticky enough with a mildly sweet finish - this beer is amazing for all the right reasons - hype be damned!

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

16 oz can courtesy of tommyguz pours an uber-hazed gold color with a stubborn, sticky off white head. It's money on retention and lacing.

Nose is juicy citrus and tropical hop aroma. Bubblegum dank with pineapple and mango. As Borat would put it - That's a very nice!

Pretty amazing they can pack this much hop flavor into a beer these days. Lots of bitterness here too. You can tell there is malt in there, but good luck finding a flavor description to attach to it. Just a massive tidal wave of hops - citric, tropical, piney; you name it hop-wise, its here. ABV is well hidden and the flow is nice from the hop flavor to the bitter finish...not halting at all. Definitely a world class beer, good enough to say that if I was transferred to Vermont for work, regualr access to this would be one of the first things to pop into my mind.

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Photo of Danismaximus
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Wow. An outstanding beer. This really lived up to the hype (which is really saying something). I felt like I could truly taste the varietals of hops and it was magnificent. I am sold on this beer. One of the best I've had. My favorite part about this is that it says in the can to drink this straight from the can! This place is progressive and has fully embraced the superioriority of the can to the bottle.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

A: Pours a hazy dark straw yellow in color with some hints of golden yellow and very light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall dense and creamy off-white head that slowly reduces to a mottled thick film covering the entire surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Huge aromas of citrus and tropical hops - lots of citrus/grapefruit along with pineapple, mango, and peach tropical aromas. The smell of this beer makes me want to drink it, and want more and more of it.

T: Just like the smell, the taste of this beer is completely dominated by the hops. Moderate to strong flavors of grapefruit/citrus, pineapple, mango, and peach hops with a light amount of bitterness that does not linger. Upfront there is a light amount of malt sweetness.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Extremely smooth and creamy.

O: Poured half the can into a glass for my review and drank the other half from the can as recommended on the can. This is definitely a world class DIPA, great aroma and great flavor...and it comes in a can to top it off. This beer is super easy to drink but I think it could really sneak up on you because the alcohol is very well hidden. Delicious!

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Photo of brewmine
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Only beer ever that made my whole body tingle after a few sips. Somehow hits you on the chin, although not extremely strong, but at the same time has a long lasting, complex feel. I'm not articulate in the sommelier language, more like "this be real good, gotta stock cave" kinda guy: in my way I recommend it without hesitation. Travelling to Vermont over the Memorial Day weekend I planned on buying it because of the hype (I live in Massachusetts where it's not available) and stood in a line for nearly 3 hours to get a 24-can case. Time well spent.

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Photo of Hyptochrons
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

God damn this stuff is good. pretty much lives up to the hype in my opinion, one of the best beers ive had. very easy drinking and refreshing, especially for a double. ridiculously dank smell and taste, love it!

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Photo of DaveHack
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a can into RR tion glass.

A very cloudy coppery, orange color comes from the can. Its not a very pretty color. Decent head quickly dissapates, leaving some sticky lacing behind.

This beer smells like the heavens. The image I get in my head when I smell this is a large hop, just dripping oil. Words have trouble describing the fanatastic aroma of this beer.

First taste is a delicious bitter hop bite. That bite lasts all the way through the swallow. It tastes like a pine cone had sex with a tropical fruit and Heady Topper flavor was born.

This stuff is awesome in the mouth. Again, excellent hop oil abounds. It is definately on the heavier side of medium body.

Overall, the beer is just great. It smells freakin' awesome and tastes excellent. The alcohol is really hidden in this gem. By all means get this beer and consume!

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Photo of DCon
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Received a 1 PINT can of this from mdvatab in a recent trade (fresh!). Poured from the silver can w/ the "Alchemist", HEADY TOPPER, & DRINK FROM THE CAN! all in black into a 16oz pint glass (but only half the can). Enjoyed the rest straight from the can so I could review half and enjoy "how it should be" the rest. Has 11020B2BB on the back but no sign of freshness date.

Aroma- Has the biggest citrus, piney hop aroma I've ever experience! Reminds me of a FFF brew. Grassy as well. Packed with more hops than can describe. Try for yourself!

Appearance- Pours a 3 finger, bubbly head that lasts for great time. Has a nice orange/reddish copper body with no haziness. Leaves suds down the glass (but only got to see what 1/2 a pint did).

Flavor- VERY fresh and perfect complexity. Mango and citrus hit the palate hard and then has a piney flavor. Sweet nectar, this thing rocks! Medium-High Bitterness and finishes rather sweet. Can't get enough...

Mouthfeel- Medium-Full Bodied, Medium-High Carbonation, Smooth, Pure sweetness, and then grapefruit actually came out on the ending, leaving the palate with pure pleasure.

Overall Impression- And this is why I was looking for this one for the past year! Unbelievable! Thanks for sharing Mark. Both drinking from the glass and the can were enjoyable but from the can was very fun! Intense, fruits like crazy, and great amount of hop all kept this one above many I've ever had. Will be looking for this again! HIGHLY recommend.

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Photo of JonCorbett
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

fingers of fluffy white head and plenty of lacing and retention is amazing dissipates like a giant tortoise makes love.

Aromatics: Super sweet, fresh, juicy, green hops. Pine and grapefruit and some mellower citrus' and some pine without the raw earthiness that usually comes with it.

Taste: There is a stupendous complexity, it is full of a number of flavours. Incredible layers of hop with a sweet dank funkiness, orange and grapefruit juices, thinned honey, and fresh grass under it all that make simultaneously sweet and bitter.

Mouth: An excellent balance of carbonation and a heftier medium body with a delicate resinous quality that compliments it's juiceiness. A little bit of acidity but hardly noticeable, I call it a clean finish as well even though their is a bitterness to it, the palate is in a constant orgasm of sensations to even notice it, and definitely does not feel like an 8% either.

Overall: Superb. I now know what all the fuss is about. And have a great benchmark now to compare future DIPAs to. A magnificent and super palatable brew. I am in awe - and have Greg (@GJKerr) to thank. Best breakfast ever!

Pairing: Don't. Well not your first one anyways... This is one of those rare occasions where I am left speechless and enjoyed all the complexities of the brew itself that to try and match it to a food the first go around would not be prudent. I may add and edit at some point if I ever get another one of these. But for now I am supremely content with just the beer itself.

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Photo of douginromeo
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is my second - thanks to SDStoneEnthusiast! The first I poured into an English pint glass and followed directions for the second (drank from the can). I understand now why they are so adamant about drinking from the can - such a difference.

Appearance - beautiful, hazy gold with no floaties since I didn't swirl the last little bit to get the dregs. Looks very nice.

Smell - amazing citrus and pine: honestly, I could sit and smell this beer all day long. I also detect a hint of sweetness underneath the hops.

Taste - follows the nose. Fantastically balanced and rich: it has the perfect amount of sweetness and bitterness with a nice amount of citrus thrown in. As John Kimmich says, "I wish I could crawl right into the can."

Mouthfeel - oily and smooth - very pleasant

Overall - I wasn't sure about this beer in the glass, but after drinking it out of the can, I can honestly say that it is the best overall IPA that I have ever had, and I have had quite a few. I understand the hype now, and it is well deserved.

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Photo of daudelin2000
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The mighty Heady Topper! Been drinking it for years now. Finally reviewing it. Golden yellow in appearance. Haze for days. Smells like a combination of grapefruit, freshly cut grass, and pine. Taste mostly follows the nose. The finish is incredible. The leftover hop flavors that cling to your tongue are delightful without over doing it.

Heady, at one point, was my favorite beer and was THE beer that pushed me to try other ridiculously hopped beers. There are others I prefer nowadays. However, it is still in my top 10 for sure and I've still yet to have another beer that tastes like Heady.

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Photo of biglobo8971
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

poured from can into glass ( I did not heed the cans direction )
have had this beer several times and love it more each time I have it. Absolutely delicious.
pours a golden amber orange, nice 1/4 inch head with lacing present the whole glass. The smell is purely of hop, nice dank sticky hops. Taste is hop forward with a great balance of sweetness and bitterness. The mouthfeel is incredible, dances off the toungue.
Will seek this beer often, good thing I have a regular hook up for it or I do believe I would go into withdrawels.

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Photo of Dope
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Poured some into a glass just to see what it looks like. It's a super cloudy pale sort of orange. Good solid offwhite head. Retention is quite good too. Decent lacing.

S: Wow, stunning aromatics - just an explosion of fruit. Grapefruit, citrus and pineapple. Mango and apricot too. A bit of resin too maybe?

T: Again, hop mania. As in the nose it's all citrus and the tropical fruits mainly. A bit of resin and pine in the aftertaste. It's sweet but not overpowering, just compliments all the fruit nicely. Bitterness abound but NOT as harsh as other big IPAs like maharaja or ruination. Not even close. It's also not too sweet like a double crooked tree or a 120min. This is a big DIPA that's actually balanced. Long lasting residual taste that sticks with you forever.

M: Medium bodied, carbonation is just about right. A bit drying from all the hop oils.

O: This beer is all about balance. One of the best balanced yet big DIPAs I've had. I like big harsh bitter bombs but this is just a thousand times more drinkable. I feel like I could have a bunch of these. That's what really sets it apart I think.

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Photo of heelsn02
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

scored a 4 pack from jamvt via trade. thanks a ton for the swap Jeremy

awesome looking can. love the mad-professor looking guy, reminds me of my buddy Luke. Luke, if you're reading this, take it as a compliment.

says DRINK FROM THE CAN!, so i'm drinking from the can (at least for the first 2/3). no idea what it pours like (at least initially), but i'd imagine it's beautiful

smells glorious, hoppy as vince carter, smells bitter, incredibly floral and fruity. bouquets of bada$s flowers.

taste is outta this world. about as great as it smells. massive hop flavor obviously, slight rauchbier hints?... some smokey notes and aftertaste for sure (which I love). carbonation is spot on.

Wow. 4 bones a can? are you kidding me? absolutely love this stuff. really makes me want to take a trip to the northEast. will have to see Rustic Overtones while i'm there. amazing stuff. CHEERS.

PS - poured the last 6 or so ounces out into tulip. golden orange chunky and amazing.

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Photo of JimsArcade
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

(Notes from an April 2012 sampling)

The brewers at The Alchemist are forthright in why Heady Topper should be enjoyed from the can. While the beer pours a gorgeous ruby-amber, tan chunks of what I believe to be yeast and hop resin spread throughout the beer. They do not affect the mouthfeel in or out of the can, though. If you can stomach the visuals, I highly recommend pouring the beer in a large snifter to experience the explosion of citrus and herbal aromas from the hops. The taste: it's like an orange was cross-bred with a hop and squeezed into the can. There is a perfect bittersweet balance at play here. I could drink these one after the other if availability allowed me to,

Simply put, this is a world-class IIPA. As far as I'm concerned, it's the new flagship for the style. I'm glad I got it when I did as I'm sure future releases will reach Pliny the Young levels of insanity.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.66 out of 5 based on 12,787 ratings.
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