Heady Topper | The Alchemist

BA SCORE
100
world-class
2,325 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:
2,325
Ratings:
13,101
Avg:
4.65
pDev:
7.1%
 
 
Wants:
9,154
Gots:
5,364
For Trade:
67
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Reviews: 2,325 | Ratings: 13,101
Photo of embass
4.81/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Followed the instructions given…drank from the can and recycled.

A: I will update the appearance upon my next review (edit of). I plan on pouring my next one in a glass.

S: Had a very strong hoppy, citrusy, tropical-fruity smell up front. Also got some sweet(ness) notes intermingled in there as well.

T: Starts with citrus, moves to sweetness, then a light bitterness which gives way to more of a mild-to-medium level of bitterness. Left a nice balance of piney sweetness in mouth (aftertaste).

M: Had a light-to-medium body and a low level of carbonation.

O: Fantastically balanced. Not sure that I have tasted the level of complexity that this one offers between the smell and taste (from initial to aftertaste).

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.81/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to DarthKostrizer for sharing this one at the post Bruery Reserve Society party bottle share!

Canned 2/2/12.

Pours a murky honey yellow with a white head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is fantastic with citrus zest, citrus fruit, and tropical fruit aromas. Taste is the same with citrus fruit, citrus zest, and tropical fruit up front with a malt finish. There is a mild bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an exceptional DIPA with some amazing aromas and flavors.

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Photo of hopsolutely
4.81/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Canned only 3 days ago (!), this was an incredibly generous trade surprise from mtomlins and a beer I've been hoping to try for ages. It is just plain stunning and actually lives up to my (unduly high) expectations...

Pours a hazy golden orange colour with a respectable white head that has good retention. As the instructions are clearly not to pour it all, am rating appearance mostly on that very attractive can. The aroma is a brilliant blend of my favourite hop-forward elements; resiny pine and citrus with an initial alcohol burn that dissipates dangerously quickly.

The taste is the epitome of its style and I believe it to be the first "5" I can remember giving?! This may well be the ultimate DIPA. A hop-centric ride from start to finish that is strangely well balanced, despite being so hop-forward. The malt backbone respectfully supports the hop lover's ride and that finish is one to savour. It has a delightful blend of bitterness and citrus that lingers...

It's been often discussed, but we may now be well enough motivated to make that pilgrimage trek to Vermont!!

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Photo of SmittyinUpstate
4.81/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Simply put....delish.

Enjoyed fresh...maybe 2 weeks canned. The aroma poured out as soon as the can was cracked.
Mouthfeel was great on the front to the back. Yum!
Citrusy/Tropical...hides the 8%ABV
One dangerously drinkable DBL IPA.

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Photo of Ry_Swell_Guy
4.81/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

You simply cannot beat this beer. It looks very cool in the silver can, it tastes amazing, hoppy with low bitterness, it smells gloriously fresh and somewhat citrusy. Smooth. One of the best IPA's I've ever had. It's quite delicious. At first I thought it was over ratted by the time I finished my can, I was converted.

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Photo of Tmyhre802
4.81/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Am very lucky to have a steady supply due to my proximity to Waterbury. Due to that I am always looking forward to cracking the next heady that brings that delicious hoppy not to citrusy ipa smell to your nostrils. The taste is the most memorable i've ever had with the perfect bite to accompany it's 8% abv, making it impossible to not savor the last taste. Believe the hype.

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Photo of jsearley3364
4.81/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I was hoping to find the Holy Grail of beers but it wasn't quite there. Doing as they say and drinking it from the can, you can't really gauge the appearance. Quite smooth and complex but I find Stone's Enjoy By a bit better to my taste. Heading to San Fran in the summer. Hoping that Pliny the Elder can match the hype.

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Photo of drrone
4.81/5  rDev +3.4%
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 +3.4%
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 +3.4%
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 +3.4%
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 +3.4%
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 +3.4%
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 +3.4%
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 +3.4%
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 +3.2%
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 +3.2%
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 THANAT0PSIS
4.8/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.75

Update

O: Many have questioned recently if Heady is still worthy of being mentioned in hushed tones and revered as an exemplar and progenitor of the most dominant current substyle. Let it be known that Heady is everything it ever was, and revisiting it has only solidified its laudability for me. It is a different style than the Trilliums and Treehouses of the world, but it is no less impressive, and in general is even better put together and complete. It has every aspect one could ask for from hops: juicy tropical fruit, pine resin, dankness, spice, and earthiness. The mouthfeel is its main stumbling block, but everything else is brilliant. For me personally, Focal is better (though it is a single IPA to Heady's IIPA). Heady is also just a little sweet to my palate personally, but it is right where an IIPA should be. Long live The Alchemist. Long live Heady Topper. Pair with Gorguts "Colored Sands," which of course stands slightly in the shadow of "Obscura," but excels in different ways. 4.75/5

The Alchemist Heady Topper

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of JoeBloe
4.8/5  rDev +3.2%
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 +3.2%
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 +3.2%
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 +3.2%
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 +3.2%
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 DaveHack
4.8/5  rDev +3.2%
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 +3.2%
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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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.65 out of 5 based on 13,101 ratings.
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