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Heady Topper | The Alchemist

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2,294 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: 2,294 | Ratings: 12,893
Photo of OGFGabv
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Just an all around show stopping beer. Lots of tropical fruit that comes in wave after delicious wave with a touch of a lemon grass in there. Bitterness not overwhelming, but a nice balance . A truly great beer.

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Photo of PatrickSullivan
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours cloudy and orange with a thick white foamy head. The head has a little staying power but leaves some great lacing behind.

S: Great hoppy nose. Tons of grapefruit and citrus (I catch some hints of lemon), with a touch of pine.

T: Less hoppy than expected on first taste. The maltiness hits me first. Sweet but not overly so. But then the hops kick in. Tropical and citrus with some grapefruit intertwined. Toss in a shot of pine at the end. Very balanced throughout.

M: Medium in body, medium to low in carbonation. Yet still creamy and silky smooth. Fits the taste very well.

O: A perfect example of how a DIPA should be. Really glad I got an opportunity to try this.

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Photo of usurping
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow! I received a four pack as a gift this weekend. Had heard about the beer before but put it in the fridge and continued the night. Had two last night and one tonight. What an amazing beer. Every aspect of this beer- down to the clear instructions to drink it straight from the can (cant truly rate the appearance because I drank em from the can)- make it a very special beer. After having three and checking the reviews I was not surprised to see that it is so highly rated.

Smell is delightful with hints of mango.

Taste is not over the top hops. They are there and you are expecting it but I think the amazing thing about this beer is that the taste is over powered by the hops.

I could go on but many others have done it already with some very elaborate and detailed descriptions.

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Photo of dertyd
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

what an amazing beer starts off with flavors of pine very very piney and then out of nowhere comes a huge grapefruit presence and is very smooth such a great great beer Thank You alchemist you are amazing

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Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pourer from a 16 oz can into a tulip and also drank from the can- poured a hazy light orange color with almost no head very little retention and no lacing.

Smells incredible but very subtle- grapefruit and tangerine with a little spice of hops at the end.

Tastes even more incredible- full, round hop flavor. A little malt at the beginning and then the hops take over. A little grapefruit at first and then soft piney notes with a nice medium dry finish. Superb.

Mouthfeel is also exceptional. Medium bodied with light to moderate carbonation. Get this if you can!!

PS- Flavor is more direct out if the can but I prefer it in the glass. Give both a try.

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Photo of nimrod979
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

No can date but I know it's pretty fresh from the source. Drank about half from the can as it says to do so numerous times. Poured the other half into a DFH snifter.

Appearance: Quite hazy unfiltered orange-ish color. Plenty of sediment. Medium sized white head. Decent retention. with some sudsy lacing.

Aroma: Good blend of citrus and pine lead it off and carry all the way to the finish.

Taste: Juicy hops, Mandarin oranges, grapefruit, and a tropical blend followed by layers of pine resin. delicious well done DIPA. Fresh flavor. Pretty much perfection. Delivers on hops, bitterness and flavor all while being completely drinkable.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with an exceptional drinkability. Never comes across as too bitter. Carbonation is soft though perfect for what this beer needs. Glad & thankful I finally got an opportunity to try this one. Something I would look forward to drinking for years to come.

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Photo of Bills453
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thank you so much to Jzeilinger for sending me this in return for absolutely nothing. You sir are truly awesome!

I'm drinking from the can as I am instructed to by it...

Appearance - can art is awesome. The dood's head is exploding hops!!!

Smell - I was worried I wasn't going to be able to smell the full aroma through the can, but I can! A lot of hops filling my nose through this small can hole.

Taste - really does live up to all the hype for me, an amazing representation of hops in this beer.

Mouthfeel - great

Overall - very very good. I hope everyone has a chance to try this beer.

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Photo of JulioH
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I've had this a few times. This is the most bitter thing I have tasted, but surprisingly you quickly get accustomed to it, and actually enjoy it.

Pouring it reveals a normal yellow beer, nothing spectacular about the color, but the aroma that comes out of the can immediately after opening it is crazy. It releases a very strong aroma of pine and hops. Taste is very bitter, very piney, but refreshing and thin. You could drink a few of these and just think of how amazing this beer is.

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Photo of IvoryFoxhole
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%

Case purchased 8/8/14 at Hunger Mountain Co-Op. Gave away half, drank half. Not much variation between cans, which is what they strive for.

Drank all from can as directed, had tried a sampler at brewery in 2013 so I have a rough idea what it looks like. Can does focus nose, but a good tulip glass will do the same. You can definitely tell the difference between a fresh and month-old Heady, but the month-old is still fantastic.

Nose to me is mostly grapefruit with some lemon. Subdued floral component as this isn't quite a West Coast (or quite an East Coast) style DIPA. Subdued malt profile as this is about the hops.

Taste is all citrus and hops, as much as one could possibly want in a beer.

Medium to full-bodied, strongly carbonated, incredible balance, dry finish.

Had to leave some room in my rating for something better to come along (hope to grab one of their other beers at a truck sale sometime, for example).

I do a round-trip drive from VA each August to get my case (or as much as I can get). Very difficult to get if you aren't willing to travel to VT and not easy to get unless you plan before you get there. I recommend the Heady Spotter website to maximize your opportunities. Worth the trouble, though. There's nothing quite like it.

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Photo of MikeyMcD86
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Super excited to try the venerable Heady Topper! I did not drink from the can but I did pour it without rolling the can so as not to disturb the sediment.

Look: Light golden color with lots of haze. poured out with a finger of head. Nice tight bubble structure.

Smell: Pine and spruce jumps out of the glass but it definitely has that yeasty "smell of the brewery" thing that really good IPAs have. Some lemongrass in there as well but it is definitely the pine and spruce that stand out.

Taste: Super grapefruity on the front of the palate, nice and pithy. Lemongrass on the palate as well. finishes with a piney refreshing bitterness. Disguises its alcohol content well.

Mouthfeel: Wonderful medium plus creaminess. Not too heavy. Dries out on the back which helps make this beer super crushable.

Overall(style points): This beer gets all the hype and I can see why. In a world before New England style IPA were everywhere this must have been mind blowing. In today's world though, the game has moved on. It's still a great beer but it just doesn't blow me away the way I wanted it to. 95.25 points.

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Photo of JerseyKirk
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Straw on edges to orangish gold. Super hazy, not sure if it's from hop haze or unfiltered. Small white head that fades quickly. Some lacing around the edges.

S: Huge tropical fruits, pineapple, mango, peach, nectarine and some caramel. Awesome. Tropics in a glass.

T: Pineapples, mango, citrus, grapefruit, assertive hop bitterness but really smooth finish. Everything is balanced. Malt is caramel and sweet.

M: Sweet start to a finish drying finish.

O: This beer is amazing. Super assertive hops but not overwhelmingly bitter. Could just be the bitter factors of the hops used. This is the Hoptimum of tropical fruit hop flavors. Exceptional.

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Photo of ales4baldo
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to MBAcoach for sending this my way.

P-Like the scientist on the can and nice long story on the beer and how it should be drank on the back.

A-Well this beer pours a cloudy and foggy orange peel. Keeps about a finger of head. Not much.

S-No lie, this beer smells like straight up sweet hops, pure and simple. Just imagine a bunch of hops in your hands and shoving your nose into it.

T-Sweet man. Very sweet. Nice hops and well, more hops. Has a sweet malt presence that seems to stick. Grapefruit and green grapes along with pineapple.

M-This is a more full bodied IPA. Not too full though or heavy. Really smooth man. Great flavor. Has a quick dry finish.

O-Very impressed with these beer. Man, i think it might be better than the Pliny, I dont know though, thank god i got more to figure out this crazyness.

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Photo of dfillius
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured gently into a pint glass
A: 1/2 finger of off-white head with good retention. Hazy/cloudy greenish orange. I'd like less cloudiness, but could it be as hoppy without this?
S: Juicy citrus and tropical fruit. Man Candy. Papaya, a lot of pine, slightly dank. Slight sulfurous allium. Slight esters in the finish are the only sign of alcohol in this beer.
T: Brilliant hops are quite bitter up front but stop shy of soapiness. Middle of the taste into the aftertaste is citrus and fruit from hope. The end is not punishingly bitter but is assertive. Delicious. New waves of hops cascade over each other, as opposed to many other DIPAs that build in estery quality as they warm. Perfect.
M: Bright, bitter, full but not chewy. Not hot or boozy at all for its 8%
O: A very good to great DIPA. Assertive hops and bitterness, little to no maltiness but full feeling. Fresh hop flavor with bold American character.

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Photo of tobelerone
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Heady on tap pours hazy dark gold with an enormous fluffy white head. The retention is excellent and the lacing very sticky and attractive. Huge aroma of hoppy complexity; so much going on in the nose, from citrus (mostly grapefruit and pineapple) to pine to floral notes and traces of very slightly onion-like notes as well.

This is one of the best tasting IPA’s/DIPA’s you’ll encounter. Just as complex as the aroma, with a restrained maltiness that’s only very slightly sweet. Grass, citrus, pine, onion. Drinks more like an IPA than a double, with alcohol nowhere in sight…goes down very easy. It’s bitter but not dominated by bitterness or any other single flavor aspect. You can taste everything.

Good carbonation and a medium finish with a lingering aftertaste full of complex notes, not just overwhelming bitterness. Everything is very balanced and totally delicious.

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Photo of untitledeuphoria
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased 2.22.14 from the Montpelier Discount Beverage and Redemption Center.

Drank 4.26.14, poured from a can into a Lagunitas Mason Glass.

We were on a mission to find this beer, and after a grueling drive up from NYC through blizzard conditions we were barely able to acquire anything to bring back with us. Luckily, the local bars of Montpelier had more than enough supply to keep a half dozen thirsty beer guys from burning down the capital of Vermont after discovering they purchased the last six 4-packs in a ten mile radius.

However, when you hear (after the fact) that a line forms on Friday mornings at Hunger Mountain Coop, two hours before opening, and that they sold out their entire 4,320 can delivery in less than 90 minutes, you realize you never stood a chance, and to be thankful you found anything to bring back, and even more thankful than McGillicuddy's Pub not only doesnt overcharge for Heady, but that they have tons of it. Anyways, on to the important stuff...

A: Cloudy honey coloring, no visible particulates, lots of visible carbonation immediately after pouring, one finger of crisp white head, leaves a few small traces of lacing.

S: I never seem to pinpoint much of the aromas found in DIPAs, but if I had to try, I would say Tangerine, Grapefruit zest, Lemon grass, and a few other tropical notes... maybe Mango. Whatever you 'think' it smells like, it smells fantastic, and is definitely a beer built for the nose.

T: Immediate taste of pine, then the aforementioned tropical fruits, and then finally, a lingering hop heavy, but malty finish. Not enough to overwhelm, but just enough to remind you that yes, this is a DIPA loaded with savory hops for your enjoyment, but also big enough to knock you on your ass after two pints.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, with a slight oily retainer. The residue remains long after the initial sip, enough to remind you that you need to keep drinking, but not enough to ruin your tastebuds. Just what I want, and expect out of a high end DIPA.

O: A beer that suffers from its own success. Make no mistake, Heady is a fantastic beer, one of the best I have ever had, but the hype machine is far too powerful. I would put it in the same category as Double Sunshine, Hopslam, Double Daisy Cutter, and Dreadnaught, with no clear winner...and I dont consider that a slight. That is heavy company.

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Photo of herman77
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big Thanks to MarkF150. Believe this was canned 8/9

A: Very cloudy honey orange with a cream colored head. Good retention. Very nice lacing.

S: Lots of sweet tropical fruits, mango, papaya, pineapple. Simcoe hops? Sweet malty backbone.

T: Follows the nose. Again, all those kinds of hop flavors I love and nice bitter bite in the finish. Not overpowering though. The sweetness helps balance it out as does the carmel malt backbone which I feel is bigger than it really tastes. Finishes fairly dry, maybe a little too dry. That would be only real complaint in the taste department.

M: Medium body. Average to lower carbonation. Feels really slick with all the hop oils.

O: Good drinkability. A world class IIPA. Right up there with Pliny, Hopslam, Abrasive and Apocalypse Cow in my book.

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Photo of KAP1356
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've been lucky enough to have this both right out of the can (as suggested) and poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass. Huge thanks to my buddy Doug and my co-worker Zach for hooking me up two separate times with this gem. This review is from a 5 day old can that was consumed half in a glass and half in the can...

A - Pours a very murky, honey color that is quite obviously NOT filtered in any way. It's a slighlty darker color at times than I would've thought. An eggshell white head forms about 2 fingers thick and hangs on for quite a bit befre it recedes leaving gloriously sticky lacing on the glass.

S - The aroma is strong the second you crack the can! HUGE hits of juicy, citrusy fruits. Mango, pineapple, orange, and strong aromas of grapefruit jump out of the can. I LOVE how juicy this smells! Bitter notes jump in and out as the citrus really has me entranced. As it warms a bit, there is an undercurrent of buttery malts that really rounds out the aroma here.

T - The taste is superb. Sae juicy citrus flavors all mixed together perfectly. Orange, grapefruit and pineapple stand out the most with mango and some lemon zest coming through as well. The favor is so smooth and buttery it is almost unreal. Bitter, piney hops come through and onloy add to the onalsught ofhop perfection.

M - Smooth, even carbonation on the tongue making this one extremely pleasant on the tongue. The body is medium bodied, but because of the richness of the beer, it can feel full at times. A bitter, dry fnish rounds things off nicely.

O - This beer is SO FREAKING DRINKABLE!! That is really what stands out the most to me. It doesn't overpower with hops, but puts them on an evenly mixed display that allows you to enjoy every single sip. There is a reason this is on the top ofthe food chain (on this site anyway). Either way, this reallh does deserve the accolades it has received thus far.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my local beer store for this surprise.

Appearance: Hazy copper. Pours on the heavy side with almost no head. What head there is, is bright white and slightly sticky. Lacing is decent, but not too crazy.

Smell: Resin, citrus rind/zest, faint spiciness, and a big floral push. Big juicy, oily hops. Smells like a crazy wet hop beer. The hop aromas are incredibly fresh and clean. Malts are sweet and bready, but work to flesh out the back of the big hop nose. Caramel and cotton candy as well. The sweetness is a little distracting overall, working in contrast to the hops.

Taste: Pine everywhere. Dank, resinous, and juicy. Hops are oily and spread across the mouth. The sweetness from the nose brightens the whole thing up and lets you know more is coming. I'm still getting cotton candy and caramel in abundance, but they play through the back of the hop profile. A hint of something tropical (mango?) as well. Tons of flavor, but it's shockingly non-aggressive. Big chewy malt presence helps even things out.

Mouthfeel: This might be a new standard for the style. Low carbonation and a big chewy body. Creamy, smooth, and almost silly drinkable. Coats the mouth, dries it out a touch, and then keeps on going with waves of smooth hop flavor.

Overall: The fact that this is now available in cans is crazy. I had it on tap 3 years ago and wasn't impressed. Tastes change, but I hope this beer doesn't. A great testament to the style.

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Photo of Stimack
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Was able to go over to the Alchemist yesterday while up in VT doing some snowshoeing. Was able to stop in and try the Heady Hopper, which I have heard great things about. Needless to say I was not disappointed! The pint was poured to medium golden yellow color, was somewhat cloudy and had a nice sized white head that leaves very nice, thick lacing down the entire glass. The aroma was incredible, hops all the way! When it was served all I could smell was cascade hop aroma and I was three feet away from the glass! The flavors of this brew explode in the mouth from the hops, citrus grapefruit and oranges just dominate, while you are still able to pick up the malt but it was hard and it also disappeared quite quickly! I am not sure if I have had anything else that states that it has 120 IBU’s but the hop bite was not unbearable, I am not sure if there is a level where IBU’s don’t really matter anymore but all I can say is that this brew was excellent, lived up to the hype and expectation. I honestly can say it may be one of my favorite brews of all time and by far was the best one experienced on this trip through Vermont.

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Photo of ATPete
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

16oz can

a big thanks to Jason for the chance to try this awesome IIPA

What a sexy lookin can we have here. Heady Topper pours an electric yellow/orange color with a small white head. Tons of aromatic goodness booming from the glass. Resinous pine, grapefruit and tropical fruits in the taste with an amazingly balanced malt profile. This beer was unreal, and completely worth the hype around it, try it if you can.

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Photo of Beern1ck
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I had this at least a couple of weeks old, would love to give a few day old a shot. Unlike other epic DIPAs, this had a more grassy dankness rather than a juicy one. It almost felt like the taste profile is grassy/earthy based (in a good way) rather than juicy/citrusy/fruity based like Maine Dinner or Carton 077xx.
Dinner remains my top DIPA but I had it 2day old. Other Half All Green follows.

I'd love to reevaluate Heady Topper when it's at its finest. It's just true that the full power of these beers is experienced in the first few days after bottling.

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Photo of sholland119
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to warriorsoul for the chance to try this one!

A-Pours a very cloudy orange with some honey notes,a forthy white head subsides quickly.

S-Smells great! Sweet and juicy pineapple, tangerine and apricot.

T-Stand up to the promise of the nose. Very solid malt backbone behind a huge variety of hoppy flavors. Sweet citrus dominates, with notes of oranges and pineapple, then a solid bite of grapefruit. Outstanding.

M-Medium bodied, good lingering bitterness.

O-Excellent. Up there with Abner and Elder as the best DIPAs I have had.


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Photo of Adrianized
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a muddy, opaque light orange with floating sediment. Thin head quickly settles. 4

Very fruity citrusy nose. Mostly tangerines and clementines, also some lemon-lime. Piney, earthy hops in the background. 4.5

Taste follows the nose. I initially get a very strong citrus hop taste, almost tastes like I'm drinking orange-grapefruit juice. Very well balanced with a light caramel malt. Aftertaste transforms from delicate tangerine, to bitter grapefruit, and builds to a "west-coast" piney, resiney hop profile. Eventually, the piney hops dominate. 4.5

Taste from the can: hoppier, more bitter, stronger pine. More aggressive DIPA. ...better. 5

Mouthfeel is full bodied, just the right carbonation. Spot on for the style. 5

Overall, an excellent, superbly balanced DIPA. Certainly worth seeking out. 4.5

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Photo of ThrewRedButter
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

L - Hazy orange with two fingers of white head

S - Dank hop juice, some grapefruit and lots of pine

T - Tropical juices and then delicious hop oils. Pine needles and a dank finish. Bitterness isn't overly intense and this is sweet at times. Drinking from the can envelopes the entire beer with that dank quality.

F - Perfect. Good carbonation, never syrupy. Drinks lighter than 8%.

O - A nearly perfectly-balanced beer filled with all of those unfiltered goodies and is still drinker-friendly.

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Photo of Thehuntmaster
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

500ml can 8,0% ABV.
Two cans both served chilled, one in an over sized wine glass and one straight from the can as recommended.
No canning date (WHY????)

Appearance: Murky, golden-orange body topped by a large white head. The head displays good retention and leaves some great looking lacing as it slowly recedes.

Smell: Thank the pope, this smells fresh!!! Wonderful juicy fruit aromas (orange, peach, passion fruit, mango and tangerine) combine with grapefruit, pine resin, and a dank leafy character.

Taste: Mmmmm, this is absolutely delicious! Sweet, juicy citrus (orange and tangerine) dominates, with mango, peach, grapefruit, resiny pine and a dank herbal character all well noted. With this much hop flavour, the beer is surprisingly balanced - moderate bitterness and sublime drinkability.

Mouthfeel: For my personal tastes, this is just about perfect! Medium bodied and quite oily, with a medium-high level of smooth carbonation.

Overall: Heady Topper certainly lives up to the reputation! This is a phenomenal IIPA that (unlikely as it seems) DOES taste better out of the can than out of a glass! Initially the difference between can and glass is quite small, however as the beer warms the can certainly comes out on top!

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.66 out of 5 based on 12,893 ratings.
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