Heady Topper | The Alchemist

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BA SCORE
100
world-class
2,242 Reviews
Heady TopperHeady Topper
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
The Alchemist
Vermont, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
"An American Double IPA" 75 IBU 8.0% ABV. "Drink from the can."

Added by scottum on 03-27-2004

BEER STATS
Reviews:
2,242
Ratings:
12,623
Avg:
4.66
pDev:
16.74%
 
 
Wants:
9,053
Gots:
4,920
For Trade:
70
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,242 | Ratings: 12,623
Photo of SayBoom
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

No date of freshness on the can, approximately it was canned two month ago.
Pours yellow-orange and translucent, white sticky head, that retains well.
Smell is unreal. Powerful bouquet of tropical citrus and pine, a lot of grassy hop. Very difficult aroma.
The taste is wonderful citrus and flowery hop, hop bitterness manifested with the first sip. I would add a little sweetness.
Pleasant mouthfeel. Medium body, moderate carbonation, bitterness lingers till the finish, really drinkable.
Overall, this is a great beer, but I’m not sure that is best DIPA in the world.

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Photo of JuglashB
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

L: Can't get much better than an unfiltered, filthy looking IPA.

S: Hops, pine, slight citrus fruit and more hops. Distinctly different from a west coast IPA.

T: Everything you want from a VT IPA, nothing more nothing less. Paved the way for the rest of VTs finest.

F: Smooth, frothy hops all up in your mouth. Nice thickness to it.

O: Why I even bothered writing a review... no idea. You already know what to expect.

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Photo of ggilman
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On cask at the alchemist! 12oz. pour in a smaller tapered pint glass.

Super creamy thick frothy shaving cream head sits atop a hazy apricot body. Sticky lace clings like crazy. Smell is cut wet grass and fresh hop leaf. Taste is pure delicious citrus hop infused goodness. Bitterness climbs in from behind. Slight malt backbone with a little roasty alcohol. Oily and resinous hop mouthfeel, yet crisp. Citrusy and grassy the whole way through.

Lived up to every expectation. Excessively fresh & delicious.

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Photo of Ian_Alexander
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A few sips in a tulip, majority from the can. Color is slightly opaque gold. It really is very smooth for a double IPA. Nice hoppiness without just being punch-you-in-the-face bitter. Mouthfeel is really nice; creamy foam, not too carbonated.

I can't pick up some of the more subtle notes others have highlighted, but perhaps it's because I don't drink quite enough IPAs to be sensitive to them.

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Photo of Hesscabob
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Acquired via trade at DLD. Shared witha buddy.

A - Looks as promising as all the folk lore. Perfect golden hue, right amount of carbonation and lacing around the sides of the glass.

S - Big floral, citrusy, pine notes. Was expecting more concentrated hop aromas as this is coming from a can. When tasted from a can did not make as much difference as the multiple warnings of drink from the can would elude to. 90% for aroma. Better DIPA aromas out there for sure.

T - Nothing wrong with the taste from beginning to finish. No lingering lupilin tangy taste as other can IPA's have, great malt body and neither the hops or malt outweigh the other. Was hoping for more hop presence though.

M - Mouthfeel, carbonation, coating the tongue all perfect. Well executed and this was possibly the best part of the beer. (Which is why it is not the #1 brew in the world)

O - Awesome not worth the hype or what people trade for it. On that note, although its not the best, nothing is wrong with it just built it up too much in my head. Hope to try again in the future to try and reverse my original opinion.

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Photo of 311bulldog
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Purchased during almost monthly trips to Vermont. Drink out of can and out of tulip and occasionally from tap.

Appearance - golden-orange hue.

S - citrusy, pine notes. Hop aromas galore. One of my favorite smells in the world.

T - world class taste from beginning to end.

M - nice feel, good level of carbonation

Overall - Definitely one of my favorite beers in the world and very accessible for me. I tend to think some of the Hill Farmstead brews are slightly better, but I stock-up on Heady 4-6 times a year. I feel lucky to get to imbibe Alchemist brews frequently!

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Photo of TheBiercast
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Mysterious. No, I’m not trying to be cheesy. We drank it straight from the can, as suggested. Could see a little bit of golden liquid on the rim of the can as I drank it.
(Andrew did later pour one into a pint glass to solve the mystery. It is a very cloudy, deep golden yellow. There. Mystery solved, but this beer is obviously not about how pretty it looks.)

Smell: From the little punch top opening, upon popping, fragrant floral and slight citrus notes filled my immediate plane of smell-o-vision. It was very strong and helped make sense in why The Alchemist doesn’t want you to pour from the can to help contain those beautiful esters for the flavor you’re about to consume.

Taste: Upon the first sip, my very first reaction was that this beer is not intentionally wrecking my taste buds like a Bell’s Hopslam. This is what I thought I was getting into and was slightly disappointed until the hops slowly creeped in and engulfed my entire sense of taste. Heady Topper is every bit of hoppy as Hopslam, but nowhere near as harsh making this extremely drinkable and enjoyable to the novice IPA drinker. As the nose suggests, there are tons of floral notes, and as the more a drink it, there are a lot of citrus notes, but they are not bright. The citrus comes from more of the oil from an orange rind to add slight sweetness and mellow out the big floral notes. As it warms up, I started noticing some honey sweetness, so you have that to look forward to as well.

Mouthfeel: This is the best part! It’s so smooth for how intensely hopped it is! It’s creamy, but it is not to the point that it’s dictating how fast you can enjoyably drink this beer. It’s so enjoyable for a hoppy, relatively higher ABV (8.0%) beer that I was quoted saying, “I could drink this on a hot, summer day after mowing the lawn.”

Overall: Overall, I’d say this might be my favorite IPA, in general. For how balanced it is, I could always enjoy one. This is not to say that if I had to choose, there would be times that I would much rather have a more harshly bitter beer as a Bell’s Hopslam or a Founder’s Double Trouble. It really comes down to how something can be so hoppy and so drinkable at the same time. Just remember, drink it from the can. It’s worth it.

I’ll give Heady Topper a 4.8 on the ol’ trusty 5.0 scale.
Cheers!

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Photo of mrz200
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Does HT really need another review saying how equally good and unattainable it is? Well I thought so, so here it is.

If you are a craft beer fan with any level of affinity for hops, you will love this beer. I say that because there is so much more to it than the "DIPA" classification suggests.

Is good cold, is good a little warmer, is good as an IPA, is good as citrus-ey hop blended ale, oh and it's incredibly drinkable for a high ABV... If you could actually get your hands on enough of them to have a HT session!

If you've never had it, or fear you never will, take solace in the fact that HT gets less unique every year of this craft beer era. Sure, I've still never had this perfect combination of flavors and craftsmanship, but you've tasted everything in HT before. Ithaca, Lagunitas, Maine Beer, all of them seem to owe a tip of the glass to HT with some of their IPA's.

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Photo of Abilow33
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I went to the beer shop in Waterbury and tried this beer. There is a reason this beer is rated as the best beer in America. It is the best beer I have ever had. It had a great taste. I wish everyone could try this beer. I wanted to buy a case but the were sold out.

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Photo of mitch3114
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

16 oz. aluminum can with two pours into a snifter glass

A- This beer pours a cloudy, hazy golden color slightly tinged with amber, but still very much light for an IPA- an Imperial IPA at that. It looks more like a Hefeweizen. A nice, slightly uneven inch and a half head that lasted about two minutes before settling down to an eighth of an inch. Nice fluffy lace coatings slide down the snifter with every movement

S- Remarkably the aromas of this bold flavored ale don't stand out as much as the taste. It smells like a well balanced IPA. Some floral hop aromas, grapefruit, The scent although not complex does smell very fresh and very good

T- I can see why this has such a following. It is like drinking liquid hops of the most delicious and highest quality. These hops are very tasty and pungent in a good way. This is a bitter DIPA. But it's also a sweet DIPA. Other than the POW! of the hops, the beer is actually very well balanced.

M- The mouthfeel is just spot on. It is smooth and creamy, yet refreshing and drinkable with just the right amount of carbonation.

O- Overall, I can see why there is so much hype with this beer although I think a huge part of it is that it's only distributed in just a couple of towns in the state of Vermont. I will say it's one of the best DIPAs I have tasted, although fresh from the tap Enjoy By is right up there too. My buddy got me a four pack of this for my birthday and I am very grateful. It's a great beer to drink on a summer night and the 16 oz. serving just enough. A little more than your typical 12 oz. home serving, but much easier to finish than a 22 oz. bomber. I don't know about the hype, but I would say the ratings are pretty accurate. This is a legendary brew to say the least!

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Photo of BuckKY
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is simply a great beer.
It didn't feel like 8.00% and as a person that doesnt care for needlessly high ABV I love it.
The aroma on this beer is by far the best part. It smells of grass and happiness. Its white head is thick enough for a mustache. But feels light. You could sip or slop this beer and both would taste great. Although it isnt as complexe as I had thought for a Rate 1 beer it is, by all accounts, excellent.

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Photo of ggell100
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Long-awaited taste of this beer was well-worth the wait. To put it simply: This is an awesome brew! It is much hoppier than I expected, but this was a pleasant surprise to be sure. It was a great overall experience right from the can. I highly recommend this one, along with virtually everyone else who has had the benefit of enjoying it.

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Photo of Beer4B
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a beautiful hazy and golden light orange. The nose jumps out of the can as soon as you crack it open. A bouquet of hops tickle your nose hairs. Wave after wave of hops delicately balanced with malts overtake your palate. Drinks really easily for 8% and has a fantastic finish.

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Photo of BrewDudeRay
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Received as an extra, (thanks Buford), and was excited as I was looking for this beer.

Worth the wait and oh so good! Pours as an IPA should. Aroma of hops and tastes clean and hoppy, but nothing like you'd think, refreshing and makes you want more!

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Photo of TTAmod
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to the DreamWeaver. Word on the street is this can is approximately 3 weeks old. Not ideal, but I'm not complaining (too much.)

A: I'm drinking it from the can (like they suggest.) However, the can is pretty badass. I'll give it a 5.

S: Nice wave of citrus smelling hops are released upon popping the can. Bringing the can up to my nose gives me a really, really strong dose of ruby red grapefruit. It smells extremely sweet and citrusy. I also pick up a bit of alcohol and pine. Smell is pretty good, but not perfect. For comparison, Zombie Dust, in my opinion, has pretty much the perfect IPA smell.

T: Way more going on the nose will lead you to believe. Starts of slightly sweet. Melon and guava are fruits most present in the beginning. I get that ruby red grapefruit that was in the nose somewhere in the middle. It gets slightly piney and bitter toward the end with a distinct caramel taste. Slightly bitter and alcoholic on the way out.

M: The mouthfeel is pretty much perfect. Minimum carbonation. Unbelievably smooth. The body just seemlessly allows the waves of hop flavors to hit the palate unhindered. Alcohol isn't very noticeable in the taste, but it's very, very sneaky.

O: I've been blessed with amazing IPAs over the last couple of weeks (DirtWolf, Abrasive, this..) Is this the best beer in the world? Probably not. Is it the best DIPA? In my opinion...probably. What's great about this is that it's not a hop or IBU assault...the hop flavors are a bit more subdued than you'd believe, but that's a actually a good thing because it allows you to experience such a huge range of hop flavors. The malt base is really sweet, too. Normally, I like drier IPAs, but I don't seem to mind the sweetness here.

This is one of the few times that a beer has met the hype.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a hazy yellowish orange with a white head.

S: Tons of fresh fruits, orange, tangerine, tropical fruit, papaya in an incredible nose.

T: Lots of orange, grass, pine, tangerine, tropical fruit, papaya.

M: Somewhat typical of an IPA, but a bit smoother, which is nice.

O: An incredible IPA. Not my favorite, but BA inflates their ratings, and they don't weight them how I personally would, so it might look that way. I don't know. I'd give it a 95.

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Photo of DIM
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A gift from regular customers, sweeeeeet.

This was a hazy, muddled straw color. It poured with a large, dense looking, sticky head.

A nice hop bouquet was evident as soon as the can was cracked; a delicate fruit salad aroma consisting of mango, pineapple, and juicy oranges. There was little in the way of malt balance, just a hint of sugar cookie.

Tastes as the smell suggests it would, just a wall of juicy hop layers. Fresh, pungent, sticky; wonderful. As big as this tastes, the fruit flavors come across as delicate. I guess because so many different flavors are discernible. There was a nice bitter bite at the end.

A great DIPA for sure and at reasonable price. If I had access, I drink tons of this one. Thanks guys!

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Photo of warrendietrich2001
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Sad that I tried this, because I know I will never have again. Is it the best beer in the world I did not think so but it was a GREAT beer and deserves to be thought of as one of the best.
Did not pour so can not comment.
Smell. I was overwhelmed it was such a strong orange smell followed by a pine scent. If I could wear this smell as a cologne I would.
Taste. The hops hit me at first but settled down quickly. Very balanced and very drinkable.
I am sad to say goodbye to Heady Topper but unless it falls from the sky I most likely not be tasting again which is too bad as this is a great beer and should be have a wider distribution.

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Photo of Misfit2209
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I'm not sure how old the can I drank was at time of consumption. I gave "smell" a 4.25 however I have to believe a beer this big has a big aroma when fresh. With that said, please take the 4.25 aroma as suspect. Taste and Feel live up to the hype for sure!

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Photo of phuntasy
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

One of the best Double IPAs I've ever tasted.

Hoppy. Clearly. But not too bitter or over powering. You will like this even if your not an IPA/Double IPA fan.

Citrus notes such as orange and grapefruit. Little bit of pine as well.

I enjoy road trips to have you!

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Photo of ajchocholousek
4.74/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a beautiful hazy golden orange with a big fluffy, "heady", white two finger head that has some great sticky staying power. Big aroma notes of orange, mango, pineapple, grapefruit, and barky pine dance with that beautifully subtle, yet distinct Vermont yeast. Take a sip and perfectly soft, medium mouthfeel bring wave after wave of tropical fruit, citrus, and pine along with a touch of dank grassiness and a nice, gentle malt sweetness. It's so balanced. So intense, yet so delicate. The bitterness is there in amount enough to just perfectly support everything else that's going on. It lives up to the hype. So good.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.74/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

It's hard to be number one, and only be sold in Vermont...thanks again to cwelsh55 for the beer trade. Stand up dude, who drove 7 hours each way from outside of Philly to track down this highly sought after beer. Looks great in a glass took sip from the can but didn't think it would do the beer justice after that first sip.

Pours into a chalice with a semi hazed golden peach/apricot hue with a bright white head, forms nice even layered lacing down the sides of my glass. I love the can the label the huge paragraph on the back, but the DRINK FROM THE CAN! I just can't figure it out.

Aromatics, beautifully dank hop explosion from the minute you crack the can. Resinous hop oils, dank Mary Jane, lemon pith, slightly vegetal even dare I say garlic note in the tail end of the nose.

Flavor has the perfect light malt base to provided biscuit bready notes without ever touching into the caramelized sugar realms, leaving each sip of this stuff right into an assault of hop character with a bone dry finish. I would honestly brush my teeth with this stuff, it's so good. No hype train here, a highly drinkable completely unique DIPA. Is it the best DIPA I've ever tasted? Certainly not but it's Fuckin' Good!!! A really resinous complex hop explosion on the palate remaining quite balanced and extremely effortless to consume. I would be dangerous if I had access to affordable cases of this stuff. The highlighted hop notes are as follows: dank hop resins, lemon pith, pine, and that vegetal garlic note I picked up on the nares. Usually offended by that trait in a hop profile, that's not the case here.

Mouthfeel is perfect, like I said way to easy to consume this stuff. Oily slick with those hop resins, medium bodied carbonation is soft and caresses the palate, bitter drying hop bitterness finishes each sip...with hop burps soon to follow.

Overall, I really really like this DIPA I can't explain why but I do. I'm willing to make a pilgrimage at some point, also to checkout fine beers like Lawson's, and Hill Farmstead both of which I've never consumed. Not earth shattering but so unique there's just no other canned/bottled/draft DIPAs with these traits they built they're brewery around this recipe and I can see why. No let's see more innovation and how about some distribution outside of Vermont.

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Photo of r0nyn
4.74/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a can (despite the admonishments on the rim) into a Duvel tulip. Courtesy of and split with BA infi, along with BA NYManc.

Cloudy golden and translucent with a thinnish head that dissipates quickly enough. Doesn't leave too much lacing at all, but what little there is sticks in spots to the inside of the glass. Not really that chunky, but it's not that easy to see through. Smell is out of this world, holy God. It smells like someone squeezed fresh pineapple, grapefruit, mango and passion fruit straight into the glass. There's a mild peachiness that follows this initial tropical fruit onslaught, coupled with some smooth maltiness on the end. No booziness detectable.

Taste follows through on the smell, with all of the fruit essences making an appearance, though they do seem a bit subdued on the tongue after getting punched in the nose with all these amazing scents. Bitter hops appear next, though the flavor is balanced by the sweetly pungent fruit. There's maltiness in here, but it's definitely not the featured attraction. Mild bitterness comes through on the tail end, but doesn't ride through into the aftertaste. The finish is very, very smooth and dry, leaving you wanting more (and you definitely will). The body is just so right, equal parts smooth and gently carbonated. Very well done.

This stuff is miles above 99% of the DIPAs I've had, wow. Totally complex yet eminently drinkable, this is the new standard. Definitely deserving of the score and the hype.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.74/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A pale gold with a clumpy, lumpy and rocky foam that sticks and hangs around in amazing ways.

The aroma is pretty amazing with a complex fresh hop with grapefruit, pineapple, earthy notes and tangy fruits! The malt also smells really nice with gentle sweetness but not heady.

The flavor is huge! Yes it's complex with layers of hops, fruity, earthy, grapefruit, sweet fruits, you name it, if it's in the hop spectrum of flavor's it's in here!! But that's not what blows my mind, it's the balance and insane drinkabilty from this DIPA. Usually the large amounts of malt, high alcohol and massive hops keeps the "session" kinda short, but not here, It's kinda scary how easy it is to drink.

The feel is fresh, full, jazzy and slightly smooth maybe even a bit dry in the finish.

Love the can!

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Photo of MrKennedy
4.74/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

16oz can, huge thanks to Chris for sending this out here. Canned 15 May.

Murky appearance, really light milky golden orange colour. Nothing much to write home about. Nice white foam on top that gradually reduces over the time of drinking but always staying at a level just above film. Nice lacing as it slowly recedes.

Brilliant aromas of pine, pineapple, mango and grapefruit. The pine is temporary and the grapefruit and other fruits take over. Lots going on. Well integrated and a delight to smell.

Tastes of the grapefruit and pine with a touch of the mango and pineapple there as well. Even a little bit of apple oddly as i get to the end of it. Very impressive, but probably a touch below what is delivered with the smell.

HIgher carbonation than most. Doesn't get gassy, nor does it get harsh with the higher levels. Solid bitterness throughout and finishes with a bit of a kick and this is just enhanced with the added carbonation. Very drinkable, 16oz disappears all too soon.

Brilliant. Amazingly drinkable, beautiful beer. I can see why people grab their full 6 case allocation at the cannery. The 8% ABV isn't noticable until you finish it and get a bit of a glow. Really impressive beer!

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 2,242 ratings.
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