Heady Topper | The Alchemist

2,348 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: 2,348 | Ratings: 13,235
Photo of Jwburns75
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Can't find flaws in this one, or too many better double IPAs for that matter. There are better, but they are few and far between. There's really nothing negative to say - the look, smell, taste, feel, and whatever else you care about are damn near perfect. It's not the best beer I have ever had but it's pretty damn close

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Photo of ricknelson
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had this beer many times, but I still pour into a glass even though Alchemist says not too.
Sometimes I even strain the floaters out of it. It's a local beer for me and in my opinion it is not the number one beer as BA notes it to be. With so many area colleges near by the students tend to over rate this beer. Far better in my opinion is Lawson's Spirits "Double Sunshine".

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Photo of scootny
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%

When the can says to not use a glass you gotta wonder. Having tried it both ways, the can is right. This is a perfectly balanced DIPA. Layers and waves of hops. Strong malty backbone. Spot on carbonation and weight. A huge thanks to my great beer buddy Chris Brady for the four pack of this exceptional beer. I could drink this all day. No trace of the abv, sneaky drinkability. WOW.

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Photo of Tbub18
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%

As we all know this beer is incredibly hard to get your hands on. I had this in college a few years back when I didn't truly appreciate good beers. I was fortunate that my local bar in Brooklyn got some for an event and I (overpaid) got a few.
A--Out of the can as directed
S--Hops galore, super dank. Oranges and grapefruit
T--super bitter but incredibly well balanced. The hops are present throughout but never overwhelmed. I love my hops but I would guess someone who isn't the typical hophead could enjoy this. I dont think other DIPAs could say this.
M--This is where Heady gets it done. So smooth--creamy, yes, but just the appropriate amount.
O--The hype is real. I was planning on making a trip up to Vermont soon and even though I had a couple in NYC I still plan on it. Its an experience that every beer drinker should enjoy. I know some will downgrade based on its cult-like following and limited accessibility but seriously this is the best IIPA I've tasted--I cannot compare it to Lawsons or Pliny though as I haven't had the chance yet to try them.

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Photo of IIPAHOP
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Can. Excellent ALE. Full bodied with an excellent taste. Smooth going down and a good smell. Yes this is worth all the hype. Can only purchase in VT and you are very limited. I had a friend give me 1 can.

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Photo of GinjaSlice
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: very cloudy pale. Nice white head but very minimal lacing
S: very fruity. Lots of tropical fruits i get a lot of pineapple, then the resin/pine backend follows up.
T: where this beer reigns king. Incredibly juicy with tons of tropical fruits coming through, still has a great hop/bitter bite with that "dankness to it. the aftertaste is amazing, and leaves the hop taste on your tongue. It's also incredibly drinkable with almost no taste of alcohol.
F: carbonation is spot on and very refreshing. It has a bit of a sticky finish to it but that makes it awesome with that hop aftertaste

O: Juicy balanced and some good hop bitterness.

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Photo of mcintire78
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

a: Pale gold to deep gold in color, with a significant, long lasting head. A small amount of carbonation and a bit of lacing.

s: Strong smell of and citrus up front (with a bit of pine nuts), in the middle and in the end.

t: Citrusy taste up front that fades into a bit of a hoppy bite at the very end, which lingers. Not too much malt to balance it out, but a bit.

m: Good, but the bitterness is a limiting factor (depending on what your tastes are). Not too carbonated.

d: A very good beer, and one I have the good luck to live close enough to Vermont to get it pretty regularly. Best fresh, and this one was a few weeks old.

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Photo of BeTheBall
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Followed instructions and drank from the can, a first for me with an IPA. As a result, I can't judge the appearance, so I gave it an average. Smell was fantastci, grapefruit and pine and grass; hops galore. Taste was intensely citrus and hops, but no super bitter like most DIPA's. Much of tre hoppiness is on the mouth and tongue, but doesn't so much linger down your throat. The grapefruit, orange, grass, pine flavors are huge and awesome. What a great combination of ingredients!
Mouthfeel was not noteworthy; having it from the can. The taste is so good I didn't have time to notice anyway. What a great beer. Only the ABV would prevent me from drinking my entire 4 pack in one sitting. Next one will be in a glass...

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Photo of jman42
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%

A quick review as I didn't take tasting notes and had a few days ago. Drank from a 16 ounce can poured into a pint beer glass and drank with friends after a 10K race.

I loved it... understand that. But my underlying belief came true: more hype than anything else. It is an extremely good double IPA, but there are others out there (Breckenridge 571?) that I've also enjoyed thoroughly.

Great citrusy (grapefruit?) overtones, but as one friend put it, a bit sweet.

If I get to Vermont this winter and can call a liquor store to reserve a case, I'll certainly pick some up. However, I won't be skipping a morning's skiing to drive from store to store to see if they happened to have gotten any in overnight and if they happen to have any left (which is what I've been told I'll have to do). Too many other quality beers out there that I won't have to jump through hoops of fire to get my hands on.

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Photo of pfhanlon
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Brother bought me a case for my fiftieth birthday. He drove up three hours one way to a store in Northern Vermont as the truck was arriving. They had sold out before he left with his share.

Shared with family and friends and was a huge hit. Save 11 for myself. I think I'll enjoy savoring these for quite some time.

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Photo of rjengelking
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%

I still prefer Pliny, but this IPA still blows me away. It is better straight from the can, but I usually like getting the aroma from a beer while drinking it.

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Photo of BeerForHokie
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-Poured half into a tulip glass to see the color and drank the other half from the can as instructed by the can itself. The color is a beautiful bright orange/dark yellow. Floating sediments...looks like champagne.

S-Oranges. And you can really smell the hops, anticipating it to be super bitter.

T-Mouth full of grass and sour grapefuit and oranges. HOPS HOPS HOPS

M-Quite a bitter after taste, dry.

O- Thought I had tasted them all when they came to IPAs and DIPAs but whatever your opinion is on this one...it's truly unique. Just very very bitter, hoppy and grassy but very enjoyable

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Photo of Thia417
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

I have driven 3 and half hours just to get this beer. That's saying enough about how awesome it is. I just can't get enough of it!

I went to the Alchemist's new brewery a couple months back and bought as much as they would let me. This beer is in high demand and in general not distributed very far as they're still a small brewery. But it's definitely worth the trip.

This is extreme hop heaven. But unlike some it is not too overwhelming as it is perfectly blended. The smell and taste are like heaven.

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Photo of Dhyan
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Luckily I was able to get 1. Believe the hype. This American IIPA is arguably the best overall in its class.

Had it straight from the can (poured just enough to peek at the color).

Too bad there is no distribution in NY/NJ.


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Photo of scray24
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed last night as the first in a multi beer tasting in a small (8-10oz) snifter, split with multiple friends, last couple ounces left in the bottle still had some hop flakes and yeasty dregs in it.

A: Clear copper to a burnt orange, beautiful and as perfect as I could see for an IPA. Head settled to less than a quarter inch of whitish foam but left nice lacing on the glass.
S: Have to say this one topped all others I've had, including PtE, as the nose (even ~1.5m old) reached out of the glass and crossed the room. Huge piney nose with notes of grapefruit and other citrusy hops with underlying earthy notes.
T: Damn good DIPA... phenomenal balance of just enough malt to counter the hop bitterness but not so much its cloying or overly astringent/bitter. Hop contribution to flavor is more of the same with citrusy notes taking the front stage and the piney/earthy ones slightly subdued. Taste is exceptional but isn't quite as strong/phenomenal as the smell.
M: Carbonation is a little on the low end (intentionally - note on the bottle indicating carbonation at pub draft levels) but is damn near perfect for this style and brew. Makes for easy drinking and keeps you wanting for more.
D: Could have kept this whole thing for myself and then some and would definitely be a standard stock in the fridge f it was available.

Highly recommend! If you didn't know better it would definitely comes across as a top notch "west coast" DIPA - Excellent work by a top notch brewer/brewery!

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Photo of Alequine
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Words are barely adequate to describe the range of this beer. Pours a golden orange color. Cloudy but the brewery advises you to drink from the can so you don't have the sediment in the glass. If you drink from the can you miss all the citrus at the nose. This is a perfectly balanced DIPA that is crisp, drinkable and balanced in hops and bitterness.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I've had this enough in a can to be able to appreciate it, but it was nice to have had the opportunity to get it straight from the source and as fresh as possible.

Poured a very cloudy, gold-peach-yellow color with a healthy puff of white head; nice retention and lacing. No worries about floaters on tap. As in the can, big aroma of hops, lemons, and an afterthought of pine needles. Taste is equally laden with juicy hop goodness, lemon, grapefruit, more lemon, pith and pleasant bitterness, light notes of pine and pineapple. Medium body, juicy and fresh up front, crisp and drying in the finish; excellent beer as always.

The Cannery makes for a nice easy diversion and is a quick jaunt from Burlington. Since we can't review breweries here for whatever reason, I'll just quickly note that they have a nice simple set-up, plenty of cans for purchase, sample-sized pours on tap, and lots of neat merch, as well as a self-guided tour. Worth checking out.

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Photo of WunderLlama
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Searching for the holy grail of beer, brought me to Vermont. Found 12 cans at hunger mountain coop, will taste from the can as well. Continued the pilgrimage to the prohibition pig. Ordered heady toppers for me and son #2 whilst waiting for a table.

Tap poured into a snifter. Hazy yellow with a nice white foam cap.

Citrus and pine hop aroma.

Taste of the hops but without a bitter start. Slight bitter aftertaste and that is what sets this beer apart. More flavorful without the explosion of bitter taste . Citrusy with a hong of pine. Even the college son appreciated this beer over his preferred Budweiser, Great beer , flavorful, well balanced but doesn't club your senses. Rewards you with a great taste that warms as it settles to room temperature.

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Photo of Hopislovehopislife
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is the beer that got me into hops. Honestly was under the belief that all IPAs were supposed to be so bitter and gross. It made me realize that I just had bad hoppy beers before. This is a Hop aroma bomb, this its got great balance between the massive hoppiness and malt backbone with little to no hope bitterness.

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Photo of MonkeyKnfeFight
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Hand-picked from a market in Waterbury, VT I highly recommend this beer. Flying from CA to VT for a day to pick up fresh cans instead of trading for them is highly-recommended no matter the expense. Treat yourself to the experience.

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Photo of RichKent
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of Slap_and_Pickle
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

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

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

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

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Photo of Prop28WasBetter
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

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

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Photo of FlyManFly
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

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

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Photo of adapt313
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

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

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.65 out of 5 based on 13,235 ratings.
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