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:
12,622
Avg:
4.66
pDev:
16.74%
 
 
Wants:
9,051
Gots:
4,915
For Trade:
70
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,242 | Ratings: 12,622
Photo of Auracom
3.36/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

I knew I'd tick this one eventually without having to actively seek it out. Success! Thanks Dan for the share on your extra. 2 oz. into a tulip so I could mark the visuals and aroma, another 3-4 oz. straight from the can on June 14th, 2013.

A - Lightly cloudy, murky medium-golden color with an enormously bubbly head. Good retention and lacing.

S - Deeply resinous, pine-sol, rouge, slightly burnt caramel, touch of peach and herbs.

T - It's really better balanced than I thought it would be. That being said, the hops are sharp, overly-acidic, and disappointingly simple. Grapefruit rind, toasted almond, and lemon peel.

M - Light body, moderate carbonation, very dry (even sour-like) finish.

D - I'm a bit stunned in a bad way. There are scores of other IPA/DIPA's I would choose over this particular can. Another revisit? I don't know.

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Photo of leftde18
3.4/5  rDev -27%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased a can from the Warren Store

A-N/A, Drank from the can

S-Piney and herbaceous but without pouring it out, definitely underwhelming in my opinion

T-Hops on hops on hops, so much so that it obscured the hoppy nuances I was hoping for. Bright, fresh pine sap overwhelms at first, it followed by a pleasant bitter finish. There are other notes of citrus under the sappiness but my pallet was overwhelmed quickly by hop-power before I could pick them out

M-Viscosity trumps its carbonation and it feels sticky, like a liqueur. I didn't really like it, especially towards the end.

O-I could not find this beer's finesse, there were TONS of hop flavors but they didn't sing in symphony. I would buy it again, but I would not seek it out.

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Photo of Melonie
3.43/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I had a few cans recently and the quality of this beer went down. Last year's production was delicious and hoppy. This year tasted like a unfresh malt bomb.

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Photo of abriggs1
3.46/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Here it is folks, the single most overrated beer in drinking history. I've been a beer fanatic for a decade and a half, and the beer drinking world has a lot to answer for on this one. The best beer in the world? What a joke. I wouldn't even put this in the top 10 of IPA's let alone beers of any style.

I'm not saying this is a bad beer. It's just criminally over-hyped and overrated.


Let's start with the obvious; drinking this beer out of the can as it says to do on the very can you're supposed to drink this out of = a bad idea. It's much better in a glass, and the right glass with a tulip shape will make the aromas even better. I guess the whole drinking from the can thing is little more than a hipster ideal. I certainly hope this trend doesn't continue.

The hops are right in your face, but ultimately unbalanced. Anyone can throw way too many hops into a beer. But it takes real skill and finesse to create a hoppy beer that's balanced and drinkable. There are heaping amounts of grapefruit, pine, and lemon rinds on the front. And then heaping amounts of grapefruit, pine, and lemon rinds in the aftertaste. The malt backbone is there, but it's too faint to balance out the assault of hops.

So far, the best IPA I've had was another Vermont brew; Lawson's Hopzilla, which I gave a perfect score. It's the perfect DIPA. When I die, I want to be embalmed with it.

Other IPA's that are better than Heady Topper: Ballast Point's Sculpin. Hooker's Hop Meadow IPA. New England Brewing's Gandi-Bot, Sierra Nevada's Torpedo, Southern Tier's 2xIPA, Southern Tier's Hoppe, Southern Tier's Unearthly, 21st Amendment's IPA, Hill Farmstead's Abner, Rock Art's Belgo American IPA, and others that I'll probably think of later.

I've never been so embarrassed for the beer community for rating this so highly. My fear is that the beer scene is being overrun by a bunch of hipsters who think that exclusivity is more important than the art of brewing. Heady Topper is hard to get. That doesn't make it the best beer in the world. People are rating this beer so highly because they want to brag that they drank it. In a blind taste test of the world's best IPAs, Heady Topper would lose miserably.

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Photo of Racatalano
3.47/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I have been a big fan of IPA beers for over a year and have sampled at least 15 of the top IPAs. I finally made it up to Stowe for skiing and got a chance to try the famous Heady Topper. I could not have have been more disappointed. There is nothing extraordinary about this IPA whether you drink from the can or pour in a glass. Stone Enjoy By is by far much better than HT. If you have gotten hands on that one, not need to hunt down HT at least in my opinion.

When I was growing up, Coors was only available west of the Mississippi River, which created this mystique about the beer. When you finally got your hands on one, it was a disappointment as you can imagine.

I give the Alchemist team credit for the marketing behind HT but don't go out your way to get your hands on one - its just an above average IPA.

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Photo of mentor
3.48/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a two-finger slightly-yellowed clingy head over a cloudy and particulated puke-tan liquid. Smells of green onion and wild garlic (Summit hops) with pine and sharp grapefruit pith. Baby aspirin and lemony tropical fruits. Comes across as a blast of very fresh Summit hops.

Tastes sharp bitter with flat oily bitter to complement. Nice malt sweet that blends with the green onion flavor. Juicy hops. Tin, no esters, but nice barley grain flavor. Acidic sour from the hops almost comes across as lactic. Finishes with baby aspirin (Simcoe hops) and a very resiny pine aftertaste. Very grassy rich in cohumulone. Too strong of carbonation. Carb and clean alcohol sting lift the beer from the tongue early. Creamy body is interrupted by rough hops and clean alcohol sting.

A decent beer, but would be *much* better with different hops. I find Summit hops sickening and can't wait for the trend to pass on by. Big disappointment. Judged to style, so scored higher than my palette would offer. The can says "drink from the can!" It was not as good from a can as from a glass.

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Photo of reefer_bob
3.5/5  rDev -24.9%

Consumed in both the Can and out of a glass. Can is a bit better.

This is a very solid DIPA. Is it the best beer ever? I'm not convinced. It's really good though! I think there's a bit of hype.

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Photo of Beardcore
3.51/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: (4.0) Poured from a can into a pint glass. Hazy, straw yellow color, with a one inch head that dissipates fairly quickly.

Smell: (3.0) Hoppy and fragrant, though not floral.

Taste: (3.5) Hoppy flavor that is pervasive though-out the flavor profile. Not as well balanced between malty and hoppy as I have come to expect from DIPA’s, but still a fresh, citrus flavor that is easily drinkable, not even seeming like a “sipping” beer even though it has high alcohol.

Mouthfeel: (4.5) Nice medium body with good medium carbonation. Very easy to drink in that sense.

Overall: (3.5) Good beer. Seems more like an IPA than a DIPA, but maybe that is a bonus, more alcohol with the IPA flavor. Regardless, very smooth and drinkable with a long lingering hop flavor on the back of the tongue.

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Photo of Geomarly
3.53/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Purchased on 8/21 and 8/22. Some of the cans tasted amazing and others not that remarkable. In the cans that were less than remarkable, I observed what I think is an usual amount of air space between the top of the can and the top of the beer inside the can. In terms of volume, it was approximately a 1 ounce void in a 16 ounce can. In these cans the bottom of the tab, once opened, barely touched the top of the beer. I found myself wondering if this air space contributed to off flavors, mainly because the cans I thought tasted amazing were full of beer - no air void in the can. It's a solid beer and it's fun to stand in line for it, but each time I head to VT I find myself more impressed with other VT offerings and less impressed with Heady.

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Photo of jethrodium
3.54/5  rDev -24%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

16 oz can generously shared by colonelforbin. Thanks Mike. Pours a very cloudy light amber with a small light tan head that has decent retention and leaves a good lacing on the glass. The aroma is big mango, floral notes, light caramel, a bit of pineapple, and some sugar cookie. The initial taste is sweet with mango and pineapple going into a bit of caramel, sugar cookie, and some light dankness. There is a very light bitterness on finish along with some lingering mango. Light bodied. Low carbonation. I definitely could use a bit more bitterness and a bit less sweetness. Not bad, but certainly not in the class of the best west coast IPAs.

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Photo of Glennlawless
3.56/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Drank from the can as instructed...

Smell wise I just got an abundance of pine and your typical grapefruit.

Taste was just a SUUUPER bitter pine bomb with some malt sweetness.

medium mouth feel and well carbonated...

Overall....Is this beer good? Yes.
Is this beer hoppy? Extremley
Does this perfectly describe the definition of an east coast style IPA? Yes
Does it deserve to be world class and rated 100 - Absolutely not. The only reason I could see it maaaaybe recieving this rating is because for a higher abv ipa...it is CRAZY drinkable.

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Photo of cochan
3.59/5  rDev -23%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I get this from time to time, it was the best beer i ever had about three years ago. But lately, something has changed not worth the 3 hour drive each way anymore, not to mention the bullshit of store hopping if you want more than a 4pk.

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Photo of VTR
3.59/5  rDev -23%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Being raised in VT I had to give this a try albeit on accident. I drank it from the can therefore I could not see the beer but I am assuming it looks the part. I have never have been an IPA fan but the nose was dank, dank, pine and resin. The taste was not like anything I had tasted before, I assume people like the taste and this beer but it was a drain pour for me. Thankfully I had a friend that wanted and could not find it to buy and was very happy to get the remainder as a gift. I appreciate all different types of beer but I could not drink this. Judging from its reviews it is very popular and well liked I just could not get behind this.

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Photo of TheDudeRules
3.65/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very hazy amber pour. Sediment is suspended throughout. Two fingers of pillowy off white head. Scant lacing is left behind on my glass. Hops and citrus collide in my nose. Looks and smell are living up to the hype. The first striking character upon taste is the creaminess. Incredibly so especially for an ipa. Pine and grapefruit up front. Sweetness to finish the swallow. Ends lightly bitter. Honestly it is not as hoppy as I expected. Very easy to drink regardless that it is an imperial.

I find I had a preconceived notion on what it was going to be. Pure greatness. Well, it isn't. It's damn good but not as much so as the hype train says. I'm trying not to have a mind explosion right now. All hail the king of imperial, Abrasive from Surly.

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Photo of pants678
3.66/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Yellow/orange body with a fluffy white head.

A honey-like sweetness and very floral.

Bread and not quite grapefruit but still a tangy fruit flavor. Spicy and not quite as sweet as the nose. Not bitter, as advertised, but a little metallic (or maybe alcoholic). I saw it's a combination of six hops, the only one I'm sure of is simcoe. After that, possibly cascade, possibly amarillo.

A softer finish, kind of a sticky beer.

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Photo of BigAl18
3.68/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Admittedly, I'm not a huge DIPA guy, but I don't get it. Cloudy and not as smooth as I thought it would be. Aftertaste lingers forever. Not horrible but I expected much more.

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Photo of Rockjocknroll
3.69/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Did not drink from a can. Large tulip SARA glass.
A: Cloudy straw with plenty of head. Surprisingly pale.
S: A little dry hopping with mostly light yeast, very similar to a hopped saison. Strange vegetal smell.
T: Very odd flavors coming through. There's an almost peppery vegetable odor that reminds me of something unpleasant but interesting. Very light on the citrusy hops, no real pine to speak of. Light overall with some hop bitterness on the back end.
M: Easy to drink; crisp with small carbonation and a finish that gets longer as you drink.
O: A very drinkable but weirdly flavored beer that reminds me more of a hoppy saison than an IPA, let alone a DIPA. Very unique but disappointing considering the hype. Won't need to revisit this one. Better the second time around; the first time was a real let down.
Thanks for hooking it up, Joe!

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Photo of Wetpaperbag
3.72/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A- Orange in color, with a good clingy IPA head.

S- Smells spicy in hop aroma. Definitely an East Coast IPA in that the hops aren't bright and citrusy, but more earthy and vegetal.

T- Tastes of an EC IPA. It tasted solid, but I don't like the hop profile.

M- Solid mouthfeel, I like a good thick IPA.

0- Overall it wasn't a bad beer. Would I want to buy more, no not me personally.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.75/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

9/17/2011

I'm enjoying my fourth or fifth can as I write this review. Snifter.

A: Dark orange with some cloudiness and a finger of white foam. Lacing is scattered and retention is good.

S: Bright citrus notes, with tangerine, orange, grapefruit, and a dash of pine. There's quite a bit more malt in this can than I found in the bottle I tried, imparting some bread and caramel.

T: Smooth moderate bitterness with no evident alcohol. Malt imparts bread, biscuit, and caramel. Once again, this is quite a bit maltier than the bottle I enjoyed last year, and decidedly less bitter. I get orange, grapefruit, and a little melon. Dank pine is evident throughout.

M: Medium in body with an upper low level of carbonation. The general theme seems to be lower carbonation with these cans.

Overall: This is good, but it's not on the same level as the bottle I had in 2010. This seems much maltier and the hops aren't as vibrant. It's also a bit heavy on the palate due to the low carbonation.

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Photo of leschkie
3.76/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

16 oz can poured into a tulip. Courtesy of huadog (thanks Russ, you rock buddy).

Pours a vibrant burnt apricot with a white frothy head. Moderate lacing decorates the glass as I continue to guzzle this baby down. Smells of citrus fruits, grapefruit, and malt. Piney hops I was looking for seem to be mellowed down quite a bit in the nose. Taste is very smooth, pretty much zero bitterness whatsoever. Hops (thank goodness) makes its appearance as the beer rolls around my tongue. I was tempted to call in a search party to look for any bitterness from the hops, but it appears it will just remain on the missing persons report. Mouthfeel is quite impressive. Overall, it's a good DIPA. However, I have had better.

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Photo of zaphodchak
3.78/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

It's in a can. It appears as a silver can. I got the last bit of the can at a tasting, and at the can's insistence, consumed it out of the can.

Powerful fresh grassy hops are immediately apparent despite the can.

Bitter, powerfully grassy west-coast US hops. Slight undertone of honey, but not nearly enough to balance. One dimensional, perhaps, but good at that dimension.

Decent but a bit fizzy, almost prickly.

Well, it's an IPA, and it's a good one.

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Photo of Ebla
3.78/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 4

Appearance - Nice golden orange color, good lacing, but has the clarity of Yak Wool.
Smell - Uplifting orange blossoms!! Citrus/earth/sunshine/springtime, tiny bit of caramel.
Taste - Similar to the smell; almost overpowering hop profile. Grapefruit, tropical snorkeling. Pineapple juice gives way to an earthy, minty, BOOZY finish.
Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied, lightly malted with good carbonation. Ineffable, enigmatic texture that starts off abrasive but has a dry finish and leaves me wanting to sip again, sip again, sip, sip, chug!
Overall - Scored last in a blind taste test with Pliny and a small army of comparable local brews (DuganA, Mercenary, Raja, Maharaja, Drydock IIPA). I was surprised it even lost to Dales Deviant. I would compare it more to Vortex, but I don't think this east coaster holds a candle to any of the west coast IIPA's any better than it did against Colorado's finest. Now that I've enjoyed many cases of Heady, I place it high on the list of tasty IIPA's; perhaps top 50, but certainly not top 20. Definitely better from a glass like any beer. I feel like the brewers recommend drinking from the can because it's unfiltered and looks like a homebrew in the glass, but no self respecting beer nerd can abide drinking from a can! Here in Colorado we have many superior double IPA's. I would call heady an old-school, low-brow IIPA that gets laid based on it's irresistible pheromones but causes some coyote mornings when the lights come on.

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Photo of pepsican
3.8/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks like dirty sewer water dumped into a light beer, smaller off white head. Aroma is tropical fruit, marijuana, onions. Similar flavor, lots of onions, garlic, tomato, juicy fruit, papaya, and orange. Bitter finish, pretty dry for the ABV. Reminds me exactly of what Toppling Goliath is doing around here.

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Photo of Sarahjayy
3.8/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I wanted to love this beer considering everyone else does but unfortunately I did not. I drank it from the can as it suggests and I think it suffered from not being poured. I'm willing to try it again.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
3.81/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From 16oz tallboy to my Hess Imperial pint glass on 12/15/11
*From notes

-- Many thanks to the multiple BA's who've hooked me up with generous pours and fresh cans of this over the last few weeks. --

A: It looks like a really dingy cider. A good pour yields a fluffy 1.5 finger white head and solid retention. It should be noted that there are large white gobs floating around in the beer. Some settle. Some don't.

S: Wonderful bouquet. Juicy hop oil, it's got that island fruit vibe all over it.

T: It's hoppy alright, yet it's quite bready and rather bitter too. There's not a massive amount of complexity to it, it's simply an easy drinking beer that comes off more like a low key IPA then an Imperial.

M: Meh. It feels alright, but it's not gonna blow any skirts up or anything.

O: Having had large amounts of this at three separate tastings in a six week period, I can honestly say that Heady Topper is a grossly overrated beer. It's not bad, in fact it's a very pleasant brew. It simply doesn't reach the heights one would expect from it's rDev. Don't go out of your way to attain this. I know I won't.

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