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Heady Topper | The Alchemist

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
100
world-class
2,228 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:
2,228
Ratings:
12,535
Avg:
4.66
pDev:
16.52%
 
 
Wants:
9,031
Gots:
4,831
For Trade:
61
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,228 | Ratings: 12,535
Photo of justforrazors
4.84/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Fairly fresh, received in a trade. Should be less than 2 weeks old. I poured a little bit into a taster just to see appearance, the rest of the review will be from the can, as the brewer intended.

A- Pours a cloudy orange with a half inch white head. Very good retention and lacing. Clarity is downright ugly, although I personally prefer the rustic look for a good double IPA. There is no denying this thing was dry hopped to heaven and back.

S- Grapefruit, citrus, pineapple, some malt. Huge hop aroma that has some floral grassyness, but mainly a full frontal assault of pine resin mixed with grapefruit, pineapple and peach.

T- I missed this beer. Follows the nose very well. Tropical fruits mix with a strong bitterness that overtakes the malt, although not so much that it is overwhelming. In my opinion, the best tasting DIPA out there.

M- Carbonation is spot on, body is a medium with a fairly dry finish. No lingering sweetness, although certainly a ton of lingering bitterness.

O- I am admittedly a huge Heady Topper fanboy. Honestly, I am kind of surprised it has taken me this long to actually review this. Definitely not the best looking beer from the classic definition of how a beer should appear, but I think the cloudy, almost dirty look shows you that they care most about the flavor and aroma of the beer, sacrificing looks for the characteristics they like the most.

(Ok, maybe that sounds like something you say about a really ugly girl.)

Either way, this is a world class example that I hope the alchemist can continue to produce at this level for a long time.

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Photo of easong
4.37/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Drank it from the can as advised (6 days old) and also poured into pint glass. Lived up to the hype. Lugged some back to CA, drank it side-by-side with Pliny. In that pantheon. Loved visiting the brewery in Waterbury -- simply evil that it is essentially next door to Ben and Jerry's. Evil.

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Photo of TheDoctor
4.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A:
*- Since it says to drink it from the can, this is a moot point as far as their presentation of it goes, I suppose. Nonetheless, I don’t think it looks bad at all (I had read that is wasn’t pleasing to look at).

Pours a greenish, slightly cloudy orange with a fat creamy white head. Good retention; good lacing.

S:
Green. Stanky citrus, crisp twinge of astringency (it kinda tickles something inside you) and bold resinous hops. Hits you square in the face upon opening the can.

T:
Waves of piney, medicinal, skunky, grassy, and citric hop flavors with the same weird twinge of astringency as the smell; pineapple, grapefruit, weed, and hops of all stripes intermingled with rich odorous grass flavors. If hops have the flavor, it is here in varying degrees.

M:
Good carbonation, medium body very slightly creamy with a finish that manages somehow to both linger and disappear quietly.

O:
I hate hype and I think that oftentimes it does a disservice to otherwise enjoyable things. As such, I was not expecting HT to live up to the myth created around it. Boy was I wrong. I had multiple audible gasps while trying it and have savored it every time since.
Part of what skewed my expectations was the general tendency towards intense IPAs that a lot of breweries have. Because of this, I assumed that it would be the bitterest hop-bomb to ever destroy my taste buds. However, it is so good because it is so restrained. It tastes like hops; no question about it, but it tastes like little else. This means that it can be as hoppy as it is without being needlessly ‘confrontational’ in its flavors and aromas. Actually my girlfriend (who can’t stand hoppy beer) tried it, liked it and sneaks tastes of it when I drink it now.
Anyway, I am gushing.
It is a world-class beer for what it is. Is it the best beer in the world? I honestly don’t think so. Is it one of (if not the) best double IPA in the states (and possibly the world)? Without a doubt.
Would fight to be able to try again. A must-have for any beer enthusiast.
With apologies to Chuck D, do believe the hype.

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Photo of jhartley
4.47/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a pint can to a poco grande style glass; just enough to look at the body, drank the rest straight from the can. Hey it's right on the can to enjoy it that way!

Cloudy orange-gold body light skim of a head on top. Didn't pour enough out to really let one form or allow any lacing. A slight swirling of the glass brings it back to life; small tight bubbles.

Smells...Holy Sheeet! Citrus. Grapefruit. Lemon. A dank hoppy aroma on the end. Some malt sweetness.

Tastes...Wow! Can see why this is so highly rated. I just fills the mouth with hops and a great amount of carbonation that fills the whole mouth with hoppy goodness. A dry finish.

Drank it out of the can and out of the glass and I gotta say...I prefer it out of the can! It seems to retain a nice bite to it. This isn't to say that I would refuse to pour it into a glass to enjoy it either. An all around great DIPA, no doubt in my mind as to why this is on top!

(Thanks again to jzeilinger for the hook-up!)

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Photo of CowsandBeer
4.55/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jbaker67 for the can! Poured at fridge temp into a Tallgrass Brewing cervoise glass.

Appearance: Pours a tight and creamy looking two finger head. Cloudy, peach colored body. Looks like pulpy peach juice. Yum!

Smell: Hell of a nose. Hop resins, a bit of onion, bright citrus fruit, pine, sweet tropical fruits, and a sweet malt maltyness.

Taste: Tastes like caramelized hop candy. Very resinous hops. Follows the nose; citrusy and fruity. Some piney bitterness. Sweet malt backbone and a lingering breadyness. Despite the hop overload this is very balanced and never too much.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy, low carbonation mouthfeel. Sticks to your teeth, bro. Very little heat.

Overall: Definitely a must try for any hop head and a wonderful example of what a DIPA can be. Outstanding nose and spot on mouthfeel. Overall, a hoppy, balanced tribute to American hops.

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Photo of ncketchum
4.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally got my hands on this guy. A bit poured into a pint glass, rest enjoyed out of the can.

A - pours a hazy yellow, fluffy white head.

S - amazing nose, tons on citrus fruit - orange, pineapple, lemon, followed by piny finish

T - more subdued than the nose, but still excellent. Piny bitterness come through more than the sweetness of the nose, but still a good amount of pineapple. Well balanced relatively with some bready malt backbone, with a bitter, lingering hop finish.

M - smooth, lingering bitterness in the end

O - again, I'm glad to have had the chance to try this one. Definitely one of the best double ipa's out there that I've had, more balanced than I expected, great hop profile.

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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 flowdiggity
5/5  rDev +7.3%

I can honestly say I bought at least 10 cases of Heady over the past year. Drank more of these than any other beer over the past 12 months. Love driving up from PA to Vermont. And also love sharing this amazing brew with people that never had it. Vermont beercations are amazing!

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Photo of offthelevel_bytheplumb
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Drank from the can. Did not pour into a glass, so I can not say what it looks like, but the can is very cool. My dad will love this addition to his beer can collection. Bittersweet grapefruit and dank hop resins dominate, I can already tell this drinks like juice. A bit of pineapple and mango are noticeable on the nose as well. On the first sip, I couldn't believe how complex a one dimensional beer could be. This beer really doesn't need a malt backbone, what a use of hops. Drinks so easy from the can.

Overall: If I lived in Vermont, I would buy this every week. What a treat.

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Photo of bodhi185
4.29/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

--Update-- thanks to a second from 'dorsch'...this beer is way better out of the can. the green comes out, the dry-hop is more prominent, and it really is a different beer. both good, but like pbr...better in the can.

Canned...pour into a pint glass...although i know this violates the first seven unwritten vermontonian beer laws.

A: Hazy orange with a thin bubbly head. No floaters. I have to admit I was hoping for some resin and shake hanging out in the glass. But, too new, too fresh. I have a feeling I'll find a way to get through it.

S: A little citrus on top of an aromatic double ipa-ness.

T: Bitter, piney, and hop-sweet with lingering grassy kind of notes. This is a great beer. It reminds me of an earthy Double Jack or what a Double IPA version of Two Hearted would taste like. Seriously tasty beer.

M: Sticky with a super long linger and a little bit of lupulin kicking in now. I'd be willing to bet a second or third would still taste pretty good though.

O: Fantastic beer. One that I'm hoping finds its way past NPH into ready availability. I know that Northwest Indiana could support a steady influx. No doubt that this one beer is all that the Alchemist needs...although, in case the northern vermontarians felt like branching out, a fresh hop version would probably be pretty epic.

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Photo of skoenemann
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The Alchemist cannery is only 10 miles from my house and I have a case (or so) of this beer in my fridge at any one time... I am incredibly fortunate that it is my "regular". I frequented and severely miss the Alchemist Pub & Brewery that was destroyed by the flooding in downtown Waterbury, VT during Hurricane Irene. Heady Topper is a constant reminder of what a great brewery my good friends John and Jen Kimmich run. I hope that this beer remains BeerAdvocate's #1 beer "forever"... :)

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Photo of charlzm
4.29/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Consumed October 4th, 2013 from an undated can. Poured into a Samuel Adams "perfect pint" glass.

Beer is slightly hazy light yellow. Lots and lots of happy little bubbles rising energetically from the glass's nucleation point. An off-white/pale yellow head erupts three fingers high. It slowly subsides, leaving behind fluffy, splotchy lacing. Some little floaties in the bottom of the glass. To be honest, not the best looking DIPA I have ever seen.

Aroma is sweet with lemon, mango and pineapple and spruce. Good, good stuff, except for that fleeting whiff of onion...

Flavor is similar to the aroma, but with a strong note that's almost, but not quite, lacquer. Slightly tingly with a nice, modulated bitterness on the finish. This beer is in no hurry to finish up the flavor of each sip, so it's one to savor slowly. It comes on strong but not sharp and finishes smooth but not fast. Each sip is a little experience of its own.

Mouthfeel is slightly thin (though with a little extra body - a trace of oatmeal to thicken it up, perhaps?) and tingly with carbonation. Just a few sips will reveal the alcohol in the form of some heat.

I find it quite an impressive achievement, but I let my non-beer-drinking girlfriend try some and she said it tasted like "pine-scented poison".

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Photo of Infiniteingest
4.25/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First of all, I want to say that I am excited about finally tasting this beer. It has been on my hit-list for a year and, my stars, I was gifted a can this afternoon by a co-worker (danke schön, Mike). The only potential downside is that it was canned in June, it's October, and I have been cautioned by both John Kimmich and devotees to drink it immediately after canning. Any subsequent lapses in enthusiasm are likely owing to this shortcoming.

And we're off!

Generally: Unfiltered, unpasteurized DIPA that is regarded by many as the apotheosis of ultra hoppy, high ABV IPAs. Interestingly, the can admonishes the consumer to "Drink From The Can!" I'm of the school that the color, clarity and head are a significant part of enjoying (or not) a beer. So, I poured half into a glass designed by Dogfishhead specifically for IPAs, and left the rest in the can. There's definitely more aromatic concentration in the can, but a swirl in the glass unleashes nearly the same notes.

The Pour: Especially when backlit, this is a pretty beer. Hazy golden, slightly orange in color with an excellent, though not too terribly long lasting, bone-white head. Some minimal lacing on the head.

Face in the glass: First off, I want to taste a fresh one already because my socks are still on...
In the can, it is definitely brighter and cleaner. The pineapple that everyone talks about is not subtle, which makes it awesome. It smells stinking delicious out of the can. There's a classic array of hop notes embracing that tropical fruit. Now, out of the glass: At 64 degrees it smells better than it did at 55, and it's getting close to the concentration I found in the can. The hops are more apparent here, but I'm not getting anything with the word "malt" in it. To be expected...

With Regard to Taste: I find this inexplicable, but I actually prefer it out of the can. Anyway, I drank what was left in the can so onto the poured bit! It's not quite as bright as I was expecting, but the mouthfeel is soft as a pig's nose, which is a good thing. Beautiful resinous and citric hop notes that linger for ever... for EVER... in a sea of alternately mouth watering honey notes and "my-teeth-are-stuck-to-my-gums!" bitterness. It's almost tannic. Perhaps the best thing about this DIPA is the linger... it goes on for days and keeps getting more interesting. Easily one of the most complex beers in this style that I have ever tasted.

Abstract: There's something organic and mildly anarchic about this beers personality. It's extremely interesting to me that J. Kimmich is constantly working on its recipe. I'd regard that as the only philosophy an artisan in the craft beer world could defend. Personally, I am a little tired of formerly great beers being dumbed down for mass consumption and the attendant need for mass production... no names will be mentioned.

Epitoma: Well, I haven't had a fresh one yet (send beer!) but I am impressed. It's a delicious and heady (wink wink) DIPA. For glass enthusiasts, I get the same aromas at 70 degrees that I got out of the can. Surprisingly, this huge monstah drinks nicely at nearly room temperature.

Note: Bitter!! Dry!! Give me fat food to eat!

Serving type: can (old can)

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Photo of HopHeadRaleigh
4.91/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I just made my monthly trip to The Alchemist and figured it is finally time to write a review.

Heady Topper is getting a ton of national attention...and for good reason. This is a complex imperial IPA with great citrus smell and flavor and the right balance of hoppiness and maltyness (yes I know neither is a real word!)

This DIPA is very smooth, well balanced and very easy to drink. It's a relatively high ABV at 8.0%, but you can still enjoy a few in a sitting. While they suggest drinking it from the can you can definitely enjoy when you pour it into a glass, but it does change the flavor profile and you will notice a lot of hop residue since HT is unfiltered.

I am a hop-head and can honestly say that this is among the best I have had.

Cheers!

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Photo of maDUECEgunner
4.93/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: golden yellow with small white head (only poured a little bit into a glass)

Smell: Huge hop aroma. Loads of pine and citrus.

Taste: loads of citrus and pine. Perfect combination of hops.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly really smooth for a DIPA. Still enough bitterness though.

Overall: one of the best beers I have had, if not the best. So happy another 4 pack will land on my doorstep tomorrow.

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Photo of hopsolutely
4.81/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

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

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

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

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

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Photo of BoldRulerVT
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Cracking open a fresh Heady...

The smell is glorious. It's piney, and citrusey...vague sweetness, beautiful hop aromas.
I take my first sip and let it wash over my tongue and swallow. Grapefruit dominates the back of my tongue, just the right level of carbonation creates wonderful mouthfeel. A second sip starts to reveal sweeter noted toward the tip of my tongue.

This beer is complex. As John writes on the can, it is not meant to dominate you with hop bitterness. There is just the right level of bitterness mixed with the right amount of sweetness. Citrus, piney, and some alcohol forward notes.

One can and I can feel this beer working it's magic in my head. It has amazing drinkability that really belies how complex it is.

It is perfect. The perfect beer.

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Photo of ajramirez1
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Received this can from my good friend DWitt. Good looking out, even though u r a g damn Sander.

Poured 3oz into a taster and drank the rest from the can. Initial taste is awesome, get that nice hit of hops. Aftertaste, smooth as fluck. Wow. Very well balanced iipa. Very impressed, lived up to the hype like PtY.

I need to get my hands on more of this amazing beer...

Oden!

A-

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Photo of beerdrifter
4.47/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this baby up from a great friend at the Borefts Bier Fest! It's a little over a week since it was canned so it's super fresh. Cloudy amber-orange pour with a huge 2+ finger fluffy white head with decent retention and lacing. Fresh, dank, resiny hops totally dominate the nose along with some great perfumey, floral and citrus notes. This is one of those really special smelling beers that you'll always remember. The taste is just as big and bold. It starts off like the nose as a total fresh hop monster, full of resiny pine and bitter grapefruit along with some nice tropical notes. About midway through there's a measure of balance as some of the caramel malt sweetness emerges along with some orange peel, tangerine, and a bit of grassiness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and oddly creamy for an IPA. Surprisingly balanced and incredibly drinkable for such a big, hoppy beer. Overall, not sure it lived up to all the hype, but still one hell of a beer!

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Photo of jd18
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What else really needs to be said? Had a taste from the tap but reviewing based on 1 pint cans.Both are my first experiences with Heady. It's perfect. Beautiful pale hazy yellow when poured, which I did with 1 of 4 cans I've had so far. Delicious, smooth and flavor-filled. Hits all the right notes. Little floral, little citrus and a little pine lumped together into a spectacular punch of flavor. Spent 10 hrs in a car to bring this home and it was worth every second.

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Photo of wedge
4.39/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Murky golden orange color with a fat layer of off-white foam on the surface. Deep, dank, fresh bag-o-hops smell...spicy, resinous pine, pungent, juicy citrus, and peaches. An almost toffee-ish malt profile lurks underneath. Huge hoppy flavor (obviously): fresh floral hop cones, grapefruit, pine needles, stone fruit, maybe some tropical fruit. Seems kind of like a lot of Simcoe to me. Dry, smooth,and textured. Bitter, but nothing crazy. This is a great, supremely hopped-up DIPA that manages to stay really drinkable. A bit too hyped up, but undeniably impressive.

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Photo of SSS
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Religious experience. I went to the brewery on a Saturday, opens at 11am, and by that time there were, 40 people behind me, from all over the continent!

A - No idea, BECAUSE I DRANK FROM THE CAN LIKE ANY GOOD STANDING CITIZEN WOULD
S - Like heaven, floral perfume of hops and mild citrus and sweet sweet good times to come
M - Carbonation is perfect, does not take away, but adds to the flavor
T - Absolutely glorious, bitter, yet sweet and citrus, pine, fruity, crisp and fresh...this needs a poem to describe it with any real value...

I drank one right after picking them up from the brewery and then others a week later. Haven't noticed a big change, perhaps very slightly less juicy, if that makes any sense.

Take care not to get carried away, after one, you are good, nice buzz for at least one hour...attempt any more and you are waiting for a pounding, or in my case, a four hour nap!

If you are having a bad day, open a can of Heady and all your problems instantly disappear, seriously!

Jesus would turn wine into this if he only knew!

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Photo of Kdana
4.84/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Absolutely love this beer. Just had it for the first time in Vermont. I'm used to Belgians for this high of alcohol contents. Absolutely love the flowery smell.

Bought a case and down to my last 4-pack. Actually, I'll sell you my last 4-pack! Just got it 2 weeks ago.

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Photo of Augustiner719
4.98/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured from a 16oz can into a tulip glass.

Pours a very murky, glowing orange color, similar to a hefeweizen. looks very pulpy. The aroma is similar to smelling a handful of fresh hop pellets on a brewery tour. resinous, out of control sharp hop notes of grapefruit, pine, some pineapple maybe and fresh cut peaches. Really great nose. The taste is much of the same as the aroma but with a big juicy feel to it that makes this drinkable. not overly bitter as i would have expected which adds to the drinkability. The mouthfeel is medium bodied since its unfiltered and has a chewy character to it. Really great beer, perfect for all seasons for sure.

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Photo of TheBigJohnson
4.91/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

To date, one of the most enjoyable beers that I've ever drank.

The only thing you need to know is that you must try it. Perfect balance of powerful hops with the perfect combination of finishing flavors like grapefruit, pineapple, peach, and caramel.

It's amazing how easy it is to drink, but it's just that good.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 2,228 ratings.
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