Heady Topper | The Alchemist

BA SCORE
100
world-class
2,308 Reviews
Heady TopperHeady Topper
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
The Alchemist
Vermont, United States
alchemistbeer.com

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:
2,308
Ratings:
12,999
Avg:
4.65
pDev:
7.1%
 
 
Wants:
9,127
Gots:
5,282
For Trade:
68
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,308 | Ratings: 12,999
Photo of austinparker
4.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Honestly, best beer I've ever had and I didn't even have it fresh. My aunt who lives in Ireland bought some in the states and she saved some for me when I went and visited her in Ireland.

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Photo of Skrat45
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Simply one of the best! My number one of any style beer. Not even going to try and describe it you just have to try it! Just drink it fresh it does loose a little something over time. Best right off the truck or go to the brewery

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Photo of JBC5
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After a great family day, of finally skiing with my southern born family, due to military life. I asked for a plain beer...then a great buddy said I had to try this one. I declined, stating I just need any beer. He refused, presenting me the Heady Topper. I was blown away. Taste, Smell, Sight,...Best Ever. Been around the world, drank lots of famous beers. Amazed at the taste of Heady Topper. Only problem, I am not the only one who agrees and it's very hard to get. Impossible down south.

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Photo of 413
3.85/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm not one for IPAs, so I had to check my bias, but I can see why Heady Topper is hyped like it is. I first drank it straight from the can as recommended, ice cold at a restaurant in Burlington. It goes down unbelievably smooth for a Double IPA, and it finishes just as clean. The flavor is filled to the brim with high quality hops. Not my cup of tea, but for the IPA freak, it's worth the trip to cozy Vermont.

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Photo of Markhdougherty
4.62/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L-clear, often with little floaters
S-one of the most aromatic beers ever, smells like a bag of weed, with strong citrus grapefruit.
T-the first taste of the beer completely blew me away. Had it on tap a Prohibition pig in 2012. However after having it many times the novelty wears off.
O-I love what Heady started and enjoy one every time I ski in VT. It is at the top of my list but no longer my favorite.

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Photo of fureyous
4.82/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I have been digging NE IPAs since they've been so big lately in SoCal and decided to spend a wad getting this (fresh) out west, it was way worth it. I also ordered Crushed and Focal Banger as part of the haul, but this is the original so he goes first. Poured the first HT into a cold tulip glass without swirling to peep the glory then the second out of the can. The can experience was far better, I actually preferred it colder. Nice light yellow hazy honey color with a finger high head and pretty lacing which coated the glass even after it was gone.

Way worth the hype. I love the murk of CA's attempts at this style but the nice balance of flavors (I picked up more mango and grapefruit cold from the can and then more floral notes as it warmed up in my glass, nothing was overpowering, though), silky mouthfeel and fresh hoppyness trifecta are better than any I have had out there. I think if you prefer one taste over another you'll find a favorite elsewhere but this has everything in perfect moderation.

Definitely doesn't taste or smell as boozy as an 8 pointer, a fine big beer for day drinking! I am really glad I tried this after years of telling myself I would. If you're on the fence, DO IT.

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Photo of pink_elephants
4.23/5  rDev -9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Fortunate enough to bring in the new year with two cans. Neighbor had a friend bring some down in September...keeping the cans ice cold the entire way to Maryland. I was forced to drink it from the can...per the instructions and the insistence of my neighbor, so the look and smell are both 5. Taste was very good, but didn't blow me away. The mouthfeel was very good for a double IPA and I never did want to stop drinking it. I want it more now that I can't easily get it here in Maryland. Will be road tripping to Vermont very soon. I want to try it poured into a cold pint glass.

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Photo of Umdrunner
4.53/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from can into snifter (couldn't quite follow the can rules). Hazy straw color with fluffy white head that had excellent retention and lacing. Scent was grapefruit, lemon, a touch of mango, and very piny. The flavor followed the scent with a high bitterness that was balanced well with the smooth sweet malt. Quite a resinous taste/feel on this one. The mouthfeel made this beer stand out. I've only had a few beers that match this mouthfeel on an IPA, almost seems to coat your mouth with smoothness while maintaining a crispness from the carbonation. Great beer!

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Photo of jth63
4.99/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm guessing the few bad reviews are the result of someone getting an old can or one that got too warm. I generally do not like IPA'so that are over 7% ABV - too many hops to mask the sweetness. This ale is so well balanced and not at all heavy. My son who goes to school in Vermont brought me a case for Christmas. The best gift I've ever gotten. Truly lives up to the hype. It is extremely important that you do not let this ale get warm, that will totally funk it ul.

 472 characters

Photo of aac5269
4.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

First time trying to coveted brew. It was about 8 days old.

Appreance: Golden and slightly hazy. Bubbly white head on top.

Nose: Bitter citrus, lemon, grapefruit (not the west coast grapefruit, something more succulent), reminds me of a sweet lemongrass pastry

Taste: complex, there's some bitter citrus, some hoppy grassiness, all balanced by a pleasant malty sweetness, and the carbonation is fantastically dancing on my palate

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Photo of MacMalt
4.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First time! Poured into IPA glass. It pours a lovely golden-amber color with two full fingers of fluffy, egg-white head and lacing with excellent retention. I don't understand why so many claim it has to be drunk from the can because of its appearance. It's a very attractive pour. It smells of bready malt, grass, pine needles, lemon peel, and grapefruit. Wow, what a perfect balance of malt, fruit, and hops. The first taste is the somewhat sweet, bready malt. It's no fruit bomb; the citrus is subtle, delicate. There are touches of tropical sweetness and vanilla, particularly as the glass warms a little. Then the hops explode, bitter and biting. The after taste is bitter - in a good way. This ale it medium-bodied, with pleasant carbonation, and a reasonable 8% ABV that allows for easy drinking. You can down a couple of these. Overall, it's an exquisite DIPA and merits its lofty ratings. I'm glad I was finally able to experience it. Road trip to Vermont?

 979 characters

Photo of Tiburon
4.3/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Creature of habit, I opened it and immediately poured it into tulip glass. Sorry bro....
Smooth but heavy mouth presence, I detected some mango and mild grapefruit.Definite malt backbone on this can. A good beer, but I don't think it is superior to other hoppy bombs I have had. Cool name though..

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Photo of DaverCS
4.73/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

While instructed to drink from the can, most of the review (besides the first few smells and sips) was poured into my Pliny the Elder pint glass (ironic, I know).

The beer pours a hazy, light orange color with 2 fingers of a long-lasting fluffy white head. Clearly unfiltered with some sediment that was originally not included, but I decided to pour in after the first few sips. Great lacing.

Aroma is a hybrid between east coast juice and west coast pine/grapefruit. I get tons of pine, grapefruit, pineapple, mango, some papaya, and a generic bright citrus. Some floral hop notes as well.

Taste is aggressively hopped but not overdone, moderate to high level of bitterness, with just enough malt to ensure it’s not a total hop bomb. Despite the rather high ABV, the beer has just the right amount of carbonation to mimic that of something a few notches lower. No alcohol burn or heat. Grapefruit pith is the shining fruit in this mix. Some grassy hop notes, with some pine. A lot less tropically than I was expecting, but those flavors do begin to surface as the beer warms. I do enjoy this better than Pliny – better carbonation, mouthfeel, and flavor. Again, as the beer warms, much more citrus notes and a bit of peach and apricot are detectable.

Overall, this is a great beer. In and of itself does it warrant a trip to Vermont to try… I would say no. However, with all of the great beers located within the region, a regional brewery trip would be great. While incredibly hoppy with layers of flavors, it isn’t so much superior that it warrants a plane ride and a couple hundred dollars. That isn’t to say that I did not love this beer, because I absolutely did. I recommend drinking this beer by itself. It gets a 94.5/100.

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Photo of ctylinebeer
4.39/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.75

16 oz can poured into a tulip for review purposes. Only available in Vermont, acquired through a trade.

L - bright yellow color, hazy and clear hue. Two finger head with lacing focused towards the top of the glass

S - aroma is slightly muted, but it seems to be a mixture of all sorts of IPA notes. Very pleasant actually

T - super smooth, it's crazy! Grapefruit all the way but no detection of booze or malt at all. Super clean and tasty

F - super drinkable and clean, like you're drinking a pale ale.

O - I can see why there's hype but some other breweries can replicate this balance. However, this is granddad of whales and Double IPAs and certainly deserves the pedestal it is on. Bucket list beer for sure, so sad to see it leave my fridge.....Cheers!

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Photo of bigdaddymick
4.06/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can't rate the look since it's canned. I actually expected more of a pungent kick from such an esteemed IPA but the overall character and mouth feel is very tame. Subtle dryness with moderate grassy/pine notes. Fairly light on the carbonation as well. Overall, a fantastic beer but a little underwhelming I must say. On par with the Jacks Abby Kiwi Rising I tried last week which isn't nearly as exclusive.

 406 characters

Photo of h0wdy
4.68/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Heady Topper has a hoppy smell with a hazy look. This tastes like a mouthful of hops and the feeling is a great one. Overall, I feel like this is a drink you can't pass on.

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Photo of JBowenGeorgia
4.78/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Finally acquired a couple cans in a trade. It was quite tasty! Had the first can from a glass, beautiful hazy orange gold, nice hoppy aroma, citrusy piney taste but a little weaker than expected. Second can from the can and definitely much better, taste lingered on the palate, very smooth texture. A very good brew!

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Photo of Lonborgski
4.42/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From a 16oz can at a Burlington restaurant. I had to ask for a glass to look at it, which received a scornful look from the waitress. They do take "Drink from the Can" seriously.
Overall, not my favorite New England Double IPA. My first, Epiphany on tap at the Foundation brewery was eye-opening. The fruity smell, the cloudy unfiltered haze, the balanced crisp but not bitter taste showed me what the hype was about fresh double IPA's. Epiphany is still my standard, but my favorite is now Florens around the other side of 1 Industrial Way--you have to root for the little guy.
Back to Heady Topper, by the time I poured my can and sipped from it too, there wasn't much fruitiness and the pour was clear, not cloudy. The taste was pleasant, balanced and enjoyable, but not like a fresh double at the brewery. I'll stick to my neighborhood and stop chasing something better.

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Photo of Phippsj10
4.98/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Seriously amazing. I was surprised at how smooth and drinkable this beer truly was. I will absolutely seek out again. One thing I did pick up was a faint cucumber taste, but holy cow this thing is amazing.

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Photo of Amguerra305
4.27/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazy golden yellow with a tinge towards the red spectrum with a good amount of things suspended in the beer. The smell is rather complex and smells like tropical fruit punch. Notes of papaya and mango with just a hint of peach. The taste does not entirely follow the smell but is not nearly as complex. Tropical fruit juice in the middle but finishes with mango. The back end is a tad too bitter for my tastes but most would enjoy it. feel is medium bodied. Overall this is a really good beer that is a tad too bitter for my own tastes.

 551 characters

Photo of TechTriumph
4.69/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

11/18/16
Live review. Consumed 32 days after bought in store. No canned date, but I imagine the time between being canned and hitting the shelf was minimal.

A - Poured fairly vigorously into a snifter glass. Billowy, egg shell colored head with a nice level of retention. Some lacing left behind, but not a ton. The color is right in that typical zone for IPA's with a lean towards the orange hues. Pretty hazy appearance which could be from my strong pour, or suspended hop resins, or both.

S - Surprisingly not overpowering, but it's certainly pure hops. Nearly like putting your face into a handful of fresh hop cones. Nice bouquet of tropical fruits, also floral, a faint touch of spice, and even fainter biscuity malts. The tropical and floral combo is divine. Pineapple, papaya, mango, grapefruit, lime, sweet candied fruits. The beauty of the aroma is not that it blows you away with strength, but in how it harmoniously comes together.

T - Big time hop flavor as advertised, but it finds a way to maintain balance, and avoid being one dimensional. Hop profile is quite complex. There's no note that truly outshines another, but it's a symphony of flavors. Tropical flavors are present, like in the nose, as are flavors of sweet candied fruits, pine, grass, freshly crushed black pepper, and a fairly big, pleasant onion-like pungency. Bitterness is moderate and lingers just a bit. Beer steps to another level as it warms. Still enjoying the bottom third of the glass as much as the initial sips.

M - Mouthfeel might actually be the best aspect of the beer. Drinkability is off the charts. Very hard to keep the glass down for long. Perfect level of effervescence on the tongue. Velvety mouthfeel that just consumes the tongue with hop oils. Overall, a fairly dry finish. Only sign of the 8% ABV is the touch of warmth, but it's not detracting. It works extremely well with everything.

O - Waited patiently for many years to get a chance to enjoy Heady Topper. It was THE beer I most wanted to try. And thanks to some fortunate circumstances, a great friend, and a little luck, the opportunity finally arrived. I can't really say that the very lofty expectations I had placed on this beer were completely met. It wasn't a total game changer as I had convinced myself it would be. Just getting that part out of the way. But I'm in no way complaining. Seriously, it's a ridiculously damn good beer. Superbly crafted. World class drinkability. Nothing else quite like it. And after reading John Kimmich's message on the back of the can, I think Heady Topper succeeds in what it was set to do, which is taking the consumer on an incredible journey to hop heaven.

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Photo of Hagenmccombs
4.41/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Was very excited to try this benchmark IPA and am not at all disappointed. It is delicious.
L: golden orange/yellow. Huge fluffy head. Not as hazy as I expected.
S: Orange peels, freshly cut carrots, bit of grass, white crackers
T: Very citrusy and hint of pine with a sweet cracker malt as it warms. Slightly more bitter than I expected. Similar hop character to Sticky Hands.
F: Super resinous and oily with very foamy carbonation
O: Absolutely delicious. Very happy to have finally tried this.

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Photo of Drvitlkeyustolit80
4.25/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

First had 8/30/13 at a friends house. One of many, and hopefully many more. The water in Vermont plays a huge role in all of these fantastic beers that come out of that area. Or it could be something else, either way, I love when friends go up and bring me some home.

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Photo of Dukies222001
4.86/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

As good as advertised. Amazing taste lingers on your toungue. Great aroma upon pour into pint glass. I actually wasn't blown away by the look but still very pleasant. Lighter than I expected. Great feel and aftertaste. Plus beer as I expected.

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Photo of TheWolf
4.59/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Finally. A beautiful looking unfiltered beer. The nose was more tame than I expected. Great taste. Super well balanced Silky smooth feel. A very solid beer. But not the best. Maybe the hype was too much.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.65 out of 5 based on 12,999 ratings.
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