Heady Topper | The Alchemist

2,336 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: 2,336 | Ratings: 13,163
Photo of ilovebeer2013
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The alchemist Deserves Credit For Focusing On Their Only Beer And making It perfect And Out Of A Can! It Is unfiltered But Color Is Consistent Surpringly Small Head For Something Named Heady Topper. It Is Very Smooth great Complexity Of flavor And You Could Drink A Lot And Forget It is 8% . A Cult Like Following And Hard To Find.

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Photo of Docrock
4.66/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received in trade from Bricenice, Thanks Mike!

A: okay, if you follow the directions " drink straight from the can" how can you rate appearance? So I started drinking from can then poured the second half into a FFF Teku. How anyone can rate appearance a 5 is beyond me unless you thin the can is beautiful. Appearance is a murky golden color with decent head but retention was lacking.

S: amazing, one of the best smelling beers I have ever had, tons of floral notes, cirus, pine, aroma does not dissipate at all.

T: again, outstanding. Very different than any other DIPA I've had. On par with Pliny, Dreadnaught, and Abrasive.

M: very good but not quite as smooth as Dreadnaught or other slightly higher abv beers.

O: definitely worth seeking out if you like DIPA's. Very different from most others as well, the aroma is probably the best I have ever sensed but the taste, mouthfeel, and appearance bring it down for me a bit.

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Photo of vitALEity
4.05/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a can into a tulip.

A: Very murky, hazy. Brown/yellow/orange color
S: Pine, Lemon, Bread, Sour Grapefruit, Cleaning supplies
T: Very complex. A lot of resinous pine, lemon, grain (not sweet malt), very bitter at first in the back. The complexity of it makes it so the flavor is different with every sip. Layers of different hits of flavor and bitterness and an almost Umami type flavor that cant be described.
M: Cant complain about anything here. Very full, smooth, mellow.

O: I dont know how old my can was but I know it was at least 1 month. Ive had HT before and hadnt reviewed and the aroma was much more potent and amazing. The aroma seemed to be very subdued on this can. The mouthfeel and the development of flavors from first sip to the last is the reason to drink this. Sucks, Enjoy By, Pliny, Double Jack, etc. etc. have better appearance, aroma and first taste. There is something very unique about HT though. Its definitely in a class by itself.

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Photo of bball208
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Tried it at the brewery on tap, tried it from the can 1 day old, and tried it from the can 6 months old.

It is said that IPAs are best when young, but this one is a little different in my opinion. If you drink it fresh, you will get a TON of bitter aftertaste. It's a little too much bitter for my liking. BUT, the aroma and front of the mouth hop PUNCH just makes me not give a shit. I've never smelled a beer with a better aroma. Hell, the brewery itself smelled like heaven. I decided to let a can sit for about 6 months and tried it again. Let me tell you, it tasted MUCH better. The bitterness subsided a bit, but the pine, citrus, and floral, almost even cereal scent was still there, and still strong. The flavor actually developed quite nicely over time. I highly recommend you try a vertical tasting of young and old.

I will go back to Heady Topper in VT and age it for a year next time and see what happens.

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Photo of TheBeer
4.07/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed once before and once after an 8 mile mountain trail run.
A: Reminds me of someone throwing up Keystone Light on an empty stomach. Hazy appearance that is not very appetizing. The appearance is not judged on the can/bottle as many of the other reviews seem to think, which just adds hype to this beer.
S: Very potent odor given off by this beer. Strong scents of pine and citrus.
T: Tastes like a hop bomb on the forward palate and then subsides into a pleasant taste. The forward taste is however to overpowering for the aftertaste and makes you want to take another drink to wash away what's on your mind. The aftertaste is actually very pleasant and worthwhile, but the forward taste kind of ruins it for me. Granted I enjoy stouts and prefer a strong malt backbone which this beer fails to deliver, I have had much better than this.
M: Very amazing body to the beer. Reminiscent of a stout's body. Very thick and coats the palate. Best aspect of the beer in my opinion.
O: Was it worth the 4 hour drive? No. Will I ever seek out this beer again? No. Over hyped beer that is not worth your effort to obtain. It is not bad by any means, but it is not a top tier beer. Even Lawson's Double Sunshine IPA(sold in Vermont) is better than this beer. I prefer Surly Abrasive Ale and Stone Double Bastard Ale over this any day. Turns out even the piss taste of Corona Light is satisfying after a physical adventure.

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Photo of JLateralus21
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I just tried this beer for the first time, and I have to say I'm impressed. Against my better judgement, I followed the directions on the can and decided to drink it without pouring it into my tulip.

A: Its in a can, so hard to say.

S: Floral aroma initially when you open the can, but the can limits the aroma for the most part. It smells excellent and exactly what you want a double IPA to smell like. The American hops are just trying to escape the can with no luck. I think the aroma would be better served in the proper glassware.

T: taste is excellent. Perfect. The initial taste is hard to describe, i get a little bit of the aluminum taste from the can, but it quickly takes a backseat to the overwhelming taste of hops. Very citrusy, very bitter. The taste is dry with not much sweetness from the malt whatsoever, or it could just be overpowered by the amazing taste of what you expect from a double IPA... HOPS!

M: Excellent, it's exactly the way I want my beers.

O: Overall this definitely deserves to be right where it is as a top 5 beer in the world. You can't compare it to Pliny the Elder, I think they are on different ends of the Double IPA category. I can't say which one is better because its been a couple years since I've had PTE, but this one is very very delicious. I'm going to try my next one in a glass and see if the taste even gets better!

Overall: 100/100. You owe it to yourself to try and get your hands on a 4-pack of these cans! Well worth the drive to Vermont!

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Photo of jeastman
4.37/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Amazing beer, have had it many times as it is locally available. If it is more than 2 weeks old it quickly becomes an average IPA.

Appearance is murky, can not see through the beer though light passes through it. It is a glazen orange. No matter how cold or careful always pours with some sediment. Conan yeast gives this beer a nice creamy mouth feel.

This beer balances sweet, bitter and citrus hop qualities like no other. Great beer, will buy it as long as I can find it! The one issue is that this beer is a bit thin for my preference but the creaminess that their conan yest puts out makes up for the final gravity.

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Photo of FullOfGluten
4.94/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Hands down the best beer I've ever had. I heard all the hype and went down to the brewery to try it myself. I left with 3 cases and a new favorite beer.

Both the aroma and flavor are extremely complex. I have never tasted a beer with so many flavors and smells that come on one after another after you swallow.

If you haven't had one you are missing out on something special.

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

So many flavors. Drank out of a snifter poured fresh from the can. A variety of hops throughout although not too much (I am no "hophead"). Delicious malt. Cannot recommend enough. Lives up to the hype if you can get your hands on a can. Glad I live in Vermont.

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Photo of GameFreac
4.51/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Can sent in a trade - 2 weeks old.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy murky yellow color. Definitely unfiltered. It's obvious - looks like a hefeweizen.

Smell: Smells of super dank tropical hops. Bursting with hop aromas.

Taste - Taste mirrors the nose but is more subdued in a good way - not very bitter (which I like).

Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel.

Overall: Best beer in the world? Nah. But it's an amazing IPA and in my top 10 for sure.

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Photo of NERM
4.91/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is an absolutely incredible beer. I am a huge fan of Double IPAs, so I try them all and this is the best one I have had to date. It has such a refreshing taste and it packs a punch. I wish it wasn’t so hard to find, but I know that adds to the mystique. For all you beer fans out there, you will find it in Burlington along with many other good beers. I usually can argue top 250 ratings, but this one has the right top dog.

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Photo of ozzman54
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What else can I say. Heady Topper has been one of the few beers out of all that I've tried that really lives up to the hype. A masterpiece by The Alchemist. Beer looks great and tastes great whether out of the can or poured. Appearance is copper, orange, unfiltered, cloudy, danky looking. Smell is spot on hoppy, piney, danky and citrusy. Taste is incredible with lots of pungent grapefruit in your face balanced by the piney bitterness and malt. Keeps you wishing you had a whole case. Mouthfeel is smooth and perfectly carbonated. It goes down so easy. This beer is #1 for a reason.

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Photo of thequeen711
4.15/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not being an ipa fan this beer is awesome. The hops are so well balanced. Highly revcommend dor the non ipa lover. I bought a 4 pk and can kick myself for not getting a case . Next visit I will get at least 1 case! A definite option for the non IPA oriented consumer.

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Photo of jbwimer
4.64/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Received two 4-packs in a trade with bostonbeans originating on the other site. Purchased a week ago, so this beer is fresh to deff... Whatever that means. First time drinking, and I'm pretty excited. Thanks, Vini!

A- Drank the majority of this beer from the can, but I wanted to see what it looked like, so I poured a few ounces into a snifter. Looks like grapefruit juice with a bit of orange juice poured into it. Pretty friggin' cloudy. A small head, that I'm sure would expand had I poured the whole can. Overall, not too impressive. I can see why "DRINK FROM THE CAN!" is exclaimed on the label in all caps.

S- Wow. Could I just smell this beer forever? So pungent, and so delightful. Huge citrus (specifically grapefruit and clementine), pine, and floral notes with a hint of sweetness. You're not gonna make a beer that smells better than this. You're just not. So don't even try.

T- Hops on hops on hops. Juicy, fruity sweetness balanced out by the hop bitterness. Hops, citrus, sweetness. In that order. And me likey that order. The bitterness lingers, requiring a solid smacking of the lips. Love that. The taste is not quite as phenomenal as the nose, but quite lovely nonetheless.

M- Not the best mouthfeel I've had in an IPA. Feels just a little bet empty. Maybe a little watery at some points. Doesn't detract too much from the beer, but could be improved. Pretty good amount of carbonation, with a dry finish. Hop oils totally coat the tongue.

O- I think I'm understanding the hype. This was a really enjoyable beer. Only room for improvement would be on the appearance and the mouthfeel. But where it really counts, this beer delivers. And I have 7 more in the refrigerator. You lucky dog.

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Photo of Fux
4.81/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Drinking this beauty on a lazy Saturday afternoon and figured I should have reviewed this a long time ago.
Review is mainly based on a 2 weeks old can, but with comments from other tastings I had before.
First, I think it's useful to have the debate on the best way to appreciate Heady Topper. It took me half a dozen cans to figure out the "drink from the can / review from a glass" thing, but now, it turned as a well-oiled ritual. Flavors and aromas on Heady Topper are really volatile (more than on any other hoppy beer I have had so far), yet, the nose is so great it would be a pity to drink it from the can. So what I do is pouring it in my de Heeren van Liedekercke glass (which is a small, not too wide wine glass, more or less a white wine glass) 2oz. by 2oz., it enables me to enjoy the nose but have the beer rest in the glass with not too much contact with the air. I'm very proud of this technique, it makes me consider myself a professional Heady Topper drinker :-/ And now, let's review it:
A: Everything has been said of how bad-looking this beer is, hazy as hell with lots of sediments floating around (it will be hazy however you pour it, but a gentle pour can avoid the sediments to come to the glass), yet I really love the look of it. Hazy straw / orange in color, with a foamy white head, quite lingering, this looks very juicy, like a fresh pressed grapefruit.
S: This is the best part of it, fruity, juicy, with a resinous scent, very complex and appealing with aromas of mangos, peaches, oranges, passionfruits, grapefruits and pineapples.
T: Taste is very fruity also. If drunk very fresh, one can taste the fresh hops, grassy and floral aromas, which do mellow after a week or so and leave fruity waves of hoppy, fruity goodness flooding from the front end of the tongue to the back end of the throat, with a lingering, resinous aftertaste and a bittersweet dryness on the finish (which also mellows with time). No heavy sweetness, no over-malting defect, no alcohol is to be felt. I could drink 5 liters of this on a single night.
M: Mouthfeel is smooth with a high carbonation and a dangerous dryness on the finish, calling for the next mouthful.
O: Contrary to many DIPAs, Heady Topper is not so focused on hops, but has a real yeasty liveness, light on the malt side but very well balanced, not at all as bitter as expected from the IBU, but still very smooth and fruity. It evolves gracefully (probably at it peaks after one month, but it can be enjoyed even one year after canning, regarding my own experience, being really focused on the yeast quality). One of the best DIPAs I have been able to try, and one I really love revisiting on a regular basis.

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Photo of HomersTomaco
4.12/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

So the age old debate.... Heady vs Pliny...

Pliny wins every time

I like the idea of cans. When you get a fresh one it's very cloudy, naturally, because it's unfiltered. I don't really mind this but a lot of people do. The taste is great. Very hoppy, grapefruit and floral. I like the beer a lot and I want more, but it's not as crisp of a beer as Pliny. Heady is a bit more malty and slightly more bitter. Whenever you can find this beer drink it right away and do not save them or age them. It is best drank as fresh as possible.

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

This is my 2nd time having this, and it shocked me both times.

Appearance: perfect color for this type of beer with a mild haze to it. Almost greenish hue.

Smell: Pine and citrus through and through. Pineapple, mango, orange, and pine. Its what I had always dreamed of for a IIPA.

Taste: Wow, amazing, simply put. The taste matches the nose but there's almost a candy like sweetness to that's very very subtle but works for it incredibly well. Hops up front and citrus more towards the middle with a perfect just sweet enough finish.

Mouth feel: Perfect carbonation, insanely drinkable. That's worth the experience alone almost!!!

Don't let the hype scare you, it scared me. This truly is what its cracked up to be. Good work Alchemist Brewing co!

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Photo of adam42381
4.96/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 16 ounce can into a Spiegelau tulip - no, I didn't follow the rules and drink it out of the can. No freshness date printed on the can.

Appearance: Pours a hazy dark honey blond with orange highlights and a 3 finger fluffy eggshell white head which dissipates very slowly leaving a 1/2 finger puddle of foam gently resting on top. Decent lacing.

Smell: The nose is huge. I got a blast of hops as I poured it from the can into the glass. Huge citrus aroma with resinous pine, floral sweetness, pineapple, a touch of honey and just a bit of bready malt in the background .

Taste: Sweet citrus, pine and grapefruit dominate throughout. The flavors aren't overly complex, but it's incredibly well-balanced. The aftertaste is bitter, but not overly so. There are hints of sweet orange in the aftertaste as well. This beer just does what it intends to do: give waves and waves of hoppy goodness on your palate.

Mouthfeel: Medium-to-full-bodied with just the right amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Insanely high drinkability. I wish they still counted that toward the score here on BA. Goes down so smooth, I can't believe it's 8% ABV.

Overall: Amazing beer overall. There is a reason this is considered amongst the world's best beers. It's phenomenal. Honestly, I don't think there's one thing I would change about this beer. This is a beer to seek out. If you ever get the chance, you must try it. It's world class.

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

Finally got my hands on some of this, first off let me say this beer is awesome. The second you open the can you are hit with an explosion of hops.

Everything about this beer screams DIPA

Definitely one of the top 3 IPAS I've had!

The questions is Pliny the Elder vs. Heady


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Photo of Pratt33
4.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I must say this is the best beer I have ever tasted. Not only does it taste flawless but it looks and smells flawless as well. One of the most difficult beers to purchase on the market! Well worth the wait though. The smell alone if like no other, very fruity and strong, but not over powering.

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

A - The beer is golden yellowish with a sticky white head. good lace in glass but its best served drank from can because it dosnt look that good.

S - Smells delightful/amazing/everything great in this world. citrus with other tropical fruits and world peace.

T - delicious creamy IPA that cover all the nooks and crannys of your mouth, very hoppy yet fruity with a resounding aftertaste of perfect bitterness and fruits. unlike any beer i have ever had. what it lacks in appearance it more than makes up in what counts, THE TASTE, this is a true nectar of the gods.

M - Creamy embodied mouthfeel that dosnt give you that typical IPA dry feel at the end, simply put.. perfection.

This elusive beer is worth the effort to find, you will not experience an IPA like this anywhere else.

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

They hype was not false. This was absolutely divine!

At the crack of the can, which I drank from, the hops were on attack and when I began to drink it, the onslaught didn't stop at any time.

By far, one of if not the best I have had. Definitely happy I waited to make this beer #200!

If I could get this regularly, I would be buying everything I could!

Don't fear the hype. It is all true!

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Photo of djjacobsen
4.61/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Definitely worthy of a 100 rating. Fresh hop beer consumed very soon after shipment arrived. Dank, grassy hops. Slight spice and earthy tones. Perfect carbonation and a sweet, faint malt character. Still trumped by Pliny and Enjoy By but among the top of its class. Oh, and I was a bad boy and didn't drink from the can. Hats off to the Alchemest all the way from Vermont doing the west coast ipa as good as or better than almost anyone out there.

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Photo of bishopdc0
4/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can that traveled from Vermont to Washington to Maine.

The beer is is golden yellow witha sticky white head. It laces the glass and the can doesn't look half bad either.

The nose is dank with spicy hops there is a slight malty sweetness but the hops are obviously the star. From the can the smell of hops seem a little more prominent but the spicyness is subdued. Reminds me of a less intense abrasive.

The taste matches the nose full of hops spicy and very dry. I am a little underwhelmed, while tasty probably wouldnt make my top 5 dipas

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

Another head sucked into the hype. After trying the sample from the Alchemist tap, which was damn delicious, I was still unsure if the journey was worth it. Settled back where I was staying, I cracked a can and fell in love.

Traveling via car, ferry, train, cab, subway, tram, and plane... a case made it back home to Arizona with me. Friends rejoiced and the nectar was sparingly enjoyed to the last drop.

There are enough ASTMO reviews so I just thought I'd share my story instead.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.65 out of 5 based on 13,163 ratings.
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