Heady Topper | The Alchemist

2,322 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: 2,322 | Ratings: 13,091
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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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

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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Photo of Brewxer
4.08/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bit underwhelming.... maybe too much hype, maybe my expectations were to high, or maybe there are just a lot of other great IPAs out there these days. It's a great beer, but mostly just a tick off the list.

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Photo of MikeyMcD86
4.72/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Super excited to try the venerable Heady Topper! I did not drink from the can but I did pour it without rolling the can so as not to disturb the sediment.

Look: Light golden color with lots of haze. poured out with a finger of head. Nice tight bubble structure.

Smell: Pine and spruce jumps out of the glass but it definitely has that yeasty "smell of the brewery" thing that really good IPAs have. Some lemongrass in there as well but it is definitely the pine and spruce that stand out.

Taste: Super grapefruity on the front of the palate, nice and pithy. Lemongrass on the palate as well. finishes with a piney refreshing bitterness. Disguises its alcohol content well.

Mouthfeel: Wonderful medium plus creaminess. Not too heavy. Dries out on the back which helps make this beer super crushable.

Overall(style points): This beer gets all the hype and I can see why. In a world before New England style IPA were everywhere this must have been mind blowing. In today's world though, the game has moved on. It's still a great beer but it just doesn't blow me away the way I wanted it to. 95.25 points.

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Photo of LAp
4.67/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Finally tried it. Had (of course) in the can, though I poured an ounce or two into a teku to get the appearance. Poured a hazy yellow (thicker, and hazier than most DIPAs). Pine and citrus on the nose, though not to the incredible extreme of The Crusher. Palate is tremendously dank, bitter hops. Pine is more present than citrus, though both certainly play a role in the palate here. Solid medium mouthfeel. An exceptional DIPA, but in the world of extremely good IPAs, this one is not so singular as the hype would imply. Tremendous? Of course. Best in its class? Sadly not.

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Photo of Pray_For_Mojo
4.34/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: yellow-golden with a white head with good retention that fades to a thin lacing.

Aroma: a bit of citrus in the hops. Inviting. The nose by itself lets you know this is going to be a good one.

Flavor: yea, I like this one. The hops hit you right in the face, but not overwhelmingly so. Despite the high bitterness, it isn’t “spicy.” The hop flavors fade to a light citrus and saw dust. Piney resin comes to mind. The malt is sweet, but really serves only as the canvas to showcase the hops.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied or just a hair shy. You could drink multiple of these.

Overall: damn good, but I don’t feel it deserves quite its BA score. I traded Pliny for HT. If offered the choice between the two, I’d opt for the Pliny.

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Photo of Inca64
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have drank almost everything from #1 to #25 and others on the list. I drive to VT every so often to pick up 2 cases and drive back to MA. Why? Simply said, this is the best beer (DIPA) in America. I also drive to the TH and drink all their beers too. I have not had Pliney The Younger so I can't comment on that, but it's only in a keg form and can't get the CA to try it. I have had Pliney the Elder though. Heady, as it's affectionately called, when fresh, far exceeds anything in its class. I have had many of the Tree house beers, and they are really good and deserve spots on the list but no IPA or DIPA from TH is as good as Heady. King Julius is close. I have both Heady and TH beers in my frig at all times and enjoy them all. I wont comment on what I taste or how it pours because it's different for most people. Find someone that has fresh heady and trade with them and you will see why a large majority of people think it's the best they ever had.

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

Can Date: purchased 10/14/16
Palate Contaminants: none

The look is a nice translucent amber with moderate head. The light actually changes colors if I move it to indirect light, never seen that.

I got a great whiff when I cracked open the can. The principal smell is savory fruit. And even though they're savory, they're mostly acidic. I can pick out red grapefruit, pineapple, orange, sweet melon, and cactus fruit. It's also lactic, even trending toward salty.

The taste canvas is savory malt. The citrus elements are less, with mostly the red grapefruit coming through. The lactic element is stronger, though. There's also a vegetable/herb tilt here, it's one of those beers that might go well with a salad. Actually, it probably goes well with everything. It's very well balanced.

I don't get much bitter until the aftertaste, but it has enough savory and sweet to make it enjoyable. The carbonation is very well integrated.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.65 out of 5 based on 13,091 ratings.
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