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Heady Topper | The Alchemist

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2,275 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: 2,275 | Ratings: 12,788
Photo of stephens101
4.74/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

From notes 11.28.13:

I've always approached beers of this magnitude with a somewhat naive sense of awe, but not this time. Going at this one as "just a fucking beer".

Has one-finger of fluffy off-white that drops into a scattered lace in it's own good time. Color is an impenetrably cloudy orange.

Smells of oranges, bananas, grapefruit and resin. While not overly complex, all the components float in concert.

Tastes of deep grapefruit, taffy, and vanilla with a core of rind, resin and other light fruits. A bit spicy too.

Medium to heavy bodied with minimal alcohol heat. Smooth from beginning to end.

As with all great beer there's something intangible. This one has that esoteric element in spades. Is it the water, he terroir, or maybe even an unknown "magical" touch from the creator (brew-master that is)? Who knows? All I know is when all is said and done, this is not "just a fucking beer"

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Photo of Kramerbarthomer
4.64/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Received in a trade from Liquidswordz. Thanks!

A - Drank this one straight from the can, but poured out the last 4 oz. to see it. Golden-orange in color

S - Hops, hops, and more hops

T - Floral hoppy taste. Slight bitter finish

M - As good as it gets, perfect for a DIPA

I really enjoyed this beer. One of the better DIPAs I've had.

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Photo of FreeTheHopFreeTheMind
4.96/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I can't say enough about this beer, I've been drinking it consistently for over a year now, I'm from Vermont so I grab a case every Monday. I never felt the need to review it until now. As I said, I drink Heady Topper quite a bit, but this last weekend, I had the pleasure to taste it against Lawson's Double Sunshine, Dogfish 75 Min IPA, Pliny the Elder, and Hill Farmstead's Abner, and for the first time since I've been drinking Heady Topper, it had competition. I love Harpoon IPA and drink it regularly, but after a Heady Topper it's tastes like Bud Light.

Though Heady Topper was still my top choice out of the beers I have to say the Lawson's Double Sunshine is a close second. (I didn't get to taste much of the Pliny)

Anyway, back on topic, the reason Heady Topper still topped the chart for me was the hop aroma, from the smell to the taste, you can tell the hops are perfectly balanced, and fresh. They're overpowering, and that's what I enjoy in a beer.

As far as appearance, the beer is beautiful, a yellow-orange, with an amazing head, almost a perfect sight.

Smell - Unreal, from the moment you pop that can, it fills your nose with hops, try popping it and catching that first burst of air thrown from the can - there's nothing like it.

Obviously the taste is perfect, it's intense from the first sip to the last, whether the beer is a few hours old to 6 months, sure the flavor changes a lot in between then, but either way you have it, you'll enjoy it.

It's a semi-heavy drinker, it coats your mouth with fresh hops. Amazing.

Overall it's still my single favorite beer, I'd like to give it another shot against Pliny the elder, and def. against the Younger, but being from Vermont, you can't complain when you only get just a sip of the Pliny's.

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Photo of mitch3114
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

16 oz. aluminum can with two pours into a snifter glass

A- This beer pours a cloudy, hazy golden color slightly tinged with amber, but still very much light for an IPA- an Imperial IPA at that. It looks more like a Hefeweizen. A nice, slightly uneven inch and a half head that lasted about two minutes before settling down to an eighth of an inch. Nice fluffy lace coatings slide down the snifter with every movement

S- Remarkably the aromas of this bold flavored ale don't stand out as much as the taste. It smells like a well balanced IPA. Some floral hop aromas, grapefruit, The scent although not complex does smell very fresh and very good

T- I can see why this has such a following. It is like drinking liquid hops of the most delicious and highest quality. These hops are very tasty and pungent in a good way. This is a bitter DIPA. But it's also a sweet DIPA. Other than the POW! of the hops, the beer is actually very well balanced.

M- The mouthfeel is just spot on. It is smooth and creamy, yet refreshing and drinkable with just the right amount of carbonation.

O- Overall, I can see why there is so much hype with this beer although I think a huge part of it is that it's only distributed in just a couple of towns in the state of Vermont. I will say it's one of the best DIPAs I have tasted, although fresh from the tap Enjoy By is right up there too. My buddy got me a four pack of this for my birthday and I am very grateful. It's a great beer to drink on a summer night and the 16 oz. serving just enough. A little more than your typical 12 oz. home serving, but much easier to finish than a 22 oz. bomber. I don't know about the hype, but I would say the ratings are pretty accurate. This is a legendary brew to say the least!

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

I was concerned that this would under deliver. Gladly it truly lives up to the hype. Beautiful pour. I split this pour into a sampling glass from the Garden State BrewFest and straight from the can, as suggested. Loved it all the way through. This improved with every sip. The last sip was the best as all the goodness remaining at the bottom of the can and mixes with each tip of the can.

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

A- Breaking their #1 rule, I sometimes pour this into a glass. (Alchemist prints "Drink from the Can" on the outside of every can) Its too good not to experience the site of it in a glass!
Pours a golden yellow / orange, very hazy. 1 finger of off white head that doesnt stay around long. Be careful not to pour the entire can! Here I do follow their directions, otherwise you discover the particles and hop resin, hey, its unfiltered. (Can't taste)

S- Dank Pine needles, pineapple and orange jump out of the can and fills the nares. A delight to just sniff for a bit.

T- Once again DANKNESS, some grassy bitterness, orange, pineapple, and slight bitterness hangs around for a long time. Some floral notes here all rolled up into one great package

M- Medium, carbonated, well balanced perfection.

O- The best beer I have ever had. Lives up to the hype. Its IPA perfection for me. If there was anything negative or constructive critisism I could offer is that this may not be an every day beer for some because it is someone heavy, calorie dense, and comes in 16 ounce cans. 2 of these may make you feel full and bloated. Besides, this shouldnt be looked at as an every day beer. It's a spectacular beer made to be slowly sipped and enjoyed once or twice a week max, IMHO. Cheers.

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Photo of trojanshawn
4.84/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I've been lucky enough to grab a can of Heady Topper through a friend who did a trade for it, otherwise I wouldn't have had the sheer pleasure of tasting this beauty. Living near the "Hop Highway", I'm used to good IPAs near me. Put this one up there with Pliny and Enjoy By, which are the best IPAs that I can easily get.

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

I've tasted a fair amount of beer to this point in my life. This beer is by far the best beer I've had the privilege to enjoy. It has a very hoppy aroma, so strong in fact you can smell it in your car with the windows rolled up as you're arriving to the brewery in Waterbury, VT. It has a fantastic hoppy flavor as well.

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Photo of PaulyB83
4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured from a can into a pint glass. Trader told me this is about 6 weeks old so not the freshest but I'm not as worried about canned IPAs as far as age goes, as long as it's not super crazy old.

A- Pours a muddy hazy golden rod color, looks like a shade of preserved lemon. A medium white head that dissipated to a thin film. Pretty hazy but can still see the shadow of my finger through the glass. The second pour from the can is very hazy and has some particles.

S- As soon as I cracked the can a way of hops fills the air. It is a hop dream. Sweet, lots of pineapple and citrus. Dank pine and a mellow bitter nostril burn. All the aromas are the biggest I've experienced in a beer.

T- HUGE HOPS, sweet, dank, long mellow bitterness, pineapple, orange, light malt on the aftertaste, the hop resins stay on your tongue for a long time. 2 hours after drinking this and I could still taste the hops.

M- Easy drinking all while having a full mouthfeel that is not too thick not to thin.

O- This beer definitely lives up to the hype in my opinion. Hops to the max. They must have a huge late addition of hops in this beer. Seems like definitely some Simcoe and Amarillo in here. This is how I like my IPAs, dank, slightly sweet, fruity and mellow long bitterness. A benchmark beer for sure. Congrats to The Alchemist for having the balls to make such a huge hop aroma and flavored beer.

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Photo of MarcWP
4.74/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Served from can (duh) into a belgian glass.

Appearance is murky apricot orange with big and bountiful light cream colored head. Hazy as can be for an IPA. Massive lacing, more so than any other Double IPA I can remember.

Aroma is huge orange, pineapple, pink grapefruit, pine, parsley, and star fruit. Smells very west coast with really no malts showing up.

Taste blows up with straight hop character. Big bitterness followed by a dry herbal finish. Tons of orange peel throughout with piney highlights. Little to no dank character. Almost all citrus and pine. It goes where many fail to go though, to that point of huge bitterness that actually has complexity and balance that keeps you coming back for more. Grapefruit for days in this.

Mouthfeel is heavier side of light or maybe lighter side of medium? Definitely crisp and gives the impression of being lower in abv.

Overall, this is classic. Full of fresh hop character and a masterpiece among many brewed in the same style. Doesn't break ground in any new way but just shows what something masterfully brewed tastes like. Deserves to be in the same sentence as that which contains other world class double IPA's, but to me falls short to the likes of Kern Rivers Citra, Lawson's Double Sunshine, and the stellar Alpine Bad Boy.

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Photo of Moheban
4.94/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was luck enough to land six in a trade recently and enjoyed 3 of them. One in the can, one in a glass, and one where I poured a few ounces into a glass at a time. Overall, best IPA/IIPA I've ever had. I'm still having olfactory hallucinations about the massive tropical fruit, mainly pineapple, aromas this beer displays. I will be trading for moe of this soon. Well worth the effort and lives up to all the hype.

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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 WunderLlama
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Searching for the holy grail of beer, brought me to Vermont. Found 12 cans at hunger mountain coop, will taste from the can as well. Continued the pilgrimage to the prohibition pig. Ordered heady toppers for me and son #2 whilst waiting for a table.

Tap poured into a snifter. Hazy yellow with a nice white foam cap.

Citrus and pine hop aroma.

Taste of the hops but without a bitter start. Slight bitter aftertaste and that is what sets this beer apart. More flavorful without the explosion of bitter taste . Citrusy with a hong of pine. Even the college son appreciated this beer over his preferred Budweiser, Great beer , flavorful, well balanced but doesn't club your senses. Rewards you with a great taste that warms as it settles to room temperature.

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Photo of mstrcrwly
4.27/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

First off..gotta thank Rich at South Bay Beverage in Massapequa,NY..he gave me Heady for FREE..he knew i was looking for it and had some he was drinking for himself,not for sale..so props to Rich..

Upon popping can..got really nice hop aroma,,not overly so..which was surprising..with all previous reviews i expected more hop aroma..but citrus,pine odor was very good..nice orange/amber color with 2-3 finger head..smooth taste..not as hoppy as i thought it would be..maybe that's my fault for expecting too much from this...excellent DIPA..but not best..and certainly not top beer in the world..in that respect..very overrated.

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Photo of Wortman1998
4.86/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Been waiting to try this beer for a looong time. It was worth the wait.
I cannot testify as to the appearance of the beer. I drank it from the can, as directed.
Before drinking it, smell it! It doesn't get any better, really. Just amazing.
It tastes as good or better than it smells. By far the smoothest double IPA I have ever had. So drinkable, yet full of rich flavors. I only had one can, I could have imbibed many more.

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Photo of gp60
4.78/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Been looking forward to this for a long time. Drove up to Vermont to get me a case. Yes it was worth the trip. Had one on Tap when in Waterbury. I had my first one from the case out of the can as directed the next day I had one from a tulip glass. was impressed with the smell or nose both ways. The appearance is the weak link here. Not ugly but a little hazy you might say. Dose not effect my felling towards the beer at all though but I scored it a 4,25 to be true.

I enjoyed the Heady Topper very much. It is a wonderful beer. One I can not recommend enough. I am enjoying my case with a select few and will drive back for an other when needed.


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Photo of Seanibus
4.18/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A kind of ugly beer - I see why they suggest drinking it from the can. Pours a hazy orange with a little sediment and not much in the way of head action. The aroma is fruity - tropical, with some apricot and mango. The flavor follows suit, with mango, apricot, pineapple, and a blast of big sticky hops. The mouthfeel is big and round. This beer is at once unusual and familiar - it reminds me of the beer to which it is so often compared, Pliny the Elder, though it is bigger and fuller, both in its tropical fruit and rounder mouthfeel. It's clearly less dry than the Russian River beer. But curiously the West Coast beer to which it most closely compares, in my view, is Racer 5 from Bear Republic - they are different beers, but both are round, fruity and given to showing up with a thick orange haze. It is as if Racer 5 and Pliny crashed into one another and spawned some crazy new hybrid. Heady Topper is a very good beer, but I wonder whether the frenzy would be as great if it were produced in greater quantity and distributed more widely.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a hazy yellowish orange with a white head.

S: Tons of fresh fruits, orange, tangerine, tropical fruit, papaya in an incredible nose.

T: Lots of orange, grass, pine, tangerine, tropical fruit, papaya.

M: Somewhat typical of an IPA, but a bit smoother, which is nice.

O: An incredible IPA. Not my favorite, but BA inflates their ratings, and they don't weight them how I personally would, so it might look that way. I don't know. I'd give it a 95.

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Photo of ProudBeerSnob
4.94/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Believe the hype!

Poured from can into shaker pint. Cloudy to say the least, lots of sediment In the straw colored beer. Solid not so foamy head that leaves some wondrous lacing throughout.

Resins piny hoppy dank goodness in the nose, with more to follow in the taste. Mouthfeel is thick and the beer is tasty.

I will NEVER turn down this beer.

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

Poured from the can (oops) into a dimpled mug. Pours a cloudy orange-straw colour with a foamy white head.

Smells of alpine grasses and minty herbs. Pungent hop stank.

Tastes of orange and lemon citrus hops, floral hops, grassy hops, hops hops.

Creamy and ebullient in the mouth.

It's a hop bomb that pushes the envelope and manages to stay within the bounds of good (great?) taste.

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Photo of BillDon
4.96/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Crack open the can and smell the hops then take a sip, heaven.

Appearance the can is well done with nice artwork. It fits nicely in your hand. I put a koozie on the can to prevent heat transfer from my hand, it doubles to keep my hand warm. Since it's opaque you can't see what the beer looks like.

Smell: piney, citrusy, resiny, that quickly drops off. Drink this one quick.

Taste : hop forward with lovely malt backbone. So balanced.

Mouthfeel: nicely carbonated gives the back end a little tingle to match the front end hops.

Overall: I guess this is a pretty good beer. Maybe even a top ten beer but I haven't tried them all yet so I want to keep my options open. :-)

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Photo of MikeyBadnews
4.66/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Drank a few of these from the can as instructed to by the labeling. I just couldn't resist pouring it into a pint glass for the next round.

Beer pours hard and frothy with a single finger lacing swirling to a butterscotch/apricot color. Absolutely beautiful for an IPA.

The smell of this is a complete knockout a double fisted paisley colored floral scented uppercut to the nose. Just full of fragrant floral excellence gently doused with a hint of a Werthers Original butterscotch candy. Its just dying to go to the darkside and give you an alcohol or resin aftertaste but it walks the tightrope of full fledged flavor power without giving in.

Honey drenched carbonated mouth feel washing down slightly syrupy.

This is borderline perfection. It might not be the best IPA but I've certainly never tasted its equal. If you can get your hands on one, grab it, You wont be disappointed.,


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

Served in a becker pint glass. Second dance with this highly regarded beer, reviewed from notes.

Heady Topper pours with about a finger's-width of white foam, bubbly and cratered. It does not stick around long, becoming a ring around the glass, exposing the lid of the hazy, unfiltered golden body with auburn highlights.

Loads of grapefruit in this bouquet, a little grassy, a bit of herbalness. And a sweet malt scent barely coming through. Very nice foundation of tropical fruit.

Heady Topper leads with that grapefruit, tropical quality on the palate. It gets a little diluted by a bit of earthiness, and a really nice bitter kiss of resin in the finish. Not quite balanced, there certainly is a sweet malt poking through, but the hops are so far ahead in the flavor department.

Very, very smooth for a DIPA. And very creamy, runs right over the tongue. Obviously dry on the finish, because of the very bitter hops on the back of the tongue. And it is also impressive how long the flavors stick around on the cheeks.

What needs to be said? This is obviously a world class beer. Is it worth the hyperbole that is said in the same breath as the name of this hallowed DIPA offering? Maybe. There are other DIPA's that manage to squeeze more clean citrus qualities onto the palate. Thanks for the opportunity to try this one again Hawkeyenation! Good luck on your hunt for this one, and enjoy!

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Photo of Franchise
4.12/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This offering from The Alchemist is fantastic, the nose is super herbal and spicy aromatic from the hops. Sweet syrupy mouthfeel with a soft piney hop bite in the finish. Very balanced as stated on the can making this very enjoyable. One of the better IIPA's on the market.

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

Appearance- Only poured about an ounce as this one is supposed to be enjoyed from the can. Pours a hazy golden orange, decent sized white head for the pour and moderate lacing. Quite hazy but the can states that it is the intention.

Smell- Wow, as soon as I lifted the tab on the can the smell poured out. Pine and more pine, some grapefruit and orange in their as well. I actually get a bit of bitter orange in there also, very pleasant.

Taste- Very well balanced, not bitter at all for a DIPA. Some caramel and malty sweetness, good amount of orange in there. I get some lemon and citrus on the back end with a bit of pine. Awesome taste.

Mouthfeel- A bit thick for the style but it works well. A bit of a creamy texture. Not overly drying and leaves a slick feeling in the mouth.

Overall- Awesome DIPA and a great beer in general. Balance is awesome for such a hoppy beer and one with a higher ABV. Definitely recommend it.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.66 out of 5 based on 12,788 ratings.
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