Heady Topper | The Alchemist

BA SCORE
100
world-class
2,339 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:
2,339
Ratings:
13,177
Avg:
4.65
pDev:
7.1%
 
 
Wants:
9,171
Gots:
5,439
For Trade:
69
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,339 | Ratings: 13,177
Photo of ljc973
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was for sure the best IPA I have ever had. Better than Pliny from the first sip to the last. Clean smell and taste, perfect balance. Carbonation was spot on. If you can get this, get it.

 191 characters

Photo of mavbrew
4.33/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at the Alchemist.

A: Very hazy, light caramel in color with a frothy off white head that very slowly dissipated leaving nice lacing.

S: The smell is mainly a piney hop scent with some citrus breaking through as well.

T: The taste is just like the smell, very piney hoppy flavor with the bitters sticking around through the finish and there is some citrus coming through towards the middle. This is followed by a slight malty flavor that then finishes with the bitters.

M: Medium in body with average carbonation. The feel is bitter throughout.

D: Made it a point to go to the Alchemist just for this beer, it was well worth the trip. A very solid, top tier east coast IIPA that was well balanced and the 8% ABV is hardly noticeable.

 749 characters

Photo of BrownNut
3.86/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Straight from can as recommended, 10 min out of the fridge.

A - ?

S - Smells alternately nice and piney and something sort of chemical-y sweet, partly like sunscreen. Not bad but unusual.

T - That sunscreeny/piney element carries through on the palate. It seems a more green and planty overall now, with the sunscreen aspect leaning more toward something buttery sweet that you'd find in baked goods. It's a very pleasant and smooth taste overall. It's definitely an accomplishment in fresh tasting flavor. It pops. I'm glad the bitterness isn't stunt-grade. It's just enough to give it substantial bite to this fairly lupulin-tolerant palate of mine without becoming that distracting kind of bitter that must be partially tolerated while being partially enjoyed. This bitterness was all enjoy and a pleasant complement to the flavors.

M - Nothing special. Just sort of normal beery, a bit sharp. Leaves some mild hop abrasion on the tongue afterwards for a good while.

O - I knew the hype on this one but have trained myself to go into these things now just expecting a very good beer instead of ecstasy and in that respect I was not disappointed. It's a very good beer. I'll try the next one out of a pint glass and adjust/refine this review. A tornado was coming when I drank this and I figured I'd better go ahead and try the top rated beer in the world before I maybe died (didn't). So next time will be calmer.

 1,421 characters

Photo of foureyedgeek
4.77/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Paid almost $13 for a single can of this beer. Worth it? We shall see.

Finally a beer that demands you drink it from the can! I cheated and poured a little in a glass to get a better look. Hazy, funky with a nice head and good lacing.

Smell is hoparific. Pine citrus hops oh my!

Taste is exceptional. This is one delicious beer. Bitter without being bracing, balanced without being tame. Absolutely great.

Mouthfeel is on the light side of creamy with enough prickly carbonation and dryness to bring you hack for me.

Overall, I'd say 13 bucks is highway robbery, but this beer almost makes extortion worthwhile. I'll justify by saying this is a limited tough to find release that easily trounces a bomber of other DIPAs at the same price. I won't pay that again, I'll trade instead. But I love canned beer and I had to try this one. It lives up to the hype.

 862 characters

Photo of lnashsig
4.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beenitty is a total badass and a quality human being. I received this surprise package of 2 very fresh Heady Topper cans in the mail this morning, and could not wait for them to get cold to drink them. This is super fresh- about 11 days old total. What an amazing cool thing for him to do- Beenitty I will get you back man!

Poured from can into my DFH snifter. Nice fluffy head that recedes very slowly. Dank piney and sweet citrus hops announce themselves when the can pops. Smell on further inspection: resinous, piney hops, and there is a bready sweetness to it too. Taste- wow. heaven. the hop oils hit the back of my throat with a burst of bitterness, but it is followed by a tropical sweet flavor that still sits on my lips. Waves of piney and floral hoppiness all over my mouth. If I were to compare this to something, it might be Surly Abrasive. Just a huge hoppy celebration in a can. Super fresh, it probably isnt as balanced as others say it is, the hops are just so pronounced, they are definitely the focus of this beer.

Overall, this is up there with the best of them. I won't call it my all time best IIPA, but it is close. And so kickass that its in a can....I am going to try to do a trade for a full box of this soon.

 1,238 characters

Photo of Vogie
4.21/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Drank this beer straight from the can. Aromas of grapefruit, tropical fruit, pomegranate, mango, kiwi, oranges, pine. Taste is wave after wave of hops. Tropical fruits upfront followed by a piney resinous bitterness on the back. Medium body, carbonation is moderate, extremely refreshing at 8.0% abv.

I can see why hopheads flock to this beer. Even long after I finished my can the hop flavors were still lingering on my tongue. Its impossible to appreciate the complexity of this beer if you don't like hops. I am not a hophead myself but this brew deserves its world-class ranking.

 593 characters

Photo of Sideswipe
4.67/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally, the legendary Heady Topper arrives in California. Sent to me courtesy of rowingbrewer. Huge thanks Mark!

Bomber poured into my Alpine pint glass (A receptacle worthy of this hoppy rarity). A hard pour produces a finger and a half of fluffy white head which recedes gradually. Decent lacing. The beer is a hazy orange, amber color.

Smell is of pure hoppy goodness. Citrus peel and pine. Heavy on the pine.

Taste follows the nose. Grapefruit rind and piney bitterness threaten to erode the enamel from my teeth. Mid pallet the beer balances almost perfectly with a malty sweetness, before plunging into a chasm of piney, hoppy bitterness. Finish is dry and leaves me craving more.

Feel is full, a bit viscous, and perfectly carbonated.

Drinkability is exceedingly high, given the well hidden ABV and the incredible taste of this beer.

I found his brew to be eerily reminiscent of, dare I say it?, Alpine's Exponential Hoppiness, which I dearly love. For me, this beer totally lived up to the hype. Glad I had he opportunity and hope I'll be able to enjoy this again. Very highly recommended!

 1,110 characters

Photo of mschantz
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque lemon yellow color with a huge fluffy bright white head. Lemon, celery and cucumber with a bit of pine on the nose. Taste is bright and lemony up front with a juniper hop bitterness on the back.

 212 characters

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

Perfectly balanced IPA. Great Hoppy flavor, not overly bitter and very drinkable. The smell hits you when opening the can. The fruity/floral flavor hits your palate instantly and lasts. They recommend that you drink it out of the can, but I tried it both from can and glass and found no difference.

 298 characters

Photo of kw_pip
4.56/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from can into glass. Golden honey color with minimal head and medium bubbles. Smells of bitter citrus but with something a little off. Mouth feel is slightly syrupy. Tastes like a hoppy fresh cranberry and a little malty.

 228 characters

Photo of WankelEngine
4.69/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 16oz can into a snifter

A: Pours a hazy orange color with a generous white head that bubbles and craters away, leaving thin curtains of lace.

S: This beer smells amazing. All the best hoppy fruit flavors all at once. Citrus, pineapple, mango, apricots. A little bit of pine. I wish I could just smell this all day.

T: Waves of hoppy goodness. Similar hop profile as the aroma: chocked full of tropical fruits and citrus. The pine flavor is a little stronger and now there are some herbal notes; grass cuttings. The finish lingers with herbals hops and an ever-so-mild touch of alcohol for a long time.

M: Smooth, medium bodied and with a little effervescent carbonation. Sort of oily, really coats your mouth.

O: Good. Damn good. What all other IPA's should aspire to. Better than PtE? I'd say so.

 816 characters

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

L - nice can, yellowish orange body, opaque, two finger head fades slowly

S - grapefruit, a sort of dry woody smell, malt, pine, floral

T - orange juice, medium sweetness, a little pine, hint of biscuit, clean tasting (no "weird" vegetal flavors, no onion, not very dank), perfectly balanced, definitely dominated by PNW rather than NZ hops, fairly bitter finish

F - medium to high carbonation, medium thickness, slight heat on the finish

O - This is an updated review after several years. Much of what once made this beer unique has become common. I don't think I could pick this out of a lineup of Grimm DIPAs, for example. If anything, HT would be the most indistinct, which makes sense -- it helped to define a style, and now sits smack dab in the middle of that style.

 780 characters

Photo of CharlatanSin
4.89/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Review from notes accumulated while going through a case of HT over 4 weeks. First can was 4 days old, last can was right around a month. Mostly poured into tulips, but had a few straight from the can, too.

A: There's no two ways about it, guys -- the floaties in this beer are ugly. I don't care much about them, and I guess it gives the beer a rustic characteristic, but I've got to ding HT on the pure appearance score. Perfectly attractive beer otherwise. Nice golden amber with a big, puffy off-white head and lots of lacing.

S: The aroma of fresh HT is just wonderful. A complex and unique hop blend. Big pine, tropical fruit, citrus. A bit of caramel malt provides sweet balance. I'm almost having trouble describing it because it's basically perfect (to my own taste). A month in, the aroma is a bit less intense, but no less complicated or outstanding. I'd rank it a 5 after 4 days and a 5 after a month.

T/M: Incredibly juicy. More fruit-like and less pine compared to the nose. Tropical fruit is dominant -- pineapple, mango, what have you. Some of the more traditional citrus -- grapefruit mainly. Also getting a distinct apricot flavor, which somebody once told me was from the proprietary yeast but I'm not sure. Decent amount of caramel and biscuity malt to balance. Like the aroma, it gets a little less intense over a month but no less wonderful. Mouthfeel is slick. Carbonation's a little on the high side. Decently bitter but insanely drinkable. Not a hint of the ABV.

O: This is not going to be my highest rated beer, because of the appearance score, but I think it's my favorite. It's worth every bit of the hype. Make some good friends in Vermont, kids.

 1,680 characters

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

Lives up to the hype. Best Ipa ive ever had. Made a pilmrigage to vermont to track this down and came home with two cases. may need to go to Vermont every year. This beer is so juicy and so floral. The hop profile and flavors change throughout the drink and throughout the life of the beer. Every can pleased in a different way.

 335 characters

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

Updated 8/9/16; consumed from a can picked up same day from new brewery.

A: Pours a hazy straw gold with a puffy yellow-tinged white head of tiny bubbles. Thick lacing sticks to the edge of the glass.

S: Heavily citric with major notes of grapefruit and orange. Tons of green hop character, reminiscent of a fresh marijuana bud dankness. Bits of peppermint, earth, and honey underlie.

T: Straight up red grapefruit juice up front followed by a mid-mouth caramel flavor from the malt base. Resinous, earthy freshly cut flowers/grass on the finish along with a lingering honey sweetness.

M: Extremely creamy and softly carbonated, this one just rolls down off the tongue way too easily. Just the slightest touch of alcohol reminds you that you're drinking an 8% beer, but the fullness and medium- bitterness makes Heady ultra drinkable.

O: Fresh is best. I've had Heady a few times before, but drinking a can on the day I picked it up from the brewery makes a big difference. The hops take center stage; the fresh hop aromas really pop out of the glass, and the grapefruit and earth flavors is potent on the mouth. It's a bit sweeter and greener than I like my IPAs, but the unique hop profile, complemented by a thick and creamy mouthfeel, make this a fantastic beer, one very worthy of the hype it continues to draw.

 1,321 characters

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

Simply the best beer made. This beer astounds the senses. The aroma teases one with the layers of flavors to follow. Those flavors swarm the tongue with complexity-floral, tropical, juicy hops carried upon a perfectly balanced malt kiss of love.

 248 characters

Photo of comfortablynumb1
4.64/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

Big thanks to Joey for the hookup on this one...

Can states "Drink from the can!" Poured half of the can into a Bruery snifter, and drank the other half from the can...

A - Pours a golden orange with a one finger head that dissipates at a fairly decent pace. There is a little slippery lace to be had...

S - Alot going on here. Grapefruit, apricot, peach, orange, a little pine, and some malt sweetness. Scent is very inticing...

T - Sweet malts up front followed by a good blast of citrus. Grapefruit, orange, and apricot. Ends with some pine, lingering grapefruit, and a little caramel. Very well balanced...

M - Very smooth. On the lighter side of being medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation, and a dry finish...

O - Smooth and tasty. Could easily put a few of these back in a sitting. Definitely something i'm going to be looking to try again...

Cheers...

 876 characters

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

Pours a hazy honey orange with 2 finger white head. Smells floral, orange/grapefruit. Tastes of sweet orange blossom,grapefruit, sweet malt and pine. Silky medium/full body with medium carbonation. Leaves a great hop resin in mouth and lips and back of throat. Incredible beer.

 282 characters

Photo of anteatr23
4.48/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours golden orange and hazy and chalky. Smells like fruit with some hops and sweet malts. Taste is like a breath of fresh air. Bitter and crisp, with citrus and dry bready finish. Fantastic malt flavor, heavily hopped but it retains balanced. Great flavor and drinkability from start to finish. This beer can be on the inconsistent side. My first review of this beer was a 4.78/5... but after having had multiple since then, I figured it needed a new review. Still delicious, but it can be the victim of inconsistency.

 527 characters

Photo of Justin8mypants
4.63/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Heady is so aromatic. Lots of citrus including Juicy grapefruit, tangerine and dank hops. Very slight hints of hay as it warms.

Taste follows the nose. Heavy grapefruit and hops. Lasting bitterness. This is a hop Bomb. Not a delicately balanced IPA like Julius. I pick up on some lemon zest and orange zest.

Mouthfeel is perfect. Carbonation is perfect.

Overall, awesome beer. Lives up to its hype. Not a delicate ipa. It's supposed to be a hop Bomb and it is just that. Really nice tropical favors and intense hop bitterness make this a beer any hop head would love.

 571 characters

Photo of OlieIPA
4.24/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Three week old can and poured into a long stemmed tulip glass.

L: A little muddy/dirty with light orange hue; Doesn't have the appearance a super clean beer, but displays a nice frothy white head.

S: Perhaps this beer's best attribute! Tons of hops, as expected. Mango and tropical fruits up front that are balanced well with a underlying pine/grass hop characteristic. As the beer sits, that foresty characteristic starts to stand out a bit more.

T: My initial impression is well balanced, even with hop bitterness punch at the backend. I would say the malt body is light, but hop flavor is definitely the main focal point...as it should be with a beer like this. As far as the flavor, the backbone is tons of grass and pine. A little funny, since the smell painted a slightly different picture.

F: Another outstanding characteristic. I like how light this beer drinks, even though it's 8% ABV. Medium to light body with the carbonation to match it. Finish is dry, but not to the point of were it deters from the overall experience.

O: Tough, I'm going into this beer expecting my mind blown due to it's high rating. I've been around long enough to know that beers are usually overhyped to some extent, but again that shouldn't take away from the beers overall quality. A couple of friends, who have a much better palate than mine, have described this beer's status in somewhat the same manner. If I were to compare this to another behemoth, like PTE, it definitely stands up. Also, I wouldn't necessarily classify this as an east coast DIPA, as others have described. World Class? Perhaps. In my opinion, one of the better DIPA I've had the pleasure of trying. Cheers!

 1,676 characters

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

Description: Golden slightly cloudy color with a white head and lacing. Aroma was a strong floral smell with some citrus, especially orange. Taste was similar with floral and citrus up front. There is some nice hoppy bitterness on the finish but it's not a hopbomb and is very well balanced. I thought I detected some earthy/umami flavors as well but they were pretty masked. The alcohol is present but like the bitterness is not overwhelming. Carbonation is light to medium.

Suggested food pairing: Bacon wrapped bacon

If you like this beer then you should also try: White Rajah

Ideal time to drink this beer: You're on a business trip to Vermont and feel that you should do something "Vermonty" while there. Maple syrup is a popular option, but that seems so lame and cliched. You ask your hotel concierge for a recommendation and he directs you to a local pub where Heady Topper, one of the world's most highly-regarded beers, is available. You pop in for a draft and enjoy the beer, but more importantly you've now earned the right to casually drop a line at dinner parties about how you had a fancy-shmancy beer while in Vermont and can wax about all of its finer points. Chances are the listeners won't have had Heady, so you can say pretty much whatever you want.

Overall: 4.25 (This beer is good and I would likely drink it again) This a good beer, but only a "good" one. If I didn't know Heady's reputation I would never guess that it was considered a top-10 beer in the world. I really wanted this to be a fantastic beer that would blow me away, but I just couldn't get there. I'd put Sip Of Sunshine ahead of this by a wide margin. Maybe the can I had was a little off or less than fresh; I'd like to try some more just to see if that was the case. But for now, I can only judge the one I had and it didn't live up to the hype.

 1,857 characters

Photo of shleepy
3.89/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from can into snifter glasses.

A: Golden color. Very hazy, with plenty of sediment floating around.

S: Some floral hops, but mainly tons of citrus.

T: Tastes pretty dry (in a good way). The bitterness is not extreme, though some stays in the aftertaste. The main flavors are very pleasant - floral and citrusy (though less citrusy than I expected from the smell). Any bready malt flavor is masked or balanced quite well by the hops.

M: Medium body and carbonation. Certainly not as heavy as would be expected based on the ABV.

O: Quite a nice IPA. I wasn't expecting much, given that it's an East Coast brewery (no offense, but the hoppy beers are not necessarily as world-renowned as some of the West Coast ones), but I was pleasantly surprised.

 758 characters

Photo of shamrock071521
4.84/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

16oz can; half poured into a Samuel Smith pint glass, half drank from the can

Thanks to EricDu and SammyJaxxxx for sending this beer my way

A: Poured half the can into a pint glass. A very hazy, dark orange/burning yellow color. About a finger and a half of somewhat rocky white head persisted for a couple minutes before dissipating into a thin layer.

S: [from the can]: VERY pungent citrus and piney hop aromas.
[from the glass] : I can distinguish the different citrusy hop flavors more from the glass, but the piney, resiny aromas aren’t as pungent or ‘in your face’ compared to the can, and the piney aroma is kind of lost. Mango is the first flavor that jumps out to me, but it’s really a medley of citrusy flavors.

T: [from the can]: very resiny, piney hop flavors throughout, aftertaste is a refreshing bitterness.
[from the glass]: again, the resin, pine flavors are more muted compared to from the can, with the citrus flavors dominating. The biggest similarity between the glass and can is the aftertaste, which in both cases is a very big and enjoyable hop bitterness.

M: Medium carbonation, the resiny flavors stick to your mouth, but IMO in a very good way.. It’s more bitter and stays carbonated more in the can, while from the glass it flattens a bit more as you drink it. The alcohol is unnoticed,

O: An incredible beer. I can see why this is #1 on BA. As someone who prefers and mostly drinks IPAs, this is as close to the ‘perfect hop flavor' as I've ever had. Well played Vermont.

 1,523 characters

Photo of danh53
4.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque straw color. Looks like grapefruit/pineapple juice. Big aroma of citrus and tropical fruit with slight addition of fresh cut grass. Taste is grapefruit, pineapple, mango, grape, and dank hops. Its not too sweet or too bitter. The bite from the hops is just enough to balance the juicy fruit flavor. Mouth feel is medium and very creamy with a dry finish. Definitely lived up to the hype. A very well crafted beer.

 429 characters

Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.65 out of 5 based on 13,177 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe