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Heady Topper | The Alchemist

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
100
world-class
2,231 Reviews
Heady TopperHeady Topper
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
The Alchemist
Vermont, United States | website

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:
2,231
Ratings:
12,557
Avg:
4.66
pDev:
16.52%
 
 
Wants:
9,035
Gots:
4,856
For Trade:
63
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,231 | Ratings: 12,557
Photo of Back_in_the_Saddle
4.79/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

With respect to John Kimmich, most of the time, I have drank this out of the can. However, for reviewing purposes, one must understand that as beer geeks we need to see this as it is.
With that in mind, I have poured this into a snifter and as I gaze upon it, I realize why John always wants his drinkers to drink this out of the can. Oh boy, the floaties, oh snap, yes, I get it, John, most of the world gets it who have had it poured. A solid burnt golden color forming a one finger white foamy head that dissipates fairly quickly and leaves some lacing to be desired.
The smell wraps up bitter juicy dry pine slapping around a big bouquet of floral, grassy and citrus hops bleeding into a wonderful nose zapping aroma. With that in mind, I go to taste this and the flavor is spot on in cueing up the previously mentioned flavors to lead the charge into the feel of this beer. Do you think this is good? I know this is good as the slick oily coat just bends my tongue over backwards arranging an unprecedented sharpness succumbing my tongue down.
My last question and I will start with this: I've only lived in Vermont for less than a year, do you think I like this beer? Just check my numbers.

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Photo of eclipse54
4.59/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A massive "thank you" to optimator13 for this 16 ounce can from my "Want" list. Archaic date code reads "1 07 20A2 B B" though I'm at a loss for how to accurately convert that to a canning date. Ignoring the "drink from the can" instructions near the lip, this one is poured into a Deschutes tulip glass...

The copper/orange/brown body pours much darker than anticipated, and is perhaps as dark as a DIPA can get before it begs consideration as something else. White unfiltered particles give the appearance of a colloid, and when observing closely, the body does appear to have a gel-like nature because of these particles. About an inch of off-white, foamy, bubbly head develops but subsides quickly to a ring and patches of bubbles. Legs of wet, gooey lacing cling to the glass.

The aroma is phenomenal, consisting of grapefruit, mango, orange, lemon, and a host of other citrus fruits all masterfully balanced with a piney, earthen, resinous hop character. Some grasses, hay, and a touch of malt round out the nose beautifully. It tastes of spicy, earthen hops in the front, followed by pine, grass, loads of citrus (grapefruit, orange, mango, lemon) in the middle. The rear brings the bitterness of the hops and a glimpse of caramel from the malt. Very well done here.

Mouthfeel is crisp through and through, the carbonation dancing off the tongue, and finishes a touch dry, leaving one wanting for another sip. Overall, a phenomenal DIPA that is truly deserving of its “world-class” status. Do not hesitate to seek out this one if given the opportunity.

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Photo of BattleRoadBrewer
4.31/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served cold from a 16 oz can into a 7 oz taster. This is contrary to instruction from the brewer to drink straight from the can.

Pours with light-medium body and a modest white head. The room fills with fresh hop aroma as you pour!

Nose is hops. Perfect hop perfection. Usually the nose of an IPA is citrusy, piney, grapefruity, catty, grassy--describable. Heady Topper smells in the glass (or straight from the can) exactly like when you take cones and rub them between your palms! I've never smelled another beer like it; no other beer effuses that overwhelming essence of fresh cones ready to brew with.

Color is hazy straw, almost green, suggestive of a white ale or hefe.

Taste is hop forward but not overwhelming. I've sampled and brewed IPAs with extraordinary flavoring hops, this one does not deaden the tongue, instead it excites the tongue! Neutral to dry finish, no sweetness to mar the hop-forward nectar.

Edit: Myoriginal review sadly sufferd from grade inflation. Tasted side by side with Pliny, the Toppa is missing the clarity and bitterness that make a more perfect beer.

Mouthfeel is light-moderate, smooth, easy-drinking, with no evidence of alcohol warmth or fusels. Bitterness is light.

As it warms in the glass, it perfectly maintains its balance. It is a pleasure to drink from start to finish, goes down very easy and smoothly. Wish it had a hint more bitterness, but flavor and aroma are dead on.

Overall an amazingly drinkable beer, one that I enjoy again and again. Literally, because you can actually buy this--any time you want as much as you want (well I saw somebody buy 10 cases the other day--I suppose you could want more...)

I must taste this head to head with PtE--have case will travel, need to hook up with BAs when The Elder is on tap.

12/22/11 edit:
Quoting from the can: "Drink this beer immediately, we are always making more."

This is a no b.s. warning to the wise. If you're drinking old Topper, you're not really drinking Topper. It changes character so much in just a few weeks, loses a lot of the raw-hop-cones-shoved-up-your-nostrils sensation.

Vinnie counsels regarding Pliny the Elder: "Drink fresh, do not age! Pliny the Elder is a historical figure, don't make the beer inside this bottle one ... Age your cheese, not your Pliny ... Pliny is for savoring, not for saving! ... Respect hops, consume fresh!"

This admonishment for Pliny the Elder applies likewise to Heady Topper.

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Photo of bobbypaulson
4.42/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

had this beer many times both from the can and poured out into a glass. I really hope I can get the chance to try this brew on tap (if they do that). I have to be honest, I love the smell you get when you pour the beer into a glass and the color is spectacular, however I like the taste better straight out of the can. I wish their was a happy medium that could be found. So poured out of the can it is a golden copper color with a nice cream colored head. The smell is floral hops and very inviting. The taste is very crisp and hoppy but not overpowering. I love how balanced this IPA is.

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Photo of timc100
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A: Perfect looking unfiltered IPA. Completely opaque due to dense haze - the color is a beautiful blend of sunshine and orange juice. A nice, slightly off white head coats the top of the beer and leaves great sticky lacing.

S: Holy shit - has so many layers of flavors. I have never experienced an aroma fly out of the bottle/can before like this - smacks you in the face. Incredibly clean and fresh. Sweet pink grapefruit, bitter grapefruit rind, outrageously fresh pine and a touch of resin. Some orange juice and mango that blends with the sticky astringency. So much going on, I am not able to do it justice through my description. Just overwhelmingly fresh and clean, balanced with bitterness and astringency.

T: Huge, full, intense, completely fulfilling. I actually find drinking from the can is notably better, just too bad you can't look at it that way. A blast of fresh pine, sweet pink grapefruit and bitter grapefruit, much more astringency than on the nose and decently bitter. Incredibly balanced and outrageously flavorful.

P: Hard to say this, but almost the best part. Smooth and creamy - fullest bodied IPA I've come across, and one of the smoothest beers in general.

O: I, as all who haven't had this beer before, have had this on the top of my wants. Almost always this type of hype gets in the way of truly enjoying the beer as an unreachable mark has been set. Well, this destroyed any mark I could have imagined for myself. Truly an amazing beverage and one of the best tasting anythings I've ever had.

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Photo of BradC
4.32/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Don't know how it looks, following the directions and drinking from the can! Smells of hops, pine, grapefruit, kind of muted coming from the can. Taste is as advertised, wave after wave of hops, juicy citrus and some resinous pine but just enough malt to keep it balanced. Moderately carbed and medium body keeps this pretty easy drinking. Overall, good IPA, still not sure it deserves all the hype, a lot of others out there that are just as good.

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

Thanks to jbaker67 for the can! Poured at fridge temp into a Tallgrass Brewing cervoise glass.

Appearance: Pours a tight and creamy looking two finger head. Cloudy, peach colored body. Looks like pulpy peach juice. Yum!

Smell: Hell of a nose. Hop resins, a bit of onion, bright citrus fruit, pine, sweet tropical fruits, and a sweet malt maltyness.

Taste: Tastes like caramelized hop candy. Very resinous hops. Follows the nose; citrusy and fruity. Some piney bitterness. Sweet malt backbone and a lingering breadyness. Despite the hop overload this is very balanced and never too much.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy, low carbonation mouthfeel. Sticks to your teeth, bro. Very little heat.

Overall: Definitely a must try for any hop head and a wonderful example of what a DIPA can be. Outstanding nose and spot on mouthfeel. Overall, a hoppy, balanced tribute to American hops.

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

L - Kate Upton in a glass. In other words, a 20-something babe who's voluptuous and will never look this good again. Yet, here's the difference: Heady Topper will always look this good because Alchemist has gone to great lengths to perfect this beer. Super turbid, excellent head retention and brilliant variations of orange when held to the light. Only poured to extract a true interpretation of the look. This isn't my first dance with Heady. Drink from the can!
S - I want to apologize to my daughter's mother in advance, because I've never smelled anything like this. I used to smell her when I was at work; I could smell her on the pillow weeks after she was gone. This f*cking beer. Where do I even begin? People brag about opening something and smelling it clear across the room. I have gotten hints of that before, yet not on this level. You crack the can and it consumes your area. It doesn't exist in your space; you exist in the confines of it, which is far reaching. The absolute perfect blend of grapefruit and grass character. The best smelling beer of all-time, period.
T - Let's be real, if the nose doesn't hit the tongue equally, the beer isn't shit. This beer caresses the palate like young lovers exploring each other for the first time. The grapefruit character is the first thing that hits your tongue, along with faint hints of grainy cracker. Mid-palate I get the slightest dose of pineapple, with a gentle wisp of orange peel. The entire time it's so fucking balanced that Mary Lou Retton keeps texting me about her gold medals. Relax, girl. They aren't going anywhere! I could literally drink this for the rest of my life.
F - Tongue smacking bitterness, yet mastered. It's not a full on assault; actually, every time I reach for that OMG moment, there's a soft pillow of excellence that caresses my head to remind me how much effort was put into this beer.

There was a time when PtE and HT were compared to each other. Then the new wave IPAs started to appear. This isn't my first encounter with Heady, nor my last. I, for one, am a fan of the modern day interpretation of the IPA and it begins and ends with this one. I haven't had them all, but I've had enough to know what I like and don't like. This is a masterpiece. They will never have to release a 2.0 or modify the recipe slightly. It doesn't stand toe-to-toe; it stands above anything I've ever drank.

Can you hear that sound? It's the f*cking angels singing. Or maybe it's Lauryn Hill. Heady-la-la. That's the way Kimmich sound when he's doing his thing!

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Photo of CurtFromHershey
4.46/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

9 day old can poured into a snifter for inspection (inductions be damned!). Very hazy, between straw and copper in color. Fluffy head which recedes to a thin cap. Pretty.

Smell is out of this world. Freshly opened bag of hops. Tangerines, mangos, and lemon grass.

Taste follows the nose but emphasises the citrus and grassy notes instead of the tropical aromas. Sweetness gives way to a dry finish.

Mouthfeel is creamy yet dry. Too dry for my preference.

Overall a really nice beer but not one that would be worth the 16 hour round trip or trading expenses to me.

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Photo of AutumnBeerLove
4.68/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Poured into an Alchemist Willy glass (Sorry Alechemist, I won't have it from the can again). It pours a cloudy orange with a finger white head. I tried to hold back on the yeast with a gentle pour.

N: Very tropical with pineapple, orange, and citrus. There's a pleasant zest to it.

T: Citrus, caramel and hops. Wonderful, wonderful hops.

M: Carbonation, not too light and slightly sticky. Lingers for a bit, which is nice.

O: This is an all time favorite. The balance is amazing and you can't tell one bit that it is an 8% beer. A trip to VT is incomplete without going to the Alchemist.

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

Had this a few years back and did a 5 rating, back when you could just scroll an select a single rating. Got a 4-pack via trade. Gotta say, the 5 stands. This beer is soooo good. Immediately after finishing the last one, I was scheming on how I could get some more. The beer is very hazy in color, golden almost. Smells like a helicopter crashed in a gigantic field of hops and the blades spun around for 10 minutes. Taste is so unique: You do, as the can says, get wave after wave of hop flavor washing over your palate. Man, it is so delish. Feel is also fantastic. I can't wait to get me some more of this.

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Photo of Hyptochrons
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

God damn this stuff is good. pretty much lives up to the hype in my opinion, one of the best beers ive had. very easy drinking and refreshing, especially for a double. ridiculously dank smell and taste, love it!

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Photo of 01001111
4.42/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: A very light orange, almost yellow, and quite cloudy.

S: Heavy tropical fruits and flowers: mango, pineapple, lychee, and jasmine. There's very little hint of hop bitterness in the nose.

T: The fruits are not present in the flavor. Instead it's a wash of hop resin; bitter but not overpowering. The finish is sweet and boozy. The aftertaste is strikingly bitter.

M: Medium bodied with some astringency.

O: Good. Not the best tasting DIPA but perhaps the best smelling.

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Photo of HopHunter19
4.96/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - okay, so from the can I'd give this a 5, the can is cool as hell. Also if I was thinking about the dank, pure, no censorship nature of this beer I'd give it a 5 too. But for fairness sake, it is a murky yellow/gold color with a nice white head that sticks and leaves decent lacing. If any other beer looked like this id knock it for the look but this one it's just so fitting.
S - huuuuge juicy orange juice, papaya, mango, overly ripe fruits, grapefruit, dank ganja, the garlic/onion is in there in a good way. It smells like ripe fruit juice.
T - dankapotomous rex. Ganja and so juicy, orange, mango, papaya, pineapple, melon, overly ripe fruits, grapefruit. Then there's garlic onion that balances it out in a good way. So resinous...
S - medium bodied, so juicy, alcohol completely covered, aftertaste is bitter orange peel, mango, papaya
O - this beer has officially destroyed my ability to drink other ipas. It's beautiful, like a sunset on a southern California beach, only its from the exact opposite end of the country. Absolutely amazing stuff.

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

On tap @ The Alchemist..

Two half pints arrive at the table, hop aromas literally fill the air. Heady is so wonderfully pungent I might have been able to smell the waiter coming. Fat juicy hops fill my nose, no malt is detectable.

Hop dominance carries right into the taste. Heady is unique in that it comes off as juicy, citrusy, bitter, grassy, and earthy...all at once. Flavors bounce around with vigor, so incredibly vibrant. Think layers of differing hop profiles to explore, all presented perfectly. Mouthfeel is right on the mark as well; a silky "medium", well carbonated. Drinkability is off the charts for a beer with so much flavor. I finially found an IPA that I enjoy more than Pliny, my previous favorite.

Get to The Alchemist, try this beer, period.

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Photo of controlfate
4.9/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Received a 4-pack in a trade. Served chilled in the can, as per the manufactures instructions.

A: I drank it out of the can, so it's hard to assess the appearance.
S: The smell is outstanding, very fruity, citrusy, and piney.
T: The taste follows the aroma with notes of grapefruit, orange, pineapple, pine, and mango. The taste starts out citrusy sweet, with a piney bite that tapers into a smooth fruity finish.
M: A medium bodied mouthfeel that leaves the tongue salivating for more.
O: I have been searching for this beer for a while and it did not disappoint! I will have the next one in a glass to compare the taste. Heady Topper is a must try for any IPA and IIPA fans!

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Photo of tubbnik
4.74/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16oz can thanks to youbrewidrink.

3/4 of the can into a Duvel tulip. 1/4 from the can. I actually liked that there was a significant change in the beer's profile glass vs can. Both treatments were very nice.

I can't believe it's been over two years since the last time I got to drink Heady. This can was a long time coming. Pours a brilliant golden orange with a mad amount of hop floaties (the only part of the beer I wasn't thrilled with). Aroma is out of this world. My favorite kind of red grapefruit juice and tropical fruit candy. Flavor matches the nose in a pretty straight forward but completely complementing way. It's a whole mouth filling fruit forward hop flavor that I really dug. The slightly viscosity of the liquid was very nice in the mouth and carried the flavor well. Overall I'm just thrilled. Good show.

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Photo of Roland45s
4.41/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

for not being an IPA guy this definitely hit the top of my list of favorite IPAs. it's lived up to the hype in my mind. I haven't tried the infamous Maine Lunch. But it's solid....

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Photo of RancidAggro
5/5  rDev +7.3%

World class. Finding one can be a bit tricky though. My friend got me one at a phish concert but I was left with a feeling of disappointment. I think they had allowed it to get warm which affected the taste. I then took a trip to Vermont and headed straight for Waterbury. I thought it would be easy to find once I got to the home town but I may as well have been in California. I struck gold at the best Western hotel I stayed at because their cafe had some in stock. I did end up finding some to bring home after following multiple leeds taking me to multiple towns.

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Photo of stonermouse
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Was lucky to have a weekend trip up to Stowe, VT planned when Heady was tapped. Settled in for two.

A- Heady looks gorgeous. Cloudy, and a crazy greenish/hazy/yellow color that was invented with the first tapping of this beer. Beautiful head that holds up well.

S- Strong... the hops bite the nose right off the bat.

T- Sweet lord, this is delicious. Hops and more hops, and quite citrusy as well. Starts strong, and finishes clean without too much lingering bitterness.

M- Chewable, if that makes sense. Heady is impossibly dense for how refreshing it is. Unexplainable.

D- Once the shock of the first sip or two wears off, these babies go down nicely. I wish I had opted for a third.

Revisit 10/26/14
My initial review (from the tap at the restaurant) was all 5s. Unfortunately, after drinking the canned Heady many times over the past few years, I can say this beer has finally fallen off a bit. The most recent batch I sampled had a muted profile, with a heavier booziness and milder citrus flavor. The old wallop of flavor has become more of a jab. It's still delicious, it just isn't quite the same beer, and certainly isn't "perfect" any longer. Perhaps I will get a particularly good batch at some point in the future, but my days of running around trying to find Heady are over, if the quality indeed does vary batch to batch.

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

Poured a sample in a glass and drank the rest out of the can

A: Pours a hazy orange

S: Tropical fruit, fresh cut grass, lemon zest, pineapple, lots of herbal hops, musty hop smell

T: Pineapple, herbal hops, grass, grapefruit, some light pine

M: Light, crisp, lingering tropical fruit hop bitterness

O: Easily one of the best DIPAs out there. The smell of this beer alone is unbelievable. I can't wait until The Alchemist can get Topper in to the Boston market regularly. Cheers!

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Photo of hoptualBrew
4.76/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Big thanks to gtreid for sendin me home after our tasting with a can of this! Pours a clear honey orange color first followed by all the yeast towards the bottom of the can. The floaties are everywhere! Looks like a gelatin almost. Smells like a tropical Christmas tree - big pine sap, pineapple, mango, and sweet malts. Hop bomb from the get go, but not so bitter, just really delicious citrus hop characters. Not incredibly complex, but just brewed to near perfection. This has to be my favorite DIPA next to Pliny the Elder. If you haven't had it, you've got to get some.

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Photo of RJB66
4.96/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Every mouthful was different...I am really going to need to try another just to analyze the different hop tastes. Probably the most complex beer I've ever had. It was a truly amazing experience.

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

Thanks to the DreamWeaver. Word on the street is this can is approximately 3 weeks old. Not ideal, but I'm not complaining (too much.)

A: I'm drinking it from the can (like they suggest.) However, the can is pretty badass. I'll give it a 5.

S: Nice wave of citrus smelling hops are released upon popping the can. Bringing the can up to my nose gives me a really, really strong dose of ruby red grapefruit. It smells extremely sweet and citrusy. I also pick up a bit of alcohol and pine. Smell is pretty good, but not perfect. For comparison, Zombie Dust, in my opinion, has pretty much the perfect IPA smell.

T: Way more going on the nose will lead you to believe. Starts of slightly sweet. Melon and guava are fruits most present in the beginning. I get that ruby red grapefruit that was in the nose somewhere in the middle. It gets slightly piney and bitter toward the end with a distinct caramel taste. Slightly bitter and alcoholic on the way out.

M: The mouthfeel is pretty much perfect. Minimum carbonation. Unbelievably smooth. The body just seemlessly allows the waves of hop flavors to hit the palate unhindered. Alcohol isn't very noticeable in the taste, but it's very, very sneaky.

O: I've been blessed with amazing IPAs over the last couple of weeks (DirtWolf, Abrasive, this..) Is this the best beer in the world? Probably not. Is it the best DIPA? In my opinion...probably. What's great about this is that it's not a hop or IBU assault...the hop flavors are a bit more subdued than you'd believe, but that's a actually a good thing because it allows you to experience such a huge range of hop flavors. The malt base is really sweet, too. Normally, I like drier IPAs, but I don't seem to mind the sweetness here.

This is one of the few times that a beer has met the hype.

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Photo of Finatic
4.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a chilled can into my iced Cigar City pint glass. I know the rage is to drink this delight from the can, but I will offer another perspective.

A: Pours an amber like hue with a lovely white, frothy head that recedes awfully slow. Lacing just sticks to the glass and stays there for a long time.

S: Smells of a tropical fruit delight, pineapples, mangoes and grapefruit over whelm the nose. I also detect some sweet malt in there as well.

T: Talk about a sweet hop wallop, this beer is a hop lover's dream. The sweet malt backbone balances the hops brilliantly.

M: Very smooth and easy drinking. Has a nice oily, resinous aftertaste to it.

O: Just sprung to the top for me. What a delight to try this beer and I would have this in the fridge at all times if I could.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 2,231 ratings.
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