Heady Topper | The Alchemist

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2,273 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: 2,273 | Ratings: 12,782
Photo of Humulus85
4.52/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to tjkinate for this one. The infamous Heady Topper! Now I can say I've had the three best DIPAs out there (Heady, Abrasive, and PtE). Served from the can with a bit poured into my Darkness snifter for appearance.

Pours a vibrant, sunburst orange. Hazy, with a very dense, white head. Killer retention and some fine lacing.

Smell is of juicy hops. A lot of citrus and tropical fruits, with some pine and grass thrown in. Not much in the way of malt, and a touch of alcohol.

I love me these juicy hop bombs! Wonderful hop profile. Tropical fruits upfront meet with some dryer piney/grassy notes in the middle. Some bready malt keeps everything in check. A bit of alcohol rounds it all out. Super clean throughout.

This is where this brew really stands out. So smooth and surprisingly light on the pallet. Perfect carbonation. By no means overly bitter or sweet or dry; just perfect. Just as smooth as Pliny.

Overall this is truly a world-class DIPA, and a damn fine beer. I now know why this beer is alway mentioned in the top five for the style. It isn't as aggressive as Abrasive, but more so than Pliny. A must have to any hop-head. Cheers!

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Photo of cl3
4.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

One of the most beautiful looking beers I've ever poured. Cloudy golden orange color with a bright white head. Nose is very fruity with loads of hop. Flavor was not what I expected. I didn't expect as much pine flavor as I got, especially given the citrusy nose. I got more fruit flavor as it wamed though. Feel was spot on. Great carbonation almost champagne like. Good beer but not sure it lived up to the hype.

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Photo of Trevor11
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Heady Topper is a world class IPA. Although the turbidity isn't as strong as Hill Farmstead or Tree House, Heady is somewhat translucent yellow. I smell some oranges, grapefruit, and lemons. The taste has some medium bitterness up front with a slightly tart, lemony note following. The taste hits early on and falls off rather quickly and cleanly for great drinkability for 8% abv. Overall, fabulous beer. Nevertheless, I think Julius surpasses Heady due to its creaminess.

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Photo of 05Harley
4.64/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Can # 10720A2BB

Graciously given to me by Rochefort10nh.

price - $12.00/4-pack (16 oz cans)

I've been dying to try this one and I finally did over the weekend. We actually went up to the Alchemist pub this past summer but it wasn't on tap at the time which was a bummer.

I didn't drink it from the can as is suggested but with my Duvel glass which is probably my favorite glass in the cabinet and well suited for big IPA's.

The appearance is a hazey shade of orange with a thin off-white head that fades within a minute to a creamy ring. Dots of lacing decorate the glass.

The aroma is absolutely amazing with tropical fruit and pine resin balanced out to perfection. The nose stays strong throughout the experience which is delightful.

The flavor is certainly based on a pine backbone with sweet tropical fruit flavors sprinkled over the top. As it warms the fruitiness becomes more prominate which adds some much needed balance.

Mouthfeel is spot on for the style. A medium body followed by a blast of bitterness but finishing silky smooth. This is the recipe for drinkability and I could drink this all night long with a smile from ear to ear.

Overall this was well worth the wait and lives up to the hype. By far the best canned DIPA I've ever had.

**Edit 12/18/11**
Buying this regurarly and it's still kick-ass

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Photo of mikem0487
4.52/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My buddy went up to Vermont this past month and was lucky enough to pick up a 6pack for himself and gave me one!

A-Two finger head dissipated quickly back into the beer. Not to much lacing going on either. Unfiltered beer with a off amber brown color. Looks heady for a unfiltered double IPA!

S-Earthy grapefruit aroma dominates. Mild lemon/citrus notes with the caramel malts behind it all. Smells great!

T-Get hops throughout the whole palate. The hops arent too overwhelming however. Everything is cohesive until the end where the hops hit the back of the tongue. Leaves great after taste. Get all that earthy citrus hops found in the nose. Has a nice caramel malt profile to help subdue the hoppiness in this beer!

M-Has great mouthfeel. Love unfiltered beers. Slighty chewy. Good carbonation in this.

O-Great beer. Has everything you are looking for in a double IPA! Only thing that its lacking is in the appearance with the minute head retention. As long as the beer smells appetizing and taste good I am happy so nothing to worry about in this beer!

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Photo of Ready4aHeady
5/5  rDev +7.3%

The Benchmark!
Say what you will about hype, supply and demand, etc., it has nothing to do with that. If that's what you think then it is just not to your taste- it happens, own up to it!. This is one perfect beer for hop-heads like me. The look is classic- a cloudy light apricot color. Nose is all citrus, pine, and dank-weed. Flavors are similar with that funky dank flavor predominating- a unique flavor seldom repeated and hard to qualify- a creamy texture, very mild bitterness, just enough malt to balance (in that regard belongs in the same category as MBC, TG, HF, RR and Lawson's), and a long lingering finish.
Overall-- One of a kind, my only perfect score (although I haven't officially rated Abner (its a 5), nor tried King Sue- love PS).

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Photo of IPAGeorge
4.56/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel tulip from a can. (yes it says drink from can and I will with my next one and post it in this review also)

A. Wow. The most opaque IPA/APA I've ever seen. Pours a tangerine color with a 2 finger head. I gotta say that opacity really strikes some curiosity.

S. Smelling big citrus here. Grapefruit predominantly. Little bit of malt sweetness that kinda reminds me of marshmallow. The curiosity grows.

T. Wow this is good and complex. Citrus right away with sweetness and a little bitterness then bam, a decent bitterness takeover. Leaves a grassy/piney aftertaste. Makes me feel like I need more to refresh my palate. Which is OK cuz I'm enjoying it. Very complex flavors going on here. Maybe not totally balanced. But it takes you for a ride through the palate spectrum.

M. Prickly that chases the swallow. Light to medium body. Finishes dry.

O. An awesome beer. Especially if your in a bitter mood. Keeps you wanting more. Mysterious to look at. Aromas a very nice. Glad I tried. Soon I will try out of the can and re-review.

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

In all honesty this beer is #1 for a reason, hype alone it's still the most complex beer that i've ever had. In one sip it goes from citrus bomb to dank, back to citrus and then finishes dry with pine like hops. So many flavors and the hop aroma smell should be a scented candle! The only beer to come close, complex wise is "SWISH" by Bissell Brothers!

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Photo of Masonz223
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Smell: tropical fruit notes grapefruit orange pine perfume
Taste: upfront a big hit of grapefruit bitterness and a big juicy orange juice flavor middle of the mouth a syrupy sweet malt taste comes in and balances the initial bitterness out mellow tropical fruit note fnishes with a Floral hop perfume flavor more orange juice some dankness and a grassy sharp pine needle bitterness.
Feel: thick syrupy chewy big bodied beer.
Overall: I love the body on this beer so full and chewy. This beer is crazy it pretty much has everything you would look for in a dipa. Awesome stuff!

Note: I don't know if it's just me but I poured some in a glass and drank some from the can. There almost two different beers it's crazy! Way more citrusy and hoppy out of the can. Better out of the can!

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Photo of Verecund
4.52/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

From a five day old can on October 2, 2011.

Pours a very hazy tangerine orange with a huge, lasting, frothy head of three fingers. More or less what I expected given the fact that it's unfiltered.

I love this nose. Fresh orange, citrus, candied fruit, and light floral notes, with just a hint of juicy tropical fruit and pine. Almost a perfect combination of pungent fresh fruit, bitterness, and sweetness.

Opens with the orange and tropical fruit (especially mango) punch - the bitterness is really only moderate in character on the front of the palate, with just a tiny resinous bite. Some grapefruit and more pine makes its way on the mid-to-late palate, accompanied by a light honey sweetness. Very juicy, fruity, and wonderfully integrated, which is what I look for most in a DIPA. I appreciate that this isn't harshly bitter (though it's no slouch).

Medium-bodied with medium-low carbonation. I hoped for a little more carbonation, but that's not stopping me from working my way through the can.

Heady Topper lives up to its reputation, and I love that The Alchemist has devoted an entire facility to making and canning it. If I lived close, it'd be hard to justify buying much else at $12/4 pack. An elegant and supremely balanced DIPA.

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Photo of camil1mj
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fresh can. I did not follow the instructions on the can. I poured it at fridge temp into an imperial pint glass at.

A: Cloudy, brownish-orange. Minimal white head. You can tell this one us unfiltered.

S: Lots of fruity, floral hops. Wonderful!

T: Immediate punch of hops followed by wonderful fruit notes.

M: Perfect to the style. Medium body and carbonation. Refreshing.

O: Great DIPA. Lives up to the hype. Would love for this to be available at the local store.

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Photo of Heady978
4.96/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Heady Topper. This is it. This beer in my hand is truly the best DIPA, and maybe the best beer period. Pouring this beer into a brand new tulip glass seems blasphemous given the clear instructions to drink form the can, but I've done that enough, and can't miss an opportunity to enjoy the full sensory experience of HT.

A: Just gorgeous. Sunset orange with a bright white head that dissipates quickly but sticks around for the whole glass. Unfiltered to the max, which IMHO is a plus, especially when we're talking about DIPAs.

S: Smell is off the charts. Massive citrus and pine notes assault your nasal cavities from the moment you crack a can until the moment you take your last glorious sip. If only they made HT air fresheners...

T: 120 IBUs never tasted so good - a hopheads wet dream. Once the initial punch of hop bitterness passes, you are left with bright, cleansing grapefruit and overripe orange which fades into a subdued but present malt sweetness that leaves the beer tasting rather balanced (although this beer is not mean't to be balanced, so I'm puzzled as to why so many people criticize it for being too hop forward)

M: Brilliant. Smooth, almost creamy carbonation that pops the palate open and readies you for the onslaught of goodness.

O: Those who find themselves disappointed by HT, IMHO, simply do not possess the necessary knowledge of the DIPA style or the requisite love of American hops. This beer fires on all cylinders and I feel truly blessed to be able to drink it regularly. John Kimmich & company really have it figured out and I couldn't be happier for the heady people that make this heady beer come to life.

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Photo of BeerForHokie
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-Poured half into a tulip glass to see the color and drank the other half from the can as instructed by the can itself. The color is a beautiful bright orange/dark yellow. Floating sediments...looks like champagne.

S-Oranges. And you can really smell the hops, anticipating it to be super bitter.

T-Mouth full of grass and sour grapefuit and oranges. HOPS HOPS HOPS

M-Quite a bitter after taste, dry.

O- Thought I had tasted them all when they came to IPAs and DIPAs but whatever your opinion is on this one...it's truly unique. Just very very bitter, hoppy and grassy but very enjoyable

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Photo of beardown2489
4.25/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Not the best IPA I've ever had, but it's something every beer fanatic should try. It revolutionized the beer game and for that I am thankful. An excellent beer

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Photo of sbxx
4.52/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Canned 5/15
Big thanks to wyatt13 for sharing a can!

Appearance - Hazy, light yellow. Nice and fresh. Light head that disappears fairly quick. Didn't pour much in the glass. Just enough for a quick look. Drink from the can!!!

Smell - Big. Lots of pine. Background grapefruit, and a little bit of orange peel.

Taste - Massive hops, as expected. More of the citrus comes through in the taste. Astringent pine as well. Big bitter aftertaste that lingers. Packs one hell of a wallop too. Halfway thru the can, I was already buzzed.

Mouthfeel - Heavy body (for a DIPA), medium carbonation, semi-dry, semi-sticky finish

Overall - A damn fine beer, yes. #1 beer ever? Probably not. It tastes very natural, very raw and overall, very nice. If you love hops, you'll love this. Keep your expectations in check though. It's simply an awesome DIPA. Nothing more, nothing less. Don't compare it to Pliny. Two totally different beers, in my opinion. And both are great!

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Photo of dwren89
4.89/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: golden yellow with orange hues, white fizzy head, very hazy

Aroma: explosion of citrus and slight pine on the nose, biscuit notes, clean yeast

Taste: wonderful. Simply wonderful. Awesome balance of citrus hops with solid and noticeable biscuit notes, which are much more noticeable than in most DIPAs. The bitter but not overly so finish completes a great swig.

Mouthfeel: full bodied, big, but very drinkable. Medium finish which is nice, makes you able to come back for more drinks more often unlike some DIPAs that's are so bitter that you can only really take one sip every 5-10 minutes medium carbonation.

Overall: without question one of the best DIPAs I've ever had. Very balanced and very flavorful with huge notes of citrus and biscuit balancing each other. Medium finish and drinkable body makes for an incredibly well made beer.

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Photo of mpedara429
4.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Christmas came early this year and I was finally able to get my hands on a Heady Topper in MA! My brew supply store randomly had a 4-pack and the owner was kind enough to give me one.

A: Cloudy amber in color with two fingers of off white head. Good retention and heavy lacing.

S: Big, big nose that was heavy on pine. Other scents included grapefruit and tropical fruit.

T: Very similar to the nose with an earthy character as well. A good amount of bitter hoppiness but it is so balanced and drinkable.

M: Medium heavy body with a light to medium carbonation. It is pretty oily and sticks to the palate pretty well.

O: There are many beers that could have the same looking review, but very few like Heady Topper. All of the parts do not equal the whole here. For a DIPA, I could drink these all night and that is a good, but scary thing. It is simply one of the best beers I've ever had.

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

Thanks to JOSHMAN for this one (and three others)!

As best I can tell from the information I have, this was canned on June 3rd, 3 weeks ago.

First review of Heady Topper on a "Drink from the can!" experience:

Poured from a can into my mouth.

A: Silver, black. Picture a guy drinking beer from a glass, but his head is exploding with hops. That's about what this looks like. Clean and shiny. Not really sure how I can even grade this. I'm resigned to just giving it whatever my "overall" is.

S: Sweet, sweet hops. Earthy and citric aromas come strong out of the can immediately upon opening. A little spiciness lingers, almost like the faintest hint of a cologne, but in a good way. Strong citrus aromas of pineapple dominate. I could sniff this beer all day, but I've resigned to drinking it.

T/M: Follows the nose pretty closely. A little more carbonation up-front than through the rest of the sip is delivered... maybe the can, maybe just my perception. Lots of sweet citrus on the body, with a little dank earthiness following. A lingering bitterness follows along with a little more earthy flavor and feel. The bitterness in this emerges almost after all other flavors have begun to die off but doesn't dominate the flavor profile while sipping. Body has nice, sweet malt character that doesn't dominate the beer, but does provide a sweetness to this that is very nice with all of the citrus. Alcohol doesn't show up much at all in the taste. The mouthfeel overall is just about perfect for the style in terms for gravity, but the lingering finish feels just slightly off, like I'm trying to get something out of my mouth rather than keep it there. Still very pleasant. Really drinkable.

O: Really happy with this beer. I will need to try it side by side with Pliny to really sort out the nuances of each, but each is great in its own right. I'm finding myself drinking this dangerously quickly -- I am pretty glad I don't have enough of these to just enjoy at will and open in series, or I could end up very drunk very quickly. I was worried that this beer would be a little too dank for me, but that really hasn't been the case at all. I don't suspect that the beer has "lost" this since canning, so I think perhaps I just had unfounded worries. Great beer.

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

The Alchemist: Heady Topper, IIPA (Tasted 11/28/08)
Tap @ The Alchemist [Waterbury, VT] : Poured into a pilsner glass.

Appearance: Pours out orange with golden hues, puffy white head leaves sticky lace down the glass as the beer disappears
Odor: Sticky fresh-pressed pineapple juice, pine sap, dank dank nuggets with sweet floral aromas in the background.
Consistency: On the low end of medium bodied, slick and oily with a refreshing dryness in the finish. Carbonation is moderate to low.
Taste: Wowee. The beer is built on a simple, subtle and sturdy malt frame. Dashes of caramel here and there but not much else. Restrained fruity ester profile. Bitterness is certainly firm, but by no means aggressive, at most prickling the palate with some grapefruit/pine. Hop flavor is immense, echoing the diversity in the aroma. Finish is very clean and as dry it possibly could be for style, leaving a coating of bittersweet hop flavor all over my mouth.

This is a rarity on the East Coast. A well attenuated IPA with a unique, diverse hop character that you can drink all night long. It's a shame that the Alchemist doesn't do growlers so more people can try this beer.

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Photo of Das_Reh
4.92/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Finally, getting to try the legendary Heady Topper. Sent to me by BigStein here on BA. Thanks!

Canned less than 10 days ago, reviewed 8/31/2015

A = Hazy bright orange color, 1 finger of off white head, visible hop sediment in suspension

S = Oh my god... I can smell this from 3 feet away. Popping the tab on the can immediately filled the air with the aroma of sweet fruit juice. Resinous, orangey, piney hops, so juicy and sweet, lots of tropical fruit notes such as mango, papaya, pineapple, maybe some tangerine. This is heavenly.

T = If you had told me this was fruit juice, I would have believed you. Orange, pine, more tropical fruit, coating your tongue in waves of oily, resinous hoppiness. Bitterness is restrained, letting the flavor and aroma of the hops shine through. Malts take a backseat in this beer for sure. Estery alcohols shine through at the end.

M = Slick and wet, super juicy, soft medium mouthfeel. Very drinkable.

O = The hype is real, folks. This beer deserves it's cult status, and I am so happy I was sent not one, but two of these. Worth seeking out and trading for!

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Photo of yarnbomb
5/5  rDev +7.3%

It really is unique and fabulous. I've had a ton, and it does vary in quality from time to time, but has never been anything lower than "great". Seriously, the worst I've had is still very delicious. I've had hundreds of cans, had many a sampler from the brewery when it was open and also had on draft several times. All good stuff.

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

Poured out of a can, 1 day after canning.

A- A hazy Apricot color. Not too much head.

S- A sweet hoppy aroma, not too bitter on the nose

T- A lot of things going on. Fresh Hops, and a lot of them! Grapefruit, a mild citrus, finished off slightly bitter.

M- Very crisp, good amount of carbonation, a little bit of bitterness on the back end.

O- A great DIPA. One of the best I have ever had. This needs to be drank fresh. It does make a difference.

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

Long awaited, and well worth the wait! A friend brought me back a can from a trip to Vermont...a very good friend indeed!

Drank 1/3 or so in a tulip glass, the rest from the can.

Poured into the tulip, there's a nice golden, straw color, that pours a rich and frothy two-finger head that takes a bit of time to settle down; lacing is very nice. Smells immediately of citrus, and a hell of a lot of hops. The taste...yum! The hops are even more pronounced, but not in an overwhelming fashion. They certainly linger on the tongue, but it's evenly balanced enough to not become tart or bitter. Maybe grapefruit, very light floral and spice notes that provide a nice balance to the hop-fest that is this Double IPA. Also getting a bit of passion fruit and tropical fruit notes. Mouthfeel is great, solid carbonation and doesn't attack one particular part of the palate.

If you're lucky enough to find one, it's well worth a taste!

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Photo of Czarkazm
4.6/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

First time pouring it from the can. A very hazy, bright, golden yellow body with a snowy white head. The hops make themselves known the moment you crack the can. Lot of ripe citrus, lemon zest, tropical fruits, papaya, mango, a hint of melon, peach, and pine resin. There's an excellent underlying sweet maltiness to this beer that I suspect is partially thanks to the conan yeast strain. The mouth feel is very cream, medium-full, washed down by nice carbonation, followed by a pleasant sweet tropical lemon aftertaste. On the flavor, sweet lime, grapefruit bitterness, lemon candy, peach, pine sap, some grass, papaya, honey malt, and melon.

I've been able to score some heady on occasion at some craft beer bars but this is the first time I was able to enjoy a can at home. It's clear why this brewery has gotten so much hype over the years but I think there are some newer breweries currently closing the gap. I need to make a trip up to VT eventually because even for this world class DIPA, the $11/can prices around here makes it a one and done purchase for me.

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Photo of reds2harleys
4.99/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've been looking forward to trying this for years now. Living in NJ I can't tell you how many times I've had friends or co workers promise they would bring back some from a trip to VT or " my buddy/cousin/whoever lives up there, I'll get them to bring it down " but all fell through. I finally decided to take a road trip. I planned it well and did the round trip in a day, came back w 2 cases plus some other VT beers. Successful trip I'd say. Anyway, with all the hype and what I had to go through to get some Heady I was finally ready to see for myself. Well - I can see why this beer gets all the talk. This isn't even my favorite style, I'm a BBA Stout guy but I must say this is a fantastic brew. Outrageous flavor that just keeps getting better. No question Heady is deserving of its # 1 status. Long live the king !!

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.66 out of 5 based on 12,782 ratings.
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