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Heady Topper | The Alchemist

2,229 Reviews
Heady TopperHeady Topper

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

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Reviews: 2,229 | Ratings: 12,541
Photo of Mehinaman
4.78/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I feel like trying this beer is a craft beer lovers rite of passage and I was finally able to cross this one odd my list. I really enjoyed it and found it to be extremely drinkable and not overly hoppy for a DIPA. At the same time I can't say it was the cathartic experience I was hoping for, but rather just a very good beer. Will habe again if given the opportunity, but this will probably be my last time hunting it down

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Photo of Warlocks-Passage
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was so happy to finally taste this 'mythical' beer that seems so hard to find. My uncle brought down 6 from Vermont and we compared side by side with Pliny the Elder. I decided to split the experience, half in a dog fish head tulip and the other half out of the can.

A- hazy orange, reminds me of when pouring a racer 5..unfiltered. Nice finger and a half of white head. Great retention and lacing.
S- intense citrus, pine needle-resin...grapefruit and tangerine really shine through.
T- hop bomb! Intense grapefruit and piney resin with every sip. From the can, the hoppiness seems to be intensified...good malt backbone but the hops are clearly the star!
M- mouth is left with a reisinous, piney, gooey aftertaste. Seems to linger on...tad bit of carbonation left on the tongue.
O- overall a FANTASTIC double ipa. If you are a hop head this will not let you down. I recommend trying both from a tulip glass and the can....they are both great in their own right. Definitely worth trying to find...it took me a while but worth the wait!

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Photo of LaChupacabra
4.62/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 2 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Can poured into tulip.

A: Cloudy golden color. Lots of sediment. ...Pretty ugly. I know why they want you to drink this one straight from the can.

S: Juicy/ripe tropical and citrus fruits. Sweet malts.

T: Mildly bitter with a lots of citrus and tropical fruit. A bit of caramel/honey sweetness.

M: Very smooth and drinkable. Chewy and creamy. Has a long, crisp finish.

O: Fantastic DIPA. The appearance brings this one down a bit. It's an amazing beer in every other aspect.

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Photo of JohnG190
4.88/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a golden amber with a two-finger off-white head. No "floaties" that many reviewers speak of. Nice lacing. A complex and unique aroma. Redolent of pine, tropical fruit, citrus, and earthiness; the kind of earthiness you experience walking through the parking lot of a Grateful Dead concert (for those old enough to remember the Dead). As it warms, there's a wonderfully faint floral aroma. Through all those hops one can still get a whiff of the sweet malt! Incredibly complex. The taste is very juicy, more fruit than pine. Tropical fruit hits the tongue first followed by citrus, mainly grapefruit, and dried apricot. Lots of caramel and biscuity malt flavors balance this hop bomb perfectly. Full bodied with the perfect amount of carbonation. Overall, this is a top two or three DIPA that is truly worth all the hype (and the aggravation to get it)!

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Photo of RocketCityVol
4.88/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Drank from the can

A: golden yellow color with a haze appearance.

S: Heavy floral, citrus, and hoppy aroma.

T: Great floral and citrus flavor with an amazind creamy finish.

M: Best mouthfeel of any IPA I have ever had. Great creamy finish that stays on your palate.

Overall: So far the best DIPA I have ever had. Great Beer.

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Photo of TheBungyo
3.32/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

When a beer reaches the lofty heights of a Heady Topper it feels almost unfair to pen a review. After all, how could I possibly review it based solely on it's merits and deficiencies? Most everyone will either praise it's strengths whilst ignoring the faults or harp on flaws and turn a blind eye toward the many amazing things this drink does so superbly.

If I'm honest, and I'm certainly making a valiant attempt, the color is spectacular. It really is the perfect color for a double IPA. Any darker and it'd be obvious this beer would be far too sweet. Sadly though, it's just too damn cloudy. I can't express the amount of pride I feel as a homebrewer when I pour something I brewed and the body is the proper color and you can see through it like a window. This doesn't happen with this one. Great? Yes. Flawed? Well, that's a second yes.

Fortunately the nose ups the game even more. The malt is assertive, whilst the hops fight for dominance. It's nothing short of a tapestry of aromas: orange, peach, pineapple, and maybe some mango. A sip reveals some pleasant booze, while maintaining hop presence. Lots of tropical notes dance seductively alongside malty sugary caramel. The big problem arises in the finish. Where it should be bitter the sweetness slams on the gas floods the palate like an uninvited guest. After half a can or so, the sweetness becomes overpowering for me.

One of the great things about this brew is the price. The Alchemist could have taken the opportunity to charge through the nose for a beer with this reputation but it certainly is fair. I'm sure if I lived in the distribution area I'd come back to Heady Topper again since the price is very reasonable. That's despite the fact that it doesn't wow me like it does most people. Certainly worth a shot to see if it ever clicks with me.

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Photo of kingston2
4.96/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am a stout lover at heart. I have never taken to the hop head beers out there... well that was until I got my first taste of Heady Topper. It is absolutely deserving of the number one beer on beeradvocate.

Hazy yellow appearance when poured into glass.. of course they tell you right on the can to drink it out of the can but I wanted to see the beer.

Smell is GLORIOUS!! Pine, grapefruit, citrus... Just gorgeous. I could smell it all day.

Drinks so smoothly considering the high IBUs. Has a great malt backbone that offsets the hop punch. The hops never seem to overwhelm your palate. They push your senses just to the edge and then back off due to the malt.

I love this beer. I am making a pilgrimage to Vermont later in the summer and I hope I luck into a couple cases. It is truly one of the best brews I have ever had.

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Photo of winningwes91
4.9/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Well, here it goes. The number 1 (now 2) beer in the world. Pours a gorgeous hazy orange. Smells of citrus, pine and hoppy goodness. Tastes follows through. Awesome creamy mouthfeel. I can definitely see why this is the top beer. It's amazing, if just a hair under focal banger, due to a bit too much bitterness on the backend for my taste (but I'm just splitting hairs). Amazing stuff!

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Photo of BrewerB
4.02/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Huge, huge thanks goes out to aasher, one of the best BA's out there for hooking me up with this beer. Not only am I grateful to Al for this can but I'm also grateful for the Surly Darkness snifter I poured a sampled into (the rest being enjoyed from the can per the brewery's guidance).

Poured a hazy yellow with a thin crop of white foam sitting on top. Lacking head retention although some lacing clings to the glass.

My favorite part of this beer was the nose which showcased intense citrus hop aroma with an initial burst of grapefruit and then some lemon wedged between a back-end of tangerine. Detecting some grassiness as well. Cleanly fermented.

Prominent grapefruit in the flavor combining with an herbal/grassy component. Very high level of bitterness that I find somewhat harsh and detracting from drinkability. Finishes a touch sweeter with a mandarin-like fruitiness.

Medium-light in body, moderately carbonated. Slightly viscous mouthfeel was unexpected, perhaps due to hop oils. Also picking up some astringency and a warming sensation.

Layered complexity in the hop aroma is a real treat here but the bitterness is somewhat harsh and hinders drinkability. Wishing for something smoother. Certainly a very good beer but there's definitely room for improvement.

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Photo of SkeeterBoganski
4.64/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

BA share, DenverBeerDrinker (thanks man!)

A - I'm drinking straight from the can as requested by the can itself

S - pungent grapefruit, slick pine, notes of orange, plenty of hops

T - wow, this is delicious; my first words are, "oh my"; there is plenty of hop character here; lightly grapefruit in flavor; floral; tropical fruit and sweet; dank; pineapple as it settles

M - dense; resiny; smooth as can be; perfect carbonation

O - top shelf DIPA, easily one of the best I've ever had; really well-balanced; not too bitter; perfect!

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

Finally getting around to reviewing this one after drinking it several times and learning that I really love it. Poured at fridge temp into an opaque ceramic mug. Peering down in there, it looks like a good murky orange color, and I vaguely recall that it looks good in a glass.

Smells like tropical fruit salad laced with honeysuckle, honey, thai iced tea, and caramel malt.

Massive tropical fruity, floral hop flavor, and deep earthy, rooty bitterness. Fairly dry, just enough sweetness to make it even more delicious. Some caramel, and a long bitter finish.

Squishy, fine carbonation, with the texture otherwise driven by mouthdrying bitterness.

Great beer.

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Photo of angelmonster
4.13/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Very anxious to try this. Been trying to trade for it all summer. Canned Sept.7th

Pours a very hazy bright orange body, looks similar to orange juice. Head was pearl white and an inch. Head retention and lacing were extremely good.

Smell is big on citrus and resinous pine. Guava, pineapple, and mandarin orange dominate the nose. Not much malt and no alcohol is detected.

Taste is of peppery, bitter, tree sap, mixed with acidic pineapple and grapefruit. Lime rind and juniper berries are also in there, bitterness increases as beer warms. Malt and alcohol are pretty light.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and well carbonated. Head stayed throughout duration of consumption, added a nice froth to the beer.

Overall this was a very good Ipa. One of the most visually pleasing beers I've seen, very unique. The hype surrounding this beer is very high and to a certain degree I think its a detractor to the overall score. Would love this beer more if it wasn't such a pain to get, don't think it falls into the category of all time best when it comes to its style.

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Photo of pmlondrigan
4.57/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to my wife for picking these up for me when she was in VT this past weekend. Drinkin' from the can as is customary. Did pour a little to take a peek, hazy golden in color, dense head which fades away quickly. Pretty dank smell, resinous, pine, and some citrus, it does pop pretty hard. The taste is as expected, hop forward. Snappy, pine, citrus, chewy hops. Then some more hops. Not so bitter, actually much more of a fruity hop affair. This is a little refined for me, I tend to like my IIPAs rough and tough. Leaves the palate dry and crisp finish. Smooth as silk mouthfeel with soft carbonation. No trace of alcohol, drinks as easy as advertised.

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

Ok, I have been waiting to taste this one for a long time now. One of customers, who has in in depth knowledge of all sorts of beers, brought one 4 pack in for me to try. He was heading up to Vermont, so he was going to buy some more.

Once I opened the can, the room came alive with citrus, grapefruit, banana and so many other perfect hoppy aromas. It was grassy and so alive. It was at a point that I was more than satisfied with the bouquet, I need not take it any further.

The first sip (from a glass) was fullness in my mouth of hops, cream, grapefruit and lots of smooth body. The after taste was just as pleasant.

From that point on, I drank it from the can. I was really surprised at just how smooth it was considering the IBU count (120)

I so enjoyed this beer, but now, I will have to wait until a second tasting of it (which should be tomorrow) Was it the best beer I've tasted? Did it have everything a hoppy IPA should have?
I dont know, but I will re- review this one tomorrow.

For now, I am 100% satisfied, that I was able to taste a legend (Dino, Thanks!)

Got to re-taste a fairly fresh one....If there was a 6 rating, this would be the beer I would give it to.

This one was less than a week from brewing! Fantastic, even better than the ones I have had before. I guess the best way to describe this is that it is liquid GOLD

Lucky to get my hands on 10 day old Heady. Better and better, cant see how anything can get better, but this one was so far over the top. LOVE IT....
1 4pk remaining then I will hold back for 4 or 5 months before getting my next haul

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Photo of sleuthdog
4.62/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to a great friend Tut2528 for giving me my first HT! Really appreciate it my man!

Appearance:??? Enjoyed from the can.

Smell: How can this smell so incredible from a can? Huge pine and citrus hop coming from the mouth of the can in sticky sweet waves. There is grapefruit, orange, pineapple, mango along with some piney hop. I'm getting the sweetness that's bringing forth a caramel and maybe a brown sugar.

Taste: Unbelievable amount of citrus with grapefruit and tangerine, mango and pineapple, an unripe orange peel and a honey sweetness. This is followed by a pine hop bite that does linger well after the sip and swallow. Phenomenal aftertaste on this one with no alcohol present.

Mouthfeel: I'd call it creamy and drying with a light body. Don't seem to get too much carbonation but just enough to round out the feel.

Overall: My first ever experience with this beer is one that is memorable to say the least. Simply an intimidating beer with the warnings on the can but in the end the beast is not as scary as you'd think. A surprisingly easy drinking DIPA that I'm delighted I got to try.

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

Poured a 5 oz. taster just to see the color.

A: An unfiltered golden straw color. Poured a nice thick white head that stuck around for a bit.

S: As soon as I popped the can I could smell the pretty complex hop profile. A little piny but mostly citrus on the nose. Sweet and juicy.

T: Not a hopbomb, it's a hop experience. The flavor is a little piny but overall it is fruity. Crisp and not overpowering I am getting grapefruits and tropicals.

M: IMO the best feature of this brew. The beer completely coats your mouth with the juicy goodness of its complex hop profile. The carbonation is perfect, not too prickly but invigorating.

O: Overall this is an impossibly drinkable DIPA. If had access to this brew I would pay the $3 a can and drink it every day. Can't wait to have the opportunity to do a blind side by side with the likes of Pliny and a few Alpines. It's the only way to really rank these top contenders.

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

I drove ten hours from Toronto to Vermont, some of which was spent in total darkness through torrential rain, partly, just to try this beer. Once I arrived at the White Horse Inn in Waitsfield, I had my first taste.
It overwhelmed my senses.
I knew it wasn't the best beer I ever had, but I bowed to the fine craftsmanship it took to produce this masterpiece. The hops melted through my body. It tasted potent and I couldn't wait to purchase some, which I did the next day, by driving to Waterbury.
Others have described this beer better than I ever could. But suffice to say, it was worth the drive.
And I fell in love with Vermont to boot!

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Photo of RichardMNixon
5/5  rDev +7.3%

Had it first from the can in VT, once more in PA.
As commonly stated, it doesn't look that impressive. Very pale and cloudy, decent head. For a beer this good, who cares?
Smells fruitier than some beers with actual fruit in them. If this was sold as an air freshener, I would buy it.
The fruit comes through just as strong in the taste, very tropical and sweet balanced by steady bitterness throughout the whole sip. Some crisp, snappy malt comes through later in the glass after your tongue has numbed to the hops.
Mouthfeel isn't terribly thick, but very oily, coating the tongue and leaving the flavors to chew on. Way, way too drinkable for an 8% beer, or for a beer you know you won't have again for months/years.
I've had a number of beers that didn't live up to the hype. This one does.

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

Had on tap from a freshly tapped keg at the Alchemist Pub and Brewery in Waterbury, VT. Served in a 12 oz glass.

Look: great looking DIPA. Hazy amber color, but the Alchemist is a bit dim so its hard to tell exactly the color. A finger and a half worth of head sits atop the beer with excellent retention and excellent lacing.

Smell: huge hop aroma. Tropical fruit like pineapple, citrus with some grapefruit and lemon-lime, hints of pine and some caramel sweetness lurking around back there. Exceptional.

Taste: follows the nose with a huge hop flavor. Some resin, huge citrus flavor, bits of pineapple and grapefruit, orange, and lemon... everything you could want in a hop profile. There's a bit of caramel maltiness to balance but its not really pronounced. Exceptional taste.

Feel: medium bodied and feels about right at 8% alcohol by volume, with a moderate amount of carbonation that is perfect for the style, a bit of lingering hop bitterness in the finish but not so much that it kills your palate. Alcohol is nicely hidden.

Drink: great. I drank my glass a bit faster than I would've liked and you'll have to force yourself to savor this one. Could drink a few of these and its very sessionable for a DIPA, only coming in at 8% alcohol.

Overall, I am quite impressed by this one. This has become my favorite DIPA. Everything about it is great, from the hop profile, the meek presence of the malt, the way it looks, the way it smells... everything. The Alchemist did a great job with this one.

I should also add that I went into this one with a heavy dose of skepticism. Having had Pliny the Elder, which is generally promised to be the end all be all of DIPAs (excluding the Younger, of course) and being very disappointed I thought that Heady Topper would be a product of the BeerAdvocate hype machine. Well, its not. Its the ultimate DIPA and I recommend trying it as soon as you possibly can. Hopefully The Alchemist begins a production line soon because more people need to try this.


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

Had this beer many times, but I still pour into a glass even though Alchemist says not too.
Sometimes I even strain the floaters out of it. It's a local beer for me and in my opinion it is not the number one beer as BA notes it to be. With so many area colleges near by the students tend to over rate this beer. Far better in my opinion is Lawson's Spirits "Double Sunshine".

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Photo of NoLeafClover44
4.9/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Review #100! Big thanks to Fijii13 for this one. 16 oz. can poured into pint. Decided to ignore the request on the can for reviewing purposes. Had the second straight from the can.

A - Pours a very hazy pale caramel/orange color with very little off white head. More floaters than I have ever seen in any other beer. They are suspended throughout the body and I am guessing this is why they want you to keep it in the can. There is so much floating uniform sediment, that it looks impressive and intended, so I won't really dock it too many points for that.

S - Powerful tangerine and grapefruit citrus with some subtle malts. The hops are piney and spicy, but they pale in comparison to the citrus and tropical aromas emanating from the glass.

T - Fantastic tropical fruit flavor coupled with some tart citrus on the front. Once it reaches the back of the tongue, there are some piney hops that linger, but they do not detract form the forward citrus flavors. I am blown away by the flavor. The aftertaste is of nice, dry hops. Balanced and impressive. I could drink several of these in one sitting.

M - Medium body with some delicate, tingly carbonation. Extremely smooth with a dry finish. Every sip leaves me wanting more. No alcohol present here.

O - Despite the lofty expectations I had for this beer, I was not disappointed. It is not overwhelmingly hoppy for the style, but the hop flavors work very well with the dominating citrus and tropical fruits. The finish and aftertaste are a remarkable blend of bitter and sweet. I was able to keep myself to only consuming two tonight, but I easily could have drank all four. A beer deserving of its world class rating that I will certainly seek out in future trades. It is not the hoppiest or biggest, but it is damn near the best. I highly recommend it.

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Photo of dank203
4.3/5  rDev -7.7%

Really enjoyed this but I do think it is slightly overrated. The initial burst of hop flavor is something I will always remember. But the thrill only seemed to last halfway through the can, or my palate just got used to it. Its an aggressive beer for sure and really well crafted.

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Photo of Jpinoniemi
4.58/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this beer from a friend in New Hampshire.

This is definitely the best IPA I've ever had. It survived UPS shipping to Ohio and still was good cold the next day.

A friend of mine and I split a can together and each taste was better than the last.

Highly recommend and would drink again for sure.

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Photo of Pourharddrinkslow
4.88/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look - Light and inviting, golden yellow with a slight amount of murkiness

Smell - Nothing overwhelming, a mix of citrus, pine, and hops

Taste - Unlike any IPA i've ever had, I don't even know how to describe it. Smooth and delicious.

Feel - Incredibly smooth, which is unfortunate (not really) because as good as this beer is I wish I didn't drink it so quickly.

Overall - Outstanding

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Photo of Ieatlambfries
4.89/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Had to revisit this beer as all my previous examples were gifted to me, and never completely fresh. So, took a trip to VT, and grabbed myself a fresh case. So I'm re-reviewing.

Hazy, unfiltered, fluffy off white head which clings to my glass. Yes, I used a glass.

Dank resinous hop smell. spicy woodsy pine, and citric oils.

Explosion of resinous pine and citrus rinds. Mixture of grapefruit and lemon. Spicy, musky, and full of depth. Rare a call a beer dank, but it applies here. Malt back bone, although not cloying or sweet like some DIPAs, does an amazingly job at balancing out the huge complex hop profile.

Mouthfeel is full, carbonation is biting.

Overall, having one of these fresh as opposed to a few months old is a game changer. I wrote my previous experiences off as a beer with too much hype. But being able to enjoy fresh examples has made me into a believer.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 2,229 ratings.
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