Heady Topper | The Alchemist

2,348 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: 2,348 | Ratings: 13,237
Photo of GatorLCA
4.54/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had a sampling of it at my local World of Beer with the owners who received it from a patron

A- Too be honest it looked like a Pilsner in the 4oz sample glass I drank it out of. I really couldn't belive that something so light in color could be considered a Double IPA

S- Hoppy, but overpowering like most Doubles that I've smelled

T- Wow, now I know what the hype was all about. Very crisp, refreshing and hoppy all in the same sip. I still can't wrap my head around how this beer is even possible. It almost defies the laws of brewing (or at least the beers that I've considered Doubles)

M- Drinks like a pilsner, very light and carbonated ...I could crush these all day in 90*F and not feel weighted down by the malts

O- As stated before....I'm puzzled, I don't know how this beer exists. I wouldn't go to say that it's my most favorite Double IPAs, I prefer Pliny the Elder over this any day. However, I have never experienced beer the way this beer has. I would love to get my hands on a whole can or 2 to understand what it's like to experience 16oz of this masterpiece.

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

Lucky for me, a co-worker brought me a case back from vacation.

Appearance: I have no idea. I read and followed the directions on the can. So, I drank from the can. In terms of can aesthetic, it is cool.

S: floral and citrus. Very clean.

T: I love the taste. The most even tasting beer I have yet had. From the first opening taste, it doesn't let go. It is bitter but not overwhelming. Each mouthful is crisp, even and really delicious.

M: some doubles leave a resin tar like coating in my mouth. Heady has a full bold flavor but doesn't have that honey like weight which accumulates after each successive sip. Heady drinks easy and smooth.

O: so, my first heady was great, but not my far and away favorite But a day later after my second, I believe that this is fantastic brew. I don't know if this is the greatest beer ever. But I know if it was available to me everyday, I would pick it every time.

Find it. Drink it. Decide for yourself. It is worth it.

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Photo of LSUPT
4.31/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16oz can poured to a Duvel Tulip.

Very aggressive pour yields a 1” white head. Ok retention and some webs of lacing. Very cloudy medium amber with a hint of orange when held to light.

Way too cold when a first poured it but as it warms the nose greatly improves. Quite complex and stronger as it warms: tropical up front, mango and slight pineapple, with a big juicy hop presence and slight pine and malt. Taste doesn’t quite live up to the nose. Grapefruit makes an appearance here along with the mango pineapple and big juicy hops but the bitterness is just not really balanced here it builds and builds and really hurts the aftertaste and mouthfeel but is still pretty good. Low carbonation, medium bodied and creamy.

Overall, this is still an elite DIPA but having this right after Bad Boy did not help its case. Medium drinkability with the odd aftertaste but still up there near the top of the DIPA mountain.

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Photo of Cramshawbar
5/5  rDev +7.5%
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 kculrich
4.51/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just what the world has been waiting for: another Heady review...

From the 16oz can, undated but almost certainly canned the last week of June. Served in an imperial pint/nonic.

The pour is profoundly clouded but not murky - I can see the shadow of my fingers through the glass. The colour is a cheerful sunshiney gold with a creamy two-finger head, decent retention and gobs of sloppy lacing.

Smell is biscuity and earthy, dankly herbal, peach and strawberry, orange juice and balsam.

The taste is clean biscuit, orange juice and fresh-cut balsam upfront. After two months in my fridge the underlying malt character is prominent and drinks as smooth as glass. Grassy herb and oily tropical fruit notes. Finishes with a briefly lingering sappy bitterness.

Feel is medium-bodied, thick and creamy, with ample carbonation.

I've had these Headies refrigerated all summer and, what with one thing and another, I've been drinking them down at the rate of only one or two cans a week. I can now state authoritatively that, despite the can's admonition to 'drink fresh,' to my taste, they are reaching their peak of excellence at two months old.

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Photo of TheCuriograph
4.85/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This review is based on a couple Headys I've have over the last week (following a great trip with the girl up to northern Vermont). Drank one from the can, another from a snifter.

A - I can see why Alchemist encourages you to drink from the can. Heady pours a muddy amber, not the least bit of clarity, with a surprisingly robust fizzy head. The odd yeast floaty is visible. Resembles White Oak Jai Alia or Burton Baton, or some other barrel-aged IPA.

S - Now the substantive argument for drinking out of the can. Crap the top and you're smacked with a barrage of grand aromas: pine needle, passion fruit, tangerine and doughy malting. What's amazing is how each note is distinct and sharp. Really assured. Poured in a snifter, the nose dissipates quite a bit.

T - Heady is more salad than stew. The IPA flavors are bright and they don't so much meld as dance off each other. The grass, grapefruit, and lemon flavors are held together, it seems, from Alchemist's proprietary yeast and the slight malt back. Sweet and earthy, tart and succulent.

M - Dances that fine line between substantial and refreshing. This is a deviously drinkable IIPA.

Massively tasty IPA. I can simultaneously understand the fanaticism surrounding it and am perplexed that people speak of it as a total mold-breaker. What it is is incredibly well-made. Perhaps I'm being harder on it because of the hype, but Heady hasn't ruined all other IPAs for me. That said, pretty psyched to have a case of it.

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

I won't make this a complicated review. I will tell you that his beer lived up to the hype for me. We all have different palates so I'm not going to try and tell you what I smell and taste other than the fact that this beer, to my palate was ridiculously smooth, incredibly drinkable, and had a great finish. Continue your mission to find it. You won't be disappointed.

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Photo of simont1
4.82/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Glowing hazy yellow with a thick head.

S – Very pungent piney, citrusy aroma. Pineapple, over ripe fruit, hop forward.

T – Taste does not disappoint, again straight forward hops, no crystal malt, very dry. The amount of hop taste The Alchemist actually gets is very impressive.

M – Mouthfeel fills your mouth, lively carbonation with an abrupt bitterness finish, quite oily

O – The amount of hop taste The Alchemist actually gets is very impressive, the aroma, especially if you smell out of the can is very very intense, but the taste completely mimics it.

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Photo of malty
4.74/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Gifted to me from eyebrews, one outstanding beer lover and guy.

Poured out of the can, even though it says "drink from the can" on the top of the label. Pours a hazy antique gold with a tinge of rust. The bone white head quickly diminished into my pristinely clean stemmed chalice to a mere 1/16". Barely enough to completely blanket the surface. No visible uprising carbonation. Looks very rich and theres lots of fine suspended particles just begging to be quaffed. Fine unbroken rings of delicate lace all the way down. But first...

Probably the most erotically citrus infused hoppy splendor I've ever whiffed. Intoxicating layers of sweet, luscious dripping hopsation to ever grace my nostrils. Damn, I wish I didn't fill my glass so full as I'de like to bury my schnoz in it. (okay, I'll admit it, I just took a big gulp to make for headroom to further my smell test). A few swirls evoke a familiar tamarind-like scent I also detected in Pliny the Elder when I first tried it (fresh) a few years ago. And I like it as much right now as I did then. Mounds, heaps and booming crests of hop goodness for sure.

The taste is just as expressive as the smell. Tropical fruit epic hop collision. Bitter, sweet, lightly sugary, peach skin basking of the gods. You can't take away my Heady-Topper! Get away! Get away! Is there enough to bathe in it? Surely there must be. *WAIT* *WAIT* Sorry about that, I was transported into some crazy dream for a spell. I hope that made sense.

Mouthfeel is silky with the softest ultra fine carbonation I've felt in a Dbl. IPA. It sits so still, but it moves like a school of barracuda, swift and undetected. Magically drinkable. Slightly chalky and tenderly bitter finish.

Overall I am so very grateful for this unexpected can of Dbl. IPA royalty. I ws waiting for the 7th anniv. of New Beer Sunday to try it, and I'm glad it lived up to the hype. I feel like this ale gives me spinach-to-Popeye strength. I think I'm slipping back into a dream. I'll stop here before I do.

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Photo of Yoonisaykul
4.44/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A- Opaque apricot, very little head but it might be the pour. Kind of looks like a hefeweizen. Web like lacing. Okay.

S- Sweet marmalade/apricot spread. Smells very good but I was expecting a hoppy explosion. Alcohol almost undetectable. Really sweet.

T- I'm really trying to figure out what I'm tasting, but I'm pretty sure it's mango peach juice. Great tasting bitterness. I don't know what to say really. It's veeeerry tasty. A bit of yeast in the end.

M- Smooth, medium to low carbonation which is just right. Not very dry. A little thin but it's really not a problem...it might actually be a good thing.

D- High, very high. 8%? Where? This drinks like juice.

Great beer. Would love to have access to it back home.

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Photo of Franchise
4.12/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

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Photo of theghost3
4.59/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to claaark13 for this.

I know the can says to drink the beer directly from the vessel, but for review purposes, I wanted to see it. Pours a beautiful, hazy orange with lots of sediment and a 2-finger, frothy off-white head; minimal lacing. It looks very raw; as if it's not ready to be consumed. This is about to get interesting...

Smell is overpowering fresh grapefruit, tropical fruit hops with a hint of herbs. The taste is sweet/slightly bitter grapefruit & tropical fruit hops (mango, maybe pineapple and passion fruit) with some herbal hints; faint caramel malt flavor. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, lots of carbonation, yet smoother than I expected. This is not as chewy as I expected, but the bits of sediment are noticeable.

This is a hop bomb like no other. Rough & raw, but if you love grapefruity DIPAs like a PTE, you'll love this.

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Photo of Srkolodn
4.96/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I decided to turn a recent ski vacation on a BeerSKI vacation. Took a trip to Montpellier for a crazily hectic search for this magical nectar. The process of finding HT, and trying to beat out other people in the parking lot to the next case made the first cracking of the can that much more rewarding. After all, this beer is incredible

A: Drank from the can.

S: Beautiful floral aroma upon opening the can. The aroma is pitch perfect for an IPA. I also believe the aroma resonates throughout the drinking experience.

T: The taste is second to none. The initial tasting is unexpected as your hit with a flavorful punch of hoppy explosions on your palate. It's not too citrusy and not too bitter.

M: Great body and feel to HT. It has a great ability to linger in the mouth, which is lovely when were talking about this good a beer.

O: Overall HT deserves a top ranking. I feel as if in many ways HT sets itself apart from other IPA's because of its incredible taste and lingering feel.

Side note: The definition of the ALCHEMIST ( A person who studies and engages in the practice of the process of transforming something common into something special) is incredibly fitting for this beer.

Well Done!

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Photo of ricknelson
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
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 Digimaika2
4.82/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a fresh 4-pack at the Healthy Living Market in Burlington, Vt. Definitely one of the more beautiful cans I've ever purchased.

A: Pours a slightly hazy bronze-copper colour with a marshmallow-like creamy foam head. Decent retention and very good lacing down the glass.

S: Amazing. Damp earthy moss funkyness, lumberyard pine, a big grapefruit and mango element, and creamy walnut. Incredibly smooth and well integrated aromas.

T: Buttered biscuit-like malt serves as the backbone, with an earthy pine bitterness and tart grapefruit and sweet mango upfront. An earthy damp wood and mushroom-like elements are present. The taste screams fresh. Smooth, creamy, and very well balanced. Alcohol pretty much undetectable.

M: Full body with a moderate carbonation. Quite oily (welcoming) with a slightly resiny and grainy texture.

D: One of the best IPA's I've ever tasted. What else can I say?

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Photo of Axic10
4.74/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 16oz can into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a hazy dark golden with a finger of fluffy eggshell white head that settles after a minute or so to a thin layer of head.

Smell: Straight up citrus bomb. Tropical fruits - pineapple, mango, grapefruit dominate the aroma, while a hoppy, dank bitterness cuts through the end of the smell. Very sweet smelling beer.

Taste: Bitey, piney, hoppy bitterness last throughout the entire sip. Citrus flavors are strong as well, it's almost like biting into a grapefruit/pineapple/mango/tangerine hybrid.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and sticky.

Overall: Hands down deserves the hype it's received. I've had this out of a can and bottle so far and I haven't been let down.

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Photo of Teleweizen2
4.64/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a slightly hazey marigold color. A fingers worth of froathy white head which quickly dissipates to just a white ring around the rim. No lacing.

S - the aroma just permiates from the can as soon as its opened. The nose is bright and intoxicating in itself. Bright grapefruit, orange and lemon peel lead the charge followed by a basket of tropical fruit filled to the brim with candied pineapple and fleshy mango. The nose is rounded out by notes of fresh cut grass, and crusty bread.

T - taste follows the nose for the most part. At first it seems more on the dry side but seems to get sweeter as it warms. Dough and bread crust are first detected on the tip of the tongue. Lots of sweet fruit and malt character aid in keeping the grapefruit bitterness balanced. Pineapple and banana peel seem to be the predominant tropical fruits while the grassy flavors keep the flavors well rounded in the middle of the palate. A strong bitterness in the long finish as well as a touch of lemony acidity.

M - slick textured medium verging on full bodied with a light bubbly carbonation.

O - excellent. Almost everything I love about IPAs in a single can. Alchemist really hit the nail on the head with this one.

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

After I had a few sips from the can, as suggested by the brewery, I poured it into a tulip glass to have a look.   I'm glad I did! It's an attractive one!  A nice finger of head develops and the color is that of dried apricot fruit. There is a small amount of sediment floating about, but not much and it doesn't detract.  The head dissipates to nearly nothing, but some ultra fine lace remains that sticks to the glass with every sip. 

Big citrus and piney hop aromas. Tangerine!

For such potent nose the taste is quite well balanced for a DIPA.  It follows the nose to some extent with grapefruit citrus, but a hint of slightly sweeter fruit as well.  The malty backbone is there, subtle, but clearly balancing.  The finish is prickly bitterness although not overwhelming.  After it warms, every taste brings something new, oranges, lemon, honey suckle, peach...very interesting and complex!

For 8% ABV this one is quite drinkable.  The body is medium and the carbonation mild but a nicely done complement to the hoppiness. 

Thanks to Dr. B for sending this one.  What a treat!

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Photo of gabedivision
4.79/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

poured/drank from a 16 oz can (poured a bit in goblet to test the contrast)

A- pours a murky hazy deep golden orange with a thin white lace and a touch of lacing

S- the smell is just incredible pungent sweet citrus all the way, massive grapefruit and orange juice, mango, lemon peel, tangerines, so floral sticky, resiny and dank.

T- kicks off with a blast of grapefruit, followed by sweet orange juice, mango, just hops hops hops so good finishes with a rise of bitterness that ends with a nice sublte lingering grapefruit peel resin.

M- Medium bodied, soft, light, dangerously too easy to drink, i cannot keep the can from my mouth, low to moderate carbonation

O- This beer lived up to the hype, its hop blend is just absolutly perfect, subtle sweet malt base on the back, just so well put together. Flowery and floral, blasts of citrus, not one single off flavor or feeling, i gotta say this is as close to perfect to a beer that ive ever tasted

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Photo of hoppytobehere
4.86/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Acquired a 4-pack from a trade. No date on this, but it was picked up last week from the brewery. Should only be a couple weeks old at this point.

A: Yeah I poured it in a glass. So what. Very cloudy, dull orange color. Lots of crap floating around in there. Great head, excellent retention though. Lacing covering the glass as I drink more.

S: Pungent aroma. Freshly squeezed orange juice, dank piney hops, grapes. It fills the entire room with hop aroma. Ridiculous.

T: Hop flavor on this one is ridiculous, in the best of ways. Waves and waves of it (quoting the can), and it never gets too bitter. Perfectly balanced. There's malt in there, but it stays behind the scenes and does its job.

M: Like a warm blanket in the winter. Feels great.

O: I'm currently using google maps to find my way to Waterbury, VT. Might even scour craigslist for jobs up there. This beer is a hophead's dream.

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Photo of UDbeernut
4.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

can aquired from trade with shcufj. no freshness info.

pours a golden amber into my snifter capped by small head with good retention. Head reduces to a lacing cap. Aroma is of tropical fruit and light caramel. Pineapple upfront on the palate with tangerine, and canned peaches. Caramel provides the backbone. Mouth is light bodied. excellent.

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Photo of cardsfan
4.11/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Finally got to try the #1 beer so thought I would write a review! Appearance is great, unfiltered and good yello/gold color. Smell is amazing with great hops coming through. Taste is where I am disappointed. Don't get me wrong it's good but not as hoppy as I was expecting. Can't tell but missing something. And mouthful was just alright. Overall a good beer but feel like I've had better IPAs out there.

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Photo of Viciousknishs
4.34/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- pours a medium amber color with a finger of off white long lasting head.

S- huge dank rediculous hop aromas. Big woody floral pine hop aromas blend with a high alpha hop oil aroma. Big cat piss and a note of lemon zest. Finishes with the tiniest touch of honey and malt sweetness.

T- a touch of cracker pale malt flavor hits the palate at first. Huge hop flavor of wood, pine sap, yellow grapefruit and fresh hop oil. Smooth round bitterness with a touch of alchohol on the finish.

MF- slick oily mouthfeel with a medium body and soft fine carbonation.

D- very drinkable and rediculously hoppy. Don't think I'll be able to taste much after this :)

Overall a great east coast DIPA.

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Photo of Cvescalante
4.79/5  rDev +3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- this beer is quite ugly, but like an ugly puppy and you still love it

S- fruity fruity hops. it smells fantastic!

T- heaven on the tongue. citrus and tropical fruit

M- light-medium bodied, perfect carbonation

O- best ipa I've ever had... period

..apparently my review wasn't long enough, so I have to continue writing lol

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Photo of therubicon
4.44/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dank and piney, with a little citrus in the background. Well balanced and very drinkable. Drunk half in the can and half in the glass. I prefer the glass. Delicious.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.65 out of 5 based on 13,237 ratings.
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