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Heady Topper | The Alchemist

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BA SCORE
100
world-class
2,294 Reviews
Heady TopperHeady Topper
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
The Alchemist
Vermont, United States
alchemistbeer.com

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
"An American Double IPA" 75 IBU 8.0% ABV. "Drink from the can."

Added by scottum on 03-27-2004

BEER STATS
Reviews:
2,294
Ratings:
12,887
Avg:
4.66
pDev:
16.74%
 
 
Wants:
9,104
Gots:
5,165
For Trade:
65
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,294 | Ratings: 12,887
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 BeerBuckeye
4.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pours a very hazy orange/yellow with nice 2 finger white head. I love the haziness here, almost pumpkin colored in tint.

S - Wow. Burst of grapefruit, mango, orange, and balanced off with some honey sweetness, some pine and grass. Very nice.

T - Incredibly drinkable, and the nose follows through in the taste here. It provides a ton of sweetness up front with fruity hop character, but remains incredibly balanced. Finishes with just a tinge of bitter, piney hop.

M - Crisp, full, and smooth. As I said, it's incredibly drinkable. Solid amount of carbonation.

Overall - Incredible. Lives up to the hype. And absolutely delicious beer. An experience every beer drinker needs to have.

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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 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 Mongrel
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

It may sound blasphemous, but really not much separates a lot of the top American IPAs - Sculpin, Resin, Double Jack, etc. They're extremely good, but somewhat similar. But Heady Topper has that x factor that keeps you wanting more. Not sure if it's the well-rounded mouthfeel or supremely fresh taste. It's just infinitely drinkable.

First you get juicy hops and it's almost a little too bitter. Then after a couple sips the bitterness mellows out a bit, yielding to a wide range of fruity hop flavors -- citrus, grapefruit, mango and apple. There's also a big, green piney/grassy/herbal hop presence. The mouthfeel is big, round, creamy and balanced, but also resinous and sappy at times. Combined with the tangy fruit profile, it's somewhat reminiscent of a sophisticated cider or champagne. Really dry, bitter finish.

It's a thoroughly American IPA and there is a distinct lack of nutty/biscuity/malty characteristics that you might find in more internationally-inspired brews. That's the only negative thing I can think of to say. But it's surely better off as is.

This beer just keeps giving and giving and it's difficult to pin down why you enjoy it so much. You just keep reaching for cans until you realize that it's still an 8% abv brew and you should probably not kill that precious 4-pack by yourself tonight.

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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 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 PeterIngemi
4.32/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank from a 16oz can... Thanks to Brett for giving me this can

A- the can looks beautiful, and clearly states to drink it from the can, which is what i did, the one other time I tries this we split a can between 4 people, I remember it looked nice, but it was too long ago to be specific, and for the review I felt it best to follow the brewers instruction.

S- Smells awesome, grass, resiny pine, a bit of citrus, a very pleasant aroma.

T- piney and resinous just like the nose, a bit of grass and citrus tastes very fresh!!! Very nice balance of flavors working here, delicious hops throughout.

M- medium bodies with medium carbonation, extreemly drinkable, with a slightly bitter finish, kinda chewy on the end too, which i like.
the only part of this that imam not a fan of is the lingering bitter aftertaste, seems to coat the mouth with bitter resins.

O- an excellent dipa, very nice, great aroma and flavor , everything is spot on, the only thing negative I have to say is or the aftertaste, I feel as though this beer is excellently well rounded until that point, and not that it is overly offensive, but it sticks out to me, and seems a bit out of place, I wish there were more of a crisp clean finish.

P.s. in retrospect, I am much more impressed with this straight from the can then I was the first time when I had my portion in a glass.

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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 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 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!)

05/26/13:
Got to re-taste a fairly fresh one....If there was a 6 rating, this would be the beer I would give it to.

08/06/13
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

06/04/14
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 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 raynmoon
4.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Canned early october. About 2 weeks old. I have had this numerous times, but thought i'd give it a proper review, fresh, at proper temperature.

Pours the hazy light orange. Small bubbles hanging around the edge. Looks really nice.

The smell is super piney with a twist of tropical fruit, or what I would call the "heady topper smell."
It is a mix of the old school and new school. A little bit of alcohol coming through actually. Not as pungent as I remember.

A little different than I remember. A very nice balance of bitterness, pine, citrus, and breadiness. Not as sticky and juicy as some other batches. But still really nice. Bitterness lingers a little as well.

It has a nice creaminess to it that helps emphasize the oils from the hops. It kind of sticks to the inside of your mouth, keeping the resinous character around longer.

Overall, very good. Every batch seems to be just a little different. Some are solid, some are other-wordly. This one is somewhere in-between.

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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 hoppytobehere
4.86/5  rDev +4.3%
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 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 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 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 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 CaptCleveland
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

1 pint can from recent trade with mountainsnow 1010--a big thanks!
No can dating.
The inscription implores "DRINK FROM THE CAN!".
Started that way, then realized I would not be able to comment on the appearance-Duh!.
Golden-orange, clear elixir poured into SA glass. Thin, white head, quickly dissipates. Nice lacing.
From the can, huge hop resin and floral notes--heaven to this hophead. After the pour, grapefruit, lime, sweet and tangy fruit explode. Wow.
This is all about the hop. Full bittersweet hop all over the tongue, smooths out to leave a nice tingling sensation across the landscape. Grapefruit to lemon aftertaste but the sweet hops do not die! Awesome!
Medium body, plenty of bubbles, alcohol hidden (cannot believe 8%).
This is a keeper and one that all hopheads should seek. The standard for DIPAs. Now you can argue that Hopslam is sweeter, but really, for those that crave the hops and all of its glorious characteristics, this is the one. And in a can. The debate is dead.

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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 Stolenface1
4.34/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a light cloudy orange with adequate frothy white head. Aroma of tropical fruit, pine, slight floral and herbal, pineapple, mango and melon with tropical fruit esters (pear/peach)from the yeast. Flavor matches the aroma and add a very slight malty sweetness that is just enough to play off of the perfect amount of bitterness in this beer. A touch of wheat also. Mouthfeel is light but with a slightly creamy fruit juice feel to it... Overall awesome DIPA.

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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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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.66 out of 5 based on 12,887 ratings.
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