Heady Topper | The Alchemist

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2,242 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: 2,242 | Ratings: 12,622
Photo of MartzMimic
4.76/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a hazy orange with two fingers of white head. Big aroma of pineapple, mango, and dank floral notes. Tastes of grapefruit, sweet tropical fruits and then finishes with piney bitterness. Medium mouth with some carbonation. This is such a well-made DIPA.

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Photo of cbeer88
4.89/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Reviewed from a pair of fresh 2 day old cans. One was poured into a Duvel tulip, and one drank straight from the can for comparison.

Appearance: Full can takes up the majority of the glass, with the last couple of inches providing a nice creamy white head to the top of the glass. Color of beer is a pretty honey orange amber color with very little light coming through.

Smell: Perfect. Pine, grapefruit, and other hints of citrus mingle with a touch of sweet malt smell. It really doesn't get any better than this. If you visit the cannery there is a potent hop smell in the air, and it smells exactly like the inside of a can of HT.

Taste: About like it smells. Perfectly balanced - it's full of citrus and pine hops up front, with a nice bitterness on the finish. The malt gives it a very slight caramel flavor to keep this beer from being an abrasive over the top hop bomb. Alcohol is simply nowhere to be found - incredibly masked for an 8% beer.

Mouthfeel: Pretty full bodied for a DIPA, very creamy and smooth. Carb was a bit on the low side but perfect for the beer.

Drinkability: Extremely high. Aside from the extreme hops, you wouldn't really know this is a DIPA. Alcohol is nonexistent, and I can't really disagree with the brewer in the hypothetical shotgunning ability of HT. :)

Overall: I've now had this guy on draft, in the can, and out of the can. Any way you take it, it's an amazing beer. I do feel that straight from the can had a bit more hoppy flavor, but pouring it gives you the killer nose plus the ability to see the beer. Net-net I'll probably go with what I'm feeling at the time.

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Photo of MrIncognito
4.49/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Had at the Skinny Pancake at Burlington Airport

A - Hazy orange body with a thick white cap that leaves great lacing.

S - One of my favorite parts of the beer. Like smelling a hop bouquet. Sweet, floral hops and a bit of orange zest. Just a hint of sweet malt and a smooth alcohol aroma as the beer warms. Piney and citrusy at the same time. Love it

T&M - Tons and tons of hops but I would not say this is an overly bitter beer. A little less than moderate carbonation allows the beer to coat your mouth with each sip. Pine and citrus hops with a sweet malt backbone. Warming alcohol on the swallow but not overly forward; just enough to balance things out. Every time I take a sip I think of aromatic flowers.

O - Insanely drinkable for a IIPA. I had this at 12pm which is usually way too early for me but I couldn't pass it up. Still went down now and easy. The key to this beer's greatness is its balance. All the flavors and aromas meld so well together and compliment each other wonderfully.

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Photo of BeRanger
4.82/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big shout out to SilentJay for picking me up a case of this when he was up in VT this weekend and meeting me when I flew into Boston/NH for a few weeks. A mystery box will be coming his way soon. Should have been a batch within a week, two max.

A: Following the directions of the can, I drank it straight from the can versus pouring. Perhaps my next will be into a glass.

S: Even from the small opening of the can, quite the aroma. Plenty of citrus & tropical fruits and hops.

T: This is without a doubt the most well balanced DIPA I've had. Finally a benchmark has been set for what they should taste like. The hops and tropical fruits meld together perfectly without a harsh after-taste.

M: Pretty light bodied with just the right amount of carbonation.

O: I was wondering if this would live up to the hype and it certainly did. It is certainly the best DIPA I've tasted. Not even because of the flavors but just because how well balanced everything was. I'll be interested to see the difference in a few weeks from the fresh one I have right now. The only disappointment is after this is gone, I won't be getting any for quite awhile.

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

Purchased and consumed many times over the past couple of years. I typically ignore the can and drink from a tall glass.

If fresh, it pours out a hazy lemonade yellow with a thick foamy head that slowly dissipates and leaves a bit of lace.

Smell is heavy with citrus and a touch of tropical fruit and dank.

Taste varies a little by batch but is typically a grapefruit bomb, with some cannabis, and finishing with a perfect balance of soft bitterness.

Mouth feel is just right - medium body, clean and refreshing.

Overall, this is the ultimate Vermont style IPA - as good as it gets. I wish I could brew it.

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Photo of justforrazors
4.84/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Fairly fresh, received in a trade. Should be less than 2 weeks old. I poured a little bit into a taster just to see appearance, the rest of the review will be from the can, as the brewer intended.

A- Pours a cloudy orange with a half inch white head. Very good retention and lacing. Clarity is downright ugly, although I personally prefer the rustic look for a good double IPA. There is no denying this thing was dry hopped to heaven and back.

S- Grapefruit, citrus, pineapple, some malt. Huge hop aroma that has some floral grassyness, but mainly a full frontal assault of pine resin mixed with grapefruit, pineapple and peach.

T- I missed this beer. Follows the nose very well. Tropical fruits mix with a strong bitterness that overtakes the malt, although not so much that it is overwhelming. In my opinion, the best tasting DIPA out there.

M- Carbonation is spot on, body is a medium with a fairly dry finish. No lingering sweetness, although certainly a ton of lingering bitterness.

O- I am admittedly a huge Heady Topper fanboy. Honestly, I am kind of surprised it has taken me this long to actually review this. Definitely not the best looking beer from the classic definition of how a beer should appear, but I think the cloudy, almost dirty look shows you that they care most about the flavor and aroma of the beer, sacrificing looks for the characteristics they like the most.

(Ok, maybe that sounds like something you say about a really ugly girl.)

Either way, this is a world class example that I hope the alchemist can continue to produce at this level for a long time.

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Photo of Stolenface1
4.49/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

Drinking about half the can out of a small snifter, the rest from the can.

Golden and somewhat hazy in the snifter. Not much in the way of head or lacing.

Smell is detectable as soon as you crack the can open. Sweet and resinous citrus peel, pine sap and pineapple notes. A grassy aroma that reminds me of dried hop pellets also noticeable, especially from the can.

Taste is a blast of slightly sweet hop flavor. Pine and citrus all over the place, tropical fruit notes, a lot of sticky, prickly resin. I think I get some cracker-y malt in the finish, but it certainly can't rival the hop flavor. Not overwhelmingly bitter or intense. I'm always impressed with how smooth this tastes.

Mouthfeel is medium, smooth and not very carbonated. It's the perfect amount of carbonation from the can, but when poured into the glass, it lacks a bit in carbonation.

I've thought this was the best IPA made on the East Coast I've had when I first had it at the brewpub a year ago, and now that its in cans I still feel that way. Really glad I bought a whole case at the cannery. I also was surprised to find that it's a bit better out of the can.

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Photo of lucas1801
4.89/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Not my first go-round with this great beer but my first review of it.

A: Even though poured into a glass and it has it's cloudy/chunky look I won't penalize here as it is meant for can consumption. Plus I look at those chunks and smile as I know what awaits me.

S: Yes there are some hops in this bad boy; resins, pine and some tropical fruits.

T: This is where this beer shines, perfect balance for the style. Solid upfront bitterness that is followed by a great hop flavor profile, and the bitterness gently lingers the whole time and for a time afterwards.

M: It is a DIPA and it is dry as it should be while maintaining a solid malt presence that is very clean.

O: Get it and drink it, it is worth the hype. If trading for it make sure it is fresh as it does lose it's hop profile faster than most other DIPA's I have had.

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Photo of UA8
4.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- pours a hazy golden color with a one finger white head which recedes into chunky, nearly opaque lacing on the glass.

S- huge notes of mango, pineapple, and citrus. Backnotes of caramel malts balance things out.

T- grapefruit, mango, orange rind, caramel.

M- medium viscosity with a full but soft carbonation.

D- I don't care about the national hype train this is the best dipa I've had and the includes pliny. The only thing I've had that's better than topper is topper on cask.

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Photo of MOVERTON1284
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Straw colored DIPA, with great head. The beer is incredible, so aromatic and floral. The hop profile is incredible but the beer is also very well balanced.

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

Huge thanks to Sisuspeed for sending this my way in a recent trade! The bomber was split with a friend and poured into two snifters.

A: The color was more pale than I had anticipated. The beer poured a very murky pale amber and is clearly unfiltered. There was a nice 1 finger fluffy white head that had moderate retention and nice lacing.

S: A very intense and beautiful smell. Citrusy hops dominate, in particular tangerine. Probably the most intense tangerine smell I have encountered in a beer actually. A little bit of biscuty sweetness as well.

T: Truly a celebration of hops. The only way I could possibly knock this beer is to say that there is not quite enough balance, but the taste is amazing! Bitterness comes through from start to finish, which I like, as some DIPAs I've recently had the bitterness too focused on the finish. The middle of the drink has more of the citrus flavors, particularly tangerine and a bit of grapefruit, but not much. The finish has some earthiness to it, but is still mostly the citrus and bitterness. Only a faint malt presence, that I really had to search for.

M: Perfect level of carbonation, and a great aftertaste. The beer also has just the right viscosity.

D: Well, I wish I could get more of this. Unfortunately that's probably not going to happen. I could easily have polished off two bombers of this on my own. This 5.0 is in the hopes that they can it sometime in the future.

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Photo of dbalsock
4.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Having not logged into BA for the past few months, I've managed to miss the hype of Heady Topper. I went to the release with lpayette just for the heck of it and got to try the beer... so I imagine this review is pretty hype-free.

The appearance was perfect, two finger light sparkling head. It smelled and tasted like fresh hops, in a way that other IPA's try to acheive, but never really make it. I could taste a malt backbone, but it really was all about the hops, as the style should be.

The mouthfeel was incredible... so light and so exciting on the palate. However, I like a little more body. It was very similar to pliny the younger in its body and that just isn't how I would have liked it (although I realize it appeals to most others).

The drinkability was fantastic. I could have had glass after glass after glass and not tired of the brew. It went down so easily and once its in cans, it may be the only IIPA that I buy (up to this point I haven't bought any in the past few years because I've been disappointed since moving out of san diego... this tops the ones I used to drink back then for sure).

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Photo of JohnnyB
4.16/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I can see how people think of this as a trophy brew. It's very good,huge citrus smack. Like drinking a glass (yep,didn't read the instructions) of grapefruit juice. Had a slight,bitter (lemon) aftertaste. Overall,a wonderful brew.

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Photo of pgrenvicz
5/5  rDev +7.3%

What can I say? This beer is the reason I joined BA today. Turned on by a friend, i am eager to begin trading for this and other great beers. Heady Topper embodies everything I look for in an IPA. Seriously, this beer has it all. Great aroma, piney, tropical fruit flavored goodness. There is an excellent balance to this machine. Kudos to all at The Alchemist, you have earned my business if you can ever get down to Atlanta!

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Photo of AaronHomoya
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks, Kristen.

I poured it into a glass. Cloudy, orange/gold/copper color. A thick, light tan head tops it off. Aroma is supper hoppy. Awesome, big piney and citrus smells. Like a bag of hops. The flavor has a light malt backbone with some noticeable caramel malt in there. This is a very smooth imperial IPA. The hop flavor does have some sour citrus rind notes, but mostly bright grapefruit and some tropical fruit sweetness. Also a bit of floral, vanilla notes.

Overall, really top notch, of course.

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Photo of lurpy1
4.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Yesterday, HT was a beer I hoped to try some day. Today, after a tasting, HT is the best beer I've ever had. Thanks to Brandon for sharing a 4-pack, of which I greedily and surreptitiously consumed more than my fair share.

Utterly blown away that a beer can be this hoppy, this alcoholic, and this smooth and easy to drink. The first sip almost made me cry. There is not a lot I can add after 750+ reviews that hasn't been said. Is there such a thing as perfection? I don't know. But if perfection means a beer can't be improved on, this might be perfect. I don't know how you improve on it....except to relocate the Alchemist to Minnesota so I have easy and frequent access to it.

A day later I'm still thinking about this beer and trying to figure out how to get some. I suppose this is the way junkies feel about heroin. I wonder if that stuff's any good....

I'm agnostic, but if there is a (non-Mormon) God, may he bless the Alchemist, and watch over them so they can keep making this incredible beer.

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Photo of rodkin
4.58/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This beer is a hazy orange with a nice fluffy head and excellent lacing. It does kind of look like there's dandruff in there, though (can says it's hop resins).

Huge hoppy smell. Orange, pine, pineapple, bit of peach, strong citrus. Some sweetness, too. No sign of malts. Really just a giant hop bomb.

Taste is similar. Ridiculous amount of hops, piney, grassy, then some citrus, a bit of orange, lemon, some light sweetness. No sign of malts at all.

Mouthfeel is great, medium thickness, decent carb, but not a ton. Might be better if it was just slightly thinner, but still excellent.

This thing is a hop monster. A top two DIPA for me. Will definitely be seeking this out again in the future.

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

Tasty brew and my first form The Alchemist.

Poured out of the can for one tasting and left in the can for the other. I preferred in the can, probably why the brewery recommends this.

A: 2 fingered, soapy, slightly off white head that exhibited good retention. Murky orange body with a deep orange core.

S: Wow, those hops are strong. Lots of floral, pine, grapefruit, lemon, and grassy notes. Sweet malts were also evident. I usually can't identify so many different smells!

T: Quite hoppy, with loads of grapefruit. Not as sweet as the smell led me to believe. However, the rest of the scents were evident in the tasting and were well balanced. Delicious.

M: Medium light, crisp yet silky.

O: A great brew, what else can I say.

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Photo of kitch
4.74/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A 1 pint can canned on 15th December 2015 (I would have drank it earlier but was very sick for a long period of time) and tried from the can at first then poured into a Spiegelau IPA glass.

Appearance: It poured a hazy golden yellow orange colour with a two finger white head that dissipated fairly quickly but left nice sticky lacing.

Aroma: As soon as I opened the can the tropical aromas immediately came pouring out, but there was still a hint of the metal from the can. After pouring it into the glass, the aromas were not as strong but better with a mix of tropical pineapple, mango and citrus mandarin, orange peel and lemon zest. There was also a hint of pine.

Taste: Strong juicy citrus grapefruit and pine with a hint of tropical mango and pineapple. Nice front loaded bitterness which continues into the aftertaste. On the can it says “drink from the can” so I tried that as well. I have to say that taste is just as impressive from the can.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

Overall: An excellent DIPA. Must buy and taste fresh if possible. I only wish I wasn’t very sick when I received it… but I know I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy it as much if I drank it a month ago as I wouldn’t be able to taste or smell much. Although it says to drink from the can, which I did try, I still prefer to pour it into a glass to enjoy. It allows you to enjoy its look and gives a clearer aroma. Well worth the hype.

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Photo of JNPIII127
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Let's start off by saying that I am not an IPA fan or a Double IPA fan. This beer however, changed my view of this particular style of beer. The first thing you notice is the fresh citrusy smell of the hops followed by the smell of pine. The beer starts off with a very hop forward taste and finishes with the customary hoppy IPA finish. I must say that this beer is unbelievably drinkable and is overall pleasing to the palate. A pleasant surprise since beers with this high of an IBU tend to be overly bitter and very hard to drink. Finally a beer worthy of its ranking.

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

This beer is a perfect example of an east coast DIPA. So incredibly smooth yet the amazing hop bitterness is still there. The smell is that of citrus goodness and the carbonation is spot on perfect.

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

16 oz. can poured into a Portsmouth Brewery tulip. Deep golden, almost amber body with a fluffy white head that fades into a faint ring. Lots of floaties and other things dancing around in my glass.

Aroma is big on the grapefruit / tropical fruit characteristics. Some floral / grassy notes cut through the fruity sweet aroma as it warms up. Flavor assaults (but in a good way) the palate with even more tropical fruit, citrus, and floral hop oilyness. Big chewy malty flavor in there as well to balance it all out. Some warming alcohol is noticeable in the finish. Light, less carbonated body, but for some reason it works for this beer. Leaves a sticky coating in the mouth.

Love this beer, glad I got 2 four-packs of this.

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Photo of s_wit
4.49/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first shot at HT and I have to say, it wasn't what I expected. I was expecting a hop bomb being a dipa at 8% abv but it wasn't. Definitely the most well balanced ipa/dipa I have ever had. Taste and mouth feel were definitely great (alcohol was very well hidden). Appearance and smell were very good but not the best. Overall it was an awesome beer and I can't wait to have it again!

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Photo of roger617
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Original review 9/8/13:
I acquired 2 of these in a trade with abilow33 - I'll be reviewing the first which I'm drinking in the can per recommendations.

A: 4.0 I can't bring myself to give a 5 in appearance when I can't see it...
S: 5.0 Huge citrus and hop bomb immediately after opening the can.
T: 4.75 Very sweet, citrusy, floraly with pine on the back end. There is a slight dryness on the tongue in the aftertaste.
M: 4.5 Well carbed, smooth, but the dryness in the end prevents this from being perfect.
O: 4.5 Lots of hype around this one, understandable so. I can name a couple beers which I've had recently which compare to this more so than the ratings would suggest. I am very glad I was able to get a couple of these, but it's nothing that I would trade for again - not when readily available are Stone Ruination, FFF Dreadnaught and Bells Two Hearted.

Edit: rereview on 2/21/14
Acquired more via trade. While drinking and reviewing my original review, I can't bring myself to change any ratings. Surprisingly. I can however, and obviously, say that it is worth trading for more than 1 time. Having had more beer than I care to count in between my original review and now, I can say that Heady is one that I have consistently looked forward to. There just aren't any other IPAs that can capture the essence of hops the way The Alchemist does with Heady. Cheers, 'till the next one!

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 2,242 ratings.
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