Heady Topper | The Alchemist

2,350 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: 2,350 | Ratings: 13,242
Photo of ozzman54
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What else can I say. Heady Topper has been one of the few beers out of all that I've tried that really lives up to the hype. A masterpiece by The Alchemist. Beer looks great and tastes great whether out of the can or poured. Appearance is copper, orange, unfiltered, cloudy, danky looking. Smell is spot on hoppy, piney, danky and citrusy. Taste is incredible with lots of pungent grapefruit in your face balanced by the piney bitterness and malt. Keeps you wishing you had a whole case. Mouthfeel is smooth and perfectly carbonated. It goes down so easy. This beer is #1 for a reason.

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Photo of thequeen711
4.15/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not being an ipa fan this beer is awesome. The hops are so well balanced. Highly revcommend dor the non ipa lover. I bought a 4 pk and can kick myself for not getting a case . Next visit I will get at least 1 case! A definite option for the non IPA oriented consumer.

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Photo of jbwimer
4.64/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Received two 4-packs in a trade with bostonbeans originating on the other site. Purchased a week ago, so this beer is fresh to deff... Whatever that means. First time drinking, and I'm pretty excited. Thanks, Vini!

A- Drank the majority of this beer from the can, but I wanted to see what it looked like, so I poured a few ounces into a snifter. Looks like grapefruit juice with a bit of orange juice poured into it. Pretty friggin' cloudy. A small head, that I'm sure would expand had I poured the whole can. Overall, not too impressive. I can see why "DRINK FROM THE CAN!" is exclaimed on the label in all caps.

S- Wow. Could I just smell this beer forever? So pungent, and so delightful. Huge citrus (specifically grapefruit and clementine), pine, and floral notes with a hint of sweetness. You're not gonna make a beer that smells better than this. You're just not. So don't even try.

T- Hops on hops on hops. Juicy, fruity sweetness balanced out by the hop bitterness. Hops, citrus, sweetness. In that order. And me likey that order. The bitterness lingers, requiring a solid smacking of the lips. Love that. The taste is not quite as phenomenal as the nose, but quite lovely nonetheless.

M- Not the best mouthfeel I've had in an IPA. Feels just a little bet empty. Maybe a little watery at some points. Doesn't detract too much from the beer, but could be improved. Pretty good amount of carbonation, with a dry finish. Hop oils totally coat the tongue.

O- I think I'm understanding the hype. This was a really enjoyable beer. Only room for improvement would be on the appearance and the mouthfeel. But where it really counts, this beer delivers. And I have 7 more in the refrigerator. You lucky dog.

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Photo of Fux
4.81/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Drinking this beauty on a lazy Saturday afternoon and figured I should have reviewed this a long time ago.
Review is mainly based on a 2 weeks old can, but with comments from other tastings I had before.
First, I think it's useful to have the debate on the best way to appreciate Heady Topper. It took me half a dozen cans to figure out the "drink from the can / review from a glass" thing, but now, it turned as a well-oiled ritual. Flavors and aromas on Heady Topper are really volatile (more than on any other hoppy beer I have had so far), yet, the nose is so great it would be a pity to drink it from the can. So what I do is pouring it in my de Heeren van Liedekercke glass (which is a small, not too wide wine glass, more or less a white wine glass) 2oz. by 2oz., it enables me to enjoy the nose but have the beer rest in the glass with not too much contact with the air. I'm very proud of this technique, it makes me consider myself a professional Heady Topper drinker :-/ And now, let's review it:
A: Everything has been said of how bad-looking this beer is, hazy as hell with lots of sediments floating around (it will be hazy however you pour it, but a gentle pour can avoid the sediments to come to the glass), yet I really love the look of it. Hazy straw / orange in color, with a foamy white head, quite lingering, this looks very juicy, like a fresh pressed grapefruit.
S: This is the best part of it, fruity, juicy, with a resinous scent, very complex and appealing with aromas of mangos, peaches, oranges, passionfruits, grapefruits and pineapples.
T: Taste is very fruity also. If drunk very fresh, one can taste the fresh hops, grassy and floral aromas, which do mellow after a week or so and leave fruity waves of hoppy, fruity goodness flooding from the front end of the tongue to the back end of the throat, with a lingering, resinous aftertaste and a bittersweet dryness on the finish (which also mellows with time). No heavy sweetness, no over-malting defect, no alcohol is to be felt. I could drink 5 liters of this on a single night.
M: Mouthfeel is smooth with a high carbonation and a dangerous dryness on the finish, calling for the next mouthful.
O: Contrary to many DIPAs, Heady Topper is not so focused on hops, but has a real yeasty liveness, light on the malt side but very well balanced, not at all as bitter as expected from the IBU, but still very smooth and fruity. It evolves gracefully (probably at it peaks after one month, but it can be enjoyed even one year after canning, regarding my own experience, being really focused on the yeast quality). One of the best DIPAs I have been able to try, and one I really love revisiting on a regular basis.

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Photo of HomersTomaco
4.12/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

So the age old debate.... Heady vs Pliny...

Pliny wins every time

I like the idea of cans. When you get a fresh one it's very cloudy, naturally, because it's unfiltered. I don't really mind this but a lot of people do. The taste is great. Very hoppy, grapefruit and floral. I like the beer a lot and I want more, but it's not as crisp of a beer as Pliny. Heady is a bit more malty and slightly more bitter. Whenever you can find this beer drink it right away and do not save them or age them. It is best drank as fresh as possible.

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

This is my 2nd time having this, and it shocked me both times.

Appearance: perfect color for this type of beer with a mild haze to it. Almost greenish hue.

Smell: Pine and citrus through and through. Pineapple, mango, orange, and pine. Its what I had always dreamed of for a IIPA.

Taste: Wow, amazing, simply put. The taste matches the nose but there's almost a candy like sweetness to that's very very subtle but works for it incredibly well. Hops up front and citrus more towards the middle with a perfect just sweet enough finish.

Mouth feel: Perfect carbonation, insanely drinkable. That's worth the experience alone almost!!!

Don't let the hype scare you, it scared me. This truly is what its cracked up to be. Good work Alchemist Brewing co!

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Photo of adam42381
4.96/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 16 ounce can into a Spiegelau tulip - no, I didn't follow the rules and drink it out of the can. No freshness date printed on the can.

Appearance: Pours a hazy dark honey blond with orange highlights and a 3 finger fluffy eggshell white head which dissipates very slowly leaving a 1/2 finger puddle of foam gently resting on top. Decent lacing.

Smell: The nose is huge. I got a blast of hops as I poured it from the can into the glass. Huge citrus aroma with resinous pine, floral sweetness, pineapple, a touch of honey and just a bit of bready malt in the background .

Taste: Sweet citrus, pine and grapefruit dominate throughout. The flavors aren't overly complex, but it's incredibly well-balanced. The aftertaste is bitter, but not overly so. There are hints of sweet orange in the aftertaste as well. This beer just does what it intends to do: give waves and waves of hoppy goodness on your palate.

Mouthfeel: Medium-to-full-bodied with just the right amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Insanely high drinkability. I wish they still counted that toward the score here on BA. Goes down so smooth, I can't believe it's 8% ABV.

Overall: Amazing beer overall. There is a reason this is considered amongst the world's best beers. It's phenomenal. Honestly, I don't think there's one thing I would change about this beer. This is a beer to seek out. If you ever get the chance, you must try it. It's world class.

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Photo of De_Nada_Brewing
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Finally got my hands on some of this, first off let me say this beer is awesome. The second you open the can you are hit with an explosion of hops.

Everything about this beer screams DIPA

Definitely one of the top 3 IPAS I've had!

The questions is Pliny the Elder vs. Heady


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Photo of Pratt33
4.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I must say this is the best beer I have ever tasted. Not only does it taste flawless but it looks and smells flawless as well. One of the most difficult beers to purchase on the market! Well worth the wait though. The smell alone if like no other, very fruity and strong, but not over powering.

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Photo of Migz
4.99/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - The beer is golden yellowish with a sticky white head. good lace in glass but its best served drank from can because it dosnt look that good.

S - Smells delightful/amazing/everything great in this world. citrus with other tropical fruits and world peace.

T - delicious creamy IPA that cover all the nooks and crannys of your mouth, very hoppy yet fruity with a resounding aftertaste of perfect bitterness and fruits. unlike any beer i have ever had. what it lacks in appearance it more than makes up in what counts, THE TASTE, this is a true nectar of the gods.

M - Creamy embodied mouthfeel that dosnt give you that typical IPA dry feel at the end, simply put.. perfection.

This elusive beer is worth the effort to find, you will not experience an IPA like this anywhere else.

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

They hype was not false. This was absolutely divine!

At the crack of the can, which I drank from, the hops were on attack and when I began to drink it, the onslaught didn't stop at any time.

By far, one of if not the best I have had. Definitely happy I waited to make this beer #200!

If I could get this regularly, I would be buying everything I could!

Don't fear the hype. It is all true!

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Photo of djjacobsen
4.61/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Definitely worthy of a 100 rating. Fresh hop beer consumed very soon after shipment arrived. Dank, grassy hops. Slight spice and earthy tones. Perfect carbonation and a sweet, faint malt character. Still trumped by Pliny and Enjoy By but among the top of its class. Oh, and I was a bad boy and didn't drink from the can. Hats off to the Alchemest all the way from Vermont doing the west coast ipa as good as or better than almost anyone out there.

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Photo of bishopdc0
4/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can that traveled from Vermont to Washington to Maine.

The beer is is golden yellow witha sticky white head. It laces the glass and the can doesn't look half bad either.

The nose is dank with spicy hops there is a slight malty sweetness but the hops are obviously the star. From the can the smell of hops seem a little more prominent but the spicyness is subdued. Reminds me of a less intense abrasive.

The taste matches the nose full of hops spicy and very dry. I am a little underwhelmed, while tasty probably wouldnt make my top 5 dipas

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Photo of hearsnobrain
4.86/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Another head sucked into the hype. After trying the sample from the Alchemist tap, which was damn delicious, I was still unsure if the journey was worth it. Settled back where I was staying, I cracked a can and fell in love.

Traveling via car, ferry, train, cab, subway, tram, and plane... a case made it back home to Arizona with me. Friends rejoiced and the nectar was sparingly enjoyed to the last drop.

There are enough ASTMO reviews so I just thought I'd share my story instead.

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Photo of BastardFromABasket
4.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

When it's fresh it's truly amazing. Liquid hop candy. Sweet but not cloying with with notes of resin, pine and grapefruit. Like drinking a liquid forest. As it ages it loses it's sweetness and grassy notes begin to dominate.

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Photo of Volpy98
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From the first crack of the can the piney hops aromas are enough to make you think you are amongst the pine covered hills of Vermont. The can does not lie - your first sip will be an explosion of hops. This beer is not for the faint of heart, but if you are a hop head beware... this DIPA could quite possibly ruin all others for you. :)

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

Poured from the can into a tulip glass...

This can was bought in mid-September. Poured a hazy rich goldorange with over 1 finger of off white head. This faded to nice lacing on the glass. Light carbonation noted.

First whiff is hops and then the citrus presence, namely grapefruit, pine and some other hints. So nice on the nose but it doesn't give away anything about what's coming in the tasting....

Remembering that this has been sitting in the fridge since mid-September I figured there would be some difference between this and the one I had at the brewery. I wasn't too far off. The hop profile has softened slightly but the first notes are the hops, then the citrus, other fruit hints and pine. The beer is still so balanced there wasn't one flavor that stood out above the others. Certainly the malts haven't taken over and dumbed down the flavor profile, it's just a bit mellower than when fresh.

Medium body for me with a clean, fresh taste and a dry, hop finish. Smooth all the way through. Lower carbonation than what I remember but I don't mind a bit.

Overall this beer lives up to its name. As I compare it to other DIPA, this one is still at the top of my list, even one that's a little older and less-fresh than right out of the brewery. Awesome job Alchemist and hopefully I'll come by some more of this down the road.


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Photo of MRLMedic
4.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Made the 7 hour round trip to acquire this wonderful beer.

I can't really add much that hasn't been already said. I tried some in a glass and some out of the can and the can is the way to go. Really enjoyed having this beer nice and fresh.

This is a perfectly balanced beer. Killer hops! It says 8% but this will knock you on your butt after a few.

Will make the trip up to Vermont again!

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Photo of TheDinger
4.29/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Let me preface this by saying, I'm not much of an IPA hop head. But a buddy scored this and I had to try it out of the can followed by in a glass. I actually like the glass offering better, but here goes: Poured from can into DFH snifter. Great looking light pale yellow beer with an inviting 2 fingers of head. Straw hues and a bit of cloudiness. Smell is awesome. Citrus hops meet earthy/pine hops. Getting grapefruit and apricot on the nose. Taste was pretty balanced and smooth for such a strong announced IBU. For not a big fan of the style, I was glad it went down as easy as it did. More pronounced fruit as it warmed. The can offering just seemed a bit less flavorful? to me than the glass. Feel was great with a medium heft and carbonation that was pleasant. Overall: The best IPA I have had, but again it's not my wheelhouse. I liked the citrus frontend and balance. I can see where those who love the style would really like this. I would drink again and think it's a must try.

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Photo of zookerman182
4.82/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance is a can, I followed the instructions and I'm glad I did.
Aroma is like no other, peachy, pine, intense tropical fruits, blueberry, pineapple.
Flavor is so tropical, extremely complex and well balanced beer.
Just bitter enough but flavors of pineapple and peach linger on the tongue.
Mouthfeel is like a creamy ipa. It coats every corner of your mouth.
I see what all the hype is about.
I'm so thankful to be able to try a fresh one (canned on 11/11/13) here in Alabama

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Photo of DWaters
4.98/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Without a doubt this is my favorite beer. Although the instructions on the can say to drink from the can I have on occaision used a glass, which is my prefferred beer drinking method. When you first open one you are hit with a wonderful smell that is not matched by any other beer I have ever experienced. The flavor of this awesom double IPA is very hoppy yet slightly fruity at the same time. There is something else unique about the tast but I cannot put it into words. I guess I find it robust and strong but smooth at the same time. The limited avaiablity undoubtedly adds to the mystic of this beer. I usually only get to have some about twice a year. Whenever I drink other IPAs I always mentally compare them to Heady Topper and they alwasy fall short, even if they are very good. For me nothing tops Heady Topper!

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Photo of jordanimal
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I suggest getting multiples to try one from the can, one in glass. Although most of everything you can say about this beer has been said, my take way is hugely balanced beer with great hops to malt balance, up front citrus fades to pine then to a roasty malt.

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Photo of Jmamay22
4.74/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

The beer pours a pumpkin hued orange that is very cloudy. Ecru colored head is well maintained with thick gobs of sticky lacing left with each sip. The scent is overwhelmingly hoppy and seems to span the entire hop spectrum without becoming muddled. Notes of pineapple, pine, orange citrus, pear and some background general scent of yeast. Very heady experience.

The taste is a wonderful progression and balance. This isn't a bitter IBU bomb, but a cascade of hop flavor. Nice medium bodied mouthfeel that doesn't thin out or dry out the palate. The flavor begins with the citrus hops and gives way to a more fruity impression of peach and apple. Finishes with an assertive bitterness that refrains from overpowering. Obviously the beer heavily favors hops rather than malts, but gives an impression of balance rather than being overly hop agressive.

I was wary to review this very hyped beer without careful consideration. I was lucky enough to have a case from a recent trip to Vermont to mull over the different aspects of this beer. Difficult to call any beer #1 in the world, but very appropriate to call it outstanding.

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

Heady Topper

Look 9/10
Smell 20/20
Taste 39/40
Feel 10/10
Drinkability 19/20

Overall 97/100

My heady re-visit... Such a 'World Class' brew... Prolly the only one that I can say I'll ever go chase. Nothing about it disappoints. Even people that dislike IPA's not only enjoy this... They love it! It's such a great beer, I can't think of enough words to give it praise~

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Photo of evanforbeer
4.61/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A friend gave this to me out of nowhere, he said it was canned within the week.
pours an odd, murky brownish orange with lots of sediment chunks floating around and a think white head

aroma- mango, peach, pineapple, fresh grains, some rose, spicy hop zest

taste- sweet citrus hits the palate up from with tangerine and lemons, fresh tropical fruits mango/pineapple, a little hop spice with subtly sweet bready malt. Some berries in there. Finishes with a grip of pine/hop spice and a bit dry-malty

feel- medium bodied, drinkable, mild booze, delicious, juicy, zesty, dry

this is a great beer. Obviously a lot of hype, probably mostly due to its limited availability, but this is probably one of the best IPAs out there. Juicy, resinous, clean. I'm glad I got to try it!

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.65 out of 5 based on 13,242 ratings.
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