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 doddja
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A great hop beer with a smooth finish. The best micro brew I have had yet.
Hard to get, only made in limited runs and available from local shops that limit 1 four pack per customer. So if you want to stock up be ready to travel around and visit several shops. Get there early, they sell out fast.

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Photo of JC333
4.53/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

I'll start by saying I am first and foremost a Belgian fan but wanted to try heady simply because it was number 1. Definitely one of the best IPAs I have ever had, beating out sculpin and stones enjoy by... The bitterness is non existent and you get swept by the grapefruit and pine flavors immediately. And even after settling a bit, the typical dry ipa bitterness never arrives. A must for every beer fan but with the understanding that there is a hype factor. Once again...I could think of many more Belgians I would prefer.

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Photo of greg1973
3.33/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Had side by side with Surly Abrasive and Pliny. By far finished last! Sorry, good for an east coast IPA, but no match for west coast. Pours a cloudy opaque orange color, odd chalky mouthfeel, and a little thick for the style. Prefer a cleaner, crisper, more bitter, hop forward IPA. I see why they want you to drink from the can, not a good looking beer at all! Taste not too far off. Not even in my top ten. Sorry.
Maybe I received an old can, would love to try again, but not gonna trade across the country for another one. No date, hard to determine freshness.

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Photo of pgrenvicz
5/5  rDev +7.5%

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 michaelg137
4.92/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First time having this beer thanks to a trade. Soon as i took my first sip i got a blast of hops on the tongue. Hints of pine and grapefruit come through. This is simply one of the best if not the best DIPA out there. Zombie dust is a close second for me. cheers!

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

This beer deserves to be at the top of the charts. An incredible refreshing double IPA. As soon as you crack the can open you are delighted with a burst of great smell, taste and hops. Citrus smell and flavor comes through well. The fact it taste so good out of can gets a big thumbs up.

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Photo of Lkell30
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a useless review, I'm no critic but I love heady topper. Got a case the last canning day at their current location. No refined palate here, but I appreciate great beer and I consider ht a leader of the pack. I love the can, I prefer drinking out of a can across the board, and I am no stranger to Budweiser or miller lite. To me all these beers have a place, but as far as double IPA's go, this is my favorite so far.

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Photo of dobmaster
4.91/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Firts time i stop at the alchemist (driving from Ottawa Canada to Cape-Cod) they were out... i was mad. On the way home...they were still out of beer. I was really mad. The free samples were nice...but its more like torture.

Then last week i manage to take a trip down Vermont, Skip the monday craziness lines.
Whent back on thuesday...waited maybe a hour in line. Now im happy :)

This is a great beer! not a big crazy hop megabomb ( i REALY like hop megabomb) but its a very very good beer. Sooo easy to drink, you just want more more and more...Now i actualy think its a good thing that its hard to find and 4 hour drive from my place coz if i ad easy access to this beer ? it could become a problem lol

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Photo of T-34-85
4.91/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Stopped by the brewery as part of a tour around New England, having an onsite sample and picking up a case of cans.

Poured into a balloon glass (tried from can as well):

A: Orange and cloudy with a nice foamy head.

S: Intense and complex hop aroma with citrus and pine notes.

T: Hop bitterness with surprising level of sweetness.

M: Intense mouthfeel that really attacks the tongue.

Overall: Intense beer that leaves you hard pressed to have another right away. Great hop aroma and intense flavor. Worth the effort to get your hands on this beer. Amazing Double IPA.

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Photo of 11JON11MO
4.89/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

OK we made the pilgrimage from the Capital District in NY to Vermont. The Alchemist will not be open to the public past 11/15/13 while they look for another place to open up. Yep it was worth the trip.
A - If you are looking for clear then look for a filtered beer. This is and was meant to be unfiltered. Nicely done
S - Pine, Grapefruit, Citrus very nice smell.
T - Again the Hops shines and the pine, grapefruit taste comes out.
M - Very nice not too much alcohol.
O - very nice almost perfection.

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Photo of xVERITAS
4.66/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The OG of the DIPA world. Had 1 from the can and 1 from a glass.

Pours a murky, shiny orange color. Smells very citrusy and piney. The bitterness is extraordinary. Has a thickness to it that makes it unique but not strange. Easy drinking, making it hard not to just chug it after a long day. Lives up to the hype for sure, and would highly recommend it

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Photo of plaid75
4.64/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured a hazy bronze hue with a two finger frothy white head. There was excellent retention and excellent lacing.

The smell featured waves of balmy pine, grapefruit and pineapple.

The taste was nothing short of a hop laden punch in the mouth. Puckering pine and grapefruit assault the palate initially, with a secondary and somewhat soothing tropical fruit and grainy malt.

The mouthfeel was full and round with a drying bitterness.

An extraordinarily complex use of hop additions makes this one a world class experience. Believe the hype.

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Photo of Scipio
4.89/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Heady Topper from The Alchemist is the counter-point to Pliny the Elder. It's brash, fun, and overpowering. This is not a subtle beer. Truth be told, I'm not sure I've had enough of it to rate it.

But every time I crack one, I am reminded that God loves us and wants us to be happy, whether we're up to our assholes in alligators, or sitting on the back porch watching the dogs play. I may prefer Pliny, but I can't shake the feeling that Heady Topper is better. It's hard to admit your favorite ain't the best.

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

Acquired in a trade from member on HBT Forum.

Appearance - Drank from can so nothing to report here.
Smell - Opened the can and was immediately hit by waves of grapefruit, peach, pine, lemon, and flowers. Aroma continued throughout the entire can.
Taste - Huge hop presence upfront that is balanced very well by the sweet flavors contributed from the tropical hops. No harsh or lingering bitterness to speak of. Get tastes of orange, grapefruit, lemon, peach, pine, mango.
Mouthfeel - Smooth bitterness with a soft carbonation on the tongue. Dry finish with a medium body that makes you instantly want to go back for more.
Overall - This a wonderful beer that is deceivingly strong as you get no sense of any alcohol in it. The amazing aroma paired with the fantastic tropical and piney flavors makes any hophead rejoice. I normally pour every beer into a glass to consume butnI chose to follow the instructions on the can and I do think it makes for a more enjoyable drinking experience. I will try pouring the next one into a glass to compare. Regardless, this beer has set a new bar for all IPAs moving forward. Well done!

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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 MattyBones
4.94/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The legendary Heady Topper! I was able to get my hands on this quite a few times at a local bar that was selling them in NYC. After having Pliny I was most definitely curious to see how heady ranked next to it. So....

Appearance: I chose to ignore the label and drink it out of a glass rather than the can. It pored an extremely cloudy golden color. The color and head it pored with made it extremely appealing, but it lost points to me as all the sediment floating around definitely takes away from it.

Smell: HOP BOMB loaded with citrus. Very strong nose which lead me to believe that my palate would soon be demolished. Beautifully potent smell.

Taste: An absolute explosion of flavors. Hops attack loaded with tangerine, grapefruit, a slight hint of pine. This is what I love about DIPA. The alcohol is almost non-existent which is extremely dangerous for something that tastes this good.

Mouthfeel: stick yet very smooth. Doesn't wreck the palate like I thought it would as it goes down 100% clean making me want more and more.

Overall: Couldn't be more pleased with this beer. Definitely wish it was more readily available, but there is something cool about seeking it out and getting it on rare occasion. Like finding the holy grail. Is this better than Pliny? In my opinion, I remember enjoying Pliny a tad bit more, but would love to get a hold of each to do a side by side comparison.

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

Served from the can approximately one week after the canning date. The beer was kept cold from the initial purchase. The smell when you first crack the can is one of the best smells I've experienced while enjoying beers. The perfect balance of hops hits your palate with perfect balance. When poured from the can, the color is slightly hazy and beautiful. Overall one of the best beers I've had the pleasure of having.

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Photo of ArsMoriendiOU818
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I retried this beer this past weekend at The Reservoir in Waterbury, VT. Drank straight from the can. I still consider it the king of DIPA's. How this beer is so crushable yet 8% ABV is beyond me. Time always makes me forget. I'll try a Trillium or a Tree House here and there and think, is Heady really still #1? Every time I retry it I re-affirm "yes. Yes it is."

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Photo of JamieDuncan
4.34/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Christmas Heady muled down from Vermont by my sister in law. Broke rule number one and poured it into a glass. Outstanding looking beer, not that clear watery look that many have, looks full and rich, orangish color, impressive head that stuck around and lacing was ideal. I know I am supposed to drink it from the can but it is a great looking beer. The smell is unreal, the citrus really jumps out at you. The flavor follows and is also incredible, the juicy citrus jumps out at you, real smooth except for the bitter. May be just a bit to much for me (not a hop head). Plus, the bitterness lingers on the back of the tongue. Rich, full texture with great carbonation, the perfect amount. I did not notice any alcohol, it was an extremely easy to drink beer with the exception of the lingering bitterness. Not the top for me but I completely understand why the hop heads love it.

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Photo of sommersb
4.91/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Tasted On: 11-01-2013
Freshness: Canned on 10-29-2013
Packaging: 16 oz. can
Glassware: Tulip
Purchased: Sample brought from the Alchemist brewer

I shared a can of this during the Music City Brew Off where John Kimmich was the featured speaker.

The beer is a murky honey-colored affair, with a rich head and lacing. The aromas are delightful with tons of hop character but also a big malty presence. The hop smells are tropical fruits primarily, with also pine and citrus notes.

The taste is hop-forward as you'd expect, with a big juicy bitterness made up of grapefruit, mango and other tropical fruits. But this isn't a one-trick pony that just kills you with hops -- it's a complex and well-rounded beer despite focusing on the hops. The feel is creamy with a thick and chewy body.

The tasting we had left me wanting more of this world class double IPA!

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Photo of Danismaximus
4.8/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Wow. An outstanding beer. This really lived up to the hype (which is really saying something). I felt like I could truly taste the varietals of hops and it was magnificent. I am sold on this beer. One of the best I've had. My favorite part about this is that it says in the can to drink this straight from the can! This place is progressive and has fully embraced the superioriority of the can to the bottle.

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Photo of gbgreg1
4.91/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a great beer to pick apart.

When the beer hits your mouth you easily taste the malt and body of the beer. It is very full and has a silky feeling. After that's is a beautiful aroma of citrus and grapefruit. The hops are very distinct.

It was a great experience having this beer!

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

Appearance - They say to drink it from the can, so that's what I did. Living fairly close by (in NH) I've had more than my fair share of Heady, and a few times I've shared it with friends that have poured it out. I've not seen the extreme cloudiness on these occasions, but you can definitely tell it is unfiltered.

Smell - Perhaps the best thing about this beer, once you pop open the can you get a big whiff of incredible hop aroma's. Citrus, big and bold. I like to take a little time to take it all in before I even start drinking.

Taste - Talk about balance! Many IIPA's try to bludgeon you over the head with hops or over the top IBUs, this gives you a full palate of hop flavor that isn't off putting. Not super bitter, lots of citrus hop notes, with some lingering pine afterwards.

Mouthfeel - Just right, not overly carbed.

Overall - I had heard lots about Heady before trying it, and I have to say I was expecting to be let down (as the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is). In this case the legends held true for me. An IIPA like no-other, the perfect balance of all things hoppy.

As a side note I was able to try Heady alongside Pliny, and have to say they both hold up incredibly well. Totally different beers that shine in different ways. Certain palates may prefer one over the other, but side by side you can really appreciate the different directions they take the IIPA style.

Serving type: Can.

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Photo of shadetree67
4.98/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Many thanks to shawnp for hooking me up with this one.

Appearance - A very cloudy straw colored beer. The cloudy appearance is expected as this is an unfiltered beer.

Smell - Hops, not much in the way of malts. Like citrus and grapefruits - smells fresh.

Taste - A perfect level of hops and the taste is similar to the smell - citrus and grapefruit. It is more sweet than bitter. Sometimes IIPAs can be overwhelming, but this is a very well balanced example of the style.

Mouthfeel - Medium amount of carbonation and it goes down smooth

Overall - This one lives up to the hype. It is very well balanced and quite drinkable. Would love to try it side by side with pliny and abrasive

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Photo of Guess2814
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I FINALLY went to Vermont and I got the Heady Topper! I felt like a little kid once it was in my hands. This beer is the best thing since slice bread.. If you haven't had the Heady Topper find a way to get this beer in your hands...I went on Saturday October 26. They were sold out of the cans.. The lady who was handing out the samples told me on Monday they will have more for sale.. Once I walked in to the brewery on that Monday... Wowww!! You can smell the hops once you walk in.. The machines were cranking! Bottles we're being filled and my smile grew. I bought myself two 4 packs.. I'm happy with what I bought BUT something is telling me I'm going to have to drive from Boston back to VT - this time I'm grabbing a case.

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