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Heady Topper | The Alchemist

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2,294 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: 2,294 | Ratings: 12,894
Photo of OldeBrickHouse
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I absolutely love this beer. The first time I had it I wasn't overly impressed. Since then it has grown on me and I love it. I had been shying away from IPA's and there were few DIPA's I really enjoyed. Since having Heady several times over the last month I keep drinking more and more DIPA's only to be disappointed that it doesn't live up to Heady. Some may match it in 1 or 2 area's but I don't think there is an IPA or any style I would rather drink than Heady.

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Photo of bsm789
4.93/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This beer is amazing and quite unlike most other beers I've had, even DIPA's.

I'm drinking it from the can, but I've seen it poured before. It's a murky, cloudy yellow bordering on orange that is pretty nice to look at, but won't win any awards for its appearance.

The smell. Oh god the smell. Grapefruit, pine, and citrus mixed into a beautiful cacophony of awesome.

Tastes about as awesome as it smells, and unbelievably smooth. I still can't honestly believe it's 8%. Begins sweet, with an awesome bitterness that builds over time and begs for another sip. Gets fruitier as it warms.

Mouthfeel is light and with decent carbonation, maybe could be a little fuller, but I'm nitpicking.

Overall probably my favorite beer (though I acknowledge my local bias). Definitely worth having if you're in the area.

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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 mjpolzin
4.1/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I often mention how my opinion of a beer can affected even before I drink it because of what I have heard about it before hand. Heady Topper is definitely one that fits into the category. Being the highest ranked beer on this site, this brew was pretty hyped up in my head before hand. I am happy to say it didn't disappoint but I don't think it is quite worthy of being ranked as high as it is.

Heady Topper has a pretty bitter taste but it has just enough smoothness that it is plenty drinkable. The citrusy, piney hops are very noticeable and add a bitterness that make it worthy of being a double IPA. What's nice though is this beer stops just short of being a "palate wrecker". My guess is it is this quality that makes this beer so popular. It is a powerful brew that reminds you that it is an 8% beer but it goes down easy enough that you could drink a few of these without getting sick of it.

If you look at the list of my top rated beers, you will see that my personal preference leans towards bourbon barrel aged beers and stouts. I don't know if an IPA is a style that I would rank ahead of some of my favorite darker beers. That said, this beer was outstanding and I am glad I got the chance to try it.

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Photo of DonFrap
4.93/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured out of the can (you don't own me Jon kimmich) into an HT stemless glass. Pours cloudy, a few floaters, nice orange color. To me this beer has the perfect smell. So floral and citrusy. I go to the cannery if I'm in VT, even if they are out, mostly because of the aroma there. Taste is outstanding. So citrusy, with a very complementing bitterness. This beer is worth the 7 hour round trip i take just for a couple cases. There's a reason it's #1.

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

I finally got my hands on this beer from a beer distributor on Long Island...and it was worth the money i spent on it...never took it out of the can as per the instructions on the can, so i couldn't even tell u what it looks like lol...the smell jumps out of the can and smacks u in the face, very orangey citrus and piney on the nose...the taste is legendary, like its reputation..for me the high carbonation carried the piney hop hues to the back of the mouth and completely distracts u of any alcohol that a high alcohol brew might be characteristic of...therefore it is ridiculously drinkable...one of the better beers u will try as advertised

since this review, ive made my trips up to vermont a couple of times for cases instead of the marked up 4pack i found on long island...i also since have poured it once into a glass and i personally love the cloudy bright yellow-orange look....i have fallen more and more in love with this beer each time i have it and i have to say its my favorite beer at this point...nothing like it...5 across the board

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Photo of Jas45678
4.74/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Finally able to try this, thank you lucas1801. Pours a hazy golden orange color. Smells is heavy citrus, orange and tangerine. Taste is very citrusy kinda like the citrus notes in Jai Alai, not overly hoppy. Overall this beer is worth seeking out and unlike any other IPA I have had.

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Photo of dowen17
4.81/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a snifter.

Well, here goes nothing.

Pours an extremely hazy golden yellow. No chunks as I've seen some people say. Poured a little light so I only received a one finger head. But it has nice retention.

This beer smells so so so fresh. I can't describe how fresh it smells. Tangerine and grapefruit on the nose. I can smell this beer from the other end of my table. No alcohol presence. Smells wonderful.

Taste is of fresh hops and citrus. Very well balanced. Fruit esters at the forefront. As soon as the beer hits my mouth it's tangerine and grapefruit. Very very fresh. Hops dominate the rest of the taste. The middle and end of the sips are all hops. Very fresh and balanced. Not too bitter. Very earthy.

Mouthfeel is great. Perfectly carbonated. The carbonation really keeps the flavors alive in your mouth and gives a nice bite on your tongue.

Overall this is a wonderful beer. Number one in the world? Eh... Not sure. That's something you'll have to decide for yourself. But what I can say is that it's an amazing beer and well well worth the try. If you can get it, get it. Drink it and enjoy.

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Photo of asabreed
4.47/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So here it is. Never thought I'd get a chance to try it, or if I did I'd have to pay a ton to get it, which I wouldn't at this point, so I guess this makes this a rare and valued occasion, for which I am indeed grateful.

Appearance: Though I'm trying to drink some out of the can, I'm also pouring it into a North Brewery snifter / tulip glass to get what's coming from all the supposed eye candy. Retention is decent, though not spectacular, but what's great about this beer is the haze within the color of it. Pour at least some in a glass, people. I imagine you are. It's a gorgeous yellow-orange-copper hue, hazed up beyond belief, looking more like a dirty Witbier than a DIPA.

Smell: An amped up and balanced bouquet of effervescent fruit, being orange, lemon, pineapple, and probably many tropical indigenous fruits I've never had or may never have. There's definitely a good amount of sweetness going on here too. Not sure if that's from any additional sugars or honey malt, but they're there. Really, though, the heady rush of beautifully crafted ingredients is there. Each whiff reminds of this or that or this or that, but either way, this is up there.

Taste: What gets me most about this beer is how this isn't necessarily a hop bomb, as I maybe thought it would've been. I guess even if the IBUs are up, the point, as with, I imagine, all good beers are, is that it IS balanced. That said, again, there is sweetness, and not the point of being cloying, but man, it's there. But I imagine it's there because of necessity. And again, honey malt? Honey? Brown sugar? Anything else added here to quell the said monumental hops? The finish is insanely long, the good and balanced sweetness is there, and the fruits are monumental without being overpowered by bitterness.

Mouthfeel: One of the best if not the best things about this brew. Heavy enough, yes. But insanely velvety overall. Not perfect, but close.

Drinkability: It's impossible to say what's the best, but as far as DIPAs go, this is up there, at least in my top three. Many are, I imagine, saying the same thing, versus some you've reviewed and have in your mind, with matching characteristics and equally good balanced. Don't pay an arm and a leg for this, I'd say, but I'm thrilled I got to try it, and if it comes across again, I'll definitely be one who's ready to crack it open and enjoy it.

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

Finally trying the famous Heady Topper, thanks to an awesome gift from Ljudsignal!

Poured half into a tulip, drinking the other half from the can to get both experiences.
Pour is translucent bright orange-yellow, like orange juice, with a fluffy white head that leaves slick lacing. Smells AMAZING. Waves of flowers, mango, pineapple, passionfruit, melon, grapefruit, orange, lemon, lime, pine...best smelling beer I've ever had. Now the taste...
Taste is perfect. Sweet malt backbone quickly bows out of the way to seemingly infinite hops. Tropical fruit, melon, berry, citrus, pine, herbal/leafy, bitterness...it's all perfectly balanced and in harmony with itself, the malt, the mouthfeel...this is a perfect beer. Amazing!
As far as from the can, it's a slightly more concentrated experience and is amazing in its own way as well. It's somehow simultaneously managed to taste complex and amazing while being incredibly refreshing as well. I know now why this is the only beer The Alchemist makes...it's because they've perfected it.

Thanks again to Ljudsignal for sending me this amazing beer and giving me the opportunity to try the [currently] best beer on BA!

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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 Thia417
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

I have driven 3 and half hours just to get this beer. That's saying enough about how awesome it is. I just can't get enough of it!

I went to the Alchemist's new brewery a couple months back and bought as much as they would let me. This beer is in high demand and in general not distributed very far as they're still a small brewery. But it's definitely worth the trip.

This is extreme hop heaven. But unlike some it is not too overwhelming as it is perfectly blended. The smell and taste are like heaven.

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Photo of maxcoinage
4.9/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

First off, thanks to mshull for trading this to me! My first Heady on my 31st birthday

I poured a few ounces into a snifter so that I could properly rate it - but drank the rest from the can and I must say I enjoyed it more from the can!

Appearance - hazy golden/orange. As i swirled in snifter left some good lacing on the side of the glass.

Aroma - on point!! Burst of hops and citrus, pine/ resinous and floral

Taste - nice hop bite with a bit of sweetness and a good malt backbone. Grapefruit, citrus, pine

Mouthfeel - didn't seem to carbonated. so smooth and drinkable it's crazy.

overall - just an amazing brew and definitely worth the hype, I couldn't believe how smooth this beer went down. I wanted to have another one right after but with only four might have to stretch them out over a week.

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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 Ljudsignal
4.61/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 16oz can into a pint glass. Thanks to Ben Warner for this unexpected treat.

Pours a murky orange with an impressive creamy two-and-a-half-finger head. Head fades over the course of two-three minutes to a film of foam atop the beer. Splotchy, cobwebby lacing.

In the nose--well, lean in to within about six inches of the glass and you can smell it. Big dank floral hops with a slightly peppery spice edge, citrus and tropical fruits, wet grass and a faint but persistent sweet bready malt note. Hops for days, man, hops for days.

Taste follows the nose almost to a T. Massive juicy hops from the very first sip--pineapple, mango, tangerine, and grapefruit all clamor for attention. Also present are potent floral notes--fresh-cut grass, a dank oniony note, pine sap, and again that effervescent peppery character. Sweet bready malt rounds out the equation, with a surprisingly clean phenolic bite at the very back. The balance is what really impresses here--no one flavor profile dominates over the other in this beer.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, smooth and creamy.

On the whole... "lush" is the word that comes to mind here. From the raw hop juiciness of the flavor profile to the creaminess of the feel, this is a deceptively smooth beer for the intensity of hop flavor it packs. Delicious and well worth the effort necessary to procure it.

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Photo of anteater
4.82/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Drank from the can, poured just a sip or two to see what it looks like.

A: murky straw yellow, medium head.

S: super strong dank hops, floral, tropical.

T: incredible. perfect balance between tropical fruit and bitterness. slightly more malt backbone than i expected. the drinkability is absolutely ridiculous, no hint of alcohol.

M: one of the best parts about the beer in my opinion. the drinkability is on a level i've never experienced before. its almost as though the beer just goes down and then you taste an explosion of flavors that linger on your palette afterwards.

O: no doubt that this is an absolutely incredible beer.

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Photo of lancecenter
4.92/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

16 oz. can picked up from the Alchemist cannery in Waterbury, VT. Drank from both the can, as instructed, and a New Belgium snifter.

A - beautiful orange-yellow color, completely hazy, with sticky head leaving a ton of lacing.

S - a citrus hop explosion! Grapefruit, pineapple, orange, and mint. This literally smells like heaven. The alcohol becomes more present as it warms.

T/M - oily hops with a surprising amount of sweetness. The hop bitterness is definitely present, but it doesn't overpower the beer. This is amazingly balanced.

O - few things live up to the hype. This does. I have not drank another IPA since first trying Heady Topper. And considering I came back from Vermont with two cases, I probably won't have another IPA for a while.

Other notes:
Obviously the appearance and smell are much better in glassware, however, the taste is strangely enhanced straight from the can.

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Photo of MrBoh
4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Drinking straight from the can...will try pouring on the next one.

I expected the can to limit aroma, but there is no way! It explodes with a nice strong amount of pine, with some orange. Some nice bitter citrus coming through as well. And just a slight bit of sweetness.

A real explosion of flavors. THe citrus is more present in the taste, as well as a bit of floralness. A bit more malty sweetness here, as well.

The mouthfeel of this is what I think really makes it so drinkable. The nice constant carbonation going back over the tongue stimulates the buds so well to help accentuate the flavors. Just enough bitterness to make you crave more and truly bring out the flavor it seems in some odd way.

Overall is it the best beer I've ever had? Well, probably. THe only bad thing I can think of with this beer is I don't want to drink it (despite the extreme drinkability) because it is like killing a unicorn or something. Honestly, though, when drinking it, it is basically impossibly to say "this" could be better if...

Enough writing, time to bask in the awesomeness that is HT, one of God's greatest gifts to human kind.

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Photo of ColterKoch22
4.96/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This is my SH*T! I consume at least 2 per week. Luckily I live in Northern NY and can take the Ferry across the Lake to Vermont to get my hands on this beloved brew! YUM YUM YUM!! Although I have not actually been to the Alchemist them selves, I can get it at beverage depots and bars in Burlington VT.

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

Simply sublime all around.

Color: a mix of light orange with a tint of deep golden yellow cloudiness (because its unfiltered).

Aroma: a pleasant balance of sweet citrus and pine

Palate: also perfectly balanced; it is my understanding that the flavor profile changes depending on whether this is consumed from a glass or as Alchemist recommends, right out of the can. For this review, the beer is in a glass. It's a warm, flavorful blend of citrus, pine, with a bouquet of undertones.

Mouthfeel: smooth and just the right amount of carbonation. Easy drinkability, especially considering the high IBU content.

Overall: the best, most complex and enjoyable beer I have had. So fantastic and drinkable. Even non-craft drinkers would probably enjoy this.

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Photo of SnifterWorthy
4.87/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75


I drank this baby as recommended; she stays in the can. So, it’s hard to note on appearance here… the can looks nice?


Thick, aromatic, resinous pine. The lid of the can smells like a freshly opened packet of hop pellets used for homebrewing. The smell is fantastic, and I needed to remind myself that the beer was meant to be drunk. Here goes nothing…


Bubbles hit first, giving a pleasant prickle on the tongue. As soon as the sensation fades, you get hit with hops. Hard. Not melt-your-enamel-off bitter, like some DIPAs out there, but true hop flavor. Pine is the most prevalent flavor here, and the experience is not unlike what I image a pine-needle tea would be like. The woodsy flavor lingers for a few seconds before it melts into a slight citrusy sweetness. The aftertaste leaves you with an impression of the first sip accompanied by a mellow alcoholic burn.


Moderate, prickly carbonation, as well as slightly viscous; not a hop syrup however, as it finishes dry.


Wow, I’m glad I like piney hops or this would’ve been a letdown. I would not recommend this one to people who can’t handle their beers with a coniferous twist. That being said, yes…This beer lives up to the hype. Never before have I had a beer that tastes so much like a pure hop cone. Heady Topper was a journey and a pain for me to find, but it truly is an amazing example of hop-wizardry; although simplistic, the fresh flavor was worth the effort.


If you do get the chance to try this beer, don’t be like the others who gave it a 5 and wrote nothing. We get it, you had a top-rated beer, congratulations … it was good, we know… Why don’t you do yourself a favor and try to help the community out by describing what you had (maybe you noticed something that others did not).

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Photo of GatorLCA
4.54/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shared with a selfless coworker who held on to the can until we could share it.

Appearance: Can has an awesome design. Beer poured a very hazy yellow. My first thought was that it reminded me of Alpine's Nelson (another one of my favorites). Very unfiltered and rustic, but I don't have a problem with that.

Smell: Tropical fruits all the way. This surprisingly did smell more concentrated out of the can, though. I see why they demand you consume it that way. Pineapple, mango, citrus, pine, resin, sticky floral. Pure sweet fruit hop goodness.

Taste: Follows suit with the smell. Amazing. All I'm pulling from it is pineapple and tropical fruit. The taste surprisingly reminds me a lot of Nelson also, minus the rye. Bitter back end that we've all come to love. This stuff is amazing, I could easily tear through a case.

Mouthfeel: Mildly bubbly with a dry finish. Exactly what you want in a DIPA.

Overall: Very, very thankful I got the opportunity to check this one off of my list. At first I sat there with my glass, contemplating if I prefer this or the Elder. I went back and forth only to realize that these are two separate animals. Pliny is the quintessential West Coast DIPA, and this is the king of the tropical fruits. I would be sad having either of these beers disappear. There is no clear winner IMO. Well, except for me, because I get to drink these masterpieces.


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Photo of gabedivision
4.79/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of Azureblue
4.94/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I live in South Florida (not a place well known for it's beer) so I had to look northward to the second least populated state in the USA for great beer. I was begging my relatives, clients, Ebay posters and friends to find a way to get me a try since I saw that Heady was the world's top rated beer on Beer Advocate. Finally, one of my friends came thru and told me my prayers had been answered and a case was on its way last week. After inspecting the case to make sure all cans were on hand and in great shape I began my personal journey. I have now concluded that Heady Topper is far and away the finest quality beer made, should be deemed a national treasure and is the best tasting Imperial IPA I have ever had the pleasure of drinking. As smooth as a great brew could be with hints of grapefruit,1st rate hops, blood orange citrus, delicate cream and subtle pine. I am truly fortunate to be able to share my case of Heady with my beer friends and hope you are able to find a way to get a few cans to savor yourself. Please let me know when you have finished your first can, if you feel the way I do send me a personal note. Cheers to all!

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.66 out of 5 based on 12,894 ratings.
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