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Heady Topper | The Alchemist

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2,295 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: 2,295 | Ratings: 12,897
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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Photo of DSTUR001
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The best IPA I have ever had! I mouthful of hops and a dry bitterness that stays in your taste buds minutes after each sip.

Living right across from Burlington, VT in Plattsburgh, NY makes it a mission every time I'm in Burlington to find this genius work of craftsmanship!

Props to The Alchemist brewery on achieving a 100 rating. You guys/girls deserve it!

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Photo of icehawk
4.17/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75


Appearance: UNK (from can)

Aroma: Intense fresh citrus, grapefruit

Taste: Grapefruit, pine needles, bitter, but not in an off-putting way

Palate: Pine, resin finish. Coating mouthfeel. Feels like it's going to finish extremely bitter, but ends up being nicely balanced and slightly sweet.

Overall: Great drinkability for a DIPA. Great, extremely intense flavors.

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

made the haul up there t0o northern VT got there at 10:30 on a Monday line was around the building

it only took about 20 min to get my purchase limit so kudos on the service

the color is like a hazy cloudy sunshine

the smell is awesome orange fruity goodness

taste is hard to describe almost tastes like honey too me I love it little bitterness mixed with sweet

I had numerous trade offers before I went to get this but now IDK if I would give one to a family member

it's probably the new shine talking maybe I will feel different after the 1st case is gone

def the best craft beer I have had in my young career

I don't know if I would drive 4-5 hours for it but it is DAMN GOOD

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Photo of jerrytodd
4.26/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Re-reviewing this beer...

A: Ugly! Super hazy and little bits of stuff. But I reckon that's what lends to the superb flavor so what the heck...

S: What happened to that dank weed smell?

T: See directly above!

M: Chewy. Perfect

O: Not quite the king it used to be, still very fine. But bring back the dank weed!

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Photo of VsXsV
4.68/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Can. Hazy, yellow/straw liquid small to medium white/light off-white head. Aroma of fresh hops, grapefruit, citrus, cereal malt, lemon grass, orange peel, tangerines and blackberries. Awesome. Taste is dry and medium to high bitter with lots of fresh, hoppy notes of grass, grapefruit and tangerine. Medium bodied with nice carbonation. Very well brewed DIPA. Love the fresh hoppy notes.

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Photo of Sterby
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Drank from can as recommended and from tulip glass. Preferred the tulip glass as way more aroma was present.

Appearance - poured a golden yellow, cloudy. Slightly off white head, with nice retention and lacing.

Smell - Ripe Citrus, mostly pink grapefruit, orange, and pine.

Taste- Layers of citrusy hops followed by some pine, and an almost unoticealbly smooth malt backbone. The hops really shine in this beauty.

Mouthfeel- well carbonated, the flavors bring multiple mouthfeels if that makes any sense.

Overall- #1 IPA for good reason. This beer is as described. Not the hoppiest, not the strongest, just a damn good, super flavorful ipa that hits all the senses. The most pungent aroma I've ever sensed in a beer. Pink grapefruit, pink grapefruit, a little pine, and more pink grapefruit. In the aroma and in the taste. Cheers!

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

A little old, about a month, I bough two four packs on my way through VT when I went to vacation in upstate New York, so my ratings will be heavily weighted on my original impressions.

A - poured a murky orange with a slight half finger head. Leaves some nice decent lacing.

S - intense hop aroma from the can and immediately after pouring, most forward is the grapefruit, backed by slight citrus and grass notes, and a nice malt presence.

T - even after a month of age, the hop flavor is still amazing. Although noticeably less fresh. Fresh grapefruit, citrus and grass dominant matching the nose well. There is very little Bittering hops present, it does leave a bitterness afterwards but at the finish it is really smooth. There is a nice malt sweetness which provides a great balance that I think really makes this beyond great.

M - mouthfeel is medium to thick, or at least on the syrupy side, ample carbonation.

O - with a month of age, it had only lost that brewery fresh wet hop dankiness, the flavor is still huge. I feel this is excellent, but I put it at about the same level of greatness as some other great IPAs such as enjoy by and sucks. Worth the 4 hour drive to VT, but not the be all end all of IPAs.

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Photo of brewskifan55
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks, Cliff, for procuring me this highly sought-after brew.
Poured into a snifter. (OK, I did drink from the can just to please the Alchemist gods, but it's much better in a glass)

A: Hazy orange. An off-white, half-finger head that dissipates to foam. Great lacing.

S: Red grapefruit, piney hops. Citrus. Very strong on the olfactory.

T: Follows the nose with a rush of piney hops and grapefruit that shifts the flavor into overdrive. Very smooth, a la Pliney territory. Well balanced. Resiny with a dry finish. Alcohol drops in unexpectedly for a soothing warmth.

M: Medium with medium, frothy carbonation. Let it sit on your tongue for a dance of the hops.

O: Worth the hype. I'm not a big hop fan, but the smoothness of Heady Topper makes it drinkable for anyone. Seek out. Enjoy in abundance.

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

There's not much to say about this beer that already hasn't been said. It just doesn't get any better.

HT is so appealing on so many levels. The fact that it's hard to get outside VT/New England, the cool-as-hell-can and Alchemist credo on the back, ("Don't be douche!") and if that weren't enough, the beer is just mind-blowing.

The aroma is dank and almost sweet, and it tastes exactly as the nose would indicate. It's hazy and beautiful (if you decide to ignore the recommendation to "drink from the can" it would be hard to notice). I usually like to see what I'm drinking, and I do it quickly, so I don't mind losing some of the experience in order to see the product and the lacing in a proper glass.

This is a hoppy, powerful, wonderful IIPA and really the one by which all others are/should be measured. Any time I can get my hands on some, I do, and you should too.

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

Headed up to Stowe VT next week and plan on buying plenty!
I love this beer....this is the beer that got me on this website and started me homebrewing!

The descriptions I have read in the reviews have actually helped me "taste" this beer and appreciate it more. Grapefruit....Mango...Pine...yeah, I get it now. Thank you!

Being unpasteurized is a bit of a downer since I am 5 hours away but I will make it happen!

I drank from the can as advertized and from a glass. I like the glass better, it has such a cool translucent amber color.

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Photo of archiegraham
4.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I wasn't sure if this beer could live up to all the hype...

It did...

Very hoppy with excellent flavor, and perfectly balanced. Wonderful hop aroma and complicated flavor. Gets better with every sip.

My only complaint is that I would prefer a bottle over a can. And of course the fact that it's not available in PA.

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Photo of drowland
4/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

6/17/12. Tallboy shared by a dude in the BA Zhukov line. Nice pour - orange with a nice khaki head.. Wonderful hoppy aroma with lots of citrus and grapefruit, some malt backing. Nice hoppy flavor with plenty of sweet caramel backing up the bold citrus and grapefruit. Nice!

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Photo of ChuyAvocadoCafe
4.34/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Drink it out of the CAN!!! First of all; dont tell me how to drink my beer...

It hit me in the face with a nose punch! I did drink it out of the can and I was surprised to find out I can actually smell it.. Nice and hoppy with a lot of zest, lemon orange and bitter on the nose..

I just experienced the Zombie Dust previous to this Gem, and in comparison I enjoy the fact that its not as skunky and citrus laced.. Yes, there are a lot of factors involved; Where was it stored? Where was it sourced? What temp was it stored at? How many times did the delivery guy drop the cases? Nevertheless, I was taken back by this beer and I can honestly say it had a perfect balance of hoppiness to bitterness to citrus and skunk... Well done..

Super creamy and dreamy, but not what I really expected,.. More effervescence than the "other" I have tried. Im glad it had a nice ZING to it. HOLY SHIT; DRINK OUT OF THE CAN!!! Now it makes sense. Pour in to a glass and lose the effervescence, keep it in the can and get that TINGE!! GENIUS! !! Well done John Kimmich! Well Done.

Im glad I am starting my beer journey. A little late in the Scheme of things in my life.. This beer DID set the standard.. Cant wait to see what happens next..

Please let me know what to carry at www.avocadocafes.com and email me at [email protected] HELP BRING GREAT BEER TO HB CA>!!

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Photo of peensteen
4.62/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to Liam for hooking up a few cans of this bad boy

Hazy peach-ornage colour, ring of white head with some spots of lace as well. Smell is all out tropical fruit, orange, peach flesh, light pine and some floral earthy points with a touch of malt in the back as well, nice fruity hop nose though. Taste is a mix of citrus fruit, tangerine, orange grapefruit, a little bit of white grape, assertive bitterness throughout but never tastes to bitter, certainly more hop flavour here as opposed to hop bitterness, a light sweetness present before a long dry hoppy finish. Lightly carbonated, oily and quite slick, medium-full body. Incredible stuff, insanely drinkable and something I would love to have a fridge full of as I could drink this daily and probably never get tired of it.

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Photo of MisterClean
4.42/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A - cloudy with chunks, yellowish-red in color.

S - caramel, floral, pineapple, aromas very nice.

T - malty breadiness, some caramel, lt bitterness, flavor of pineapple and light floral notes. Very good.

M- nice balance between malts and hops. Little to no warmth. Light carbonation, really good.

D - very nice beer. Not the prettiest to look at, but would like a fresher can. Will seek out. Thanks Abecall and Marc.

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

2 month old can, poured into a glass. Hazy and golden in color. Huge pine and citrus on the nose. Taste: pine, citrus, some floral notes, and a slight cracker-y sweetness from the malt. Huge body for an IPA. The bitterness explodes on your tongue, yet doesn't linger. Finishes dry. Somehow easy to drink despite the hugeness.

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Photo of Drunkelstiltskin
4.92/5  rDev +5.6%

Hops, Hops, and more Hops. Bright gold, with an orange tint appearance. As can instructs, you have to drink it out of the can, and in turn reminds me of college beer nights while tasting much better. Extremely hoppy to the first taste, smooth but also foamy in your mouth, and finishes with a less bitter than expected after taste. Spoiled rotten to work in Montpelier where almost all significant restaurants carry Heady Topper now. Simply no debate, it is No. 1 for a reason. MUST TRY!!!

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Photo of Abilow33
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I went to the beer shop in Waterbury and tried this beer. There is a reason this beer is rated as the best beer in America. It is the best beer I have ever had. It had a great taste. I wish everyone could try this beer. I wanted to buy a case but the were sold out.

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Photo of Crazy4LegMoose
4.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a can into a brew fest tasting glass that holds 4 oz. The rest was consumed out of the can.

A: Pale yellow-orange hazy brew with a finger of creamy off white head.strong lacing left on the glass that lasted for a good 3 hours. Good looking fresh beer.

S: Overwhelming smell of grapefruit and resin hops. Strong enough to make me gulp and suck in extra air.

T: Strong hop bitterness of grapefruit, and slight hints of orange that hit the palate hard and blend into earthy bits of rye, ginger, honey and caramel for a smooth clean finish. This beer is deep and complex and not a mere vessel to display hop bitterness. The tart sweetness of ginger comes on after the hop burst with earthy spicyness reminiscent of rye malts and sweet honey at the end. A very complex profile that gets more flavorful and intense as the beer warms up and the sediment in the can mixes back into the body of the beer.

M: Very creamy mouthfeel. very good for an ipa.

O: Great beer. The Alchemist followed the Dogfishhead model and made an exceptional deep and complex brew that accentuates the hop profile as well as having an interesting malt profile to back it up and make it interesting.

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Photo of BA_Berto
4.1/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Fresh beer, and one of the best of its kind. The one thing that I always look for is balance. This beer has beautiful balance! Is this the number one beer that I've ever had? I would have to disagree with it being ranked number one, but I would definitely drink again, and would rank in the top 20 of the ones that I've tried.

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Photo of taez555
4.44/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

For the love of all that is holy!!!

Please drink this beer out of a glass, not the can. I swear they just put that on there as a joke to fuck with beer nerds who’ll believe anything. This beer smells amazing, and deserves to be enjoyed in a glass.

And for the record, I bought a full case of it at the brewery. Had it on tap fresh at the Alchemist(WHERE THEY SERVE IT IN A GLASS), then in can’s at bar’s in Burlington, then back home out of the can, and also back home in a glass. After all those experiences I can say beyond a doubt the glass version is 100 times more enjoyable than drinking out of the can. Seriously, don’t do it. Or at least try it both ways and judge for yourself.

Ok, on to the beer…

This beer pours a cloudy tan yellow body with an off-white head.

Nose has a strong citric and fruity hop smell.

Taste is medium to full bodied, and yet surprisingly light for a DIPA. Loads of fresh cut grassy citrus and fruit. A lot of strong orange, melon and grapefruit hop flavors, with a touch of black pepper and some mild lemon peel. The hop taste in this one is really dominated by the fruit flavors, and reminds me a lot of Wormtown’s Hopulance. A nice present malt flavor. I’d say just your typical fresh grain, not a lot of distinction since it’s covered up so much by the hops. Bitterness is there, but well balanced and in fact actually takes a back seat to the hop flavor. Not overly bitter at all, and even ends with a very clean aftertaste without a long hop numbness. Very clean beer from start to finish.

So… the elephant in the room is that this beer is basically the current holy grail, circle jerk, of beers.

Obviously its rarity and the lengths you need to go to obtain it help the myth. But, and I humbly apologize for saying this, but this beer doesn’t live up to the hype. It is amazing, don’t get me wrong, definitely deserves to be in the top 100 of BA, but no way in the top 10, let alone #1. It’s on par with other stellar DIPA’s like Hercules or Pliny or Hopulance or Kiwi Rising, but isn’t vastly better than any of the others. But as they say, that’s just my opinion. Still an amazing beer, but… the hype and shortage of this beer have made it more popular than it probably should be. Oh well… I’m still going to enjoy the rest of the case I bought. :-)

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Photo of utopiajane
4.34/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks so much to Tom for this beautiful can of elusive goodness from vermont.

Pours a murky banana yellow with an orange hue and is not as ugly as everyone said.( I think) It has some floaties in it but no matter. Bone white head of foam that fell pretty fast to some decent lace. Pine and earth. Nose is pounding citrus. Pink grapefruit, and pungent with tropical notes. Stone fruits too, mango, apricot and peach. The malt is not heavy on the nose but there is plenty of honey to tempt and tease. It’s drippy, and sticky with it and I can’t wait to taste it. First sip is powerful grapefruit, enamel stripping hops with a forceful bitter that lays itself in to stay for a while. Pine resin and bitter. All the tropical fruits are flashing in evidence on the nose and on the palate. They all are there. I won’t make a list. The malt is thick with honey and balanced so well that you hardly notice it except for the sticky sweetness and the fact that it lends substantial body. A bit of spice to bite you and an almost imperceptible edge that is sharp like crushed aspirin. That edge is just a little sour.

Holy god almighty. More!

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Photo of Slap_and_Pickle
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

On my visit to Chicago, I stopped by Beer Temple with my companion and got an opportunity to meet the famed Christopher Quinn. As we approached the counter to inquire about any rare beers in his store a silver can caught our eye. Needless to say what luck to have walked in on this tasting.

Pours a dark orange with some haze, medium head that dissipates.
Smells immensely of citrus -- specifically grapefruit -- flowers/pines.
Initial taste profile was amazing; executed as one of the most balanced IPA's I have come across. Its on the level of Pliny the Elder if not surpassing that. It was a mix of just the right amount of hops, citrus and pines.

I appreciate IPAs and DIPAs that are beautifully executed as such; I don't partake in IBU pissing contests because sometimes being the bitterest is not better.

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Photo of shamrock071521
4.84/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

16oz can; half poured into a Samuel Smith pint glass, half drank from the can

Thanks to EricDu and SammyJaxxxx for sending this beer my way

A: Poured half the can into a pint glass. A very hazy, dark orange/burning yellow color. About a finger and a half of somewhat rocky white head persisted for a couple minutes before dissipating into a thin layer.

S: [from the can]: VERY pungent citrus and piney hop aromas.
[from the glass] : I can distinguish the different citrusy hop flavors more from the glass, but the piney, resiny aromas aren’t as pungent or ‘in your face’ compared to the can, and the piney aroma is kind of lost. Mango is the first flavor that jumps out to me, but it’s really a medley of citrusy flavors.

T: [from the can]: very resiny, piney hop flavors throughout, aftertaste is a refreshing bitterness.
[from the glass]: again, the resin, pine flavors are more muted compared to from the can, with the citrus flavors dominating. The biggest similarity between the glass and can is the aftertaste, which in both cases is a very big and enjoyable hop bitterness.

M: Medium carbonation, the resiny flavors stick to your mouth, but IMO in a very good way.. It’s more bitter and stays carbonated more in the can, while from the glass it flattens a bit more as you drink it. The alcohol is unnoticed,

O: An incredible beer. I can see why this is #1 on BA. As someone who prefers and mostly drinks IPAs, this is as close to the ‘perfect hop flavor' as I've ever had. Well played Vermont.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.66 out of 5 based on 12,897 ratings.
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