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Heady Topper | The Alchemist

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
100
world-class
2,231 Reviews
Heady TopperHeady Topper
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
The Alchemist
Vermont, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
"An American Double IPA" 75 IBU 8.0% ABV. "Drink from the can."

Added by scottum on 03-27-2004

BEER STATS
Reviews:
2,231
Ratings:
12,549
Avg:
4.66
pDev:
16.52%
 
 
Wants:
9,037
Gots:
4,852
For Trade:
62
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,231 | Ratings: 12,549
Photo of Hendry
4.08/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"Grapefruit Bomb" is a highly overused term, yet it pretty much nails the flavor of Heady Topper: so many of the super hopped-up ales have a strong bitter aftertaste.HT has just the right combination of pleasant bitterness on the palate and carbonation, making it a superbly brewed DIPA, one that is very drinkable,and most enjoyable from start to finish.

The unpasteurized unfiltered Heady drinks like a meal, is chewy and not suited to chugging, but is completely satisfying

If you are lucky enough to get your hands on a 4 pack, you may well find yourself enjoying each can more than the last one (like myself), especially after making the rounds with other DIPA offerings in between tastings. Wait until at least can #3 before writing a review, and try other DIPAs in between: you may agree that Heady Topper comes out on top!

HT has become one of the few elite DIPAs by which all others are judged, worth the legendary Pliny status (though completely different in character). This top notch DIPA is readily available to me fresh from the "cannery" and I am looking for someone with fresh Hopslam and/or Zombie Dust to trade.

 1,133 characters

Photo of bcm75
4.54/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I will agree with what's been said - this isn't the prettiest beer. But of the reviewing categories, it's certainly the least important factor to me. Drank mostly from the can, but poured a bit into a tulip to see what it looks like. Wonderful hop aroma and taste. It's easy to be disappointed by heavily-hyped beers but this doesn't disappoint.

 345 characters

Photo of YieldToNothing
4.96/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

poured half into a mini tulip, drinking the rest from the can.
i first tried this beer a couple of days ago and was blown away, now i'm having my second one and last for a while....
pours a copper orange, with a foamy head. not the prettiest beer in the world.
smells fantastic, citrus notes, like all good DIPAs, but the taste...
like biting into a grapefruit. i personally prefer it out of the can, it retains a certain crispness that just isn't there when i sip from the tulip.
this is a great beer. believe the hype

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Photo of SeaOfShells
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

16 oz. can directly from the vessel to my mouth. I poured a fraction for appearance.

A: Golden honey color with a white head. Pretty typical for the style.

S: A remarkable achievement in the aroma department. This is the beer that I will use to judge all others on aroma. Pungent, stinging hops, with a balanced biscuity, bready backbone. Pure citrus hops, and dense pine. A pleasure for the senses.

T: You know, being from Southern CA, I see a lot of IPAs come and go. We have quite a few to chose from after all. Most don't live up to the hype, but a few do. This is one of those few. I haven't experienced grapefruit bitterness like this in a beer before. It's honestly like biting into a ripe grapefruit. I love my IPAs bold and pungent, and this delivers more than any other. A bitter assault.

M: Again, this is average for the style. Medium bodied and good carbonation helps to scrub the palate, but in the end, the hops win. Leaves a hop coating.

O: yeah, it's as good as they say, and maybe even better. And I still have a can left.

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Photo of cradke
4.92/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Review is done on can that was picked up from Alchemist and delivered with less than 2 weeks on it. Ratings are done from beer out of can as is intended to be drank.

Appearance: I think the can logo is pretty sweet... (only knock is because it's not 'beautiful' as some beers are. I know it's unfiltered and 'floaties' are part of the reason it's supposed to be drank which would normally knock appearance.)

Smell(Can): Pure, unadulterated sweet pine. Holy. Buckets

Taste (Can): Wow. Just pure hoppiness. So much more sweet and balanced, lively almost.

Mouthfeel: Light, Air-y. Great Carbonation. Damm.

Overall: Wow. I just can't even put to words how good this beer is. Just, perfect almost. The hop level is amazing

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Photo of yankeepride
4.38/5  rDev -6%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The first words I heard about this from a cicerone buddy was "please, don't drink it from the can like they say." So, I poured 80% into a glass and left the rest in the can. After it hit the glass, I understood the desire for the can. The unfiltered, resin-floating view was less than flattering. But, I figured, two million people can't all be wrong. So I took a whiff, and enjoyed the crisp, apricot notes coming back at me. Nothing piney, no citrus, just clean. Next was where the rubber meets the road - the taste. My wife summed it up best, when she said "wow, an IPA I wouldn't have to pair with food to drink!" I absolutely agree. It's perfectly brewed, and is surely the best, most balanced IPA I've ever had. First taste threatens to turn into piney hops in your mouth, yet never does. It just slides away, leaving you with a tasty, refreshing treat that doesn't stay past its welcome. Now I know why this is such a revered brew, and why people love to have more than one at a time. It's just that inviting, and one I wish was closer to me in availability.

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Photo of nimrod979
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

No can date but I know it's pretty fresh from the source. Drank about half from the can as it says to do so numerous times. Poured the other half into a DFH snifter.

Appearance: Quite hazy unfiltered orange-ish color. Plenty of sediment. Medium sized white head. Decent retention. with some sudsy lacing.

Aroma: Good blend of citrus and pine lead it off and carry all the way to the finish.

Taste: Juicy hops, Mandarin oranges, grapefruit, and a tropical blend followed by layers of pine resin. delicious well done DIPA. Fresh flavor. Pretty much perfection. Delivers on hops, bitterness and flavor all while being completely drinkable.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with an exceptional drinkability. Never comes across as too bitter. Carbonation is soft though perfect for what this beer needs. Glad & thankful I finally got an opportunity to try this one. Something I would look forward to drinking for years to come.

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Photo of lic217
4.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look: hazy and light orange, nice lingering head
Smell: Tropical fruit, floral, sweet,orange
Taste: Sweet start and finishes dry/bitter, bitterness does not linger, tropical fruit, dank,floral, slight citrus,orange
Feel: Perfect, soft, full bodied, outstanding
Overall: It is a sought after beer for a reason. Incredible.

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Photo of drrone
4.81/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a tulip, no I didn't leave it in the can.

A - A beautiful golden copper hue. It liberated a 2 finger width white head, that slowed disappated and left a sparse crown of lace. Plenty of protein floating that eventually settled at the bottom of the glass.

S - A great hop blast, with citrus and pine. I just keep wanting to smell it. Awesome.

T - Damn, the hoppiness that you expect, but very well balanced. Bitter, but not overly so. Fantastic hop dose with a tasty citrus component to it.

M- Smooth, light/medium bodied. Finishes crisp and delicious.

O - Man, what a beer. I love my D/IIPA's and this is the best I've had. It certainly had a lot of floaties, but that didn't bother me, but I can see how it might be off putting to people. I got this in a trade and I'm glad that I have 2 left, but I would love to taste this on tap. Amazing beer, one you must try. I can see why it is numero uno.

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Photo of TallSaint
4.78/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

April 14th, 2013

In the nose pungent grapefruit, citrus, mango and other tropical fruits dominate. There's a bit of biscuit-y malt underneath.

On the palate the hops are very bright; layers and layers of hops barrage the palate. Grapefruit upfront then a bit of pine in the midpalate, then citrus with nice clean, sweet malty finish. The sweet malt balances out the hops and their bitterness excellently. It's dense and extremely well rounded on the palate.

Absolutely incredible. Best DIPA I've ever had, hands down. It has a hop profile like no other, its so vibrant and juicy.

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

Heavenly. The stuff you dream about. Like anything else in VT, very, very fresh. I had it at Prohibition Pig in Waterbury on tap. Haven't stopped thinking about it since. I'll be with everyone else, on the road to VT just to get some as it's only available there. It's that good.

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Photo of bpd6120
4.94/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm enjoying a Heady Topper right now. All around, its an incredible drink. It's become the beer that I judge other beers against. The flavor is bone deep, The aftertaste stays with me for minutes. When swishing it around in my mouth it turns into this delicious creamy foam. Its what I want other beers to taste like. Man, this is the real deal. I can't think of anything I don't like about the stuff.
I'm giving it a 4 for appearance because I prefer to drink from glasses, which i'm discouraged from doing.

 509 characters

Photo of CommanderOfAwesome
4.68/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

No date on the can, drank the first half from the can, poured second half into a snifter.

A: Drank the first half from the can like they recommend, the can is a sight for sore eyes but hard to judge a beer's appearance on that. When poured into a snifter....my god what a sloppy looking beer. Solids all over the place. Color of orange juice with tons of floaters. Didn't want to dock the beer too much, but honestly it's not an appealing looking beer.

S: Holy shit, its literally like smelling a bag of hops. I opened a bag of hops next to it to make sure my mind wasn't playing tricks on me. It's a hop bomb, like no other beer I have ever smelled in my life. When poured into a snifter, the aroma gets more floral and closer to other DIPAs on the market. In the can though, wow. Citrus and pine, along with some sweet tropical fruits, but they're all sitting backseat on Mr. toad's wild ride to the hops. Bam! Hops in your face.

T: A bitter assault on your palate. This beer is a palate wrecker like I've never seen. Bitter hop finish, pine crisp bite, along with some sweet fruit to help round it out.

M: Had side by side with a 2 day old Pliny. Made Pliny seem thin and watery by comparison. Thick, full bodied with a long lingering bitter finish that changes with the amount of breathes after a sip.

O: This beer lived up to the hype in that it blew my mind. It reminded me of the first time I had a sip of beer when I was about 10 yrs old, except that I liked it. As an avid IPA fan, I've been around the block the a few times and this was like the first time I had an IPA. Literally have tasted nothing like it before. However, my goodness, this beer made me full and bloated. Anything but drinkable. I got through the can just fine, but I did not want another. Also, the appearance of the beer in my glass is one of the worst I have seen. Even a shaken up belgium beer isn't this bad. Not sure if that's necessary to achieve the hop profile or not, but seems a bit sloppy to me. Def worth checking out and a fantastic world class brew, one like I have never experienced before. Big thanks to SanFranJake for hooking me up with 4 cans.

 2,153 characters

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

I've tried many many IPAs and there's only 1 that has come close to Heady. It really is the most amazingly over the top yet balanced IPA I've ever tried.

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Photo of Synergy87
4.9/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to sirsteve42 for the trade.

This can of Heady Topper is 5 days old from the cannery. I truly wish this wasn't a Vermont only beer.

A - Bad assery, silver can that has instructions on it explaining why you should drink it from the can. The aroma burst you get from pouring will let out too many essential volatiles that should stay in the can. I have no problem drinking this beer straight from the can as the Alchemist Brewery suggests. Though if you pour this baby out, it isn't very pretty given its unpasteurized, unfiltered, and pouring it stirs up the sediment from the bottom of the can. Lets be honest, this is best left in the can.

Smell - Grass after a morning rain, fresh hops, pine. This aroma is ridiculously awesome. Best smelling IIPA I've ever had the privilege of smelling.

Taste - Almost indescribable... It is so balanced, it is hard to pick out individual flavors as they've melded together. Then again, if I focus on the flavors hard enough, it is the taste of multiple hop varieties, pine up front and a deliciously smooth dry citrus finish. This is hands down my favorite IIPA. The west coast may have Pliny the Elder but the East Coast has Heady. God damn this is one tasty beer.

Mouthfeel - As good as the taste and aroma are, the mouth feel is almost nitro tap like, but slightly more carbonated. Think of foam from a beer but with more consistency, almost creamy. Its extremely smooth and light to medium bodied, which blows my mind given the flavors and aroma.

Overall - This is the most deserving hype beer I've ever had, and hands down my favorite IIPA and beer. If I had access to this, this would be my go to beer. I cannot praise this beer anymore, the orgasmic aroma, perfectly balanced taste, and amazing mouthfeel make this way to easily drinkable for 8% abv. As I end this review, I have already finished this pint in a can. Wow! Looks like the wife and I are going to need to plan a trip to the east coast and hit up the cannery. You should seek this beer out at all costs.

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Photo of lunarbrew
4.63/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Finally got around to writing the full review of this guy. I'm glad I waited; now I have a full mode of comparison after trying some of, what I consider to be, the best iipas out there (DS, S&S4, Ephraim, and Abner). Beer pours hazy amber into a Duvel tulip. Has a slight red glow.

Heady is certainly aromatic, but it doesn't quite stack up to the others in this regard. For some reason, the nose is a tad muted. Notes of pineapple, mango, honey, and candi sugar. A bit of pine, but mostly citrus. I can almost smell that this is a Vermont ipa. What is it about these damn Vermont beers!? What's the secret!?

Taste is rich and just as delicious as the others. Where it falls sort is on complexity. I get a lot of sweetness from all of the tropical fruit flavors, but it isn't quite dry enough for my taste. I think it could be a tad more balanced with a bit less sweetness or more bitterness (which is such a ridiculous thing to say! This is Heady Topper!) Nonetheless, the flavor is brilliant and so tasty.

Mouthfeel ranks up there with the rest. Creamy, medium-full bodied (especially for an iipa). Extra-drinkable.

Overall, this falls just short of the aforementioned brews for me. However, it does edge out Pliny in my book. I get the hype and I love its [relative] accessibility. It's always a treat to drink this, and I plan to have some in my fridge as long as it's being brewed!

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Photo of chrisgalvin
4.35/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Living in San Francisco (a couple of miles from Toronado) I've been privy to a lot of "West Coast IPAs," PtE, PtY, etc. The Heady Topper defiantly can hold it's own in this category and tak ehte top spot in the Top 250.

The HT has a fantastic smell, great mouthfeel with wonderful malt and hop balance and a nice finish. Seriously, once of the best DIPAs.

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Photo of RichardMNixon
5/5  rDev +7.3%

Had it first from the can in VT, once more in PA.
As commonly stated, it doesn't look that impressive. Very pale and cloudy, decent head. For a beer this good, who cares?
Smells fruitier than some beers with actual fruit in them. If this was sold as an air freshener, I would buy it.
The fruit comes through just as strong in the taste, very tropical and sweet balanced by steady bitterness throughout the whole sip. Some crisp, snappy malt comes through later in the glass after your tongue has numbed to the hops.
Mouthfeel isn't terribly thick, but very oily, coating the tongue and leaving the flavors to chew on. Way, way too drinkable for an 8% beer, or for a beer you know you won't have again for months/years.
I've had a number of beers that didn't live up to the hype. This one does.

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Photo of Zaximus
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I thought my first full review should follow my first can of Heady. Thanks to patric11 for the trade on this one. Was told it was picked up from the brewery on 8/2/2013.

A - Aggressive pour into New Glarus Fat Squirrel pint yields a strong three finger head. Cloudy, peachy color persists.

S - Love the nose on a fresh IPA and this one about knocks me over. Intense floral nose. Grass. Something sweet. Just fantastic.

T - And there it is. I get sweet at first followed by a nicely balanced bitterness and perhaps a little alcohol at the end. Delicious. Though I do get a little alcohol I get the feeling I could drink quite a bit of this on a hot summer day. Subtly different from many of the IIPAs I've had. Not sure what that taste is but it's delicious.

M - Full. Almost a little creamy with just the right amount of carbination.

O - Fantastic. Very well balanced. Not overly hoppy. Just very well done. As advertised.

 927 characters

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

I made it up to Waterbury last weekend and had my first (and 5th) Heady Topper on that visit. I went into the weekend figuring it couldn't be as good as all the hype. I also doubted whether drinking anything out of a can would be one of my best beer drinking experiences. I was blown away by how great this tasted and by how drinkable it was. I had a game plan to try the first one in the can (per the instructions on the can) and then try one in a glass so I could see what I was drinking...I scrapped this plan after tasting how good the first one was in the can. The rest of my tastes were directly from the can. Apparently there are only two places that serve this beer on draft (the brewery and the Prohibition Pig)....the rest of the places in town serve it in a can (when they can get it).

Warning: we went up on a Friday night and it was very hard to find any stores (including the brewery) that had any for sale...only places that had it were bars and the rest of the places were waiting for the next release on Monday. Therefore, plan your trip for mid-week if you want to ensure you take some home.

I'm hoping the expansion of the cannery makes this beer more available....looking forward to the next one.

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Photo of sben88
4.49/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Though a very good IPA, I wouldn't consider HT in the same breath as either Pliny. I think with this beer we have an extreme case of confirmation bias. I can think of 5 or 6 other beers I'd rather drink. I drank my first HT a couple hours after it was canned.

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

Poured into a goblet style glass also sipped from the can <not recommended

A: Copper orange color with a two finger head

S: Hops and Pine dominate this one

T: Heady Topper is the finest DIPA avaialble. The balance is perfect, I wouldn't change a thing. Big Hops and Pine, finishes with a huge burst of citrus, it's like no other DIPA

M: Carbonation and body are light to medium, very easy drinking

O: As good as it gets

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Photo of dfillius
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured gently into a pint glass
A: 1/2 finger of off-white head with good retention. Hazy/cloudy greenish orange. I'd like less cloudiness, but could it be as hoppy without this?
S: Juicy citrus and tropical fruit. Man Candy. Papaya, a lot of pine, slightly dank. Slight sulfurous allium. Slight esters in the finish are the only sign of alcohol in this beer.
T: Brilliant hops are quite bitter up front but stop shy of soapiness. Middle of the taste into the aftertaste is citrus and fruit from hope. The end is not punishingly bitter but is assertive. Delicious. New waves of hops cascade over each other, as opposed to many other DIPAs that build in estery quality as they warm. Perfect.
M: Bright, bitter, full but not chewy. Not hot or boozy at all for its 8%
O: A very good to great DIPA. Assertive hops and bitterness, little to no maltiness but full feeling. Fresh hop flavor with bold American character.

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

This is not a balanced beer by any means. If you're a hops lover, this beer certainly celebrates it like no other. It's almost comical and whimsical if I had to think of fundamental words to describe it. When you first crack open the can, you get hit with a sledgehammer of aroma; notes of citrus and pine hit you hardest. With every sip, the bitterness provides for a lingering complexity that makes this beer unique.

I found myself laughing at the experience of the entire first can. Not sure how much of it was the reputation that preceded it, but I enjoyed every sip like a fat kid knee deep in chocolate cake. I only wish it was more easily accessible in NYC. As of the time of this review, it's available exclusively at Uncle Barry's in Park Slope, Brooklyn via Union Beer distributers.

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Photo of vicsju1991
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - (only poured a little out to see) cloudy, kinda apple juicey, small white head, but since your supposed to drink it outa the can, amazing can art, really cool looking and nice write up on the beer.
S - huge mix of pine and floral hops
T - perfectly balanced between both hops and malts, and floral and piney hops
M - very easy to drink, slightly creamy, very smooth
O - quite possibly the best beer I have ever had, totally worth the wait it took me to get in pa, the perfect IIpa

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 2,231 ratings.
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