Heady Topper | The Alchemist

BA SCORE
100
world-class
2,348 Reviews
Heady TopperHeady Topper
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
The Alchemist
Vermont, United States
alchemistbeer.com

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:
2,348
Ratings:
13,237
Avg:
4.65
pDev:
7.1%
 
 
Wants:
9,192
Gots:
5,487
For Trade:
66
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Reviews: 2,348 | Ratings: 13,237
Photo of LinusBohman
4.4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Tried this one first in a glass and then straight out of the can. It was definetely more aromatic drunken straight from the can, and my scores in terms of smell, taste and overall are modified with the can session.

A: White scattered foam which vanishes fast in order to leave a ring of lacing on the glass. The colour reminds me of apricot marmelade, it's quite murky and has some bubbles playing around in the delicious liquid.

S: Pine needles, cat's pee, tropical fruit such as mango, banana and passionfruit. There is also sweetness which again brings me to think of marmelade.

T: At first it's pine needles, cat's pee as in the smell. Allthough the tropical fruit is slightly different from the smell and the taste adds a dry bitterness to it. The aftertastes are at first tree sap and pine needles but after a while there is some apricot marmelade there as well.

M: Leaning more towards medium than thin. Probably the leanest mouthfeel I've got from a DIPA ever. The carbonation is light and the feel is very dry. Ace!

O: They really managed to combine a hop bomb that would satisfy most hop heads around the globe with sweetness which creates a great balance. A wonderful DIPA with great body allthough the appearance lacks some sexiness because of the lack of head. You won't notice that if you drink from the can though.

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Photo of Homebrew35
4.58/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a tulip with a foamy white two finger head. Hazy straw colored body.

Smells like a bag of hops. Citrus, pine, passion fruit and candy.

Taste is fairly complex with notes of citrus, pine, juicy fruit and light earthyness.
I'd like a bit more hop flavor but that's a minor point. Quite bitter, dank and lingering.

Medium bodied and fairly high carbonation keeps this one quite drinkable for an 8% hop bomb.

Overall this is a fantastic beer. I love a touch more hop flavor and nothing more. The beer drinks very easy for such a high hop load and high abv. I'll easily order this again next time I'm in the area.
$6.50 12oz at the Prohibition Pig in Waterbury VT

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Photo of crager013
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Best. Beer. Ever. Well maybe but its incredible. The hops smell from the can is overwhelming. It must be drunk from the can. For all the hops smell the bitterness is smooth and just right. Drink this if you can find it. And if you find it buy me a few extra cases, I will pay ya back!

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Photo of Keyportnick
4.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

16 oz can of deliciousness served into a tall tulip.

A- pours golden pale with a lot of sediment floating around giving a very unfiltered look.

S- big huge hops orange and citrus floral notes.

T- the taste pairs right up to the nose.

M- medium body and carbonation. Very smooth week rounded body for such a big beer.

0- heady is a great offering. Big bold hops and great drinkability make this beer great. The only problem is never having enough of it!

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Photo of KELPAK
4.97/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is definately my favorite IPA.

Smell: Great aroma with a nice piny kick that lets you know that these hops mean business.

Taste: Great residual taste that stays with you for nearly fifteen minutes after you've completed the can. Certainly has a ton of hops but what i love most about this beer is it seems to have a yeast strand that i both love but am unfamiliar with.

Mouthfeel: Great mouthfeel with alot of yeast sediment which i personaly am fond of however i know not everyone feels the same sentiment.

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

Keeping it simple, this is a fantastic beer worthy of the praise it gets. Great job Alchemist on brewing a single beer perfectly. Please don't change that focus. You can't miss with a singular objective like that!

Smell, taste, and appearance sum up to be a beautiful thing! I made it up to Waterbury at the brewery where I picked up some stock and had an excellent experience. Stopped by the Prohibition Pig afterwards for a full serving and lunch, which was epic.

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Photo of lonewolfcry
4.61/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Second time around with this beer in the last week.
The first I think might have been less than fresh or didn't travel well (?) - I guess I really don't care now.
Thanks to RandyKemka for hooking me up with this one.

I have to give an average 3 for appearance - although I'm drinking from the can, I owe it at least a par score for that.
The smell is what I expected - pungent grapefruit hop citrus...very nice
The taste kind of took me by surprise - a biting hop resin up front, and then WHAM...it did a disappearing act on my tongue, as if my mouth was a cloud drawing little droplets of water and nothing else.
Then just as I was focusing on the amazing nothingness - the hops came back and gave my mouth a little hop resin kick (or should I say re-kick)
The mouth feel is nothing short of amazing...medium to full body on an IPA? WoW!

Overall, I would say I will have to bow to the hype on this one. A+
It reminds me of an AIR Abrasive (if they made such a beer) - except Abrasive doesn't have the magic trick in the middle of the show.

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

Best way to drink a Heady Topper, pick it up from the Alchemist Brewery on your way to Stowe for an epic day of skiing. Crack that delicious beer on the lift and enjoy, of course remembering to recycle. Ohhhh how I love Vermont. If only Hill Farmstead was on the way to Stowe.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.87/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

16oz can poured into a tulip. Big thanks to Kevanb for graciously giving up his last can of this for me to try!

(A)- Pours a cloudy golden orange colored hue. Produced a light layer of pure white froth.

(S)- A really nice big burst of bright citrus: orange, pineapple, and peach. Finishes with some nicely dry pine bitterness.

(T)- A bit backwards from the smell, but rewardingly so. The big pine bitterness is all up front in your face. What really helps this is the jump back to the juicy citrus in the finish. Quite complex and dynamic with the play between bitter pine and vibrant citrus fruit.

(M)- A great carbonation level and balance. Its a rewarding beer to experience due to how it jumps from bitter to crisp fruit and back again as it warms. The bitterness is actually quite intense, but is met with an equally intense citrus fruit body.

(O)- This is absolutely fitting the deserving of the reviews it gets. An absolute classic for the style that is easily up there in the top for for the style for me. A nice treat since I have been kind of bored with this style for awhile, but this one is very rewarding.

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Photo of Heady978
4.96/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Heady Topper. This is it. This beer in my hand is truly the best DIPA, and maybe the best beer period. Pouring this beer into a brand new tulip glass seems blasphemous given the clear instructions to drink form the can, but I've done that enough, and can't miss an opportunity to enjoy the full sensory experience of HT.

A: Just gorgeous. Sunset orange with a bright white head that dissipates quickly but sticks around for the whole glass. Unfiltered to the max, which IMHO is a plus, especially when we're talking about DIPAs.

S: Smell is off the charts. Massive citrus and pine notes assault your nasal cavities from the moment you crack a can until the moment you take your last glorious sip. If only they made HT air fresheners...

T: 120 IBUs never tasted so good - a hopheads wet dream. Once the initial punch of hop bitterness passes, you are left with bright, cleansing grapefruit and overripe orange which fades into a subdued but present malt sweetness that leaves the beer tasting rather balanced (although this beer is not mean't to be balanced, so I'm puzzled as to why so many people criticize it for being too hop forward)

M: Brilliant. Smooth, almost creamy carbonation that pops the palate open and readies you for the onslaught of goodness.

O: Those who find themselves disappointed by HT, IMHO, simply do not possess the necessary knowledge of the DIPA style or the requisite love of American hops. This beer fires on all cylinders and I feel truly blessed to be able to drink it regularly. John Kimmich & company really have it figured out and I couldn't be happier for the heady people that make this heady beer come to life.

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Photo of da_beers
4.84/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It just hit #1 on BA yesterday, and today he local shop sold out in two hours. Jmscowcroft was able to get a four-pack and set me up but when I went at lunch it was sold out.

A - Supposed to drink from the can, but poured a bit to see. Cloudy burnt orange color. Good head of a finger and a half. Can tell that it is unfiltered but looks great.
S - Smell is amazing. Really adds to the taste in a big way. Floral like a bouquet of smells and really hoppy. Also a piney fragrance towards the end. A little citrus at the very end.
T - This one tastes great. Obviously very hoppy but surprisingly smooth. Definitely a citrus taste, it seems bitter but ends so smooth. This beer is so evolving across the palate its hard to put a name on it.
M - It feels very smooth and buttery, but has a way to remind you it's their, it's very "sippable" however. The aftertaste doesn't dominate as some can, but you can taste it in your mouth in a good way.
D - Drinkability was its only downfall. As far as taste, it was great, but I personally didn't want to have multiples. Great for enjoying it smaller quantities. But overall very drinkable.
O - Overall a great beer. The way the smell and taste mingle is artistic. It confuses and makes sense all in one sip. It deserves the efforts to obtain it.

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

Heady Topper - 1 Pint - Can

First off it took me three weeks to get my hands on some even though I live in the area. Exciting to see such high demand for local product! This brew gets better every time you have it! (Editing this review again because it REALLY does get better every time you have it!)

Look - Hazy golden unfiltered (also unpasteurized) with an average amount of carbonation. Full, frothy head. I only poured an ounce or so for evaluation purposes, I enjoyed the rest right from the can. I have found through several reviews that I actually prefer pouring this into my Dogfish Head IPA glass, I love getting the aroma while drinking and seeing this beast in all its glory.

Smell - Hopsimus maximus with earthy, floral (piney) overtones. Quite unique smelling compared to other, similar brews. Almost has a spice tang to it. Again using my DFH glass I am able to get much more out of the aroma than from the can.

Taste - Wave after wave of hoppy goodness is how they word it and that is EXACTLY how it is. There is a resonation but it is pleasing compared to other hoppy beers that sit on top of your tongue. Smooth.

Mouthfeel - Surprisingly drinkable but one needs to be careful primarily due to alcohol content but also so as to not over-abuse the palette. This brew has a way of masking the 8% but at the same time hitting you like none other, it must be super concentrated hop juice!

Overall - This is one of the best brews I have ever had. I am proud of Vermont microbrews and this just makes me even prouder. Time and time again I go back to this brew and it just seems to get better and better.

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Photo of brewtus
4.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Yesterday this was #3, new BA format and BOOM #1, tastes even better now!

Anyways. It's Tuesday and this can was canned last Thursday, picked it up at the brewery. I had one that day but wanted to focus on the mindblow.

It's great out of the can but I poured this into a bourbon snifter to review, it had the smallest mouth opening of any glassware I had.

A- Pours a hazy beautiful orange with a quick fading white head
S- smells like straight hops but not in a sharp way, I get a lot of lemon, I get tropical fruits.
T/M- this is pretty unique, it's so freaking balanced for DIPA and its goes down almost buttery. Needless to say you get a boatload of hops but its sooo smooth, I don't even get it. As it goes down you get a lot of lemon and tropical fruit, pine, some subtle caramel. even the the aftertaste is great, very earthy
O- I honestly never thought I'd get to buy fresh heady, and I'm so glad I did. This is not overhyped if you like DIPA's, I can't believe this is 120 IBU's. is so smooth and it leaves you waning more after every sip, good thing it comes in 16oz cans. Almost makes me want to drive 12 hours to buy more.

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

I snatch one of the four silver cylinders attached together by a molded plastic frame, a classy version of un animal friendly can holder that's been villified accross beaches nationwide. I put my index finger squarely on the tab, and lift it up. I reach the can up to my lips, I've entered Hop Heaven.

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

Amazing aroma of the can! Definitely drink out of the pour a little in a glass so you can remember what the best brew looks like : )

Wonderful citrus with clay earthy notes in the background. Nice carbonation - tastes awesome but smells out-of-this-world. Best IPA, in the running for best brew ever.

Seek it out!

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Photo of Tperrotte777
4.98/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This beer is one of the best I have ever had. It is strong with a bite. The biggest flavor you will taste is a heavy amount of Grapefruit!

This is only sold locally and in 4 pack cans for about $14 a pop!
It is well worth every penny you will spend on it!

Or you can come to Vermont and have some straight off the tap! Thats the best way.

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Photo of metter98
4.66/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: The beer is hazy yellow in color and has some hints of amber hues. It poured with a finger high off white head that quickly died down, leaving a thin film of bubbles covering the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass. There is a slight amount of carbonation visible along with some fine particles floating in suspension.
S: There are strong aromas of citrusy hops in the nose along with some hints of pine resin. As the beer warms up, the piney hops become replaced by aromas of mangoes and other tropical fruits. I poured a little from the can into a snifter glass to give due justice to evaluating its appearance and aroma, but the smell is so strong that you can get most of it by simply sniffing the mouth of the can.
T: Like the smell, the overall taste is dominated by flavors from the hops—grapefruit really stands out in particular and contributes a moderate amount of bitterness that lingers into the finish. There are also some interesting hints of tropical fruits such as mangoes, which lend to the complexity and become a little stronger as the beer warms up. The hops also taste extremely fresh and seem a somewhat reminiscent of a wet hopped beer.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: Despite being an Imperial IPA, this beer is a citrus hop bomb that drinks more like a regular IPA and has no traces of alcohol whatsoever in the taste. If I could find a four pack of this, I would have no problem knocking back each one of the cans in a single sitting.

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Photo of BobZ
4.07/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

16oz Can poured into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Very cloudy yellow near opaque, short initial head of about 1" which receded to abut 1/8" cap. Nice lacing.

Smell: Floral hops, big, big citrus, over some pine.

Taste: Massive grapefruit hoppiness, the most dominant flavor by far. Any pine resin flavors are subservient to the power of the citrus. This is what a "hop-bomb" should be. No hint of alcohol. The finish is (pleasantly) bitter tasting like you just finished a glass of grapefruit juice.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy and smooth albeit with the strong bitter finish. In fact I found this to be the creamiest IPA/DIPA I have ever had, unique and well done.

Overall: I can see why this beer is so loved, extreme flavor, excellent mouthfeel. Not highly complex and verging on one dimensional. Still a well crafted beer and a very good example of the style

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

Here I thought Hillfarmstead was a winner! This beer is by far the best kind of brew prolly in the world! If you have not tried Heady Topper, you are nuts. OMG. It made me a believer of hops and the magic is provides when it comes to sleep. Heady Topper is drinkable. I'm telling you right now, it doesn't taste like 8%. So, if you are a fast drinker, a 4 pack should do ya!

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Photo of AlexFields
4.58/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to baconsausage for sending me a four pack as extras (thanks to him for the glass and the other six or seven extras too).

Pours an amazingly thick pine colored syrup with tons of floaties. This looks like crystallized pine sap and I'm surprised it even moves when you tilt the glass. I wouldn't call this "pretty" exactly but it's pretty damned impressive in its own way.

Smell is ridiculous. Just a wild bouquet of every imaginable fruit. Pineapples, mangos, oranges, peaches, bananas, candy sugar. Almost no bitterness or pine in the nose, smells pretty sweet really. This smells as good as any IPA there is.

Taste is a but different. Plenty of fruit still, but focused on pineapple and orange and somewhat less variety. Definitely more bitter than the nose suggests, and hints of line that weren't in the nose. Aftertaste is mostly bitter. Great beer obviously, but not as mind blowing as the nose would suggest.

Mouthfeel is interesting, very thick and syrupy but still pretty drinkable.

Excellent IPA. Not the best in the world IMO, but damn good.

9.2/10

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Photo of RoninTK3
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Extremely murky. You can barely even see light through this beer. A bit of head. Really something unusual here.

S - Hops.

T - Hops. Really, that's about it, but it's incredibly drinkable. This is so good it makes me not want to finish it.

M - Medium bodied and sticky, almost chewy. Average carbonation. Leaves your whole mouth tingling.

This is the best IPA I've ever head. I'm a hop fanatic, but I've had beers that are just hop juice and this isn't one of them. This is very drinkable and not just hoppy for the sake of being hoppy. More please.

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Photo of Seanniek91
4.94/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Shared with RoninTK3. Served from a pint can into a Smuttynose glass.

Appearance- Looks like a witbier it's so cloudy. Can't see shit through it!

Smell- Just hops. Not floral or fruity. Just straight up hops.

Taste- Hop bomb! Straight hop bitterness (in a great way). Very vegetal and drinkable. Don't know how else to describe it.

Mouthfeel- Makes my whole mouth tingle. Not just a lasting flavor, but a lasting mouth tingle. So smooth and strangely drinkable.

Overall- Wow. Never had anything else like it.

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

I took the first few pulls from the can as instructed .... then I poured into a cigar city Tulip glass. I did not enjoy from the can really. I like my IPAs in a glass so I can enjoy the nose.

A: A golden mess of hops. Some moderate lacing. Beautiful!

S: Huge tropical fruit and pineapple nose right up front. Not too piney and as it warmed a bit I got a lot of Orange peel.

T: A hop BOMB! I mean I love IPAs but this but others to shame. It was surprisingly drinkable and I did enjoy the clean finish.

MF: Medium bodied, with good carbonation.

O: Smell is better than taste and this is a top twenty for me but I have had better IPAs. A great IPA glad I got to try it finally!

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Photo of 4ster
4.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap in VT and from cans. Review from both glass (tulip/large wine glass) and also from the can. Was canned around 2nd week, December 2012.
As always, after 800+ reviews, I think everyone knows what to expect from this beer but just for reference here's my review. Thanks to papat444 for the 4 pack :D

(from glass)
A: Pours light straw colour, but extremely opaque, possibly do to hop resins. (if you pour out the end of the can into another glass it is even more cloudy.. with resin?)...not chunky at all, just a fine mist. Light bubbles and light head as well that doesn't build up too much but leaves a slight lace around the rim of the beer as it goes down.

S: Floral, more in the range of sweeter hop smells, some citrus fruit... I don't get as much pine/resin type of hop smell as with some out DIPA's/IIPA's. Otherwise just a lot of endless hops. When you stick you nose in the tulip you get hit with a wonderful green bouquet and know what you're in for!

T: As others noted, aromas lead right into flavours...more floral hops at the start, citrus, and what you don't get so much of in the nose, bitterness and resin, which comes out as it rushes to the back of your throat & explodes back into your mouth...superbly balanced compared to some other super hopped beers. Bitter enough to be a IIPA but not over the top... it just keeps going and because it is so well balanced you just want to keep going...where as some super hopped beers keep piling on the bitterness to where you can't taste anything afterwards for days... this one is like a clean slate each sip....and just a note, if you are savouring it, it will get more resin/bitterness as it warms but still no hint of malts really.

T / M: (from can): Almost like a nitrous injection of hops. As you drink from the can you get both the beer and the hop aromas at once, which is nice. Out of the can it seems to carry a bit more resins and more intense hops... you might also not get as much bitterness because you get a bit more carbonation on your tongue than from drinking out of the glass, so it is more sparkling and refreshing which makes the flavours jump around a little more, but does emphasis the hops for sure... overall it was interesting drinking out of the can.... not sure I'd say it tastes all that much different to be honest, (and I didn't do back to back in 1 shot), but it certainly doesn't diminish the quality of this beer. I'd say glass is probably fine, but you're good either way. Drinking out of the can might be a little closer to what you get on tap (minus the Guinness toys..) but again, didn't do that comparison either.

M: Pine resin stickiness...you'll be tasting this all night on your palette... incredibly balanced... like a hop oil slick, smooth upon entry and as it goes down, no hint of the ABV at all. Perfect amount of carbonation to keep it fresh but not attacking your tongue to distract.

O: What can I say that hasn't already been said before. Best IIPA ever? I haven't tried all the other ones. Best one I've tried so far? definitely. Drink-ability for this amount of hops is outstanding. Hard to get to all the hop flavours in such a complicated hopped beer, but that is ok, this isn't about sipping an Imperial Stout till you get to the bottom of the complexity.... the Alchemist set out to make a perfectly hoppy, drinkable IPA and have surely succeeded where many others fail. For a IIPA this is near perfection. I don't go back to a lot of beers but I would drink this often if I lived in VT...

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Photo of TheChiefBrews
4.97/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My friend was in VT skiing over Christmas and was able to get his hands on 6 four-packs. Needless to say it was an amazing New Years!

A: Poured from the can yielding an opaque dark gold beer with about a finger of bright white head (I made sure to leave the sediment in the can as best I could). I have never seen a beer of this color so opaque, l could not see anything through the beer! My only complaint about this beer, which in minor, is that the head retention was poor.

S: This may be the best beer I have had the privilege to smell. Liquid hops. Huge grapefruit and tropical fruit notes dominate the smell. No malt or alcohol that I could detect.

T: Amazing, the taste follows the smell. Huge grapefruit and tropical fruit tastes. I did not taste any alcohol or malt in this one. A bitter beer that fades nicely into pineapple and citrus rind sweetness.

M: Medium carbonation with a sticky mouthfeel. Slightly astringent.

O: This is absolutely in the top three IPAs for me. I am about to retry some Pliney here in a couple of days and once I do that I think I will be able to place it. If you like IPAs then this is a must have beer that is worth seeking out.

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