Heady Topper | The Alchemist

2,308 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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,308 | Ratings: 12,992
Photo of sbrotschul
4.77/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What a fun can of beer! It is great that we can zip up to Vermont and bring a couple of cases home for sharing over the summer. Of course, the warning "drink from the can" does make a difference. I did pour some in a snifter, but you lose some of the smell and the creaminess.

Appearance (4.5). The can hides the yellow color of the beer -- which isn't all bad. Can't tell about lacing, and the change of color over time.

Smell (5.0). Citrus explosion, with some hints of mango-like sweetness.

Taste (4.5). Hops, citrus tickles the tongue. Mmmmm.

Mouthfeel (5.0). Love the creaminess of the beer. Not too bubbly.

Overall (4.75). A world-class beer. It is no surprise that this beer has been moving up the charts over the last year.

 736 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
4.8/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

A: Pours a hazy dark straw yellow in color with some hints of golden yellow and very light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall dense and creamy off-white head that slowly reduces to a mottled thick film covering the entire surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Huge aromas of citrus and tropical hops - lots of citrus/grapefruit along with pineapple, mango, and peach tropical aromas. The smell of this beer makes me want to drink it, and want more and more of it.

T: Just like the smell, the taste of this beer is completely dominated by the hops. Moderate to strong flavors of grapefruit/citrus, pineapple, mango, and peach hops with a light amount of bitterness that does not linger. Upfront there is a light amount of malt sweetness.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Extremely smooth and creamy.

O: Poured half the can into a glass for my review and drank the other half from the can as recommended on the can. This is definitely a world class DIPA, great aroma and great flavor...and it comes in a can to top it off. This beer is super easy to drink but I think it could really sneak up on you because the alcohol is very well hidden. Delicious!

 1,278 characters

Photo of JimsArcade
4.8/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

(Notes from an April 2012 sampling)

The brewers at The Alchemist are forthright in why Heady Topper should be enjoyed from the can. While the beer pours a gorgeous ruby-amber, tan chunks of what I believe to be yeast and hop resin spread throughout the beer. They do not affect the mouthfeel in or out of the can, though. If you can stomach the visuals, I highly recommend pouring the beer in a large snifter to experience the explosion of citrus and herbal aromas from the hops. The taste: it's like an orange was cross-bred with a hop and squeezed into the can. There is a perfect bittersweet balance at play here. I could drink these one after the other if availability allowed me to,

Simply put, this is a world-class IIPA. As far as I'm concerned, it's the new flagship for the style. I'm glad I got it when I did as I'm sure future releases will reach Pliny the Young levels of insanity.

 895 characters

Photo of Dennoman
4.39/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reasonably fresh can, as fresh as I can get them in Europe. Thank you PaulMcConnell, been dying to try this hype monster since I first heard of it. Canned September 5th, had September 23rd. Poured a small amount into a glass for the appearance.

A: A muddy yellow attractive looking DIPA. Foam dies down very quickly: is this intentional because of the can drinking gimmick, or is there just not enough attention to details like PH levels during brewing?

S: O... M... G. This is where this beer shines. Waves upon waves of citrus. Pineapple is predominant, followed by overripe peach. Slight lemon and orange zest. Some honey and even a tiny bit of booze. Every time you take a whiff off this, you get something new.

T: Everything you get on the smell is what hits the palate first. After the swirl and swallow, it magically turns into a dry bitterness that cleans the palate completely. I might have enjoyed some more fruitiness, which is why it scores lower in the flavor department for me than i.e. the Three Floyds Zombie Dust. It beats any other IPA I've had in the smell department hands down, but the taste just turns overly dry and bitter for me. Not disappointing, but a lot different from what I expected.

M: Nice medium carbonation that befits the style beautifully and makes this beer insanely light (and dangerous) to drink. You need to drink this fairly fast though, as mine went almost completely flat after a good ten to fifteen minutes.

O: Wow. It's hard to say this considering there are so many different styles, each with their own distinct smell and taste profiles, but this is probably the best smelling beer I've ever had. The pineapple and peach aroma is simply divine and one of the easiest 5/5 I've ever handed out. I would drink this by the case-load for the rest of my life, if only it wasn't damn near impossible to get here in Europe. I'm very thankful to have tried this, and it was very interesting to taste a non-West Coast IPA that's still considered one of the world's finest.

A true honor and a reminder to how very humbling it is to be a part of this great community. Thanks again Paul!

 2,128 characters

Photo of cochan
3.59/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I get this from time to time, it was the best beer i ever had about three years ago. But lately, something has changed not worth the 3 hour drive each way anymore, not to mention the bullshit of store hopping if you want more than a 4pk.

 237 characters

Photo of rand
4.09/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a can to a nonic pint

A: Well the first thing you notice is the dank appearance and a s$%t-ton of suspended yeast...I'd assume this is why the brewers have all-cap instructions to drink straight from the can - they don't want to scare you off!

S: But without a proper pour, you're not going to experience the bold, robust bouquet, which will result in an improper review, IMHO. Orange rind meddled with various ripened fruit teases your senses up-front. Booze and piny, vinous hop-essence surround the bouquet, with lingering sweet, bready malts.

T: Ripe citrus meets vinous hop astringency at the front of the palate. Orange pith blends nicely with toffee-sweet malts. There's a unique dank element (unique to the IPA's that surround me in San Diego) to the brew, I suspect from the yeast, that cuts through the malty sweetness, accentuating hop astringency. Finishes long and bitter.

M: Chewy for the style; as oily-slick as I've come across.

OK...there's no question that this is a good beer. A damn good beer. But #3 in the world? I can name 5 or 6 new imperial IPA's I've tried locally that are better crafted than this (Super IPA, The Pupil, this year's batch of summer YuleSmith to name a few). And they don't need to hide in a can. This points to a geographical bias that I've suspected of BeerAdvocate for some time...I'm sorry, but there's no way this is better than Pliny the Elder or any number of Alpine's IPA's. That being said, this shouldn't be reviewed against expectations. If I was handed this blind - say, in a keg cup so you don't see the crazy complexion - I'd be talking about it all night. It delivers on all the levels a fan of imperial IPA's expect (other than appearance). But given that this was pretty hard for me to come by I'll probably stick with more local treats.

 1,814 characters

Photo of danedelman
4.91/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-I drink from the can but have poured into a glass and it is an amber with tons of sediment.

S-mango, pineapple raw hoppiness with a caramel maltiness. So good. So good.

T-holy poop. Not a hop bOMB like I thought. Very citrusy hopped but has a great balance to it with the Pearl malt. Wow! My favorite ever.

8%abv!!!! It drinks like a 5%er. Man this is smooth. So good.

 376 characters

Photo of raznug
4.92/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Heady Topper pours a hazy pale orange color and is topped with ¾” of head that tends to linger nicely, while Belgian lacing lines the glass.
Smell: This is not an overpowering hop explosion like I was expecting but it does have a well designed blend of hops that work together.
Taste: I have drunk quite a few IPA’s over the years and this maybe the best that I have ever had. The hops dominate the flavor but that isn’t all that I can taste the malt does make an appearance but it isn’t a long appearance but it does make for a well balanced beer that still has all the makings of one of the best IIPA’s in the world.
Mouthfeel: This is a tasty medium to heavy bodied beer that isn’t as easy drinking as some IIPA’s but a world class IIPA shouldn’t be able to drink like a BMC. The hops of the beer should stick around for a while.

 863 characters

Photo of cackerman76
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Although the can directs not pour I couldn't do that. After taking a sip or two from the can I poured out and got the full hop aroma which I have to have with an IPA. This is beer is talked up so much I feared I would be let down but even with lofty expectations this beer exceeded them. Best IPA in northeast, Hands down.

 322 characters

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

Appearance: His mama name him 'Clay', I'ma call him 'Clay' - straight from the can as advised by the maker. Who am I to defy him?

Smell: Whoa. Very strong citrus burst as soon as the can is cracked. Pineapple is the dominant aroma. Almost overwhelming.

Taste: Grapefruit, pineapple, obviously incredible hops. It lingers and doesn't let up for a good 20 seconds. Expands in your mouth.

Mouthfeel: Smooth like Miles Davis at his Kind of Blue peak. Toes the line of having a creamy feel but doesn't quite get there. Pretty much perfect.

If Superman was a beer drinker, he would drink Heady.

 593 characters

Photo of TheMultiYeast
4.92/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had my first Heady Topper from the can..this ones from a tulip. Pours a very hazy pale orange with 2 fingers of head. Great retention and lacing. Some bubbles rising in the glass.

I could smell big tropical fruits upon opening the can. Pineapple sweetness, juicy hops, mint, really intense fresh hop aroma.

Taste doesn't disappoint either. More ripe tropical fruit, more citrus than the nose, incredibly clean bitterness and finish. An explosion of hops but insanely balanced and drinkable.

Perhaps the pinnacle of DIPAs

 523 characters

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

Cracked open a can over the weekend...had it before but just getting around to reviewing it. The can I received from a friend is a couple weeks "old" but apparently at prime drinking age.

The can is always a wonderful site and I rarely pour it out into a glass unless sharing.

Smell is juicy and big. Like cutting into a fresh grapefruit, notes of mango, tropical rinds and touches of pine. It's BIG.

Huge juicy citrus sunshine fruit explosion. Yeah, whatever that means, it's what it is. It walks the line of having some of that boozy burn you sometimes get from a double but it's pulled back by the pulp and pine bitterness that cleanly finish it off.

Great balance in the mouthfeel of juiciness and a clean dry punctuation.

It's probably my favorite beer right now. It's worth trading for to try at least once and any time I can I have people pick some up for me or get it myself. It's drinkable, great flavor and gives you the right buzz. If you're an IPA drinker, get some.

 987 characters

Photo of Beerzebub
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally getting around to reviewing this one after drinking it several times and learning that I really love it. Poured at fridge temp into an opaque ceramic mug. Peering down in there, it looks like a good murky orange color, and I vaguely recall that it looks good in a glass.

Smells like tropical fruit salad laced with honeysuckle, honey, thai iced tea, and caramel malt.

Massive tropical fruity, floral hop flavor, and deep earthy, rooty bitterness. Fairly dry, just enough sweetness to make it even more delicious. Some caramel, and a long bitter finish.

Squishy, fine carbonation, with the texture otherwise driven by mouthdrying bitterness.

Great beer.

 664 characters

Photo of Willytee3
4.97/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pick up as much as you can when visiting the Brewery in Vermont!

Pours a light golden orange with 1 finger of creamy white head. Reduces to thin film which clings to edge of glass, good lacing.

Best smelling beer of all time! Gobs of tropical fruit, Mango, Passion, orange citrus balance with some pine hops. A touch of grapefruit too and a faint bread chocolate.

Taste is a tropical fruit paradise balanced by a chalky restrained bitter. Juicy mango, peach, passion fruit balanced by lemon juice turns to a grapefruit and pine hop finish. Juicy flavors throughout balanced by a light bitter.

Fine champagne like bubbles fade away to a pine hop finish and lingering juicy grapefruit peal with no trace of alcohol.

 720 characters

Photo of sleuthdog
4.62/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to a great friend Tut2528 for giving me my first HT! Really appreciate it my man!

Appearance:??? Enjoyed from the can.

Smell: How can this smell so incredible from a can? Huge pine and citrus hop coming from the mouth of the can in sticky sweet waves. There is grapefruit, orange, pineapple, mango along with some piney hop. I'm getting the sweetness that's bringing forth a caramel and maybe a brown sugar.

Taste: Unbelievable amount of citrus with grapefruit and tangerine, mango and pineapple, an unripe orange peel and a honey sweetness. This is followed by a pine hop bite that does linger well after the sip and swallow. Phenomenal aftertaste on this one with no alcohol present.

Mouthfeel: I'd call it creamy and drying with a light body. Don't seem to get too much carbonation but just enough to round out the feel.

Overall: My first ever experience with this beer is one that is memorable to say the least. Simply an intimidating beer with the warnings on the can but in the end the beast is not as scary as you'd think. A surprisingly easy drinking DIPA that I'm delighted I got to try.

 1,112 characters

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

Last of a four can haul. Pours peach-juice amber. Big white head with slippery spots of lacings on the glass (yeah, I ignored the can instructions).

Just beautiful fruit on the nose. Loads of orange and assorted tropicals. Certainly some pine, but it's restrained.

Huge juicy fruit up front. Orange, mango, pineapple (you know the drill) with a sugary undercurrent. Bitter finish, but stops short of being brash. Lip-smacking finish makes it hard to savour this one.

I'm a contrarian, so I like to think when I say something is worth the hype, it's worth the hype. Moreover, I/IPAs aren't always my cup of tea, but this is just a fantastically brewed beer. They deserve all the praise they've gotten.

 706 characters

Photo of stoutluvr420
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Drank out of the can. This is about as close to DIPA perfection as you can get. I absolutely cannot believe that beer from a can could be this good. Total fresh hop fragrance hits you as you pop the top of the can. The can says "drink from the can" but I need to pour it into a glass to appreciate the hop aroma and flavor to its fullest. really nice unfiltered murky pour with a huge off-white creamy head. The flavor is perfection: huge hop flavor with none of the bitterness. My favorite beer right now.

 506 characters

Photo of GonzoHomebrewer
4.92/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Whenever I make my way to Hill Farmstead, I always make sure to drop by and pick up a few Heady's, which says something because it is one of a few IPAs that can stand up to the HF IPAs.

A- It does look good, don't get me wrong. Pours with a dark honey hue and a decent head. A bit of hop particle floatin around, I personally don't mind, but it ought to be accounted for in the review.

S- Blows most IPAs out of the water. A wonderful combination of dank, earthiness and a blast of mango, passion fruit. A little bit of everything, all rolled into one.

T-More of the same. For me, the Mango, Passion fruit citrus notes dominate but I can still recognize some of the earthy qualities noticed in the nose. Dangerously drinkable for the ABV

M- Delivers everything to palette in a sufficient manner. Its all about the hops here

O- I can never say no to a Heady

 863 characters

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

A- Pours a honey gold, with a great head, slighly cloudy with sediment which is why it's 4.5 and not a 5. The floaties in there are a great part of this beer however. The Hop oils are apparent.

S- This beer has a nose that I wish every beer had. To me it seems like guava, passion fruit, citrus all in the front with a slight bit of that nice DIPA malty goodness you would want from a DIPA of this stature. It smells like everything I dream of and then some, probably one of the best beers I've ever smelled.

T- HT is one of the best balanced beers I have ever had. I get grapefruit in the front with those tropical fruit notes guiding to the goodness at the end. HT's are lighter then you expect and go down very smooth. It's way to easy to drink more of these then you thought you did.

M- HT starts out creamy and smooth, almost malty but finishes dry. Amazing mouth feel. Much smoother then most DIPA's

O- My fav-o-rit beer by far. This is my go to on a weekly basis. Being that the brewery is only 6 miles from my house, it's a no brainer on what I'm going to drink. Other then some small batch home brews by a few local VT brewers, this is the best beer I've ever had by far. Looking forward to more releases from the Alchemist in the future. I miss the wide range of Alchemist beers at the old pub.

 1,308 characters

Photo of tlazaroff
4.56/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It smells like the tears of beer nerds who demand this be drunk from a glass.

Unknown appearance.

I get aluminum, nickel, and other polycarbonates. I think I can taste the black ink from the screen printing, and the dirt left over from transportation around the rim. Quite interesting, really.

Big pine and citrus coming off of this. It’s dank, sweet, glorious, and un believably enticing.

Very hazy and straw yellow in color and there are little floaters in it. It has a gorgeous fluffy white head with lacing that sticks to the side of the glass. Not the best looking beer, but one of the best looking heads I have ever seen. It is my hope that they want you to drink this out of the can due to the appearance being hazy and somewhat unattractive.

A tidal force of hops washes over my palate.. This beer is essentially hop juice. I think those floaters were bits of hop particles (after reading the description on the can, I think I’m right). Big big pine, citrus, pineapple, guava, and papaya. It has a smooth, creamy mouthfeel with minimal carbonation and a medium body. This beer is a pure delight to behold, and absolutely is a work of art.

Note: The can review was a joke, I drank half from the can, then poured the rest into a glass to enjoy for comparison. I did find the flavors stronger when drinking form the can, it was interesting.

 1,369 characters

Photo of facundoCNB
4.09/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

murky orange pour - had 2 cans, drinking this one from a glass because i can.. fuck you :) ... half inch of off-white head, thick lacing.
floral hops from halfway through flicking the tab open. grapefruit, citrus, very floral and earthy.
slightly bitter up front, citrus hops, hint of caramel.. mainly hops upon hops of flavor.

medium body, nice carbonation, slightly creamy on lips. a tiny bit overhype honestly, but a damn good beer nonetheless. sweet, citrus, hoppy - that's all i really want in ipa and that's what they are offering!

 538 characters

Photo of fiver29
4.54/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Can shared by Mike. Thanks! Pours dark golden with off white head. Aroma is sick. And by that I mean awesome. Wet resiny sticky hops dominate the nose. Flavor follows the nose and has a great meaty malt backbone to back it up. Medium mouthfeel. This tastes amazing. Its worthy of all the praise it gets. Just awesome.

 317 characters

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

Pours very cloudy light orange with a huge 2 finger foamy snow white head that was full of bubbles and faded slowly, leaving very good foamy lacing.

Smells incredible; the pine and fresh citrus is like sticking your nose in a hop and then a tangerine. Aroma is sweet and hoppy, with grapefruit, orange, pineapple, tangerine, mango, citrus hops, fresh piney hops, caramel, floral hops, toasted grains, tea leaf, herbs and light spices like pepper, coriander and brown sugar or cinnamon; just enough malt and grains to make this a perfect smelling IPA – literally perfection.

Tastes is equally as awesome, sweet and hoppy with grapefruit, orange, pineapple, lemon, tangerine, mango, citrus hops, piney hops, caramel, floral hops, toasted grains, tea leaf, herbs, sweet malt, tart sour apple or pear, and spices like pepper, mint, coriander and brown sugar. Good God this is amazing, with such juicy citrus flavors that ooze orange and tangerine with a slight grainy feel that allows the hops to shine and seem fresh picked with enough malt balance to flow down like a pale ale and hide the ABV completely.

Mouthfeel is light and crisp, with a medium chewy body, average carbonation and a very bitter finish like you just drank a glass of grapefruit juice, yet it was still incredibly smooth and easy to drink. The citrus flavor that lingers almost tastes better than most other beers. The only shame of drinking it was that you could no longer smell it, but the total experience was worth it.

A hop lovers dream, this was almost as impressive out of a glass as it was out of the can where there is some mystique in play and bold instructions to drink it that way listed on the can. Get some if you can as this is one of the best beers on the planet. The focus that the brewery puts into brewing this beer perfectly has paid off as this could be the best beer that I’ve ever had.

2/3/13-thanks to my friend Jim for hooking me up with a 4 pack of cans...I cracked one today and it was so fresh and hoppy that this re-confirms that this is the best beer that I've ever had. Drank it from the can and the piney and floral hop flavors were so strong yet so smooth that I had to force myself to slow down so I could savor every sip.

 2,237 characters

Photo of brewale4me
4.97/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

WOW! This is an exceptionally well hopped pale ale. I wish I could get it all the time. It is cloudy orange with a finger of head. Highly carbonated with a full complement of hop aromatics. Lower bitterness than I was expecting from a imperial IPA. WOW!

 253 characters

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

Had two glasses of this on my birthday. If this even wasn't in the afternoon and I didn't have to drive myself home I'd have had quite a few more.

A - This thing looks like a cider really. Dark orange and copper highlights with what also looks like pulp. Very cloudy and opaque. The head consists of what you would expect on a latte, literally it looks like there is cinnamon in it. Lacing caked all over the glass. Perfect looking DIPA.

S - Suprisingly I actually picked up pale malts on the first whiff. But really this thing is hopped to the hilt. Grapefruit, flower petals, and a bit of honey.

T - Mango and grapefruit overload. Orange peel, honey, and some subdued pine flavor. There's a wave of bitterness on the end of flavor with no drying effect that some hop bombs can do. No booze tasted at all.

M - Saturating. Mouth coated with the amazing fruit flavor and stickyness of the hop. High carbonation and low to medium bodied. Could easily drink 4 or more of these until the booze would start to kick in.

O - This is a heady DIPA for sure. Incredible fruit profile and bitterness. Taste more fruit than hops but nonetheless it was a pleasure to consume. Cant think of a much better beer to have on my birthday.

 1,225 characters

Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.65 out of 5 based on 12,992 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.