Heady Topper | The Alchemist

2,324 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: 2,324 | Ratings: 13,097
Photo of pepsican
3.8/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks like dirty sewer water dumped into a light beer, smaller off white head. Aroma is tropical fruit, marijuana, onions. Similar flavor, lots of onions, garlic, tomato, juicy fruit, papaya, and orange. Bitter finish, pretty dry for the ABV. Reminds me exactly of what Toppling Goliath is doing around here.

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Photo of vandemonian
4.83/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Alchemist Heady Topper is a delicious DIPA. It has the delicious aroma and flavour of hops without being particularly bitter. How did they do that? I want to know so I can homebrew some.

A: Cloudy orange colour and a 5 mm head that lasts very well. 5

S: Strong grassy hops. There is some subtle sweet malt and some unusual spiciness. Some light vanilla notes too. 4.5

T: Malty and a little sweet with some delicious grassy hops. Amazingly, it's not really bitter at all. There are some light yeasty and vanilla flavours that come through in the finish. 5

M: Thick and foamy. 4.5

O: 5

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

On a Trip to Vermont with the Family... I had to stop here. I got my first taste of this beer on Tap and it was amazing. Of course they were out of cans, luckily on my way out of town they were restocked and I picked up some (definitely not enough).

A - I drank a little from the can and poured there the rest into my Duvel glass to get a good look at it. It was hazy/cloudy light orange color with pieces floating in it

S - A big, fresh aroma of bitter citrus and piney hops. There is also a hint of orange and grapefruit.

T - Wow. Very similar to the aroma. Dry and piney with a rush of citrus hops. Bitter with a semi-sweet malty balance

M - Good carbonation and medium bodies. It drinks relatively smooth for the ABV and hop content.

O - Definitely recommend this beer if you can get it. Definitely recommend driving to get this beer if needed. I enjoyed it. I didnt mind the fact that deliciousness was floating in the beer when poured out of the can, probably why the recommend drinking from the can. Awesome stuff either way.

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Photo of SlobGoblin1837
4.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A fresh specimen canned on Monday October 8. We quickly developed an intimate rapport with this beer.

A- A murky golden flow cascades from the can, creating a formidable head of about two fingers length. The lace clings to the glass like snow crystals upon a frosted window-foreboding and glorious.

S- We dip our noseys into the glass and are enveloped into a miasma of tropical fruit. The perfumed citrus beckons us onward. We heed its call and take our first sips of this delectable concoction.

T- A hoptastic journey, notes of citrus balance the hop sensations

M- A dense body caressed our cheeks and raised our spirits. The carbonation was sheer perfection.

O- Surely topped off my day!

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Photo of MacQ32
4.87/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - I followed directions and drank it straight out of the the can. Cool can.

S - Lots of flavorful bitter citrus and piney aromas, orange and pineapple, herbal, heavenly. Literally smells like raw pellet hops.

T - Piney bitter explosion up front mostly piney and semi dry up front, malty sweetness briefly kicks in followed by another more intense burst of citrusy hoppyness through the finish, straw/grassy finish. I've eaten a few whole hops before and its slightly reminiscent of that.

M - Medium bodied or so. Very drinkable and quenching as I find all aggressively hopped brews. Appropriate carbonation.

O - Finally, I made it to Central VT to pick up a few 4packs. It met all of the hype. No idea what it looks like but I dont care, based off of everything else this beer is perfect so its getting a 5. I have a feeling if I poured this into a can there would be a lot of hop reminents mixed in. Raw flavorful hops

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Photo of harperman69
4.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Special thanks to Andrew84 for this one

First gulps from the can an then poured into a standard pint glass.

Poured an opaque light golden with tons of bits floating all around, totally unexpected. Less than a finger head leaving light tracing as it was drank.

Smell was overpowering of grapefruit hoppiness with slight pine nose. Seriously could have smelled this all night, someone at Yankee Candle make this a fragrance!

Mouthfeel was slightly thick and resiney that perfect for the taste that was to follow.
Cannot believe how stinking good is. Grapefruit wallop with other citrus flavors following, most prominently orange. Solid malt backbone that stays out of the way but providing the necessary balance to make this every bit as deserving as its ranking.

Overall this is one of the best beers I've had. Pliny the Elder was somewhat of a disappointment to me so East Coast wins this round. IMO that doesn't happen often in the hop realm.

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Photo of Powderhornphil
4.47/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I tried this from the can and poured. As the can advises, the taste is better from the can. Poured it is hazy orange, very little head and minimal lacing.

Smell is of abundant hops. Smells of pinaeapple, mango, grapefruit and a little peach.

Starts with a grapefruit resiny hop flavor. Finishes with a big hop oil, grapefruit bitterness. Quite bitter but the bitterness is well incorporated. Taste from the can comes in waves. Poured it is a little less dynamic.

Mouthfeel is of course resiny.

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Photo of BeerBuckeye
4.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pours a very hazy orange/yellow with nice 2 finger white head. I love the haziness here, almost pumpkin colored in tint.

S - Wow. Burst of grapefruit, mango, orange, and balanced off with some honey sweetness, some pine and grass. Very nice.

T - Incredibly drinkable, and the nose follows through in the taste here. It provides a ton of sweetness up front with fruity hop character, but remains incredibly balanced. Finishes with just a tinge of bitter, piney hop.

M - Crisp, full, and smooth. As I said, it's incredibly drinkable. Solid amount of carbonation.

Overall - Incredible. Lives up to the hype. And absolutely delicious beer. An experience every beer drinker needs to have.

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

Been trying to track this one down for a long while, finally scored a solo can. Enjoying from the Can as the can instructs you to. This is my first review.

A: Didn't get to see what was inside but the can is a gorgeous pint with a sweet black/grey color scheme. Definitely one of the coolest designs i have seen.

S: This thing just reeks of fruit, getting some mango, pineapple, grapefruit, and passion fruit all combined into an orgasmic aroma.

T: Holy cow, one of the most refreshing, fruity, drinkable IPA's i have ever had. Loads and Loads of Citrus on the palate along with notes of mango, pine, and orange apricot. Has a sweet malt backbone in the middle that leads to a fruity bitterness aftertaste. Wow.

M: Mouthfeel was surprisingly light, with medium carbonation. This beer is extremely drinkable. One of the smoothest beers i have had, and enjoying it from the can certainly helps.

O: Well i would say this is the best DIPA i have had, and i have had a lot of the top competitors offerings of this style. I was most blown away by the Citra hop presence, balance perfection, and drinkability. This is a must have!

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Photo of clay23
4.91/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I followed the directions and drank it straight from the can- each time you take a sip the hops (citra?) really hits you!

A- I poured a little into a tasting glass- lighter than expected and cloudy

S- Awesome! Im guessing that this is dry hopped with a massive amount of hops

T- it attacks your taste buds and is a great DIPA- for a 120IBU and 8% its really easy

M- the carbonation is just right

O- the beer is extremely fresh and a great DIPA

Heady Topper really lived up to the hype and I would advise any beer lover within driving distance to make the trip- you wont regret it!!!

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Photo of Vermont-the-Trader
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've had this beer many, many times..On tap at the PIG is the best place to drink it. Also, had it straight up out of the can. And, even went against the grain and poured the can into a glass pint. This beer is so god i would recommend taking a bath in it. Tons of hop after hop his your noise from the get go. Beautiful gold color, with a creamy head that laces perfectly to the glass and your face! Mild bitter, Erich is explained on the can. 8% abv so clearly, this one can get ahead of you. Very balanced malt to bittering, creating a nice full creamy body. I live about 3hrs away from the Alchemist cannery, and do travel up there often, if, you're looking to trade, drop me you're request.

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Photo of juliusseizure
4.48/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up quite a few 4 packs from the Hunger Mountain Co-op on my way to the HF Harvest Festival

A - on the lighter side for DIPAs with nice 3/4" inch foam that recedes over time and continues to leave a 2mm lacing

S - fresh citrus fruit, sweetness (malt?), a hybrid of orange and grapefruit, hint of pine but not as much as most IPA/DIPAs I love

T - Perfect balance for a DIPA. Minimal bitterness, while still somehow maintaining the integrity of the hops. A nice malt backbone without making it seem bready and sweet

M - Juicy. Each sip made my taste buds release juices making me think I was hungry. Probably just my subconscious hungry for the next sip

O - A fantastic DIPA. One that if available locally, would become my go to beer. Unfortunately Vermont is not near enough and my penchant for wanting to try new beers, makes me trade half of what I bring back each trip.

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

Saved my first review for my favorite beer I've ever had. Thank you grandparents for residing in Vermont and giving me an excuse to load up on Heady once a year.

A: Drank out of the can per Alchemist recommendation buy have also poured into a Sam Adams Lager glass. Very cloudy, hazy, light coloration.

S: Hits you in the nose. A little citrus along with lost of floral notes and hops. Hops over and over.

T: The gift that keeps on giving. A hop heads dream. Well blended, hoppy but not not overwhelming, just making you beg for more.

O: Favorite beer I've ever had. Give me this over any other DIPA, Pliny eat your heart out.

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Photo of tut2528
4.74/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A big shout out to Verecund for this one! Very awesome of you man!

A: drink from can (but I had an extra one so I poured it into a glass... and the appearance is a murky/light brown with a tons of crap floating around... its actually not all that appealing looking) But since this one clearly states to drink from the can, I will grade the appearance based on the can's appearance.

S: awesome explosion of piney hops, deep tropical fruits such as mango, grapefruit, slight peach, and mega orange peel.

T: like the nose, this has an awesome balance of tropical fruits and piney hops. Orange peel, mango, grapefruit and peaches all are very well balanced together and there is a slight honey note that sits along side of this drawing away some of the piney bitterness. 5.0

M: fairly light bodied and quite light on the tongue. It leaves an awesome bitter hop note on the tongue and it finishes with a quick creaminess that quickly becomes more dry, but it is quite delightful.

O: well, this one most definitely lives up to the hype. I would love to try this side by side against PtE, Zombie Dust and Hopslam to see how they each compare to each other. But overall, I find this one just simply awesome. The big tropical fruits are very well balanced with the big piney hops aren’t overwhelming on the palate. The brew is quite refreshing and has a very high drinkability. And the bitterness that is left on the palate actually creates an urge to take another sip.

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Photo of BT_Bobandy
4.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

5/13/2013 - Snifter. I was told this was "4 days old" from the kind bearded man who apparently had a trunk full of this bounty.

A - hazy bronze, like a yellow Post-it note left in the dash and faded by the sun. 1 inch head, but that settles down after a bit.

S - citrus and pine all around. Mango / pineapple / grapefruit. Also a yeasty and slightly musty hint as well. Did I leave anything out?

T - Pretty much perfect. Smooth hop roller-coaster with malty loop-de-loops. Bitterness is present, but not overbearing...more of a whiffle ball bat than a Louisville Slugger. Bread and biscuit. Sugary and sweet. Hints of honey and maybe some lemon for good measure as it warms. Overall, terrific.

M - tasted like beer. Smooth with no carb issues.

O - I'm a believer in the hype. This beer gives unspeakable pleasures and I would gladly trade my wife for a case. Warning: This beer will give you the urge to hunt predatory animals. You have been warned.

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Photo of cfrances33
4.68/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Can thanks to juliusseizure. Enjoyed from the can, because my mother taught me to follow directions.

Appearance: Yeah, yeah... I know. Its just a can, But I truly enjoy the way this can looks. The glossy metallic with only black is pretty badass in my opinion.

Smell: Tough to get a whiff out of that little opening, but what does come out it so inviting, Huge grapefruit, pineapple, and mango. A little bit of pine, but just ever so slightly. Nice honey sweetness supports.

Taste: Incredible grapefruit, orange juice, and pineapple. A pretty supportive caramel sweetness bolsters the juicy affair, but lets the hops shine. A light resin and citrus lingers on the palate.

Mouthfeel: This is so utterly drinkable. Incredibly juicy, with a wonderful prickly carbonation. A pretty substantial bitterness that I don't remember the last time I reviewed this.

Overall: I have no idea how old the can I reviewed the last time was, but this one blows it away, and I know it was less than a week old. Incredible stuff, lives up to the hype, and blows Pliny out of the water in my opinion.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.65 out of 5 based on 13,097 ratings.
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