Heady Topper | The Alchemist

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2,273 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: 2,273 | Ratings: 12,783
Photo of Bsquirrelbrewer
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Straight from the can. Purchased today in Burlington.

No color observations because it was consumed from the can. The can looks nice though.

Smell is floral with a solid hop aroma.

Taste brings strong hops without any overpowering bitterness. The hops have staying power that linger on the palate. Dangerously drinkable.

Mouthfeel is smooth and clean.

Excellent beer that lives up to the hype!

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Photo of number1bum
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Many thanks to mymrnngjckt for sharing a bottle of this last night. What a treat.

Poured a semi-dark copper color with about two fingers of tan head. Kept a pretty good lace with some decent stick on the sides. A bit darker than most IPAs.

Smell absolutely leaped from the glass and was bursting with citrus hop aromas. I could smell it from 3 feet away as I was still pouring. Incredibly fruity, with grapefruit, orange and lemony citrus, juicy and intoxicating. The fruitiest, juiciest IPA nose I can ever recall. Really impressive.

Taste also had a ton of citrus hop flavor. Maybe not quite as dripping with citrus as the nose was, but lots of grapefruit and orange going on. Somewhat tropical as well. There's just a touch of sweet malt to provide a backbone, with moderate bitterness. Tons of hop flavor.

Mouthfeel was a creamy medium body, well carbonated and very smooth. A nice slick, oily feel from the hops.

In terms of drinkability it doesn't get any better than this. So smooth and flavorful, and with so much juicy hop flavor I didn't want to put the glass down. I need to make it to this brewery and just sit at the bar drinking this for an entire evening. Awesome stuff.

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Photo of blockdude
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Definitely lives up to the hype. From the first sip, I noticed some very subtle pine and citrus, which developed into this beautiful buttery-toffee finish. It has sort of an organic mouthfeel which I really dig; could be the fact that it is unpasteurized and unfiltered. Just the right about of bitterness and unique hop flavor to make this extremely satisfying. Killer IPA.

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Photo of aquabears
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Orange! Smells sweet and piney and fresh. Taste is sweet grapefruit and herbal, resinous, mild bitterness on the back end, very smooth. Lighter bodied and moderate carbonation

...as I drink, more citrus is coming through. So well balanced and delicious.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Consumed from a 16 ounce can. Canned 6 March 2013. I poured an ounce or two into a Glencairn glass for purposes of appearance and smell.

A: Clearish, milky, hazy, with light white head and sticky lace. But I suppose it's irrelevant since most of it is in the can.

S: Fresh-cut grass, tangerine and honeysuckle, rich and sweet and delectable.

T: Okay. Yeah. It lives up to the hype. If I could get this regularly, I would drink it almost exclusively. It's perfectly balanced...complex, fresh hops; sweetish, alluring, honeyish malt; crisp, clean, lingeringly citric-bitter finish. There is nothing bad to say about this beer, but it's not overwhelmingly delicious.

M: It's so creamy! Rich and luxuriant and rewarding.

O: If you can drink this beer, absolutely do so. It's maybe the best IPA I've ever had (though the first batch of Mikkeller's Invasion IPA could give it a run for its money). Not as fruity as perhaps I'd like, but it avoids any 'off' quality that hugely popular (D)IPAs (e.g., Pliny the Younger) seem to share.

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Photo of Masonz223
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Smell: tropical fruit notes grapefruit orange pine perfume
Taste: upfront a big hit of grapefruit bitterness and a big juicy orange juice flavor middle of the mouth a syrupy sweet malt taste comes in and balances the initial bitterness out mellow tropical fruit note fnishes with a Floral hop perfume flavor more orange juice some dankness and a grassy sharp pine needle bitterness.
Feel: thick syrupy chewy big bodied beer.
Overall: I love the body on this beer so full and chewy. This beer is crazy it pretty much has everything you would look for in a dipa. Awesome stuff!

Note: I don't know if it's just me but I poured some in a glass and drank some from the can. There almost two different beers it's crazy! Way more citrusy and hoppy out of the can. Better out of the can!

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Photo of PatandDavid
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had more than one of these during our visit to the brewpub. Nice and orangey amber, I dove right in and picked up on an intriguing woody-earthy character in the aroma. There was also a nice new mown hay essence and candied hoppyness as well. That is a lot of excitement to live up to, but luckily, the beer delivered all of this in the taste as well. The earthiness was also pretty present in the finish. This is an excellent double IPA which will keep you ordering more. I can't say any more than that even at 8% abv...I still wanted to keep drinking. No taste fatigue or wobbliness in the legs after one. Nice beer.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Day old can picked up at the new cannery. Despite the advice of the can, poured into a nonic.

An aromatic wave of dank pine and citrus hops emerge immediately upon cracking the can open. Pours a fairly dark, dull copper/orange. Cloudy and thick with a thick cream colored head. Clumpy streaks of lacing and a thin retentive layer of bubbles throughout. Sweet, juicy, ripe aroma of grapefruit and pineapple, with grass, pine and citrus rind balancing out the profile. Thicker side of medium body, chewy and oily on the palate with a resiny and pulpy finish. Strong bready malt body hides underneath the rich, fresh, intense hop flavor. Much more resiny and pulpy than the aroma, grapefruit and pine flavors dominate. Finish is dry and remarkably smooth. Just about perfect, this is a miracle in a readily available can.

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Photo of Beers-es
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rich orange with a nice white finger of foam. Smell is layers of citrus and some pine. Taste is similar. Super medium feel with just the right carbonation. Dry, somewhat bitter finish that sticks around. Like many IPAs, this one seems to change a lot depending on its age. The first time I had it it was light yellow and kind of tart. I think this one hits the sweet spot, as it's pretty amazing. As the can says, not the biggest beer, but the way it puts it all together is artful.

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Photo of CityofWind_brew
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Acquired in trade. Extremely easy drinking brew that packs quite the punch of flavor at the front of the tongue. Booze is well hidden. It is crazy how easy drinking this beer is. World class, but falls a close 2nd to Pliny.

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Photo of snilsen13
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I wish I had poured this out, but my host insisted we drink it from the can. Despite this, it smells full of hops with fantastic nose from THE CAN! Other canned beers (Oscar Blues, Hazed and Infused) can't touch this!

Simply put this is an awesome double IPA and is something brewers around the country need to measure themselves against.

EDIT: It's been a couple years since my first review and since then this beer has become a legend. My feeling now is that the bar Alchemist reached is getting met by other breweries. Having accumulated a stash of HT recently, I poured out one and had another from the can (thanks to a few trades for Surlys - thanks traders) and I still can't deny the excellence of this beer. Mainly, I can now confirm that this DOES drink very well from the can, they ain't lying!

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Photo of MasterSki
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to both SneezyAchew and stowehop for bottles. Served in a Sam Adams perfect pint glass. Bottled 11/30/10, and consumed on 12/09/10.

A - Pours with a finger-plus of off-white foam that features great retention and glass-coating lace. Slightly hazed golden peach body.

S - Huge tropical fruits, peaces, tangerine zest, dankness, a touch of chive or green onion, and a light sugary note that reveals that there is a bit of malt in there somewhere after all.

T - The taste isn't quite as amazing as the smell, although it's still quite good. A bit more malt presence contributes sugared citrus mixed with tropical fruits, and maybe a faint hint of pine and leafiness. It finishes with present but well-attenuated bitterness, although it mounts over time.

M - Carbonation is spot on - lively, but not enough to be harsh. Smooth medium body that is more than adequate for 8%. Goes down very smooth and easy, with a slightly dry finish. Alcohol is extremely well-hidden.

D - This beer is beyond drinkable. I'm looking forward to getting to my other bottles because this is going to make for a great Christmas. Thanks John, for finally caving to the pressure and making this available to all (or at least some). Now about that canning line...

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Photo of AaronHomoya
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks, Kristen.

I poured it into a glass. Cloudy, orange/gold/copper color. A thick, light tan head tops it off. Aroma is supper hoppy. Awesome, big piney and citrus smells. Like a bag of hops. The flavor has a light malt backbone with some noticeable caramel malt in there. This is a very smooth imperial IPA. The hop flavor does have some sour citrus rind notes, but mostly bright grapefruit and some tropical fruit sweetness. Also a bit of floral, vanilla notes.

Overall, really top notch, of course.

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Photo of jamescain
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a can to a sniffer.

Appearance: Clear light orange with yellow hues and a thin white head about a centimeter thick that lingers until the end.

Aroma: My nose was just assaulted by hops. Citrus, peach, pineapple, papaya, mango and pine.

Taste: Bitterness up front, but surprisingly little lingering bitterness, just enough to keep you wanting more. Flavors of grapefruit, peach, pine, citrus, with a light caramel flavor.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body with medium carbonation and a dry clean finish.

Overall: Amazing beer, definitely world class.

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Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

16oz can into a tall snifter

A: Pours a hazy golden color with two and a half fingers of white head. Retention is not bad.

S: An equal mixture of juicy tropical fruits and pine. All hops, though. Extremely clean aroma, clean and simple. Maybe a light pineapple sweetness.

T: The taste starts out with moderate bitterness accompanied by light, clean pineapple juiciness. The hop flavor then kicks in with mostly pine - very pleasant. The balance here is wonderful between bitterness and light sweetness and a great, strong hop flavor. No hint of ABV.

M: A tad on the thick side with great carbonation.

O: There is great balance in this beer. It's certainly quite hoppy, but it's not overly bitter, not overly sweet, and not overly watery. The hop flavor and aroma is in your face, too. I suggest leaving a couple ounces in the can, though - otherwise there is lots of yeast.

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Photo of gkatsoris
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: I did pour a little out to review :) Beautiful, crisp, clear yellow. Thick bright white head. No lacing.

S: Mango. Citrus bomb. Orange rind. Grapefruit rind. Tangerine. Pineapple, and pine resin.

T: Super citrus. Grapefruit, grapefruit rind, and grapefruit again. Pineapple. Less is more; that is, this is a one sided tasting brew!!!!

M: Thick and chewy. Nice foam. Coats the tongue brilliantly!!!

O: I could drink this all day and all night!!! I was fearing a let down, but I am more than impressed.

thanks Wil (The Beer Store).

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Photo of MIbeerGeek84
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is the best IPA ive ever had the pleasure of drinking. Has been a favorite of mine for quite some time. Really surprised I have yet to rate it until now.

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Photo of govlady
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

had a friend of a friend ship a few cans of heady out to chicago.

drank it from the can. smelled of citrus, pine, floral. tasted like it smelled. went down so smooth. great beer, obviously one of the best dipa's out there.

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Photo of SpasmWaiter
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

What else can I say about this beer that hasn't already been said? Very few beers actually live up to the hype - Heady Topper does. Im not one to stand in line for hours to get a case of beer but the stores around here serve me well enough. One of the finest beers in the world with out a doubt.

11/04/13 update: Enjoying a can that is 17 days old right now, and I have to say, its better than a day-of freshie. The flavors seem to have blended a bit and it is FANTASTIC.

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Photo of thecheapies
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My first can of Heady Topper. A clean snifter glass ready-to-go, but I promise I’ll take that first sip from the can.

Pours an extremely hazy yellow-amber with a lush, creamy head that is kept at bay at an inch plus. Impressive hop-haze, if that’s what it is. 4.0

Don’t think I was catching whiffs from the moment I opened the can to the moment I was typing out my appearance description. This beer has some serious hop aromatics. Pineapple, fir tree, mango nectar, tangerine, grapefruit, and herbal tea. A top three ranking for best-smelling DIPAs. 5.0

Amazing fruity hop profile. Phenomenal flavors of a cornucopia of tropical fruits; notably pineapple, grapefruit, starfruit, and mango. Mildly bitter, which works to balance some sweetness, yet not obscuring the showcase of the hop flavor profile. Hardly a malt presence other than some light syrup (as in the light syrup in canned fruit) and biscuity character. The hop character is dank and oily and complex in that it has a plethora of different varietals’ flavors. Exactly what an Imperial IPA should be. I could drink this all night. 4.5

One milky brew with heft. Pockets of bubbles in the back of the mouth. Velvety smooth and a sly strength make for an incredible mouthfeel. 4.5

Elite class. Hoisting my empty can up high to pay homage to one of the greats. 5.0

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Photo of roger617
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Original review 9/8/13:
I acquired 2 of these in a trade with abilow33 - I'll be reviewing the first which I'm drinking in the can per recommendations.

A: 4.0 I can't bring myself to give a 5 in appearance when I can't see it...
S: 5.0 Huge citrus and hop bomb immediately after opening the can.
T: 4.75 Very sweet, citrusy, floraly with pine on the back end. There is a slight dryness on the tongue in the aftertaste.
M: 4.5 Well carbed, smooth, but the dryness in the end prevents this from being perfect.
O: 4.5 Lots of hype around this one, understandable so. I can name a couple beers which I've had recently which compare to this more so than the ratings would suggest. I am very glad I was able to get a couple of these, but it's nothing that I would trade for again - not when readily available are Stone Ruination, FFF Dreadnaught and Bells Two Hearted.

Edit: rereview on 2/21/14
Acquired more via trade. While drinking and reviewing my original review, I can't bring myself to change any ratings. Surprisingly. I can however, and obviously, say that it is worth trading for more than 1 time. Having had more beer than I care to count in between my original review and now, I can say that Heady is one that I have consistently looked forward to. There just aren't any other IPAs that can capture the essence of hops the way The Alchemist does with Heady. Cheers, 'till the next one!

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Photo of dougfur
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

This one pours pretty cloudy, with little bits floating around. If you pour it into a glass (which I prefer, but the brewery discourages), leave the dregs, as you would a homebrew.

The hop aroma is intense and wonderful.

Taste is intense and wonderful, but with just a bit of a sourness.

Mouthfeel is perhaps the weakest aspect of this beer to me, it's pretty resiny and while I appreciate the flavor/aroma of the hops, this one's a little sticky.

Overall, this beer deserves the attention it's getting and is very, very, very good. Perhaps the coolest aspect of it is that for all its hype and popularity, it doesn't cost any more than the regular DIPA's you get off the shelf. Kudos to the Alchemist for that!

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Photo of WankelEngine
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 16oz can into a snifter

A: Pours a hazy orange color with a generous white head that bubbles and craters away, leaving thin curtains of lace.

S: This beer smells amazing. All the best hoppy fruit flavors all at once. Citrus, pineapple, mango, apricots. A little bit of pine. I wish I could just smell this all day.

T: Waves of hoppy goodness. Similar hop profile as the aroma: chocked full of tropical fruits and citrus. The pine flavor is a little stronger and now there are some herbal notes; grass cuttings. The finish lingers with herbals hops and an ever-so-mild touch of alcohol for a long time.

M: Smooth, medium bodied and with a little effervescent carbonation. Sort of oily, really coats your mouth.

O: Good. Damn good. What all other IPA's should aspire to. Better than PtE? I'd say so.

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Photo of PlinyTheYoungest
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks sleepydave for sending me this bottle!

A: Comes out a dark-ish orange with a very thin white layer of bubbles on top. This must be what they mean by "carbonated at pub draft levels".

S: Any worry of this being just another East Coast malt bomb is erased when I smell this beer. A rush of floral, fruity, pungent hops overwhelms my senses.

T: This is a delicious fruity yet bitter DIPA that impressed even a west coast hop enthusiast like myself. Reminds me a lot of Kern's Citra, which is saying a lot. The hop profile is mainly of the citrusy mango variety accompanied with quite a bit of bitterness. The malt backbone has a very grainy dry characteristic to it, which helps let the hops be the star of the show.

M: Good level of carbonation, keeps it from being foamy or frothy. Not thin or watery at all. Kinda sticks to your teeth and gums to keep the hops lingering.

D: Pretty drinkable, can't really taste the alcohol, but you can feel the 8% abv a bit. Multiple glasses would probably get you quite warm.

This is a great DIPA, fellow Cali BA's, believe it. I'll probably never have it again unless they finally decide to can it or I make a trip to VT, which is sad. I'd put this beer up against the top DIPA's we've got out here. Great job Alchemist!

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

One of the best IPA's I've had. Those Trillium brews have really skewed me on what is THE BEST though. Great look and aroma and awesome blend of citrus with a piney bite. Nice blend of new wave hazy and flavor of traditional standard. Got much better as it warmed up.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.66 out of 5 based on 12,783 ratings.
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