Heady Topper | The Alchemist

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BA SCORE
100
world-class
2,262 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:
2,262
Ratings:
12,732
Avg:
4.66
pDev:
16.74%
 
 
Wants:
9,079
Gots:
4,993
For Trade:
67
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Reviews: 2,262 | Ratings: 12,732
Photo of nmbr0ne
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from 16oz can into an Alchemist pint glass.

Appearance: Beautiful orange body with a two-finger-thick, white head. The lacing on the beer is great. A lot sticks to the glass and there's plenty of it on the top of the beer.

Smell: Hops hit you over the head. In a good way. No, a great way. Citrusy, flloral, and fruity hops are plentiful. You can smell grapefruit easily, followed by mango and papaya. I sense honey and caramel-like notes also. Great aroma, even right from the can.

Taste: Hoppy throughout. There is a slight sweetness at the beginning of the flavor that stretches out into a great hop fest. There is a very, very subtle bitterness in the finish that doesn't linger at all which is exactly what I look for in a DIPA.

Mouthfeel: Smooth. Drinkability. Tomabilidad. Whatever you want to call it because you can easily down this beer. I'm pacing myself only because I want to enjoy the only can I have. It's fresh, crisp, and light to slightly medium-bodied. When I went to the brewpub in Vermont this past summer, my friends and I easily downed three or four of these.

Overall: My favorite beer I've ever had. It's the perfect beer. I wish I had started reviewing a few months before so that I could have reviewed the ones I had on tap. Regardless though, this beer is spectacular. The best.

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Photo of GeneralSpecific
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Wow I finally get to try the Topper!

Heard so much about this beer I was afraid it may have been over-hyped and the expectations would not be met but fears were gone after the first sip.

It really is an amazing beer with incredible mouthfeel, balance and aroma.

Cheers to the brewers at the Alchemist I just wish it was available in Canada.

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

Poured only a little bit in to a snifter so i could see the color, the rest will be enjoyed from the can!

A-golden yellow with a thin white head

S-tropical fruits and hoppy. not much citrus really, but a strong scent of tropical fruits.

T-comes in with an oddly bitter taste of tropical fruits and grains. the bitterness does strike hard and lasts for a long time and a faint taste of tropical goodness will arise at the very end.

M-medium creamy carbonation with a semi dry finish

O-this is such a great IPA. it just has this really good rich unique flavor. the more i drink it, the more i enjoy it. it just goes down so smoothly. I wish it weren't so expensive and difficult to find. definitely amazingfrom the can though!

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

As good as it gets. Tastes like you are drinking a double IPA flavored creamsicle. Super smooth feel, citrusy aroma. Love drinking it out of the can but will occasionally pour it into a glass to see that beautiful orangey, hazy color.

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Photo of wyatt13
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This particular can was sent to me by JSBILK, after he picked it up at the cannery six days ago. Poured from a 16 oz. tallboy can into a tulip glass. I know I know, I'm supposed to drink it from the can, but I never was very good at following directions.

A - Pours a beautiful hazy peach color. Two and a half fingers of yellowish white head explode off the top of the beer & almost spill out of the glass. Energetic bubbles all around, leaving behind sticky lacing through the entire can. People always give this beer grief for its appearance, but I don't get it.

S - Absolutely immense peach and mango notes; incredible sweet fruit character here from the hop blend. Some aromas like melon or maybe a fresh coconut water as well. This smells absolutely divine. It would be dangerous if someone designed a perfume that smelled like this.

T - As soon as it hits the tongue there is a giant hop bite, but that is quickly brought back to Earth with a surprising amount of balance. All of the fruits that come through in the nose assert themselves even more in the taste. Mango, passionfruit, grapefruit -- like a Hawaiian fruit salad.

M - Fuller mouthfeel than your typical DIPA, and also not very sweet; rather, it is pretty drying and compels me to drink it much faster than I would like.

O - Incredible beer, and I'm very grateful that I was able to try this (and fresh too!). Drive to Vermont, trade for it, do whatever you need to do. This is something every hophead should try at least once.

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

Drank from the can as instructed, but I prefer it from a glass. The nose is fantastic and the tastes lines up with you smell. Hoppy, tropical and smooth.

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Photo of tonytiger27
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

Easy to see why this is the world's best IPA. Crisp, super hoppy, citrus and pine notes make for an interesting flavor profile. The aroma is out of this world. Traveling to Vermont for this beer makes for a truly unique experience. A must for any beer lover

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Photo of wrogers19971
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Would I stand for several hours in line hoping to grab a case of the highly sought after The Alchemist#HeadyTopper... No! However, this imperial IPA may be one of the best IPAs I have tried from the Northeast. The aroma reminds me of fresh squeezed orange juice & the palate is an assassination of hops! Grapefruit, orange, mango, lemongrass & fresh resinous marijuana. This IPA's personality is vibrant, flavorful, assertive and bone dry. But somehow, the danky aroma & the aggressive bitterness find a way to coexist as one. If a friend or someone offers one up.. Take it because it worth trying and experiencing. #craftbeer

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Photo of Firkin-Bunghole
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

-reviwed from notes-

Appearance-Drank this straight from the can as instructed.
Smell-This is what all DIPA should smell like. I closed my eyes when smelling this just to intensify the experience like my sight was interfering with my sense of smell. The scents I picked up on-super-premium citra hops (rinds of citrus fruits), pine, grass.
Taste-This is where it got interesting. I swear the tastes differentiated at least 3x when I drank from the can. Not in a bad way, but the onslaught to my buds were hard to keep up with. At some times it was the perfect citrus bomb. Next sip would be mostly grass. The sip right after would be light citrus mixed with some pine.
Mouthfeel-Full mouthfeel-spot on carbonation. For a DIPA this one begs for you to continue drinking and I happily oblige.
Overall-This was probably the single best IPA I will have. When I started to drink this I thought to myself how can anyone drive a couple hundred miles for this beer-now I've pulled a 180. How can I not drive to VT for this when I'm already in upstate NY. After I drank this beer I refused to rate/take notes in the beers I had the same week-for a very simple reason. There is no way another beer can line up. This beer is perfection in a can.

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Photo of Samichlaus82
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours hazy gold into a Sam glass. Bright white head with excellent retention recedes to coat surface. Tropical fruit and grapefruit aromas. Full with sweet tropical fruit upfront turning to full resin and grapefruit in the lasting finish. Truly a wonderful ale from a great up and coming brewery.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of mick303
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured half into a tulip glass to compare can vs glass, beer is a light yellowish gold, quite cloudy and hazy with a good white head and lacing. Looks fantastic.

S- very fresh, citrusy grapefruit and mango, florals, apricot, a subtly balanced malt profile, very inviting and complex. Hops are so full bodied, from the can I detect some peach, pine, maybe some slight nuttiness, very delicious.

T- lives up to the expectation of really flavourful balanced hops, from the can it is really tasty and full bodied. Waves of grapefruit citrus and apricot, light and floral notes are in abundance, slightly sweet malt notes provide a solid base. This deserves a high reputation. It all flows so smoothly together, a rustic fruitiness and slightly resiny hops come through, such a flavourful hop character without being an overly bitter dipa. I think out of the can is the way to go on this actually, it's amazing.

M- from the can, a filling assertive carbonation. Satisfying big pale malt body with a coating light pine resin. So tasty with a creamy balanced finish, with a dry floral/citrus aftertaste. Simply, it tastes and feels like utter perfection, brilliant start then waves of hoppy resins.

It's quite the reputation to live up to, being ht. My first experience tangling with this legend was a very positive experience, it's certainly up their with Pliny, and I would love to do a h2h. It's a very nuanced and flavour forward profile, lighter and more floral than I might have expected, it nonetheless delivers what could easily be called a flawless execution. As a dipa goes, this would have to be near perfection, as far as across all styles... That's a matter of opinion. All I can saw is I feel privileged to have gotten to try this beer, especially the lengths taken to get this can... And it doesn't fall short of giving a really excellent experience

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

The Alchemist: Heady Topper, IIPA (Tasted 11/28/08)
Tap @ The Alchemist [Waterbury, VT] : Poured into a pilsner glass.

Appearance: Pours out orange with golden hues, puffy white head leaves sticky lace down the glass as the beer disappears
Odor: Sticky fresh-pressed pineapple juice, pine sap, dank dank nuggets with sweet floral aromas in the background.
Consistency: On the low end of medium bodied, slick and oily with a refreshing dryness in the finish. Carbonation is moderate to low.
Taste: Wowee. The beer is built on a simple, subtle and sturdy malt frame. Dashes of caramel here and there but not much else. Restrained fruity ester profile. Bitterness is certainly firm, but by no means aggressive, at most prickling the palate with some grapefruit/pine. Hop flavor is immense, echoing the diversity in the aroma. Finish is very clean and as dry it possibly could be for style, leaving a coating of bittersweet hop flavor all over my mouth.

This is a rarity on the East Coast. A well attenuated IPA with a unique, diverse hop character that you can drink all night long. It's a shame that the Alchemist doesn't do growlers so more people can try this beer.

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Photo of enulcwww
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This is everything a beer should be amazing drinkability great odor and taste this is just everything that I could possibly want in a beer experience. The presentation of the can is perfect and well worth the journey into the middle of no where Vermont. While 72 for a case may seem high I would be willing to spend over and over again.

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Photo of frenchblood21
4.79/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Thanks Dan (CaptCleveland) for including this as an extra. Only bosses do that.

Date of review is 6/7/14. The Can is about 11-14 days old. I can't wait.

Appearance- I will pour just a few ounces into a small tasting cup just to get an idea, but will drink most out of the can.

Smell- WOW! Peaches, mangoes and lime blast me. I also get strawberries and mint. Hop scent takes a far backseat to other delicious scents.

Taste- Super smooth are the first two words on my mind. Absolutely no alcohol burn whatsoever. At 8% I was expecting some. Biggest two flavors I get are hops and limes.

Mouthfeel- This beer is soooo velvety. It just disappears as soon as you take a sip. I think this can is magical, because I just want to chug the whole thing. Such a unique experience. My mouth is dry and hoppy all at once.

Overall- World-class beverage. Top 3-5 best IPAs I have ever tasted. Try to get this beer!

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Photo of spider05660
4.79/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Like the label says, drink fresh. The first bottle, enjoyed within 24 hours of release was a joy and virtually the same as on draft.
Enjoyed the last bottle on New Years Eve and while still very nice, noticed reduction in the intense hop nose.
A: slightly hazy, amber color, medium head.
S: Bold hops first - sweet lemon and a little pine, hint of bread
Taste - pleasing citrus, bitter and not boozy or hot - very smooth.
M - medium, soft carbonation but clean and crisp to finish.
D - not quite session, but scary drinkable for 8%

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Photo of flayedandskinned
4.79/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

No Bottle date( it is two week's old, I had a buddy pick it up at the brewery in Vermont, big thanks to IPAkindaguy)
Poured into Sierra Nevada/Dogfish's IPA glass

Appearance: Pours a breathtaking hazy sunset gold with a thick, tight bubbled 2 finger white head that sticks around forever, leaving plenty of sticky lace as it recedes at a snail's pace. You can actually see raw hop particulate floating around in the glass. Awesome!

Aroma: Woah, an absolute tropical hop monster; Overt aromas of Pineapple, mango, passion fruit, lemon, grapefruit juice, light notes of pine and just a touch of catty astringency. While the hop aromatics are of some of the usual suspects, they really take on softer, yet very raw characteristics; The hops smell very potent, yet they aren't abrasive at all like a lot of imperial IPAs. There is a soft clean malt presence in the background that becomes more apparent as the beer warms.

Taste: HOP BOMB! Absolute gigantic waves of tropical goodness hits your palate right away; Juicy pineapple, grapefruit peel, resinous pine, passion fruit. There is a ubiquitous yeast presence that manifests itself in strong essence of peach; I've never picked up that note in a yeast before. The beer has a dry, assertive bitter finish that leaves raw impressions of grapefruit, pineapple, kiwi, pine needles, and a nice bready maltiness to help balance the beer on your tongue.

Mouthfeel: Very robust, oddly creamy and oily with moderate to high carbonation.

Overall: A truly mind blowing and unique IPA; Its like John Kimmich at Alchemist took the best attributes of West Coast and East Coast IPAs and combined them; Birght fruity, citrusy hops (west coast)and a sizable slightly chewy mouthfeel(East Coast) but without the super malty back bone. I've never had a beer that really harnessed raw hop character as well as this beer. Smelling this beer is really like sticking your head inside a dry hop bag after home brewing. Alchemist's house yeast "Conan", really shines with it's peach forward esters. Truly magical stuff. While I don't prefer this beer over Pliny(mainly because Pliny is just so damn balanced, crisp and refreshing), this still is a beer every Hop Head should experience. Plus it's in a can! Highly, highly recommended.

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Photo of SirBentham
4.79/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance – Drank straight from the can.

Smell – I would have liked to smell this in a glass, but the smell of hops and citrus jump out just sniffing out of the can.

Taste – Huge hops are incredibly well balanced with a sweet malt. A little bit less piney/citrus than a Pliny. More of a slightly toasted hop than the Pliny as well.

Mouthfeel – Perfect amount of carbonation. Medium body.

Overall – Excellent Double IPA. A slight step above Pliny The Elder and Alpine’s Pure Hoppiness for me.

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Photo of Kramerwtmf
4.79/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Lucky enough to find a local shop that gets it shipped by a Vermont local. This beer is amazing a few weeks old, I can only imagine how good it tastes fresh! Even though it says to enjoy out of the can I prefer it poured into a glass. Helps me capture the amazing aroma.

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Photo of GONZALOYANNA
4.79/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1pt Can. A drop into a ½ glass –just for appearance & smelling- the rest direct from the can following brewer´s suggestion. Enjoyed on jun´12. Pale straw color, hazy. Off-white, small bubbled, froth. Slowly dissipated crown leaves a thin foam layer on top. Intense ripe tropical fruit, resin & sweet malt aromas. Pleasant sweet, creamy, maltiness at fist sip mixed with tropical fruits & increasing bitterness. Medium to full body, oily texture. Low carbonation. Ripe fruit in the middle cut by resiny touch lingers into the short, dry finish. Delightful. Probably one of the best AIPA I´ve ever had.

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Photo of gabedivision
4.79/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

poured/drank from a 16 oz can (poured a bit in goblet to test the contrast)

A- pours a murky hazy deep golden orange with a thin white lace and a touch of lacing

S- the smell is just incredible pungent sweet citrus all the way, massive grapefruit and orange juice, mango, lemon peel, tangerines, so floral sticky, resiny and dank.

T- kicks off with a blast of grapefruit, followed by sweet orange juice, mango, just hops hops hops so good finishes with a rise of bitterness that ends with a nice sublte lingering grapefruit peel resin.

M- Medium bodied, soft, light, dangerously too easy to drink, i cannot keep the can from my mouth, low to moderate carbonation

O- This beer lived up to the hype, its hop blend is just absolutly perfect, subtle sweet malt base on the back, just so well put together. Flowery and floral, blasts of citrus, not one single off flavor or feeling, i gotta say this is as close to perfect to a beer that ive ever tasted

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Photo of Cvescalante
4.79/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- this beer is quite ugly, but like an ugly puppy and you still love it

S- fruity fruity hops. it smells fantastic!

T- heaven on the tongue. citrus and tropical fruit

M- light-medium bodied, perfect carbonation

O- best ipa I've ever had... period

..apparently my review wasn't long enough, so I have to continue writing lol

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Photo of LouZ
4.79/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I tried this from the can first and then poured a second can into a pint glass in order to rate look. Got one finger of short-lived head but with lacing. Color was golden orange and murky, due to unfiltered nature. Actually looks much better than some would lead you to assume. Aroma from can was stronger compared to the glass; hops are giving me citrus, grapefruit, and pine notes. Taste matches to perfection - I would call this a great juicy IPA. Nice, subdued bitterness on finish. Feel is definitely medium; a bit more body than many of the style. Nice carbonation. Overall, this one lives up to the hype.

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Photo of Damian
4.79/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank on-tap at The Alchemist, Waterbury, VT
Served in a mini-pilsner glass

The beer poured a hazy, burnished yellow color with a creamy, bright white, one-finger head that slowly faded to a persistent ring of froth. Small blocks of lacing stuck along the sides of the glass, lasting long after the beer was finished.

The aroma was possibly the best I have ever experienced in a double IPA. Hoppy and amazingly potent. Semi-sweet. Super peachy with loads of apricot and citrus. Orange peel came through strong. Some tropical fruits were noticeable as well.

Flavorwise, this beer was nearly flawless. Super hoppy with just enough malt balance to keep things in check. Citrus notes dominated. Peaches and apricots came through strong. Mango and pineapple notes were also quite apparent. Somewhat tart and lemony in the center. The finish was slightly piney. Crisp and semi-dry. All in all, fantastic.

The mouthfeel was slick, creamy and smooth with a fine moderate effervescence. The only thing that kept this beer from earning a perfect score was its slightly thinner that expected body.

Although this DIPA was packed to the brim with hops, it was still balanced and drinkable. The 8% ABV was also remarkably well masked by the complex hop profile.

Many have compared this beer to the almighty Pliny the Younger. I wholeheartedly agree with this comparison. Heady Topper is for certain one of the greatest beers I have ever had the pleasure to try.

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Photo of Back_in_the_Saddle
4.79/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

With respect to John Kimmich, most of the time, I have drank this out of the can. However, for reviewing purposes, one must understand that as beer geeks we need to see this as it is.
With that in mind, I have poured this into a snifter and as I gaze upon it, I realize why John always wants his drinkers to drink this out of the can. Oh boy, the floaties, oh snap, yes, I get it, John, most of the world gets it who have had it poured. A solid burnt golden color forming a one finger white foamy head that dissipates fairly quickly and leaves some lacing to be desired.
The smell wraps up bitter juicy dry pine slapping around a big bouquet of floral, grassy and citrus hops bleeding into a wonderful nose zapping aroma. With that in mind, I go to taste this and the flavor is spot on in cueing up the previously mentioned flavors to lead the charge into the feel of this beer. Do you think this is good? I know this is good as the slick oily coat just bends my tongue over backwards arranging an unprecedented sharpness succumbing my tongue down.
My last question and I will start with this: I've only lived in Vermont for less than a year, do you think I like this beer? Just check my numbers.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.66 out of 5 based on 12,732 ratings.
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