Heady Topper | The Alchemist

BA SCORE
100
world-class
2,325 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:
2,325
Ratings:
13,100
Avg:
4.65
pDev:
7.1%
 
 
Wants:
9,153
Gots:
5,361
For Trade:
67
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,325 | Ratings: 13,100
Photo of JonCorbett
4.8/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Hazy cloud of dark lemon yellow to orange with a generous two fat fingers of fluffy white head and plenty of lacing and retention is amazing dissipates like a giant tortoise makes love.

Aromatics: Super sweet, fresh, juicy, green hops. Pine and grapefruit and some mellower citrus' and some pine without the raw earthiness that usually comes with it.

Taste: There is a stupendous complexity, it is full of a number of flavours. Incredible layers of hop with a sweet dank funkiness, orange and grapefruit juices, thinned honey, and fresh grass under it all that make simultaneously sweet and bitter.

Mouth: An excellent balance of carbonation and a heftier medium body with a delicate resinous quality that compliments it's juiceiness. A little bit of acidity but hardly noticeable, I call it a clean finish as well even though their is a bitterness to it, the palate is in a constant orgasm of sensations to even notice it, and definitely does not feel like an 8% either.

Overall: Superb. I now know what all the fuss is about. And have a great benchmark now to compare future DIPAs to. A magnificent and super palatable brew. I am in awe - and have Greg (@GJKerr) to thank. Best breakfast ever!

Pairing: Don't. Well not your first one anyways... This is one of those rare occasions where I am left speechless and enjoyed all the complexities of the brew itself that to try and match it to a food the first go around would not be prudent. I may add and edit at some point if I ever get another one of these. But for now I am supremely content with just the beer itself.

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

This is my second - thanks to SDStoneEnthusiast! The first I poured into an English pint glass and followed directions for the second (drank from the can). I understand now why they are so adamant about drinking from the can - such a difference.

Appearance - beautiful, hazy gold with no floaties since I didn't swirl the last little bit to get the dregs. Looks very nice.

Smell - amazing citrus and pine: honestly, I could sit and smell this beer all day long. I also detect a hint of sweetness underneath the hops.

Taste - follows the nose. Fantastically balanced and rich: it has the perfect amount of sweetness and bitterness with a nice amount of citrus thrown in. As John Kimmich says, "I wish I could crawl right into the can."

Mouthfeel - oily and smooth - very pleasant

Overall - I wasn't sure about this beer in the glass, but after drinking it out of the can, I can honestly say that it is the best overall IPA that I have ever had, and I have had quite a few. I understand the hype now, and it is well deserved.

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Photo of daudelin2000
4.8/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The mighty Heady Topper! Been drinking it for years now. Finally reviewing it. Golden yellow in appearance. Haze for days. Smells like a combination of grapefruit, freshly cut grass, and pine. Taste mostly follows the nose. The finish is incredible. The leftover hop flavors that cling to your tongue are delightful without over doing it.

Heady, at one point, was my favorite beer and was THE beer that pushed me to try other ridiculously hopped beers. There are others I prefer nowadays. However, it is still in my top 10 for sure and I've still yet to have another beer that tastes like Heady.

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Photo of biglobo8971
4.8/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

poured from can into glass ( I did not heed the cans direction )
have had this beer several times and love it more each time I have it. Absolutely delicious.
pours a golden amber orange, nice 1/4 inch head with lacing present the whole glass. The smell is purely of hop, nice dank sticky hops. Taste is hop forward with a great balance of sweetness and bitterness. The mouthfeel is incredible, dances off the toungue.
Will seek this beer often, good thing I have a regular hook up for it or I do believe I would go into withdrawels.

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

A: Poured some into a glass just to see what it looks like. It's a super cloudy pale sort of orange. Good solid offwhite head. Retention is quite good too. Decent lacing.

S: Wow, stunning aromatics - just an explosion of fruit. Grapefruit, citrus and pineapple. Mango and apricot too. A bit of resin too maybe?

T: Again, hop mania. As in the nose it's all citrus and the tropical fruits mainly. A bit of resin and pine in the aftertaste. It's sweet but not overpowering, just compliments all the fruit nicely. Bitterness abound but NOT as harsh as other big IPAs like maharaja or ruination. Not even close. It's also not too sweet like a double crooked tree or a 120min. This is a big DIPA that's actually balanced. Long lasting residual taste that sticks with you forever.

M: Medium bodied, carbonation is just about right. A bit drying from all the hop oils.

O: This beer is all about balance. One of the best balanced yet big DIPAs I've had. I like big harsh bitter bombs but this is just a thousand times more drinkable. I feel like I could have a bunch of these. That's what really sets it apart I think.

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Photo of heelsn02
4.8/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

scored a 4 pack from jamvt via trade. thanks a ton for the swap Jeremy

awesome looking can. love the mad-professor looking guy, reminds me of my buddy Luke. Luke, if you're reading this, take it as a compliment.

says DRINK FROM THE CAN!, so i'm drinking from the can (at least for the first 2/3). no idea what it pours like (at least initially), but i'd imagine it's beautiful

smells glorious, hoppy as vince carter, smells bitter, incredibly floral and fruity. bouquets of bada$s flowers.

taste is outta this world. about as great as it smells. massive hop flavor obviously, slight rauchbier hints?... some smokey notes and aftertaste for sure (which I love). carbonation is spot on.

Wow. 4 bones a can? are you kidding me? absolutely love this stuff. really makes me want to take a trip to the northEast. will have to see Rustic Overtones while i'm there. amazing stuff. CHEERS.

PS - poured the last 6 or so ounces out into tulip. golden orange chunky and amazing.

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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 RobbDogg
4.8/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Easily the best beer I have had the good fortune to taste, so it is appropriate that it be my first review on BA. Living in NH, my close proximity has allowed me to enjoy it fairly regularly. A wonderful smelling beer that when fresh can literally fill a room with a floral citrus hop aroma. It pours with a nice head, and has a typical cloudy appearance in the glass for the style. The alcohol is well masked. This beer has a nice balance of heavy citrus hops and bitterness. My only wish is that the alchohol content were a little less so I could enjoy more than one in an evening. However, it is the kind of beer you can drink slowly and savor each sip. If you have not had it, make a trade to get it, as it deserves the #1 rating it currently holds.

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

A: (Sure, Alchemist tells you to drink straight from the can, but how can you review appearance when you do that? I'm a f**king rebel. I drink it from my IPA glassware) If kept in proper temp, this should look translucent and dark orange to you. No suspension, no settlement (if you see protein settlement, you kept it for too long!)

N: Take a big whiff as soon as you pop the top, and you'll get a noseful of sweet malty and some prominent but not at all overpowering hops

T: Not straying too far from the nose. Just perfect balance of what IPA should be. Malts. Hops. Water. Sweet, then bitterness, then sweet + bitterness. It's complicated without feeling complicated.

M: If you take it in all too quickly, you can feeel that 8% ABV burn on the roof of your mouth and the back of your throat; take it slowly, and you'll see how magical it is to blend the bitterness of the hops from last sip with the sweetness on the front of your tongue from the next sip.

O: In the past 2-3 years of my trading years I've had probably a case worth of Heady. I'm happy that I've got friends in high (latitude) places that can keep sending me a 4-pack or two every drop. It's definitely worth the chase folks.

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

One of the beers in it's class. We are very lucky to have this beer up here in Vermont. The taste, as it should be, is the best part to this beer. It tastes great from the can or in a glass (even though it recommends drinking it straight from the can. The appears is good and the smell is great very fruity. Outstanding taste and a great overall beer. Hard to top this one!

Cheers,
Dave

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Photo of smcnulty1981
4.8/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: drank most of it from the can poured a small amount to see what it looked like Poured a golden color with a sight haze about 1 finger of bright white head with a good amount of lacing

S: lots of resin dank earthiness and pine on the nose finished with bright citrus

T: taste has much of the same notes as the nose bitter dank hop flavor up front followed by juicy citrus good warming sensation at the back end only defect that I can get is a bit of hop astringency

M: full bodied with a good amount of carbonation very smooth dangerously easy to drink for 8% abv

O: well worth all of the high scores and praise its a shame that I can't get it on a regular basis

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Photo of nmbr0ne
4.8/5  rDev +3.2%
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 +3.2%
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 +3.2%
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 +3.2%
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 +3.2%
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 +3.2%
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 +3.2%
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 +3.2%
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 +3.2%
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 +3.2%
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 +3.2%
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 +3.2%
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 +3.2%
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 +3.2%
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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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.65 out of 5 based on 13,100 ratings.
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