Heady Topper | The Alchemist

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
100
world-class
2,245 Reviews
Heady TopperHeady Topper
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
The Alchemist
Vermont, United States | website

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:
2,245
Ratings:
12,634
Avg:
4.66
pDev:
7.08%
 
 
Wants:
9,055
Gots:
4,925
For Trade:
67
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 2,245 | Ratings: 12,634
Photo of Rand_Schoeb
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Do believe the hype, but the difficulty of getting ahold of some (having to stake out stores or plan your day around procuring a 4-pack) gets frustrating.

 154 characters

Photo of kculrich
4.51/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just what the world has been waiting for: another Heady review...

From the 16oz can, undated but almost certainly canned the last week of June. Served in an imperial pint/nonic.

The pour is profoundly clouded but not murky - I can see the shadow of my fingers through the glass. The colour is a cheerful sunshiney gold with a creamy two-finger head, decent retention and gobs of sloppy lacing.

Smell is biscuity and earthy, dankly herbal, peach and strawberry, orange juice and balsam.

The taste is clean biscuit, orange juice and fresh-cut balsam upfront. After two months in my fridge the underlying malt character is prominent and drinks as smooth as glass. Grassy herb and oily tropical fruit notes. Finishes with a briefly lingering sappy bitterness.

Feel is medium-bodied, thick and creamy, with ample carbonation.

I've had these Headies refrigerated all summer and, what with one thing and another, I've been drinking them down at the rate of only one or two cans a week. I can now state authoritatively that, despite the can's admonition to 'drink fresh,' to my taste, they are reaching their peak of excellence at two months old.

 1,145 characters

Photo of CTbrew32
4.19/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

appearance- Golden in color with a slight amber hue, hazy bordering on turbid, and pours a fizzy two inch head.

aroma- Grapefruit and pine stand out the most with sweeter fruits mixing in there as well (mango, orange, pineapple).

taste- Starts off with sweet hops like citrus, orange, and pineapple. Towards the middle grapefruit starts to dominate and brings in some acidity and bitterness. A little bit of a crackery malt that provides a dry finish, but it adds little flavor.\

feel- Medium bodied, medium carbonation, some resinous hops add to to a slick feel, and finishes semi-sweet (not completely clean).

overall- A lot of hype behind this one, and it definitely lives up to it for the most part. A lot of ipas have grapefruit profiles but this definitely stands out has being one of the most intense grapefruit forward ipas I've had. Only knock on this beer is that I wish it was a little cleaner in the finish. I t has some slick resinous oils and malt sweetness that lingers a bit too long. While this is a great beer, I wouldn't say its the best beer in the country, and I wouldn't even say its the best DIPA out there. That being said it is a unique beer of high quality and that's what makes it worth seeking out. There are very few DIPAs that match the same level of hop intensity that can be found on the shelves.

 1,339 characters

Photo of Jesterr44
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was lucky enough to pick up 8 of these on a trip through Vermont. Gotta give it a perfect 5 because it's the best beer I've ever tasted & now the beer to which I compare all PAs upon tasting. When you open the can, you get hit with a citrus/pine aroma hop blast even if you're not all that up close that is refreshing all on its own even before tasting. Then put in a mouthful & let the full hop taste cover your tongue & hit you with citrus/melon/pine/dank flavours before fading to a faint bitterness that is pleasant, unlike many IPAs, so much so that I hesitate to use the word bitterness. I've had 5 now & switched to drinking from the can as per instructions. Even though I think it's all in my head, it's tasting even better that way. My favourite way to savour one of these: Open at around 8C or a few degrees above fridge temperature. Open outside on a nice hot day & enjoy the aroma & the fantastic flavour of the first few sips. Then, jiggle it up a bit to let a bit of the carbonation subside & enjoy the increased smoothness & slightly altered flavours for the 2nd half of the can. Beer heaven!

 1,118 characters

Photo of edward_boumil
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Drank majority out of the can. Poured a bit into a tulip for look and because I usually drink out of a tulip.
L: Pale yellow colored, hazy and turbid but still see-through.
S: Very malt forward. Reminds me a lot of a blond ale, very bready, grainy (similar to Eureka! by Treehouse). Smells sweet. Surprisingly hops here are more floral and restrained, slight hints of fruit (that of citra), citrus, also some blueberry.
T: Hops come through heavier here. They are floral, pithy, and have a nice wet plant/cut grass sort of character. Lots of citrus, get that sweet grapefruit/orange flavor, also some blueberry. Malts are very prominent, super smooth and provide a repeat of the nose, but it rounds out the hops perfect. Balance is perfect in this beer.
F: Frothy, light mouthfeel. High carbonation. Insanely drinkable.
O: This beer was not at all what I expected. Most people praise the sky over the hops in this, but I think the malt is the unsung hero here. The hops are great though, don't get me wrong. But what brings this beer to the next level is the balance. An +8% beer should not be this drinkable.

 1,127 characters

Photo of llabbe
4.89/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Having the HT, which I was kindly offered by a generous friend :)
S: The nose is intense and overwhelming especially given it's out of the can.

T: The balance is insanely perfect, never is there anything feeling overdone. Lasting after taste, gently fading with evolving notes of citrus, mostly grapefruit but some blood orange. Next sip: first flavours are instantaneously malty then the hop kicks in with sweet orange, gradually evolving to grapefruit. I'm not savvy enough to identify the transition but at some point it even feels like peaches or mangos.

L: I thought i would pour some in a glass but I think I won't, don't want to ruin it :) Ended up pouring an few ounces, paler than I would have expected for some reason.
F: I feel like carbonation could be slightly stronger but it's probably me trying to find something negative given the hype.
O: after the second sip, I was thinking of my next trip to VT and how I would be in the parking lot at 7 am. I think it says enough :)
On another note, my burps taste like pure grapefruit. Seriously. This is awesome.

Ears: Metallica with SF Symphony with Bose headphones. No leaf clover. The SFS opening with the following explosion of Met is the exact sound reproduction of the first sip.

 1,252 characters

Photo of Cannibalgasm
4.82/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

After years of hearing all the hype about this brew, and wondering if I'd ever get the chance to try it without making a special trip to Vermont, I finally hold a can of this "whale" in my hand. I'd like to give a special thanks to Jason for this amazing gift. My excitement is mounting, time to crack it open...

Poured a small amount into a sample snifter for appearance, I will enjoy the rest from the can as instructed.

A: Pours a hazy golden straw color, with a beautiful foamy white head.

S: Very intense and pleasant hoppy, and fruity aromas immediately bombard the nostrils. Fresh citrus rind, grapefruit, blood orange, mango, and other tropical fruits meld perfectly with a dank herbal hoppyness. I also pick up some slight hints of sweet bread like malts, honey, and even fresh mint. It's pretty incredible how quickly the smell dominates the senses immediately as the can is cracked open, it instantaneously wowed me. This is quite possibly the best aroma I have ever gotten from an IPA especially considering the fact that you get so much of it even when drinking from a can. This is unprecedented for me.

T: Holy f**k! I have been drinking some absolutely savage IPA's lately, but this is on a whole other level. Big Flavors of citrus and tropical fruits blast your taste buds, and follow the mold the aromas lay out for you. Grapefruit, blood orange, apricot, lemon, mango and papaya blend together perfectly with grassy herbal, and resiny pine hop bitterness, and a subtly sweet malt backbone. This is one of the best tastes to have ever graced my tongue. I am beyond impressed, I didn't think it could be this good, damn was I wrong.

M: Full bodied with a nice juicy character. Medium to high amount of bubbly carbonation. Very slight hint of alcohol warmth. Rediculously drinkable with a crisp refreshing finish and pleasant lingering bitterness.

O: Wow! I must say this transcended all of my expectations, and surpassed the hype. I may legitimately shed a tear when I take my last sip. I wish I could get this regularly because I would drink it everyday if I could. I have had probably well over a 1,000 brews and this is one I would easily put in my top 25. It may take the cake as far as IPA's go. Obviously there are still some great ones I have yet to try, but at this moment in time this is my new benchmark IPA. If you ever have the chance to try this DO IT! Truly a nectar of the Gods beer.

Thanks again Jason!

 2,443 characters

Photo of Bloodbuzz99
4.52/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally got a hold of one after many years of longing...it was delicious no doubt, but not life-altering as I expected. The aroma is killer: fresh cut grass, grapefruit, hit you immediately and you know you have something really good. Finishes with a mild bitterness that stays on the tongue but not obtrusively. You'd never know it's 8% based on taste.

Honestly, similar beers that I would reach for before Heady: Psuedo Sue and Creature Comfort's Automatic - would strongly suggest Heady fans seek these out.

 515 characters

Photo of Bwag
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

So much hype, but almost worth it. An amazing beer - certainly one of the best I've ever had. Not sure I'd wait in long lines for a 4-pack, but I'd also never turn one down!

 173 characters

Photo of toca
4.39/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I've had this beer a number of times and most recently at a restaurant serving it in the Burlington area. IMO, it is still an outstanding beer, but in this one can I drank it seemed different - thinner, less of a mouth feel to it along with fainter smell and taste. I believe the increase in production over the past few years may have something to do with it or possibly it was an off can or even my own taste buds changing. Still wouldn't pass on a 4-pack though!

 468 characters

Photo of AmarilloBrewing
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I just tasted Heady Topper from the can as instructed. Hop aroma of citrus, piney and some dank. Tastes explodes with carbonation bitterness. This dies down and the hop flavors explode, peach, mango and grapefruit. WOW ! ! ! What just happened ? Another taste and WOW ! ! ! ! !

Second Heady, I poured a little in a glass. Cloudy as expected as is unfiltered and fermented with Conan yeast. But still WOW ! !

This is the best craft beer I have ever tasted.

 460 characters

Photo of kw_pip
4.56/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from can into glass. Golden honey color with minimal head and medium bubbles. Smells of bitter citrus but with something a little off. Mouth feel is slightly syrupy. Tastes like a hoppy fresh cranberry and a little malty.

 228 characters

Photo of Jcardish
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the beer that i base other other beers upon. I may be a touch bias, i live 3 hours from Burlington and can get this beer semi regularly if needed. but, for the money this thing is the benchmark of everything else and until something else hits my lips this is my unicorn.

 280 characters

Photo of BeerGuy8315
4.78/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Enjoyed straight from the can as directed. Not sure on the date, but I know it was canned over a month ago.

A: Enjoyed from the can, so no appearance rating.

S: Mostly hop notes of pine, resin, as well as tropical fruit notes of pineapple, mango, and peach. Light citrus notes of grapefruit and orange.

T: Straight hoppy showcase of pine and resin accompanied by light citrus and tropical fruit notes. Hides the ABV well.

F: Light, smooth, with good carbonation.

O: Overall, a great DIPA. Love the choice of hop blend and the ABV is hidden very well. Very drinkable. Would love to try a fresher can!

 605 characters

Photo of Korbynlehr
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the best beer I have had the pleasure of drinking. The aroma was thick with hoppy goodness. First drink did not carry as much hop flavor as the nose indicates, but that is okay. No bitterness whatever with this beer. There are no other adjectives that I can assign....all I can say is this is what all IPAs should aspire to be.

 335 characters

Photo of Mateo2699
4.87/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Had this about a year ago, can't believe I haven't reviewed it yet. Pour is a golden, nearing straw yellow hue. Frothy tight white bubbled head, excellent lacing on the glass. With the aroma, I have no other way to explain it other than the perfect array of hops. A certain dankness in the back end, back door with a tropical sweetness of mangos, pinneapple, guava. No maltiness detected. Taste follows the nose well, with a burst of tropical resinous hops, even a funky yeast presence with a burst of piney, palate coating goodness. Pretty much the perfect IPA, nothing gimmicky or typical "NE hazy"-like. It's in its own lane, and deserves every bit of hype.

 661 characters

Photo of daudelin2000
4.8/5  rDev +3%
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.

 597 characters

Photo of NyBeerBro
4.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

What a treat to drink a beer like Heady Topper that lives up to it's reputation. Imperial IPA's are my favorite style so I have had plenty and this has to be a top 3. If you ever have the opportunity to drink one of these bad boys don't pass it up.

 251 characters

Photo of bpasseser
4.94/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Heady Topper is by far my overall favorite. Its been a while since I have actually looked at the color since I drink Heady directly from the can when I can. I live in Florida and Vacation during the summer in Vermont I highly recommend the whole immersive cultural experience of getting Heady Topper fresh by any means possible which may include stalking the beer truck on delivery day, or waiting online at one of the delivery locations in close proximity to their brewery in Waterbury Vermont. Upon popping open a Heady Topper the smell is intense and Hoppy as is the taste, there is a slight bitterness with your first sip which dissipates quickly leaving your palate yearning for more. With balanced carbonation the mouth feel is that of pure refreshment.

 762 characters

Photo of FAT_mike
1.65/5  rDev -64.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.75

I live in Vermont and have had Heady Topper many times, mostly when its the only thing to drink at a party. I remember the first time, I gagged and I thought that someone had given me a beer and spiked it with fresh cut grass clippings. I know I'm in the minority up here but I'm tried of all the craft breweries trying to cram as many hops as they can into a can of beer.

 372 characters

Photo of Spamalot
4.09/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 1 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Consumed both fresh from the can and poured into a tulip glass. Review is based on from the can, which was the superior tasting experience.

L: Consumed from the can, per instructions printed extensively on the can, so not much to rate here
S: Wonderfully hoppy aroma, the smell you wish all IPA would have when you open them.
T: Hops, hops, and more hops. Hop bomb doesn't cover the half of it.
F: Nothing exceptional on the mouthfeel, just standard hoppy bitterness and pine mixed with a little fruit.

O: A very good IPA, but far to reliant on massive amounts of hops, rather then making a complex set of flavors.

 616 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.26/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The Alchemist "Heady Topper"
1 PINT can, no freshness dating (but purchased on 6/6/16 so @ 3 weeks old)
$12.99/4-pk @ Healthy Living Market & Café, South Burlington, VT

This is not my first Heady Topper. I've had it super fresh and I've had it "aged" for a few weeks. I didn't understand the "drink it from the can" thing at first because it was fresh, and too aggressive. As it ages a bit I understand that better. And I have to admit, I don't like it fresh, there's too much vegetal character to it (green pepper, tomato stalk, and very grassy... but also somewhat resinous, and with some spruce). After two weeks it settles a bit, and smooths. However, without freshness dating there's no way to tell what you're getting until you've opened it.

I think what makes it work is that although it is so heavily laden with hops, and what I think of as "spent hop" character (that tobacco-like and muddy-vegetal taste) is that it's also got tropical fruit notes that pop up a bit don't really poke out, they're just threaded throughout the malt (bready, sugary, grainy), as are the rest of the hop notes (pine, pineapple, dank weed, mango, flowers, orange). So many hoppy beers seem like the hops are just resting on top of the malt, but Heady seems thoroughly amalgamated. And when it's got a few weeks on it it becomes quite smooth despite its kind of aggressive nature.

 1,371 characters

Photo of MamaHoney
4.3/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 1 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

DRINK FROM THE CAN!

Always good to get my hands on some heady topper - whether at home in VT or away.
It packs a serious punch, but gets the job done.

 152 characters

Photo of Newbeergeek1
4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

OMG!!! Love this beer and thank god I have a friend in Burlington that can get it to me here in Florida and Maine. I've got about 1/2 of a case in my beer fridge right now and I'm nurturing it along. So easy to drink. TOO damn easy to drink actually. I've even lined up an hour early (with about 75 people in front of me) at the Winooski Warehouse for, as it turned out a half case) of FRESH Heady. Happy to get that.

 423 characters

Photo of Its_a_Daniel_Life
4.91/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had this many times but nothing compares to being in Vermont and the truck pulls up and the parade of hand trucks goes into the Craft Beer Cellar in Waterbury. Mouth dropped! Taste way different then ones I had back home, that where muled from Vermont. Drink from the CAN!

 272 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 2,245 ratings.
  • About Us

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

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe