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Heady Topper | The Alchemist

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2,294 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: 2,294 | Ratings: 12,895
Photo of danieelol
4.76/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

With huge, massive thanks to the exceedingly generous Owen (MrKennedy).

Believe this is two weeks or so old? Would easily have been close to my number one want.

Upon cracking the can, pine and mango pervade the room. First sips were taken from the can.

Pours into the glass a slightly cloudy pineapple juice colour. Appearance-wise, the head does dissipate a little quickly.

Smell is as mentioned: pine, mango, lots of citric fruit: oranges, mandarins, lemons. Also get a slight herbal quality, perhaps ginger/ginseng. Just such potency and solidarity in the aroma.

Taste is more pine and mango and primarily citric fruits. Taste lingers and carries an almost Tripel-esque mango sweetness in the mouth, but this is balanced by a dry hoppiness. I would say this is well balanced- it does have a lingering bitterness, but the sweetness is also easy to detect. Herbal quality grows over time.

Mouthfeel features moderate body and above average, tingly carbonation.

Could I call this the best DIPA I've had? That depends on tastes. It's certainly the freshest-tasting, with the most pronounced tropical/citric fruits aroma I've had. Similar but better version of Surly Furious, although to be fair when I had Furious my palate was a little muted.

Sadly although I am amazingly glad I've had this beer, it makes me wish I had more. Amazingly drinkable. Hopefully I am merely saying au revoir, rather than a permanent goodbye. I hope to one day meet it again.

NB: When I drank from the can, I found the pine flavour more singular and concentrated. It also seems a little maltier somehow. I find drinking from the can to be a valid alternative for this beer, and worth experimenting with.

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Photo of BobaFret
4.96/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Canned on 6/3/2013; enjoyed on 6/6/2013.

The first few sips were from the can. I then poured the other half into a stemless glass so that I could comment on the appearance.

A - Bright orange with a bubbly white head. No sign of hop resins or "floaties". A fantastic looking beer.

S - Strong citrus hops, sweet, slight dankness, and resin/pine. This, in my opinion, is the best smelling DIPA. The aroma/smell was noted immediately after opening the can.

T - First few sips from the can. A strong (but not overwhelming) taste of citrus/grapefruit, bitterness, and sweet malt. Everything from the aroma is there. A superbly well-rounded DIPA.

M - Medium body.

O - Outstanding, lives up to the hype, and dangerously drinkable! This is the gold standard for DIPA's/IIPA's and the finest craft beer that I've ever had. Beg, borrow, or steal to try this!

I agree with the recommendation to "drink from the can!". Sips from the can did capture more of the amazing aroma in each sip, in my opinion.

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Photo of MrKennedy
4.74/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

16oz can, huge thanks to Chris for sending this out here. Canned 15 May.

Murky appearance, really light milky golden orange colour. Nothing much to write home about. Nice white foam on top that gradually reduces over the time of drinking but always staying at a level just above film. Nice lacing as it slowly recedes.

Brilliant aromas of pine, pineapple, mango and grapefruit. The pine is temporary and the grapefruit and other fruits take over. Lots going on. Well integrated and a delight to smell.

Tastes of the grapefruit and pine with a touch of the mango and pineapple there as well. Even a little bit of apple oddly as i get to the end of it. Very impressive, but probably a touch below what is delivered with the smell.

HIgher carbonation than most. Doesn't get gassy, nor does it get harsh with the higher levels. Solid bitterness throughout and finishes with a bit of a kick and this is just enhanced with the added carbonation. Very drinkable, 16oz disappears all too soon.

Brilliant. Amazingly drinkable, beautiful beer. I can see why people grab their full 6 case allocation at the cannery. The 8% ABV isn't noticable until you finish it and get a bit of a glow. Really impressive beer!

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Photo of sjones5045
4.59/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Ok so this beer says to drink out of the can, so I am reviewing this beer drinking one from the can and one poured into a glass on a separate session. So the look isn't good. Tons of grainy sediment but to be fair they do tell you to keep it in the can for smell reasons, but after seeing it in a glass I call BS and say this is why they don't want you to see it. The smell is a hoppy citrus explosion. Might be the most citrus I've ever smelled in a beer. Most importantly the taste, and the taste is pretty good and smooth on some tastes and others a little more harsh. Never bad but kind of inconsistent taste through the beer. Overall, it's a good beer but not great, or for that matter the best rating on advocate. Double IPAs is perhaps the most competitive class of beers and I have definitely had better than this.

Update: had a third now out of the can, and it was a hell of a lot better than I remember. Extremely smooth and consistent. Now I don't know what to think about this except that I need to get a 4th to see if its as good as this one. It's very smooth but interestingly enough it lacked the citrus explosion like the last one had. Still can't say it the best double IPA. Yet.

Ok, now an update on the update. All I can add is the importance of beer date labels. I've now had a few more and you have a Heady and it isn't quite consistent throughout drinking its probably old. The fresher the better. I finally admit its world class when fresh, but can't say the best. Personal preference. But now I'm just not picking.

Side note, to all brewery's please put beer dates on your labels that are easy to see. Why would you want anyone judging you beer if it's old and we don't know its old?

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Photo of Uncleserg
3.96/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Have to give a shout out to ffOpusx for sharing this brew. Great, multi-dimensional fresh hop nose that unfortunately doesn’t carry over into the flavor. The floaties are also extremely offputting, and simply suggesting that the beer be drunk out of the can doesn’t get Alchemist off the hook for such a shoddy presentation.

From the can, obviously but poured into a tulip. Huge, overwhelming aromas of fresh pine, peaches, citrus pith & spicy hops; you could seriously sniff this all day long and not get bored. Poured a cloudy amber orange with a thin head, that dies to a fine lace. Well, I wasn’t expecting this...the taste is just so one dimensional with fresh pine, spicy bitter hops...and then nothing. No linger, malt was a bit high, no hint of sweetness, nothing, nada, zilch. There is just no finish!! It’s like drinking a stripped wine. I just don’t know what all the hype is about...oh wait, I do...it’s just hype and everyone is on this train. Your better of drinking O.G. and/or the standard of D.I.P.A.’s i.e. Russian Rivers Pliny the Elder or even Alpine Beer Company Pure Hoppiness a muh more balanced approach to the style. Maybe it was old but I was hoping to be blown away and I wasn't. If I come across it again I'll give it another shot and do a comparison of HT vs. PtE vs. Pure Hoppiness.

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Photo of MVotter
4.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Only because I poured the first can, I can report that the Heady Topper pours into a chalice the color of straw, hazy, and an ample white head.

S - From the freshly opened can...grass aromas, fresh...just harvested hop aroma, JUST CUT, mixture of oranges and other citrus...grapefruit.

T - It's such a fresh hop flavor that you would swear that there are buds IN THE CAN. The most unique hop taste I have ever experienced, and, I was skeptical at first, but, there is ABSOLUTELY a discernible difference in the poured vs. can tasting option. In my opinion, the fresher "rawness" in the hop flavor is NOT as present if poured. The hop flavors tend toward bitter. It's not a grapefruit bitterness, it is the first time I'm going to say...this is a hop "extract" bitterness. It's not hops masquerading as an orange, a tangerine or a grapefruit. It's a mashed hop plant in your beer. Hop nation!

M - Medium-heavy. A little sticky. Plenty of carbonation.

O - Well. I would advise everyone who is fortunate enough to get ahold of the Heady to try it by the pour, and compare it to "straight from the can." I'm sure anyone who has had at least two cans in their possession has done this anyway. Delicious. Unforgettable.

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Photo of oberon
4.42/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A big thanks to Roger at Bestway for GIVING me this beer on Sunday.I know it's snobbery but I can't drink beer out of a can,I hate myself but I just can't.Pours a murky kind of lemony tea looking with a thin white head,the color was hard to pinpoint.Pure hops in the nose,tropical fruit, citrus rind,deep pine resin,and sweet alcohol,all make for a volitile mix.Just hops and lots o' hops on the palate,pine resin,deep overripe tropical fruits,and some bitterness in the finish.It's oily as all get out and slick in the mouth.This beer is pretty damn raw and complex in the hop department to the hilt,bad ass.I love the hop burps!

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Photo of BTVflatlander
4.86/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Drank from the can, per its request. Having had it both ways, however, I can attest that my evaluation remains a perfect score regardless.

A: (from a previous experience) golden orange and cloudy.

S: Powerful citrus hops, a bit of pine.

T: Initial overload of citrus and tropical hops with a bit of pine under there. Faint malt that is certainly there but not overwhelming. Not overly bitter and extremely refreshing.

M: Thick and satisfying.

O: Full disclosure, I am firmly placed within the Heady camp of the great DIPA wars. No doubt, having regular access to Heady is one of the greatest joys of living in Vermont. That said, I recognize the danger of the hype surrounding a beer like Heady. I have not drank nearly enough beer--let alone DIPAs--in my life to claim to know what is and is not the best beer--or IPA--in the world. What I can say is that, before first trying Heady Topper on my 21st birthday thanks to a couple generous friends, I absolutely loathed anything IPA, having preferred stouts and the maltier side of the beer spectrum. I never understood the so-called "hopheads" when all I could taste was overt bitterness and strange combinations of malts and hops. I suspect the primary culprit is the inability of lesser breweries to achieve an ideal hop-malt balance. To this day I still cannot finish most IPAs and DIPAs. Regardless, the perfect score I've given is due to the fact that Heady made me love hops and IPAs. It is undoubtedly the best beer I've had in my short life of drinking and it would be my choice for the only beer to drink for the rest of my life. I plan on staying in Vermont as long as possible to realize this possibility. That said, don't listen to the hype, try it for yourself. Even if you don't think it's God's gift to man, few can discount that its a treat to enjoy at least once.

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

This beer reminded me a of a springtime night in Paris.

It's true that I was sitting in a bar in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn when I enjoyed this fine specimen, but the bitter first hit followed by the refreshing smoothness took me to the land of cheese and goose livers.

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Photo of Dfinn1122
4.91/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Found this little brewery while on vacation up in VT. This is by far one of the best Imperial IPA's I had. It's unfiltered and has an Extremely hoppy aroma with a great balance composure of grains. I didn't believe the Alchemist brewery beer hype in VT until I went there myself. It was unbelievable! Great imperial IPA!

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Photo of Mcvs1507
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got a case from zrab11! Cheers!

This beer is great! As most other reviews will tell you.

More importantly the can is the best part! You can drop it and beat the heck out of the can but the beer will still taste just the same!!! You should really only drink from a can! And please recycle and don't be A D-Bag!

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Photo of putnam118
4.99/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have been an IPA nut for years now and nothing has compared to Heady Topper. The combination of hop bitterness and citrus flavor with a great mouthfeel make it nearly a perfect beer. I first tried HT back in December and since then have been yearning for more. I have tried to consume more available IPAs but nothing has compared, even other world class beers such as Double Trouble and LagunitasSucks. So today I went up to VT with some friends and picked up 6 cases. No more worrying for me. Its a shame more cannot try this great beer.

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

A buddy of mine brought this beer down from Vermont.. I AM COMPLETELY IN LOVE. The HOPS are fully vibrant and tasty. I have never drank anything as full bodied, as at times I did not believe that a beer so wonderful could be crafted in the USA. However, I am in love with this beer.. I am hoping to have it again one day.

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Photo of Mikecap
4.96/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Finally got my hands on a 4-pack of cans. Enjoying my first as I write this review. I think I'm in love.

Appearance: Pours a hazy light amber, huge white head. Yes, I poured into my IPA glass despite what it says on the can. Beautiful look to the eye. Can't wait to sip.

Smell: So much going on here. Hops, hops, and more hops. Also smell the grapefruit, orange, and citrusy aromas. Even out of the can, this beer brings a lot right to the nose. This is a DIPA that's for sure. I could smell this forever...

Taste: Just what I would expect. A ton of hops, but balanced well with the malt. Very citrusy on the tongue, so much flavor to compete with the hop abundance. Just a joy to drink and my tongue begs to go back for more.

Mouthfeel: Not too heavy, not too light. Somewhat bready, but not too heavy. Very easy drinking and enjoyable for the ABV and the amount of flavor.

Overall: I was a bit unsure about the hype and somewhat figured the high rating was due to the rarity of this beer. Now I know that it is for real. The taste, aroma, and overall character of the beer beg me to come back for more. Thank God I've got three cans left.

Absolutely worth seeking out if you can. I do hope their distribution expansion plans come to light and we see this in the Boston area soon.

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Photo of whoneeds8
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bought from a Charity Auction with the proceeds going to "Open the Taps": A grassroots organization of Texas craft beer consumers.

Even though the can says to drink out of the can, which I did with the first can, I poured this one into a duvel tulip glass so that I can see what it looks like. Now I know why they want you to drink it out of the can . . . it is a murky nasty yellow. It's just not an appealing looking beer. With that, it does pour out with a good three finger white head with good retention and great lacing.

The scent is amazing. I have a bad nose and often can get any scent off a beer. After pouring I set this glass down next to the computer, walked away, and then when I came back I could smell the aroma of green hops. If my nose can catch a scent without putting my nose in the glass, it gets a 5.

If we're grading this off the style . . . then I have to say this, I don't know if this is an true Double / Imperial IPA. I would expect the best of the style would have to be a well put together hop bomb. This isn't a hop bomb by any measure . . . but it IS well put together. There is the hop punch, but it's well balanced by orange flavor and pine. The bitterness finishes the flavors very well.

The mouthfeel is well carbonated. I would have to say I'd like the body to be just a tad heavier. There is a noticeable alcohol burn for only 8%.

Overall, this was well worth the extra money I spent for three reasons: this is a high quality brew, the rarity of it in Texas, and for the GREAT things orgainizations like Open the Taps has done for Texas Craft Beer Consumers during this Legislature session. PROSIT, Ya'll!!!

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Photo of mynie
4.84/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Excellent in a manner I don't need to explicate, since everyone else has already done that. It's not, however, the beer beer I've ever had, nor even the best recent-vintage IPA. The hop profile is wonderfully vareigated and citrusy, but also gets a bit unpleasantly heavy in the back end. The malt is totally subordinate to the hops--as is customary for this new style of IPA--but in order for this to work the hop profile must balance itself perfectly. Heady's doesn't. It comes close, and the beer is still a joy, but it's not quite perfect.

In sum, very good. Excellent, probably. But Zombie Dust beats it.

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Photo of mriley1984
4.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Absolutely love me some Topper. This is by far one of the best beers that I have had. The only other beer in my opinion is the triple play ipa from Lawsons. They upped their production so its pretty easy to get. Still sells out the day of delivery though..

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Photo of sbxx
4.52/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Canned 5/15
Big thanks to wyatt13 for sharing a can!

Appearance - Hazy, light yellow. Nice and fresh. Light head that disappears fairly quick. Didn't pour much in the glass. Just enough for a quick look. Drink from the can!!!

Smell - Big. Lots of pine. Background grapefruit, and a little bit of orange peel.

Taste - Massive hops, as expected. More of the citrus comes through in the taste. Astringent pine as well. Big bitter aftertaste that lingers. Packs one hell of a wallop too. Halfway thru the can, I was already buzzed.

Mouthfeel - Heavy body (for a DIPA), medium carbonation, semi-dry, semi-sticky finish

Overall - A damn fine beer, yes. #1 beer ever? Probably not. It tastes very natural, very raw and overall, very nice. If you love hops, you'll love this. Keep your expectations in check though. It's simply an awesome DIPA. Nothing more, nothing less. Don't compare it to Pliny. Two totally different beers, in my opinion. And both are great!

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

Received in a trade from Jeremy6566. Thanks for letting me get my first taste of Heady, greatly appreciated. Poured a little from the can just to see what it looks like, and consumed the rest from the can as advised.

A - Pours a very hazy golden yellow color with 1 finger of white head that hangs around for a while.

S - Smell is pure hoppy goodness! The majority of the hop smell is of the tropical fruit variety... mango, passionfruit.

T/M - The taste of citrus is very dominant on the first taste. On second taste, I get the mango and papaya. Get combination of flavors, and a great resinous hop flavor left on my tongue. Medium mouthfeel, really good carbonation.

O - Winner winner, chicken dinner! This beer is the real deal for any hop head out there. This brew hits all the right notes with me, and I have a hard time finding any flaws with it. Great smell, amazing taste, no alcohol burn. If I could only have 1 IPA to drink for the rest of my life, this would be the one. Cheers to you Jeremy, for without you this awesome expierence would not be possible.

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

Picked up a few cases from the brewery this morning. Had first can with my dad this afternoon.

A: Tall, aluminum can, perfectly sized for an adult male hand. Good graphics, and distinctive black pull tab with large mouth opening. Drank from can, as demanded by can.

S: Hop smell upon opening is intoxicating. You can smell it from feet away, literally. Very citrusy, very heavy, almost overbearing.

T: Extreme hoppiness is a shock to your mouth on first sip. Gives way to a more mellow hop flavor after a few seconds. Tons of citrus and bitterness, offset slightly by some malty bread notes.

M: Thick, due to the hop overload. Pleasant though, as the coating it leaves has a beautiful aftertaste.

O: 5. 5. 5. 5. 5. 5. Great beer.

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Photo of barnzy78
4.41/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16oz can, poured into a glass for the purposes of reviewing in comparison to other DIPAs, even though they say to drink it from the can.
Cloudy, cloudy tangerine body with a thin, white head that fades to a layer of foam atop the ale, leaving a little lace on its way down. Super fresh aroma, with orange rind, grapefruit, juicy fruit gum, mango. Taste is super fresh again here, with loads of mango, orange rind, mandarin, bitter grapefruit juice, grassy, a little nutty as it warms. Creamy and smooth medium-full body, lower carbonation, finishes bitter but not overly - more like grapefruit juice. Insanely balanced and drinkable. I'll need to get a hold of this again....for my wife. First ever IPA or DIPA she liked! I'll have to try it directly from the can next time.

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

A: Hazy, golden yellow with a fluffy, white head. Gets lumpy with some head retention. Some good lace.

S: Massive, dry citrus. Pine sap, fresh hops, freshly cut grapefruit. Huge citrusy, American hops. Don't know what else to say other than...Breathtaking. Unbelievable. Brings a smile to your face. Begs you to take a sip.

T: H-O-P-S! Huge, dry, resiny, piney, citrusy, earthy hops. It's honestly just a heavy hop rush. But never too much. A beer like this isn't supposed to be this smooth and balanced. It's supposed to be too dry or too cloying. But it isn't!

M: Incredibly smooth and drinkable. Everything a beer and a DIPA should taste like. Just crazy.

O: The hype is absolutely real. I don't want to stop drinking this.

Edit: had on draft at Prohibition Pig in Waterbury, VT. If you didn't think Heady could get any better...try it on draft! WOW! Absolutely unbelievable. The pinnacle of a hop journey through craft beer.

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Photo of JordanPhraczek
4.99/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Drank out of a can because it told me to, canned the day before. huge shoutout to bringing this to Boston after a depressing news release from alchemist.

A - would have gave it a 5 and actually had no standing to give a rating but just the mystique and the can itself deserves praise.

S - wow hop nectar and resin galore. I feel like music is playing in my head to the beat of this beer. Frank ocean to be precise.

T - not overly bitter just perfect piney hop taste. does it taste like I thought it would? even better somehow. the bottom of the can held the greatest depth of flavor but the beer is never bitter. Bravo.

M - frothy dry hop slime. almost feels oily its so hoppy but the carbonation adds a maturity to it.

O - thank god I finally tried this beer just enjoy it if you can. worth going to Vermont for.

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Photo of Carpentiere
4.99/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow. I kept reading the hype but finally got some of this. What an incredible beer. The aroma from the can is full....but not overpowering. The taste....is refreshing. So refreshing. The aftertaste is a wonderful complement. The ranking of this beer is not hype. I am half way through the can and know I would drive a far distance to load up on this.

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Photo of CharlatanSin
4.89/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Review from notes accumulated while going through a case of HT over 4 weeks. First can was 4 days old, last can was right around a month. Mostly poured into tulips, but had a few straight from the can, too.

A: There's no two ways about it, guys -- the floaties in this beer are ugly. I don't care much about them, and I guess it gives the beer a rustic characteristic, but I've got to ding HT on the pure appearance score. Perfectly attractive beer otherwise. Nice golden amber with a big, puffy off-white head and lots of lacing.

S: The aroma of fresh HT is just wonderful. A complex and unique hop blend. Big pine, tropical fruit, citrus. A bit of caramel malt provides sweet balance. I'm almost having trouble describing it because it's basically perfect (to my own taste). A month in, the aroma is a bit less intense, but no less complicated or outstanding. I'd rank it a 5 after 4 days and a 5 after a month.

T/M: Incredibly juicy. More fruit-like and less pine compared to the nose. Tropical fruit is dominant -- pineapple, mango, what have you. Some of the more traditional citrus -- grapefruit mainly. Also getting a distinct apricot flavor, which somebody once told me was from the proprietary yeast but I'm not sure. Decent amount of caramel and biscuity malt to balance. Like the aroma, it gets a little less intense over a month but no less wonderful. Mouthfeel is slick. Carbonation's a little on the high side. Decently bitter but insanely drinkable. Not a hint of the ABV.

O: This is not going to be my highest rated beer, because of the appearance score, but I think it's my favorite. It's worth every bit of the hype. Make some good friends in Vermont, kids.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.66 out of 5 based on 12,895 ratings.
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