Heady Topper | The Alchemist

2,339 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: 2,339 | Ratings: 13,177
Photo of MicroBeerMan1980
4.93/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I should have reviewed this beer by now, but these reviews are hard to write while you've been imbibing.

A: Hazy, straw yellow, and cloudy (I know it's supposed to be cloudy). White frothy head, with good retention.

S: Pine, citrus, diesel, a bit of peach, and severely dank. Sweet malts on the back end. Outstanding! One of the best smelling DIPA's I've ever put my nose to.

T: Big hop profile. Bitter, flavorful, drinkable and full bodied. Well rounded. Tastes just like it smells. Big pine, citrus, and diesel notes. There's an undercurrent of peach married with the very clean malt backbone on this beer.

M: Surprisingly drinkable and clean. No bad aftertaste. No off flavors. It doesn't weigh down the pallet too much. It doesn't leave the mouth dry or sticky.

O: For a 9.2% beer, this one's got the goods. Refreshing on a hot day, or sipping on during a brisk fall afternoon.

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Photo of ggell100
4.73/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Long-awaited taste of this beer was well-worth the wait. To put it simply: This is an awesome brew! It is much hoppier than I expected, but this was a pleasant surprise to be sure. It was a great overall experience right from the can. I highly recommend this one, along with virtually everyone else who has had the benefit of enjoying it.

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Photo of ibu4u
4.96/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

The hype is well deserved! I love Heady Topper so much that I feel the need to drive 18 hours to get more.

The smell was worth the cost of beer. The pine taste lasts long after your last drink and makes you want to open another.

I think it is better out of glass, even though it said to drink out of can.

Overall I think Heady Topper is the perfect beer for hop-heads.

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Photo of Keith425
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Heady Topper....one of my beer drinking milestones....i've wanted to try this beer for a while,and it finally came available in my area....Poured from the can inyo an IPA glass....Absolutely lives up to the hype

A : a beautiful hazy yellow/orange... .1/4 - 1/2 finger head...pretty good good lacing

S : Citrus....grapefruit,with a slight oj/orange peel scent...very little bitterness at all

T : Hoppy upfront,followed by citrus and malty sweetness...then a little hop bitterness in the finish....very well balanced
M : medium body,with a very dry finish.not much carbonation....leaves you wanting for another sip

O : best beer i've had to date....i would absolutely recommend to anybody who loves IPAs/DIPAs....waiting to try Pliny,but so far the best beer i've ever had

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Photo of Boski
4.66/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had to drink a quarter from the can... Poured the rest gently into a glass.

A: Hazy yellow. Gorgeous blood orange throughout. Quarter finger head with gentle pour that coats the top of the beer and recedes to look like a map and lingers around the edges of the glass. Decent lacing.

S: Clean crisp citrus. Orange peel all the way.

T: I'm glad when this element is the highlight, and it is with this one. Sweet and juicy. Fresh squeezed OJ. Tangerine. Perfect amount of bitter. Slight candied sugar.

M: Fresh citrus coats the entire mouth. Bitter notes dance upon the tongue and cheeks but are balanced out just in time to not be overly aggressive.

O: Incredibly well balanced IPA... Medley of sweet, citrus and bitter flavors play perfectly off of one another. One I will continue to snag without question when the right opportunity presents itself. Wish I could make this my "regular heady" Disc Golf beer.

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Photo of Zilaniz
4.82/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

It says drink from the can but I poured it anyway for appearence reasons. Very west coast style, up there with the best of IPA's I have had. Wonderfully juicy and very refreshing, if it weren't 8% I could easily drink a sixer of it. Only had once since I am living in PA but will search out again

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Photo of SpecialPatrolGroup
4.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I am not, I repeat NOT, a hop head. This was the beer that changed my opinion of IPA's. So I guess it's fair to say I wasn't a hop head. The aroma is what first got me. Like a bowl of freshly cut tropical fruit. The mouthfeel is down right dairy-like. Creamy and not too thin. There is a perfect balance of bitterness and malty undertones. I live 5 hours (10 round trip) from the nearest retailer and I regularly make the trip to obtain HT. If you get the chance, don't pass it up.

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4.74/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This has been on my wants list for almost 2 years. I am going to try to be as open minded. If you would have told me 5 years ago that the #1 beer in the world would be from a can I would have said you were crazy. Lets see.

A strong pour generates two fingers of foamy thick yellow tan head. Retention is very good and spotty lace is left behind barely. Body is a hazy honey orange in tone. Really pretty standard for the style. Just hard to get excited about this tone.

Nose is prickly and piney all in one. Citrus rind and sweet marmalade play all surrounding a generally musky tone that carries this wonderful scent. Truely sweet nose in terms of what you usually expect from a big IPA.

And then you get it. With first sip you immediately are greeted by such a unique hop profile. Bold hop goodness attacks the mouth. Its almost like sucking on a whole hop cone. Full of dynamically bitter hoppines from the moment it hits the tongue all the way through the nicely long lingering mouthfeel. Pineapple and musky pine play in the entire palate.

This is a truely wonderful beer. I would easily put it up there with the top 5 I have ever had the pleasure of trying.

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Photo of Metaldude05
4.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Heady topper is an ipa perfected. The hop profile imparts a perfect flavor without being overly bitter. The alchemist does a phenomenal job crating a perfect ipa for us hop heads that love the flavor of hops but may not care for the bitterness all the time.

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Photo of LostinNJ
4.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

A friend brought this to me on a recent trip to Vermont.
It's the best beer I have had in a long time.
The flavor lingered long after finishing the last drop.
I would recommend this to any IPA fan.
More ibu's would be nice, but not necessary.
Wish it was available in NJ.

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Photo of Dawgboned37
4.91/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The one definitely lived up to the hype. Tried it on a "can-share" with some friends. Nose was incredible, despite my initial distaste for IPA's. This helped me cross over to the hop side because the taste was not overwhelmingly bitter, but rather pleasant with pine and citrus flavors. A beer I hope to have another opportunity to sip on soon!

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Photo of von_kaiser
4.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2 months old
A: I don't know. It's in a can. Staying in the can. (Remember it being unfiltered golden brown)
S: this hop scent is nothing like I've ever smelled before. Like cotton candy
T: cotton candy. So sweet and bitterly good. Perfect balance of everything.
M: just stays with you. The resin is sweet. Hop sweet. I get no citrus. Just a sapy hop resin
O: prior to this I had coriolis. Coriolis was unbelievable! Heady Topper...god damn! This is by far the greatest beer I've ever had. Hands down.

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Photo of djbreezy
4.32/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank this in the recommended can so it's difficult to rate the appearance. I gave it a 4 knowing that it's unfiltered.

Smells really good. Big, dank hop nose leaning towards the pine spectrum.

Taste is very intense. Immediately reminds me of Stone Ruination. It's about all hops with some subtle cues to the malt body.

Mouthfeel is medium to light for a double ipa! I had to double check the can. It's real nice though. Has a bit of stickiness, a bit of dryness.

Overall I think the beer is great. I had a vertical of it next to Pliny the Elder. Heady Topper definitely blew my palate out. I've drank hundreds of IPAs. I don't think it really lent itself 100% to my taste preferences for hop but it was damn good. I'm a bigger fan of the citrus, grapefruit west coast style IPA.

Either way, super glad I got to try this. The beer has eluded me for years and I finally got to give it a go last night. Sweet!

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Photo of TrumpedupBAC
4.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer is fantastic! Every time I have it I am amazed at how smooth it is for the it's ABV. The taste is extremely complex and refreshing. I can't help but feel like I'm pouring an IPA through a bouquet of fresh hops directly into my mouth. Hands down a beer to get your hands on if you happen to come by it.

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Photo of Vosko
4.99/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The is an outstanding DIPA. I could drink this all day everyday. A perfect DIPA for the novice as well and the Beer Geek

A: a nice amber color
S: great hops smell of citrus and floral
T: Sweet, citrus, floral and bitter that works perfectly
M: wakes up the palate
O: no wonder it is number !

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Photo of Gemmett71
4.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A - When I did pour this one into a glass, I was surprised at how good it looked. I'd heard it was scary to view in a glass. It is a fine looking brew...but not as deep golden as other DIPAs.

S - The smell of this brew is delightful. Hoppy and a little sweet, but not in the least bit overwhelming.

T - Well what can I say. On first sip I was shocked. I thought to myself what is the big deal. Then I had a second sip and then a third and it started to come together. This is a strong hoppy beer without the palate pinching bitterness of some of the higher IBU competitors.

M - I need to reference my above comment about palate pinching bitterness. This ale just does not have it. I don't feel the need to brush my teeth after having one. It is so well balanced.

O - I admit I went to try this beer on reputation. It really is as great as advertised. Of course everyone has their own tastes. Enjpy!

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Photo of Siriusfisherman
4.35/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L: What a beautiful can!

A: Big pine needle, zesty citrus, and soft fruit, very aromatic out of the can. Malt is noticeable as a slightly toasty breadiness and there is an amazing peach-like ester profile that melds with the hops.

T/M: Smooth bitterness upfront, moves into intense, pine needle and stonefruit hop character with tropical and spicy complexities. The malt character is slightly more prominent than the aroma, creating a light, toasty bread character that moves into a drying finish and a slick mouthfeel. Very complex, but the hops are always at the for-front, and the bitterness is never overly prominent. In a couple words, perfectly balanced.

Overall, this is one of the most well-balanced and complex IPAs I have ever had. I can totally understand why this is the highest rated beer on the site. The flavor is nearly perfect, and as long as you don't mind haze or drinking out of the can there is very little that you could find at fault about his beer. Every phase of the brewing process contributes to the flavor of the beer. Hops, malt, peachy esters from the 'Conan' yeast, as well as numerous intricacies I am sure only the brewing staff is aware of (ie water profile). This is a real ale, so many brewers seem to be taking the IPA away from the malt and yeast character and this one embraces them and finds balance with them. This beer is a true beer.

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Photo of oldmankoch
4.63/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Had this tonight on tap at Prohibition Pig in Waterbury and can at my B&B in Stowe (the owner gets free misprints and gives them to guests on arrival if they're beer geeks)

The locals consider this the Miller Lite of VT but what a flipping awesome ML it is. I had this after 3 HF IPA/PAs and it still stood out as awesome on its own so that speaks to its epicness.

I have to say though the can is definitely the better route. It holds more of the hop profile that HT is known for.

Most already know the flavor specs so just thought Id share my experience and say the locals I spoke with rate this just behind Double Sunshine for the States best Double IPA...if only that wasn't an even more rare "whale." But whatever I'm just thrilled to have now had HT in my life.

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Photo of Jpinoniemi
4.58/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this beer from a friend in New Hampshire.

This is definitely the best IPA I've ever had. It survived UPS shipping to Ohio and still was good cold the next day.

A friend of mine and I split a can together and each taste was better than the last.

Highly recommend and would drink again for sure.

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Photo of JulioH
4.72/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I've had this a few times. This is the most bitter thing I have tasted, but surprisingly you quickly get accustomed to it, and actually enjoy it.

Pouring it reveals a normal yellow beer, nothing spectacular about the color, but the aroma that comes out of the can immediately after opening it is crazy. It releases a very strong aroma of pine and hops. Taste is very bitter, very piney, but refreshing and thin. You could drink a few of these and just think of how amazing this beer is.

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Photo of StoneTSR
4.08/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

4/2/14 – consumed 5/5/14. Thanks to Scalawags for this awesome beer.

APPEARANCE: The color falls somewhere between straw pale and a very light orange. A strong head forms with the first pour and it sticks around for a while. Lacing is a little spotty, but still manages to cover a good 40% of the back of the glass.

SMELL: A lot of pine, a touch of grass and a good dose of grapefruity citrus with some hints of tropical fruit. Not as intense an aroma as I would have expected.

TASTE: This is a hoppy beer. The hops are there for the whole sip, from beginning to end, in full force. Early on there is a light toffee flavor to balance the aggressively orange citrus flavor. As the beer nears the finish the bitterer, grassy hop flavors kick in for a strong finish.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium to light in body, but more towards the medium side. The Heady Topper is dry all the way through, which makes me very happy. Carbonation is light, but with a nice little sparkle.

OVERALL: OK, the comparison must be made…I love this beer, but Pliny is better. And I may be a West Coast snob, but there are a few other West Coast IPAs that I would prefer to this. For lack of a better term this is not as “bright” a beer as some others in the category. It is certainly more balanced, but that is not always what I’m looking for in a Double IPA.

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Photo of Dna_Infinity
4.12/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Can to glass

Appearance - Hazy orange colour with a medium size head. Left good lacing

Smell - Floral, grapefruit, dank pine and resin some more tropical fruits

Taste - Orange peel, pineapple, pine resin, tropical fruits, slight alcohol taste. Hops are major punch to the mouth

Overall - Glad I got to try this one once just to say I did. However I don't think it's worth the trouble that people go to to get it. While it is a great DIPA it's up to each person to decide whether its worth the hype

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Photo of DCLAguy11
4.25/5  rDev -8.6%

Based on the last few cans of Heady Topper that I've had I have to down grade the rating a bit. I wish there was a better way of distinguishing which year or version of Heady Topper this is because it's not the same as it once was. Having said that, I did a blind tasting on 8/29/14 with the recent batches of Focal Banger, Rapture, The Crusher and Heady Topper.

It was the third lightest in color of the 4 beers with a hazy golden color. On the nose I got passion fruit, citrus peel, wet pine, orange pulp. I have to say these Alchemist beers are great on the nose.

The taste: I got some slight bitterness and some citrus. There wasn't a pop or anything special and at 8% I could still get a lot of the alcohol so the balance was a bit off for me.

Overall my blind guess was that this was Rapture but I was wrong. In my humble opinion I put Heady over Rapture but way behind The Crusher and Focal Banger. I think Heady needs to get it's act together. It is no longer the #1 beer in BA.

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Photo of Bunk86
4.99/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I finally found a hookup that could get me these on a regular basis. Man, it was worth the effort. The Alchemist seriously nailed it. This beer is damn near the perfect IPA. For this big of an IPA the bitterness, or lack thereof is notable. The hops just keep coming. I read that there was some oatmeal added for mouthfeel. I get it. Perfect. Seriously, it's oneof the best IPA's I've ever had.

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Photo of jageraholic
4.94/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Cant believe i havent reviewed this before. Half way through a can, nows the time...

A: fucking can is beautiful.

S: grapefruit rind, lemon, lime zest, mint, and pine. Mild breadiness. Very intense aroma as soon as the can is opened its a shotgun of aroma

T: a lot of grapefruit up front. Blend of complex citrus...orange lemon, lime. Finish is mostly citrus but mild herbs like mint and a balanced pine to keep the citrus in check. Mild malt bready background but hops are the main assault.

M: a creaminess floods the mouth and bubbles all around but dissipates to a nice wetness in the mouth and slowly a dryness settles in. Fantastic wave of complex mouthfeel that sets this apart.

O: they werent trying to make the hoppiest DIPA out there, but they did. This is a beast. Intense in aroma, taste and a creamy thick mouthfeel. But it remains very drinkable. A 4 pack would be too filling but whose drinking a 4 pack of this. Sip, savor, enjoy. Excellent excellent beer. So far, one of a kind and deserves the hype.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.65 out of 5 based on 13,177 ratings.
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