Heady Topper | The Alchemist

BA SCORE
100
world-class
2,336 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:
2,336
Ratings:
13,162
Avg:
4.65
pDev:
7.1%
 
 
Wants:
9,167
Gots:
5,426
For Trade:
68
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,336 | Ratings: 13,162
Photo of kfh227
3.2/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I had one of these in Burlington, Vermont at a bar straight from the can.

I was pleasantly surprised that they had it.

I only care about taste so here it goes. I generally don't like IPAS because they are bitter. Some bitterness is OK. There are two things to know. 1) This one is not bitter at all. 2) this is very hoppy.

Having said that, this is one of the best IPAs that I have ever had. But it is in all honesty, just a good version of Budweiser. A very good version. Point being that I don't understand all the fuss. I could name 20 beers that I'd rather have than drink this ever again. It's honestly not all that special unless you prefer IPAs above all else..

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Photo of jsunj
4.74/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Although residing in the west coast, I've had the pleasure of trying this beer multiple times due to awesome friends. The first time I had this beer it was split three-ways, poured into glasses. At that time i felt that this beer was overhyped and couldn't stand up to the likes of PtE. However upon having a can to myself, straight from the can, I can definitely see why HT is so highly regarded.

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Photo of tylerstravis
4.4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Did it live up to the hype? No, nothing ever does. Was it good? Hell yeah! I actually enjoyed my second one more as I knew what to expect. This was was more of a hop juice than something like a west coast IPA. I personally liked this with a couple of months on it more than fresh.

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Photo of Kramerwtmf
4.79/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

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

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Photo of beer456
4.74/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured into a glass yesterday at the Farmhouse Taphouse in Burlington yesterday. $8.00 to taste what is now a cult followed beer. I enjoyed enough to skip over to 240 Pearl Street and buy a case of 24 for roughly $88 USD. In case anybody wants to load up, delivery for Heady Topper is on Tuesday, so make sure you go when a delivery is imminent or shortly thereafter. Sitting around today and on my third can right now, and each one sheds more light on why this beer is so popular. It tastes light...fresh...and just bottom line - a real nice IPA.

Drink it from the can !

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Photo of SovietBear1982
4.98/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

What can I say about this beer, it is everything people say it is and the hype is spot on. Although, the level if IBU's have been consistent at times I can have one where the hoppiness really comes through while other times it is more gradual and the notes are released with perfection. I know that the brewery has other brews that it releases in limited quantities, but I hope they can try and produce the other options with a bit more releases then they currently offer. But no complaints they are staying true to their brew and "Heady Topper" is always on my list of brews that I would have on any given day.

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Photo of mabermud
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is an extremely, well-crafted beer. It is wonderfully balanced and well-hopped. Truly made by an Alchemist, or the devil himself.

I now understand why it is the #1 beer on BA. My favorites were always Pliny the Elder and Enjoy by. This one boasts them both. I immediately opened a Pliny to compare while I still had some Heady left at the bottom of my glass. To me, the Heady looks much better. The PtE is clear and the Heady is cloudy with yummy goodness. The Heady smells scrumptious and emits a better aroma. The PtE is crisp and clean and the Heady is complex tasting. PtE is a bit more carbonated than the Heady, however, I believe this Heady is nowhere near as fresh as the PtE. In the end, I love them both.

If I were to be stranded in the mountains for any amount of time and I had to select one of these to keep me company, I would have to select the Heady, and the PtE would be his backup.

Nauseatingly good.

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Photo of jvf1970
4.49/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I drank Heady Topper a couple times from cans only, never on tap. I thought it was a great beer but not the best in the world. If I went out to a pub and they had HT , I would order and drink it over probably others because it's so hard to get anywhere outside Vermont.

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Photo of ICMTM
4.22/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I have to say this is a really good beer. I also have to say it doesn't live up to the hype of being the best beer ever. With all these hyped beers I have noticed a trend:

Limited Distribution + Good Brew = Cult Following

I did the taste test with it and Pliny and yes it's better than Pliny in my opinion HOWEVER I think there are better DIPA's than both beers out there.

O - It's a more complex IPA which I liked about it. There is a bigger malt presence and therefore not as bitter as some out there. I liked it better out of the can, which actually balanced the beer out. The beer pours like a hefeweizen. It's a great beer, but I don't know that I'd want it over some of the local options I have.

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Photo of Fargrow
4.62/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Although I've had this beer a few times, I figured it warranted a proper review. I can't do one of those, so I'll just write some words. Unfortunately, I think this can is 6 or 7 weeks old now. So not the best version of itself.
Poured into a teku, because I am a badass.
A: Beautiful glowing dark orange. Translucent, hazy. Cream colored head that disappears after a while and leaves huge gobs of uneven sticky lacing.
S: Pine, green tea, orange, peach, mango, grass.
T: Pine, mango, grassy, candied fruit. The age may have diluted this. I remember it popping more when fresh.
M: Absolutely perfect. Creamy, but leaves you wanting more.
O: What can I say that hasn't been said. Drink it fresh, thank God you got some!

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Photo of SirElton
4.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Drank this right from the can as I was instructed. The nose smells like beer candy and the beer is creamy and hoppily delicious. This beer just does everything right, and honestly gets better with every sip. While it's not my favorite IPA I've ever had (Double Citra from Hill Farmstead currently wears that crown), this is absolutely wonderful and I would drink this every night if I could.

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Photo of andrewjraab
4.34/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - pours a cloudy burnt orange with a finger of off white foamy head. Foamy spotty clings to the glass after each sip.

S - Honey, malts, citrus hops, tropical fruit, resinous, lemon grass. Nice smelling brew - lots of depth in the nose.

T - Semi sweet up front followed by a building development of hops; citrus, zest, fruity, dry, resinous. Finishes dry and bitter. Flavor lingers.

O - First of two cans I acquired from a trade. Phenomenal DIPA - unlike really any other brew I've had - can't just place it in a category saying it taste like X Beer.

Notes - surprised it says to "drink out of the can" - I didn't follow those instructions and poured it into a snifter.

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Photo of FiveByFive
4.84/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

What's not to love about this beer? There are no compromises and makes no apologies.
I've had it in a tulip glass to try and accentuate the hops, and took the Kimmich recommendation and drank from the can. Both are great, but prefers a straight from the can approach. And here's why:

In the glass, very orange and murky. Light and pronounced head.
In the can - nothing but a fantastic and constant hop-slam in your face.

In the glass, hop presence remains, and as the beer warms, the various hop aromas come into play.
In the can - hop complexity - this baby will keep you guessing with each sip.

Mouthfeel - for a DIPA, it is deceiving - fruity, smooth, not overly bitter - quite accessible.

Is it the best DIPA ever? It's hard to give it a perfect score, because it means there's no opportunity for another to surpass it - but this is one of a few to emulate - sets the standard.

Last point - had one fresh, had one 'aged' in my fridge for several months, mostly because it was the last one and I was afraid to let it go. For best flavour and overall experience? Drink this baby fresh. It was meant to.

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

Appearance: amber or even an off gold colored, not really cloudy, just opaque enough not to be able to see through.

Smell / Nose: Smells strongly of fresh cut grass, rich hops, pine and citrus tones.

Taste: Big Grapefruit flavor, apricots, smooth creamy, but hoppy finish. The can is right, its very drinkable.

Mouthfeel: It has a slight mineral taste, like spring water. Each sip leaves your mouth clean and extremely pleasant, your pallet is fresh after every sip making it very drinkable.

Overall: Would enjoy over and over again. I am not so much of a hop-head, but this was a very enjoyable beer I would always have again.

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Photo of mewanderinghome
4.23/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Heady Topper. Yes, the 'holy grail.'

Well, the can orders you to drink from the can, so I did that first. Okay, I can see why this has a following. And not just because of the obvious: yes it's ridiculously hard to get hold of outside Vermont. Or inside Vermont, frankly. At least as of this date in early 2014- I drove to the Hunger Mountain Coop in Montpelier VT on an early spring Friday and dutifully waited in line with folks from all over (like literally- the couple from Switzerland standing next to me included) for 3pm to roll around.

People who know me know I don't taste hard-to-get beer haphazardly. I do this scientifically. This is my 107th IPA I've formally reviewed (I've only posted a handful of reviews here on BA..but they are comprehensive :), and I always have a control IPA I know well as a taste reference. My usual control, Two Hearted, was sadly not available at Hunger Mountain. I went with one of my fave SD brews they had available, Green Flash West Coast. For good measure, I threw in a Maine Lunch that happened to be available at the Coop (effing score!)

On to the head-to-Heady review (after pouring into Worthy glasses):

Appearance: quite yellow for an IPA. Clarity: not cloudy...impossible to see through. Very little head on the Heady

Nose: hops, pure and unadulterated. I'm getting hardly anything else. Maybe a hint of citrus, but it may just be left over in my nostrils after the West Coast (or Maine Lunch, which has similar color, a bit more clarity, and a really sweet fruity nose).

Now to where it counts, down the gullet: Overwhelmingly full mouthfeel. Creamy. More creamy full hop than I think I've ever tasted. Which is saying something.

And the verdict: Honestly? Too much. Weedy. Here's the jist of it: IT TASTES LIKE YOU'RE DRINKING PURE HOPS & KIND BUD WHIPPED UP IN A BLENDER WITH PURE O2 AND MOUNTAIN SPRING WATER.

Yes, I know that statement may now drive a whole new wave of people to consider this beer the unattainable holy grail. It's definitely not a bad beer. Not at all. But in reality, after the first few sips, vs other really good IPAs, it's maybe A LITTLE MUCH. As a drinkable beer, the Maine Lunch I'm having beside it wins. Solidly. But this shiz is def worth trying sometime. Holy crap.

UPDATE: Despite losing in the head-to-head with Maine's Lunch IPA in my initial review, there really is something about the incredible mouthfeel and DRINKABLE intense hoppiness that keeps calling me back to the fridge for another can instead of trading. It really is a surprisingly unique IPA experience and not just a case of scarcity helping ratings. After several more, I feel I need to give Heady even better scores in a couple areas.

It's quickly becoming an addiction, and not the right addiction to have for those of us living on the opposite side of the country. Damn you, Alchemist.

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

Enjoyed from a 16 oz can as instructed.

A - Poured some out into a shot glass to see what it looks like. Pale pilsen color. The body is hazy from the yeast and hop resin. I enjoy the minimalist design approach of the can as well.

S - The smell of hops wafts tremendously from the open can. Scents of peaches, flowers, grass, and a touch of resin fill the nostrils. Delightful.

T - Even better than the smell. A rush of tropical fruit and ripe orange taste assaults the tongue. Just a touch of pine to remind you that the flavors come from hops, not actual fruit. Compared to other famous DIPAs, there is no discernible onion/garlic/savory taste at all. The malt backbone is appropriately sweet and balanced, but really serves as a showcase for the amazing hops. A touch of bitterness hits the palate toward the end, but astoundingly does not linger. The aftertaste is of the tropical fruit and honey.

M - Wonderfully creamy with enough viscosity to remind you of the 8% ABV. Carbonation is present but inconspicuous so as not to distract from everything else going on.

O - This beer is seriously good and perhaps the best DIPA I have ever tasted. Whereas there is usually something lacking in even the best of beers, there is nothing I can think of to make this beer better. Believe the hype.

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Photo of 16hourdrive
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First off a big thank you to my friend Jim for this beer! I live in San Diego so this is really hard to find.

I absolutely love Sculpin IPA and have been looking for a beer that exceeds the aroma, taste and feel. I found it and surpassed it with this beer!

Smell is excellent and the taste is excellent. I love the aftertaste that is still on my tongue as I'm typing this out. Lots of citrus and pine and all the great things I love in a double IPA.

This wins over sculpin and Pliny IMO.

Just wish I had another can!

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

Simply the best beer made. This beer astounds the senses. The aroma teases one with the layers of flavors to follow. Those flavors swarm the tongue with complexity-floral, tropical, juicy hops carried upon a perfectly balanced malt kiss of love.

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Photo of kess_419
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I went into my first Heady Topper with great expectations. My friend, whose beer opinion I've trusted since the 7th grade, really talked great things about this beer. It really intrigued me about how good he said it was. So I decided to get my Google on and do some research. Every rating site I found gave it tremendous reviews. Thousands of reviews and all of them were extremely high ratings. I found myself determined to track this brew down!

Long story short. So, somehow, I eventually managed to get my hands on The Alchemist Heady Topper. (Thanks Zach!) Any who, here is my opinion:

Appearance - Couple things. I love the book, "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coehlo, and I love the appearance of this can. Haha! The head exploding with hops is a great symbol of what this beer is capable of.

Smell -The fresh aroma of hops released when this can opens makes my mouth water in anticipation.

Taste - I loved the taste. Delicious hoppy taste that really resonated on my tongue with each and every sip. Probably the best beer I've ever tasted.

Mouthfeel - A smooth and creamy feel that made me cherish each sip. Drinking this beer fast is a crime in my opinion. A nice slow drawn out sip will bring forth the flavors and delight fullness that beer advocates have craved since the cavemen discovered fire.

Overall - I'm drinking my 3rd ever Heady Topper as I type this and all I can think of is how honored this beer makes me feel. The Alchemist Heady Topper was only meant to be drank by a chosen few. Because, by Odin's beard, this is the mead of gods!!!

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Photo of SweetChicken
4.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love this freakin beer. Unlike some of the heavier/boozier top beers, this not only goes hand in hand with Pliny for best in class, but is a daily drinking beer too. Just wish it was more readily available so I could have it daily. If you ain't had it, get you some.

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Photo of Tmyhre802
4.81/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Am very lucky to have a steady supply due to my proximity to Waterbury. Due to that I am always looking forward to cracking the next heady that brings that delicious hoppy not to citrusy ipa smell to your nostrils. The taste is the most memorable i've ever had with the perfect bite to accompany it's 8% abv, making it impossible to not savor the last taste. Believe the hype.

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Photo of LANDRY
4.94/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A. Not sure I followed directions and drank it strait
S. Fresh cut grass, springtime in a can
T. Grapefruit, apricot, very dry and bitter, scorched earth excellent
M. Creamy, biting light and malty
O. Excellent beer, almost lives up to the hype, lol a must have for any IPA lover big thanks to HBJ for procuring it!

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Photo of Sandbarunner
4.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 2 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured a tiny bit into a glass just to get a look at it. Its unfiltered so it is meant to be cloudy and not too clean.

I followed the directions and drank it from the can. Perfect balance of Aroma and bitterness.

Worth the drive to Vermont to get it!

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Photo of Triplesnake
4.61/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

A fantastic Double IPA. It does however have a very sweet after taste. The reason this beer is rated so well is the genius marketing from the Alchemist Team. Cheers to you for that John! I am drinking this beer out of a glass right now, and I do have to say that they are deadly serious about it being better in the Can.

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Photo of Shockmaster88
4.62/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Taste and mouthfeel were spectacular. Hits your nose like a hammer straight to your olfactory senses. Do NOT pour this beer into a glass as it is to be enjoyed fresh from the can, doing so will result in little white specs in your beer leaving it to seem much less appealing.

Overall, one of the best IPAs out there!

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.65 out of 5 based on 13,162 ratings.
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