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Heady Topper | The Alchemist

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BA SCORE
100
world-class
2,295 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:
2,295
Ratings:
12,898
Avg:
4.66
pDev:
16.74%
 
 
Wants:
9,106
Gots:
5,178
For Trade:
66
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,295 | Ratings: 12,898
Photo of Oktobergirl
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Heady topper has all that a hop lover would appreciate and more. The unfiltered, strong flavor of the hops overpowers the flavor of the alcohol. This beer recommends that you drink it from the can to allow unfiltered parts at the bottom to remain. The most flavorful and delicious beer of this type that I have had.

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Photo of jackpritchard
4.86/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Top beer. Although it says drink from the can, I enjoy it from a glass much better. Full grapefruit smell. High hop taste. Mouthfeel is OK. Little to no bitter aftertaste. Ages ok, but best fresh. Got mine from the brewery before they closed the retail shop.

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Photo of RWW0013
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Cloudy, golden, 1/2 inch collar of foam

A- Heavy aroma of citrus, grapefruit, pine

T- Citrus, grapefruit, very fresh

M- Slightly carbonated, lingers on palette for an unbelievable amount of time

F- Outstanding IPA, while unbelievably hard to get fresh, very much worth all the hype.

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

I'm honestly not sure what all the hype is about. I think the fact that it's hard to get and really hoppy makes it a winner in most people's books. For me though it had a weird background taste every sip that I wasn't really used to I guess. After about the 3rd or 4th can though I started to like the beer a lot more.

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

Drank from the can.

Nose is awesome on this beer.

Immediate hop explosion after a tiny bit of sweetness upfront.

Golden strawlike appearance.

Mouthfeel is full with taste buds going crazy.

Finish leaves great hop residue on the tongue begging for more.

Recycle the can and repeat!

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Photo of Duffman79
4.68/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Serving: Out of the can as instructed by Alchemist Brewery

S: Hits you like a ton of hop bricks. Overwhelmingly citrus, very nice.

T: Is amazing and totally lives up to the hype.

M: Thick enough to leave a nice hop resin coating on your tongue, but not chewy.

O: Yes, I had to drive about three hundred miles to get this beer. But, once I was in VT... I consumed over a dozen cans (I was there for five days) and brought two cases back with me.

Many people say that THEIR regional IPA is "better than Heady", I've heard it said about Hopslam, Gandhi-bot, Zombie Dust, Pliny the Elder, Jai Alai, etc. But when put head to head (no pun intended) it is (A.) Heady Topper that it is being compared to and (B.) the Heady Topper that comes out on top (given the taster is unbiased).

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Photo of BattleRoadBrewer
4.31/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served cold from a 16 oz can into a 7 oz taster. This is contrary to instruction from the brewer to drink straight from the can.

Pours with light-medium body and a modest white head. The room fills with fresh hop aroma as you pour!

Nose is hops. Perfect hop perfection. Usually the nose of an IPA is citrusy, piney, grapefruity, catty, grassy--describable. Heady Topper smells in the glass (or straight from the can) exactly like when you take cones and rub them between your palms! I've never smelled another beer like it; no other beer effuses that overwhelming essence of fresh cones ready to brew with.

Color is hazy straw, almost green, suggestive of a white ale or hefe.

Taste is hop forward but not overwhelming. I've sampled and brewed IPAs with extraordinary flavoring hops, this one does not deaden the tongue, instead it excites the tongue! Neutral to dry finish, no sweetness to mar the hop-forward nectar.

Edit: Myoriginal review sadly sufferd from grade inflation. Tasted side by side with Pliny, the Toppa is missing the clarity and bitterness that make a more perfect beer.

Mouthfeel is light-moderate, smooth, easy-drinking, with no evidence of alcohol warmth or fusels. Bitterness is light.

As it warms in the glass, it perfectly maintains its balance. It is a pleasure to drink from start to finish, goes down very easy and smoothly. Wish it had a hint more bitterness, but flavor and aroma are dead on.

Overall an amazingly drinkable beer, one that I enjoy again and again. Literally, because you can actually buy this--any time you want as much as you want (well I saw somebody buy 10 cases the other day--I suppose you could want more...)

I must taste this head to head with PtE--have case will travel, need to hook up with BAs when The Elder is on tap.

12/22/11 edit:
Quoting from the can: "Drink this beer immediately, we are always making more."

This is a no b.s. warning to the wise. If you're drinking old Topper, you're not really drinking Topper. It changes character so much in just a few weeks, loses a lot of the raw-hop-cones-shoved-up-your-nostrils sensation.

Vinnie counsels regarding Pliny the Elder: "Drink fresh, do not age! Pliny the Elder is a historical figure, don't make the beer inside this bottle one ... Age your cheese, not your Pliny ... Pliny is for savoring, not for saving! ... Respect hops, consume fresh!"

This admonishment for Pliny the Elder applies likewise to Heady Topper.

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Photo of TaylorMade2014
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Is there really a perfect beer? Absolutely!! This was well worth the wait. I got my hands on 2 4-packs and opened one as soon as I got home.

Poured it into a tulip glass - Nice orange appearance with a firm, white head.

Smell was pure grapefruit, lemon and pine. Still don't understand why The Alchemist says to drink from the can? Why cheat ourselves out of the smell of this masterpiece?

The taste was equally full of citrus: grapefruit, pineapple, lemon zest and mango. Nice bitter end - awesome!

The mouthfeel was of medium body with a bit of carbonation. Smooth.

Drinkability? Hell yeah!! This is a MUST HAVE beer. Can't wait to open the next one, and the one after that...

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Photo of RAlmeida77
4.52/5  rDev -3%

Finally had a chance to get my hands on a can of HT. Poured into a glass, even though it says to drink from the can. The aroma of this beer is fantastic. Very floral and pleasant. First sip was no different. It's a very unique Imperial IPA. Not over bearing with the hops but you know they're there. Very smooth and easy to drink, which is dangerous for an Imperial IPA. I wish this stuff wasn't so hard to get because I'd have a fridge full of it right now. Easily one of the best beers I've ever had.

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Photo of TTAmod
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to the DreamWeaver. Word on the street is this can is approximately 3 weeks old. Not ideal, but I'm not complaining (too much.)

A: I'm drinking it from the can (like they suggest.) However, the can is pretty badass. I'll give it a 5.

S: Nice wave of citrus smelling hops are released upon popping the can. Bringing the can up to my nose gives me a really, really strong dose of ruby red grapefruit. It smells extremely sweet and citrusy. I also pick up a bit of alcohol and pine. Smell is pretty good, but not perfect. For comparison, Zombie Dust, in my opinion, has pretty much the perfect IPA smell.

T: Way more going on the nose will lead you to believe. Starts of slightly sweet. Melon and guava are fruits most present in the beginning. I get that ruby red grapefruit that was in the nose somewhere in the middle. It gets slightly piney and bitter toward the end with a distinct caramel taste. Slightly bitter and alcoholic on the way out.

M: The mouthfeel is pretty much perfect. Minimum carbonation. Unbelievably smooth. The body just seemlessly allows the waves of hop flavors to hit the palate unhindered. Alcohol isn't very noticeable in the taste, but it's very, very sneaky.

O: I've been blessed with amazing IPAs over the last couple of weeks (DirtWolf, Abrasive, this..) Is this the best beer in the world? Probably not. Is it the best DIPA? In my opinion...probably. What's great about this is that it's not a hop or IBU assault...the hop flavors are a bit more subdued than you'd believe, but that's a actually a good thing because it allows you to experience such a huge range of hop flavors. The malt base is really sweet, too. Normally, I like drier IPAs, but I don't seem to mind the sweetness here.

This is one of the few times that a beer has met the hype.

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Photo of peacemakers48
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

As close to a perfect beer as you can get. It lives up to the hype. You can drink it ice cold, even warm and it will still tastes great. The first thing I noticed was the excellent aroma. This is a really hoppy beer but not bitter at all. My favorite beer to date.

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Photo of HopHead_44
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Took ski trip this weekend to burlington area with a stop at the hunger mountain coop to grab a few cases to take back to new york. Hunger Mountain Coop is the place to go for Cases but generally sells out in a few hours so you have to time it right.

This Stuff is the real deal, believe the hype cause this stuff is awesome. So many complex flavors that roll through the entire palete from start to finish. This is one of my favorite beers right now with lawsons double sunshine right there. If you can get your hands on some you are a lucky person.

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Photo of imhoudinibitch
5/5  rDev +7.3%

I have only had this beer a handful of times.... ok, I lied, I've had it twice... This is a beer a plan my day around to drink because it is just that good and that rare I get to drink it, regardless of how hard I try to get it.
Every time I drink it though, I drink it straight from the can, because that's the right way to drink this beer "says the can", but next time I'll be sure to pour it into a glass.

The smell of this beer is of floral and citrussy hoppy goodness and the taste fills your entire palate and stays there for a good bit and sends you to heaven if not for a short while

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.63/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I had this at Revolution Kitchen, a primarily vegan restaurant in Burlington. I'd heard all the hype about Heady and was, to say the least, cynical. Well, put me down as a believer.

Kind of a hazy gold color. Nice white head, good deal of lace.

Mostly citrus aroma, but also pine and a bit of floral hops. Sweet malt.

Amazing taste. Grapefruit hits first, then the resiney pine, followed by a flowery taste. All this superimposed on a caramel malt background.

Hop-forward, but not aggressively so. Just a fun beer to drink.

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

Wow, what a beer.

Enjoyed straight from the few weeks old can.

This beer starts giving you feedback as soon as you crack the top. Just after breaking the seal, I was flooded with aromatic burst of pine and citrus. You barely have to get close just to get a waft of it's array of scents. A closer breathe yields some less-dominant floral notes as well. Great smell.

This first sip brings out an absolute wall of flavor. This beer doesn't wait on your taste buds to alert your brain that you're sipping something good. Right as it hits your tongue, you can taste grapefruit, citrus and a surprisingly strong malt backbone. Just as you start to really get that bitter flavor from the resin of the hops, the sweet, biscuit-like malt jumps in and makes the middle of the taste sublime. As the last of it falls off the back of your tongue the sweet and bitter flavors slowly fade in unison and there's a nice balance on the aftertaste. One that doesn't have you smacking your lips from the bitterness, but keeps you thirsty for another sip. On it's way down, I get a small hint of alcohol with the slightest metallic flavor that reminds you that you're drinking this from a can. The mouthfeel is slightly dense and a little frothy, but very typical of this style.

This is really a fantastic beer. It's by no means a hop-bomb, but has a very generous bill that's equally balanced by it's fantastic malt character. Since I can now say that I am lucky enough to have had both Pliny and Heady, I can say that they are similar but different. With Pliny, I get more pine and less grapefruit off of the head. The malt takes more of a secondary role and I get less resin from the hops throughout. With Heady, the malt is sweeter, and makes its presence known throughout as it dances with the bitterness. It's impossible to chose between the two, but they are obviously in a category of their own. Heady is a very well-balanced IPA with as much flavor-per-sip as you're going to get in the IPA category. Definitely lives up to the hype.

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Photo of Thomahs
4.42/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The legends are true. This is an especially tasty, and dense IPA.

Gobs of hops (grapefruit, orange, pine) burst out of the can upon the first sip. Drinking it from the can (as they keep demanding you do) adds to it's mystique. It causes you to focus entirely on taste and smell, and this beer does not let up.

What really impressed me is how the last sip hit me just as hard as the first. Usually with these really big double IPAs, my pallette gets overwhelmed about halfway through (I'm looking at you, Palate Wrecker), and I no longer really taste as much as I did at first. I did not have this sensation with Heady Topper. Its a very well balanced, complex, and huge, double IPA.

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Photo of gonzo000
4.46/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look - well, I drink this beer out of the can per the instructions - can is nice to look at, but going to give this the same as the overall score. Smell - Citrus (orange and grapefruit) - clean small. Taste seems to alternate between orange and grapefruit on the front. Malty finish as described.

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Photo of HoppyBastard2
2.56/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 1.75 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Murkiest beer I've ever poured. I can see why they want you to drink from the can.
Smells of a used dirty ashtray. Not pleasant.
Taste is on par with most mediocre DIPA's as well as mouthfeel.
So many amazing beers out there, no way this should be rated best beer.

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Photo of Boto
4.39/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

16oz. can! This one pours a cloudy darker golden color. There a few floaties in there. Small white head that doesn’t linger long but does leave some lacing. Big nose of hops, hops and more hops! Grapefruit is the main contributor. Maybe some pineapple, peach and orange in there too. Nothing else making past the hops. The taste is good. Not nearly as bitter as you think it might be. Nice rounded flavor, fairly bitter, but there is a touch of sweetness hiding in there. Grapefruit and pine hops, with a strong malt body behind it. I’d say it definitely lives up to the hype. Now to get some more...

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Photo of ramay729
4.58/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Was finally able to track down through a trade, can't wait to try it! Had first quarter in can to experience it and then poured into tulip to compare.

A: Nice pale yellow-orange color with thin lacing around edge of glass. Hardly any sediment out of the can.

S: Outstanding aroma of citrus and pine notes. Very pungent and one of the best aromas that I have ever experienced in a beer. Can gives much more citrus notes and is much better than pouring into glass. Had peach and pineapple in the can and more grapefruit in the glass.

T: Very strong American hop notes with strong pine and citrus notes. Very grassy and just a great hop experience. A little imbalanced but falls into the DIPA style

M: Nice mouthfeel with the strong malt backbone, perfect carbonation and a very dry finish.

O: Outstanding beer and I am so happy that I got my hands on a couple of cans. My favorite double IPA and one of my favorite beers. Will definitely enjoy my next one straight out of the can!

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Photo of Danny1217
4.74/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Well here it is. Heady Topper. Poured into a tulip glass (we are trying to culture the yeast, so no drinking out of the can.)

The appearance is surprisingly not that bad, with a careful pour. It's murky but doesn't look close to some of the pictures I have seen. Hazy orange with a bright white head.

The smell is incredible. Absolutely huge aroma on this one. Pine and a mix of citrus (grapefruit, orange, lemon.) Some tropical notes. Dank and herbal. Amazing.

Taste follows similarly. Big citrus and pine. Some bready malts backing up the huge hop flavor. Bitter, but with just a touch of sweetness to back it up, though overall a very dry beer.

Medium full body and perfect carbonation for style.

The aroma, flavor, and mouthfeel of this beer are so spot on. Really, this is the perfect double IPA, and one of the best beers I have ever had. I didn't want to buy into the hype, but it really is fantastic. I'll have to figure out how to get more of this one.

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Photo of Erik_Stewart
4.67/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

the best DIPA i have ever tasted. poured a little into a snifter glass to view appearance: very hazy almost imposable to see through. smells very dank. the mouthful is very heavy and filling. finish is perfect! if you can get your hands on this beer it is a must have!

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

Finally had the chance to try one while skiing at Sugarbush and I must say, it is worth the hype. That first sip speaks for itself. Hints of citrus with a smooth body that is not too overwhelmingly hoppy. The beer is surprisingly refreshing while retaining a nice hoppy taste and a strong full flavour. The perfect beer to have after skiing and I was very content having only one. The next day i had another one and the quality was equally impressive. A great beer to drink slowly and enjoy as each sip reveals a unique taste. Easily the best double IPA i have tried and one of the only beers where i can honestly say that less is more. Saviour it while you drink it and you will totally be impressed!

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Photo of lanciloti
4.88/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from the can into a Alchemist Heady Stemless glass. Saved the last few ounces in the can and wow it does taste great out of the can. Get a lot more citrus from it.

Appearance: Very hazy, can't even see a shadow threw this stuff. Golden orange color with a nice foamy / creamy head. Very bright white.

Smell: Piney, Grapefruit, Citrus with a little bit of a bread/biscuit malt.

Taste: Wow!. Exactly what I like. More hops than a bunny rabbit. Hides the alcohol well, and has enough bready malt to make it very smooth and easy to drink. Definitely taste the Citrus and has a nice bite. After taste stays around for at least 10 minutes.

Mouthfeel: Dry and creamy. A little bit chewy, but I like and expected that, as it is unfiltered and unpasteurized. Not too little and not too much carbonation.

Overall: Is this the best beer in the world? I don't know, I haven't tried them all. For me it surely lives up to the hype. For me personally, it is perfect. Has everything I'm looking for in an IPA. It is worth going after. I wouldn't go to crazy as it is just beer, but damn it is good. I will continue to trade for this when I can.

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Photo of surfcaster
4.68/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Gift from a fellow BA in NC

A: Enjoyed in a glass--hazy appearance with lots of sediment. Not pretty but knew that going in.

S: A grapefruit in a Christmas tree farm. Very pungent.

T: A powerful citrus and pine bomb. Don't taste tropical fruit flavors. Taste on the tip of the tongue is consistent with the smell from the glass and rewarding. Malts very subdued. No alcohol burn.

M: I found the mouthfeel about perfect--not syrupy in any way. Slightly on the drier side which is my preference.

O: Unique beer. Not blown away but certainly for something so hyped, not surprised. Rarely does something live up to that degree of buildup. I found it delicious and something I would like to get again. It is a world class IPA but scarcity lends a lot to the mystique. Worthy of the praise.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.66 out of 5 based on 12,898 ratings.
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