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: 13,176
Photo of Amgarnier
4.81/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Served in the can for the smell and taste then poured rest in glass for appearance.

A: Hazzy dark straw almost orange. nice finger head that persists and a lacing on the glass.

S: Intense citrus fruit aroma Grapefruit, orange, and lemons lead to a biscuity malt backbone.

T: Grapefruit forward flavor not too grassy or resiny. A little creamy. Biscuity malt with some honey. The sweetness fades to a lingering bitterness. Finishes somewhat sweet.

M: Medium carbonation with a medium body.

O: Amazing beer well balanced bitterness with sweetness. I like how the hops are not too harsh or grassy it makes the beer very drinkable. It seems to finish sweet which helps offset the bitterness.

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Photo of HopBomb515
4.85/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A - beautiful bright light orange, cloudy, nice two finger white head and lacing all over on the drink down.

S - Citrus, grapefruit primarily, then some resinous piney notes and sweetness work their way in as well. Smells amazing!

T - Sweet malt is the backbone to big citrus flavor. Grapefruit dominates and the parts to reveal some tangerine, mango and lemon notes. Finishes dry, slightly bitter and piney. Layers of flavor, this is a complex IPA. Taste lingers on the tongue, the hop resins making themselves known.

M - Exactly what you'd expect. Medium toward full body and perfect carbonation. Coats the palate.

O - Amazing beer! This beer deserves the hype. Is it the best in the world? To me, yes, so far. Best execution of a popular style. I will grab it anytime I can.

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Photo of JohnParadee
4.84/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Finally made it to the Holy Grail. Gratefully, the experience took place in a true Mecca location...Prohibition Pig in Waterbury, Vermont -- appropriately, the very site of The Alchemist's original brewery (prior to Hurricane Irene). In any event, as my good friend Khalil Saliba and I saddled up to the bar here (on Tuesday night, 1/28/14) and nervously ordered the first Heady Topper of our lives, the excitement was noticeably palpable. Hell, I almost shit my pants when the lovely bartendress set the beautiful tulip glass down in front of me. Awesome 2-finger head, which dissipated very slowly. Beautiful, cloudy orange/amber color, with expected cloudiness. Tremendous sticky lacing throughout. The nose was an incredible citrus pine of grapefruit, with hints of orange/mango/tangerine, all of which was replicated on the palate. But perhaps the most remarkable aspect, and (I believe) the signature of the HT experience, was the stupendous balance between the citrusy hops and the chewy malts throughout, with no heat of alcohol evident whatsoever which, along with the lovely, full mouthfeel, makes this beer outrageously easy to drink.

All in all, an outer-body religious experience. If I could paint worth a damn, I'd cut my ear off for a cannot this Joe!

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

Can from Winooski.

A: N/A Tried it in a glass once. Way better from the can.

S: Citrus, citrus, citrus with hints of pine, grass, and all other sorts of hoppy goodness.

T: Bright and refreshing with loads of grapefruit and tropical fruit. Great intense bitterness, with little to no lingering astringency. Hops are all in the nose, with very little (relatively speaking) hanging around the back of your throat.

M: Delightfully full, but crisp not creamy.

O: Worth all the hype. I've tried plenty of tasty DIPAs but this is king. It's a truly impressive balancing act, getting all that flavor without compromising any other aspects of the beer. Awesome.

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Photo of BeerZombies1
4.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

American double/Imperial IPA
8% ABV
75 IBU

APPEARANCE: drink from the can like I was told right on the top!

AROMA: once I cracked the can I got my nose as close to in it as I could. Lots of hops, dark pine, more earthy and vegetal then the bright citrusy west coast ipa's I've been tasting.

TASTE: the hops for sure hit your mouth like a punch from Mike Tyson. Dank, grassy bitterness in there. Herbal spiciness, lite citrus and floral notes.

MOUTHFEEL: medium to heavy body, oily and slick that coats your mouth with a hop resin. Has a very creamy texture to it.

OVERALL: I do believe this is a great IPA and understand the hype behind it. For my palate personally I still put this right under Pliny the Elder.

RATING: 4.9/5 Zombie Heads!

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

This is the best DIPA I have ever had. Piney, grapefruit, citrus, sweet. All these flavors in perfect harmony. Some how there is a hop bitterness but also refreshing. There is just so much balance in this can. Nothing is overwhelming or outshining the overall balance of the beer.

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

I have been wanting to try this for quite a while now. So many people I know are always telling me this is the best. Well, I have to agree with them. As soon as I cracked the tab on the can the beautiful aroma overwhelmed me and the taste of this beer is so delicious and it is so smooth and citrusy....wow !!!! Definitely worth the wait and highly recommended for any IPA lover !!!!

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

Enjoyed 1/2 out of can and 1/2 out of ipa glass!

A: Heady pours an orange-ish gold color with about a one in. head.

S: The citrus and floral hops smacks you right in the face as soon as it is opened.

T: This brew taste amazing, it taste exactly like it smells with a great hops flavor. Not to over powering at all though. EXCELLENT!

M: the mouth-feel of this brew is great. It is very easy to consume with an almost creamy feel.

O: Heady is a perfect beer all around! Lives up to its hype and I cant wait to consume another! I would recommend this beer to any enthusiast!

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Photo of Mikeypnh
4.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Drinking straight from the can. Have poured it into a glass before, but definitely prefer the can. As soon as I crack it open you smell all the hops. Pine. Citrus. Big grapefruit aroma.I miss going to the brewery and smelling all the hops. Smells so fresh. A ton of hops on the flavor. All the stuff in the aroma comes through and coats the tongue with a wave of pine and citrus. So resonious. Nice carbonation, as well. Mouthfeel is where this beer shines. Such a great beer and absolutely worth seeking out.

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Photo of MS22
4.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Nothing out of the ordinary here. Heady is what everyone makes it out to be, the best DIPA around.

Drove ~600miles after they announced they were no longer selling out of the brewery for a couple cases. Worth the trip.

You get the chance to buy some do it. Just drink it ASAFP. After a couple weeks it does start to fall off and go towards the malty end. Honestly needs to be fresh inside 3 weeks to really enjoy it the way it were meant to be.

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

Poured about 3oz into a snifter for appearance and smell, taste, feel, and overall are from the can

Pours a very cloudy bright golden orange with a finger of foam, no transparency. Very mild carbonation, good lacing and retention. Pretty murky but not bad looking

Smell actually better out of the can. Very strong pine and grapefruit hops with undertones of floral orange and lemon. A very mild bready and semi sweet malt in the back with a touch of alcohol

Taste is with the nose- strong pine and grapefruit with a bouquet of floral citrus on the bottom of the hop profile. The malt is very sublet with a hint of caramel and just a little bit of sweetness. Again a splash of alcohol on the finish

Feel is a medium body with a dry finish. Pretty bitter, alcohol concealed well, high drinkability

Overall a really good beer. The number one all time? I disagree, definitely on the top tier though. That said I'm really looking forward to trading for some more in the future

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Photo of markgugs
4.91/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

trade extra from SloppyJoeWasAMan

poured, yes POURED from a 16oz. can into my NEBCO DIPA tulip

A: yes it's hazier than many, but that doesn't detract from its glorious sunburst amber/orange and beautifully-built pillowtop head. Can't wait to dive in (literally).

S: When you crack the can, a wonderful hop aroma bursts out of the can but then seems to go into hiding. However, halfway through the glass, when you can get your nose in there, all that delectable and enticing dankness surfaces, combined with a smorgasbord of tropical yet earthy hops. Boom.

T/M: OMFG. I've been a Pliny lover for many a year now, but I have to say, this beer is its equal in every way. The sheer intensity of the hop flavor is unparalleled in craft IMO. This is quite literally, hop juice. The biscuity malts don't even surface until the finish, when then extinguish the onslaught of hops and even everything out. Just intense. As far as feel, if an oiler, more resinous DIPA exists, I've not yet had it. This beer literally just coats your entire mouth. You'll taste Heady for days and days.

O: Unreal beer, truly world-class. Can't wait to take the pilgrimage to Northern Vermont and bring home a buttload of it. Drink this now!

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Photo of berkshire413
4.82/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

from the can, this beer is just incredible, what can be said that hasnt already been said. If you love hops jump right in and take a bath. great complexity pineapple up front, citrus galore, piney and juicy all they way through. every sip makes you think of something different, there is so much going on with this beer its impossible to capture in words or in one sip, so grab a few cases.

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Photo of DannyS
4.85/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Consumed right from the can, because The Alchemist told me to, and I'm not about to second guess that magnificent man.

A - ok ok, I poured a little bit into a taster glass. Came up bright hazy yellow with lots of particulate in it. This beer is rustic and untamed, and it shows. But I just put a 5 because how this looks is irrelevant. DRINK THIS FROM THE CAN, DANGIT!

S - imagine sticking your head into a refrigerated bucket of hop pellets and taking a deep whiff. Pretty much. Pine, grapefruit/citrus, malt sweetness, grass, mint

T - first taste is bracingly bitter and smacks you right in the face with its hops. Subsequent sips mellow out but still leave that lightly resinous aftertaste. It's like drinking straight hops.

M - First sips are bright, clean, and fizzy on the tongue, As you continue drinking, the now stirred-up hop particulate really begins to coat the mouth and significantly dry up the mouthfeel. Personally I don't mind it at all but some people might be turned off by the change halfway through. Expect this one to morph a bit as you're drinking.

Overall - I love this beer. Not just because it's a damned drinkable brew at 8% and a blast of hops with every sip. No no, I also love this beer for the values it represents. In this world of pasteurized brews that'll stay good for a long time and change little in the bottle, this is a meticulously crafted product designed to be the best at its youngest. Like Pliny the Elder, this demands vigilance in finding it and drinking it while the time is still right, rewarding one's diligence with an experience hopheads, and beer fans in general, would give their eye teeth for.

Keep this refrigerated. Treat it like a perishable product. Take a road trip to VT with friends and ravenously track this down. Just took my last sip of the can, and it's still a bitter, sweet, hoppy, resiny, beast of a brew. Is it my favorite beer I've ever had? I'm not entirely sure, but I can safely say this deserves BA's #1 spot on the rankings.

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Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
4.73/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Drank straight from the can.

Really lovely light hoppy citrus. Herbal grassy hop notes mixes in the light lemony citrus like a delicious lemon candy.

Taste is light in body but full of incredible hop notes. Real interplay between the herbal and citrus hops. Tangy and deliciously bitter.

Not sure if he date on this can, but it must be pretty fresh because it truly is heady topper in all its glory.

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Photo of stephens101
4.74/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

From notes 11.28.13:

I've always approached beers of this magnitude with a somewhat naive sense of awe, but not this time. Going at this one as "just a fucking beer".

Has one-finger of fluffy off-white that drops into a scattered lace in it's own good time. Color is an impenetrably cloudy orange.

Smells of oranges, bananas, grapefruit and resin. While not overly complex, all the components float in concert.

Tastes of deep grapefruit, taffy, and vanilla with a core of rind, resin and other light fruits. A bit spicy too.

Medium to heavy bodied with minimal alcohol heat. Smooth from beginning to end.

As with all great beer there's something intangible. This one has that esoteric element in spades. Is it the water, he terroir, or maybe even an unknown "magical" touch from the creator (brew-master that is)? Who knows? All I know is when all is said and done, this is not "just a fucking beer"

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Photo of Kramerbarthomer
4.64/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Received in a trade from Liquidswordz. Thanks!

A - Drank this one straight from the can, but poured out the last 4 oz. to see it. Golden-orange in color

S - Hops, hops, and more hops

T - Floral hoppy taste. Slight bitter finish

M - As good as it gets, perfect for a DIPA

I really enjoyed this beer. One of the better DIPAs I've had.

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

I can't say enough about this beer, I've been drinking it consistently for over a year now, I'm from Vermont so I grab a case every Monday. I never felt the need to review it until now. As I said, I drink Heady Topper quite a bit, but this last weekend, I had the pleasure to taste it against Lawson's Double Sunshine, Dogfish 75 Min IPA, Pliny the Elder, and Hill Farmstead's Abner, and for the first time since I've been drinking Heady Topper, it had competition. I love Harpoon IPA and drink it regularly, but after a Heady Topper it's tastes like Bud Light.

Though Heady Topper was still my top choice out of the beers I have to say the Lawson's Double Sunshine is a close second. (I didn't get to taste much of the Pliny)

Anyway, back on topic, the reason Heady Topper still topped the chart for me was the hop aroma, from the smell to the taste, you can tell the hops are perfectly balanced, and fresh. They're overpowering, and that's what I enjoy in a beer.

As far as appearance, the beer is beautiful, a yellow-orange, with an amazing head, almost a perfect sight.

Smell - Unreal, from the moment you pop that can, it fills your nose with hops, try popping it and catching that first burst of air thrown from the can - there's nothing like it.

Obviously the taste is perfect, it's intense from the first sip to the last, whether the beer is a few hours old to 6 months, sure the flavor changes a lot in between then, but either way you have it, you'll enjoy it.

It's a semi-heavy drinker, it coats your mouth with fresh hops. Amazing.

Overall it's still my single favorite beer, I'd like to give it another shot against Pliny the elder, and def. against the Younger, but being from Vermont, you can't complain when you only get just a sip of the Pliny's.

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Photo of mitch3114
4.73/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

16 oz. aluminum can with two pours into a snifter glass

A- This beer pours a cloudy, hazy golden color slightly tinged with amber, but still very much light for an IPA- an Imperial IPA at that. It looks more like a Hefeweizen. A nice, slightly uneven inch and a half head that lasted about two minutes before settling down to an eighth of an inch. Nice fluffy lace coatings slide down the snifter with every movement

S- Remarkably the aromas of this bold flavored ale don't stand out as much as the taste. It smells like a well balanced IPA. Some floral hop aromas, grapefruit, The scent although not complex does smell very fresh and very good

T- I can see why this has such a following. It is like drinking liquid hops of the most delicious and highest quality. These hops are very tasty and pungent in a good way. This is a bitter DIPA. But it's also a sweet DIPA. Other than the POW! of the hops, the beer is actually very well balanced.

M- The mouthfeel is just spot on. It is smooth and creamy, yet refreshing and drinkable with just the right amount of carbonation.

O- Overall, I can see why there is so much hype with this beer although I think a huge part of it is that it's only distributed in just a couple of towns in the state of Vermont. I will say it's one of the best DIPAs I have tasted, although fresh from the tap Enjoy By is right up there too. My buddy got me a four pack of this for my birthday and I am very grateful. It's a great beer to drink on a summer night and the 16 oz. serving just enough. A little more than your typical 12 oz. home serving, but much easier to finish than a 22 oz. bomber. I don't know about the hype, but I would say the ratings are pretty accurate. This is a legendary brew to say the least!

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

I was concerned that this would under deliver. Gladly it truly lives up to the hype. Beautiful pour. I split this pour into a sampling glass from the Garden State BrewFest and straight from the can, as suggested. Loved it all the way through. This improved with every sip. The last sip was the best as all the goodness remaining at the bottom of the can and mixes with each tip of the can.

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

A- Breaking their #1 rule, I sometimes pour this into a glass. (Alchemist prints "Drink from the Can" on the outside of every can) Its too good not to experience the site of it in a glass!
Pours a golden yellow / orange, very hazy. 1 finger of off white head that doesnt stay around long. Be careful not to pour the entire can! Here I do follow their directions, otherwise you discover the particles and hop resin, hey, its unfiltered. (Can't taste)

S- Dank Pine needles, pineapple and orange jump out of the can and fills the nares. A delight to just sniff for a bit.

T- Once again DANKNESS, some grassy bitterness, orange, pineapple, and slight bitterness hangs around for a long time. Some floral notes here all rolled up into one great package

M- Medium, carbonated, well balanced perfection.

O- The best beer I have ever had. Lives up to the hype. Its IPA perfection for me. If there was anything negative or constructive critisism I could offer is that this may not be an every day beer for some because it is someone heavy, calorie dense, and comes in 16 ounce cans. 2 of these may make you feel full and bloated. Besides, this shouldnt be looked at as an every day beer. It's a spectacular beer made to be slowly sipped and enjoyed once or twice a week max, IMHO. Cheers.

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Photo of trojanshawn
4.84/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I've been lucky enough to grab a can of Heady Topper through a friend who did a trade for it, otherwise I wouldn't have had the sheer pleasure of tasting this beauty. Living near the "Hop Highway", I'm used to good IPAs near me. Put this one up there with Pliny and Enjoy By, which are the best IPAs that I can easily get.

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

I've tasted a fair amount of beer to this point in my life. This beer is by far the best beer I've had the privilege to enjoy. It has a very hoppy aroma, so strong in fact you can smell it in your car with the windows rolled up as you're arriving to the brewery in Waterbury, VT. It has a fantastic hoppy flavor as well.

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Photo of PaulyB83
4.85/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured from a can into a pint glass. Trader told me this is about 6 weeks old so not the freshest but I'm not as worried about canned IPAs as far as age goes, as long as it's not super crazy old.

A- Pours a muddy hazy golden rod color, looks like a shade of preserved lemon. A medium white head that dissipated to a thin film. Pretty hazy but can still see the shadow of my finger through the glass. The second pour from the can is very hazy and has some particles.

S- As soon as I cracked the can a way of hops fills the air. It is a hop dream. Sweet, lots of pineapple and citrus. Dank pine and a mellow bitter nostril burn. All the aromas are the biggest I've experienced in a beer.

T- HUGE HOPS, sweet, dank, long mellow bitterness, pineapple, orange, light malt on the aftertaste, the hop resins stay on your tongue for a long time. 2 hours after drinking this and I could still taste the hops.

M- Easy drinking all while having a full mouthfeel that is not too thick not to thin.

O- This beer definitely lives up to the hype in my opinion. Hops to the max. They must have a huge late addition of hops in this beer. Seems like definitely some Simcoe and Amarillo in here. This is how I like my IPAs, dank, slightly sweet, fruity and mellow long bitterness. A benchmark beer for sure. Congrats to The Alchemist for having the balls to make such a huge hop aroma and flavored beer.

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

Served from can (duh) into a belgian glass.

Appearance is murky apricot orange with big and bountiful light cream colored head. Hazy as can be for an IPA. Massive lacing, more so than any other Double IPA I can remember.

Aroma is huge orange, pineapple, pink grapefruit, pine, parsley, and star fruit. Smells very west coast with really no malts showing up.

Taste blows up with straight hop character. Big bitterness followed by a dry herbal finish. Tons of orange peel throughout with piney highlights. Little to no dank character. Almost all citrus and pine. It goes where many fail to go though, to that point of huge bitterness that actually has complexity and balance that keeps you coming back for more. Grapefruit for days in this.

Mouthfeel is heavier side of light or maybe lighter side of medium? Definitely crisp and gives the impression of being lower in abv.

Overall, this is classic. Full of fresh hop character and a masterpiece among many brewed in the same style. Doesn't break ground in any new way but just shows what something masterfully brewed tastes like. Deserves to be in the same sentence as that which contains other world class double IPA's, but to me falls short to the likes of Kern Rivers Citra, Lawson's Double Sunshine, and the stellar Alpine Bad Boy.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.65 out of 5 based on 13,176 ratings.
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