Heady Topper | The Alchemist

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BA SCORE
100
world-class
2,243 Reviews
Heady TopperHeady Topper
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
The Alchemist
Vermont, United States | website

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:
2,243
Ratings:
12,627
Avg:
4.66
pDev:
16.74%
 
 
Wants:
9,057
Gots:
4,924
For Trade:
68
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,243 | Ratings: 12,627
Photo of Lkell30
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a useless review, I'm no critic but I love heady topper. Got a case the last canning day at their current location. No refined palate here, but I appreciate great beer and I consider ht a leader of the pack. I love the can, I prefer drinking out of a can across the board, and I am no stranger to Budweiser or miller lite. To me all these beers have a place, but as far as double IPA's go, this is my favorite so far.

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Photo of dobmaster
4.91/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Firts time i stop at the alchemist (driving from Ottawa Canada to Cape-Cod) they were out... i was mad. On the way home...they were still out of beer. I was really mad. The free samples were nice...but its more like torture.

Then last week i manage to take a trip down Vermont, Skip the monday craziness lines.
Whent back on thuesday...waited maybe a hour in line. Now im happy :)

This is a great beer! not a big crazy hop megabomb ( i REALY like hop megabomb) but its a very very good beer. Sooo easy to drink, you just want more more and more...Now i actualy think its a good thing that its hard to find and 4 hour drive from my place coz if i ad easy access to this beer ? it could become a problem lol

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Photo of T-34-85
4.91/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Stopped by the brewery as part of a tour around New England, having an onsite sample and picking up a case of cans.

Poured into a balloon glass (tried from can as well):

A: Orange and cloudy with a nice foamy head.

S: Intense and complex hop aroma with citrus and pine notes.

T: Hop bitterness with surprising level of sweetness.

M: Intense mouthfeel that really attacks the tongue.

Overall: Intense beer that leaves you hard pressed to have another right away. Great hop aroma and intense flavor. Worth the effort to get your hands on this beer. Amazing Double IPA.

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Photo of 11JON11MO
4.89/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

OK we made the pilgrimage from the Capital District in NY to Vermont. The Alchemist will not be open to the public past 11/15/13 while they look for another place to open up. Yep it was worth the trip.
A - If you are looking for clear then look for a filtered beer. This is and was meant to be unfiltered. Nicely done
S - Pine, Grapefruit, Citrus very nice smell.
T - Again the Hops shines and the pine, grapefruit taste comes out.
M - Very nice not too much alcohol.
O - very nice almost perfection.

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Photo of xVERITAS
4.66/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The OG of the DIPA world. Had 1 from the can and 1 from a glass.

Pours a murky, shiny orange color. Smells very citrusy and piney. The bitterness is extraordinary. Has a thickness to it that makes it unique but not strange. Easy drinking, making it hard not to just chug it after a long day. Lives up to the hype for sure, and would highly recommend it

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Photo of plaid75
4.64/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured a hazy bronze hue with a two finger frothy white head. There was excellent retention and excellent lacing.

The smell featured waves of balmy pine, grapefruit and pineapple.

The taste was nothing short of a hop laden punch in the mouth. Puckering pine and grapefruit assault the palate initially, with a secondary and somewhat soothing tropical fruit and grainy malt.

The mouthfeel was full and round with a drying bitterness.

An extraordinarily complex use of hop additions makes this one a world class experience. Believe the hype.

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Photo of Scipio
4.89/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Heady Topper from The Alchemist is the counter-point to Pliny the Elder. It's brash, fun, and overpowering. This is not a subtle beer. Truth be told, I'm not sure I've had enough of it to rate it.

But every time I crack one, I am reminded that God loves us and wants us to be happy, whether we're up to our assholes in alligators, or sitting on the back porch watching the dogs play. I may prefer Pliny, but I can't shake the feeling that Heady Topper is better. It's hard to admit your favorite ain't the best.

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

Acquired in a trade from member on HBT Forum.

Appearance - Drank from can so nothing to report here.
Smell - Opened the can and was immediately hit by waves of grapefruit, peach, pine, lemon, and flowers. Aroma continued throughout the entire can.
Taste - Huge hop presence upfront that is balanced very well by the sweet flavors contributed from the tropical hops. No harsh or lingering bitterness to speak of. Get tastes of orange, grapefruit, lemon, peach, pine, mango.
Mouthfeel - Smooth bitterness with a soft carbonation on the tongue. Dry finish with a medium body that makes you instantly want to go back for more.
Overall - This a wonderful beer that is deceivingly strong as you get no sense of any alcohol in it. The amazing aroma paired with the fantastic tropical and piney flavors makes any hophead rejoice. I normally pour every beer into a glass to consume butnI chose to follow the instructions on the can and I do think it makes for a more enjoyable drinking experience. I will try pouring the next one into a glass to compare. Regardless, this beer has set a new bar for all IPAs moving forward. Well done!

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Photo of TheCuriograph
4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This review is based on a couple Headys I've have over the last week (following a great trip with the girl up to northern Vermont). Drank one from the can, another from a snifter.

A - I can see why Alchemist encourages you to drink from the can. Heady pours a muddy amber, not the least bit of clarity, with a surprisingly robust fizzy head. The odd yeast floaty is visible. Resembles White Oak Jai Alia or Burton Baton, or some other barrel-aged IPA.

S - Now the substantive argument for drinking out of the can. Crap the top and you're smacked with a barrage of grand aromas: pine needle, passion fruit, tangerine and doughy malting. What's amazing is how each note is distinct and sharp. Really assured. Poured in a snifter, the nose dissipates quite a bit.

T - Heady is more salad than stew. The IPA flavors are bright and they don't so much meld as dance off each other. The grass, grapefruit, and lemon flavors are held together, it seems, from Alchemist's proprietary yeast and the slight malt back. Sweet and earthy, tart and succulent.

M - Dances that fine line between substantial and refreshing. This is a deviously drinkable IIPA.

Massively tasty IPA. I can simultaneously understand the fanaticism surrounding it and am perplexed that people speak of it as a total mold-breaker. What it is is incredibly well-made. Perhaps I'm being harder on it because of the hype, but Heady hasn't ruined all other IPAs for me. That said, pretty psyched to have a case of it.

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Photo of MattyBones
4.94/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The legendary Heady Topper! I was able to get my hands on this quite a few times at a local bar that was selling them in NYC. After having Pliny I was most definitely curious to see how heady ranked next to it. So....

Appearance: I chose to ignore the label and drink it out of a glass rather than the can. It pored an extremely cloudy golden color. The color and head it pored with made it extremely appealing, but it lost points to me as all the sediment floating around definitely takes away from it.

Smell: HOP BOMB loaded with citrus. Very strong nose which lead me to believe that my palate would soon be demolished. Beautifully potent smell.

Taste: An absolute explosion of flavors. Hops attack loaded with tangerine, grapefruit, a slight hint of pine. This is what I love about DIPA. The alcohol is almost non-existent which is extremely dangerous for something that tastes this good.

Mouthfeel: stick yet very smooth. Doesn't wreck the palate like I thought it would as it goes down 100% clean making me want more and more.

Overall: Couldn't be more pleased with this beer. Definitely wish it was more readily available, but there is something cool about seeking it out and getting it on rare occasion. Like finding the holy grail. Is this better than Pliny? In my opinion, I remember enjoying Pliny a tad bit more, but would love to get a hold of each to do a side by side comparison.

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

Served from the can approximately one week after the canning date. The beer was kept cold from the initial purchase. The smell when you first crack the can is one of the best smells I've experienced while enjoying beers. The perfect balance of hops hits your palate with perfect balance. When poured from the can, the color is slightly hazy and beautiful. Overall one of the best beers I've had the pleasure of having.

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Photo of ArsMoriendiOU818
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I retried this beer this past weekend at The Reservoir in Waterbury, VT. Drank straight from the can. I still consider it the king of DIPA's. How this beer is so crushable yet 8% ABV is beyond me. Time always makes me forget. I'll try a Trillium or a Tree House here and there and think, is Heady really still #1? Every time I retry it I re-affirm "yes. Yes it is."

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Photo of JamieDuncan
4.6/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Christmas Heady muled down from Vermont by my sister in law. Broke rule number one and poured it into a glass. Outstanding looking beer, not that clear watery look that many have, looks full and rich, orangish color, impressive head that stuck around and lacing was ideal. I know I am supposed to drink it from the can but it is a great looking beer. The smell is unreal, the citrus really jumps out at you. The flavor follows and is also incredible, the juicy citrus jumps out at you, real smooth except for the bitter. May be just a bit to much for me (not a hop head). Plus, the bitterness lingers on the back of the tongue. Rich, full texture with great carbonation, the perfect amount. I did not notice any alcohol, it was an extremely easy to drink beer with the exception of the lingering bitterness. Not the top for me but I completely understand why the hop heads love it.

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Photo of sommersb
4.91/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Tasted On: 11-01-2013
Freshness: Canned on 10-29-2013
Packaging: 16 oz. can
Glassware: Tulip
Purchased: Sample brought from the Alchemist brewer

I shared a can of this during the Music City Brew Off where John Kimmich was the featured speaker.

The beer is a murky honey-colored affair, with a rich head and lacing. The aromas are delightful with tons of hop character but also a big malty presence. The hop smells are tropical fruits primarily, with also pine and citrus notes.

The taste is hop-forward as you'd expect, with a big juicy bitterness made up of grapefruit, mango and other tropical fruits. But this isn't a one-trick pony that just kills you with hops -- it's a complex and well-rounded beer despite focusing on the hops. The feel is creamy with a thick and chewy body.

The tasting we had left me wanting more of this world class double IPA!

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Photo of Danismaximus
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Wow. An outstanding beer. This really lived up to the hype (which is really saying something). I felt like I could truly taste the varietals of hops and it was magnificent. I am sold on this beer. One of the best I've had. My favorite part about this is that it says in the can to drink this straight from the can! This place is progressive and has fully embraced the superioriority of the can to the bottle.

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Photo of gbgreg1
4.91/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a great beer to pick apart.

When the beer hits your mouth you easily taste the malt and body of the beer. It is very full and has a silky feeling. After that's is a beautiful aroma of citrus and grapefruit. The hops are very distinct.

It was a great experience having this beer!

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

Appearance - They say to drink it from the can, so that's what I did. Living fairly close by (in NH) I've had more than my fair share of Heady, and a few times I've shared it with friends that have poured it out. I've not seen the extreme cloudiness on these occasions, but you can definitely tell it is unfiltered.

Smell - Perhaps the best thing about this beer, once you pop open the can you get a big whiff of incredible hop aroma's. Citrus, big and bold. I like to take a little time to take it all in before I even start drinking.

Taste - Talk about balance! Many IIPA's try to bludgeon you over the head with hops or over the top IBUs, this gives you a full palate of hop flavor that isn't off putting. Not super bitter, lots of citrus hop notes, with some lingering pine afterwards.

Mouthfeel - Just right, not overly carbed.

Overall - I had heard lots about Heady before trying it, and I have to say I was expecting to be let down (as the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is). In this case the legends held true for me. An IIPA like no-other, the perfect balance of all things hoppy.

As a side note I was able to try Heady alongside Pliny, and have to say they both hold up incredibly well. Totally different beers that shine in different ways. Certain palates may prefer one over the other, but side by side you can really appreciate the different directions they take the IIPA style.

Serving type: Can.

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Photo of shadetree67
4.98/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Many thanks to shawnp for hooking me up with this one.

Appearance - A very cloudy straw colored beer. The cloudy appearance is expected as this is an unfiltered beer.

Smell - Hops, not much in the way of malts. Like citrus and grapefruits - smells fresh.

Taste - A perfect level of hops and the taste is similar to the smell - citrus and grapefruit. It is more sweet than bitter. Sometimes IIPAs can be overwhelming, but this is a very well balanced example of the style.

Mouthfeel - Medium amount of carbonation and it goes down smooth

Overall - This one lives up to the hype. It is very well balanced and quite drinkable. Would love to try it side by side with pliny and abrasive

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Photo of Guess2814
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I FINALLY went to Vermont and I got the Heady Topper! I felt like a little kid once it was in my hands. This beer is the best thing since slice bread.. If you haven't had the Heady Topper find a way to get this beer in your hands...I went on Saturday October 26. They were sold out of the cans.. The lady who was handing out the samples told me on Monday they will have more for sale.. Once I walked in to the brewery on that Monday... Wowww!! You can smell the hops once you walk in.. The machines were cranking! Bottles we're being filled and my smile grew. I bought myself two 4 packs.. I'm happy with what I bought BUT something is telling me I'm going to have to drive from Boston back to VT - this time I'm grabbing a case.

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Photo of drmcleod10
4.82/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Heady Topper is at the top of most DIPA lovers lists or beer aficionados lists and for good reason.

A - Poured half into a snifter and left the other half in a can each of the four times I drank this to compare. Beautiful bright sunshine orange with pale highlights and a half inch creamy foam head.

S - smell is by far the best smelling IPA i have had a chance to try. Fresh fruits, grapefruits, flowers, pine. Not to overpowering hoppy smell.

T- My favorite DIPA to date as it taste like it smells. THe balance between the fruit and the hops is perfect.

M - Overall amazing mouthfeel. THe alcohol is hidden perfectly within this monster.

O - Found a reliable source in Vermont to pick these up for me and will be buying more when the time arises. Now that it's getting colder its time to stick to the world class stouts! This is the cream of the crop of DIPAs!

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Photo of gillagorilla
4.49/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A regular at Max's brought in a can each day of Max's Hopfest (from notes, 8/16-18/13)

A: Cloudy golden blonde.

S: Sweet, citrus and floral.

T: Strong flavor. As unique as it smells. Even and nuanced. Flavorful. Lots of freshly mown grass and pine with malt sweetness. Big aftertaste.

M: Crispy and prickly and coarse. Nice mouthfeel. Smooth at the end.

O: One of the IPAs that tastes as good as it smells. I think a key component of any great beer, especially IPAs is the mouthfeel/carbonation/body and this one is great for conveying the flavors here.

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Photo of TheBiercast
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Mysterious. No, I’m not trying to be cheesy. We drank it straight from the can, as suggested. Could see a little bit of golden liquid on the rim of the can as I drank it.
(Andrew did later pour one into a pint glass to solve the mystery. It is a very cloudy, deep golden yellow. There. Mystery solved, but this beer is obviously not about how pretty it looks.)

Smell: From the little punch top opening, upon popping, fragrant floral and slight citrus notes filled my immediate plane of smell-o-vision. It was very strong and helped make sense in why The Alchemist doesn’t want you to pour from the can to help contain those beautiful esters for the flavor you’re about to consume.

Taste: Upon the first sip, my very first reaction was that this beer is not intentionally wrecking my taste buds like a Bell’s Hopslam. This is what I thought I was getting into and was slightly disappointed until the hops slowly creeped in and engulfed my entire sense of taste. Heady Topper is every bit of hoppy as Hopslam, but nowhere near as harsh making this extremely drinkable and enjoyable to the novice IPA drinker. As the nose suggests, there are tons of floral notes, and as the more a drink it, there are a lot of citrus notes, but they are not bright. The citrus comes from more of the oil from an orange rind to add slight sweetness and mellow out the big floral notes. As it warms up, I started noticing some honey sweetness, so you have that to look forward to as well.

Mouthfeel: This is the best part! It’s so smooth for how intensely hopped it is! It’s creamy, but it is not to the point that it’s dictating how fast you can enjoyably drink this beer. It’s so enjoyable for a hoppy, relatively higher ABV (8.0%) beer that I was quoted saying, “I could drink this on a hot, summer day after mowing the lawn.”

Overall: Overall, I’d say this might be my favorite IPA, in general. For how balanced it is, I could always enjoy one. This is not to say that if I had to choose, there would be times that I would much rather have a more harshly bitter beer as a Bell’s Hopslam or a Founder’s Double Trouble. It really comes down to how something can be so hoppy and so drinkable at the same time. Just remember, drink it from the can. It’s worth it.

I’ll give Heady Topper a 4.8 on the ol’ trusty 5.0 scale.
Cheers!

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Photo of Hophead21
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Absolute perfection in a can. Strong grapefruit aroma, and taste does not deviate from the scent. Mouthful loaded with grapefruit and sweet hop goodness, with a smooth finish. Beer actually gets better with each passing sip and is extremely drinkable. Straight from the can is the way to go as instructed .

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.52/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Trade from A generous trader. Thanks man!!!! Can poured to tulip so I can see it. Some sediment. This isn't super pretty, but the beautiful creaminess of the head brings the appearance up a bit, otherwise not a good look. Will go from can next time. Pours a hazy light golden copper color with just under one finger head. Big floral pineapple and grapefruit aromas, sweetness, mango. Yum. Flavor is heavier on the bitter pine up front, some earthy dirt (in a good way), with some beautiful tropical fruit lingering on the palate, and a pretty dry finish. Almost a creamy feel as I get through this. This highlights the tropical hops for sure. Slick mouthfeel but plenty of carbonation to lighten things up. Is this am excellent DIPA? Yes. Did it live up to the hype for me? Probably not. But very nice in a very different way from some other in the style. Would still likely go for Dreadnaught, Hopslam, Pliny, and Enjoy By before this one. But that's pretty good company. I will revisit tomorrow with a fresh palate to make sure, and try out of a can.

Have had a couple of disappointing cans of this recently and hoping it's not a trend in the wrong direction. Knocking the rating a bit for now, but will be in Vermont in June and perhaps some fresh from the tap experiments will lead to another readjustment.

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Photo of Cavanaghty
4.93/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served on tap in a Tulip Glass at the brewery as a sample.

Appearance: Hazy amber color with a thick white head. Heavy lacing on the glass.

Smell: Hops and citrus were strong but not unpleasent. Very floral characteristics.

Mouthfeel/Taste: Smooth medium bodied. Taste was complex, bitter all around but a good sweetness to balance it out. Pine and citrus were the dominate flavors.

Overall: This beer certainly lived up to it's reputation. It was a complex beer and the taste got better with every sip. Very hard to get, if you want to get it be at the brewery just as it opens otherwise it sells out almost instantly.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 2,243 ratings.
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