Heady Topper | The Alchemist

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BA SCORE
100
world-class
2,242 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:
2,242
Ratings:
12,623
Avg:
4.66
pDev:
16.74%
 
 
Wants:
9,054
Gots:
4,920
For Trade:
70
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,242 | Ratings: 12,623
Photo of weeare138
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appears a cloudy golden amber...looks unfiltered and super appealing with a frothy, bubbly 1 finger white head that lasts. Tons of huge, chunky bubbly lace...uhhhh, WOW.
Smell is of the hoppiest kind of orange citrus and grapefruit with pine sap.
Taste is of well blended hops with lots of resinous pine and sugar filled grapefruit saturating the palate.
Mouthfeel is well balanced kick ass malt rounding out the killer hops.
Drinkability...is this really 7.5%? Fuhget aboudit! This won't even feel like a 5%, it's so well hidden. I really wish I had gotten this on cask at the pub. Maybe next time.

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Photo of Arenbeer
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks a lot to baconsausage for sending me this great brew!

22oz bottle into a snifter glass

Bottled 11/30/2010 - Drank 12/12/2010

A- Pours a really strange murky orange with a real thin 1 finger white head that doesn't stick around any more than a rim around the glass. Decent lacing though.

S- Really nice strong floral and citrus hops that have a nice pine aroma to them as well. Hard to get a good feel for the malt presence due to the awesome hop amount but I'm gonna say slightly caramel and sweet. Definitely some fruitiness in there as well, more tropical oriented it seems.

T- Wow! Extremely well blended. First sip gave me a really strong floral pine bitterness up front from the hops but on the back of the tongue i was getting a nice sweet caramel malt flavor that brings it all together. I've never actually been able to taste both at the same time due to one being more over powering but these ingredients compliment each other so well. Some nice fruity citrus notes in there as well and the alcohol is pretty much non existent.

M- Medium bodied with moderate to low carbonation and a really nice strong bitter finish.

SkÅL!

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Photo of SeaOfShells
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

16 oz. can directly from the vessel to my mouth. I poured a fraction for appearance.

A: Golden honey color with a white head. Pretty typical for the style.

S: A remarkable achievement in the aroma department. This is the beer that I will use to judge all others on aroma. Pungent, stinging hops, with a balanced biscuity, bready backbone. Pure citrus hops, and dense pine. A pleasure for the senses.

T: You know, being from Southern CA, I see a lot of IPAs come and go. We have quite a few to chose from after all. Most don't live up to the hype, but a few do. This is one of those few. I haven't experienced grapefruit bitterness like this in a beer before. It's honestly like biting into a ripe grapefruit. I love my IPAs bold and pungent, and this delivers more than any other. A bitter assault.

M: Again, this is average for the style. Medium bodied and good carbonation helps to scrub the palate, but in the end, the hops win. Leaves a hop coating.

O: yeah, it's as good as they say, and maybe even better. And I still have a can left.

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Photo of FriedSlug
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Stunning beer. Cloudy pale gold with a nice white head and moderate sticky lacing. The nose is grapefruit and pine with a sweet aroma in the back. The taste is amazing. Medium body, sweetness, citrus fruit and bitter pine. Really great beer.

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Photo of jhavs
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Picked up case max last Tuesday while looking for Sip Of Sunshine. Great drinkability and balance. As I have heard, the flavor does change as you move through the layers. Hop flavor and bitterness come at you from all different angles.

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Photo of ChicagoJohn
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had on Tap at the Blind Tiger some months back... from notes

A- Cloudy orange appearance with some good head developed. Looks like grapefruit juice that has settled and is sitting out.

S- Tons of tropical fruit smells in the nose. This is a very good smelling DIPA.

T- Love the fact that there isn't too much of that caramel backbone in most DIPAs that I avoid and that the hops are in the forefront of the beer's taste. It's a tad bit unbalanced but I don't mind it if I'm drinking one can but I would have to stop after the 2nd can because the alcohol isn't completely hidden.

M- Heavy, almost syrupy beer. Love it.

O- This isn't the perfect beer to me. The only issue I have with it is the fact that I can taste the alcohol prominently due to the fact that they put in less malts to balance. It would have killed if it had no alcohol trace like the Pliny but at the same time the taste and nose blows virtually all other DIPAs. But it's still damn tasty but I will stop at only drinking one per session and then focus on a more balanced IPA or DIPA such as what Hill Farmstead occurs.

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Photo of Gavage
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: pours a hazy golden yellow color with a 1" head that falls to a thick surface covering. Mild lace develops during the session.

Smell: orange, grapefruit, lemon zest, fruit sweetness and some floral notes rise from the glass.

Taste: caramel, orange, grapefruit, lemon zest, pear, and a floral bitterness create a superbly balanced beer. Alcohol is not noticeable at all.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Crisp from start to finish, with a light dryness late.

Overall: took a while for me to get my hands on this, but it was really good and refreshing. Definitely a great beer.

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Photo of jrenihan
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to Papat444 for this one. Very excited to try it!

Beer is a very cloudy orange/yellow. Small white head, dissipates quite quickly.

Wow, the nose is huge and juicy. Mango, orange, pineapple. Pine as well. A real hop monster. Terrific scent.

Taste does not disappoint the lovely aroma. Pine is more upfront than in the nose, although the citrus and tropical fruit flavours are in full effect. The citrus comes out a bit more than the tropical, whereas I found the reverse in the nose. Grapefruit, orange, some pineapple. Aftertaste has lots of citrus and tropical fruit. Quite bitter. Very drinkable at 8%- the alcohol is there but not aggressively. Very, very good.

Medium bodied, moderately carbonated, oily. Really nice feel. Not overly heavy, goes down very smoothly, but still has a real heft to it.

Overall, truly terrific. Does not disappoint a bit. My wife tried it, her eyes went wide and she remarked "this is delicious!"... and she is not even much of a beer fan. That says it all to me.

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Photo of harperman69
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Special thanks to Andrew84 for this one

First gulps from the can an then poured into a standard pint glass.

Poured an opaque light golden with tons of bits floating all around, totally unexpected. Less than a finger head leaving light tracing as it was drank.

Smell was overpowering of grapefruit hoppiness with slight pine nose. Seriously could have smelled this all night, someone at Yankee Candle make this a fragrance!

Mouthfeel was slightly thick and resiney that perfect for the taste that was to follow.
Cannot believe how stinking good is. Grapefruit wallop with other citrus flavors following, most prominently orange. Solid malt backbone that stays out of the way but providing the necessary balance to make this every bit as deserving as its ranking.

Overall this is one of the best beers I've had. Pliny the Elder was somewhat of a disappointment to me so East Coast wins this round. IMO that doesn't happen often in the hop realm.

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Photo of Chuck1026
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is a great IPA for sure. Lots of pine and citrus up front. Smooth finish with nice balanced hops. Alcohol does get more pronounced after a few sips.

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Photo of WantonFaun
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Yup. The hype gets so intense that there is often a rogue wave of backlash to counter its momentum. It was in this mind frame of slightly lowered expectations that I had my first sip of this admittedly outstanding beverage.

It's not that the beer is intensely rich or bitter, but that its profile is one of the most layered I have ever tasted, especially in an IPA, a style which can often times seem very one dimensional, no matter how hoppy you may like it.

Appearance - Silver with black highlights. Beautifully shaped cans. ;)

Smell - Marijuana. No joke. Pineapple. Caramel. Pine. Flowers. Wow.

Taste - Soft bitter pine, malt, pineapple and a variety of consumable greens. Very consistent with the smell.

Mouthfeel - Creamiest IPA I've ever tasted. Chewy even.

Finish - Stays with you all day.

Overall - Yup. It's the best IPA I've ever had, knocking the citrus-heavy Lagunitas Sucks off of its perch. Having tried other great double IPA's like Triple Sunshine, Enjoy By, Focal Banger, The Crusher, Lunch, Abner, and Society & Solitude #4, I think I have enough comparison to justify my reaction.

Now time to hunt down those west coast IPA's ..

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Photo of Penguin3200
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Ashley for the trade again for some fresh heady. Poured from the can into a snifter, amber golden color with nice initial head that recedes quick with sticky lacing rim. Cloudy and chunky but so damn inviting. Nose is great with hops hops and floral aromas. Taste is the king on the heady. Explosion of hops and bitterness that is balanced on initial hit to the palate and then the hops and piney bitterness builds. The finish on this beer is amazing.

The balance factor is not quite up to the Pliny and abrasive level, but is definitely in my third favorite dipa.

Bill

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Photo of SDDLSK
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Don't want to be to technical with reviews so here goes MY take on this beer.

Look is really good, I like them clean, not into the cloudy/hazy stuff that seems the rage atm. Smell is what I expect from a hoppy beer. Good clean hop smell that is, not dank (not that dank is bad). Taste is pretty spot on too. Nice bite, but not to bitter that lingers on the tongue just long enough for you to want more Everything about this beer screams hops. This is, imho, a beer that deserves its standing as world class!! Thanks to my buddy that tossed me one of this after his trade!!

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Photo of Mikeypnh
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
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 Erockruns
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%

Not much more to say than what's been said. Stands tall in the world of DIPA's and is amazing on tap and excellent in the can. Not my favorite DIPA but in the top 10.

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Photo of Lucasballek
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This looked a bit more viscous than most IPA's. It smelled light, and refreshing, with the slightest amount of citrus, to intrigue. The taste was far more full than I had anticipated, with what seemed like many hop varieties joining together to make for a wonderful experience. The best part for me was the mouthfeel, as I think it had almost a nitro smoothness, as it was creamy and heavy. Overall, I wish I had more than three cans..!

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Photo of SlobGoblin1837
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A fresh specimen canned on Monday October 8. We quickly developed an intimate rapport with this beer.

A- A murky golden flow cascades from the can, creating a formidable head of about two fingers length. The lace clings to the glass like snow crystals upon a frosted window-foreboding and glorious.

S- We dip our noseys into the glass and are enveloped into a miasma of tropical fruit. The perfumed citrus beckons us onward. We heed its call and take our first sips of this delectable concoction.

T- A hoptastic journey, notes of citrus balance the hop sensations

M- A dense body caressed our cheeks and raised our spirits. The carbonation was sheer perfection.

O- Surely topped off my day!

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Photo of zander4dawin
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Murky golden beer with small head. Huge burst of hops flavors, lemon zest, pine in extreme amounts. Aggressive and yet highly drinkable. Lived up to the hype.

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Photo of Keyportnick
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

16 oz can of deliciousness served into a tall tulip.

A- pours golden pale with a lot of sediment floating around giving a very unfiltered look.

S- big huge hops orange and citrus floral notes.

T- the taste pairs right up to the nose.

M- medium body and carbonation. Very smooth week rounded body for such a big beer.

0- heady is a great offering. Big bold hops and great drinkability make this beer great. The only problem is never having enough of it!

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Photo of 4ster
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap in VT and from cans. Review from both glass (tulip/large wine glass) and also from the can. Was canned around 2nd week, December 2012.
As always, after 800+ reviews, I think everyone knows what to expect from this beer but just for reference here's my review. Thanks to papat444 for the 4 pack :D

(from glass)
A: Pours light straw colour, but extremely opaque, possibly do to hop resins. (if you pour out the end of the can into another glass it is even more cloudy.. with resin?)...not chunky at all, just a fine mist. Light bubbles and light head as well that doesn't build up too much but leaves a slight lace around the rim of the beer as it goes down.

S: Floral, more in the range of sweeter hop smells, some citrus fruit... I don't get as much pine/resin type of hop smell as with some out DIPA's/IIPA's. Otherwise just a lot of endless hops. When you stick you nose in the tulip you get hit with a wonderful green bouquet and know what you're in for!

T: As others noted, aromas lead right into flavours...more floral hops at the start, citrus, and what you don't get so much of in the nose, bitterness and resin, which comes out as it rushes to the back of your throat & explodes back into your mouth...superbly balanced compared to some other super hopped beers. Bitter enough to be a IIPA but not over the top... it just keeps going and because it is so well balanced you just want to keep going...where as some super hopped beers keep piling on the bitterness to where you can't taste anything afterwards for days... this one is like a clean slate each sip....and just a note, if you are savouring it, it will get more resin/bitterness as it warms but still no hint of malts really.

T / M: (from can): Almost like a nitrous injection of hops. As you drink from the can you get both the beer and the hop aromas at once, which is nice. Out of the can it seems to carry a bit more resins and more intense hops... you might also not get as much bitterness because you get a bit more carbonation on your tongue than from drinking out of the glass, so it is more sparkling and refreshing which makes the flavours jump around a little more, but does emphasis the hops for sure... overall it was interesting drinking out of the can.... not sure I'd say it tastes all that much different to be honest, (and I didn't do back to back in 1 shot), but it certainly doesn't diminish the quality of this beer. I'd say glass is probably fine, but you're good either way. Drinking out of the can might be a little closer to what you get on tap (minus the Guinness toys..) but again, didn't do that comparison either.

M: Pine resin stickiness...you'll be tasting this all night on your palette... incredibly balanced... like a hop oil slick, smooth upon entry and as it goes down, no hint of the ABV at all. Perfect amount of carbonation to keep it fresh but not attacking your tongue to distract.

O: What can I say that hasn't already been said before. Best IIPA ever? I haven't tried all the other ones. Best one I've tried so far? definitely. Drink-ability for this amount of hops is outstanding. Hard to get to all the hop flavours in such a complicated hopped beer, but that is ok, this isn't about sipping an Imperial Stout till you get to the bottom of the complexity.... the Alchemist set out to make a perfectly hoppy, drinkable IPA and have surely succeeded where many others fail. For a IIPA this is near perfection. I don't go back to a lot of beers but I would drink this often if I lived in VT...

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Photo of Huffs
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a pint glass and a nice fluffy head developed which lasted through the drink. Aroma was very hoppy with flower and citris notes. Appearance was a cloudy straw color with nice sediment chunks. Tast was super hoppy with strong flower and hop notes with grain on the back. Mouthfeel was light but with a hint of creamyness. Aftertaste was dry and bitter on the end.

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Photo of TomAllen
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Classic for a reason. Lots of fruit showing, and juicy mouthfeel. It is worth tracking this one down. Had it from the can, as advised to do. Slightly cloudy orangey color. Not quite as hoppy as Focal Banger.

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Photo of CloudStrife
4.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16oz can with sample poured into goblet. From the brewery.

A: Pours a very hazy orangish amber with a 1 finger white head. Quick to dissipate it is easily resurrected with a swirl. No lacing on the sides. A few bits of debris visible in the body.

S: Loads of citrus hops up front. Simply amazing. Grapefruit, orange and pine in there as well. Sweet fruit like malts become noticeable as it warms up.

T: First sip is a delicious blend of floral and citrus hops. Very clean hop flavor with mild malt in the background. Unlike other hop bombs its not as much of a slap in the face but a delicious blend of tasty hops.

M: Very easy drinking for something with so much hop taste. Nice nectar like quality, on the low end of carbonation. Doesnt leave a sticky film in your mouth either. The 8% alcohol is hardly noticeable. But hard to tip back a few in a row.

Overall I'd say this beer is worth the hype surrounding it. One of the easiest drinking and tastiest Double IPA's hands down. Still hoping some day I can get this locally.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I drank from the can so it's hard to judge appearance, but the can looks super sexy.

The nose is heavily fruity, but there's a piney quality to the hops too. A second whiff gives me some floral hints and.... more hops. What can I say? It's intensely hopped up, but it smells delicious.

Interesting. It's citrusy and grapefruit-like, but doesn't possess that dry bitterness that I usually find. There's still something fruity and berry-like going. Mid-palate there's a breakthrough of sweet, caramel-like malt, some breadiness, and more earthy hops. This provides an excellent balance.

Initially, the beer was drinking rather mellow-like, but with successive sips the intense bitterness overtakes my tongue. This thing is a beast. There's a good bit of carbonation and a medium-body that allow for some enjoyment before the brutally dry, long finish. I only get a hint of astringency on this towards the finish and that contributes to the dryness.

The fruitiness in this beer is what makes it most impressive. It's not excessively grapefruit heavy while still offering citrus and it's not overly piney either. It's deceivingly easy-to-drink and that would mean trouble if I had access to more.

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Photo of Ajs345
4.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Always been an IPA fan. Amazing taste till the last drop in the can. Some IPAs tend to be too hoppy or bitter, but this one has the perfect balance. Listen to the words on the can and drink it straight out of the can. Really seals in the flavor. Made my Christmas in Vermont with or without the snow.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 2,242 ratings.
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