Heady Topper | The Alchemist

BA SCORE
100
world-class
2,339 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:
2,339
Ratings:
13,177
Avg:
4.65
pDev:
7.1%
 
 
Wants:
9,171
Gots:
5,439
For Trade:
69
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,339 | Ratings: 13,177
Photo of cjgator3
4.69/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Heady Topper is absolutely lives up to the hype is is one of the world class IPAs without question. Fresh resinous hops with tons of flavor. What is not to love. Cheers!

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Photo of morimech
4.69/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Very hazy amber color, dirty juice look with a lot of particulate, with just over one finger of head that had excellant retention. The head eventually settles to a thick cap. Surprising lack of lacing is left down the glass. The beer is nothing great to look at.

All hop aroma with mostly tropical fruit and citrus smells. It is a very good hop aroma, but not the best of the style.

Not the best aroma but it is the best tasting DIPA I have had. It is bitter but not brutal. Hop dominant but malt does add some sweetness and flavor. Alcohol is warming but is not too hot or distract from the hop goodness. This goodness comes in the way of tropical fruit, citrus, and herbal flavors.

Wonderful texture thanks to a solid body and perfectly matched carbonation. It is lively but not harsh and far from dull.

Arguebly the best DIPA out right now. Even if I had ready access to this beer I am not sure I would want to drink more than one can at a sitting. But I would love to have more than one can a year of this great beer.

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Photo of TheSleepyMonkey
4.69/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Lives up to the hype. Great dipa. Hazy golden. 2 fingers of head, lacing sticks forever. Spicy fruit, loads of hops. It's a world class beer. Glad to have tried it

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Photo of jsanford
4.69/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to THE CPJ for the beauty, been wanting to try it for some time. Drank from the can as instructed, except for a tiny 2oz pour to grade appearance.

A - Pours a hazy golden-amber with a creamy white head that settles to a slight haze and ring.
S - Oh boy. This is right up my IPA alley. Fresh hop aromas of grapefruit, pine resin, mango, and peach with a very subtle malt backbone.
T - Similar to the nose, lots of fresh pine resin, grapefruit peel, and tropical fruit flavors with a light malt profile. Excellently bitter finish, with just a little bit of heat from the 8%.
M - Smooth and crisp, with a touch-over-medium body and good carbonation. You can really feel the hop oils.
O - A superb DIPA, almost exactly what I look for in the style. Insanely drinkable, this would get dangerous if I had regular access to it!

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Photo of ne0m00re
4.69/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

10/19/11- Review of a 16oz can marked 10720A2BB.
A: Hazy amber orange, steady cream head with decent lacing.
S: Great hops character! Love that earthy-grapefruit-fresh-hops-cones smell! Behind is pineapple and caramel sweetness with tropical punch type backbone.
T: No surprises here, it tastes like the aroma with a gin earthy pine finish... creamy with a rustic hops tea character.
M: Medium body, creamy near-froth, ends crisp like refreshing juice.
O: A new bar has been set for DIPAs.

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Photo of RyanCave
4.69/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a tulip

Appearance: Pours beautiful pale with a red/orange hue. In my opinion the best color for an IPA, the word majestic comes to mind..

Smell: As soon as I cracked it open it was like some smacked me in the face with a pine tree. Incredible amounts of pine. Reminded me of sitting in the forest.

Taste: lots of pine, not too bitter, balanced well in my opinion. Starts piney sweet with some orange with a small bitter aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Nothing remarkable, what you'd expect from an Imperial IPA

Overall: This is probably one of the best DIPA's I've had, perfectly balanced, and a beautiful experience. I'm in the process of securing a case from a friend of mine now.

Thanks to SammyJaxxxx for hooking me up, you're the man!

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Photo of meson13
4.69/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Firsttime reviewing heady! its more of a stupid list of simple opinions/ facts, cause like, its all been said. Here we go...

L- Heady is gorgeous!
S- Heady smells bomb!
T- Heady is delicious!
F-Heady invented cream!
O- Heady is the tits!

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Photo of TheBrewo
4.69/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

We visited The Alchemist's cannery today, and the pair we are cracking for this review were canned today. We will obey the demands from the can and drink straight from the vessel, but we first decant off an ounce or so to assess its appearance. The brew shows a hazy straw coloring, putting up a quick one finger head of lemon meringue colored foam, showing variability of bubble size, and nice retention. Lacing is tight and ridged, snaking the circumference of the glass. Haze is thick, but no outright sediment is noted. Carbonation appears to be moderate. The aroma is pungent, even from the hole in the can, giving fresh pineapple, white grape, apricot tang, fresh earthiness of clayed dirt, raw honey, clover flower, wet moss, cucumber skins, soft plastic bite, and distant farmhouse muskiness. These blend atop a solid base of crisp pale malts and raw barley, powdered sugar, and hop varietals of sticky nectars, citrics, and herbal depth. With warmth the booze comes out as well, but it is sweeter rather than burning and fusel. Our first impression is that the hops are explosive, fresh, and tangy, with drinkability for years, and an insanely cleansing and balanced finishing that leaves your mouth dripping wet with salivation for that next sip. As we taste, the flavor opens with raw honey sweetness, white sugars, sweet pear, pineapple, tangerine, and golden delicious fruitiness, brightly citric and bitterly herbal hops, flashes of lemon juiciness, faint brandy booziness, and pale, lightly toasted and powdered malts. The middle comes to a peak with dill weed, vegetal pepper metallics, biting plastics, and continued pear and blueberry fruitiness, along with the sweetest, most nectary hops of the sip. Tannic lemon teas and those crisp pales also rides high across the palate, pulling us into a finish with a hop profile most similar to the beginning of the sip, when held in the mouth. Here you get that fresh earthy and herbal hop bite, with black pepper and continued dill herbals, dripping pine sap, clove honey, honeysuckle florals, green twig, lemon rind tang, bready pales, faint rye crustiness, coiny metallic yeast, and light parsnip vegetals. The aftertaste breathes of crisp bready toastiness, clean pale malt sweetness, light rye twang, graphite, chalked yeastiness, aromatic mossy and musky rumbles, toasted pistachio nuts, bitter herbal hoppiness, and those sticky sweet nectary and lightly resiny hops. The body is medium, and carbonation is high, but not offensive or overly prickled. Each sip gives soft and syrupy slurp, smack, cream, froth, and pop. The mouth is left foamy, coated, and dripping wet with salivation. There is mild puck from the hoppiness of it all, added to by alcohol, especially as the beer warms. The abv is appropriate, hardly noticed, and nicely contributory, and the beer drinks like water.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this beer was its flavoring. The balance that is struck between the hops alone is incredible and beautiful, with sticky sweet fruity nectars and citrus battling, blending, and then giving way to a stronger herbal component through the finish shows variability throughout the sip, punch at each stop, and precise progression along the palate. The fact that it took us over an hour to rate this guy, and across several cans no less, speaks to both its complexity and depth, as well as to its utterly simple and remarkable ease of drinkability. The mouthfeel is smooth, frothy, sticky to the lips, and coating, striking just the right combination to keep your mouth and buds wanting more, more, and more. While every aspect of this masterpiece shines, it is the taste that stays with you the most, and will, at least for the next few nights to come, keep us up at night thinking about it.

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Photo of Bsquirrelbrewer
4.69/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Straight from the can. Purchased today in Burlington.

No color observations because it was consumed from the can. The can looks nice though.

Smell is floral with a solid hop aroma.

Taste brings strong hops without any overpowering bitterness. The hops have staying power that linger on the palate. Dangerously drinkable.

Mouthfeel is smooth and clean.

Excellent beer that lives up to the hype!

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Photo of number1bum
4.69/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Many thanks to mymrnngjckt for sharing a bottle of this last night. What a treat.

Poured a semi-dark copper color with about two fingers of tan head. Kept a pretty good lace with some decent stick on the sides. A bit darker than most IPAs.

Smell absolutely leaped from the glass and was bursting with citrus hop aromas. I could smell it from 3 feet away as I was still pouring. Incredibly fruity, with grapefruit, orange and lemony citrus, juicy and intoxicating. The fruitiest, juiciest IPA nose I can ever recall. Really impressive.

Taste also had a ton of citrus hop flavor. Maybe not quite as dripping with citrus as the nose was, but lots of grapefruit and orange going on. Somewhat tropical as well. There's just a touch of sweet malt to provide a backbone, with moderate bitterness. Tons of hop flavor.

Mouthfeel was a creamy medium body, well carbonated and very smooth. A nice slick, oily feel from the hops.

In terms of drinkability it doesn't get any better than this. So smooth and flavorful, and with so much juicy hop flavor I didn't want to put the glass down. I need to make it to this brewery and just sit at the bar drinking this for an entire evening. Awesome stuff.

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Photo of dgmirelli
4.69/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

so this is it.....been looking for you for some time, almost had you but missed by inches. look was the yellow unfiltered look that the better IPA's possess, must admit I put some in a glass just to savor the look and feel. smell was exquisite and with loads of citrus and hops, taste was a differentiator and had the heady topper flavor all to itself (just what i had waited for) flavor was long - sophisticated and real, w hops and citrus and the feel was silky and smooth, did not feel or taste the Double IPA or alcohol level. just pure goodness, hope to see you again!

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Photo of blockdude
4.69/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Definitely lives up to the hype. From the first sip, I noticed some very subtle pine and citrus, which developed into this beautiful buttery-toffee finish. It has sort of an organic mouthfeel which I really dig; could be the fact that it is unpasteurized and unfiltered. Just the right about of bitterness and unique hop flavor to make this extremely satisfying. Killer IPA.

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Photo of aquabears
4.69/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Orange! Smells sweet and piney and fresh. Taste is sweet grapefruit and herbal, resinous, mild bitterness on the back end, very smooth. Lighter bodied and moderate carbonation

...as I drink, more citrus is coming through. So well balanced and delicious.

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Photo of TechTriumph
4.69/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

11/18/16
Live review. Consumed 32 days after bought in store. No canned date, but I imagine the time between being canned and hitting the shelf was minimal.

A - Poured fairly vigorously into a snifter glass. Billowy, egg shell colored head with a nice level of retention. Some lacing left behind, but not a ton. The color is right in that typical zone for IPA's with a lean towards the orange hues. Pretty hazy appearance which could be from my strong pour, or suspended hop resins, or both.

S - Surprisingly not overpowering, but it's certainly pure hops. Nearly like putting your face into a handful of fresh hop cones. Nice bouquet of tropical fruits, also floral, a faint touch of spice, and even fainter biscuity malts. The tropical and floral combo is divine. Pineapple, papaya, mango, grapefruit, lime, sweet candied fruits. The beauty of the aroma is not that it blows you away with strength, but in how it harmoniously comes together.

T - Big time hop flavor as advertised, but it finds a way to maintain balance, and avoid being one dimensional. Hop profile is quite complex. There's no note that truly outshines another, but it's a symphony of flavors. Tropical flavors are present, like in the nose, as are flavors of sweet candied fruits, pine, grass, freshly crushed black pepper, and a fairly big, pleasant onion-like pungency. Bitterness is moderate and lingers just a bit. Beer steps to another level as it warms. Still enjoying the bottom third of the glass as much as the initial sips.

M - Mouthfeel might actually be the best aspect of the beer. Drinkability is off the charts. Very hard to keep the glass down for long. Perfect level of effervescence on the tongue. Velvety mouthfeel that just consumes the tongue with hop oils. Overall, a fairly dry finish. Only sign of the 8% ABV is the touch of warmth, but it's not detracting. It works extremely well with everything.

O - Waited patiently for many years to get a chance to enjoy Heady Topper. It was THE beer I most wanted to try. And thanks to some fortunate circumstances, a great friend, and a little luck, the opportunity finally arrived. I can't really say that the very lofty expectations I had placed on this beer were completely met. It wasn't a total game changer as I had convinced myself it would be. Just getting that part out of the way. But I'm in no way complaining. Seriously, it's a ridiculously damn good beer. Superbly crafted. World class drinkability. Nothing else quite like it. And after reading John Kimmich's message on the back of the can, I think Heady Topper succeeds in what it was set to do, which is taking the consumer on an incredible journey to hop heaven.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.69/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Consumed from a 16 ounce can. Canned 6 March 2013. I poured an ounce or two into a Glencairn glass for purposes of appearance and smell.

A: Clearish, milky, hazy, with light white head and sticky lace. But I suppose it's irrelevant since most of it is in the can.

S: Fresh-cut grass, tangerine and honeysuckle, rich and sweet and delectable.

T: Okay. Yeah. It lives up to the hype. If I could get this regularly, I would drink it almost exclusively. It's perfectly balanced...complex, fresh hops; sweetish, alluring, honeyish malt; crisp, clean, lingeringly citric-bitter finish. There is nothing bad to say about this beer, but it's not overwhelmingly delicious.

M: It's so creamy! Rich and luxuriant and rewarding.

O: If you can drink this beer, absolutely do so. It's maybe the best IPA I've ever had (though the first batch of Mikkeller's Invasion IPA could give it a run for its money). Not as fruity as perhaps I'd like, but it avoids any 'off' quality that hugely popular (D)IPAs (e.g., Pliny the Younger) seem to share.

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Photo of Masonz223
4.69/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Smell: tropical fruit notes grapefruit orange pine floral grassy.
Taste: upfront a big hit of grapefruit bitterness and a big juicy orange juice flavor middle of the mouth a syrupy sweet breath malt taste comes in and balances the initial bitterness out mellow tropical fruit note fnishes with a Floral hop perfume flavor more orange juice some dankness and a grassy sharp pine needle bitterness.
Feel: thick syrupy chewy big bodied beer.
Overall: I love the body on this beer so full and chewy. This beer is crazy it pretty much has everything you would look for in a dipa. Awesome stuff!

Note: I don't know if it's just me but I poured some in a glass and drank some from the can. There almost two different beers it's crazy! Way more citrusy and hoppy out of the can. Better out of the can!

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Photo of joaopmgoncalves
4.69/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured to a tulip glass.

A: The body just a bit hazy, not like the New Englad IPA styles, not terribly juicy but hazy enough to provide some presence in the glass. The head, when poured, had a thickness of 1 finger but after the beer settled, it got very minimal showing yet lots of retention. No lacing.
S: The aroma is more fruity than expected. There's lots of mango and pineapple instead of the regularly expected earthy and resinous aromas. This is really cool for an intro. It smells a lot better coming from the can than when poured into a glass.
T: The taste is incredibly as it has a good fruity profile of almost no citrus but lots of mango and pineapple. After the first sip you finally the earthy and resinous profiles of this beer but they're not that strong. The hoppiness is awesome.
M: The mouthfeel of this beer is actually the thing that caught my 'eye'. It's incredibly smooth, being very very velvety, having an also perfect carbonation. Bitterness is not as high as expected but this beer has at least 4 weeks. Yet, it's just perfect.
O: Overall, it's not my favorite IPA but you can feel the hype on the mouthfeel. It's easily a Top5 though.

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Photo of PatandDavid
4.69/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had more than one of these during our visit to the brewpub. Nice and orangey amber, I dove right in and picked up on an intriguing woody-earthy character in the aroma. There was also a nice new mown hay essence and candied hoppyness as well. That is a lot of excitement to live up to, but luckily, the beer delivered all of this in the taste as well. The earthiness was also pretty present in the finish. This is an excellent double IPA which will keep you ordering more. I can't say any more than that even at 8% abv...I still wanted to keep drinking. No taste fatigue or wobbliness in the legs after one. Nice beer.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.69/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Day old can picked up at the new cannery. Despite the advice of the can, poured into a nonic.

An aromatic wave of dank pine and citrus hops emerge immediately upon cracking the can open. Pours a fairly dark, dull copper/orange. Cloudy and thick with a thick cream colored head. Clumpy streaks of lacing and a thin retentive layer of bubbles throughout. Sweet, juicy, ripe aroma of grapefruit and pineapple, with grass, pine and citrus rind balancing out the profile. Thicker side of medium body, chewy and oily on the palate with a resiny and pulpy finish. Strong bready malt body hides underneath the rich, fresh, intense hop flavor. Much more resiny and pulpy than the aroma, grapefruit and pine flavors dominate. Finish is dry and remarkably smooth. Just about perfect, this is a miracle in a readily available can.

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Photo of Beers-es
4.69/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rich orange with a nice white finger of foam. Smell is layers of citrus and some pine. Taste is similar. Super medium feel with just the right carbonation. Dry, somewhat bitter finish that sticks around. Like many IPAs, this one seems to change a lot depending on its age. The first time I had it it was light yellow and kind of tart. I think this one hits the sweet spot, as it's pretty amazing. As the can says, not the biggest beer, but the way it puts it all together is artful.

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Photo of CityofWind_brew
4.69/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Acquired in trade. Extremely easy drinking brew that packs quite the punch of flavor at the front of the tongue. Booze is well hidden. It is crazy how easy drinking this beer is. World class, but falls a close 2nd to Pliny.

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Photo of snilsen13
4.69/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I wish I had poured this out, but my host insisted we drink it from the can. Despite this, it smells full of hops with fantastic nose from THE CAN! Other canned beers (Oscar Blues, Hazed and Infused) can't touch this!

Simply put this is an awesome double IPA and is something brewers around the country need to measure themselves against.

EDIT: It's been a couple years since my first review and since then this beer has become a legend. My feeling now is that the bar Alchemist reached is getting met by other breweries. Having accumulated a stash of HT recently, I poured out one and had another from the can (thanks to a few trades for Surlys - thanks traders) and I still can't deny the excellence of this beer. Mainly, I can now confirm that this DOES drink very well from the can, they ain't lying!

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Photo of MasterSki
4.69/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to both SneezyAchew and stowehop for bottles. Served in a Sam Adams perfect pint glass. Bottled 11/30/10, and consumed on 12/09/10.

A - Pours with a finger-plus of off-white foam that features great retention and glass-coating lace. Slightly hazed golden peach body.

S - Huge tropical fruits, peaces, tangerine zest, dankness, a touch of chive or green onion, and a light sugary note that reveals that there is a bit of malt in there somewhere after all.

T - The taste isn't quite as amazing as the smell, although it's still quite good. A bit more malt presence contributes sugared citrus mixed with tropical fruits, and maybe a faint hint of pine and leafiness. It finishes with present but well-attenuated bitterness, although it mounts over time.

M - Carbonation is spot on - lively, but not enough to be harsh. Smooth medium body that is more than adequate for 8%. Goes down very smooth and easy, with a slightly dry finish. Alcohol is extremely well-hidden.

D - This beer is beyond drinkable. I'm looking forward to getting to my other bottles because this is going to make for a great Christmas. Thanks John, for finally caving to the pressure and making this available to all (or at least some). Now about that canning line...

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Photo of AaronHomoya
4.69/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks, Kristen.

I poured it into a glass. Cloudy, orange/gold/copper color. A thick, light tan head tops it off. Aroma is supper hoppy. Awesome, big piney and citrus smells. Like a bag of hops. The flavor has a light malt backbone with some noticeable caramel malt in there. This is a very smooth imperial IPA. The hop flavor does have some sour citrus rind notes, but mostly bright grapefruit and some tropical fruit sweetness. Also a bit of floral, vanilla notes.

Overall, really top notch, of course.

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Photo of jamescain
4.69/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a can to a sniffer.

Appearance: Clear light orange with yellow hues and a thin white head about a centimeter thick that lingers until the end.

Aroma: My nose was just assaulted by hops. Citrus, peach, pineapple, papaya, mango and pine.

Taste: Bitterness up front, but surprisingly little lingering bitterness, just enough to keep you wanting more. Flavors of grapefruit, peach, pine, citrus, with a light caramel flavor.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body with medium carbonation and a dry clean finish.

Overall: Amazing beer, definitely world class.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.65 out of 5 based on 13,177 ratings.
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