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Heady Topper | The Alchemist

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2,294 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: 2,294 | Ratings: 12,888
Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured (partially) from a 16-oz. tallboy can into a tulip-shaped Relic Brewing Co. Belgian snifter.

A: Poured a hazy, golden yellow color with an amber tinge and a thin veil of wispy lace that settled to a fine coating. Leaves a nice, sticky ring of lace on the glass.

S: Holy hops; sweet, fragrant tropical fruits, orange rinds and grapefruit juice, backed by spicy, herbal, grassy and catty hop aromatics. This DIPA really has it all.

T: Light, juicy malt sweetness up front primes the palate with some fruity esters before digging the hop sickle into the tongue. Truthfully, the bready and juicy hops lay a nice foundation for the waves of hop complexity that roll across the palate. It begins light, with lemon and orange zest, segueing into a grassy, peppery complexity before melding into the somewhat hot, prickly resins that wash the brew back with sticky, grapefruit rind and hop oils. The bittersweet, juicy and hopped out aftertaste is icing on the cake.

M: Medium-bodied and super-smooth for such a bitter brew. The hops tingle, burn and resonate their way throughout the experience, all the while retaining a high probability that you'll go back soon for another sip.

O: A very tasty, smooth and bitter hop bomb wrapped in the juicy, malted arms of an extremely well-crafted, 8% ABV DIPA. Heady-Topper is that beer you lust after when you want to satiate your desire for complex hop acidity but don't want rubber-tongue the rest of the night. That's not to say the hops won't burn you, because they will. It's just that this beer offers so much more and balances things well with light, delicate, yet effective, usage of malts. Won't you come to Waterbury, CT, Alchemist?

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Photo of sisuspeed
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a slightly hazy copper-orange with a fingers worth of white foamy head on top. Leaves waves of lacing down the pint glass.

Mmmm... I get a nice wave of hops before I even bring the glass up to my nose. Lots of grapefruit citrus and pine. Smells very aromatic and fresh. Beautiful nose.

Sticky hop juice on the tongue with some grapefruit citrus and sweet caramel malts in the background. Lots of bitterness up front that continues throughout. Pine-laden hops.

Mouthfeel is resiny and sticky. Good carbonation and a substantial body. You can feel the hops in this one.

Drinkability is exceptional. This beer goes down so easy. Packed with a good helping of hops and lots of citrus. The nose is very aromatic. An enjoyable drink all around and the ABV is unnoticeable. I might be in the minority, but I think I actually enjoy this more out of the bottle than on tap, even though a fresh pint is still excellent. I'm really hoping this comes to cans soon, because this really is one of the best DIPA's out there.

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Photo of koopa
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this on cask tonight at the Alchemist with beerloco who is now snoring like a maniac on a motel room floor because the stupid owner gave our room with 2 beds away to somebody else...note he is passed out while I'm currently drinking a Foothills Baltic Porter :)

Appearance: Pours a cloudy fender vintage sunburst orange to amber with radiant honey streaks and a 3 finger off white hop tinged crown that displays good retention and lace.

Smell: Loads of fresh hoppy goodness. A bit less bitterness than the tap version but much stronger notes of orange, grapefruit, and grassy herbs.

Taste: Same as nose but with the tiniest supporting bit of caramel malt.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with soft carbonation.

Drinkability: So sessionable for a big DIPA.

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Photo of joeland
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: pours an orangeish hazy color witha finger high head that leaves an amazing lacing

S: get a huge smeel of citrus hops mixed in with some flora hops

T: the taste is like the smell the citrus hops shine threw. it's an amazing taste. it has the hop taste without the overwelming bitterness.

M: medium body with a good amount of carbnation

D: this is a very easy drinking beer. it goes down easy .

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This is a great beer, and a gold mine for hop heads! Thanks to TCassel1 (Todd) for the trade for this!

A: Dark Orange with lots of sediment floating around, which I like (unfiltered is great IMO). Small ring of head and some lacing cap it off.

S: AWESOME Smell, huge hops and bready malts to boot. Tropical fruit, pine, citrus all appear.

T: Awesome flavor, really great. Huge hop to malt ratio- Dry biscuit with floral and citrus hops presiding. Really tasty juicy center with dry finish and bitters. Great, complex flavor that just falls short of a 5.

M: Great feel, man its great. Says pub level on the bottle, and thats how it feels. Low carb, smooth and huge palate of flavor.

D: Insanely drinkable, wish I could live at the pub and get this on draft!! Great stuff.

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Photo of Jimmys
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

scored a couple 4-packs and smuggled them back to PA. pint can into flying dog tulip. no canned on date.

A: a very hazy body that is a pale orange color. head is white, but not bright. big bubbles. good retention and lacing. almost too hazy, but i guess it must be fresh then.

S: pine. grapefruit. very inviting. kiwis. melon. but mostly pine. lots and lots of pine. very good.

T: a very american hop profile is thorough. the palate is actually sticky. enough sweet malt/caramel flavor is back there, but just detectable towards the finish. a little vanilla? bitterness lingers into the finish but is not over-cloying.

M: mild carbonation on a full bodied IPA.

D: like the can says, dangerously drinkable. hands down top 3 DIPA's i can just pick up and enjoy several without being overwhelmed. just lovely.

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Photo of kzoobrew
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to mountsnow1010. Cheers!

A careful pour reveals a clear apricot colored body. This beer is definitely unfilter, plenty of sediment and hop resin ready laying on the bottom of the can. A full pour will leave you a cloudy, murky DIPA. Three finger white lacing is set atop. The retention is fairly impressive. As the head recedes, the glass is covered with lacing.

The aroma is straight up hops. Massive citrus and tropical fruits. Tangerine, orange and pineapples. There is an underlying pine aroma which is fairly subtle but provide a bit of balance. There is a touch of malt which is picked up in the nose. Soft pale malt finds itself buried requiring a bit of searching to find. This may be the best smelling DIPA I have had to date.

I am not certain the flavor live up to the aroma, but that should just speak to how amazing the aroma is. the flavor is all about the citrusy, fruity hops. Tangerine, guava, pineapple and a bit of grapefruit. The fruity hop flavors are bright and assertive. A fair amount of pine and pith develop just behind. The bitterness is just high enough to provide a bit of balance and deliver a little bite.

Medium bodied DIPA. The carbonation is on point for the style. Very smooth and soft texture. The finish is rather dry, slight citrusy flavor left lingering on the tongue.

Heady Topper, this one was a long time coming and did not disappoint. Just as good as any DIPA I have ever had, perhaps the most enjoyable beer I have come across. Flavors is bright and clean. Drinkability is off the charts, there is no sign of the 8% ABV. This is one I will seek out on a regular occasion, would be a daily drinker if I lived close enough.

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

Pours opaque in its cloudiness. Bright amber with a small head. The smell will punch you in the face with hops. You KNOW it's a good beer when you open the can and the aroma begins to fill the room. The taste is absurdly hoppy. It's literal hop juice. So many levels at once: juicy, bitter, piney, grassy, dank. It's all there. This is a raw and unabated DIPA. A once in a lifetime experience for folks outside of New England. Try it and you will understand its love. Good luck topping the Topper.

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Photo of osc1123
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

thanks to the beer advocate trading community...i've had this on several occasions! The nose on this beer is incredibly citrus & juicy and the taste does not disappoint. No aftertaste. Just a wonderfully crafted IPA.

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Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
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 ShanePB
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A: Golden honey brown colored body with a bubbly, rocky and creamy looking head. A nice retention ring is left behind, along with sticky lace on the walls. Unfiltered floaties are unmistakable in the body, as mentioned there might be should you pour this out. Really, they're just ugly and kill the looks of the beer. I can't help but think this is part of the reason they recommend drinking from the can (other than the hop aroma retention).

S: Piney and earthy hop notes rocket from the glass. Hop resin and oils, orange and lemon bitter peels are next. Towards the end is a crisp bready element and caramel & pale malts. Touches of bitterness dance around the entire nose.

T: Bitter hop resin and oils wrestle the palate with a gentle nature. Pine and earthy hop notes again come through. Mid-palate are sweet orange and pink grapefruit oils, a generic citrus and rich sweet caramel malts. Finishes sticky and bitter.

M: Bubbly and creamy, perhaps a bit thin for a medium-bodied beer, though. Sticky bitter pine and sap on the palate in the linger.

This is easily in the top five Imperial IPAs I've ever had to date. It's extremely balanced, flavorful and never lets up on the delicious hop abuse.

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

No date of freshness on the can, approximately it was canned two month ago.
Pours yellow-orange and translucent, white sticky head, that retains well.
Smell is unreal. Powerful bouquet of tropical citrus and pine, a lot of grassy hop. Very difficult aroma.
The taste is wonderful citrus and flowery hop, hop bitterness manifested with the first sip. I would add a little sweetness.
Pleasant mouthfeel. Medium body, moderate carbonation, bitterness lingers till the finish, really drinkable.
Overall, this is a great beer, but I’m not sure that is best DIPA in the world.

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

L: Can't get much better than an unfiltered, filthy looking IPA.

S: Hops, pine, slight citrus fruit and more hops. Distinctly different from a west coast IPA.

T: Everything you want from a VT IPA, nothing more nothing less. Paved the way for the rest of VTs finest.

F: Smooth, frothy hops all up in your mouth. Nice thickness to it.

O: Why I even bothered writing a review... no idea. You already know what to expect.

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

On cask at the alchemist! 12oz. pour in a smaller tapered pint glass.

Super creamy thick frothy shaving cream head sits atop a hazy apricot body. Sticky lace clings like crazy. Smell is cut wet grass and fresh hop leaf. Taste is pure delicious citrus hop infused goodness. Bitterness climbs in from behind. Slight malt backbone with a little roasty alcohol. Oily and resinous hop mouthfeel, yet crisp. Citrusy and grassy the whole way through.

Lived up to every expectation. Excessively fresh & delicious.

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

A few sips in a tulip, majority from the can. Color is slightly opaque gold. It really is very smooth for a double IPA. Nice hoppiness without just being punch-you-in-the-face bitter. Mouthfeel is really nice; creamy foam, not too carbonated.

I can't pick up some of the more subtle notes others have highlighted, but perhaps it's because I don't drink quite enough IPAs to be sensitive to them.

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

Acquired via trade at DLD. Shared witha buddy.

A - Looks as promising as all the folk lore. Perfect golden hue, right amount of carbonation and lacing around the sides of the glass.

S - Big floral, citrusy, pine notes. Was expecting more concentrated hop aromas as this is coming from a can. When tasted from a can did not make as much difference as the multiple warnings of drink from the can would elude to. 90% for aroma. Better DIPA aromas out there for sure.

T - Nothing wrong with the taste from beginning to finish. No lingering lupilin tangy taste as other can IPA's have, great malt body and neither the hops or malt outweigh the other. Was hoping for more hop presence though.

M - Mouthfeel, carbonation, coating the tongue all perfect. Well executed and this was possibly the best part of the beer. (Which is why it is not the #1 brew in the world)

O - Awesome not worth the hype or what people trade for it. On that note, although its not the best, nothing is wrong with it just built it up too much in my head. Hope to try again in the future to try and reverse my original opinion.

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Photo of 311bulldog
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Purchased during almost monthly trips to Vermont. Drink out of can and out of tulip and occasionally from tap.

Appearance - golden-orange hue.

S - citrusy, pine notes. Hop aromas galore. One of my favorite smells in the world.

T - world class taste from beginning to end.

M - nice feel, good level of carbonation

Overall - Definitely one of my favorite beers in the world and very accessible for me. I tend to think some of the Hill Farmstead brews are slightly better, but I stock-up on Heady 4-6 times a year. I feel lucky to get to imbibe Alchemist brews frequently!

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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.

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Photo of mrz200
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Does HT really need another review saying how equally good and unattainable it is? Well I thought so, so here it is.

If you are a craft beer fan with any level of affinity for hops, you will love this beer. I say that because there is so much more to it than the "DIPA" classification suggests.

Is good cold, is good a little warmer, is good as an IPA, is good as citrus-ey hop blended ale, oh and it's incredibly drinkable for a high ABV... If you could actually get your hands on enough of them to have a HT session!

If you've never had it, or fear you never will, take solace in the fact that HT gets less unique every year of this craft beer era. Sure, I've still never had this perfect combination of flavors and craftsmanship, but you've tasted everything in HT before. Ithaca, Lagunitas, Maine Beer, all of them seem to owe a tip of the glass to HT with some of their IPA's.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

16 oz. can

Pours cloudy hazy gold with a creamy frothy white foam head. Smells like mango, papaya, passionfruit, guava, pineapple, orange citrus, grapefruit, toasted bready crackery malt, with bitter resinous pine and floral earthy herbal grass. Tastes like mango, papaya, passionfruit, pineapple, guava, orange citrus, grapefruit, some toasted bready crackery malt, with dank floral earthy herbal grass and bitter resinous pine. Feels medium bodied, slick and creamy with moderate low carbonation. Overall a really nice and balanced DIPA.

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Photo of Abilow33
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I went to the beer shop in Waterbury and tried this beer. There is a reason this beer is rated as the best beer in America. It is the best beer I have ever had. It had a great taste. I wish everyone could try this beer. I wanted to buy a case but the were sold out.

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Photo of mitch3114
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
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 BuckKY
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is simply a great beer.
It didn't feel like 8.00% and as a person that doesnt care for needlessly high ABV I love it.
The aroma on this beer is by far the best part. It smells of grass and happiness. Its white head is thick enough for a mustache. But feels light. You could sip or slop this beer and both would taste great. Although it isnt as complexe as I had thought for a Rate 1 beer it is, by all accounts, excellent.

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Photo of ggell100
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Long-awaited taste of this beer was well-worth the wait. To put it simply: This is an awesome brew! It is much hoppier than I expected, but this was a pleasant surprise to be sure. It was a great overall experience right from the can. I highly recommend this one, along with virtually everyone else who has had the benefit of enjoying it.

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Photo of Beer4B
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a beautiful hazy and golden light orange. The nose jumps out of the can as soon as you crack it open. A bouquet of hops tickle your nose hairs. Wave after wave of hops delicately balanced with malts overtake your palate. Drinks really easily for 8% and has a fantastic finish.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.66 out of 5 based on 12,888 ratings.
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