Heady Topper | The Alchemist

BA SCORE
100
world-class
2,348 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:
2,348
Ratings:
13,237
Avg:
4.65
pDev:
7.1%
 
 
Wants:
9,193
Gots:
5,489
For Trade:
66
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,348 | Ratings: 13,237
Photo of Harrison8
4.71/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pouring Heady Topper from the "Drink from the Can" pint can reveals a hazy, fiery orange liquid with a foamy, tightly laced, white head. Head foams up quickly, peaking at 3 fingers with an aggressive start and conservative finish. Retention on the head is great, lasting even through a half dozen sips. Lacing bubbles around the glass, with great retention. Aroma is steeped in layers of citrus, with notes of orange, lemon zest, and papaya. Biscuit malts bunch up just behind the hops to form an assertive, but refreshingly delicate hoppy aroma. Flavor profile opens with a smooth crescendo of citrus, orange, lemon zest, and biscuit malts. A hoppy start flexes and reshapes itself into a malty finish - with a little resin hop at the end to stick to the palate. Mouth feel is smooth and somewhat filling with a medium thickness. Feel certainly has a presence, but is still light enough to be enjoyed swiftly on a blisteringly hot day. Overall, a sublime IPA with plenty of flavorful body, and presence. The lack of a bitter stinging finish makes this an easy beer to enjoy for folks both new to IPAs and old.

Served in a 20oz Heady Topper glass.

 1,149 characters

Photo of duracell
4.71/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had the 3/4 straight from the can, then poured the rest into a snifter.

A (last 1/4 of the can) - Surprisingly super clear, dark gold color. Small head disappearing quickly without leaving much of lancing.
S - Very intense herbal, fresh, piney, mango, citrusy aromas. Extremely aromatic and quite balanced by some malt.
T/M - Big hops flavors. Lemon zest, piney, grapefruit, tropical fruits sustained by a lively carbonation. Very juicy. Leads you to a nice fruity bitterness at the end that lingers forever.
O - Definitely one of the best DIPA I was given to try! Tons of flavors and complexity. A must try!!

 610 characters

Photo of YeahRightt
4.71/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a glass.

Look: Hazy bright/light orange yellow. Said to drink out of the can, but nah.

Smell: Somewhat musky, citrusy, heavy on the pine.

Taste- Hops hit first, which cascade into an insanely well balanced hit of pine and citrus. Lots going on here with grapefruit and citrus. Hard to get a hold on because everything is so well balanced, but above all else- delicious.

Feel- Dry finish with a medium body that leaves you wanting another sip

Overall- Had been looking for this for a few years now and was very excited to have a chance to try it out. I mentally prepared myself to combat the hype around it and try it objectively, which was difficult to do after the first sip because its so damn good. Hands down one of the best beers I've ever had.

 769 characters

Photo of BigJdizzle
4.71/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Had out of a can. Drank partially from can and partially from glass. More bite out of the can, but great taste either way. Everything you'd expect an ipa to be....straight fire!

 177 characters

Photo of HossMcGraw
4.71/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Oh man was I glad to score one of these! I poured a little into a glass to see what it looked like; nothing special but you're supposed to drink it out of the can so..not applicable?

About halfway through opening the can mango, grapefruit, and honey filled the room and that's before the damn thing was even open! The aroma is just outrageous. The flavor is incredibly tropical, filled with ripe melon, pine, lemon and more candy-like grapefruit juicy sweetness. Ridiculously unique and delicious. Some serious craftsmanship went into this shit. Bone dry finish beckons you for another sip.

Mouthfeel I found a bit flat; I guess some people like that, but I prefer lively carbonation and I think this would benefit from that--again, a preference thing. Overall I'm blessed to have had the #2 IPA on here and feel it's worth the hype. Bell's Hopslam is very similar to this and is another excellent beer that will suffice quite nicely til The Alchemist and I again cross paths.

 978 characters

Photo of ironchefmiyagi13
4.71/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I have been craving this beer ever since I heard about and through the generosity of fellow BAs, I am able to enjoy it multiple times.

Yes, I gave it a 5 for appearance, because I don't see anything wrong with the hazy, sediment filled brew. I would rather that than have them filter it and alter it to make it more 'aesthetically appealing'. The aroma is pungent hops, juicy grapefruit and light toasty malts that all work together in total harmony and synchronization. Flavor is smooth and glides gracefully along the palate. It's such a pleasant and soft mouthfeel, giving it dangerous drinkability.

I can honestly say this was a perfect beer for me. Everything worked together and nothing was over or underpowered. Simply amazing.

 737 characters

Photo of RoddyMedina
4.71/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Just got around to trying this beer from The Alchemist and it definitely lived up to its hype. Unfortunately I only had one during a bottle share but i hope to get my hands on more. I first poured a little to try it in a tulip but left some to compare because on the can it literally states in bold "DRINK FROM THE CAN" and it honestly tasted way better from the can.
The look was a little light compared to most DIPA's I've had, but it still had a nice light orange color to it, it didn't leave much head either. The smell was very citric, oranges with a slight grapefruit scent to it. The taste from the can was super crisp and smooth, it didn't leave kick in the back of your throat like a Maharaja would, which isn't bad either. Overall I'm really hoping to score more of these to give it another go as one can wasn't sufficient.

 834 characters

Photo of fox227
4.71/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

First, thanks to the nameless one in Vista for the can I got to share with my girlfriend, I got to try Heady without having to either trade for it or go to Vermont. :) I have had so many wonderful DIPAs that I knew right from the first sip that nothing would shock me with greatness ever again; but drinking this beer, I could definitely understand why it's (currently) the top rated beer.

Pours cloudy but not ugly, as I did not drink from the can, as suggested. The nose was rife with tropical fruit and a slight hard to pinpoint 'musty' quality that I assume was from the yeast. The flavor gloriously followed the nose, with a very big pineapple flavor lingering. The mouthfeel provided just enough body and bitterness on the tongue to let you know that this is a real DIPA, and the alcohol flavor is nowhere to be found.

Would I call this the greatest DIPA I've ever had? I'm pretty sure I've liked others more in the past, but the fact that I have to dig deep into the memory banks says a lot about Heady Topper's quality.

 1,031 characters

Photo of dee_el
4.71/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

had about 10 cans of topper over the last year or two.

easily one of my most favorite beers. would love to be able to get this more easily.

juicy, hop bomb. the standard vt iipa

 183 characters

Photo of Muhly
4.71/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from the can (oops) into a dimpled mug. Pours a cloudy orange-straw colour with a foamy white head.

Smells of alpine grasses and minty herbs. Pungent hop stank.

Tastes of orange and lemon citrus hops, floral hops, grassy hops, hops hops.

Creamy and ebullient in the mouth.

It's a hop bomb that pushes the envelope and manages to stay within the bounds of good (great?) taste.

 386 characters

Photo of mattbk
4.71/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - An orange, almost amber color. Quite cloudy. Limited carbonation.

S - Amazing smell. Rich and full of fruits. I immediately get pineapple (SImcoe?), mango, and pine. THe smell is luscious almost.

T - Same as the smell, with just a bit of hop bitterness, and a little bit of alcohol warming. But all very well balanced, with hop flavor taking center stage. The malt sweetness is there to balance it out also. This almost like eating a slice of peach pie - but also nothing like that. Frankly, it's delicious. There are no flaws at all.

M - Medium, definitely low carbonation, I would have preferred the carb just a tad higher; but maybe that would have masked the flavor.

O - If you can, please try this beer. I live on the right coast and don't trade, so I haven't been privy to Pliny, but it would be hard for me to imagine it being any better.

 857 characters

Photo of TheDoctor
4.71/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A:
*- Since it says to drink it from the can, this is a moot point as far as their presentation of it goes, I suppose. Nonetheless, I don’t think it looks bad at all (I had read that is wasn’t pleasing to look at).

Pours a greenish, slightly cloudy orange with a fat creamy white head. Good retention; good lacing.

S:
Green. Stanky citrus, crisp twinge of astringency (it kinda tickles something inside you) and bold resinous hops. Hits you square in the face upon opening the can.

T:
Waves of piney, medicinal, skunky, grassy, and citric hop flavors with the same weird twinge of astringency as the smell; pineapple, grapefruit, weed, and hops of all stripes intermingled with rich odorous grass flavors. If hops have the flavor, it is here in varying degrees.

M:
Good carbonation, medium body very slightly creamy with a finish that manages somehow to both linger and disappear quietly.

O:
I hate hype and I think that oftentimes it does a disservice to otherwise enjoyable things. As such, I was not expecting HT to live up to the myth created around it. Boy was I wrong. I had multiple audible gasps while trying it and have savored it every time since.
Part of what skewed my expectations was the general tendency towards intense IPAs that a lot of breweries have. Because of this, I assumed that it would be the bitterest hop-bomb to ever destroy my taste buds. However, it is so good because it is so restrained. It tastes like hops; no question about it, but it tastes like little else. This means that it can be as hoppy as it is without being needlessly ‘confrontational’ in its flavors and aromas. Actually my girlfriend (who can’t stand hoppy beer) tried it, liked it and sneaks tastes of it when I drink it now.
Anyway, I am gushing.
It is a world-class beer for what it is. Is it the best beer in the world? I honestly don’t think so. Is it one of (if not the) best double IPA in the states (and possibly the world)? Without a doubt.
Would fight to be able to try again. A must-have for any beer enthusiast.
With apologies to Chuck D, do believe the hype.

 2,091 characters

Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.71/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A- Pours a medium bright orange golden color. Not quite brilliant, but far from dull in color. Big, frothy head that retains and laces tremendously. Hazy and beautiful in the glass.

S- Big, resinous, piney hops are the foremost and only scent on this one. Kind of sticky in the nose with all the hops. Slight hint of underlying mild sweetness.

T- Bitter hops flavor off the bat. Sticky, resinous hops are upfront and foremost on the palate. Towards the middle of the drink, a slight sweetness of the base malts come through. Hops make a comeback at the end with a primarily pine flavor that really stings the back of the tongue. Ends with the lingering hops bitterness.

M- Thick, sticky, and smooth as hell. This thing drinks more like a stout than an IPA, but goes down quite smooth. The weight is on the heavier side, but man it goes down easy.

Overall, do I think this is the best IIPA or IPA I've ever had? Probably not. The hype train oversells this one a bit, but it is a damn good beer. I will seek it out again in trades and savor this one while I have it.

 1,068 characters

Photo of ncketchum
4.71/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally got my hands on this guy. A bit poured into a pint glass, rest enjoyed out of the can.

A - pours a hazy yellow, fluffy white head.

S - amazing nose, tons on citrus fruit - orange, pineapple, lemon, followed by piny finish

T - more subdued than the nose, but still excellent. Piny bitterness come through more than the sweetness of the nose, but still a good amount of pineapple. Well balanced relatively with some bready malt backbone, with a bitter, lingering hop finish.

M - smooth, lingering bitterness in the end

O - again, I'm glad to have had the chance to try this one. Definitely one of the best double ipa's out there that I've had, more balanced than I expected, great hop profile.

 707 characters

Photo of OGFGabv
4.72/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Just an all around show stopping beer. Lots of tropical fruit that comes in wave after delicious wave with a touch of a lemon grass in there. Bitterness not overwhelming, but a nice balance . A truly great beer.

 211 characters

Photo of PatrickSullivan
4.72/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours cloudy and orange with a thick white foamy head. The head has a little staying power but leaves some great lacing behind.

S: Great hoppy nose. Tons of grapefruit and citrus (I catch some hints of lemon), with a touch of pine.

T: Less hoppy than expected on first taste. The maltiness hits me first. Sweet but not overly so. But then the hops kick in. Tropical and citrus with some grapefruit intertwined. Toss in a shot of pine at the end. Very balanced throughout.

M: Medium in body, medium to low in carbonation. Yet still creamy and silky smooth. Fits the taste very well.

O: A perfect example of how a DIPA should be. Really glad I got an opportunity to try this.

 680 characters

Photo of usurping
4.72/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow! I received a four pack as a gift this weekend. Had heard about the beer before but put it in the fridge and continued the night. Had two last night and one tonight. What an amazing beer. Every aspect of this beer- down to the clear instructions to drink it straight from the can (cant truly rate the appearance because I drank em from the can)- make it a very special beer. After having three and checking the reviews I was not surprised to see that it is so highly rated.

Smell is delightful with hints of mango.

Taste is not over the top hops. They are there and you are expecting it but I think the amazing thing about this beer is that the taste is over powered by the hops.

I could go on but many others have done it already with some very elaborate and detailed descriptions.

 790 characters

Photo of dertyd
4.72/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

what an amazing beer starts off with flavors of pine very very piney and then out of nowhere comes a huge grapefruit presence and is very smooth such a great great beer Thank You alchemist you are amazing

 204 characters

Photo of r_love
4.72/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

New England DIPA. 8% ABV.

Hazy, unfiltered hay color. Incredible nose of hop-derived tropical and citrus fruit. On the palate, orange, grapefruit, and pineapple flavors carried by an intense hoppy bitterness that nonetheless is balanced by the big flavors. This comes across with little apparently alcohol; could drink all day.

Incredibly clean and crisp with intense yet balanced hoppy bitterness. A nearly perfect DIPA.

 423 characters

Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.72/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pourer from a 16 oz can into a tulip and also drank from the can- poured a hazy light orange color with almost no head very little retention and no lacing.

Smells incredible but very subtle- grapefruit and tangerine with a little spice of hops at the end.

Tastes even more incredible- full, round hop flavor. A little malt at the beginning and then the hops take over. A little grapefruit at first and then soft piney notes with a nice medium dry finish. Superb.

Mouthfeel is also exceptional. Medium bodied with light to moderate carbonation. Get this if you can!!

PS- Flavor is more direct out if the can but I prefer it in the glass. Give both a try.

 657 characters

Photo of nimrod979
4.72/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

No can date but I know it's pretty fresh from the source. Drank about half from the can as it says to do so numerous times. Poured the other half into a DFH snifter.

Appearance: Quite hazy unfiltered orange-ish color. Plenty of sediment. Medium sized white head. Decent retention. with some sudsy lacing.

Aroma: Good blend of citrus and pine lead it off and carry all the way to the finish.

Taste: Juicy hops, Mandarin oranges, grapefruit, and a tropical blend followed by layers of pine resin. delicious well done DIPA. Fresh flavor. Pretty much perfection. Delivers on hops, bitterness and flavor all while being completely drinkable.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with an exceptional drinkability. Never comes across as too bitter. Carbonation is soft though perfect for what this beer needs. Glad & thankful I finally got an opportunity to try this one. Something I would look forward to drinking for years to come.

 916 characters

Photo of Bills453
4.72/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thank you so much to Jzeilinger for sending me this in return for absolutely nothing. You sir are truly awesome!

I'm drinking from the can as I am instructed to by it...

Appearance - can art is awesome. The dood's head is exploding hops!!!

Smell - I was worried I wasn't going to be able to smell the full aroma through the can, but I can! A lot of hops filling my nose through this small can hole.

Taste - really does live up to all the hype for me, an amazing representation of hops in this beer.

Mouthfeel - great

Overall - very very good. I hope everyone has a chance to try this beer.

 595 characters

Photo of JulioH
4.72/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I've had this a few times. This is the most bitter thing I have tasted, but surprisingly you quickly get accustomed to it, and actually enjoy it.

Pouring it reveals a normal yellow beer, nothing spectacular about the color, but the aroma that comes out of the can immediately after opening it is crazy. It releases a very strong aroma of pine and hops. Taste is very bitter, very piney, but refreshing and thin. You could drink a few of these and just think of how amazing this beer is.

 488 characters

Photo of IvoryFoxhole
4.72/5  rDev +1.5%

Case purchased 8/8/14 at Hunger Mountain Co-Op. Gave away half, drank half. Not much variation between cans, which is what they strive for.

Drank all from can as directed, had tried a sampler at brewery in 2013 so I have a rough idea what it looks like. Can does focus nose, but a good tulip glass will do the same. You can definitely tell the difference between a fresh and month-old Heady, but the month-old is still fantastic.

Nose to me is mostly grapefruit with some lemon. Subdued floral component as this isn't quite a West Coast (or quite an East Coast) style DIPA. Subdued malt profile as this is about the hops.

Taste is all citrus and hops, as much as one could possibly want in a beer.

Medium to full-bodied, strongly carbonated, incredible balance, dry finish.

Had to leave some room in my rating for something better to come along (hope to grab one of their other beers at a truck sale sometime, for example).

I do a round-trip drive from VA each August to get my case (or as much as I can get). Very difficult to get if you aren't willing to travel to VT and not easy to get unless you plan before you get there. I recommend the Heady Spotter website to maximize your opportunities. Worth the trouble, though. There's nothing quite like it.

 1,265 characters

Photo of MikeyMcD86
4.72/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Super excited to try the venerable Heady Topper! I did not drink from the can but I did pour it without rolling the can so as not to disturb the sediment.

Look: Light golden color with lots of haze. poured out with a finger of head. Nice tight bubble structure.

Smell: Pine and spruce jumps out of the glass but it definitely has that yeasty "smell of the brewery" thing that really good IPAs have. Some lemongrass in there as well but it is definitely the pine and spruce that stand out.

Taste: Super grapefruity on the front of the palate, nice and pithy. Lemongrass on the palate as well. finishes with a piney refreshing bitterness. Disguises its alcohol content well.

Mouthfeel: Wonderful medium plus creaminess. Not too heavy. Dries out on the back which helps make this beer super crushable.

Overall(style points): This beer gets all the hype and I can see why. In a world before New England style IPA were everywhere this must have been mind blowing. In today's world though, the game has moved on. It's still a great beer but it just doesn't blow me away the way I wanted it to. 95.25 points.

 1,111 characters

Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.65 out of 5 based on 13,237 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe