Heady Topper | The Alchemist

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BA SCORE
100
world-class
2,257 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:
2,257
Ratings:
12,722
Avg:
4.66
pDev:
16.74%
 
 
Wants:
9,078
Gots:
4,987
For Trade:
67
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,257 | Ratings: 12,722
Photo of vizzionman
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I'm honestly not sure what all the hype is about. I think the fact that it's hard to get and really hoppy makes it a winner in most people's books. For me though it had a weird background taste every sip that I wasn't really used to I guess. After about the 3rd or 4th can though I started to like the beer a lot more.

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Photo of Jules11788
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: Pours a clear honey color; barely any head or lacing

S: Floral, fruity, with some tropical fruits like mango and pineapple; smells a lot like sticking your nose in a bag of gummy bears

T: Starts off sweet with some flavors of candied tropical fruits and earthy grass notes; settles on the tongue and transitions into a piney hop bitterness that lingers on the back of the palate

M: Medium viscosity; thick and creamy for an IPA, but that's just how I like it

O: This is one of the best DIPAs out there, and firmly settles the case that canning vs bottling has no effect on the flavor. Absolutely delicious

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Photo of Gushue3
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Just got home from Waterbury and cant wait to try it. Went to The Alchemist about a month ago and wasn't on tap, so this is my first Topper. Yes my first few sips were from the can...

Poured from can into glass

A- Nice 1 finger head that quickly turns foamy and bubbly. Retention is good and the body has a good amount of carbonation jetting toward the head. The beer is a slightly hazy orange up to the light and murky orange away from it, looks very good. Nice lacing is left after the head resides. Starting off great.

S- Nice piney scent that dominates. definitely some bitter citrus is there as well as a hearty malt presence.

T- Big piney bitter bite that carries from front to back. A slight citrus sweetness pokes its head out somewhere in the middle to make it a nice combination of all things that make IPAs great. Strong bitterness lingers on the finish that is in between wet and dry. Top Notch.

M- Medium to lighter feel that has a similar carbonation feel. Nice and smooth DIPA

O- Fantastic DIPA! As if the trip through beautiful Vermont and New Hampshire wasn't enough, this beer is great. Good luck to the Alchemist Cannery, the future brewpub and the town of Waterbury that was hit incredibly hard by Irene. Great Job!

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Photo of animortician
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1 of 6 beers we tried in a blind taste test made possible by some awesome trades.
Pliny, Hop stoopid, heady, sucks, abrasive and hop slam

A: Great clarity, golden yellow. We poured it even though the can says not to. Would have been quite the give away if we hadn't. Light head no lacing.

S: Very Fruity. Crisp.

T: Fruity, balanced, Tart apple, pine

M: Smooth and satisfying. Kind of syrupy though.

O: Great Beer, I would drink it regularly if I didn't have to trade for each and every one of them.

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Photo of willjschmidt
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16 oz can into a Sierra Nevada hop tulip glass.

A: Pours a very cloudy orange color. 1/4" head, tons of sediment in this beer.

S: Loads of glorious hops. Citrus, a hint of pine, lots of floral accents as well.

T: An outstanding IPA. Waves upon waves of hops in the form of some citrus, lots of floral flavors. Only slightly bitter, mostly in the finish. A tad bit sweet. Fairly well balanced with some pale malt.

M: Medium- full bodied, slightly viscous, average carbonation.

O: A top notch IPA, it lives up to the hype. One of the best I've ever had.

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Photo of kwjd
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Sammy for getting this bottle into Ontario! Pours a bright orange colour with thick white head. Lots of lacing coats the side of my glass. Some hop floaties in the beer, which I think just adds to this. I can smell the hops before I even lift the glass off the table. Lots of resiny pine and citrus hops in the aroma. Very nice bitterness, but there seems to be a malt balance as well. This is certainly one of my favourites.

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Photo of MrGootwin
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Delicious beer. Part of the fun of this is how hard it is to get. I lucked out when we happened to be in Stowe, VT on the day they get their shipment. While it was one of the best double IPA's I've had, I can't call it the best beer in the world as some do. In my humble opinion, I'd put Pliny neck & neck. Cheers.

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Photo of MakeMineADoubleJack
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

DRINK FROM THE CAN! All caps, all bold, and topped off with an exclamation point. How does one disregard such a declaration? Furthermore, how do you rate appearance on a beer you can't see? Well, I cheated and poured some out. Nice, rich orange body, not too much head. But since it's the can that's truly making the appearance, let's talk about the can. The can is awesome. The dude with the outburst of hops from his cranium: terrific. And I'm partial to the message on the back: "Don't Be A D-Bag, Recycle This Can."

Once you crack Heady open, sniff it immediately. Like you're President Skroob in Spaceballs, hungry for fresh oxygen. The smell is wonderful. It's fresh, full of grapefruit and bitter pine. I love it!

Heady's a bitter bomb from front to back. Again, grapefruit and pine are piled onto the palate (oh, the alliteration). Oddly enough, the taste is not quite as fresh as the smell.

A bit syrupy on the mouthfeel. Heady doesn't drink as cleanly as, for instance, Hill Farmstead or Maine beers.

Overall, I think Heady Topper deserves to top the 250. Is it the best beer I've ever had? I don't think so. But it didn't disappoint me one bit.

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Photo of AshleyMiller
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

finally getting around to reviewing this. about 10 days since its canning. poured into my hill farmstead pint glass.

a - pours a cloudy orangeish-golden, too cloudy to see through, with a beautiful finger-width thick creamy head with great lacing as well

s - total hop blast to my nostrils, with some sweetness hidden in there. very pleasant aroma. some pine, grapefruit, herbalness, and a hint of marijuana as well

t - very balanced and representative of the smell - all those flavors are in there. balanced exceptionally by malts. quick bitterness that doesn't last long

m - medium to full-bodied, moderate carbonation, alcohol hidden very well, as I know from experience

o - is it homerism? maybe, but I think this is about as good as it gets. definitely right up there in drinkability and quality with fresh pliny on tap. is it better from a can? maybe, certainly doesn't get worse, but figured it was worth reviewing out of the glass. simply amazing and i'm so lucky to have this so readily available.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from the can itself, but served a portion of it unto a 3 ounce snifter for appearance purposes.

Appearance: From the small portion served in the glass it's a semi-cloudy gold with a thin white head rising to 1/3" settling quick without touching the glass.

Smell: heavy citrus skin, strong wet hops. I admit it disappears quick but it's super unique.

Taste: Strong bitterness, hardcore citrus does it live up to the hype...really depends on your palates. If you life floral this brew delivers. On top even more grapefruit, coming off a hint sweet.

Mouth: Heavy carbonation, with bubbly texture all over. Best move on this take your time, letting it sit in the can still after minutes upon minutes carbonation still there with a heavy floral finish. A rarity, a beer when served unto the glass; it actually loses property...I compared this to the small portion I had sitting here in the glass and the glass was much "flatter". Doesnt hurt for you to try the same method.

Overall: Awesome...is it my favorite ipa? Definitely not but probably maybe my top 10 but considering what I want in DIPAs. Thank you to Tap and Barrell here in Smithtown for carrying this gem. Salud!

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Photo of Sandbarunner
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 2 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured a tiny bit into a glass just to get a look at it. Its unfiltered so it is meant to be cloudy and not too clean.

I followed the directions and drank it from the can. Perfect balance of Aroma and bitterness.

Worth the drive to Vermont to get it!

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Photo of doughanson78
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

16oz can poured into a pint glass. HUGE thanks to kingcrowing for this MAJOR want!!! Reviewed side by side with Pliny the Elder

A: Darker orange than Pliny and hazy, Pliny was super clear. One finger off white head with great retention and lacing.

S: Huge citrus hops with dominate grapefruit. Tangerine, and orange zest. Just a touch of caramel malts coming through. Would be nicer if the grapefruit was more subdued.

T: Huge grapefruit bitterness with a slight orange zest in the middle. Caramel comes through in the end to mellow it out. A touch acidic in the finish.

M: Light to medium bodied. Slick. Very very dry. Nice.

O: Definitely an exceptional DIPA. Not on par with Pliny, and I'd have to do a side by side with Dreadnaught and Double Trouble to really classify all these tasty beers. But yes, TOP notch.

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Photo of FrostBlast
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Cracked a can which was about 2 months old. Poured into a tulip glass.

I never mention bitterness in my reviews, my bitterness taste buds are ridiculously under-sensitive.

APPEARANCE : Hazy golden orange, with a reasonably thick, fluffy, pleasingly appetizing head. Looks like those good-weather-clouds over a lazy sunrise, but only briefly, as the head is rather quick to die out almost entirely, leaving some lacing that looks like it won't stick around so much either.

SMELL : First nose is fresh hops, fresh hops, fresh hops and more fresh hops, with a thin but solid malt foundation. Very tightly packed, richly textured but somewhat indistinct. Second nose has some very sharp herbal aromas, tons of citrus (mostly grapefruit) and pineapple and some mango and other tropical fruits. The third nose releases hints of strawberries which, once noticed, become more obvious and extremely pleasing. Some dusty earth as well.

TASTE : Small impression of sweetness, but really, really faint. Almost imperceptible. Definitely honey-like. The mouth follows the nose and releases the strawberries even more, with some mango and even watermelon notes. Some kind of barnyard funk also comes out in the mouth. The whole thing lasts and lasts and lasts. I took a sip when I started to write this paragraph a minute ago and I still feel some aromas.

MOUTHFEEL : Very round, pleasing texture. Carbonation is a touch too active for me, but a few swings around the glass and it's down to something more to my taste. Leaves a pleasing wet tropical fruit punch sensation after swallowing. Impressive.

OVERALL : Among the best brews I've had. I probably wouldn't go so far as to call this the best beer in the world (too much amazing stuff out there) but it's definitely up there, way up there. I bought a 4-pack 3 days ago on-location at the brewery and I'll probably review this one tomorow, for the sake of comparison. And also to give me an acceptable excuse to drink another one.

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Photo of celticfutblclub
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16 oz can poured into an alchemist pint glass

A - inviting hazy dark orange body. big vanilla colored head two fingers deep forms off a not too hard pour. sticks brilliantly with very good retention. this thing looks like the real deal.

S - big whiffs of hops grapefruit orange peel some peach in there. a hint of a doughy malt backdrop.

T - orange peel and dough malts battle at the start. grapefruit edge comes in after giving the bigger hop bite but is quickly countered again by the malts. finishes dry and not too harshly. phenomenal.

M - medium bodied with lots of carbonation. light feel of alcohol on the throat and light hop puckering (for the style).

O - this is the best double ipa i've had to date and was very much worth the visit up north. can't wait to be able to get this in the store on a regular basis.

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

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

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

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Photo of fgmiele
4.66/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Damn, finally my excessive beer drinking has paid off and I have been granted the opportunity to at last taste the topper. Served in a can as the label so duly instructs, I did pour a smidge into a snifter for the sole purpose of being able to rate the appearance. And so here it goes...

Appearance.. Seems cloudy enough. I am surprised that the hue is pale gold as opposed to dark like some IPAs. Has the look of a wheat beer almost with a sudsy head, little lacing.

Nose.. This is the cornucopia of IPAs.. Tropical, fruity, floral, bitter. Yes.

Taste.. Follows the nose and more. The right amount of bitterness and heat doing just the trick. All the qualities of a desirable ipa.

Mouthfeel.. Slick and powerful

Overall... Now I know what the hype is about. It's for certain to me now why this brew is so coveted. Not to say I haven't had other excellent IPAs similar to this style. In fact, all things said and done I have had several that could give heady a run for its money. But! An amazing beer. Must get more.

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Photo of Boski
4.66/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had to drink a quarter from the can... Poured the rest gently into a glass.

A: Hazy yellow. Gorgeous blood orange throughout. Quarter finger head with gentle pour that coats the top of the beer and recedes to look like a map and lingers around the edges of the glass. Decent lacing.

S: Clean crisp citrus. Orange peel all the way.

T: I'm glad when this element is the highlight, and it is with this one. Sweet and juicy. Fresh squeezed OJ. Tangerine. Perfect amount of bitter. Slight candied sugar.

M: Fresh citrus coats the entire mouth. Bitter notes dance upon the tongue and cheeks but are balanced out just in time to not be overly aggressive.

O: Incredibly well balanced IPA... Medley of sweet, citrus and bitter flavors play perfectly off of one another. One I will continue to snag without question when the right opportunity presents itself. Wish I could make this my "regular heady" Disc Golf beer.

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Photo of Rutager
4.66/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Hoppypocket for the opportunity to try this bad-boy!

Appearance. Pours a very murky straw-orange (maybe just a little blue-green??)with a massive, frothy off-white head that lasts forever, but doesn't leave much for lace. I know it says to drink from a can but c'mon, let's be civilized here ;-)

Smell. Pine needles and citrus rinds, some good toasty malt, a little floral soap-like smell as well.

Taste. Big bitter floral, grassy hops with a splash of citrus juice. Some great roasty malt is there and there's a bunch of bitter citrus rind and grass in the finish that stays on the tongue.

Mouthfeel. Just below full body with medium-low carbonation. Very nice.

Overall. Had this side by side with my (previously) favourite dipa. I still have a great love for the other one, but this has to be the best tasting dipa I've had to date. Looks kinda' iffy, but a guy gets over that after one taste.

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Photo of metter98
4.66/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: The beer is hazy yellow in color and has some hints of amber hues. It poured with a finger high off white head that quickly died down, leaving a thin film of bubbles covering the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass. There is a slight amount of carbonation visible along with some fine particles floating in suspension.
S: There are strong aromas of citrusy hops in the nose along with some hints of pine resin. As the beer warms up, the piney hops become replaced by aromas of mangoes and other tropical fruits. I poured a little from the can into a snifter glass to give due justice to evaluating its appearance and aroma, but the smell is so strong that you can get most of it by simply sniffing the mouth of the can.
T: Like the smell, the overall taste is dominated by flavors from the hops—grapefruit really stands out in particular and contributes a moderate amount of bitterness that lingers into the finish. There are also some interesting hints of tropical fruits such as mangoes, which lend to the complexity and become a little stronger as the beer warms up. The hops also taste extremely fresh and seem a somewhat reminiscent of a wet hopped beer.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: Despite being an Imperial IPA, this beer is a citrus hop bomb that drinks more like a regular IPA and has no traces of alcohol whatsoever in the taste. If I could find a four pack of this, I would have no problem knocking back each one of the cans in a single sitting.

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Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.66/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Drinking from a 16 ounce can, per the can's request. Thanks for this one Cheesemoose. No freshness date. I'm told that this is a "fresh" can. Still not sure why everyone isn't dating their beers. Popped the can, aroma is bursting out of the little hole, pine, grapefruit, packed full of hops, awesome aroma. Taste is resinous and flavorful. Mainly grapefruit but notes of grass and pine. Totally juiced with flavor. Even the burps taste good.

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Photo of MikeyBadnews
4.66/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Drank a few of these from the can as instructed to by the labeling. I just couldn't resist pouring it into a pint glass for the next round.

Beer pours hard and frothy with a single finger lacing swirling to a butterscotch/apricot color. Absolutely beautiful for an IPA.

The smell of this is a complete knockout a double fisted paisley colored floral scented uppercut to the nose. Just full of fragrant floral excellence gently doused with a hint of a Werthers Original butterscotch candy. Its just dying to go to the darkside and give you an alcohol or resin aftertaste but it walks the tightrope of full fledged flavor power without giving in.

Honey drenched carbonated mouth feel washing down slightly syrupy.

This is borderline perfection. It might not be the best IPA but I've certainly never tasted its equal. If you can get your hands on one, grab it, You wont be disappointed.,

cheers

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Photo of Gfunk
4.66/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Heady Topper is by far one of my favorite beers ever sampled. I've had it probably over 20 times, very hard to get, but they always happen to show up at our beer tastings. I'm not a huge fan of the amount of yeast/sediment in the bottom, but if you pour it just right into a pint glass you can avoid most of the sludge. Very hoppy and very flavorful.

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Photo of Brondeau
4.66/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Delicious. If I fall into some more I will happily drink it, but probably not differentiated enough from readily available double IPAs to make the hassle worth it.

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Photo of jdhowe
4.66/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to JOSHMAN for this one (and three others)!

As best I can tell from the information I have, this was canned on June 3rd, 3 weeks ago.

First review of Heady Topper on a "Drink from the can!" experience:

Poured from a can into my mouth.

A: Silver, black. Picture a guy drinking beer from a glass, but his head is exploding with hops. That's about what this looks like. Clean and shiny. Not really sure how I can even grade this. I'm resigned to just giving it whatever my "overall" is.

S: Sweet, sweet hops. Earthy and citric aromas come strong out of the can immediately upon opening. A little spiciness lingers, almost like the faintest hint of a cologne, but in a good way. Strong citrus aromas of pineapple dominate. I could sniff this beer all day, but I've resigned to drinking it.

T/M: Follows the nose pretty closely. A little more carbonation up-front than through the rest of the sip is delivered... maybe the can, maybe just my perception. Lots of sweet citrus on the body, with a little dank earthiness following. A lingering bitterness follows along with a little more earthy flavor and feel. The bitterness in this emerges almost after all other flavors have begun to die off but doesn't dominate the flavor profile while sipping. Body has nice, sweet malt character that doesn't dominate the beer, but does provide a sweetness to this that is very nice with all of the citrus. Alcohol doesn't show up much at all in the taste. The mouthfeel overall is just about perfect for the style in terms for gravity, but the lingering finish feels just slightly off, like I'm trying to get something out of my mouth rather than keep it there. Still very pleasant. Really drinkable.

O: Really happy with this beer. I will need to try it side by side with Pliny to really sort out the nuances of each, but each is great in its own right. I'm finding myself drinking this dangerously quickly -- I am pretty glad I don't have enough of these to just enjoy at will and open in series, or I could end up very drunk very quickly. I was worried that this beer would be a little too dank for me, but that really hasn't been the case at all. I don't suspect that the beer has "lost" this since canning, so I think perhaps I just had unfounded worries. Great beer.

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Photo of Docrock
4.66/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received in trade from Bricenice, Thanks Mike!

A: okay, if you follow the directions " drink straight from the can" how can you rate appearance? So I started drinking from can then poured the second half into a FFF Teku. How anyone can rate appearance a 5 is beyond me unless you thin the can is beautiful. Appearance is a murky golden color with decent head but retention was lacking.

S: amazing, one of the best smelling beers I have ever had, tons of floral notes, cirus, pine, aroma does not dissipate at all.

T: again, outstanding. Very different than any other DIPA I've had. On par with Pliny, Dreadnaught, and Abrasive.

M: very good but not quite as smooth as Dreadnaught or other slightly higher abv beers.

O: definitely worth seeking out if you like DIPA's. Very different from most others as well, the aroma is probably the best I have ever sensed but the taste, mouthfeel, and appearance bring it down for me a bit.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.66 out of 5 based on 12,722 ratings.
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