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Heady Topper | The Alchemist

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
100
world-class
2,231 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:
2,231
Ratings:
12,554
Avg:
4.66
pDev:
7.08%
 
 
Wants:
9,035
Gots:
4,852
For Trade:
63
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,231 | Ratings: 12,554
Photo of jamescain
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
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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Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

16oz can into a tall snifter

A: Pours a hazy golden color with two and a half fingers of white head. Retention is not bad.

S: An equal mixture of juicy tropical fruits and pine. All hops, though. Extremely clean aroma, clean and simple. Maybe a light pineapple sweetness.

T: The taste starts out with moderate bitterness accompanied by light, clean pineapple juiciness. The hop flavor then kicks in with mostly pine - very pleasant. The balance here is wonderful between bitterness and light sweetness and a great, strong hop flavor. No hint of ABV.

M: A tad on the thick side with great carbonation.

O: There is great balance in this beer. It's certainly quite hoppy, but it's not overly bitter, not overly sweet, and not overly watery. The hop flavor and aroma is in your face, too. I suggest leaving a couple ounces in the can, though - otherwise there is lots of yeast.

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Photo of gkatsoris
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: I did pour a little out to review :) Beautiful, crisp, clear yellow. Thick bright white head. No lacing.

S: Mango. Citrus bomb. Orange rind. Grapefruit rind. Tangerine. Pineapple, and pine resin.

T: Super citrus. Grapefruit, grapefruit rind, and grapefruit again. Pineapple. Less is more; that is, this is a one sided tasting brew!!!!

M: Thick and chewy. Nice foam. Coats the tongue brilliantly!!!

O: I could drink this all day and all night!!! I was fearing a let down, but I am more than impressed.

thanks Wil (The Beer Store).

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Photo of MIbeerGeek84
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is the best IPA ive ever had the pleasure of drinking. Has been a favorite of mine for quite some time. Really surprised I have yet to rate it until now.

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Photo of govlady
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

had a friend of a friend ship a few cans of heady out to chicago.

drank it from the can. smelled of citrus, pine, floral. tasted like it smelled. went down so smooth. great beer, obviously one of the best dipa's out there.

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Photo of SpasmWaiter
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

What else can I say about this beer that hasn't already been said? Very few beers actually live up to the hype - Heady Topper does. Im not one to stand in line for hours to get a case of beer but the stores around here serve me well enough. One of the finest beers in the world with out a doubt.

11/04/13 update: Enjoying a can that is 17 days old right now, and I have to say, its better than a day-of freshie. The flavors seem to have blended a bit and it is FANTASTIC.

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Photo of thecheapies
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My first can of Heady Topper. A clean snifter glass ready-to-go, but I promise I’ll take that first sip from the can.

Pours an extremely hazy yellow-amber with a lush, creamy head that is kept at bay at an inch plus. Impressive hop-haze, if that’s what it is. 4.0

Don’t think I was catching whiffs from the moment I opened the can to the moment I was typing out my appearance description. This beer has some serious hop aromatics. Pineapple, fir tree, mango nectar, tangerine, grapefruit, and herbal tea. A top three ranking for best-smelling DIPAs. 5.0

Amazing fruity hop profile. Phenomenal flavors of a cornucopia of tropical fruits; notably pineapple, grapefruit, starfruit, and mango. Mildly bitter, which works to balance some sweetness, yet not obscuring the showcase of the hop flavor profile. Hardly a malt presence other than some light syrup (as in the light syrup in canned fruit) and biscuity character. The hop character is dank and oily and complex in that it has a plethora of different varietals’ flavors. Exactly what an Imperial IPA should be. I could drink this all night. 4.5

One milky brew with heft. Pockets of bubbles in the back of the mouth. Velvety smooth and a sly strength make for an incredible mouthfeel. 4.5

Elite class. Hoisting my empty can up high to pay homage to one of the greats. 5.0

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Photo of roger617
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Original review 9/8/13:
I acquired 2 of these in a trade with abilow33 - I'll be reviewing the first which I'm drinking in the can per recommendations.

A: 4.0 I can't bring myself to give a 5 in appearance when I can't see it...
S: 5.0 Huge citrus and hop bomb immediately after opening the can.
T: 4.75 Very sweet, citrusy, floraly with pine on the back end. There is a slight dryness on the tongue in the aftertaste.
M: 4.5 Well carbed, smooth, but the dryness in the end prevents this from being perfect.
O: 4.5 Lots of hype around this one, understandable so. I can name a couple beers which I've had recently which compare to this more so than the ratings would suggest. I am very glad I was able to get a couple of these, but it's nothing that I would trade for again - not when readily available are Stone Ruination, FFF Dreadnaught and Bells Two Hearted.

Edit: rereview on 2/21/14
Acquired more via trade. While drinking and reviewing my original review, I can't bring myself to change any ratings. Surprisingly. I can however, and obviously, say that it is worth trading for more than 1 time. Having had more beer than I care to count in between my original review and now, I can say that Heady is one that I have consistently looked forward to. There just aren't any other IPAs that can capture the essence of hops the way The Alchemist does with Heady. Cheers, 'till the next one!

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Photo of dougfur
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

This one pours pretty cloudy, with little bits floating around. If you pour it into a glass (which I prefer, but the brewery discourages), leave the dregs, as you would a homebrew.

The hop aroma is intense and wonderful.

Taste is intense and wonderful, but with just a bit of a sourness.

Mouthfeel is perhaps the weakest aspect of this beer to me, it's pretty resiny and while I appreciate the flavor/aroma of the hops, this one's a little sticky.

Overall, this beer deserves the attention it's getting and is very, very, very good. Perhaps the coolest aspect of it is that for all its hype and popularity, it doesn't cost any more than the regular DIPA's you get off the shelf. Kudos to the Alchemist for that!

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Photo of WankelEngine
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 16oz can into a snifter

A: Pours a hazy orange color with a generous white head that bubbles and craters away, leaving thin curtains of lace.

S: This beer smells amazing. All the best hoppy fruit flavors all at once. Citrus, pineapple, mango, apricots. A little bit of pine. I wish I could just smell this all day.

T: Waves of hoppy goodness. Similar hop profile as the aroma: chocked full of tropical fruits and citrus. The pine flavor is a little stronger and now there are some herbal notes; grass cuttings. The finish lingers with herbals hops and an ever-so-mild touch of alcohol for a long time.

M: Smooth, medium bodied and with a little effervescent carbonation. Sort of oily, really coats your mouth.

O: Good. Damn good. What all other IPA's should aspire to. Better than PtE? I'd say so.

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Photo of PlinyTheYoungest
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks sleepydave for sending me this bottle!

A: Comes out a dark-ish orange with a very thin white layer of bubbles on top. This must be what they mean by "carbonated at pub draft levels".

S: Any worry of this being just another East Coast malt bomb is erased when I smell this beer. A rush of floral, fruity, pungent hops overwhelms my senses.

T: This is a delicious fruity yet bitter DIPA that impressed even a west coast hop enthusiast like myself. Reminds me a lot of Kern's Citra, which is saying a lot. The hop profile is mainly of the citrusy mango variety accompanied with quite a bit of bitterness. The malt backbone has a very grainy dry characteristic to it, which helps let the hops be the star of the show.

M: Good level of carbonation, keeps it from being foamy or frothy. Not thin or watery at all. Kinda sticks to your teeth and gums to keep the hops lingering.

D: Pretty drinkable, can't really taste the alcohol, but you can feel the 8% abv a bit. Multiple glasses would probably get you quite warm.

This is a great DIPA, fellow Cali BA's, believe it. I'll probably never have it again unless they finally decide to can it or I make a trip to VT, which is sad. I'd put this beer up against the top DIPA's we've got out here. Great job Alchemist!

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

Thanks to Ataraxia, I finally get a chance to slay this one! The directions say "drink from the can" but, at least for the first one, I have to pour it out and get a good look at it. Pours a golden-orange color, some straw around the very edges - mostly opaque and hazy. Many people bring up the unadulterated, unfiltered look of Heady Topper, though mine doesn't have the liberal amounts of sediment that would showcase this. Rather it appears quite clean, with maybe a tiny bit of very small particles that have seemingly vanished five minutes into this one. Either way, a nice looking beer with a super foamy, just-off-white head that leaves pretty tremendous lacing atop the glass.

The aroma - simply fantastic. It's fruity, all right. Huge amounts of grapefruit, mango, pineapple, citrus. Very interesting - the fruit has a nice, pithy aroma along with the typical component of juicy, tropical sweetness. Despite being so vibrant and powerful, it's almost difficult to say the fruit component "stands out", seeing as how the hops are nearly just as amped up. Heavy, heavy pine, super slick and resinous oils, grassy and floral, with a dank weed aroma following it all up. The bitterness can be spotted from the nose, but is combated by the fruity goodness. Definitely one of the most unique smelling beers out there, the aroma is doing nothing but getting me excited to finally bring this one to my lips.

HT glides through my palate; across my tongue and against every corner of my mouth, with a medium, slick body, pumped full of carbonation. The flavors explode all at once, like a time bomb of hop-filled citrus fruits going off inside my jaws. From the fruit-side of things, you've got the intense grapefruit, pineapple, mango, and some other tropical fruit that is hard to identify, but clearly stands out - I want to say maybe guava? Either way, very tropical and exploding with fruit. "Juicy" would be a good way to describe the fruit profile. Mouth-watering juiciness.

But it doesn't stop there, just like in the aroma, the hops match the fruit on the palate as well; thick and heavily resinous hop oils cascade over your taste buds, pine needles left and right, wet, dank weed, grass, flowers and intense floral flavors. Bitterness is abound and definitely resounding far into the aftertaste. The malts bring a bready and somewhat sweet character to the table, but don't do much else than that. From a DIPA this highly acclaimed, though, you don't really expect much from the malt, do you? Super bitter, piney, resinous, and citrus peel-y aftertaste.

Guuuhh. Well all you people certainly weren't kidding. Heady Topper is a delicious fucking beer and if I was in Vermont, it's probably all I would drink. How does it compare to my other favorite hop monsters, like Pliny the Elder, Hopslam, or DRIPA? Well, it'd be hard to say whether I like HT "better" than any of them, because despite being a Double IPA, it is still vastly discernible from the rest. Nevertheless, the acclaim Heady Topper receives is deserved - this beer is fantastic. A true hop-head's wet dream. Next time, I will drink from the can.

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

Very nice, dank and piney aroma and taste. Very balanced between malt sweetness and hop bitterness. Only downside for me is the lack of some tropical fruit and the alcohol being just a bit too present.

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Photo of phillybeer7779
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 1.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured a can into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

Appearance- orange-ish in color, large amount of floaties in the glass. Not the prettiest beer in the world.
Smell- Pure citrus hops, mainly get simcoe on the nose
Taste- More citrus, grapefruit up front with a lemon lime aftertaste
Mouthfeel- Kinda numbs the tongue a little with the hop blast, alcohol is pretty much completely hidden.
Overall- Great beer! One of the uglier examples of the style, but appearance is probably the least important attribute of a beer. Still, anyone giving 4-5s across the board are wrong.

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

First of all, a big thanks to Drazzamatazz who sent out this special beer. Cheers!

Appearance - Pours into my Bell's Tulip with a hazy, dark caramel color. Over a finger of slight tan head is achieved with a moderate pour, that dissipates slowly, leaving nice looking lacing on the sides of my glass.

Smell - The first time I smelled this I had an initial aroma of onion...like Gubna. This scared me. Hence I waited a few minutes for the beer to breathe and was awarded most generously. Juicy citrus notes of grapefruit, orange, mango, and slight pineapple. Next comes the pines and resin, followed by a not as hoppy kick as expected, and just a hint of the aforementioned onion aroma.

Taste - Hot damn. Up front I get more pine than the citrus aroma would have led me to believe. Next come the wonderful hop flavors - not too bitter but also not so faint as to overlook their presence. The middle of the taste lends itself to the nice juicy citrus flavors which are spot on with the smell (I feel this is where it differs from PtE - a bit more citrus here). It ends with slight piney bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, very creamy (more so than PtE in my opinion) and finishes a hint dry like PtE.

Drinkability - Damn quaffable. Honestly, a freaking great DIPA. I see some lower reviews and I honestly can't understand why? Having this side by side a fresh PtE, this is so close to it. If this was readily available like PtE, I would buy this alongside it. A very enjoyable beer, and well worth the trade for it. It has its differences from PtE, but that is why I would freaking love to have both of these in my refrigerator at the same time. So similar yet so different. My first experience from The Alchemist and a hugely positive one at that. As stated, very glad I was able to try this. Again, this is not just hype in my opinion, this really is a top notch, top 5 DIPA in my book.

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Photo of jmarsh123
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep orange almost amber or brown with a frothy off white two finger head leaving supreme lacing down the glass.

Smells of pineapple, tropical fruits and a little bit of caramel. Everything about this beer is fantastic so far.

Strong citrus flavors hit at the front of the tongue balanced out in the middle with some caramel malt. Finishes with a light piney resin bitterness.

A little bit sappy and good carbonation levels.

Fantastic beer. Not the very best of the style I've had, but right up there.

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

Poured from 500ml can into a stemmed tulip glass (beer was 6 days old)

A: Very cloudy (murky?) with some large-ish sediment floating around. Heady is an unfiltered beer, but this this seems excessive and other similar unfiltered DIPAs do not have this problem. The beers pours a nice orangey color and forms a huge, thick white head and leaves nice lacing behind.

**Edit: Having a few more cans of Heady, I have found the sediment to much less in other cans leaving the pour very hazy/cloudy which is fine by me! Therefore, increased the appearance score from 3.25 to 4.0 to 4.25**

S: To die for! A massive hop nose dripping of pine tar and grapefruit.

T: Hops again with big grapefruit and other citrus flavors (sweet oranges and tangerines) as well as though classic American bittering hops drying the beer out a bit. Complimenting this heavy hops regiment is the perfect malt profile balancing out the brew. A long dry clean finish.

M: Medium body and carbonation. Very clean and round.

O: This is just a great balanced beer! It is not the hoppiest beer nor the maltiest, but it achieves perfect balance and is incredibly easy drinking. One of the few double/imperial IPAs that leaves your primed for a second!

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Photo of weeare138
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

22oz bottle into a snifter glass

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

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

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

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

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

SkÅL!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

M- Heavy, almost syrupy beer. Love it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 2,231 ratings.
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