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Heady Topper | The Alchemist

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
100
world-class
2,229 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:
2,229
Ratings:
12,545
Avg:
4.66
pDev:
16.52%
 
 
Wants:
9,035
Gots:
4,848
For Trade:
62
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,229 | Ratings: 12,545
Photo of TheBigJohnson
4.91/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

To date, one of the most enjoyable beers that I've ever drank.

The only thing you need to know is that you must try it. Perfect balance of powerful hops with the perfect combination of finishing flavors like grapefruit, pineapple, peach, and caramel.

It's amazing how easy it is to drink, but it's just that good.

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Photo of enulcwww
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This is everything a beer should be amazing drinkability great odor and taste this is just everything that I could possibly want in a beer experience. The presentation of the can is perfect and well worth the journey into the middle of no where Vermont. While 72 for a case may seem high I would be willing to spend over and over again.

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Photo of kkoehnlein
4.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Nice hazy orange color. Very nice off-white head.

Smell: Incredible hop aroma! Everything you love about the smell of fresh hops.

Taste: Perfect balance and harmony...bitter but not too bitter...wonderful hop flavors but not too much...malty but not too malty...wow!

Mouthfeel: Nice carbonation. Much smoother/thinner than I anticipated...very drinkable. The can says it perfectly...So drinkable, it's scary

Drinkability: I feel very fortunate to have tried this beer as it is very hard to get. If you get a chance you have got to give it a try. Hard not to sound cliche with this beer but it is nearly perfect...I think I could drink it exclusively and be happy.

Serving type: can (and a cool can at that)

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Photo of SebD
4.89/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: It has a nice hazy golden/orange color to it. It has a nice off-white head that dies down moderately and leaves lovely lacing.

Smell: Holy freakin hops. It has a very fresh tropical smell of citrus, pineapple, grapefruit, piney resins, buttery malts and sweet caramel.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has alot of citrus upfront, grapefruit, pineapple, a very nice resiny pine bitterness, bready/buttery malts, sweet caramel. The flavors all work so well together. Can't ask for a better balance.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a great overall balance and feel. I can't get enough of it.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with great flavors and aromas. This is a world class beer, if you ever get the chance to try it don't hesitate. It's near perfection in a can.

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Photo of jimmaay
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First time having this brew. I must say it lived up to the hype for sure. great hoppy taste and not too bitter. very easily drinkable. I would choose this over any other ipa/dipa available. the only negative thing I can say about it is it's availability. I wish I didn't have to have it shipped out to Las Vegas! Cheers!

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Photo of kidrogers
4.76/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Was everything I hoped it to be. Thank you Danny Mac for sharing! I wish I had just one more sip, then one more can. Everyone can write more descriptive reviews, I just wanted to tell about the experience. Read a ton of opinions and this was one of the few that I whole heartedly agree with. If you have it, I am jealous, if you can find it, count yer blessings! If you have an extra share it with a friend. Drink, be fat and happy all!

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Photo of northbywest
4.44/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It's heady topper... everyone wants a piece of it. Here in burlington, people still stand in line for it and it sells out quite quickly when it hits the shelf.

A great beer- I don't do the whole 5 point review- but it's a top-notch beer. Best in the world? That's a really tough claim to validate. Scarcity drives demand, however wonderful a beer it may be.

People are definitely feeding the demand down south- the demand drives those lines at the stores around here- people are shipping it out/transporting it down to the metropolitan areas (obviously).

As far as aroma- solid, almost like pot-like. Flavor is wonderful, it hangs in your mouth, rolls off the tongue with weight but not too much. Definitely a fun beer.

As comparison, I'm partial to Lawson's double IPA (yeah, even harder to get). Never tried the Pliny's, but I'm guessing it's a toss up.

One thing my buddy -a true brewer/connoisseur- more so than myself- pointed out: the whole "Drink from the can" thing is somewhat BS- because the obvious reason is that the appearance/color is, well, pretty mediocre for beer, and somewhat crap for a beer this highly regarded. Who really cares about aesthetics, though?

I'll take a crappy appearance (don't tell us to hide it, Alchemist) for great nose!

Again, the #1 beer in the world ranking is recognized, at least around here by people that sell the stuff, as somewhat inflated by hype and scarcity- we all love it, but it's almost a hysteria for the stuff...

edit: the girlfriend made a point- 2 cans of heady topper is the max you want to drink- diminishing returns on the pleasure of drinking this scarce commodity of a beer. Two leaves you satisfied.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.71/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

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Photo of Beechner719
4.68/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured from the can. Aroma is very strong, lots of floral hops. Pours a nice golden color and white head. Taste is very strong hops that take over the more you sip it. It is one of the cloudiest beers I have ever seen. You can taste the resin right away and it is not a bad thing! This is my favorite DIPA to date.

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Photo of daledeee
4.63/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

A can traded to me by a fellow BA. What a nice gesture! A 16 oz can of the top rated beer and they tell you to drink it from the can.

Well...the first thing I did was ignore that rule because I wanted to see it and smell it. IT didn't have much head but is the cloudiest IPA I have ever seen. A very peachy color.

Nose is along the pine side with oils and caramel. Very distinct once again.

Taste: I have had lots of IPAs like everybody else. And I have had all ends of the flavor spectrum. This one falls deeply into the citrus and tropical end in my book. At the end of the drink there is a more west coast hope profile. Very complex and very balanced but yet not with the typical malts. This is really a distinct beer and really enjoyable to drink. Isn't that what matters? Something new and different and not over the edge?

The mouth feel is quite mellow and the alcohol is warming.

I must say this beer is a nice treat and would buy it constantly if it were available around here. Definitely worthy of it's head of the class rating.

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Photo of Duane_Opfer
4.91/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Special thanks to Jake Holland for providing this delicious beverage...

One pint can. Mostly consumed from the can (according to instructions on the can), but I poured a small amount into an IPA glass to review appearance. No date on can, but it was fresh...

A - Hazy mango colored liquid with a thick head. Plenty of carbonation. Cloudy, but no particulate. Delicate lacing as beer receded.

S - Intensely fragrant. Orange and some tropical fruit. Honestly, I poured very little into the glass, so I could experience the majority of it from the can. Very likely more scents to detect. Maybe next time if I get a case, I'll spend more time developing this area of the review...

T - WOW. INTENSE FLAVOR. Tart mango, lemon, and pine followed by a delicious hops bath. Significant emphasis on the wonderful hops in every swig. Very well balanced with some bready malts. Orange-rind finish. ABV is not completely hidden and compliments beer very well.

M - Luxurious foamy hop bath (had to say that again). Felt light and foamy in the mouth, but also very filling. Can't imagine it could be improved.

O - I am ruined for life. I will now continuously explore more opportunities to get my hands on more of this sweet nectar.

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Photo of Gsantollo
4.83/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I really don't feel the is anything I "can" add to this wonderful beer the only reason it feel short of perfect is because I can't drink any other beer with it, nothing before and nothing after. If I drink something before I simply don't enjoy heady as much and if I drink something after I lose the desire for beer. Other then that it is wonderful, But I have to session it by itself have 2 or 3 and call it a night.

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

Appearance- Pours up a more than a fair amount of head and seems to have pretty good retention. The head is a pure cotton white while the body is a hazy, pale to medium amber with weak grapefruit notes which glows a pale amber with hints of orange when held up to the light. Hazy but I haven't detected any of the infamous floaters. Some lacing is left behind.

Nose- Not the strongest scent that I've encountered from an IPA/DIPA but still fairly warm and inviting. Rings with citrus- grapefruit, orange, and lemon. Mellow to moldy peach. Cherries, some honey. Nice floral and perfume notes. Some banana. Quite complex but very subtle at the same time. Some papaya after swirling.

Taste- Reflective of the nose in both complexity and subtlety. Armpit and funk start off with a mixture of citrus and honey following. Some onion with lots of grapefruit and both orange and lemon peel. Very subdued matchstick which borders on sublime. The hops are incredibly fresh (this is a 3 day old can) and well rounded. The yeast and hops lend an incredible spiciness to the finish. Honey and caramel provide a sweetness that blend well with the bold citrus, tropical fruit, and mild pine and resin of the hop profile. This is very mellow and incredibly smooth for the style. Nectar seems to be the one word which bind together the entire description of this beer. Some vinous characteristics- some white grape. As this opens up, it becomes more delightful and boozy. But the booze is warm and inviting and seems to attach the flavors to your palate (or perhaps this is more the mouthfeel which seems to coat your tongue in film). Peaches, melons, banana, orange, and lemon. So many fruits and so much juiciness with the right amount of pine and resin to balance it all out. Makes me think of a less messy 120. Not sure how this ranks against the Plinys but they're all pretty close. Some funk that evokes moldy cheese and mushrooms. A hint of cinnamon.

Mouthfeel- Incredibly smooth and creamy for an IPA. This is definitely a large part of the appeal of this beer. It's almost buttery, a little bit greasy with somewhat of a dry finish which does cleanse the palate but allows the spice and wood of the finish to linger. Even the middle parts of the profile linger. Good amount of carbonation. There's tons of juice and syrup on the texture- this is pretty heavy for an DIPA. Medium bodied. Somewhat silky as well. The more it opens up, the more you mouth tingles.

Drinkability- This is extremely accessible for an IPA. I had a Boneyard RPM earlier and thought that was approachable but it doesn't even hold a candle to the near sublimity that defines this beer. 3 bucks a can is a steal for this can. I feel pretty good about paying 60 bucks for the 12 cans I was able to get.

Overall- Great beer. It isn't my favorite beer in the world but I understand why it resides at the top of the rankings. If you nitpick the flavor profile, you can judge it to be just like any other world class or outstanding IPA/DIPA. However, this beer needs to be considered as more than the sum of its parts. It is constantly involving in the mouth even after a drink has been taken. It never even approaches boring- there are different notes constantly appearing. Definitely worth a try if you can get some.

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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 biboergosum
4.45/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

16oz can, thanks to Phyl21ca for getting this across the continent to me. If we are entreated to "Drink from the Can!", then why does the label illustration show the dude getting his mind literally blown ('heady topped?'), using a GLASS?

This beer pours a cloudy medium apricot amber hue, with three fat fingers of puffy, billowy, and chunky off-white head, which leaves some thickly rendered, sudsy webbed lace around the glass as it slowly ebbs away.

It smells of sharp, bitter grapefruit and orange pith, acrid pine resin, musty forest floor detritus, a crackery sourdough maltiness, and a hint of spicy yeast. The taste is still bitter, but in a more leavened sense, as the grapefruit, tangerine, and other muddled tropical fruit display a modicum of their sugary, fleshy nature, with the pine needles still pleasantly in neutral, the yeastiness going native and ethereal, a caramel essence attaching itself to the steady bready (and, why not - heady) honey-tinted malt sweetness.

The bubbles are fairly laid-back, manifesting mostly in a mild frothiness, the body a sturdy medium weight, and smooth like unfiltered orange juice. It finishes off-dry, the slightly yeasty, and now toasty bready malt faring surprisingly well amongst the hovering hipster hops. Still no alcohol notes readily perceptible.

A DIPA worthy of its stature, but for reasons I did not quite expect - this is a hop bomb, sure, but more of the neutron variety - the attack leaves the infrastructure (i.e. my tastebuds) intact. It's all about flavour here, rather than overt bitterness or astringency, and while my mind remains unequivocally unblown, I can surely admit that this is the best combination of tasty and easy-drinking that I have ever encountered in the style. Oh, and I took a sip out of the can before I poured it - seemed the same to me.

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Photo of riy3rd
4.99/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was one of the great Craft Beer experiences that I've tasted. And after what my Mother-In-law went through to get it for me I had great expectations. And I wasn't disappointed. Great taste and finish. A beer that I could drink every day, if I could get enough.

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Photo of Lawl3ss
4.74/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Lightly chilled 16 oz. can. Picked up last Wendesday outside Burlington, VT. Poured a couple oz. into a shaker to get a look at it, the rest stayed in the can as per the brewer's printed plea.

Look- Hazy straw, a ~2 oz pour gives me three fingers of foamy off-white head that falls slowly, very nice lacing.

Smell- Dank, resinous, herbal with a buried citric quality. Whoof. Pungent. Mild sweetness, rosemary comes to mind. In your face, but not astringent or abrasive. Excellent.

Taste- Nothing too flashy, but ready to wow you nonetheless. Fresh, pungent hops explode on the taste buds. Bitterness is low, much lower than anticipated- just gobs and gobs of hop flavor. Herbal, nondescript tropical fruit, fresh pine, ginger, light sweetness that lingers. Light white toast backbone with a touch of honey. Lingering fresh, light feel.

Mouthfeel- Medium-full body, juicy, soft but present carbonation. Goes down easy... too easy? Cool, clean finish, light dryness. Did I mention clean? This stuff begs to be drunk. I could chug this- and I'm pretty sure that's a bad thing.

Overall- Very, very nice. Easy to see how they'd limit it to 12 cans/person even with a year-round release. Not the most flavor-blasted or bold DIPA on the market, but it's... quality. Don't know how else to put it- these guys aren't messing around, it's one of the freshest and most well put-together beers I've ever had the pleasure to drink. Unique mellow-ish flavor balance- perhaps the most "balanced" DIPA I've had, who knew that was a thing? Drool-worthy.

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Photo of dwren89
4.89/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: golden yellow with orange hues, white fizzy head, very hazy

Aroma: explosion of citrus and slight pine on the nose, biscuit notes, clean yeast

Taste: wonderful. Simply wonderful. Awesome balance of citrus hops with solid and noticeable biscuit notes, which are much more noticeable than in most DIPAs. The bitter but not overly so finish completes a great swig.

Mouthfeel: full bodied, big, but very drinkable. Medium finish which is nice, makes you able to come back for more drinks more often unlike some DIPAs that's are so bitter that you can only really take one sip every 5-10 minutes medium carbonation.

Overall: without question one of the best DIPAs I've ever had. Very balanced and very flavorful with huge notes of citrus and biscuit balancing each other. Medium finish and drinkable body makes for an incredibly well made beer.

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Photo of malsprower
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love this beer a lot and appreciate the fact that such a good beer is made in my home state, It will get you twisted pretty quick because to me I couldn't really taste the alcohol but instead the delicious floral hops. When I was at Nectar's bar, everyone had a Heady Topper!

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Photo of Father_Raybob
4.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance was cloudy and golden with a coppery-orange hue; moderate, bone-colored, head retention.

Aroma is very hop-forward but in a gentle well crafted manner. There is no obnoxious bright green hop attack, rather, a soft blanket of perfectly picked hop bouquet. There are wonderful notes of fully bloomed flowers and RIPE stone fruit with the citrus quality of the hops rounding out the nose.

Taste is pleasantly sweet caramel on the attack followed by, as they say, "wave after wave of hoppy goodness on your palate." The balance of bittering hops, aromatic hops and malt notes is the best I have ever enjoyed. Absolutely terrific DIPA.

Overall, I would drive 4.5 hours one-way to get this beer again. Awesome beer to share with friends that appreciate well crafted beer.

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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 ricknelson
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had this beer many times, but I still pour into a glass even though Alchemist says not too.
Sometimes I even strain the floaters out of it. It's a local beer for me and in my opinion it is not the number one beer as BA notes it to be. With so many area colleges near by the students tend to over rate this beer. Far better in my opinion is Lawson's Spirits "Double Sunshine".

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Photo of BeerEngineer
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

General - I was in Albany, NY for the holiday weekend and made my friend drive 4 hours north to VT to get me a case of this before I even arrived. I've had extremely high expectations for this beer since reading all the reviews and never getting to try it. I drank it out of the can, just like the can says to do!

Appearance - I drank it out of the can so I couldn't tell but to get a little measure, I poured some in a glass. Looks like a nice golden color but is super hazy, that's from the unfiltered aspect. Still love it, the head is frothy and slightly off white.

Aroma - Citrus and a slight smell of cut grass. There is a tangerine hit with it also. I love the smell of this guy. It's awesome.

Taste - It's like a grapefruit and a tangerine are having a baby in my glass. Pure amazingness.

Mouthfeel - It has a thick feeling to it with moderately high carbonation.

Overall - This is a great beer that I would drink more often than I can find it in Southern California. If anyone is heading to the LA area from an area where you can get this, I'll pay you with my first born child! Just kidding, but seriously this is a great DIPA. I still think that Pliny has it beat for my top beer, but for different reasons. The proprietary Conan yeast is really great, it let's the hop flavors come through while enhancing them and not muddling them. I think that the low amount of coagulation that the yeast gives is part of the reason for the creaminess.

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Photo of Justin_Neff
4.78/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: Hazy, orange body. Small fizzy bubbles. Moderate retention.

S: Pine. Floral hops. Mangos. Citrus.

T: Tons of piney hops. Virtually zero malt character. Loads of mango, grapefruit. Hype - exceeded.

M: Oily. Medium body. Prickly. Booze completely hidden.

O: This is incredible. Enough said.

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Photo of chefhatt
4.33/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I poured just a little bit into a glass, to see the color. It says to drink it from the can. It has a light burnt orange color it. The aroma is strong piney hops. The taste is a little bitter than the citrus comes in. At the end the hops bite your tongue like a rattlesnake. It leaves a bitter after taste and overall one hell of a beer.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 2,229 ratings.
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