Heady Topper | The Alchemist

2,349 Reviews
Heady TopperHeady Topper

Brewed by:
The Alchemist
Vermont, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
"An American Double IPA" 75 IBU 8.0% ABV. "Drink from the can."

Added by scottum on 03-27-2004

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Reviews: 2,349 | Ratings: 13,241
Photo of Ark500
4.23/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I have one a few times a year, always great beer and each time I had a different experience.
Age of beer, enviorment and mood change this beer.
Gotta love it.

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Photo of mpavao71
4.14/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Undoubtedly a very good DIPA; however, it did not live up to the hype as one of the best beers in the U.S. for me. In my opinion, it is not even the best beer by The Alchemist (an excellent brewer).

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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.

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Photo of joaopmgoncalves
4.69/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured to a tulip glass.

A: The body just a bit hazy, not like the New Englad IPA styles, not terribly juicy but hazy enough to provide some presence in the glass. The head, when poured, had a thickness of 1 finger but after the beer settled, it got very minimal showing yet lots of retention. No lacing.
S: The aroma is more fruity than expected. There's lots of mango and pineapple instead of the regularly expected earthy and resinous aromas. This is really cool for an intro. It smells a lot better coming from the can than when poured into a glass.
T: The taste is incredibly as it has a good fruity profile of almost no citrus but lots of mango and pineapple. After the first sip you finally the earthy and resinous profiles of this beer but they're not that strong. The hoppiness is awesome.
M: The mouthfeel of this beer is actually the thing that caught my 'eye'. It's incredibly smooth, being very very velvety, having an also perfect carbonation. Bitterness is not as high as expected but this beer has at least 4 weeks. Yet, it's just perfect.
O: Overall, it's not my favorite IPA but you can feel the hype on the mouthfeel. It's easily a Top5 though.

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Photo of j_d_b
4.61/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Ah, heady topper. Had several times but this is my first time writing a review. Ignored the advice on the can, of course, and poured into a tulip.

Nice foamy white head, a little golden tinge to it. Retention is pretty good, and lacing is excellent. Nice little bubbles streaming up from the bottom. Golden orange-yellow and really hazy, though not thickly opaque.

Feathery floral smell with pine and light fruit. Some kind of citrus and other tropical aroma.

This beer is damn smooth, that’s for sure. Juicy, a little thinner than might be expected, but nice mildly sharp presence on the tongue.

Far from an aggressive beer, there is no strong bitterness or overpowering flavors. Starts fruity, becomes piney, then citrus, finishing with a little malty sweetness aftertaste. Well-rounded, with unobtrusive flavor and great complexity. Very nice.

I had a few cans of this, some from a month ago and one that I forgot about from mid-October. I don’t know which this is, though if it’s the October one, that’s certainly pushing it in terms of freshness, and perhaps that has some impact on the relatively light aroma and slightly thin texture.

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Photo of Blackop555
4.61/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Mostly drank out of can as instructed. Pours hazy gold with a medium head that is foamy doesn't last

Smells of citrus, lemon, light malt, light pine, light grassy

Tastes great. Very well balanced. Citrus mostly lemon and Orange with nice malt. Light grassy. Finish is mostly dry with a pine linger. Medium body with creamy medium carbonation.

This is the juiciest double I've ever had

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Photo of weakascheese
4.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Holy sweet mother of pearl that's exceptional. It's a bigger beer than Focal Banger? I get so... 7% vs 8%.

Balance. Super soft on the palate. Sweet citrus, particularly orange and clementines. Floral and subtle pine.

Freakin delicous and unfortunately crushable... because I only have one.

If I had one beer to drink for the rest of my life it would undoubtedly be...... i don't know..... but the fabled Heady would almost certainly come to mind.

I'm in Jersey so I had to twist a few arms to get my hands on this gem. I guess to get Heady you have to give it....

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Photo of austinparker
4.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Honestly, best beer I've ever had and I didn't even have it fresh. My aunt who lives in Ireland bought some in the states and she saved some for me when I went and visited her in Ireland.

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Photo of Skrat45
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Simply one of the best! My number one of any style beer. Not even going to try and describe it you just have to try it! Just drink it fresh it does loose a little something over time. Best right off the truck or go to the brewery

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Photo of JBC5
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After a great family day, of finally skiing with my southern born family, due to military life. I asked for a plain beer...then a great buddy said I had to try this one. I declined, stating I just need any beer. He refused, presenting me the Heady Topper. I was blown away. Taste, Smell, Sight,...Best Ever. Been around the world, drank lots of famous beers. Amazed at the taste of Heady Topper. Only problem, I am not the only one who agrees and it's very hard to get. Impossible down south.

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Photo of 413
3.85/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm not one for IPAs, so I had to check my bias, but I can see why Heady Topper is hyped like it is. I first drank it straight from the can as recommended, ice cold at a restaurant in Burlington. It goes down unbelievably smooth for a Double IPA, and it finishes just as clean. The flavor is filled to the brim with high quality hops. Not my cup of tea, but for the IPA freak, it's worth the trip to cozy Vermont.

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Photo of Markhdougherty
4.62/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L-clear, often with little floaters
S-one of the most aromatic beers ever, smells like a bag of weed, with strong citrus grapefruit.
T-the first taste of the beer completely blew me away. Had it on tap a Prohibition pig in 2012. However after having it many times the novelty wears off.
O-I love what Heady started and enjoy one every time I ski in VT. It is at the top of my list but no longer my favorite.

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Photo of fureyous
4.82/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I have been digging NE IPAs since they've been so big lately in SoCal and decided to spend a wad getting this (fresh) out west, it was way worth it. I also ordered Crushed and Focal Banger as part of the haul, but this is the original so he goes first. Poured the first HT into a cold tulip glass without swirling to peep the glory then the second out of the can. The can experience was far better, I actually preferred it colder. Nice light yellow hazy honey color with a finger high head and pretty lacing which coated the glass even after it was gone.

Way worth the hype. I love the murk of CA's attempts at this style but the nice balance of flavors (I picked up more mango and grapefruit cold from the can and then more floral notes as it warmed up in my glass, nothing was overpowering, though), silky mouthfeel and fresh hoppyness trifecta are better than any I have had out there. I think if you prefer one taste over another you'll find a favorite elsewhere but this has everything in perfect moderation.

Definitely doesn't taste or smell as boozy as an 8 pointer, a fine big beer for day drinking! I am really glad I tried this after years of telling myself I would. If you're on the fence, DO IT.

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Photo of pink_elephants
4.23/5  rDev -9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Fortunate enough to bring in the new year with two cans. Neighbor had a friend bring some down in September...keeping the cans ice cold the entire way to Maryland. I was forced to drink it from the can...per the instructions and the insistence of my neighbor, so the look and smell are both 5. Taste was very good, but didn't blow me away. The mouthfeel was very good for a double IPA and I never did want to stop drinking it. I want it more now that I can't easily get it here in Maryland. Will be road tripping to Vermont very soon. I want to try it poured into a cold pint glass.

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Photo of Umdrunner
4.53/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from can into snifter (couldn't quite follow the can rules). Hazy straw color with fluffy white head that had excellent retention and lacing. Scent was grapefruit, lemon, a touch of mango, and very piny. The flavor followed the scent with a high bitterness that was balanced well with the smooth sweet malt. Quite a resinous taste/feel on this one. The mouthfeel made this beer stand out. I've only had a few beers that match this mouthfeel on an IPA, almost seems to coat your mouth with smoothness while maintaining a crispness from the carbonation. Great beer!

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Photo of jth63
4.99/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm guessing the few bad reviews are the result of someone getting an old can or one that got too warm. I generally do not like IPA'so that are over 7% ABV - too many hops to mask the sweetness. This ale is so well balanced and not at all heavy. My son who goes to school in Vermont brought me a case for Christmas. The best gift I've ever gotten. Truly lives up to the hype. It is extremely important that you do not let this ale get warm, that will totally funk it ul.

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Photo of aac5269
4.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

First time trying to coveted brew. It was about 8 days old.

Appreance: Golden and slightly hazy. Bubbly white head on top.

Nose: Bitter citrus, lemon, grapefruit (not the west coast grapefruit, something more succulent), reminds me of a sweet lemongrass pastry

Taste: complex, there's some bitter citrus, some hoppy grassiness, all balanced by a pleasant malty sweetness, and the carbonation is fantastically dancing on my palate

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Photo of MacMalt
4.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First time! Poured into IPA glass. It pours a lovely golden-amber color with two full fingers of fluffy, egg-white head and lacing with excellent retention. I don't understand why so many claim it has to be drunk from the can because of its appearance. It's a very attractive pour. It smells of bready malt, grass, pine needles, lemon peel, and grapefruit. Wow, what a perfect balance of malt, fruit, and hops. The first taste is the somewhat sweet, bready malt. It's no fruit bomb; the citrus is subtle, delicate. There are touches of tropical sweetness and vanilla, particularly as the glass warms a little. Then the hops explode, bitter and biting. The after taste is bitter - in a good way. This ale it medium-bodied, with pleasant carbonation, and a reasonable 8% ABV that allows for easy drinking. You can down a couple of these. Overall, it's an exquisite DIPA and merits its lofty ratings. I'm glad I was finally able to experience it. Road trip to Vermont?

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Photo of Tiburon
4.3/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Creature of habit, I opened it and immediately poured it into tulip glass. Sorry bro....
Smooth but heavy mouth presence, I detected some mango and mild grapefruit.Definite malt backbone on this can. A good beer, but I don't think it is superior to other hoppy bombs I have had. Cool name though..

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Photo of DaverCS
4.73/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

While instructed to drink from the can, most of the review (besides the first few smells and sips) was poured into my Pliny the Elder pint glass (ironic, I know).

The beer pours a hazy, light orange color with 2 fingers of a long-lasting fluffy white head. Clearly unfiltered with some sediment that was originally not included, but I decided to pour in after the first few sips. Great lacing.

Aroma is a hybrid between east coast juice and west coast pine/grapefruit. I get tons of pine, grapefruit, pineapple, mango, some papaya, and a generic bright citrus. Some floral hop notes as well.

Taste is aggressively hopped but not overdone, moderate to high level of bitterness, with just enough malt to ensure it’s not a total hop bomb. Despite the rather high ABV, the beer has just the right amount of carbonation to mimic that of something a few notches lower. No alcohol burn or heat. Grapefruit pith is the shining fruit in this mix. Some grassy hop notes, with some pine. A lot less tropically than I was expecting, but those flavors do begin to surface as the beer warms. I do enjoy this better than Pliny – better carbonation, mouthfeel, and flavor. Again, as the beer warms, much more citrus notes and a bit of peach and apricot are detectable.

Overall, this is a great beer. In and of itself does it warrant a trip to Vermont to try… I would say no. However, with all of the great beers located within the region, a regional brewery trip would be great. While incredibly hoppy with layers of flavors, it isn’t so much superior that it warrants a plane ride and a couple hundred dollars. That isn’t to say that I did not love this beer, because I absolutely did. I recommend drinking this beer by itself. It gets a 94.5/100.

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Photo of ctylinebeer
4.39/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.75

16 oz can poured into a tulip for review purposes. Only available in Vermont, acquired through a trade.

L - bright yellow color, hazy and clear hue. Two finger head with lacing focused towards the top of the glass

S - aroma is slightly muted, but it seems to be a mixture of all sorts of IPA notes. Very pleasant actually

T - super smooth, it's crazy! Grapefruit all the way but no detection of booze or malt at all. Super clean and tasty

F - super drinkable and clean, like you're drinking a pale ale.

O - I can see why there's hype but some other breweries can replicate this balance. However, this is granddad of whales and Double IPAs and certainly deserves the pedestal it is on. Bucket list beer for sure, so sad to see it leave my fridge.....Cheers!

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Photo of bigdaddymick
4.06/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can't rate the look since it's canned. I actually expected more of a pungent kick from such an esteemed IPA but the overall character and mouth feel is very tame. Subtle dryness with moderate grassy/pine notes. Fairly light on the carbonation as well. Overall, a fantastic beer but a little underwhelming I must say. On par with the Jacks Abby Kiwi Rising I tried last week which isn't nearly as exclusive.

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Photo of h0wdy
4.68/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Heady Topper has a hoppy smell with a hazy look. This tastes like a mouthful of hops and the feeling is a great one. Overall, I feel like this is a drink you can't pass on.

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Photo of JBowenGeorgia
4.78/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Finally acquired a couple cans in a trade. It was quite tasty! Had the first can from a glass, beautiful hazy orange gold, nice hoppy aroma, citrusy piney taste but a little weaker than expected. Second can from the can and definitely much better, taste lingered on the palate, very smooth texture. A very good brew!

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Photo of Lonborgski
4.42/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From a 16oz can at a Burlington restaurant. I had to ask for a glass to look at it, which received a scornful look from the waitress. They do take "Drink from the Can" seriously.
Overall, not my favorite New England Double IPA. My first, Epiphany on tap at the Foundation brewery was eye-opening. The fruity smell, the cloudy unfiltered haze, the balanced crisp but not bitter taste showed me what the hype was about fresh double IPA's. Epiphany is still my standard, but my favorite is now Florens around the other side of 1 Industrial Way--you have to root for the little guy.
Back to Heady Topper, by the time I poured my can and sipped from it too, there wasn't much fruitiness and the pour was clear, not cloudy. The taste was pleasant, balanced and enjoyable, but not like a fresh double at the brewery. I'll stick to my neighborhood and stop chasing something better.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.65 out of 5 based on 13,241 ratings.
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