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Heady Topper | The Alchemist

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2,295 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: 2,295 | Ratings: 12,897
Photo of StoutElk_92
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

16 oz. can

Pours cloudy hazy gold with a creamy frothy white foam head. Smells like mango, papaya, passionfruit, guava, pineapple, orange citrus, grapefruit, toasted bready crackery malt, with bitter resinous pine and floral earthy herbal grass. Tastes like mango, papaya, passionfruit, pineapple, guava, orange citrus, grapefruit, some toasted bready crackery malt, with dank floral earthy herbal grass and bitter resinous pine. Feels medium bodied, slick and creamy with moderate low carbonation. Overall a really nice and balanced DIPA.

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Photo of MikeWard
4.76/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

From last night.

Well, it's my birthday and what better way to celebrate than by having my first Heady. A huge thanks to Jon Hand for setting me up with this.

Poured from a 16oz can into a pint glass. (Sorry , can't bring myself to drink from the can) Very hazy yellow body with a few small floaties. White bubbly head, leaves decent lacing. Good carbonation. Became clearer over the course of my drinking it.

Aroma is of hops, hops, hops, and citrus fruit.

Took my time over this one, but the taste on this is really top notch. The citrus, the pineyness, the hoppiness, the ever so faint alcohol burn at the end are as good as it gets. It's a beer that literally makes your mouth water as you're drinking it.

Mouth is closer to full than medium. Nice hop bite around the edge of the tongue that lingers.

Overall, have been looking forward to this one for some time, and it did not disappoint. Have 3 other Alchemist beers in the fridge courtesy of Jon, looking forward to getting into those as well.

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Photo of ryno6616
4.98/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Gave it a 5 for looks, simply because I wasn't going to give it less when I have no idea what it looks like since I drink it from the can as instructed.
What can I say that hasn't been said before.
Top notch - not much if any thing better out there.

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Photo of AmeriCanadian
4.32/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Finally got the chance to try Heady courtesy of a buddy who shipped me a can. Probably 2+ months old, poured into a tulip glass. Look is a golden-straw color, slightly hazy, well carbonated, with a fluffy white head that holds well and laces gently. Smell is initially fairly subdued, with grapefruit rind and citrus, dank, dank grassiness, light biscuit, sweet tropical fruit, and a little onion. As the beer warms those aromas intensify greatly and wonderfully, especially the sweet tropical fruit and dankness. Taste is honestly more mellowed than I expected. Definitely juicy and fruity and citrusy, but not really uniquely so. But so damn drinkable. Soft bitterness, grassy herbalness, and light biscuit to go along with the citrus and tropical fruitiness. Goes down so damn easy. Feel is fuller than it looks, quite silky and luscious. Really wonderful beer. The hype would be hard for any beer to live up to, especially one that is intended to be extra-crushable. Certainly will drink it any time I can, and will continue to seek out opportunities for it, but not sure I would say it's the best IIPA I've ever had in a world where many brewers are pushing the sensory envelope. But man I wish I had easier access to it, because this is one you'd love to have on hand at all times.

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Photo of thatche2
4.96/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured from a 16 of can into a tulip glass.

Appearance is a hazy yellow/light brown with two finger thick head.

Smell is a plethora of hops with peach, biscuit, earthy, herb (thyme), hay, grapefruit, and yeast flavors. There is also a hint of pine and general juicy notes.

Taste also has a ton of hop flavor with peach/mango and earthy hop flavors leading the way. Pine is slightly mlre present the in the aroma. This beer has some lingering bitterness, but I acclimated to it the more I drank.

Mouthfeel is incredibly smooth and soft up front and through the mid palate with a nice crisp finish (medium full in body).

Overall this is an incredible double ipa. Hops are clearly the focus but there is a nice malt backbone that is light in sweetness hiding in the background. The mouthfeel, which is incredibly soft yet effervescent, puts this beer over the top. This is one of the best beers that I have had the pleasure of tasting.

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Photo of hgw605
4.62/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: murky hazy orange. Big head and retention.
S: Can smell this beer from miles away. Crazy pine and citrus notes.
T: Pretty fantastic. Bitter, resinous, slightly tropical. Lingers for a while. Nice at first but eventually overwhelms.
F: Incredibly full. Probably medium carbonation but feel likes my whole mouth is full of hops.
O: Fantastic beer. Not sure it is the best out there as hype suggests but pretty damn good for a beer that has been around this long.

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Photo of Mbaldyga
4.86/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Loved it! Had the opportunity to share with some friends that have tried every IPA. They all said it is fantastic. Taste is great. Drinking out of the can works as well as in a glass. This one will not dissapoint.

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Photo of ThrewRedButter
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

L - Hazy orange with two fingers of white head

S - Dank hop juice, some grapefruit and lots of pine

T - Tropical juices and then delicious hop oils. Pine needles and a dank finish. Bitterness isn't overly intense and this is sweet at times. Drinking from the can envelopes the entire beer with that dank quality.

F - Perfect. Good carbonation, never syrupy. Drinks lighter than 8%.

O - A nearly perfectly-balanced beer filled with all of those unfiltered goodies and is still drinker-friendly.

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Photo of jfitzbrew
4.07/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rarely if ever had a beer with such aroma from a can that it permeates the entire space. That being said, that is the best part about this beer. Too sweet, alcohol is quite present, and has a lingering bitterness that some people love but I find overwhelming. Still great but not worth the hype. Focal Banger is more deserving of this.

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

Clearly, the best beer ever brewed. Love it! First tried it in the Burlington Airport. Friends talked me into trying it. I thought, well, it is another beer. News flash: It is not any other beer, but the best beer. The hops seem to wrap around your brain and you float away to another world.

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

For me, just a perfectly balanced IPA. Fresh, herbal, piney, just enough citrus, crisp, but soft enough to be juicy. Love it all around, and one of those beers that deserves the hype. That being said, I'll probably very rarely drink it unless I happen to be in Vermont and happen to be at some place that actually has it- and that's okay. As good as it is, just drink fresh and local when it comes to IPAs- there are plenty of amazing, or at least very solid ones out there, and all over the place.

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Photo of Laxmanjohn
4.81/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I liked the beer, but did not think that the taste was enough different than many others to get such a great review. But I will take a case of them at any time!!

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

Do believe the hype, but the difficulty of getting ahold of some (having to stake out stores or plan your day around procuring a 4-pack) gets frustrating.

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Photo of kculrich
4.51/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just what the world has been waiting for: another Heady review...

From the 16oz can, undated but almost certainly canned the last week of June. Served in an imperial pint/nonic.

The pour is profoundly clouded but not murky - I can see the shadow of my fingers through the glass. The colour is a cheerful sunshiney gold with a creamy two-finger head, decent retention and gobs of sloppy lacing.

Smell is biscuity and earthy, dankly herbal, peach and strawberry, orange juice and balsam.

The taste is clean biscuit, orange juice and fresh-cut balsam upfront. After two months in my fridge the underlying malt character is prominent and drinks as smooth as glass. Grassy herb and oily tropical fruit notes. Finishes with a briefly lingering sappy bitterness.

Feel is medium-bodied, thick and creamy, with ample carbonation.

I've had these Headies refrigerated all summer and, what with one thing and another, I've been drinking them down at the rate of only one or two cans a week. I can now state authoritatively that, despite the can's admonition to 'drink fresh,' to my taste, they are reaching their peak of excellence at two months old.

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Photo of CTbrew32
4.19/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

appearance- Golden in color with a slight amber hue, hazy bordering on turbid, and pours a fizzy two inch head.

aroma- Grapefruit and pine stand out the most with sweeter fruits mixing in there as well (mango, orange, pineapple).

taste- Starts off with sweet hops like citrus, orange, and pineapple. Towards the middle grapefruit starts to dominate and brings in some acidity and bitterness. A little bit of a crackery malt that provides a dry finish, but it adds little flavor.\

feel- Medium bodied, medium carbonation, some resinous hops add to to a slick feel, and finishes semi-sweet (not completely clean).

overall- A lot of hype behind this one, and it definitely lives up to it for the most part. A lot of ipas have grapefruit profiles but this definitely stands out has being one of the most intense grapefruit forward ipas I've had. Only knock on this beer is that I wish it was a little cleaner in the finish. I t has some slick resinous oils and malt sweetness that lingers a bit too long. While this is a great beer, I wouldn't say its the best beer in the country, and I wouldn't even say its the best DIPA out there. That being said it is a unique beer of high quality and that's what makes it worth seeking out. There are very few DIPAs that match the same level of hop intensity that can be found on the shelves.

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Photo of Jesterr44
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was lucky enough to pick up 8 of these on a trip through Vermont. Gotta give it a perfect 5 because it's the best beer I've ever tasted & now the beer to which I compare all PAs upon tasting. When you open the can, you get hit with a citrus/pine aroma hop blast even if you're not all that up close that is refreshing all on its own even before tasting. Then put in a mouthful & let the full hop taste cover your tongue & hit you with citrus/melon/pine/dank flavours before fading to a faint bitterness that is pleasant, unlike many IPAs, so much so that I hesitate to use the word bitterness. I've had 5 now & switched to drinking from the can as per instructions. Even though I think it's all in my head, it's tasting even better that way. My favourite way to savour one of these: Open at around 8C or a few degrees above fridge temperature. Open outside on a nice hot day & enjoy the aroma & the fantastic flavour of the first few sips. Then, jiggle it up a bit to let a bit of the carbonation subside & enjoy the increased smoothness & slightly altered flavours for the 2nd half of the can. Beer heaven!

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Photo of Meyers1023
4.81/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

So this is supposed to be the Holy Grail of beer! I'm drinking from the can first like it says to. As you open the can you can smell sweet hops, very fruity but then comes the pine. Exactly what you'd expect from such a hyped beer. Took the first few sips from the can and its hard to explain how good this beer is. I will fall into the category of people who may overhype this beer but it was delicious! I feel it taste better when poured into a good IPA glass. I will be making trips to Vermont any chance I get to have this and anything else The Alchemist have to offer.

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Photo of Chuckdiesel24
4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

The starting point for all NE hazy IPAs, this and Tree House changed my perspective on beer.
It looks hazy, though you're supposed to drink it from the can.
The main smells I got was a great citrus and dank mix
Tastes strong - it doesn't hide the 8% well, but it's also just about the right level of bitterness.
Feel is borderline chewy! Goes well with the taste

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Photo of edward_boumil
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Drank majority out of the can. Poured a bit into a tulip for look and because I usually drink out of a tulip.
L: Pale yellow colored, hazy and turbid but still see-through.
S: Very malt forward. Reminds me a lot of a blond ale, very bready, grainy (similar to Eureka! by Treehouse). Smells sweet. Surprisingly hops here are more floral and restrained, slight hints of fruit (that of citra), citrus, also some blueberry.
T: Hops come through heavier here. They are floral, pithy, and have a nice wet plant/cut grass sort of character. Lots of citrus, get that sweet grapefruit/orange flavor, also some blueberry. Malts are very prominent, super smooth and provide a repeat of the nose, but it rounds out the hops perfect. Balance is perfect in this beer.
F: Frothy, light mouthfeel. High carbonation. Insanely drinkable.
O: This beer was not at all what I expected. Most people praise the sky over the hops in this, but I think the malt is the unsung hero here. The hops are great though, don't get me wrong. But what brings this beer to the next level is the balance. An +8% beer should not be this drinkable.

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Photo of llabbe
4.89/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Having the HT, which I was kindly offered by a generous friend :)
S: The nose is intense and overwhelming especially given it's out of the can.

T: The balance is insanely perfect, never is there anything feeling overdone. Lasting after taste, gently fading with evolving notes of citrus, mostly grapefruit but some blood orange. Next sip: first flavours are instantaneously malty then the hop kicks in with sweet orange, gradually evolving to grapefruit. I'm not savvy enough to identify the transition but at some point it even feels like peaches or mangos.

L: I thought i would pour some in a glass but I think I won't, don't want to ruin it :) Ended up pouring an few ounces, paler than I would have expected for some reason.
F: I feel like carbonation could be slightly stronger but it's probably me trying to find something negative given the hype.
O: after the second sip, I was thinking of my next trip to VT and how I would be in the parking lot at 7 am. I think it says enough :)
On another note, my burps taste like pure grapefruit. Seriously. This is awesome.

Ears: Metallica with SF Symphony with Bose headphones. No leaf clover. The SFS opening with the following explosion of Met is the exact sound reproduction of the first sip.

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Photo of Cannibalgasm
4.82/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

After years of hearing all the hype about this brew, and wondering if I'd ever get the chance to try it without making a special trip to Vermont, I finally hold a can of this "whale" in my hand. I'd like to give a special thanks to Jason for this amazing gift. My excitement is mounting, time to crack it open...

Poured a small amount into a sample snifter for appearance, I will enjoy the rest from the can as instructed.

A: Pours a hazy golden straw color, with a beautiful foamy white head.

S: Very intense and pleasant hoppy, and fruity aromas immediately bombard the nostrils. Fresh citrus rind, grapefruit, blood orange, mango, and other tropical fruits meld perfectly with a dank herbal hoppyness. I also pick up some slight hints of sweet bread like malts, honey, and even fresh mint. It's pretty incredible how quickly the smell dominates the senses immediately as the can is cracked open, it instantaneously wowed me. This is quite possibly the best aroma I have ever gotten from an IPA especially considering the fact that you get so much of it even when drinking from a can. This is unprecedented for me.

T: Holy f**k! I have been drinking some absolutely savage IPA's lately, but this is on a whole other level. Big Flavors of citrus and tropical fruits blast your taste buds, and follow the mold the aromas lay out for you. Grapefruit, blood orange, apricot, lemon, mango and papaya blend together perfectly with grassy herbal, and resiny pine hop bitterness, and a subtly sweet malt backbone. This is one of the best tastes to have ever graced my tongue. I am beyond impressed, I didn't think it could be this good, damn was I wrong.

M: Full bodied with a nice juicy character. Medium to high amount of bubbly carbonation. Very slight hint of alcohol warmth. Rediculously drinkable with a crisp refreshing finish and pleasant lingering bitterness.

O: Wow! I must say this transcended all of my expectations, and surpassed the hype. I may legitimately shed a tear when I take my last sip. I wish I could get this regularly because I would drink it everyday if I could. I have had probably well over a 1,000 brews and this is one I would easily put in my top 25. It may take the cake as far as IPA's go. Obviously there are still some great ones I have yet to try, but at this moment in time this is my new benchmark IPA. If you ever have the chance to try this DO IT! Truly a nectar of the Gods beer.

Thanks again Jason!

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Photo of Bloodbuzz99
4.52/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally got a hold of one after many years of longing...it was delicious no doubt, but not life-altering as I expected. The aroma is killer: fresh cut grass, grapefruit, hit you immediately and you know you have something really good. Finishes with a mild bitterness that stays on the tongue but not obtrusively. You'd never know it's 8% based on taste.

Honestly, similar beers that I would reach for before Heady: Psuedo Sue and Creature Comfort's Automatic - would strongly suggest Heady fans seek these out.

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Photo of Bwag
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

So much hype, but almost worth it. An amazing beer - certainly one of the best I've ever had. Not sure I'd wait in long lines for a 4-pack, but I'd also never turn one down!

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Photo of toca
4.39/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I've had this beer a number of times and most recently at a restaurant serving it in the Burlington area. IMO, it is still an outstanding beer, but in this one can I drank it seemed different - thinner, less of a mouth feel to it along with fainter smell and taste. I believe the increase in production over the past few years may have something to do with it or possibly it was an off can or even my own taste buds changing. Still wouldn't pass on a 4-pack though!

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

I just tasted Heady Topper from the can as instructed. Hop aroma of citrus, piney and some dank. Tastes explodes with carbonation bitterness. This dies down and the hop flavors explode, peach, mango and grapefruit. WOW ! ! ! What just happened ? Another taste and WOW ! ! ! ! !

Second Heady, I poured a little in a glass. Cloudy as expected as is unfiltered and fermented with Conan yeast. But still WOW ! !

This is the best craft beer I have ever tasted.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.66 out of 5 based on 12,897 ratings.
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