Heady Topper | The Alchemist

2,336 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: 2,336 | Ratings: 13,165
Photo of Hagenmccombs
4.41/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Was very excited to try this benchmark IPA and am not at all disappointed. It is delicious.
L: golden orange/yellow. Huge fluffy head. Not as hazy as I expected.
S: Orange peels, freshly cut carrots, bit of grass, white crackers
T: Very citrusy and hint of pine with a sweet cracker malt as it warms. Slightly more bitter than I expected. Similar hop character to Sticky Hands.
F: Super resinous and oily with very foamy carbonation
O: Absolutely delicious. Very happy to have finally tried this.

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Photo of Drvitlkeyustolit80
4.25/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

First had 8/30/13 at a friends house. One of many, and hopefully many more. The water in Vermont plays a huge role in all of these fantastic beers that come out of that area. Or it could be something else, either way, I love when friends go up and bring me some home.

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Photo of Dukies222001
4.86/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

As good as advertised. Amazing taste lingers on your toungue. Great aroma upon pour into pint glass. I actually wasn't blown away by the look but still very pleasant. Lighter than I expected. Great feel and aftertaste. Plus beer as I expected.

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Photo of TheWolf
4.59/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Finally. A beautiful looking unfiltered beer. The nose was more tame than I expected. Great taste. Super well balanced Silky smooth feel. A very solid beer. But not the best. Maybe the hype was too much.

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Photo of Brewxer
4.08/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bit underwhelming.... maybe too much hype, maybe my expectations were to high, or maybe there are just a lot of other great IPAs out there these days. It's a great beer, but mostly just a tick off the list.

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Photo of MikeyMcD86
4.72/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Super excited to try the venerable Heady Topper! I did not drink from the can but I did pour it without rolling the can so as not to disturb the sediment.

Look: Light golden color with lots of haze. poured out with a finger of head. Nice tight bubble structure.

Smell: Pine and spruce jumps out of the glass but it definitely has that yeasty "smell of the brewery" thing that really good IPAs have. Some lemongrass in there as well but it is definitely the pine and spruce that stand out.

Taste: Super grapefruity on the front of the palate, nice and pithy. Lemongrass on the palate as well. finishes with a piney refreshing bitterness. Disguises its alcohol content well.

Mouthfeel: Wonderful medium plus creaminess. Not too heavy. Dries out on the back which helps make this beer super crushable.

Overall(style points): This beer gets all the hype and I can see why. In a world before New England style IPA were everywhere this must have been mind blowing. In today's world though, the game has moved on. It's still a great beer but it just doesn't blow me away the way I wanted it to. 95.25 points.

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Photo of LAp
4.67/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Finally tried it. Had (of course) in the can, though I poured an ounce or two into a teku to get the appearance. Poured a hazy yellow (thicker, and hazier than most DIPAs). Pine and citrus on the nose, though not to the incredible extreme of The Crusher. Palate is tremendously dank, bitter hops. Pine is more present than citrus, though both certainly play a role in the palate here. Solid medium mouthfeel. An exceptional DIPA, but in the world of extremely good IPAs, this one is not so singular as the hype would imply. Tremendous? Of course. Best in its class? Sadly not.

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Photo of Pray_For_Mojo
4.34/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: yellow-golden with a white head with good retention that fades to a thin lacing.

Aroma: a bit of citrus in the hops. Inviting. The nose by itself lets you know this is going to be a good one.

Flavor: yea, I like this one. The hops hit you right in the face, but not overwhelmingly so. Despite the high bitterness, it isn’t “spicy.” The hop flavors fade to a light citrus and saw dust. Piney resin comes to mind. The malt is sweet, but really serves only as the canvas to showcase the hops.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied or just a hair shy. You could drink multiple of these.

Overall: damn good, but I don’t feel it deserves quite its BA score. I traded Pliny for HT. If offered the choice between the two, I’d opt for the Pliny.

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Photo of Inca64
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have drank almost everything from #1 to #25 and others on the list. I drive to VT every so often to pick up 2 cases and drive back to MA. Why? Simply said, this is the best beer (DIPA) in America. I also drive to the TH and drink all their beers too. I have not had Pliney The Younger so I can't comment on that, but it's only in a keg form and can't get the CA to try it. I have had Pliney the Elder though. Heady, as it's affectionately called, when fresh, far exceeds anything in its class. I have had many of the Tree house beers, and they are really good and deserve spots on the list but no IPA or DIPA from TH is as good as Heady. King Julius is close. I have both Heady and TH beers in my frig at all times and enjoy them all. I wont comment on what I taste or how it pours because it's different for most people. Find someone that has fresh heady and trade with them and you will see why a large majority of people think it's the best they ever had.

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Photo of Zythophile
4.64/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Can Date: purchased 10/14/16
Palate Contaminants: none

The look is a nice translucent amber with moderate head. The light actually changes colors if I move it to indirect light, never seen that.

I got a great whiff when I cracked open the can. The principal smell is savory fruit. And even though they're savory, they're mostly acidic. I can pick out red grapefruit, pineapple, orange, sweet melon, and cactus fruit. It's also lactic, even trending toward salty.

The taste canvas is savory malt. The citrus elements are less, with mostly the red grapefruit coming through. The lactic element is stronger, though. There's also a vegetable/herb tilt here, it's one of those beers that might go well with a salad. Actually, it probably goes well with everything. It's very well balanced.

I don't get much bitter until the aftertaste, but it has enough savory and sweet to make it enjoyable. The carbonation is very well integrated.

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Photo of alexpcat13
4.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

So I did half of Focal from a Can and half from glass, as a result I did the whole of Heady from the Can.

That being said, smell is citrusy and woodsy. Taste is nice balance of malt and hop: starts with a nice pop of fresh pine/woods with a nice bit of tangerine/orange, that fades out and a nice biscuity flavor sits in. Really nice.

The complete DIPA

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Photo of jdhilt
3.56/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a five finger white head that fades slowly to a ring leaving a good lace. Hazy light amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Pine hop nose and flavor is pine and grapefruit, occasional hints of caramel. Lingering pine hop bitterness. With most raters saying this DIPA is the best I expected more. Dogfish 90 minute is better. $15.03 for a 4-pak of 16oz cans from Montpelier Discount Beverage Montpelier, VT.

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Photo of Boff101
3.36/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Acquired in a trade. I was told the canned date was 10/8. I have a hard time believing this with the lack of hop aroma and taste. I could speculate what it'd be like fresh as I've had many fresh IPAs and IPAs past their prime. Rating this off of the told canned date. Doesn't hold up well at all if the canned date is 10/8. Smell and taste of fresh hop aromas was non-existent. Malty flavor, tasted like an old IPA.

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Photo of mickmanhattan
4.38/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So, when a friend offered to sell me 12 fresh cans at face price, I had to jump on it. I was surprised to see the disclaimer on the can that encouraged one to drink it directly from the can. I'm actually a fan of that practice. Overall, this beer is very well-balanced. It's excellent. I would drink it again. I probably wouldn't drive 12 hours to get it though. Not sure I understand how this is #6 on the all time list.

The mouthfeel and overall balance are transcendent. The hop aroma is middle of the road, IMO. IDENTICAL to the hop plant I bought at Meijer superstore and planted by our back door. The execution was definitely there though. The fresh aroma was preserved perfectly. I feel I've accomplished something by trying this.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
4.25/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Unknown vintage; drank 2/7/15 @ California Split.

Poured from the can into a glass (sorry John).

Cloudy pineapple appearance.

Bright white head; frothy lace.

Fresh soap, mild pine & tangerine nose.

Medium thin mouthfeel.

Pine, soap & bitter grapefruit flavors; a resin-y dankness emerged as this warmed. Not my DIPA profile, but nice enough.

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Photo of jp32
4.04/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Citrusy, herbal, hoppy flavor. FULL of hops, in both it's aroma and flavor. Behind the citrusy, bitter, grassy, herbal, dank hops, it has notes of pear and light tropical fruit. Creamy, almost foamy mouthfeel. It was a great tasting, enjoyable beer, but with all the great IPA's out there, I don't see exactly what sets this one so far above the rest.

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Photo of Kdouble
4.96/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Had this at Manhattan Pizza in Burlington from a can.

Lots of white head and lacing which hung around.

The smell was fresh and sweet. Grapefruit and some pine with some other citrus.

Very complex taste that blended together fantastically. The flavors were layered and rather difficult to describe.

Nice clean finish and left me wanting one more.

Overall one of the best double IPAs I have ever had.

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Photo of aquabears
4.69/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Orange! Smells sweet and piney and fresh. Taste is sweet grapefruit and herbal, resinous, mild bitterness on the back end, very smooth. Lighter bodied and moderate carbonation

...as I drink, more citrus is coming through. So well balanced and delicious.

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Photo of Respect_For_Saaz
4.64/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is a phenomenal IPA, but falls short of all of the hype it receives in my opinion. Each time I have had it, I am expecting to be completely wow'd, however, it ends up being just a beer that I greatly enjoy drinking.

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Photo of CRyan603
4.94/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Waited in a gas station convenience store in the middle of nowhere Vermont on a Wednesday afternoon in a line that was 50 people deep to get one case of this stuff. Let me tell you, worth the wait and it lives up to all the hype. I've had a lot of hoppy IPAs, but this is unique and the only way I can describe it is that it is very floral. You immediately smell the hops, like you took a big handful of the freshest hops and crushed it up in your hands and stuffed your nose in it. The taste matches it, very floral and bright, but not too bitter in the back. Smooth finish and makes you crave more. Guess I'm going to have to head back up to the middle of nowhere Vermont to get some more as soon as it's gone, definitely worth it.

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Photo of JonCorbett
4.8/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Hazy cloud of dark lemon yellow to orange with a generous two fat fingers of fluffy white head and plenty of lacing and retention is amazing dissipates like a giant tortoise makes love.

Aromatics: Super sweet, fresh, juicy, green hops. Pine and grapefruit and some mellower citrus' and some pine without the raw earthiness that usually comes with it.

Taste: There is a stupendous complexity, it is full of a number of flavours. Incredible layers of hop with a sweet dank funkiness, orange and grapefruit juices, thinned honey, and fresh grass under it all that make simultaneously sweet and bitter.

Mouth: An excellent balance of carbonation and a heftier medium body with a delicate resinous quality that compliments it's juiceiness. A little bit of acidity but hardly noticeable, I call it a clean finish as well even though their is a bitterness to it, the palate is in a constant orgasm of sensations to even notice it, and definitely does not feel like an 8% either.

Overall: Superb. I now know what all the fuss is about. And have a great benchmark now to compare future DIPAs to. A magnificent and super palatable brew. I am in awe - and have Greg (@GJKerr) to thank. Best breakfast ever!

Pairing: Don't. Well not your first one anyways... This is one of those rare occasions where I am left speechless and enjoyed all the complexities of the brew itself that to try and match it to a food the first go around would not be prudent. I may add and edit at some point if I ever get another one of these. But for now I am supremely content with just the beer itself.

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Photo of eman4golf
3.97/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Drank out of the can outside ohare international airport with the love of my life on our way to Vegas baby! A little bitter/hoppy for my palate but I understand the hype. Not as juicy as I thought it would be but still enjoyable.

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Photo of Dragginballs76
4.53/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours - Cloudy orange color super thick foamy white head with tons of lacing.

Smell - Nice grapefruit and pine citrus notes very sweet and lots of resin.

Taste - Possibly the best IIPA I have ever tasted, for sure the smoothest, very hoppy but not bitter hoppy, nice pine resin and grapefruit flavors. At 8% this thing goes down smooth. I have heard about this but did not think it would taste this good.

Feel - Medium body very smooth for a IIPA, no hint of the 8% alcohol just slightly dry on the finish.

Overall - Wow is all I can say best IIPA I have had, excellent flavor and feel.

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Photo of DTalley33
4.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I had Heady several times. I do think it is a really good beer, don't get me wrong. It is a world class beer. It is by far the best beer that Alchemist brewery has to offer. I just feel like there are a lot of beers in New England that gives heady a run for its money without the hassle of trying to get your hands on it.

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Photo of phillyfan9
4.91/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

It was a few weeks ago so I won't get too specific here in terms of looks smell taste feel, but this is an amazing beer. I have been searching for it for a long time, and a friend came through for me. The can I had was probably a little older than it ideally should have been, if that had not been the case I may have to go 5 on this... hard to imagine a better beer of this style.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.65 out of 5 based on 13,165 ratings.
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