Heady Topper | The Alchemist

BA SCORE
100
world-class
2,323 Reviews
Heady TopperHeady Topper
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
The Alchemist
Vermont, United States
alchemistbeer.com

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:
2,323
Ratings:
13,096
Avg:
4.65
pDev:
7.1%
 
 
Wants:
9,151
Gots:
5,360
For Trade:
67
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Reviews: 2,323 | Ratings: 13,096
Photo of Fargrow
4.62/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Although I've had this beer a few times, I figured it warranted a proper review. I can't do one of those, so I'll just write some words. Unfortunately, I think this can is 6 or 7 weeks old now. So not the best version of itself.
Poured into a teku, because I am a badass.
A: Beautiful glowing dark orange. Translucent, hazy. Cream colored head that disappears after a while and leaves huge gobs of uneven sticky lacing.
S: Pine, green tea, orange, peach, mango, grass.
T: Pine, mango, grassy, candied fruit. The age may have diluted this. I remember it popping more when fresh.
M: Absolutely perfect. Creamy, but leaves you wanting more.
O: What can I say that hasn't been said. Drink it fresh, thank God you got some!

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

Drank this right from the can as I was instructed. The nose smells like beer candy and the beer is creamy and hoppily delicious. This beer just does everything right, and honestly gets better with every sip. While it's not my favorite IPA I've ever had (Double Citra from Hill Farmstead currently wears that crown), this is absolutely wonderful and I would drink this every night if I could.

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

A - pours a cloudy burnt orange with a finger of off white foamy head. Foamy spotty clings to the glass after each sip.

S - Honey, malts, citrus hops, tropical fruit, resinous, lemon grass. Nice smelling brew - lots of depth in the nose.

T - Semi sweet up front followed by a building development of hops; citrus, zest, fruity, dry, resinous. Finishes dry and bitter. Flavor lingers.

O - First of two cans I acquired from a trade. Phenomenal DIPA - unlike really any other brew I've had - can't just place it in a category saying it taste like X Beer.

Notes - surprised it says to "drink out of the can" - I didn't follow those instructions and poured it into a snifter.

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Photo of FiveByFive
4.84/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

What's not to love about this beer? There are no compromises and makes no apologies.
I've had it in a tulip glass to try and accentuate the hops, and took the Kimmich recommendation and drank from the can. Both are great, but prefers a straight from the can approach. And here's why:

In the glass, very orange and murky. Light and pronounced head.
In the can - nothing but a fantastic and constant hop-slam in your face.

In the glass, hop presence remains, and as the beer warms, the various hop aromas come into play.
In the can - hop complexity - this baby will keep you guessing with each sip.

Mouthfeel - for a DIPA, it is deceiving - fruity, smooth, not overly bitter - quite accessible.

Is it the best DIPA ever? It's hard to give it a perfect score, because it means there's no opportunity for another to surpass it - but this is one of a few to emulate - sets the standard.

Last point - had one fresh, had one 'aged' in my fridge for several months, mostly because it was the last one and I was afraid to let it go. For best flavour and overall experience? Drink this baby fresh. It was meant to.

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Photo of beautato
4.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: amber or even an off gold colored, not really cloudy, just opaque enough not to be able to see through.

Smell / Nose: Smells strongly of fresh cut grass, rich hops, pine and citrus tones.

Taste: Big Grapefruit flavor, apricots, smooth creamy, but hoppy finish. The can is right, its very drinkable.

Mouthfeel: It has a slight mineral taste, like spring water. Each sip leaves your mouth clean and extremely pleasant, your pallet is fresh after every sip making it very drinkable.

Overall: Would enjoy over and over again. I am not so much of a hop-head, but this was a very enjoyable beer I would always have again.

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Photo of mewanderinghome
4.23/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Heady Topper. Yes, the 'holy grail.'

Well, the can orders you to drink from the can, so I did that first. Okay, I can see why this has a following. And not just because of the obvious: yes it's ridiculously hard to get hold of outside Vermont. Or inside Vermont, frankly. At least as of this date in early 2014- I drove to the Hunger Mountain Coop in Montpelier VT on an early spring Friday and dutifully waited in line with folks from all over (like literally- the couple from Switzerland standing next to me included) for 3pm to roll around.

People who know me know I don't taste hard-to-get beer haphazardly. I do this scientifically. This is my 107th IPA I've formally reviewed (I've only posted a handful of reviews here on BA..but they are comprehensive :), and I always have a control IPA I know well as a taste reference. My usual control, Two Hearted, was sadly not available at Hunger Mountain. I went with one of my fave SD brews they had available, Green Flash West Coast. For good measure, I threw in a Maine Lunch that happened to be available at the Coop (effing score!)

On to the head-to-Heady review (after pouring into Worthy glasses):

Appearance: quite yellow for an IPA. Clarity: not cloudy...impossible to see through. Very little head on the Heady

Nose: hops, pure and unadulterated. I'm getting hardly anything else. Maybe a hint of citrus, but it may just be left over in my nostrils after the West Coast (or Maine Lunch, which has similar color, a bit more clarity, and a really sweet fruity nose).

Now to where it counts, down the gullet: Overwhelmingly full mouthfeel. Creamy. More creamy full hop than I think I've ever tasted. Which is saying something.

And the verdict: Honestly? Too much. Weedy. Here's the jist of it: IT TASTES LIKE YOU'RE DRINKING PURE HOPS & KIND BUD WHIPPED UP IN A BLENDER WITH PURE O2 AND MOUNTAIN SPRING WATER.

Yes, I know that statement may now drive a whole new wave of people to consider this beer the unattainable holy grail. It's definitely not a bad beer. Not at all. But in reality, after the first few sips, vs other really good IPAs, it's maybe A LITTLE MUCH. As a drinkable beer, the Maine Lunch I'm having beside it wins. Solidly. But this shiz is def worth trying sometime. Holy crap.

UPDATE: Despite losing in the head-to-head with Maine's Lunch IPA in my initial review, there really is something about the incredible mouthfeel and DRINKABLE intense hoppiness that keeps calling me back to the fridge for another can instead of trading. It really is a surprisingly unique IPA experience and not just a case of scarcity helping ratings. After several more, I feel I need to give Heady even better scores in a couple areas.

It's quickly becoming an addiction, and not the right addiction to have for those of us living on the opposite side of the country. Damn you, Alchemist.

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

Enjoyed from a 16 oz can as instructed.

A - Poured some out into a shot glass to see what it looks like. Pale pilsen color. The body is hazy from the yeast and hop resin. I enjoy the minimalist design approach of the can as well.

S - The smell of hops wafts tremendously from the open can. Scents of peaches, flowers, grass, and a touch of resin fill the nostrils. Delightful.

T - Even better than the smell. A rush of tropical fruit and ripe orange taste assaults the tongue. Just a touch of pine to remind you that the flavors come from hops, not actual fruit. Compared to other famous DIPAs, there is no discernible onion/garlic/savory taste at all. The malt backbone is appropriately sweet and balanced, but really serves as a showcase for the amazing hops. A touch of bitterness hits the palate toward the end, but astoundingly does not linger. The aftertaste is of the tropical fruit and honey.

M - Wonderfully creamy with enough viscosity to remind you of the 8% ABV. Carbonation is present but inconspicuous so as not to distract from everything else going on.

O - This beer is seriously good and perhaps the best DIPA I have ever tasted. Whereas there is usually something lacking in even the best of beers, there is nothing I can think of to make this beer better. Believe the hype.

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Photo of 16hourdrive
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First off a big thank you to my friend Jim for this beer! I live in San Diego so this is really hard to find.

I absolutely love Sculpin IPA and have been looking for a beer that exceeds the aroma, taste and feel. I found it and surpassed it with this beer!

Smell is excellent and the taste is excellent. I love the aftertaste that is still on my tongue as I'm typing this out. Lots of citrus and pine and all the great things I love in a double IPA.

This wins over sculpin and Pliny IMO.

Just wish I had another can!

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

Simply the best beer made. This beer astounds the senses. The aroma teases one with the layers of flavors to follow. Those flavors swarm the tongue with complexity-floral, tropical, juicy hops carried upon a perfectly balanced malt kiss of love.

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Photo of kess_419
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I went into my first Heady Topper with great expectations. My friend, whose beer opinion I've trusted since the 7th grade, really talked great things about this beer. It really intrigued me about how good he said it was. So I decided to get my Google on and do some research. Every rating site I found gave it tremendous reviews. Thousands of reviews and all of them were extremely high ratings. I found myself determined to track this brew down!

Long story short. So, somehow, I eventually managed to get my hands on The Alchemist Heady Topper. (Thanks Zach!) Any who, here is my opinion:

Appearance - Couple things. I love the book, "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coehlo, and I love the appearance of this can. Haha! The head exploding with hops is a great symbol of what this beer is capable of.

Smell -The fresh aroma of hops released when this can opens makes my mouth water in anticipation.

Taste - I loved the taste. Delicious hoppy taste that really resonated on my tongue with each and every sip. Probably the best beer I've ever tasted.

Mouthfeel - A smooth and creamy feel that made me cherish each sip. Drinking this beer fast is a crime in my opinion. A nice slow drawn out sip will bring forth the flavors and delight fullness that beer advocates have craved since the cavemen discovered fire.

Overall - I'm drinking my 3rd ever Heady Topper as I type this and all I can think of is how honored this beer makes me feel. The Alchemist Heady Topper was only meant to be drank by a chosen few. Because, by Odin's beard, this is the mead of gods!!!

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

I love this freakin beer. Unlike some of the heavier/boozier top beers, this not only goes hand in hand with Pliny for best in class, but is a daily drinking beer too. Just wish it was more readily available so I could have it daily. If you ain't had it, get you some.

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Photo of Tmyhre802
4.81/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Am very lucky to have a steady supply due to my proximity to Waterbury. Due to that I am always looking forward to cracking the next heady that brings that delicious hoppy not to citrusy ipa smell to your nostrils. The taste is the most memorable i've ever had with the perfect bite to accompany it's 8% abv, making it impossible to not savor the last taste. Believe the hype.

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

A. Not sure I followed directions and drank it strait
S. Fresh cut grass, springtime in a can
T. Grapefruit, apricot, very dry and bitter, scorched earth excellent
M. Creamy, biting light and malty
O. Excellent beer, almost lives up to the hype, lol a must have for any IPA lover big thanks to HBJ for procuring it!

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Photo of Sandbarunner
4.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 2 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured a tiny bit into a glass just to get a look at it. Its unfiltered so it is meant to be cloudy and not too clean.

I followed the directions and drank it from the can. Perfect balance of Aroma and bitterness.

Worth the drive to Vermont to get it!

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

A fantastic Double IPA. It does however have a very sweet after taste. The reason this beer is rated so well is the genius marketing from the Alchemist Team. Cheers to you for that John! I am drinking this beer out of a glass right now, and I do have to say that they are deadly serious about it being better in the Can.

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Photo of Shockmaster88
4.62/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Taste and mouthfeel were spectacular. Hits your nose like a hammer straight to your olfactory senses. Do NOT pour this beer into a glass as it is to be enjoyed fresh from the can, doing so will result in little white specs in your beer leaving it to seem much less appealing.

Overall, one of the best IPAs out there!

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

Poured into a tulip glass. Thanks to Elkevo for this!

A- This was very interesting to me. When I poured it from the can it looked a lime green. But once it's in the glass it is a dark yellow, off gold color. The head is about an inch and is off white. The head goes away after a few minutes but maintains a nice lace that covers the whole top of the beer.

S- When I first popped the tab I got hit in the face with tropical fruits. There's so much grapefruit, orange, lemon, pineapple, and apricot. There's a sticky sweetness in the back of the nose that is similar more to a syrup more than a sugar, if that make sense. The hops are huge in this beer. There's an excellent mix between bitterness and grass, floral characters in there. There's even a lightness in the smell.

T- I tasted this from both the can and the glass to decide which tastes better (there's an ongoing debate regarding this). First from the can; the hops hit first with a bitterness which then changes into tropical fruits with pineapple, grapefruit and apricot as the most prevalent. The malt is way more detectable in the taste (as it should be probably) which tastes really sweet. It finishes with a bitterness on the back of the tongue and a floral grassy, taste that remains for a long long time. The longer it sits the better it gets. Now, from the can; The fruits are the first thing I taste from the can. Then the malt sits in and smooths out the taste with a bit of syrup and then the bitterness hits. The aftertaste is very similar to the glass.

M- thick, bitter and fruity. It's not bitter enough to make it hard to drink but just enough to cut up your mouth a little bit. In a really good way. The bitterness escalates as it sits on the tongue after the swallow.

O- An awesome beer. Probably my favorite IPA now, It's between this and sucks. This beer has a great balance between hops and malt. The hops are great and everything from top to bottom is great in this beer. I honestly think though that the beer is better in the can than the glass, you get a much higher concentration on flavor and aroma.

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Photo of mtomlins
4.7/5  rDev +1.1%
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 VTEno17
4.97/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

S: My god, crack a can and you can smell it across the room. Immediate grapefruit, then pine, I can't detect the alcohol

A: The can is clean and simple in design and appeals to my OCD engineer side. Pour it into a glass and it is a nice hazy caramel color.

T: Hops pure, unadulterated hops! Grapefruit again, lots of pine . . . Hey but where is the bitterness, just enough to clean the palate or the next gulp. No real alcohol, just citrus and pine.

M: This is the genius of this beer, too many DIPAs leave a syrupy film in your mouth, but with each gulp of this you get a smooth feel followed by a slight crisp that leaves your mouth refreshed and ready, no begging, for the next.

O: So far the best I have ever had, maybe stupid but this beer has been life altering, I have been searching for HT's equal for 3+ yrs. A couple times I have thought to myself "wow this is kinda like heady!" but a few sips later and they all become too bitter or too sweet/syrupy. I have been lucky enough to do a side by side camparo of heady and Pliny but it was not even close and I had to assume that something was wrong with the Pliny, maybe it was old? Anyway, hope to try it again some day.

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Photo of Phigg1102
4.05/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Citrus hits you hard when you crack open a can. The juicy hop flavors are layered in an interesting way so as to get something a bit different with every sip.

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Photo of derise
2.98/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Typical Double IPA. Had a great crisp citrus taste to it. It was not as smooth as I thought it was going to be. Notice the hops more on the after tastes. cloudy appearance. In my opinion not worth all the hype. I can easily say there are so many better IPA's out on the market.

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Photo of Matty123
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What can I say that hasn't been said already? Best beer in the Country. Often imitated, never fkn duplicated. I've had all the "best" x times and none of them are the Topper. This beer leaves you feeling like you just ate a fresh grapefruit. It leaves you wanting to crack another. I've had it out the can and out of a Tulip, and its just as good either way! GOD BLESS THE ALCHEMIST! You want the beer You're drinking now to be like this but just admit it... It's not!

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Photo of N_Schleret
4.58/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A: Pours a cloudy orange/yellow color with a half finger white head that dissipates to a light film, light lacing.
S: Citrus, and floral, not as big on the nose as I was expecting.
T: WOW! This tastes amazing, with grapefruit, orange, pine. Well done.
M: Medium body, light carbonation, sticky, and dry. Perfect.
O: Lived up to the hype, now I know why they have a hard time keeping up with demand. Seek this out!

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Photo of Eurso16
4.69/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

been a member for a while now and visit the site frequently but have never written a review so i figured why not start here, after finally getting my hands on this gem.

like others, i was a skeptic, wondering how much better could this beer really be compared to dirt wolf, hopslam, other top knotch ipas, etc. Well for me, the hype is real. IMO, this is a perfectly crafted, well executed representation of a DIPA. Now that i have began home brewing, i have a new appreciation for what it takes to craft a delicious beer. From the nose right on through to the mouthfeel, this brew is outstanding. sip after sip you continue to taste just the most absolute fresh, juicy, dank, hop flavor. mouthfeel is sticky, medium bodied and almost creamy.

definitely my new favorite beer. well done Alchemist, Well done.

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Photo of Chilly444
4.83/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A long time coming for this review. Two of my great friends brought back 2 cases. I went into this the same way it sounds like a lot of people do. very excited BUT somewhat skeptical. How can everyone agree that this is one of the best beers no matter what your personal preference in style is? Well...just because it is. Luckily my favorite beers are imperial IPA's. The can says Heady Topper, but I almost instantly nick named it 'rolling thunder' for two reasons. 1. Its got a high ABV in a 16 oz serving. 2. because its rolling waves of super deep hop, after hop, after hop. Each wave releases a different flavor that ignites your mouth with an assertive force and refuses to leave after you're done drinking it. It takes about 5-10 minutes for it linger away. My favorite part of this wonder is the very middle. There becomes a blast of grapefruit dryness in the middle that is incredibly apparent. You might say its sweet because its a very bright flavor but its not sweet in any sugary artificial way. I think the moment when the middle grapefruit blast hits is the best because of the waves of pine and floral hops that come on the front, and back ends before you reach that middle peak explosion. It has an awesome body that you can really feel on your palate, and has an aromatic smell that you can not ignore.

SO. that all being said.

A - Awesome. really cool looking (slightly funny) can. I poured a tiny bit out to see what it looked like for real. Musky greenish/deep brownish yellow. Almost completely non-transparent.

S - A piny hoppy blast straight to the dome that is noticeable from the moment you crack the can.

T - Insanely awesome. Rolling waves of hops that include pine, grapefruit, and slight floral notes.

M - A medium body on the heavier side. Lacing up your mouth with goodness.

O - You know you want one...or 10. Its awesome. Do your self a favor and make the trip to buy a case!

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.65 out of 5 based on 13,096 ratings.
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