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Heady Topper | The Alchemist

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2,276 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: 2,276 | Ratings: 12,791
Photo of ramay729
4.58/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Was finally able to track down through a trade, can't wait to try it! Had first quarter in can to experience it and then poured into tulip to compare.

A: Nice pale yellow-orange color with thin lacing around edge of glass. Hardly any sediment out of the can.

S: Outstanding aroma of citrus and pine notes. Very pungent and one of the best aromas that I have ever experienced in a beer. Can gives much more citrus notes and is much better than pouring into glass. Had peach and pineapple in the can and more grapefruit in the glass.

T: Very strong American hop notes with strong pine and citrus notes. Very grassy and just a great hop experience. A little imbalanced but falls into the DIPA style

M: Nice mouthfeel with the strong malt backbone, perfect carbonation and a very dry finish.

O: Outstanding beer and I am so happy that I got my hands on a couple of cans. My favorite double IPA and one of my favorite beers. Will definitely enjoy my next one straight out of the can!

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Photo of Danny1217
4.74/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Well here it is. Heady Topper. Poured into a tulip glass (we are trying to culture the yeast, so no drinking out of the can.)

The appearance is surprisingly not that bad, with a careful pour. It's murky but doesn't look close to some of the pictures I have seen. Hazy orange with a bright white head.

The smell is incredible. Absolutely huge aroma on this one. Pine and a mix of citrus (grapefruit, orange, lemon.) Some tropical notes. Dank and herbal. Amazing.

Taste follows similarly. Big citrus and pine. Some bready malts backing up the huge hop flavor. Bitter, but with just a touch of sweetness to back it up, though overall a very dry beer.

Medium full body and perfect carbonation for style.

The aroma, flavor, and mouthfeel of this beer are so spot on. Really, this is the perfect double IPA, and one of the best beers I have ever had. I didn't want to buy into the hype, but it really is fantastic. I'll have to figure out how to get more of this one.

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Photo of Erik_Stewart
4.67/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

the best DIPA i have ever tasted. poured a little into a snifter glass to view appearance: very hazy almost imposable to see through. smells very dank. the mouthful is very heavy and filling. finish is perfect! if you can get your hands on this beer it is a must have!

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

Finally had the chance to try one while skiing at Sugarbush and I must say, it is worth the hype. That first sip speaks for itself. Hints of citrus with a smooth body that is not too overwhelmingly hoppy. The beer is surprisingly refreshing while retaining a nice hoppy taste and a strong full flavour. The perfect beer to have after skiing and I was very content having only one. The next day i had another one and the quality was equally impressive. A great beer to drink slowly and enjoy as each sip reveals a unique taste. Easily the best double IPA i have tried and one of the only beers where i can honestly say that less is more. Saviour it while you drink it and you will totally be impressed!

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Photo of lanciloti
4.88/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from the can into a Alchemist Heady Stemless glass. Saved the last few ounces in the can and wow it does taste great out of the can. Get a lot more citrus from it.

Appearance: Very hazy, can't even see a shadow threw this stuff. Golden orange color with a nice foamy / creamy head. Very bright white.

Smell: Piney, Grapefruit, Citrus with a little bit of a bread/biscuit malt.

Taste: Wow!. Exactly what I like. More hops than a bunny rabbit. Hides the alcohol well, and has enough bready malt to make it very smooth and easy to drink. Definitely taste the Citrus and has a nice bite. After taste stays around for at least 10 minutes.

Mouthfeel: Dry and creamy. A little bit chewy, but I like and expected that, as it is unfiltered and unpasteurized. Not too little and not too much carbonation.

Overall: Is this the best beer in the world? I don't know, I haven't tried them all. For me it surely lives up to the hype. For me personally, it is perfect. Has everything I'm looking for in an IPA. It is worth going after. I wouldn't go to crazy as it is just beer, but damn it is good. I will continue to trade for this when I can.

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Photo of surfcaster
4.68/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Gift from a fellow BA in NC

A: Enjoyed in a glass--hazy appearance with lots of sediment. Not pretty but knew that going in.

S: A grapefruit in a Christmas tree farm. Very pungent.

T: A powerful citrus and pine bomb. Don't taste tropical fruit flavors. Taste on the tip of the tongue is consistent with the smell from the glass and rewarding. Malts very subdued. No alcohol burn.

M: I found the mouthfeel about perfect--not syrupy in any way. Slightly on the drier side which is my preference.

O: Unique beer. Not blown away but certainly for something so hyped, not surprised. Rarely does something live up to that degree of buildup. I found it delicious and something I would like to get again. It is a world class IPA but scarcity lends a lot to the mystique. Worthy of the praise.

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Photo of JeffoC6
4.86/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Canned: Don't see a date
Drinking: 2/9/14
Setting: Living room couch watching the Olympics..Sochi!
***I am giving this a 4 for "appearance" to be fair. I'm willing to bet that this beer is not going to be under a 4. I will edit the appearance score once I try my second, which I will pour into a glass***

A: Unknown, drinking it from the can as instructed by the Alchemist! Will do a second review with my other can poured into a glass. Edit/Update to come in the near future.

S: The hop nose is more pine than citrus, but both are there. Nice resin/sappyness Almost sweet..I'm getting honey?. Citrus is a little more tamed than a normal hard hitting West Coast DIPA, but it's there. It's a nice contrast from what I'm used to. Along with this wonderful nose bouquet, I also get a tiny hint of some spice, allspice, clove to go with the pine, citrus, and honey. Maybe a little bayleave? Strange, I know, but I'm picking it up. Subtle bread/earthy malt tones underneath all of which make this a fantastic, complex aroma.

T: Seriously, this is unlike any other beer I've had. It's got a really nice pine and honey hop presence up front, which matches the nose. The malty underbelly of this beer keeps it from being like just another West Coast DIPA. It's not an all out hop assault, but a balanced beer full of all sorts of flavors which meld together like a wonderful witches brew. Or shall I say, and Alchemist's brew? Honey, pine, candied citrus, spice, rye, bread...It's all there, and wonderful
As I continue to drink...And burp...I'm getting some herbs (in the burp). REALLY well done. How do they do that? Hahaha

MF: I can see why you're supposed to drink this beer right from the can. I normally am a glass guy only, but hey, I figured my first foray into Heady Topper should be done as the brewer requests. I'm stunned with how great this beer hits the palette straight from the can. All sorts of stickiness on the lips and tongue. Carbonation is lively and perfect, letting you experience all of the flavor complexities.

O: Yep, I'm also on board with this one. It's deserving of all the hype it gets. I was lucky to score a 4 pack which I shared with my beer loving cousin, so I've got one more left, and I already can't wait to drink it. This beer is worth searching out and enjoying because it's unlike any other beer I've tasted thusfar. Not to add to the hype, but I'm not one for lying to myself just to be a contrarian.
PS- Thanks SoB! - Cappy

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Photo of donbet69
4.84/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

So I got to try the number 1 rated beer on beeradvocate.com

I found a can purely by accident at my local distributor. I decided to drink some of it out of a glass and some out of the can as suggested.

I could not find much difference either way.

The smell of HT is outstanding. Citrus rules this beer.

The color in the glass was beautiful.

I will remember the taste for a long time. By far the best I have drank, but I am relatively new to tasting great beers.

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Photo of jaltland
4.84/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This is a treat.

A- Poured from the can. I know, I know DRINK FROM THE CAN! I wanted to enjoy the visual. It's an amazing pour. Gorgeous top of white head about two fingers. The color is the portrait of an unfiltered IPA. I like it when I can't see through my beer. The color is a thick amber-orange. It looks like an orange is smothered in a thin layer of caramel. Goin hard on the imagery.

S- So complex. Hops roll with a grapefruit citrus aroma. There's a subtle light sweetness lingering in the lacing. Great aromas.

T- It hits in waves. Hops and citrus crash followed closely by the bitterness. This reoccurs several times. It's almost as if the flavors are undulating. Closes out with a very nice balance into a strong hop finish.

M- Exceptional. Great balance in the mouth. Medium mouthfeel and a nice healthy dose of carbonation that isn't too dry and actually leaves you refreshed.

Overall I think it's expected to say this beer is amazing but I can't just say that. My first experience with this beer really has me thinking that I could drink 5 or more of these at any time during the year. It's simply a great brew. The Alchemist really knows what they're doing. Cheers!

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Photo of jbone78
4.54/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I visited the brewery several months ago. I was impressed with the area. I think I could live there for a little while. The can says to drink it out of the can; so you can get the full deal. I agree, I did smell the beer better while it was in the can. Everyone claims to get a ton of peach flavor, but I really didn't. I got more pineapple/citrus. But Still a great brew.


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Photo of bbeerman
4.86/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Received a can from a neighbor that hales from Vermont. As instructed by the can, I did NOT pour but drank directly from the can.

A..No idea, I didn't pour it.

S..Great goodness this was full of hops. Almost over the top hops (if there is such a thing). To be as descriptive as possible, it smells like a very good 420 session.

T..Beautiful hops obviously. Some citrus tastes as I recall. There was a bit of maltiness, but faint as you'd expect from such a hoppy brew.

M..Quite easy to drink. No problems whatsoever. I had no feeling this beer was 8% abv; could enjoy 3-4 easily.

O..Great beer. I'm in debt to my neighbor for that can!

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

Served in the can for the smell and taste then poured rest in glass for appearance.

A: Hazzy dark straw almost orange. nice finger head that persists and a lacing on the glass.

S: Intense citrus fruit aroma Grapefruit, orange, and lemons lead to a biscuity malt backbone.

T: Grapefruit forward flavor not too grassy or resiny. A little creamy. Biscuity malt with some honey. The sweetness fades to a lingering bitterness. Finishes somewhat sweet.

M: Medium carbonation with a medium body.

O: Amazing beer well balanced bitterness with sweetness. I like how the hops are not too harsh or grassy it makes the beer very drinkable. It seems to finish sweet which helps offset the bitterness.

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Photo of HopBomb515
4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A - beautiful bright light orange, cloudy, nice two finger white head and lacing all over on the drink down.

S - Citrus, grapefruit primarily, then some resinous piney notes and sweetness work their way in as well. Smells amazing!

T - Sweet malt is the backbone to big citrus flavor. Grapefruit dominates and the parts to reveal some tangerine, mango and lemon notes. Finishes dry, slightly bitter and piney. Layers of flavor, this is a complex IPA. Taste lingers on the tongue, the hop resins making themselves known.

M - Exactly what you'd expect. Medium toward full body and perfect carbonation. Coats the palate.

O - Amazing beer! This beer deserves the hype. Is it the best in the world? To me, yes, so far. Best execution of a popular style. I will grab it anytime I can.

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Photo of JohnParadee
4.84/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Finally made it to the Holy Grail. Gratefully, the experience took place in a true Mecca location...Prohibition Pig in Waterbury, Vermont -- appropriately, the very site of The Alchemist's original brewery (prior to Hurricane Irene). In any event, as my good friend Khalil Saliba and I saddled up to the bar here (on Tuesday night, 1/28/14) and nervously ordered the first Heady Topper of our lives, the excitement was noticeably palpable. Hell, I almost shit my pants when the lovely bartendress set the beautiful tulip glass down in front of me. Awesome 2-finger head, which dissipated very slowly. Beautiful, cloudy orange/amber color, with expected cloudiness. Tremendous sticky lacing throughout. The nose was an incredible citrus pine of grapefruit, with hints of orange/mango/tangerine, all of which was replicated on the palate. But perhaps the most remarkable aspect, and (I believe) the signature of the HT experience, was the stupendous balance between the citrusy hops and the chewy malts throughout, with no heat of alcohol evident whatsoever which, along with the lovely, full mouthfeel, makes this beer outrageously easy to drink.

All in all, an outer-body religious experience. If I could paint worth a damn, I'd cut my ear off for a cannot this Joe!

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

Can from Winooski.

A: N/A Tried it in a glass once. Way better from the can.

S: Citrus, citrus, citrus with hints of pine, grass, and all other sorts of hoppy goodness.

T: Bright and refreshing with loads of grapefruit and tropical fruit. Great intense bitterness, with little to no lingering astringency. Hops are all in the nose, with very little (relatively speaking) hanging around the back of your throat.

M: Delightfully full, but crisp not creamy.

O: Worth all the hype. I've tried plenty of tasty DIPAs but this is king. It's a truly impressive balancing act, getting all that flavor without compromising any other aspects of the beer. Awesome.

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Photo of BeerZombies1
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

American double/Imperial IPA
8% ABV
75 IBU

APPEARANCE: drink from the can like I was told right on the top!

AROMA: once I cracked the can I got my nose as close to in it as I could. Lots of hops, dark pine, more earthy and vegetal then the bright citrusy west coast ipa's I've been tasting.

TASTE: the hops for sure hit your mouth like a punch from Mike Tyson. Dank, grassy bitterness in there. Herbal spiciness, lite citrus and floral notes.

MOUTHFEEL: medium to heavy body, oily and slick that coats your mouth with a hop resin. Has a very creamy texture to it.

OVERALL: I do believe this is a great IPA and understand the hype behind it. For my palate personally I still put this right under Pliny the Elder.

RATING: 4.9/5 Zombie Heads!

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

This is the best DIPA I have ever had. Piney, grapefruit, citrus, sweet. All these flavors in perfect harmony. Some how there is a hop bitterness but also refreshing. There is just so much balance in this can. Nothing is overwhelming or outshining the overall balance of the beer.

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

I have been wanting to try this for quite a while now. So many people I know are always telling me this is the best. Well, I have to agree with them. As soon as I cracked the tab on the can the beautiful aroma overwhelmed me and the taste of this beer is so delicious and it is so smooth and citrusy....wow !!!! Definitely worth the wait and highly recommended for any IPA lover !!!!

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

Enjoyed 1/2 out of can and 1/2 out of ipa glass!

A: Heady pours an orange-ish gold color with about a one in. head.

S: The citrus and floral hops smacks you right in the face as soon as it is opened.

T: This brew taste amazing, it taste exactly like it smells with a great hops flavor. Not to over powering at all though. EXCELLENT!

M: the mouth-feel of this brew is great. It is very easy to consume with an almost creamy feel.

O: Heady is a perfect beer all around! Lives up to its hype and I cant wait to consume another! I would recommend this beer to any enthusiast!

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Photo of Mikeypnh
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Drinking straight from the can. Have poured it into a glass before, but definitely prefer the can. As soon as I crack it open you smell all the hops. Pine. Citrus. Big grapefruit aroma.I miss going to the brewery and smelling all the hops. Smells so fresh. A ton of hops on the flavor. All the stuff in the aroma comes through and coats the tongue with a wave of pine and citrus. So resonious. Nice carbonation, as well. Mouthfeel is where this beer shines. Such a great beer and absolutely worth seeking out.

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Photo of MS22
4.9/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Nothing out of the ordinary here. Heady is what everyone makes it out to be, the best DIPA around.

Drove ~600miles after they announced they were no longer selling out of the brewery for a couple cases. Worth the trip.

You get the chance to buy some do it. Just drink it ASAFP. After a couple weeks it does start to fall off and go towards the malty end. Honestly needs to be fresh inside 3 weeks to really enjoy it the way it were meant to be.

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Photo of lordofstarside
4.74/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured about 3oz into a snifter for appearance and smell, taste, feel, and overall are from the can

Pours a very cloudy bright golden orange with a finger of foam, no transparency. Very mild carbonation, good lacing and retention. Pretty murky but not bad looking

Smell actually better out of the can. Very strong pine and grapefruit hops with undertones of floral orange and lemon. A very mild bready and semi sweet malt in the back with a touch of alcohol

Taste is with the nose- strong pine and grapefruit with a bouquet of floral citrus on the bottom of the hop profile. The malt is very sublet with a hint of caramel and just a little bit of sweetness. Again a splash of alcohol on the finish

Feel is a medium body with a dry finish. Pretty bitter, alcohol concealed well, high drinkability

Overall a really good beer. The number one all time? I disagree, definitely on the top tier though. That said I'm really looking forward to trading for some more in the future

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

trade extra from SloppyJoeWasAMan

poured, yes POURED from a 16oz. can into my NEBCO DIPA tulip

A: yes it's hazier than many, but that doesn't detract from its glorious sunburst amber/orange and beautifully-built pillowtop head. Can't wait to dive in (literally).

S: When you crack the can, a wonderful hop aroma bursts out of the can but then seems to go into hiding. However, halfway through the glass, when you can get your nose in there, all that delectable and enticing dankness surfaces, combined with a smorgasbord of tropical yet earthy hops. Boom.

T/M: OMFG. I've been a Pliny lover for many a year now, but I have to say, this beer is its equal in every way. The sheer intensity of the hop flavor is unparalleled in craft IMO. This is quite literally, hop juice. The biscuity malts don't even surface until the finish, when then extinguish the onslaught of hops and even everything out. Just intense. As far as feel, if an oiler, more resinous DIPA exists, I've not yet had it. This beer literally just coats your entire mouth. You'll taste Heady for days and days.

O: Unreal beer, truly world-class. Can't wait to take the pilgrimage to Northern Vermont and bring home a buttload of it. Drink this now!

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Photo of berkshire413
4.82/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

from the can, this beer is just incredible, what can be said that hasnt already been said. If you love hops jump right in and take a bath. great complexity pineapple up front, citrus galore, piney and juicy all they way through. every sip makes you think of something different, there is so much going on with this beer its impossible to capture in words or in one sip, so grab a few cases.

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Photo of DannyS
4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Consumed right from the can, because The Alchemist told me to, and I'm not about to second guess that magnificent man.

A - ok ok, I poured a little bit into a taster glass. Came up bright hazy yellow with lots of particulate in it. This beer is rustic and untamed, and it shows. But I just put a 5 because how this looks is irrelevant. DRINK THIS FROM THE CAN, DANGIT!

S - imagine sticking your head into a refrigerated bucket of hop pellets and taking a deep whiff. Pretty much. Pine, grapefruit/citrus, malt sweetness, grass, mint

T - first taste is bracingly bitter and smacks you right in the face with its hops. Subsequent sips mellow out but still leave that lightly resinous aftertaste. It's like drinking straight hops.

M - First sips are bright, clean, and fizzy on the tongue, As you continue drinking, the now stirred-up hop particulate really begins to coat the mouth and significantly dry up the mouthfeel. Personally I don't mind it at all but some people might be turned off by the change halfway through. Expect this one to morph a bit as you're drinking.

Overall - I love this beer. Not just because it's a damned drinkable brew at 8% and a blast of hops with every sip. No no, I also love this beer for the values it represents. In this world of pasteurized brews that'll stay good for a long time and change little in the bottle, this is a meticulously crafted product designed to be the best at its youngest. Like Pliny the Elder, this demands vigilance in finding it and drinking it while the time is still right, rewarding one's diligence with an experience hopheads, and beer fans in general, would give their eye teeth for.

Keep this refrigerated. Treat it like a perishable product. Take a road trip to VT with friends and ravenously track this down. Just took my last sip of the can, and it's still a bitter, sweet, hoppy, resiny, beast of a brew. Is it my favorite beer I've ever had? I'm not entirely sure, but I can safely say this deserves BA's #1 spot on the rankings.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.66 out of 5 based on 12,791 ratings.
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