Heady Topper | The Alchemist

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2,257 Reviews
Heady TopperHeady Topper

Brewed by:
The Alchemist
Vermont, United States | website

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: 2,257 | Ratings: 12,718
Photo of ProudBeerSnob
4.94/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Believe the hype!

Poured from can into shaker pint. Cloudy to say the least, lots of sediment In the straw colored beer. Solid not so foamy head that leaves some wondrous lacing throughout.

Resins piny hoppy dank goodness in the nose, with more to follow in the taste. Mouthfeel is thick and the beer is tasty.

I will NEVER turn down this beer.

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Photo of Muhly
4.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from the can (oops) into a dimpled mug. Pours a cloudy orange-straw colour with a foamy white head.

Smells of alpine grasses and minty herbs. Pungent hop stank.

Tastes of orange and lemon citrus hops, floral hops, grassy hops, hops hops.

Creamy and ebullient in the mouth.

It's a hop bomb that pushes the envelope and manages to stay within the bounds of good (great?) taste.

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

Crack open the can and smell the hops then take a sip, heaven.

Appearance the can is well done with nice artwork. It fits nicely in your hand. I put a koozie on the can to prevent heat transfer from my hand, it doubles to keep my hand warm. Since it's opaque you can't see what the beer looks like.

Smell: piney, citrusy, resiny, that quickly drops off. Drink this one quick.

Taste : hop forward with lovely malt backbone. So balanced.

Mouthfeel: nicely carbonated gives the back end a little tingle to match the front end hops.

Overall: I guess this is a pretty good beer. Maybe even a top ten beer but I haven't tried them all yet so I want to keep my options open. :-)

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Photo of MikeyBadnews
4.66/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Drank a few of these from the can as instructed to by the labeling. I just couldn't resist pouring it into a pint glass for the next round.

Beer pours hard and frothy with a single finger lacing swirling to a butterscotch/apricot color. Absolutely beautiful for an IPA.

The smell of this is a complete knockout a double fisted paisley colored floral scented uppercut to the nose. Just full of fragrant floral excellence gently doused with a hint of a Werthers Original butterscotch candy. Its just dying to go to the darkside and give you an alcohol or resin aftertaste but it walks the tightrope of full fledged flavor power without giving in.

Honey drenched carbonated mouth feel washing down slightly syrupy.

This is borderline perfection. It might not be the best IPA but I've certainly never tasted its equal. If you can get your hands on one, grab it, You wont be disappointed.,


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Photo of Pintofbrown
4.47/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a becker pint glass. Second dance with this highly regarded beer, reviewed from notes.

Heady Topper pours with about a finger's-width of white foam, bubbly and cratered. It does not stick around long, becoming a ring around the glass, exposing the lid of the hazy, unfiltered golden body with auburn highlights.

Loads of grapefruit in this bouquet, a little grassy, a bit of herbalness. And a sweet malt scent barely coming through. Very nice foundation of tropical fruit.

Heady Topper leads with that grapefruit, tropical quality on the palate. It gets a little diluted by a bit of earthiness, and a really nice bitter kiss of resin in the finish. Not quite balanced, there certainly is a sweet malt poking through, but the hops are so far ahead in the flavor department.

Very, very smooth for a DIPA. And very creamy, runs right over the tongue. Obviously dry on the finish, because of the very bitter hops on the back of the tongue. And it is also impressive how long the flavors stick around on the cheeks.

What needs to be said? This is obviously a world class beer. Is it worth the hyperbole that is said in the same breath as the name of this hallowed DIPA offering? Maybe. There are other DIPA's that manage to squeeze more clean citrus qualities onto the palate. Thanks for the opportunity to try this one again Hawkeyenation! Good luck on your hunt for this one, and enjoy!

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Photo of Franchise
4.12/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This offering from The Alchemist is fantastic, the nose is super herbal and spicy aromatic from the hops. Sweet syrupy mouthfeel with a soft piney hop bite in the finish. Very balanced as stated on the can making this very enjoyable. One of the better IIPA's on the market.

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Photo of IPAdams
4.55/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Only poured about an ounce as this one is supposed to be enjoyed from the can. Pours a hazy golden orange, decent sized white head for the pour and moderate lacing. Quite hazy but the can states that it is the intention.

Smell- Wow, as soon as I lifted the tab on the can the smell poured out. Pine and more pine, some grapefruit and orange in their as well. I actually get a bit of bitter orange in there also, very pleasant.

Taste- Very well balanced, not bitter at all for a DIPA. Some caramel and malty sweetness, good amount of orange in there. I get some lemon and citrus on the back end with a bit of pine. Awesome taste.

Mouthfeel- A bit thick for the style but it works well. A bit of a creamy texture. Not overly drying and leaves a slick feeling in the mouth.

Overall- Awesome DIPA and a great beer in general. Balance is awesome for such a hoppy beer and one with a higher ABV. Definitely recommend it.

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


Being more of a Stout guy I was simply amazed.

Appearance: Orangish-Yellow

Smell: I about fell out, so damn good. They should make an air freshner that smells like this.

Taste: Hoppy Goodness. Citrus shines over piney flavor. Love it.

Mouthfeel: Great, perfect carbonation. Light on the palate on the front and back end.

Overall: I'm a believer.

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Photo of Guinnesslover
3.94/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

As a VTer, I have been fortunate to purchase this on a regular basis directly from the brewery.

It appears slightly cloudy and light in color, though if you drink it from the can as advised you will scarcely notice the color.

It smells glorious, with a strong hop presence on many notes.

Those hops come through in the taste - hops rendolent of citrus (namely grapefruit) give a clean, sharp flavor.

The flavor clings to the tongue, saturating the senses with the layers of hops. Despite this, the flavor cleans exits with each swallow.

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

Purchased and consumed many times over the past couple of years. I typically ignore the can and drink from a tall glass.

If fresh, it pours out a hazy lemonade yellow with a thick foamy head that slowly dissipates and leaves a bit of lace.

Smell is heavy with citrus and a touch of tropical fruit and dank.

Taste varies a little by batch but is typically a grapefruit bomb, with some cannabis, and finishing with a perfect balance of soft bitterness.

Mouth feel is just right - medium body, clean and refreshing.

Overall, this is the ultimate Vermont style IPA - as good as it gets. I wish I could brew it.

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

Got my hands on a case while visiting VT, absolutely fantastic beer that lived up to the hype.

Similar to Pliny The Elder, which I've had at Russian River, but has just a bit more punch to it.

Obvious grapefruit & pine notes with a very clean finish. Would have never guessed it was 8% strictly based on taste or drinkability.

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Photo of NeedBeerHere
4.47/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a nice orange in color in color with a small white head that dissipated quick. Smell is really fruity with orange, mango, and pineapple with a little a tiny bit of malt but it is so in the background that the hops are the forefront. Taste is really fruity with all that was in the nose but there is a tiny bit more bitter hops in the background that sits in the mouth and really meld well with all he other stuff going on. Mouthfeel is actually quite thick for the style and really adds a lot to the beer. Overall this is an amazing beer that is hopped so well that it's a very hard beer to beat for the style. It is world class!!!

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

FINALLY!! Had the elusive Heady Topper!! Now at first, I wanted to come at this beer with an open mind. After all the hype and the talk about this beer, I cracked my first can. BAM! The aroma hits my nose. The floral, citrusy hoppyness enters my face holes. I take the first sip...let the beer move around my mouth. THIS BEER LIVES UP TO THE HYPE!!! Absolutely delicious from beginning to end. After my first few sips I sat there and just smelled it over and over to let that beautiful hoppyness permeate. great finish to the beer, tons of hops and floral tastes along with a sort of citrus/fruitiness. The hardest thing about this beer is keeping it in my fridge. Don't let anyone know you have this beer if you really want to savor it, because people will ask to drink one. And I'm not willing to share right now.

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Photo of Srkolodn
4.96/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I decided to turn a recent ski vacation on a BeerSKI vacation. Took a trip to Montpellier for a crazily hectic search for this magical nectar. The process of finding HT, and trying to beat out other people in the parking lot to the next case made the first cracking of the can that much more rewarding. After all, this beer is incredible

A: Drank from the can.

S: Beautiful floral aroma upon opening the can. The aroma is pitch perfect for an IPA. I also believe the aroma resonates throughout the drinking experience.

T: The taste is second to none. The initial tasting is unexpected as your hit with a flavorful punch of hoppy explosions on your palate. It's not too citrusy and not too bitter.

M: Great body and feel to HT. It has a great ability to linger in the mouth, which is lovely when were talking about this good a beer.

O: Overall HT deserves a top ranking. I feel as if in many ways HT sets itself apart from other IPA's because of its incredible taste and lingering feel.

Side note: The definition of the ALCHEMIST ( A person who studies and engages in the practice of the process of transforming something common into something special) is incredibly fitting for this beer.

Well Done!

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

My son brought us a bottle of fresh Pliney the Elder for Christmas. I've heard so much about the beer and it certainly lived up to the hype. Talk about fresh-it was bottled 10 days earlier! Immediate grassy, fresh hop aroma followed by the most fresh IPA hop flavor! The flavor seemed to intensify as it warmed up a bit. Clean, refreshing finish. Simply amazing.

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Photo of neverdie77
4.88/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have had many hoppy beers....but this one takes the cake.

I am currently drinking my first Heady Topper. I drove, and I am not exaggerating, 30 hours to get a can of this beer. Texas to New York. I thought I would have to do another 3 hrs but I lucked out in New York and found a four pack for a whopping 32$.

But God, was it worth the 32$. I have never drank something so aromatic. Upon opening, it literally smelled like the bliss of a summer day in a field of evergreen trees.

Lots of people on here are talking about complexity. This beer isn't as complex as an einsbock, but the wave after wave of hoppy goodness that overtakes you is TOTALLY worth the wait, price, or sacrifice it took to get a can of this liquid gold in your hands.

Enjoy...when you get some yourself.

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Photo of BarberDan329
4.99/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: hazy golden, i want to jump in

S: every time i crack one i get a really good kind bud scent, hoppy, citrus, bread, floral

T: WOW, each time i have a Heady i am just flat out floored. All the smells come through in the taste.... I Crave this flavor

M: wonderful, smiles as it makes its way down my throat, a great aftertaste that i would be happy to have linger all day

O: fantastic, it just doesn't get better in the the DIPA world, or maybe any other world for that matter. I am always ready for a Heady!

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

Finally got to try. My can is under a week old. In my book this stuff absolutely lives up to the hype. A perfect hop forward IPA. I prefer it in the glass so I can admire the color and the smell. It appears a murky yellow / orange almost resembling juice. The smell is hops and more hops. Taste just like it smells - awesome! This is the real deal!!!

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Photo of Glennlawless
3.56/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Drank from the can as instructed...

Smell wise I just got an abundance of pine and your typical grapefruit.

Taste was just a SUUUPER bitter pine bomb with some malt sweetness.

medium mouth feel and well carbonated...

Overall....Is this beer good? Yes.
Is this beer hoppy? Extremley
Does this perfectly describe the definition of an east coast style IPA? Yes
Does it deserve to be world class and rated 100 - Absolutely not. The only reason I could see it maaaaybe recieving this rating is because for a higher abv ipa...it is CRAZY drinkable.

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Photo of hillvt4me
4.49/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - The beer is medium shaded yellow with a dense white head.

S - strong pine and sampling of star fruit

T - delicious; pine, grain and citrus/kumquat resonate; though the can hold the potential potency

M - well balanced potent etoh mouthfeel

Fresh cold definitely makes a difference with this DIPA

Serving type: tap

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Photo of ilovebeer2013
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The alchemist Deserves Credit For Focusing On Their Only Beer And making It perfect And Out Of A Can! It Is unfiltered But Color Is Consistent Surpringly Small Head For Something Named Heady Topper. It Is Very Smooth great Complexity Of flavor And You Could Drink A Lot And Forget It is 8% . A Cult Like Following And Hard To Find.

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Photo of Docrock
4.66/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received in trade from Bricenice, Thanks Mike!

A: okay, if you follow the directions " drink straight from the can" how can you rate appearance? So I started drinking from can then poured the second half into a FFF Teku. How anyone can rate appearance a 5 is beyond me unless you thin the can is beautiful. Appearance is a murky golden color with decent head but retention was lacking.

S: amazing, one of the best smelling beers I have ever had, tons of floral notes, cirus, pine, aroma does not dissipate at all.

T: again, outstanding. Very different than any other DIPA I've had. On par with Pliny, Dreadnaught, and Abrasive.

M: very good but not quite as smooth as Dreadnaught or other slightly higher abv beers.

O: definitely worth seeking out if you like DIPA's. Very different from most others as well, the aroma is probably the best I have ever sensed but the taste, mouthfeel, and appearance bring it down for me a bit.

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Photo of vitALEity
4.05/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a can into a tulip.

A: Very murky, hazy. Brown/yellow/orange color
S: Pine, Lemon, Bread, Sour Grapefruit, Cleaning supplies
T: Very complex. A lot of resinous pine, lemon, grain (not sweet malt), very bitter at first in the back. The complexity of it makes it so the flavor is different with every sip. Layers of different hits of flavor and bitterness and an almost Umami type flavor that cant be described.
M: Cant complain about anything here. Very full, smooth, mellow.

O: I dont know how old my can was but I know it was at least 1 month. Ive had HT before and hadnt reviewed and the aroma was much more potent and amazing. The aroma seemed to be very subdued on this can. The mouthfeel and the development of flavors from first sip to the last is the reason to drink this. Sucks, Enjoy By, Pliny, Double Jack, etc. etc. have better appearance, aroma and first taste. There is something very unique about HT though. Its definitely in a class by itself.

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Photo of bball208
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Tried it at the brewery on tap, tried it from the can 1 day old, and tried it from the can 6 months old.

It is said that IPAs are best when young, but this one is a little different in my opinion. If you drink it fresh, you will get a TON of bitter aftertaste. It's a little too much bitter for my liking. BUT, the aroma and front of the mouth hop PUNCH just makes me not give a shit. I've never smelled a beer with a better aroma. Hell, the brewery itself smelled like heaven. I decided to let a can sit for about 6 months and tried it again. Let me tell you, it tasted MUCH better. The bitterness subsided a bit, but the pine, citrus, and floral, almost even cereal scent was still there, and still strong. The flavor actually developed quite nicely over time. I highly recommend you try a vertical tasting of young and old.

I will go back to Heady Topper in VT and age it for a year next time and see what happens.

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Photo of TheBeer
4.07/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed once before and once after an 8 mile mountain trail run.
A: Reminds me of someone throwing up Keystone Light on an empty stomach. Hazy appearance that is not very appetizing. The appearance is not judged on the can/bottle as many of the other reviews seem to think, which just adds hype to this beer.
S: Very potent odor given off by this beer. Strong scents of pine and citrus.
T: Tastes like a hop bomb on the forward palate and then subsides into a pleasant taste. The forward taste is however to overpowering for the aftertaste and makes you want to take another drink to wash away what's on your mind. The aftertaste is actually very pleasant and worthwhile, but the forward taste kind of ruins it for me. Granted I enjoy stouts and prefer a strong malt backbone which this beer fails to deliver, I have had much better than this.
M: Very amazing body to the beer. Reminiscent of a stout's body. Very thick and coats the palate. Best aspect of the beer in my opinion.
O: Was it worth the 4 hour drive? No. Will I ever seek out this beer again? No. Over hyped beer that is not worth your effort to obtain. It is not bad by any means, but it is not a top tier beer. Even Lawson's Double Sunshine IPA(sold in Vermont) is better than this beer. I prefer Surly Abrasive Ale and Stone Double Bastard Ale over this any day. Turns out even the piss taste of Corona Light is satisfying after a physical adventure.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.66 out of 5 based on 12,718 ratings.
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