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 maxcoinage
4.9/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

First off, thanks to mshull for trading this to me! My first Heady on my 31st birthday

I poured a few ounces into a snifter so that I could properly rate it - but drank the rest from the can and I must say I enjoyed it more from the can!

Appearance - hazy golden/orange. As i swirled in snifter left some good lacing on the side of the glass.

Aroma - on point!! Burst of hops and citrus, pine/ resinous and floral

Taste - nice hop bite with a bit of sweetness and a good malt backbone. Grapefruit, citrus, pine

Mouthfeel - didn't seem to carbonated. so smooth and drinkable it's crazy.

overall - just an amazing brew and definitely worth the hype, I couldn't believe how smooth this beer went down. I wanted to have another one right after but with only four might have to stretch them out over a week.

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

Poured a 5 oz. taster just to see the color.

A: An unfiltered golden straw color. Poured a nice thick white head that stuck around for a bit.

S: As soon as I popped the can I could smell the pretty complex hop profile. A little piny but mostly citrus on the nose. Sweet and juicy.

T: Not a hopbomb, it's a hop experience. The flavor is a little piny but overall it is fruity. Crisp and not overpowering I am getting grapefruits and tropicals.

M: IMO the best feature of this brew. The beer completely coats your mouth with the juicy goodness of its complex hop profile. The carbonation is perfect, not too prickly but invigorating.

O: Overall this is an impossibly drinkable DIPA. If had access to this brew I would pay the $3 a can and drink it every day. Can't wait to have the opportunity to do a blind side by side with the likes of Pliny and a few Alpines. It's the only way to really rank these top contenders.

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Photo of Ljudsignal
4.61/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 16oz can into a pint glass. Thanks to Ben Warner for this unexpected treat.

Pours a murky orange with an impressive creamy two-and-a-half-finger head. Head fades over the course of two-three minutes to a film of foam atop the beer. Splotchy, cobwebby lacing.

In the nose--well, lean in to within about six inches of the glass and you can smell it. Big dank floral hops with a slightly peppery spice edge, citrus and tropical fruits, wet grass and a faint but persistent sweet bready malt note. Hops for days, man, hops for days.

Taste follows the nose almost to a T. Massive juicy hops from the very first sip--pineapple, mango, tangerine, and grapefruit all clamor for attention. Also present are potent floral notes--fresh-cut grass, a dank oniony note, pine sap, and again that effervescent peppery character. Sweet bready malt rounds out the equation, with a surprisingly clean phenolic bite at the very back. The balance is what really impresses here--no one flavor profile dominates over the other in this beer.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, smooth and creamy.

On the whole... "lush" is the word that comes to mind here. From the raw hop juiciness of the flavor profile to the creaminess of the feel, this is a deceptively smooth beer for the intensity of hop flavor it packs. Delicious and well worth the effort necessary to procure it.

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

Drank from the can, poured just a sip or two to see what it looks like.

A: murky straw yellow, medium head.

S: super strong dank hops, floral, tropical.

T: incredible. perfect balance between tropical fruit and bitterness. slightly more malt backbone than i expected. the drinkability is absolutely ridiculous, no hint of alcohol.

M: one of the best parts about the beer in my opinion. the drinkability is on a level i've never experienced before. its almost as though the beer just goes down and then you taste an explosion of flavors that linger on your palette afterwards.

O: no doubt that this is an absolutely incredible beer.

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Photo of lancecenter
4.92/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

16 oz. can picked up from the Alchemist cannery in Waterbury, VT. Drank from both the can, as instructed, and a New Belgium snifter.

A - beautiful orange-yellow color, completely hazy, with sticky head leaving a ton of lacing.

S - a citrus hop explosion! Grapefruit, pineapple, orange, and mint. This literally smells like heaven. The alcohol becomes more present as it warms.

T/M - oily hops with a surprising amount of sweetness. The hop bitterness is definitely present, but it doesn't overpower the beer. This is amazingly balanced.

O - few things live up to the hype. This does. I have not drank another IPA since first trying Heady Topper. And considering I came back from Vermont with two cases, I probably won't have another IPA for a while.

Other notes:
Obviously the appearance and smell are much better in glassware, however, the taste is strangely enhanced straight from the can.

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Photo of MrBoh
4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Drinking straight from the can...will try pouring on the next one.

I expected the can to limit aroma, but there is no way! It explodes with a nice strong amount of pine, with some orange. Some nice bitter citrus coming through as well. And just a slight bit of sweetness.

A real explosion of flavors. THe citrus is more present in the taste, as well as a bit of floralness. A bit more malty sweetness here, as well.

The mouthfeel of this is what I think really makes it so drinkable. The nice constant carbonation going back over the tongue stimulates the buds so well to help accentuate the flavors. Just enough bitterness to make you crave more and truly bring out the flavor it seems in some odd way.

Overall is it the best beer I've ever had? Well, probably. THe only bad thing I can think of with this beer is I don't want to drink it (despite the extreme drinkability) because it is like killing a unicorn or something. Honestly, though, when drinking it, it is basically impossibly to say "this" could be better if...

Enough writing, time to bask in the awesomeness that is HT, one of God's greatest gifts to human kind.

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Photo of ColterKoch22
4.96/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This is my SH*T! I consume at least 2 per week. Luckily I live in Northern NY and can take the Ferry across the Lake to Vermont to get my hands on this beloved brew! YUM YUM YUM!! Although I have not actually been to the Alchemist them selves, I can get it at beverage depots and bars in Burlington VT.

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

Simply sublime all around.

Color: a mix of light orange with a tint of deep golden yellow cloudiness (because its unfiltered).

Aroma: a pleasant balance of sweet citrus and pine

Palate: also perfectly balanced; it is my understanding that the flavor profile changes depending on whether this is consumed from a glass or as Alchemist recommends, right out of the can. For this review, the beer is in a glass. It's a warm, flavorful blend of citrus, pine, with a bouquet of undertones.

Mouthfeel: smooth and just the right amount of carbonation. Easy drinkability, especially considering the high IBU content.

Overall: the best, most complex and enjoyable beer I have had. So fantastic and drinkable. Even non-craft drinkers would probably enjoy this.

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Photo of SnifterWorthy
4.87/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75


I drank this baby as recommended; she stays in the can. So, it’s hard to note on appearance here… the can looks nice?


Thick, aromatic, resinous pine. The lid of the can smells like a freshly opened packet of hop pellets used for homebrewing. The smell is fantastic, and I needed to remind myself that the beer was meant to be drunk. Here goes nothing…


Bubbles hit first, giving a pleasant prickle on the tongue. As soon as the sensation fades, you get hit with hops. Hard. Not melt-your-enamel-off bitter, like some DIPAs out there, but true hop flavor. Pine is the most prevalent flavor here, and the experience is not unlike what I image a pine-needle tea would be like. The woodsy flavor lingers for a few seconds before it melts into a slight citrusy sweetness. The aftertaste leaves you with an impression of the first sip accompanied by a mellow alcoholic burn.


Moderate, prickly carbonation, as well as slightly viscous; not a hop syrup however, as it finishes dry.


Wow, I’m glad I like piney hops or this would’ve been a letdown. I would not recommend this one to people who can’t handle their beers with a coniferous twist. That being said, yes…This beer lives up to the hype. Never before have I had a beer that tastes so much like a pure hop cone. Heady Topper was a journey and a pain for me to find, but it truly is an amazing example of hop-wizardry; although simplistic, the fresh flavor was worth the effort.


If you do get the chance to try this beer, don’t be like the others who gave it a 5 and wrote nothing. We get it, you had a top-rated beer, congratulations … it was good, we know… Why don’t you do yourself a favor and try to help the community out by describing what you had (maybe you noticed something that others did not).

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Photo of GatorLCA
4.54/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had a sampling of it at my local World of Beer with the owners who received it from a patron

A- Too be honest it looked like a Pilsner in the 4oz sample glass I drank it out of. I really couldn't belive that something so light in color could be considered a Double IPA

S- Hoppy, but overpowering like most Doubles that I've smelled

T- Wow, now I know what the hype was all about. Very crisp, refreshing and hoppy all in the same sip. I still can't wrap my head around how this beer is even possible. It almost defies the laws of brewing (or at least the beers that I've considered Doubles)

M- Drinks like a pilsner, very light and carbonated ...I could crush these all day in 90*F and not feel weighted down by the malts

O- As stated before....I'm puzzled, I don't know how this beer exists. I wouldn't go to say that it's my most favorite Double IPAs, I prefer Pliny the Elder over this any day. However, I have never experienced beer the way this beer has. I would love to get my hands on a whole can or 2 to understand what it's like to experience 16oz of this masterpiece.

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

Shared with a selfless coworker who held on to the can until we could share it.

Appearance: Can has an awesome design. Beer poured a very hazy yellow. My first thought was that it reminded me of Alpine's Nelson (another one of my favorites). Very unfiltered and rustic, but I don't have a problem with that.

Smell: Tropical fruits all the way. This surprisingly did smell more concentrated out of the can, though. I see why they demand you consume it that way. Pineapple, mango, citrus, pine, resin, sticky floral. Pure sweet fruit hop goodness.

Taste: Follows suit with the smell. Amazing. All I'm pulling from it is pineapple and tropical fruit. The taste surprisingly reminds me a lot of Nelson also, minus the rye. Bitter back end that we've all come to love. This stuff is amazing, I could easily tear through a case.

Mouthfeel: Mildly bubbly with a dry finish. Exactly what you want in a DIPA.

Overall: Very, very thankful I got the opportunity to check this one off of my list. At first I sat there with my glass, contemplating if I prefer this or the Elder. I went back and forth only to realize that these are two separate animals. Pliny is the quintessential West Coast DIPA, and this is the king of the tropical fruits. I would be sad having either of these beers disappear. There is no clear winner IMO. Well, except for me, because I get to drink these masterpieces.


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Photo of gabedivision
4.79/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

poured/drank from a 16 oz can (poured a bit in goblet to test the contrast)

A- pours a murky hazy deep golden orange with a thin white lace and a touch of lacing

S- the smell is just incredible pungent sweet citrus all the way, massive grapefruit and orange juice, mango, lemon peel, tangerines, so floral sticky, resiny and dank.

T- kicks off with a blast of grapefruit, followed by sweet orange juice, mango, just hops hops hops so good finishes with a rise of bitterness that ends with a nice sublte lingering grapefruit peel resin.

M- Medium bodied, soft, light, dangerously too easy to drink, i cannot keep the can from my mouth, low to moderate carbonation

O- This beer lived up to the hype, its hop blend is just absolutly perfect, subtle sweet malt base on the back, just so well put together. Flowery and floral, blasts of citrus, not one single off flavor or feeling, i gotta say this is as close to perfect to a beer that ive ever tasted

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Photo of Azureblue
4.94/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I live in South Florida (not a place well known for it's beer) so I had to look northward to the second least populated state in the USA for great beer. I was begging my relatives, clients, Ebay posters and friends to find a way to get me a try since I saw that Heady was the world's top rated beer on Beer Advocate. Finally, one of my friends came thru and told me my prayers had been answered and a case was on its way last week. After inspecting the case to make sure all cans were on hand and in great shape I began my personal journey. I have now concluded that Heady Topper is far and away the finest quality beer made, should be deemed a national treasure and is the best tasting Imperial IPA I have ever had the pleasure of drinking. As smooth as a great brew could be with hints of grapefruit,1st rate hops, blood orange citrus, delicate cream and subtle pine. I am truly fortunate to be able to share my case of Heady with my beer friends and hope you are able to find a way to get a few cans to savor yourself. Please let me know when you have finished your first can, if you feel the way I do send me a personal note. Cheers to all!

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Photo of DSTUR001
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The best IPA I have ever had! I mouthful of hops and a dry bitterness that stays in your taste buds minutes after each sip.

Living right across from Burlington, VT in Plattsburgh, NY makes it a mission every time I'm in Burlington to find this genius work of craftsmanship!

Props to The Alchemist brewery on achieving a 100 rating. You guys/girls deserve it!

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Photo of icehawk
4.17/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75


Appearance: UNK (from can)

Aroma: Intense fresh citrus, grapefruit

Taste: Grapefruit, pine needles, bitter, but not in an off-putting way

Palate: Pine, resin finish. Coating mouthfeel. Feels like it's going to finish extremely bitter, but ends up being nicely balanced and slightly sweet.

Overall: Great drinkability for a DIPA. Great, extremely intense flavors.

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

made the haul up there t0o northern VT got there at 10:30 on a Monday line was around the building

it only took about 20 min to get my purchase limit so kudos on the service

the color is like a hazy cloudy sunshine

the smell is awesome orange fruity goodness

taste is hard to describe almost tastes like honey too me I love it little bitterness mixed with sweet

I had numerous trade offers before I went to get this but now IDK if I would give one to a family member

it's probably the new shine talking maybe I will feel different after the 1st case is gone

def the best craft beer I have had in my young career

I don't know if I would drive 4-5 hours for it but it is DAMN GOOD

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Photo of jerrytodd
4.26/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Re-reviewing this beer...

A: Ugly! Super hazy and little bits of stuff. But I reckon that's what lends to the superb flavor so what the heck...

S: What happened to that dank weed smell?

T: See directly above!

M: Chewy. Perfect

O: Not quite the king it used to be, still very fine. But bring back the dank weed!

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Photo of VsXsV
4.68/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Can. Hazy, yellow/straw liquid small to medium white/light off-white head. Aroma of fresh hops, grapefruit, citrus, cereal malt, lemon grass, orange peel, tangerines and blackberries. Awesome. Taste is dry and medium to high bitter with lots of fresh, hoppy notes of grass, grapefruit and tangerine. Medium bodied with nice carbonation. Very well brewed DIPA. Love the fresh hoppy notes.

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Photo of Sterby
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Drank from can as recommended and from tulip glass. Preferred the tulip glass as way more aroma was present.

Appearance - poured a golden yellow, cloudy. Slightly off white head, with nice retention and lacing.

Smell - Ripe Citrus, mostly pink grapefruit, orange, and pine.

Taste- Layers of citrusy hops followed by some pine, and an almost unoticealbly smooth malt backbone. The hops really shine in this beauty.

Mouthfeel- well carbonated, the flavors bring multiple mouthfeels if that makes any sense.

Overall- #1 IPA for good reason. This beer is as described. Not the hoppiest, not the strongest, just a damn good, super flavorful ipa that hits all the senses. The most pungent aroma I've ever sensed in a beer. Pink grapefruit, pink grapefruit, a little pine, and more pink grapefruit. In the aroma and in the taste. Cheers!

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

A little old, about a month, I bough two four packs on my way through VT when I went to vacation in upstate New York, so my ratings will be heavily weighted on my original impressions.

A - poured a murky orange with a slight half finger head. Leaves some nice decent lacing.

S - intense hop aroma from the can and immediately after pouring, most forward is the grapefruit, backed by slight citrus and grass notes, and a nice malt presence.

T - even after a month of age, the hop flavor is still amazing. Although noticeably less fresh. Fresh grapefruit, citrus and grass dominant matching the nose well. There is very little Bittering hops present, it does leave a bitterness afterwards but at the finish it is really smooth. There is a nice malt sweetness which provides a great balance that I think really makes this beyond great.

M - mouthfeel is medium to thick, or at least on the syrupy side, ample carbonation.

O - with a month of age, it had only lost that brewery fresh wet hop dankiness, the flavor is still huge. I feel this is excellent, but I put it at about the same level of greatness as some other great IPAs such as enjoy by and sucks. Worth the 4 hour drive to VT, but not the be all end all of IPAs.

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Photo of brewskifan55
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks, Cliff, for procuring me this highly sought-after brew.
Poured into a snifter. (OK, I did drink from the can just to please the Alchemist gods, but it's much better in a glass)

A: Hazy orange. An off-white, half-finger head that dissipates to foam. Great lacing.

S: Red grapefruit, piney hops. Citrus. Very strong on the olfactory.

T: Follows the nose with a rush of piney hops and grapefruit that shifts the flavor into overdrive. Very smooth, a la Pliney territory. Well balanced. Resiny with a dry finish. Alcohol drops in unexpectedly for a soothing warmth.

M: Medium with medium, frothy carbonation. Let it sit on your tongue for a dance of the hops.

O: Worth the hype. I'm not a big hop fan, but the smoothness of Heady Topper makes it drinkable for anyone. Seek out. Enjoy in abundance.

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

There's not much to say about this beer that already hasn't been said. It just doesn't get any better.

HT is so appealing on so many levels. The fact that it's hard to get outside VT/New England, the cool-as-hell-can and Alchemist credo on the back, ("Don't be douche!") and if that weren't enough, the beer is just mind-blowing.

The aroma is dank and almost sweet, and it tastes exactly as the nose would indicate. It's hazy and beautiful (if you decide to ignore the recommendation to "drink from the can" it would be hard to notice). I usually like to see what I'm drinking, and I do it quickly, so I don't mind losing some of the experience in order to see the product and the lacing in a proper glass.

This is a hoppy, powerful, wonderful IIPA and really the one by which all others are/should be measured. Any time I can get my hands on some, I do, and you should too.

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Photo of Brianedonovan
4.84/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Headed up to Stowe VT next week and plan on buying plenty!
I love this beer....this is the beer that got me on this website and started me homebrewing!

The descriptions I have read in the reviews have actually helped me "taste" this beer and appreciate it more. Grapefruit....Mango...Pine...yeah, I get it now. Thank you!

Being unpasteurized is a bit of a downer since I am 5 hours away but I will make it happen!

I drank from the can as advertized and from a glass. I like the glass better, it has such a cool translucent amber color.

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Photo of archiegraham
4.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I wasn't sure if this beer could live up to all the hype...

It did...

Very hoppy with excellent flavor, and perfectly balanced. Wonderful hop aroma and complicated flavor. Gets better with every sip.

My only complaint is that I would prefer a bottle over a can. And of course the fact that it's not available in PA.

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Photo of drowland
4/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

6/17/12. Tallboy shared by a dude in the BA Zhukov line. Nice pour - orange with a nice khaki head.. Wonderful hoppy aroma with lots of citrus and grapefruit, some malt backing. Nice hoppy flavor with plenty of sweet caramel backing up the bold citrus and grapefruit. Nice!

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