Heady Topper | The Alchemist

2,350 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: 2,350 | Ratings: 13,244
Photo of JWU
4.91/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

16oz can. Drank it straight from the can. I did pour just a tiny bit in a small glass to get the appearance.

A- A hazy as heck golden/orange. Big fluffy white head. All sorts of sediment. Strangely beautiful.

S- Simcoe. Lots of it. Big astringency, orange, mango, and

T- Big hype, and it lives up to it. It's PERFECTLY bitter. Not too crushing, but just enough in your face. Orange, mango, some hoppy floral presence as well. A very slight sugary sweetness. It all melds just perfectly. The aftertaste is slightly sweet, and a present, but not overkill bitterness is there as well. Pine mostly on the finish. I could drink this stuff all the time.

M- Slick and creamy. Oily. Carbonation perfectly scrubs the palette.

O- I've had plenty of big hype beers that didn't deliver. Heady delivers. In spades.

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Photo of eshivel1
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My first post on BA. While a seasoned IPA drinker, this beer is simply the best. I have recently had FRESH GROWLERS OF firestone union jack, sierra nevvada torpedo, nugget necctar, Hop Stupid, Hop Nosh, etc... it had been 2 months since my last heady topper. Very Lucky to have a friend pick me up 12 of these unreal IPA's . while I like hoppy beers I like balanced IPA's not overly bitter. . This beer is perfect. Drinkability is unreal for an 8% IPA. Flavor is fruity but not overly so, hoppy, but not overly so, simply the best. No contest.

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Photo of Beer4B
4.73/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a beautiful hazy and golden light orange. The nose jumps out of the can as soon as you crack it open. A bouquet of hops tickle your nose hairs. Wave after wave of hops delicately balanced with malts overtake your palate. Drinks really easily for 8% and has a fantastic finish.

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

Easily the best beer I have had the good fortune to taste, so it is appropriate that it be my first review on BA. Living in NH, my close proximity has allowed me to enjoy it fairly regularly. A wonderful smelling beer that when fresh can literally fill a room with a floral citrus hop aroma. It pours with a nice head, and has a typical cloudy appearance in the glass for the style. The alcohol is well masked. This beer has a nice balance of heavy citrus hops and bitterness. My only wish is that the alchohol content were a little less so I could enjoy more than one in an evening. However, it is the kind of beer you can drink slowly and savor each sip. If you have not had it, make a trade to get it, as it deserves the #1 rating it currently holds.

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Photo of FightinIrish88
4.35/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

If you are a person who likes hops this is a beer for you. This beer is a nicely brewed DIPA which explodes your palate. a well balanced floral/fruit aroma and hoppiness flavor and a citrus bite to it. overall this was a great beer. if you can get your hands on this beer you'll be in heaven.

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Photo of Phil_Holmgren
4.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Outstanding. This beer was a about a month and a half old, but was still extremely hoppy and fragrant. I can only imagine how much better it would have been if it were fresher. Nevertheless, this was a great beer. Kudos Alchemist Brewery, ku-fucking-dos.

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

Heady topper has all that a hop lover would appreciate and more. The unfiltered, strong flavor of the hops overpowers the flavor of the alcohol. This beer recommends that you drink it from the can to allow unfiltered parts at the bottom to remain. The most flavorful and delicious beer of this type that I have had.

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

Top beer. Although it says drink from the can, I enjoy it from a glass much better. Full grapefruit smell. High hop taste. Mouthfeel is OK. Little to no bitter aftertaste. Ages ok, but best fresh. Got mine from the brewery before they closed the retail shop.

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Photo of RWW0013
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Cloudy, golden, 1/2 inch collar of foam

A- Heavy aroma of citrus, grapefruit, pine

T- Citrus, grapefruit, very fresh

M- Slightly carbonated, lingers on palette for an unbelievable amount of time

F- Outstanding IPA, while unbelievably hard to get fresh, very much worth all the hype.

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

I'm honestly not sure what all the hype is about. I think the fact that it's hard to get and really hoppy makes it a winner in most people's books. For me though it had a weird background taste every sip that I wasn't really used to I guess. After about the 3rd or 4th can though I started to like the beer a lot more.

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

Drank from the can.

Nose is awesome on this beer.

Immediate hop explosion after a tiny bit of sweetness upfront.

Golden strawlike appearance.

Mouthfeel is full with taste buds going crazy.

Finish leaves great hop residue on the tongue begging for more.

Recycle the can and repeat!

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Photo of Duffman79
4.68/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Serving: Out of the can as instructed by Alchemist Brewery

S: Hits you like a ton of hop bricks. Overwhelmingly citrus, very nice.

T: Is amazing and totally lives up to the hype.

M: Thick enough to leave a nice hop resin coating on your tongue, but not chewy.

O: Yes, I had to drive about three hundred miles to get this beer. But, once I was in VT... I consumed over a dozen cans (I was there for five days) and brought two cases back with me.

Many people say that THEIR regional IPA is "better than Heady", I've heard it said about Hopslam, Gandhi-bot, Zombie Dust, Pliny the Elder, Jai Alai, etc. But when put head to head (no pun intended) it is (A.) Heady Topper that it is being compared to and (B.) the Heady Topper that comes out on top (given the taster is unbiased).

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Photo of BattleRoadBrewer
4.31/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served cold from a 16 oz can into a 7 oz taster. This is contrary to instruction from the brewer to drink straight from the can.

Pours with light-medium body and a modest white head. The room fills with fresh hop aroma as you pour!

Nose is hops. Perfect hop perfection. Usually the nose of an IPA is citrusy, piney, grapefruity, catty, grassy--describable. Heady Topper smells in the glass (or straight from the can) exactly like when you take cones and rub them between your palms! I've never smelled another beer like it; no other beer effuses that overwhelming essence of fresh cones ready to brew with.

Color is hazy straw, almost green, suggestive of a white ale or hefe.

Taste is hop forward but not overwhelming. I've sampled and brewed IPAs with extraordinary flavoring hops, this one does not deaden the tongue, instead it excites the tongue! Neutral to dry finish, no sweetness to mar the hop-forward nectar.

Edit: Myoriginal review sadly sufferd from grade inflation. Tasted side by side with Pliny, the Toppa is missing the clarity and bitterness that make a more perfect beer.

Mouthfeel is light-moderate, smooth, easy-drinking, with no evidence of alcohol warmth or fusels. Bitterness is light.

As it warms in the glass, it perfectly maintains its balance. It is a pleasure to drink from start to finish, goes down very easy and smoothly. Wish it had a hint more bitterness, but flavor and aroma are dead on.

Overall an amazingly drinkable beer, one that I enjoy again and again. Literally, because you can actually buy this--any time you want as much as you want (well I saw somebody buy 10 cases the other day--I suppose you could want more...)

I must taste this head to head with PtE--have case will travel, need to hook up with BAs when The Elder is on tap.

12/22/11 edit:
Quoting from the can: "Drink this beer immediately, we are always making more."

This is a no b.s. warning to the wise. If you're drinking old Topper, you're not really drinking Topper. It changes character so much in just a few weeks, loses a lot of the raw-hop-cones-shoved-up-your-nostrils sensation.

Vinnie counsels regarding Pliny the Elder: "Drink fresh, do not age! Pliny the Elder is a historical figure, don't make the beer inside this bottle one ... Age your cheese, not your Pliny ... Pliny is for savoring, not for saving! ... Respect hops, consume fresh!"

This admonishment for Pliny the Elder applies likewise to Heady Topper.

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Photo of TaylorMade2014
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Is there really a perfect beer? Absolutely!! This was well worth the wait. I got my hands on 2 4-packs and opened one as soon as I got home.

Poured it into a tulip glass - Nice orange appearance with a firm, white head.

Smell was pure grapefruit, lemon and pine. Still don't understand why The Alchemist says to drink from the can? Why cheat ourselves out of the smell of this masterpiece?

The taste was equally full of citrus: grapefruit, pineapple, lemon zest and mango. Nice bitter end - awesome!

The mouthfeel was of medium body with a bit of carbonation. Smooth.

Drinkability? Hell yeah!! This is a MUST HAVE beer. Can't wait to open the next one, and the one after that...

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Photo of RAlmeida77
4.52/5  rDev -2.8%

Finally had a chance to get my hands on a can of HT. Poured into a glass, even though it says to drink from the can. The aroma of this beer is fantastic. Very floral and pleasant. First sip was no different. It's a very unique Imperial IPA. Not over bearing with the hops but you know they're there. Very smooth and easy to drink, which is dangerous for an Imperial IPA. I wish this stuff wasn't so hard to get because I'd have a fridge full of it right now. Easily one of the best beers I've ever had.

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Photo of TTAmod
4.73/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to the DreamWeaver. Word on the street is this can is approximately 3 weeks old. Not ideal, but I'm not complaining (too much.)

A: I'm drinking it from the can (like they suggest.) However, the can is pretty badass. I'll give it a 5.

S: Nice wave of citrus smelling hops are released upon popping the can. Bringing the can up to my nose gives me a really, really strong dose of ruby red grapefruit. It smells extremely sweet and citrusy. I also pick up a bit of alcohol and pine. Smell is pretty good, but not perfect. For comparison, Zombie Dust, in my opinion, has pretty much the perfect IPA smell.

T: Way more going on the nose will lead you to believe. Starts of slightly sweet. Melon and guava are fruits most present in the beginning. I get that ruby red grapefruit that was in the nose somewhere in the middle. It gets slightly piney and bitter toward the end with a distinct caramel taste. Slightly bitter and alcoholic on the way out.

M: The mouthfeel is pretty much perfect. Minimum carbonation. Unbelievably smooth. The body just seemlessly allows the waves of hop flavors to hit the palate unhindered. Alcohol isn't very noticeable in the taste, but it's very, very sneaky.

O: I've been blessed with amazing IPAs over the last couple of weeks (DirtWolf, Abrasive, this..) Is this the best beer in the world? Probably not. Is it the best DIPA? In my opinion...probably. What's great about this is that it's not a hop or IBU assault...the hop flavors are a bit more subdued than you'd believe, but that's a actually a good thing because it allows you to experience such a huge range of hop flavors. The malt base is really sweet, too. Normally, I like drier IPAs, but I don't seem to mind the sweetness here.

This is one of the few times that a beer has met the hype.

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Photo of peacemakers48
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

As close to a perfect beer as you can get. It lives up to the hype. You can drink it ice cold, even warm and it will still tastes great. The first thing I noticed was the excellent aroma. This is a really hoppy beer but not bitter at all. My favorite beer to date.

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Photo of HopHead_44
4.77/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Took ski trip this weekend to burlington area with a stop at the hunger mountain coop to grab a few cases to take back to new york. Hunger Mountain Coop is the place to go for Cases but generally sells out in a few hours so you have to time it right.

This Stuff is the real deal, believe the hype cause this stuff is awesome. So many complex flavors that roll through the entire palete from start to finish. This is one of my favorite beers right now with lawsons double sunshine right there. If you can get your hands on some you are a lucky person.

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Photo of imhoudinibitch
5/5  rDev +7.5%

I have only had this beer a handful of times.... ok, I lied, I've had it twice... This is a beer a plan my day around to drink because it is just that good and that rare I get to drink it, regardless of how hard I try to get it.
Every time I drink it though, I drink it straight from the can, because that's the right way to drink this beer "says the can", but next time I'll be sure to pour it into a glass.

The smell of this beer is of floral and citrussy hoppy goodness and the taste fills your entire palate and stays there for a good bit and sends you to heaven if not for a short while

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.63/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I had this at Revolution Kitchen, a primarily vegan restaurant in Burlington. I'd heard all the hype about Heady and was, to say the least, cynical. Well, put me down as a believer.

Kind of a hazy gold color. Nice white head, good deal of lace.

Mostly citrus aroma, but also pine and a bit of floral hops. Sweet malt.

Amazing taste. Grapefruit hits first, then the resiney pine, followed by a flowery taste. All this superimposed on a caramel malt background.

Hop-forward, but not aggressively so. Just a fun beer to drink.

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

Wow, what a beer.

Enjoyed straight from the few weeks old can.

This beer starts giving you feedback as soon as you crack the top. Just after breaking the seal, I was flooded with aromatic burst of pine and citrus. You barely have to get close just to get a waft of it's array of scents. A closer breathe yields some less-dominant floral notes as well. Great smell.

This first sip brings out an absolute wall of flavor. This beer doesn't wait on your taste buds to alert your brain that you're sipping something good. Right as it hits your tongue, you can taste grapefruit, citrus and a surprisingly strong malt backbone. Just as you start to really get that bitter flavor from the resin of the hops, the sweet, biscuit-like malt jumps in and makes the middle of the taste sublime. As the last of it falls off the back of your tongue the sweet and bitter flavors slowly fade in unison and there's a nice balance on the aftertaste. One that doesn't have you smacking your lips from the bitterness, but keeps you thirsty for another sip. On it's way down, I get a small hint of alcohol with the slightest metallic flavor that reminds you that you're drinking this from a can. The mouthfeel is slightly dense and a little frothy, but very typical of this style.

This is really a fantastic beer. It's by no means a hop-bomb, but has a very generous bill that's equally balanced by it's fantastic malt character. Since I can now say that I am lucky enough to have had both Pliny and Heady, I can say that they are similar but different. With Pliny, I get more pine and less grapefruit off of the head. The malt takes more of a secondary role and I get less resin from the hops throughout. With Heady, the malt is sweeter, and makes its presence known throughout as it dances with the bitterness. It's impossible to chose between the two, but they are obviously in a category of their own. Heady is a very well-balanced IPA with as much flavor-per-sip as you're going to get in the IPA category. Definitely lives up to the hype.

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Photo of Thomahs
4.42/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The legends are true. This is an especially tasty, and dense IPA.

Gobs of hops (grapefruit, orange, pine) burst out of the can upon the first sip. Drinking it from the can (as they keep demanding you do) adds to it's mystique. It causes you to focus entirely on taste and smell, and this beer does not let up.

What really impressed me is how the last sip hit me just as hard as the first. Usually with these really big double IPAs, my pallette gets overwhelmed about halfway through (I'm looking at you, Palate Wrecker), and I no longer really taste as much as I did at first. I did not have this sensation with Heady Topper. Its a very well balanced, complex, and huge, double IPA.

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Photo of gonzo000
4.46/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look - well, I drink this beer out of the can per the instructions - can is nice to look at, but going to give this the same as the overall score. Smell - Citrus (orange and grapefruit) - clean small. Taste seems to alternate between orange and grapefruit on the front. Malty finish as described.

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Photo of HoppyBastard1
2.56/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 1.75 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Murkiest beer I've ever poured. I can see why they want you to drink from the can.
Smells of a used dirty ashtray. Not pleasant.
Taste is on par with most mediocre DIPA's as well as mouthfeel.
So many amazing beers out there, no way this should be rated best beer.

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Photo of Boto
4.39/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

16oz. can! This one pours a cloudy darker golden color. There a few floaties in there. Small white head that doesn’t linger long but does leave some lacing. Big nose of hops, hops and more hops! Grapefruit is the main contributor. Maybe some pineapple, peach and orange in there too. Nothing else making past the hops. The taste is good. Not nearly as bitter as you think it might be. Nice rounded flavor, fairly bitter, but there is a touch of sweetness hiding in there. Grapefruit and pine hops, with a strong malt body behind it. I’d say it definitely lives up to the hype. Now to get some more...

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.65 out of 5 based on 13,244 ratings.
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