Heady Topper | The Alchemist

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BA SCORE
100
world-class
2,245 Reviews
Heady TopperHeady Topper
BEER INFO

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
2,245
Ratings:
12,634
Avg:
4.66
pDev:
7.08%
 
 
Wants:
9,055
Gots:
4,925
For Trade:
67
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,245 | Ratings: 12,634
Photo of modernartblues
4.59/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed From Notes, Poured into a Tulip on 11/12/11

A: deep orange, hazy with a half inch head that recedes to a mere wisp, score was initially a 3.5, but the second pour from the can produce some hop particles in the beer than made my smile grow even larger

N: like a fresh packet of hops, beautiful, pine, pineapple, mango, georgeousness, one of the best noses ever...right up their with Hopslam and Pliney in this category

T: not quite as instantly impressive as the nose, but has a subtle complexness that grows on each sip, plenty of pine and citrus, bitterness isn't initially apparent, but also builds....

M: medium full for the style, adequate carbonation

O: excellent, doesn't displace Hopslam as the king in my personal hierarchy, but uniformly delicious and obviously elite....seems to be more typical of the NE DIPAs (closer relative to Gandhi-Bot and BIG A than the CA or Midwest versions of the style)...New England is an under-rated producer of delicious hoppy brews and The Heady Topper is Exhibit A

Other Notes: I wasn't a D-bag and did recycle the can. But, I did not drink it straight from the can, call me a traditionalist.

Huge thanks to Matt for the cans. You are truly a beautiful human being.

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Photo of Trilogy31
4.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very few brews make bring a shit eating grin to my face - wow this is good! Starts with a hazy belgian blond hue with a slight finger of creamy white cap that quickly dissipates leaving just a few small islands of foam. Nose brings bright juicy citrus (mandarin, grapefruit) pineapple, slight floral pine, very juice and a hoppy earthiness. This beer reminds me alot of Nelson - big tropical notes and juicy with pine dankiness play a small secondary roll. The taste brings bitter papaya, lime rind, light caramel malts and some pine needle covered forest floor - as it warms almost an herbal, minty licorice note comes out. The mouthfeel is creamy and lush but is quickly balanced by a strong hop bitterness. Best beer not sure about that but at least top 3 ipa's i have ever had and well worth trading for.

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

Big shout out to my fellow Beer Advocate Mikeypnh for the hookup on this one

Appearance - Cloudy dark gold in color, almost verging on reddish orange, a creamy thick white head clung for dear life to the side of the glass and left massive residue behind

Smell - Where to even begin? The smell is just pure raw hops like I have never smelled before. Even at a decent distance from the glass the aroma was still noticeable. This is hops personified and it is just amazing

Taste - Absolutely unreal! Just a massive smack in the face of hops. Then followed up by a huge mango and grapefruit presence but the second half of the flavor experience is what really did it for me. It was almost like drinking hop syrup, as if the resin was slowly oozing through the beer down my throat. I have never experienced that before drinking an IPA/DIPA and it really sets itself apart from any other beer I've ever had. This was perfection in a can.

Mouthfeel - This is easily the best mouthfeel of any IPA/DIPA I have ever had. The cloudy thick profile of the beer itself, not to mention the syrup like elements of the hop resin just made it a liquid dream

Overall - This is without a doubt right up there as the best IPA/DIPA I have ever had. Believe the hype and accolades this beer receives because it deserves every single one of them. What John Kimmich and his crew are able to bring out of hops is something like I have never tasted in a beer before and quite frankly I didn't know was possible. This beer pushes the envelope of not only what an IPA/DIPA can be, but beer in general. This stuff is absolute liquid gold in a can and if you like hops then you must taste it sometime in your life. Amazing amazing stuff

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Photo of thorkelson
4.86/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Lives up to the hype. Thank heavens for this beer and the alchemist brewers. The only part of the beer that I felt didn't live up to the IIPA standard of greatness for me was the aroma. It was beautiful - but it was not as much of an explosion as Pliny or SoS. Otherwise - truly an experience of a beer.

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

A - Pours an inch of white head which has nice retention and leaves tons of lacing. The beer is unfiltered resulting in a hazy brew with a pale orange hue.

S - The aroma is full of floral and piny hops. There is also hints of orange mixed throughout. Really awesome nose.

M - Medium in body with moderate carbonation. Resiny feel and fairly dry.

T - The beer begins with some floral flavored hops followed by a wave of orange. Hints of pine pick up near the finish along with a floral bitterness. I couldn't make out much malt presence, nor detect the alcohol content.

A fantastic DIPA, and it works wonderfully in the can format. I really wish this was easier to obtain, everyone deserves to try this gem.

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Photo of mavbrew
4.33/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at the Alchemist.

A: Very hazy, light caramel in color with a frothy off white head that very slowly dissipated leaving nice lacing.

S: The smell is mainly a piney hop scent with some citrus breaking through as well.

T: The taste is just like the smell, very piney hoppy flavor with the bitters sticking around through the finish and there is some citrus coming through towards the middle. This is followed by a slight malty flavor that then finishes with the bitters.

M: Medium in body with average carbonation. The feel is bitter throughout.

D: Made it a point to go to the Alchemist just for this beer, it was well worth the trip. A very solid, top tier east coast IIPA that was well balanced and the 8% ABV is hardly noticeable.

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Photo of foureyedgeek
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Paid almost $13 for a single can of this beer. Worth it? We shall see.

Finally a beer that demands you drink it from the can! I cheated and poured a little in a glass to get a better look. Hazy, funky with a nice head and good lacing.

Smell is hoparific. Pine citrus hops oh my!

Taste is exceptional. This is one delicious beer. Bitter without being bracing, balanced without being tame. Absolutely great.

Mouthfeel is on the light side of creamy with enough prickly carbonation and dryness to bring you hack for me.

Overall, I'd say 13 bucks is highway robbery, but this beer almost makes extortion worthwhile. I'll justify by saying this is a limited tough to find release that easily trounces a bomber of other DIPAs at the same price. I won't pay that again, I'll trade instead. But I love canned beer and I had to try this one. It lives up to the hype.

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Photo of haazer
4.58/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had two glasses of this on my birthday. If this even wasn't in the afternoon and I didn't have to drive myself home I'd have had quite a few more.

A - This thing looks like a cider really. Dark orange and copper highlights with what also looks like pulp. Very cloudy and opaque. The head consists of what you would expect on a latte, literally it looks like there is cinnamon in it. Lacing caked all over the glass. Perfect looking DIPA.

S - Suprisingly I actually picked up pale malts on the first whiff. But really this thing is hopped to the hilt. Grapefruit, flower petals, and a bit of honey.

T - Mango and grapefruit overload. Orange peel, honey, and some subdued pine flavor. There's a wave of bitterness on the end of flavor with no drying effect that some hop bombs can do. No booze tasted at all.

M - Saturating. Mouth coated with the amazing fruit flavor and stickyness of the hop. High carbonation and low to medium bodied. Could easily drink 4 or more of these until the booze would start to kick in.

O - This is a heady DIPA for sure. Incredible fruit profile and bitterness. Taste more fruit than hops but nonetheless it was a pleasure to consume. Cant think of a much better beer to have on my birthday.

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

Beenitty is a total badass and a quality human being. I received this surprise package of 2 very fresh Heady Topper cans in the mail this morning, and could not wait for them to get cold to drink them. This is super fresh- about 11 days old total. What an amazing cool thing for him to do- Beenitty I will get you back man!

Poured from can into my DFH snifter. Nice fluffy head that recedes very slowly. Dank piney and sweet citrus hops announce themselves when the can pops. Smell on further inspection: resinous, piney hops, and there is a bready sweetness to it too. Taste- wow. heaven. the hop oils hit the back of my throat with a burst of bitterness, but it is followed by a tropical sweet flavor that still sits on my lips. Waves of piney and floral hoppiness all over my mouth. If I were to compare this to something, it might be Surly Abrasive. Just a huge hoppy celebration in a can. Super fresh, it probably isnt as balanced as others say it is, the hops are just so pronounced, they are definitely the focus of this beer.

Overall, this is up there with the best of them. I won't call it my all time best IIPA, but it is close. And so kickass that its in a can....I am going to try to do a trade for a full box of this soon.

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Photo of Vogie
4.21/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Drank this beer straight from the can. Aromas of grapefruit, tropical fruit, pomegranate, mango, kiwi, oranges, pine. Taste is wave after wave of hops. Tropical fruits upfront followed by a piney resinous bitterness on the back. Medium body, carbonation is moderate, extremely refreshing at 8.0% abv.

I can see why hopheads flock to this beer. Even long after I finished my can the hop flavors were still lingering on my tongue. Its impossible to appreciate the complexity of this beer if you don't like hops. I am not a hophead myself but this brew deserves its world-class ranking.

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Photo of SayBoom
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

No date of freshness on the can, approximately it was canned two month ago.
Pours yellow-orange and translucent, white sticky head, that retains well.
Smell is unreal. Powerful bouquet of tropical citrus and pine, a lot of grassy hop. Very difficult aroma.
The taste is wonderful citrus and flowery hop, hop bitterness manifested with the first sip. I would add a little sweetness.
Pleasant mouthfeel. Medium body, moderate carbonation, bitterness lingers till the finish, really drinkable.
Overall, this is a great beer, but I’m not sure that is best DIPA in the world.

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Photo of jmasher85
4.48/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had to drink a few cans of this (yeah, I got a case!) before I felt like I was ready to write a review. After all, this is the legendary Heady. I didn't go gaga over it at first sip so I began to wonder if there was something wrong with my palate. Maybe I was missing something. Or maybe it is all just hype. I've decided it's probably a combination of the two. It's not my favorite style of beer, but it is admittedly one of the most interesting examples of the DIPA style I've had.

Lots of fruity, floral, chewy resinous hops in the nose and taste. It sticks in your mouth and makes your lips smack. It's a potpourri of every flavor that a hop knows how to impart - apart and simultaneously. Sweet at some points, bitter at others, and not always at the same time. This beer is like a Mozart symphony - full, busy, in perfect harmony and yet sometimes bewildering. It's a complicated beer, and yet, I just can't bring myself to fall in love with it. Oh well, more for everyone else. Worth getting a 4-pack and trying if you can, and sure, go nuts, get to the store early, hang out with some groovy hopheads like I did, and score a case to gift you friends - everyone wants some, believe me! Only downside is that it says to drink from the can, so I have no idea what it looks like...

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

Finally, the legendary Heady Topper arrives in California. Sent to me courtesy of rowingbrewer. Huge thanks Mark!

Bomber poured into my Alpine pint glass (A receptacle worthy of this hoppy rarity). A hard pour produces a finger and a half of fluffy white head which recedes gradually. Decent lacing. The beer is a hazy orange, amber color.

Smell is of pure hoppy goodness. Citrus peel and pine. Heavy on the pine.

Taste follows the nose. Grapefruit rind and piney bitterness threaten to erode the enamel from my teeth. Mid pallet the beer balances almost perfectly with a malty sweetness, before plunging into a chasm of piney, hoppy bitterness. Finish is dry and leaves me craving more.

Feel is full, a bit viscous, and perfectly carbonated.

Drinkability is exceedingly high, given the well hidden ABV and the incredible taste of this beer.

I found his brew to be eerily reminiscent of, dare I say it?, Alpine's Exponential Hoppiness, which I dearly love. For me, this beer totally lived up to the hype. Glad I had he opportunity and hope I'll be able to enjoy this again. Very highly recommended!

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Photo of BrownNut
3.86/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Straight from can as recommended, 10 min out of the fridge.

A - ?

S - Smells alternately nice and piney and something sort of chemical-y sweet, partly like sunscreen. Not bad but unusual.

T - That sunscreeny/piney element carries through on the palate. It seems a more green and planty overall now, with the sunscreen aspect leaning more toward something buttery sweet that you'd find in baked goods. It's a very pleasant and smooth taste overall. It's definitely an accomplishment in fresh tasting flavor. It pops. I'm glad the bitterness isn't stunt-grade. It's just enough to give it substantial bite to this fairly lupulin-tolerant palate of mine without becoming that distracting kind of bitter that must be partially tolerated while being partially enjoyed. This bitterness was all enjoy and a pleasant complement to the flavors.

M - Nothing special. Just sort of normal beery, a bit sharp. Leaves some mild hop abrasion on the tongue afterwards for a good while.

O - I knew the hype on this one but have trained myself to go into these things now just expecting a very good beer instead of ecstasy and in that respect I was not disappointed. It's a very good beer. I'll try the next one out of a pint glass and adjust/refine this review. A tornado was coming when I drank this and I figured I'd better go ahead and try the top rated beer in the world before I maybe died (didn't). So next time will be calmer.

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

Perfectly balanced IPA. Great Hoppy flavor, not overly bitter and very drinkable. The smell hits you when opening the can. The fruity/floral flavor hits your palate instantly and lasts. They recommend that you drink it out of the can, but I tried it both from can and glass and found no difference.

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Photo of mschantz
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque lemon yellow color with a huge fluffy bright white head. Lemon, celery and cucumber with a bit of pine on the nose. Taste is bright and lemony up front with a juniper hop bitterness on the back.

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Photo of WankelEngine
4.69/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 16oz can into a snifter

A: Pours a hazy orange color with a generous white head that bubbles and craters away, leaving thin curtains of lace.

S: This beer smells amazing. All the best hoppy fruit flavors all at once. Citrus, pineapple, mango, apricots. A little bit of pine. I wish I could just smell this all day.

T: Waves of hoppy goodness. Similar hop profile as the aroma: chocked full of tropical fruits and citrus. The pine flavor is a little stronger and now there are some herbal notes; grass cuttings. The finish lingers with herbals hops and an ever-so-mild touch of alcohol for a long time.

M: Smooth, medium bodied and with a little effervescent carbonation. Sort of oily, really coats your mouth.

O: Good. Damn good. What all other IPA's should aspire to. Better than PtE? I'd say so.

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Photo of kculrich
4.51/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just what the world has been waiting for: another Heady review...

From the 16oz can, undated but almost certainly canned the last week of June. Served in an imperial pint/nonic.

The pour is profoundly clouded but not murky - I can see the shadow of my fingers through the glass. The colour is a cheerful sunshiney gold with a creamy two-finger head, decent retention and gobs of sloppy lacing.

Smell is biscuity and earthy, dankly herbal, peach and strawberry, orange juice and balsam.

The taste is clean biscuit, orange juice and fresh-cut balsam upfront. After two months in my fridge the underlying malt character is prominent and drinks as smooth as glass. Grassy herb and oily tropical fruit notes. Finishes with a briefly lingering sappy bitterness.

Feel is medium-bodied, thick and creamy, with ample carbonation.

I've had these Headies refrigerated all summer and, what with one thing and another, I've been drinking them down at the rate of only one or two cans a week. I can now state authoritatively that, despite the can's admonition to 'drink fresh,' to my taste, they are reaching their peak of excellence at two months old.

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Photo of CharlatanSin
4.89/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Review from notes accumulated while going through a case of HT over 4 weeks. First can was 4 days old, last can was right around a month. Mostly poured into tulips, but had a few straight from the can, too.

A: There's no two ways about it, guys -- the floaties in this beer are ugly. I don't care much about them, and I guess it gives the beer a rustic characteristic, but I've got to ding HT on the pure appearance score. Perfectly attractive beer otherwise. Nice golden amber with a big, puffy off-white head and lots of lacing.

S: The aroma of fresh HT is just wonderful. A complex and unique hop blend. Big pine, tropical fruit, citrus. A bit of caramel malt provides sweet balance. I'm almost having trouble describing it because it's basically perfect (to my own taste). A month in, the aroma is a bit less intense, but no less complicated or outstanding. I'd rank it a 5 after 4 days and a 5 after a month.

T/M: Incredibly juicy. More fruit-like and less pine compared to the nose. Tropical fruit is dominant -- pineapple, mango, what have you. Some of the more traditional citrus -- grapefruit mainly. Also getting a distinct apricot flavor, which somebody once told me was from the proprietary yeast but I'm not sure. Decent amount of caramel and biscuity malt to balance. Like the aroma, it gets a little less intense over a month but no less wonderful. Mouthfeel is slick. Carbonation's a little on the high side. Decently bitter but insanely drinkable. Not a hint of the ABV.

O: This is not going to be my highest rated beer, because of the appearance score, but I think it's my favorite. It's worth every bit of the hype. Make some good friends in Vermont, kids.

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

Lives up to the hype. Best Ipa ive ever had. Made a pilmrigage to vermont to track this down and came home with two cases. may need to go to Vermont every year. This beer is so juicy and so floral. The hop profile and flavors change throughout the drink and throughout the life of the beer. Every can pleased in a different way.

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Photo of tjdrewry
5/5  rDev +7.3%
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 comfortablynumb1
4.64/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

Big thanks to Joey for the hookup on this one...

Can states "Drink from the can!" Poured half of the can into a Bruery snifter, and drank the other half from the can...

A - Pours a golden orange with a one finger head that dissipates at a fairly decent pace. There is a little slippery lace to be had...

S - Alot going on here. Grapefruit, apricot, peach, orange, a little pine, and some malt sweetness. Scent is very inticing...

T - Sweet malts up front followed by a good blast of citrus. Grapefruit, orange, and apricot. Ends with some pine, lingering grapefruit, and a little caramel. Very well balanced...

M - Very smooth. On the lighter side of being medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation, and a dry finish...

O - Smooth and tasty. Could easily put a few of these back in a sitting. Definitely something i'm going to be looking to try again...

Cheers...

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Photo of OlieIPA
4.24/5  rDev -9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Three week old can and poured into a long stemmed tulip glass.

L: A little muddy/dirty with light orange hue; Doesn't have the appearance a super clean beer, but displays a nice frothy white head.

S: Perhaps this beer's best attribute! Tons of hops, as expected. Mango and tropical fruits up front that are balanced well with a underlying pine/grass hop characteristic. As the beer sits, that foresty characteristic starts to stand out a bit more.

T: My initial impression is well balanced, even with hop bitterness punch at the backend. I would say the malt body is light, but hop flavor is definitely the main focal point...as it should be with a beer like this. As far as the flavor, the backbone is tons of grass and pine. A little funny, since the smell painted a slightly different picture.

F: Another outstanding characteristic. I like how light this beer drinks, even though it's 8% ABV. Medium to light body with the carbonation to match it. Finish is dry, but not to the point of were it deters from the overall experience.

O: Tough, I'm going into this beer expecting my mind blown due to it's high rating. I've been around long enough to know that beers are usually overhyped to some extent, but again that shouldn't take away from the beers overall quality. A couple of friends, who have a much better palate than mine, have described this beer's status in somewhat the same manner. If I were to compare this to another behemoth, like PTE, it definitely stands up. Also, I wouldn't necessarily classify this as an east coast DIPA, as others have described. World Class? Perhaps. In my opinion, one of the better DIPA I've had the pleasure of trying. Cheers!

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Photo of Bill69
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Happiness lives up to the hype! Rose early for a rural, winding trek to a small grocer on The Alchemist's delivery route during my first trip to the Green Mountain State. Scored a case (cans only) which makes the trip worth all the effort! Pours a rich, moderately cloudy golden orange, like fresh nectar, with a medium head and tight lacing. Notes of mango and citrus reach out and smack the nose hairs immediately. Taste is powerfully citrus, cream and pine with a semi-sweetish flowery, tropical tenor; hoppiness finishes fast with no lingering bitterness. Careful - it begs to be gulped, but this should be savored. Bring your stopwatch. I have a case though, so perhaps a grandfather clock ;)

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Photo of Justin8mypants
4.63/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Heady is so aromatic. Lots of citrus including Juicy grapefruit, tangerine and dank hops. Very slight hints of hay as it warms.

Taste follows the nose. Heavy grapefruit and hops. Lasting bitterness. This is a hop Bomb. Not a delicately balanced IPA like Julius. I pick up on some lemon zest and orange zest.

Mouthfeel is perfect. Carbonation is perfect.

Overall, awesome beer. Lives up to its hype. Not a delicate ipa. It's supposed to be a hop Bomb and it is just that. Really nice tropical favors and intense hop bitterness make this a beer any hop head would love.

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 2,245 ratings.
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