Heady Topper | The Alchemist

BA SCORE
100
world-class
2,321 Reviews
Heady TopperHeady Topper
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
The Alchemist
Vermont, United States
alchemistbeer.com

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:
2,321
Ratings:
13,087
Avg:
4.65
pDev:
7.1%
 
 
Wants:
9,146
Gots:
5,352
For Trade:
67
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Reviews: 2,321 | Ratings: 13,087
Photo of TheBungyo
3.32/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

When a beer reaches the lofty heights of a Heady Topper it feels almost unfair to pen a review. After all, how could I possibly review it based solely on it's merits and deficiencies? Most everyone will either praise it's strengths whilst ignoring the faults or harp on flaws and turn a blind eye toward the many amazing things this drink does so superbly.

If I'm honest, and I'm certainly making a valiant attempt, the color is spectacular. It really is the perfect color for a double IPA. Any darker and it'd be obvious this beer would be far too sweet. Sadly though, it's just too damn cloudy. I can't express the amount of pride I feel as a homebrewer when I pour something I brewed and the body is the proper color and you can see through it like a window. This doesn't happen with this one. Great? Yes. Flawed? Well, that's a second yes.

Fortunately the nose ups the game even more. The malt is assertive, whilst the hops fight for dominance. It's nothing short of a tapestry of aromas: orange, peach, pineapple, and maybe some mango. A sip reveals some pleasant booze, while maintaining hop presence. Lots of tropical notes dance seductively alongside malty sugary caramel. The big problem arises in the finish. Where it should be bitter the sweetness slams on the gas floods the palate like an uninvited guest. After half a can or so, the sweetness becomes overpowering for me.

One of the great things about this brew is the price. The Alchemist could have taken the opportunity to charge through the nose for a beer with this reputation but it certainly is fair. I'm sure if I lived in the distribution area I'd come back to Heady Topper again since the price is very reasonable. That's despite the fact that it doesn't wow me like it does most people. Certainly worth a shot to see if it ever clicks with me.

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Photo of BrewerB
4.02/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Huge, huge thanks goes out to aasher, one of the best BA's out there for hooking me up with this beer. Not only am I grateful to Al for this can but I'm also grateful for the Surly Darkness snifter I poured a sampled into (the rest being enjoyed from the can per the brewery's guidance).

Poured a hazy yellow with a thin crop of white foam sitting on top. Lacking head retention although some lacing clings to the glass.

My favorite part of this beer was the nose which showcased intense citrus hop aroma with an initial burst of grapefruit and then some lemon wedged between a back-end of tangerine. Detecting some grassiness as well. Cleanly fermented.

Prominent grapefruit in the flavor combining with an herbal/grassy component. Very high level of bitterness that I find somewhat harsh and detracting from drinkability. Finishes a touch sweeter with a mandarin-like fruitiness.

Medium-light in body, moderately carbonated. Slightly viscous mouthfeel was unexpected, perhaps due to hop oils. Also picking up some astringency and a warming sensation.

Layered complexity in the hop aroma is a real treat here but the bitterness is somewhat harsh and hinders drinkability. Wishing for something smoother. Certainly a very good beer but there's definitely room for improvement.

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Photo of SkeeterBoganski
4.64/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

BA share, DenverBeerDrinker (thanks man!)

A - I'm drinking straight from the can as requested by the can itself

S - pungent grapefruit, slick pine, notes of orange, plenty of hops

T - wow, this is delicious; my first words are, "oh my"; there is plenty of hop character here; lightly grapefruit in flavor; floral; tropical fruit and sweet; dank; pineapple as it settles

M - dense; resiny; smooth as can be; perfect carbonation

O - top shelf DIPA, easily one of the best I've ever had; really well-balanced; not too bitter; perfect!

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Photo of Pourharddrinkslow
4.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look - Light and inviting, golden yellow with a slight amount of murkiness

Smell - Nothing overwhelming, a mix of citrus, pine, and hops

Taste - Unlike any IPA i've ever had, I don't even know how to describe it. Smooth and delicious.

Feel - Incredibly smooth, which is unfortunate (not really) because as good as this beer is I wish I didn't drink it so quickly.

Overall - Outstanding

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Photo of pmlondrigan
4.57/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to my wife for picking these up for me when she was in VT this past weekend. Drinkin' from the can as is customary. Did pour a little to take a peek, hazy golden in color, dense head which fades away quickly. Pretty dank smell, resinous, pine, and some citrus, it does pop pretty hard. The taste is as expected, hop forward. Snappy, pine, citrus, chewy hops. Then some more hops. Not so bitter, actually much more of a fruity hop affair. This is a little refined for me, I tend to like my IIPAs rough and tough. Leaves the palate dry and crisp finish. Smooth as silk mouthfeel with soft carbonation. No trace of alcohol, drinks as easy as advertised.

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Photo of dank203
4.3/5  rDev -7.5%

Really enjoyed this but I do think it is slightly overrated. The initial burst of hop flavor is something I will always remember. But the thrill only seemed to last halfway through the can, or my palate just got used to it. Its an aggressive beer for sure and really well crafted.

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Photo of Beerzebub
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally getting around to reviewing this one after drinking it several times and learning that I really love it. Poured at fridge temp into an opaque ceramic mug. Peering down in there, it looks like a good murky orange color, and I vaguely recall that it looks good in a glass.

Smells like tropical fruit salad laced with honeysuckle, honey, thai iced tea, and caramel malt.

Massive tropical fruity, floral hop flavor, and deep earthy, rooty bitterness. Fairly dry, just enough sweetness to make it even more delicious. Some caramel, and a long bitter finish.

Squishy, fine carbonation, with the texture otherwise driven by mouthdrying bitterness.

Great beer.

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Photo of LAp
4.67/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Finally tried it. Had (of course) in the can, though I poured an ounce or two into a teku to get the appearance. Poured a hazy yellow (thicker, and hazier than most DIPAs). Pine and citrus on the nose, though not to the incredible extreme of The Crusher. Palate is tremendously dank, bitter hops. Pine is more present than citrus, though both certainly play a role in the palate here. Solid medium mouthfeel. An exceptional DIPA, but in the world of extremely good IPAs, this one is not so singular as the hype would imply. Tremendous? Of course. Best in its class? Sadly not.

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Photo of sleuthdog
4.62/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to a great friend Tut2528 for giving me my first HT! Really appreciate it my man!

Appearance:??? Enjoyed from the can.

Smell: How can this smell so incredible from a can? Huge pine and citrus hop coming from the mouth of the can in sticky sweet waves. There is grapefruit, orange, pineapple, mango along with some piney hop. I'm getting the sweetness that's bringing forth a caramel and maybe a brown sugar.

Taste: Unbelievable amount of citrus with grapefruit and tangerine, mango and pineapple, an unripe orange peel and a honey sweetness. This is followed by a pine hop bite that does linger well after the sip and swallow. Phenomenal aftertaste on this one with no alcohol present.

Mouthfeel: I'd call it creamy and drying with a light body. Don't seem to get too much carbonation but just enough to round out the feel.

Overall: My first ever experience with this beer is one that is memorable to say the least. Simply an intimidating beer with the warnings on the can but in the end the beast is not as scary as you'd think. A surprisingly easy drinking DIPA that I'm delighted I got to try.

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Photo of xseanprimex
4.99/5  rDev +7.3%
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 NoLeafClover44
4.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Review #100! Big thanks to Fijii13 for this one. 16 oz. can poured into pint. Decided to ignore the request on the can for reviewing purposes. Had the second straight from the can.

A - Pours a very hazy pale caramel/orange color with very little off white head. More floaters than I have ever seen in any other beer. They are suspended throughout the body and I am guessing this is why they want you to keep it in the can. There is so much floating uniform sediment, that it looks impressive and intended, so I won't really dock it too many points for that.

S - Powerful tangerine and grapefruit citrus with some subtle malts. The hops are piney and spicy, but they pale in comparison to the citrus and tropical aromas emanating from the glass.

T - Fantastic tropical fruit flavor coupled with some tart citrus on the front. Once it reaches the back of the tongue, there are some piney hops that linger, but they do not detract form the forward citrus flavors. I am blown away by the flavor. The aftertaste is of nice, dry hops. Balanced and impressive. I could drink several of these in one sitting.

M - Medium body with some delicate, tingly carbonation. Extremely smooth with a dry finish. Every sip leaves me wanting more. No alcohol present here.

O - Despite the lofty expectations I had for this beer, I was not disappointed. It is not overwhelmingly hoppy for the style, but the hop flavors work very well with the dominating citrus and tropical fruits. The finish and aftertaste are a remarkable blend of bitter and sweet. I was able to keep myself to only consuming two tonight, but I easily could have drank all four. A beer deserving of its world class rating that I will certainly seek out in future trades. It is not the hoppiest or biggest, but it is damn near the best. I highly recommend it.

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Photo of Dools9
4.47/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass. Can split with a friend.

A: Hazy orange, lots of sediment, finger of off white head, minimal lacing some alcohol legs.

S: God this smells good, loads upon loads of citrusy fruity flavors, mangos, pineapple, lemons, just a touch of piney resin. Modest sweet bready malt backbone.

T: Tropical fruits, pineapples, citrus fruits, grapefruits resinous pine. Decent touch of sweet malt, just excellent.

M: I really could not believe how smooth and drinkable this was for 8%. Medium bodied, pretty well carbonated, hop oil coats the mouth and leaves a long lasting hop finish.

O: What can I say, privledged to have tried it, and I think this is probably the best IIPA I have had. Too bad its so hard to get.

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Photo of RichardMNixon
5/5  rDev +7.5%

Had it first from the can in VT, once more in PA.
As commonly stated, it doesn't look that impressive. Very pale and cloudy, decent head. For a beer this good, who cares?
Smells fruitier than some beers with actual fruit in them. If this was sold as an air freshener, I would buy it.
The fruit comes through just as strong in the taste, very tropical and sweet balanced by steady bitterness throughout the whole sip. Some crisp, snappy malt comes through later in the glass after your tongue has numbed to the hops.
Mouthfeel isn't terribly thick, but very oily, coating the tongue and leaving the flavors to chew on. Way, way too drinkable for an 8% beer, or for a beer you know you won't have again for months/years.
I've had a number of beers that didn't live up to the hype. This one does.

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Photo of SkunkWorks
4.64/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap from a freshly tapped keg at the Alchemist Pub and Brewery in Waterbury, VT. Served in a 12 oz glass.

Look: great looking DIPA. Hazy amber color, but the Alchemist is a bit dim so its hard to tell exactly the color. A finger and a half worth of head sits atop the beer with excellent retention and excellent lacing.

Smell: huge hop aroma. Tropical fruit like pineapple, citrus with some grapefruit and lemon-lime, hints of pine and some caramel sweetness lurking around back there. Exceptional.

Taste: follows the nose with a huge hop flavor. Some resin, huge citrus flavor, bits of pineapple and grapefruit, orange, and lemon... everything you could want in a hop profile. There's a bit of caramel maltiness to balance but its not really pronounced. Exceptional taste.

Feel: medium bodied and feels about right at 8% alcohol by volume, with a moderate amount of carbonation that is perfect for the style, a bit of lingering hop bitterness in the finish but not so much that it kills your palate. Alcohol is nicely hidden.

Drink: great. I drank my glass a bit faster than I would've liked and you'll have to force yourself to savor this one. Could drink a few of these and its very sessionable for a DIPA, only coming in at 8% alcohol.

Overall, I am quite impressed by this one. This has become my favorite DIPA. Everything about it is great, from the hop profile, the meek presence of the malt, the way it looks, the way it smells... everything. The Alchemist did a great job with this one.

I should also add that I went into this one with a heavy dose of skepticism. Having had Pliny the Elder, which is generally promised to be the end all be all of DIPAs (excluding the Younger, of course) and being very disappointed I thought that Heady Topper would be a product of the BeerAdvocate hype machine. Well, its not. Its the ultimate DIPA and I recommend trying it as soon as you possibly can. Hopefully The Alchemist begins a production line soon because more people need to try this.

Cheers!

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Photo of MisSigsFan
4.54/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Finally got my hands on a can after all this time. Poured into my SN Liettich Balloon glass despite the "DRINK FROM THE CAN" text on the can. Pours a hazy golden yellow with a foamy white head. This is exactly what a DIPA should look like. Smell is of citrus and mango. The smell out of the can is just amazing. Best part of this beer. Taste follows the nose. Just in-your-face juicy hops. Fruity, citrusy, a little pine. The bitterness isn't overwhelming, which makes for a very drinkable and enjoyable DIPA. Mouthfeel is great. I always say with a juicy IPA you need a fuller mouthfeel and this is exactly what I mean. Overall, a great DIPA, one of the best. Would I go way out of my way to get it again? Probably not but it's something everyone needs to try at least once.

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Photo of kculrich
4.51/5  rDev -3%
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 infinitebruner
4.53/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

November 29, 2014

16 oz can, highball glass

A – Bright, but slightly darker orange, with lemon yellow highlights. Creamy white head, about a centimeter tall, with very high retention.

S – Tons of grapefruit and very clear mango aromas. Incredibly high hopping. Resiny scents shine through next, especially while the beer is still in the can (as they indicate it would.) Some slightly doughy malt is present, but the hops are the star.

T – Grapefruit is very high, and the mango is present but much more mild than in the aroma. Again, some bread dough.

M – Very well carbonated, creamy and bitter, and very well balanced. Incredibly refreshing.

O – Obviously this beer’s reputation precedes it, and it’s hard to drink it without that in mind. Regardless, this is an incredibly well-made Double IPA, that I would love to drink over and over again, if only I could get my hands on a supply. Best beer in the world? That’s debatable, but it is definitely fantastic.

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Photo of Ieatlambfries
4.89/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Had to revisit this beer as all my previous examples were gifted to me, and never completely fresh. So, took a trip to VT, and grabbed myself a fresh case. So I'm re-reviewing.

Hazy, unfiltered, fluffy off white head which clings to my glass. Yes, I used a glass.

Dank resinous hop smell. spicy woodsy pine, and citric oils.

Explosion of resinous pine and citrus rinds. Mixture of grapefruit and lemon. Spicy, musky, and full of depth. Rare a call a beer dank, but it applies here. Malt back bone, although not cloying or sweet like some DIPAs, does an amazingly job at balancing out the huge complex hop profile.

Mouthfeel is full, carbonation is biting.

Overall, having one of these fresh as opposed to a few months old is a game changer. I wrote my previous experiences off as a beer with too much hype. But being able to enjoy fresh examples has made me into a believer.

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Photo of Arenbeer
4.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks a lot to baconsausage for sending me this great brew!

22oz bottle into a snifter glass

Bottled 11/30/2010 - Drank 12/12/2010

A- Pours a really strange murky orange with a real thin 1 finger white head that doesn't stick around any more than a rim around the glass. Decent lacing though.

S- Really nice strong floral and citrus hops that have a nice pine aroma to them as well. Hard to get a good feel for the malt presence due to the awesome hop amount but I'm gonna say slightly caramel and sweet. Definitely some fruitiness in there as well, more tropical oriented it seems.

T- Wow! Extremely well blended. First sip gave me a really strong floral pine bitterness up front from the hops but on the back of the tongue i was getting a nice sweet caramel malt flavor that brings it all together. I've never actually been able to taste both at the same time due to one being more over powering but these ingredients compliment each other so well. Some nice fruity citrus notes in there as well and the alcohol is pretty much non existent.

M- Medium bodied with moderate to low carbonation and a really nice strong bitter finish.

SkÅL!

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Photo of InebriatedJoker
4.44/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 16ox can into Duvel Tulip - No best by date visible

A: Poured a cloudy dark orange with brown hues , Three finge head that descended into thin frothy lacing , webbing follows as it lowers in the glass, decent carbonation.

S: Tropical fruit , pine , bitter hops, lemon.

T: Citrus with bitter hops upfront with a sweet malt backing , slight pine bite with hints of lemon.

Overall a very good D/IPA that I would drink often if available to me.

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Photo of Dustin_Sallitt
4.78/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This beer isn't perfect, but it's damn near perfect. Smell is dank and tropical, but the taste is just remarkably better. Sweet mango, tropical fruits, followed by a pine dankness that's just amazing. A lingering amazing darkness that I've never really tasted like this before. The mouth feel is creamy and full, yet extremely drinkable still.

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

This beer is hard to get but well worth it if you can. Pours cloudy golden (yes I know you should drink from the can). Smell is spicy fruit and woodsy. Taste has unreal with banana, pine, peppery but with a great mouthfeel and aftertaste that lingers in a good way. A bit more carbonation and aftertaste than Pliny but in a good way. I think it slightly edges out Pliny but both are amazing

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

This is my second - thanks to SDStoneEnthusiast! The first I poured into an English pint glass and followed directions for the second (drank from the can). I understand now why they are so adamant about drinking from the can - such a difference.

Appearance - beautiful, hazy gold with no floaties since I didn't swirl the last little bit to get the dregs. Looks very nice.

Smell - amazing citrus and pine: honestly, I could sit and smell this beer all day long. I also detect a hint of sweetness underneath the hops.

Taste - follows the nose. Fantastically balanced and rich: it has the perfect amount of sweetness and bitterness with a nice amount of citrus thrown in. As John Kimmich says, "I wish I could crawl right into the can."

Mouthfeel - oily and smooth - very pleasant

Overall - I wasn't sure about this beer in the glass, but after drinking it out of the can, I can honestly say that it is the best overall IPA that I have ever had, and I have had quite a few. I understand the hype now, and it is well deserved.

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Photo of surlytheduff
4.09/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can into a Duvel tulip. Beer was a cloudy amber, with about a finger and a half of creamy white foam. Head didn't stick around for too long, and left minimal lacing along the sides of the glass.

Smelled of big-n-juicy hops, tropical fruits and resinous pine. Very floral and fragrant. Taste was malty sweet up front, with much of the same fruity notes found in the nose. Body was medium+, with a soft but adequate amount carbonation and a dry finish. Overall a tasty East Cast DIPA.

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Photo of FFreak
5/5  rDev +7.5%
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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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
4.65 out of 5 based on 13,087 ratings.
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