Heady Topper
The Alchemist

Heady TopperHeady Topper
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New England IPA
Ranked #1
Ranked #5
4.76 | pDev: 6.93%
The Alchemist
Vermont, United States
Heady TopperHeady Topper
Notes: An American Double IPA. Drink from the can.

75 IBU
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Reviews: 2,543 | Ratings: 14,608
Reviews by Imakoniver:
Photo of Imakoniver
3.18/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I am disappointed with this beer. I just don’t find that it lives up to the hype. Give me a Second Fiddle anytime. If you area fan of very bitter DIPA’s, this beer is for you. I love IPA’s and DIPA’s but I don’t care for this. It finishes like it was brewed with hockey pads.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of BEERchitect
4.67/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

So if your beer tastes like this, maybe you only need to make one. There's likely no way that you'll ever out do Heady-Topper so just stop right there!

With a controlled and creamy pour of medium gold elixir, this hazy and glowing ale constructs a creamy, cottony white head with substantial retention and islands of lace. Overall, this is one sexy beer!

Seductive and mouthwatering citrus aromas abound from from the rim of the glass. The straight-up juicy fruity scent of the freshly squeezed pulp of ripe ruby red grapefruit with elements of citric acids, fruit sweetness that seems of thin honey, and some softer tropical notes of mango and apricot. It's impossible to put your nose so close to the glass without taking a sip.

The delicious delight of a beer delivers the straight forward grapefruit flavor just as the nose promises. The sweet pulp of fresh-picked ruby reds couldn't be more spot-on. Resiny as the citrus flavors seem to coat the mouth while the stripping of enamel commences. Soft caramel malts support the hops with the supple and elegant sweetness of powdered sugar and honey, but do so without contrast- make no mistake about it, this is a hop-forward ale with the likes that rarely seen. A very delicate yet hop-dominant balance throughout. Any estery fruitiness would weave into the hop matrix and inform the beer with complementary notes of tropical mangoes, apricots, and pineapple. Succulent and savory throughout, even as the beer's elegant hop flavor develops into soft resiny bitterness that grips the gullet with kid gloves in finish and aftertaste. Only the strong taste of alcohol for moderate 8% that reminds me of super glue is the only slight defect in taste.

Very creamy and delicate on the palate from the initial sip and deep into the middle portion of the palate. All the while coating the mouth with citrusy acids, diluted pine resin, and light sticky honey. The beer's carbonation develops a malty-dry finish that retains its soft malty body while contributing pleasant alcohol warmth and an extended citrusy bitterness.

When you're convinced of the impossibility of ever tasting a better IPA, something like this comes along and shows new possibility in flavor intensity, dryness, drnkability, and absolute elegance and finesse. It's hard to keep this beer off of the "perfect" line score.

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Photo of bracelet666
4.91/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Ok being an IPA lover for many years Iv wanted to try this for ever! my amazing girlfriend just got 2 4packs for me for christmas,I got it 2 days early! :)

The beer itself looks amazing in a glass,a very thick,non-clear unfiltered,straw colored beer,I like unfiltered:) as I poured into a dogfish head IPA glass is looked even better then I thought,the foamy heady grew and grew and stayed for days it seemed!

As I opened the can,and heard that crack of it opening i was smiling ear to ear lol...
the smell is a strong hoppy hop field,with pine resins and more hops! easly the best beer Iv ever smelt! and although I love IPA's more then any other,and iv had some amazing ones before,the smell of this was notches above anything Iv ever had the chance to smell:)

Right after smelling it I was so excited! this is the momment Iv been waiting for,for years lol...my dreams have been answered!
It says to drink from the can,I did try the first sip from the can and then gently poured it into a nice IPA glass,spent for mins smelling it! lol...
The first taste was heaven in a glass! the best tasting beer on earth? probably!

does it live up to the hype?
Oh fuck ya! the best smelling and tasting IPA iv ever had the privlege to try! it was well worth the wait! I drank a can last night without a glass,and out of the can I wouldnt rate it as good,I think this beer needs to be in a glass!
Thanks to my wonderful and amazing girlfriend I now not only got to try the heady topper,I got a few extras as well! these cans are a day or 2 old from the brewery so im happy as can be,will be a great christmas:)

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.17/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #58 (November 2011):

LOOK: Unknown as we drank from the can as demanded by the can.

SMELL: Macerated oranges, minty, herbal, estery alcohol, excessively hoppy

TASTE: Raw, sweet, super bitter, semi-dry, kernel of malt sweetness, hop oil, orangey, mouthful of grass

Hop insanity in a can! Lots of talk about this brewski finally being canned. The greatness forgives the sheer rawness it brings to the palate. In our opinion, this is what sets it apart from other highly hopped ales in the US. Keep it tamed in the can, as pouring it out will only show the extreme rustic measures to make this beer.

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

Have been drinking this beauty since they began canning it and still can't find a better IPA. It sets the standard for pleasure and complexity in all dimensions.

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Photo of PA_Liberty
4.91/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This review is not for the beer snobs who use words like "earthy", "piney", "zesty", and "mouthfeel". It's for the regular guy who appreciates excellent beer, but not necessarily overly elaborate descriptions. There's nothing wrong with beer snobs, so don’t take offense. I guess I’m one myself since I unapologetically carry my own cooler to parties just in case crappy beer being served (yes, I take enough for others), but I have too many other interests and hobbies to learn the lingo. So on to the review...

I joined this site for one purpose…to review this beer, and maybe a few others if I have time. I’m admittedly way late to the game on this particular brew. I love beer, but I'm not geeked out on it. I had no idea this one even existed until my in-laws (who live in VT) brought me some for my birthday. They said “it’s all the rage in VT”. That was the first strike against it. They said “it’s in such demand they ration it”. Strike two.

I’m not the kind of person who buys into hype. It usually sends me the other way. So I actually went into this being very skeptical. I read the can and decided to just crack the first one open and drink it as suggested rather than pouring it into a glass. I smelled it. First thought..."huh, it smells really good, unlike anything I’ve ever smelled before". I tasted it. First thought…"huh, tastes unlike anything I tasted before. This stuff ain’t bad". I get to the bottom of the first can quickly, every swig tasting a little better than the last.

The next day, something strange happened. When 0:Beer30 rolled around, I found myself not only wanting to crack open another can of this stuff, but actually craving it. The taste of this particular juice was buried somewhere deep in my subconscience, surfacing with a vengeance at just the right time. I was hooked after just one beer the day before, and I didn’t even know it.

Still not knowing the extent of the hype surrounding this beer (I took what my in-laws said with a grain of salt), I thought maybe I should call my beer-loving friends to tell them about this stuff. But wait…that might mean I have to share some of my very limited supply with them. So my list of beer friends got narrowed down to just two that love good beer as much as I do. The first beer aficionado friend said “Holy s&!t, you got Heady Topper?? Been wanting to try that forever but can’t get it”. The second said something similar. O.K., so this is the first sign that the hype might actually be for real. I shared one can with each, but it wasn’t easy to let them go.

Here’s the bottom line…I can’t stand hype, and if anything, I went into this somewhat biased against it. But I have to say, this is unlike any beer I have ever drank before or since, and I have tried a LOT of different brews. I’ve been on a mission to try to find something even remotely close, but have failed. There may be “better” brews out there somewhere yet undiscovered, but until I find it I might have to say this is the best beer I've had to date. That is, if you could label any one particular beer the "best" if you like many different styles and types. But everything new I try is somewhat disappointing by comparison.

Some of the hype surrounding this beer may be manufactured by limiting availability, and by not being able to purchase this stuff anywhere but Vermont (If anyone knows where I can get it in PA, please let me know) But I will say that most of the hype is deserved. This is truly a fantastic brew. But be warned…if you manage to get your hands on some, it may leave you craving more, and you probably won’t be able to get it.

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Photo of TimG_0913
4.16/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Too over hyped. I think people rate this beer to high

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Photo of Cannibalgasm
4.82/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

After years of hearing all the hype about this brew, and wondering if I'd ever get the chance to try it without making a special trip to Vermont, I finally hold a can of this "whale" in my hand. I'd like to give a special thanks to Jason for this amazing gift. My excitement is mounting, time to crack it open...

Poured a small amount into a sample snifter for appearance, I will enjoy the rest from the can as instructed.

A: Pours a hazy golden straw color, with a beautiful foamy white head.

S: Very intense and pleasant hoppy, and fruity aromas immediately bombard the nostrils. Fresh citrus rind, grapefruit, blood orange, mango, and other tropical fruits meld perfectly with a dank herbal hoppyness. I also pick up some slight hints of sweet bread like malts, honey, and even fresh mint. It's pretty incredible how quickly the smell dominates the senses immediately as the can is cracked open, it instantaneously wowed me. This is quite possibly the best aroma I have ever gotten from an IPA especially considering the fact that you get so much of it even when drinking from a can. This is unprecedented for me.

T: Holy f**k! I have been drinking some absolutely savage IPA's lately, but this is on a whole other level. Big Flavors of citrus and tropical fruits blast your taste buds, and follow the mold the aromas lay out for you. Grapefruit, blood orange, apricot, lemon, mango and papaya blend together perfectly with grassy herbal, and resiny pine hop bitterness, and a subtly sweet malt backbone. This is one of the best tastes to have ever graced my tongue. I am beyond impressed, I didn't think it could be this good, damn was I wrong.

M: Full bodied with a nice juicy character. Medium to high amount of bubbly carbonation. Very slight hint of alcohol warmth. Rediculously drinkable with a crisp refreshing finish and pleasant lingering bitterness.

O: Wow! I must say this transcended all of my expectations, and surpassed the hype. I may legitimately shed a tear when I take my last sip. I wish I could get this regularly because I would drink it everyday if I could. I have had probably well over a 1,000 brews and this is one I would easily put in my top 25. It may take the cake as far as IPA's go. Obviously there are still some great ones I have yet to try, but at this moment in time this is my new benchmark IPA. If you ever have the chance to try this DO IT! Truly a nectar of the Gods beer.

Thanks again Jason!

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.74/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Damn, this is hoppy. That's about my first impression immediately upon popping the cap off of this. With that, I should say huge, huge thanks to rpstevens and kingcrowing for sending me bottles of this, the latter of which was a complete surprise. One bottle to be consumed tonight, the other to be shared with friends this weekend.

This bottle is shared with Amyliz4 and poured into two of our larger, unbranded tulips. The pour yields a slightly-hazed bright peach body with a two-finger head. Pretty good retention and plenty of spotty lacing as it makes its way down to a bit of rocky foam sitting atop the brew. A fairly-thick collar remains on the brew throughout as more spots settle on the sides of the glass.

As previously stated, the aroma on this is damn near epic and remains amazing throughout. The initial whiff slammed my nostrils with dominant notes of tropical fruit, citrus rind, and a bit of pine. Each swirl kicks up another bit of aroma with some mango skin and passion fruit taking hold at first. Behind that is a flock of citrus and an overload of ripe peaches. Following behind all this when you sniff really hard is a nice finish of some piney resin.

The flavor picks up where the nose left off, though doesn't quite dominate my senses like the nose did. With that said, this is some really, really incredible stuff. I'll start off with one of my only complaints, which is that the hop flavor isn't quite as pungent as the aroma is. Still, there is some fairly-radical hop flavor to balance the hop bitterness. Did you hear that many makers of East Coast IPAs? Malt sweetness doesn't provide balance to bitterness in a fantastic double IPA, lovely and luscious fruit flavors do.

Mango, passion fruit, and guava make their way into the mix. The strong, strong bitterness levels really elevate the citrus presence and make me think of some good grapefruit rind. The body on this does an absolutely remarkable job accentuating the hops. There's not an ounce of sweetness, but there's enough body to really pull everything together. The bitterness in the finish is uber-high and leaves my mouth quite dry. There's certainly a solution for that--have some more.

I've been waiting a long, long time to finally try this one. Unlike an unfortunately-large percentage of other beers with so much hype, I have enjoyed this immensely. Huge, huge thanks again to Ryan and Nick for the chance to finally try this. Cheers to both of you.

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

I don't know how a beer could be more perfect.

When you die, I'm pretty sure this is what Jesus serves at the pearly gates to remind you of all the good things you ever did in your life.

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Photo of Deshaies
4.88/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The most perfectly balanced IPA I have ever had. Pours pretty thick with a strong head. Smells very earthy with nice hop aromas. Waves of flavors from sweet to citrus with a crisp dry finish and never wrecks your palette. I went out of may way to tried not to buy into the hype. But in the end it won me over, best beer I have ever tasted.

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Photo of Das_Reh
4.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Finally, getting to try the legendary Heady Topper. Sent to me by BigStein here on BA. Thanks!

Canned less than 10 days ago, reviewed 8/31/2015

A = Hazy bright orange color, 1 finger of off white head, visible hop sediment in suspension

S = Oh my god... I can smell this from 3 feet away. Popping the tab on the can immediately filled the air with the aroma of sweet fruit juice. Resinous, orangey, piney hops, so juicy and sweet, lots of tropical fruit notes such as mango, papaya, pineapple, maybe some tangerine. This is heavenly.

T = If you had told me this was fruit juice, I would have believed you. Orange, pine, more tropical fruit, coating your tongue in waves of oily, resinous hoppiness. Bitterness is restrained, letting the flavor and aroma of the hops shine through. Malts take a backseat in this beer for sure. Estery alcohols shine through at the end.

M = Slick and wet, super juicy, soft medium mouthfeel. Very drinkable.

O = The hype is real, folks. This beer deserves it's cult status, and I am so happy I was sent not one, but two of these. Worth seeking out and trading for!

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Photo of mr-jj
4.82/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

16 oz can purchased at Craft Beer Cellar in Waterbury. Drank the first can in my hotel room and poured the second into a snifter just to see the color.

Poured a hazy straw color with a thick head of creamy foam.

The aroma was grapefruit and floral hops. And hops, And more hops. Wow.

Flavor is grapefruit rind and floral hops which almost, but not quite, hide the malt . Hop bitterness that lingers through the finish. Not a beer to be quickly quaffed.

Body was medium with a ton of hop resins left behind to coat my mouth. Its rare that I've tasted this much lingering hop presence. Maybe only on some of the Green Flash beers.

Overall, this is a great DIPA. Definitely deserves to be in the conversation of my top beers.

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Photo of scottum
4.97/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served a pale amber with a small light head. Hops are the flavor of choice here, but they are done right. Such a yummy bite. Actually does live up to it's name as the hops are strong enough to give off the heady within the buzz. Hops are not overly complex, yet not too simple either. This is one of the best IPAs I've ever had. Served only in 12oz glasses, the abv is not at all apparent. Sooo smooth. I'm sad that El Jefe is no longer on the menu, but I'd take the Heady Topper over the chief anyday.

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Photo of meg-ethan
5/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The pinnacle of human achievement. The perfect balance. Incredibly satisfying as no taste over or underwhelms any other. Our favorite beer. A masterpiece.

It does say drink from the can, but the look is still a five because when the sight of a can graces our eyes we experience a delightful giddiness.

- Ethan and Meg

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Photo of CommonSense
3.97/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Probably the most overrated beer I've ever had. (Have not had Pliny yet)

Picked this up fresh from the Alchemist which is an awesome setup and beautiful brewery.

Taste is pretty good and refreshing - nothing special, but I suppose it's worth trying if you're an IPA fan. Everytime I go back for a sip I think to myself, OK this is gonna be the amazing Heady Topper that has all the hype. I swish it in my mouth just praying it tastes like heaven. It never comes. Just a muted IPA. This beer has fallen behind the style over the past 10 years.

I will credit Heady and the Alchemist for starting the hazy, lightly bittered IPA but for the hype it gets, pretty disappointing overall. I would take Burlington, Foam, and HF over Heady all day.


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

This is the sweetest nectar to touch my lips with the exception of my beautiful wifes love juice. I have 6 more of the nectar of the gods that I will enjoy only on the most special occasions.

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Photo of Inca64
5/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have drank almost everything from #1 to #25 and others on the list. I drive to VT every so often to pick up 2 cases and drive back to MA. Why? Simply said, this is the best beer (DIPA) in America. I also drive to the TH and drink all their beers too. I have not had Pliney The Younger so I can't comment on that, but it's only in a keg form and can't get the CA to try it. I have had Pliney the Elder though. Heady, as it's affectionately called, when fresh, far exceeds anything in its class. I have had many of the Tree house beers, and they are really good and deserve spots on the list but no IPA or DIPA from TH is as good as Heady. King Julius is close. I have both Heady and TH beers in my frig at all times and enjoy them all. I wont comment on what I taste or how it pours because it's different for most people. Find someone that has fresh heady and trade with them and you will see why a large majority of people think it's the best they ever had.

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Photo of steve_r405
3.25/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

what am I missing? this is just a slightly above average ipa, yet they come into our market, not allowing sales of cans.. really? who needs them? there are so many outstanding ipas now being made in the northeast. I think Alchemist needs to put more effort into their beer..

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Photo of mig100
4.73/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours cloudy and bright radiant gold with huge 3-finger head that eventually settles to 1. Sticky and bubbly lacing remains along the top and sides of the glass. (Yea, didn't drink from the can... but wanted to be able to look at it).

Aroma is a rainbow of tropical and citrus flavors. Tangerine, grapefruit and pear come through as well as grassy dank weed.

Taste follows the nose, minus the dank, drink down is incredibly light and smooth with grapefruity hops lingering.

The OG NE IPA. This started it all. Conan yeast, haze, 4 packs of 16oz tall boy cans, etc... and it's still top tier. One of the most balanced and delicious ever made. The hype is real and justified.

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

From the can. Wonderful complexity in the taste profile - so much citrus flavor and aroma (especially grapefruit) in the beginning, then the sweet/bitter hoppy taste as the sip goes down. When fresh, this, in my opinion, is the epitome of Double IPA VT. beers.

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Photo of mklever42
4.57/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Aroma: pineapple, citrus, pine, little bit of onion
Appearance: Nice, bright orange. Hazy and chunky
Taste: tropical fruits, pine and some onion.

Now that New England is booming with some serious hops, Heady is one that I won't track down anymore. I would rather drink Trillium, TreeHouse and HF IPAs.

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Photo of woemad
4.24/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

16oz can received courtesy of @JHavs and his mini-assault on my doorstep. While there's a 4-pk holder in the box with a sticker showing a date of June 23, I don't know if it goes with this or one of the other 4 beers he sent me.

I disobeyed the orders on the can and poured it into a 16oz Boston Lager glass. No hiding it's unfiltered nature, this is an opaque, hazy tangerine color, with a big, fluffy eggshell-white head. All sorts of lace was left on the glass.

Citrusy hoppiness is the star element of this beer's aroma. This is a juicy smelling beer, and that juiciness is both bitter and sweet, with the bitterness in the driver's seat. If not a fan of big, bold grapefruity IPAs, This might not be the beer for you. There are sweet tropical fruit tones as well, however, plus some sweet, bready malt notes.

The bitter, citrusy hop aspect leads the charge in the taste as well. Midway through the taste, the sweeter fruitiness comes out to play. The finish is a little hot, alcohol wise, and a little syrupy for an IPA.

Medium-full body to this, with a fairly thick, creamy and resiny mouthfeel.

This is a big beer, no doubt about it. I was concerned it would be too much like a glass of beery orange juice, like some NE IPAs I've had that aren't my jam. This is more complex than that, with a nice, well-balanced mix of bitter and sweet. I'm not sure this is something I could session even if I was staying at home and not driving, as it has quite an impact on the taste buds, but it's delicious all the same. Really glad to have had a shot at this. Thank's, Jon!

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Photo of Bruno74200
4.94/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm quite excited as I open the first can of my glorious 4-pack.
So yes I tried it from the can but also from the glass. This review is about the part poured in a glassed. Simply because it's the way I prefer it.
It pours a gorgeous (not so hazy) golden colour with amber notes and a two fingers head.

Aroma of honey, melon, pine resin, mango, cereal notes. Really clean and to the point

The taste is perfect. Yes perfect. And it's better as it warms up. It's perfectly balanced. The bitterness is important and just what you want to compliment the powerful flavours. The hops are upfront with mango, pine needle, citrus, melon, passionfruit, weed. The malt bill is great and noticeable. The yeast brings peach notes and make a real link between all the component

The texture is semi-dry with a fine moderate carbonation with a good presence in the mouth.

I am in love with this beer. I could easily drink liters of this one. It grows on you at each sip.


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

The beer that changed beer drinking for me. This is by far my favorite beer. Complex hop flavors that hit you over and over! I can't get enough of it! Every time I crack one open its like the gates of Heaven are opening for me, while simultaneously my scalp is exploding off the top of my head. Delicious!! Quite difficult to come by, luckily my Grandma lives in Vermont and is able to get a "somewhat" steady supply to me. Salud!!

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 14608 ratings