Heady Topper
The Alchemist

Heady TopperHeady Topper
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From:
The Alchemist
 
Vermont, United States
Style:
IPA - Imperial
Ranked #1
ABV:
8%
Score:
100
Ranked #6
Avg:
4.71 | pDev: 7.01%
Ratings:
15,096
Status:
Active
Rated:
Yesterday at 01:35 AM
Added:
Mar 27, 2004
Wants:
  9,787
Gots:
  6,583
SCORE
100
World-Class
Heady TopperHeady Topper
Notes: Heady Topper is an American double IPA. This beer is not intended to be the biggest or most bitter. It is meant to give you wave after wave of hoppy goodness on your palate. Tremendous amounts of American hops will creep up on you, and leave you with a dense hoppy finish in you mouth. So drinkable, it's scary. Sometimes I wish I could crawl right into the can.

Freshness and control have always been my main concern when it comes to our beer. We are committed to providing you with an unfiltered and unpasteurized hop experience. Why do I recommend that you drink it from the can? Quite simply, to ensure a delightful hop experience. The act of pouring it in a glass smells nice, but it releases the essential hop aromas that we have work so hard to retain.

If you MUST pour it into a glass, you may find that some of the hop resins have settled to the bottom -- leave them in the can while pouring. This beer is perishable, and at its best when it is young, fresh and hazy. Keep it cold, but not ice cold. Drink this beer immediately, we are always making more. -- John Kimmich


75 IBU
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Ratings by PA_Liberty:
Photo of PA_Liberty
4.91/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by PA_Liberty from Pennsylvania

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.

Mar 22, 2018
More User Ratings:
Photo of HopHead_
5/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
by HopHead_ from Pennsylvania

a little over a month old. tried some from the can but i preferred drinking from a glass to get a good whiff of the hops while taking a drink. It is slightly foggy with a good head and lacing. Nice citrus smell. citrus follows to the taste with pine balancing it out. i had my doubts but it lived up to the hype.

Yesterday at 01:35 AM
Photo of JZH1000
4.26/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
by JZH1000 from Colorado

Poured a small amount into a rocks glass to review appearance, the rest will stay in the can.

On the pour a nearly one finger head of fine white cloudy bubbles form. It unfortunately doesn't want to stick around or lace. The body is a brilliant hazy golden straw, still translucent but barely.

Aroma is largely tropical with some guava/mango/floral hop aroma notes and some subtle dankness as well. A light belgian yeast influence as well possibly? It could just be the bright and the dank intermingling.

The taste: very interesting this is definitely better from the can. The hops become sweeter and more tropical but maintain a nice background bitterness. This beer isn't really about the malt at all but it's OK. When drank from a glass it kind of just tastes like another NEIPA, but from the can there is an honestly amazing fruity evolution the goes from pine to guava to earthy to almost tart lemon. There is a touch of crackery malts on the very finish tying it all together as a beer quite nicely. Not too bitter, doesn't make me question the definition of beer, but carries nuance and evolution. This is fun!

Feel is smooth and a bit thick, but in a refreshing easy to put down sort of way, sort of like a smoothie, but more from the head than literal thickness as this I believe adheres to the purity law.

Overall yes this is a very good beer and exemplifies the NEIPA with a bit of science and a lot of flavor that works well together. Honestly does feel a bit like alchemy and almost makes me feel like an IPA guy.

Tuesday at 05:01 AM
Photo of Iamaskier
4.54/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
by Iamaskier from Idaho

Feeling conflicted about drinking this from the can…. But perhaps less so as it’s been so heavily analyzed by now. Even from the can, I get nice bright citrusy aromas; creamy tangerine, mango, and orange blossom. In the mouth… a balance of pine bitterness and creamy citrus like no other. That bitterness is soft, cool, and dominant, not loud but quite present. The finish holds the only sweetness to be found— tangerine and mango, last but not least. The feel is silky. I can see why many have tried, and many have failed.

Sunday at 10:44 PM
Photo of jbolger
4.63/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by jbolger from Connecticut

5/14/22 Canned 1/24/22. A classic.
Perfectly balanced. Tough to beat. A clear fav.

May 16, 2022
Photo of Dr_G
4.94/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
by Dr_G from California

Amazing. Unfortunately, it’s pretty hard to find on the West Coast.

May 13, 2022
 
4.75 by Youvegotyourselfastew from New York on May 10, 2022
 
4.5 by BeerMeCJS from California on May 08, 2022
Photo of NCSapiens
4.13/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by NCSapiens from Indiana

Nice bitter IPA with an aggressive and clean flavor. Overall very good but bit too piney and resinous for my personal preference.

May 06, 2022
 
4.71 by Giantspace from Pennsylvania on May 05, 2022
 
4.88 by BeerDreadz from Florida on May 04, 2022
Photo of whitro17
5/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
by whitro17 from Florida

Tremendous DIPA! To quote the can "hoppy goodness on your palate & a dense hoppy finish in your mouth" sums it up. Truly a great brew.

Apr 30, 2022
 
4.31 by Bierbaum from Massachusetts on Apr 30, 2022
 
4.41 by Affinity from Missouri on Apr 29, 2022
 
4.6 by BTexpress from Georgia on Apr 29, 2022
Photo of blazerkor
4.91/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by blazerkor from Nevada

It smells fruity like peaches but there's also a resinous element to it. In the background there's definitely the sweetness of malts.

Hoppy bitterness is the first taste I get. It's followed by a really balanced freshness of both the sweetness of the malts that's cut through by the resin flavor of the hops.

It has a thin to medium thin mouthfeel with just a little foamy carbonation. The finish is sweet for like half a second and then long and bitter.

This is the epitome of an IPA. The hops are really bold but balanced by the sweet malts. It's so so good. Overall I give it a 5.8 out of 6.

Apr 24, 2022
Photo of nodder
4.37/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by nodder from New York

Finally got to try this legend and it lives up to its status. A wonderful beer.

Apr 23, 2022
Photo of mvogt
4.62/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
by mvogt from Massachusetts

Look: shiny aluminum :)
Smell: pleasantly hoppy, more dank than juicy
Taste: Platonic ideal of a NEIPA. Instead of, for instance, a ginormous tropical fruit presence, you get a pure sequence of pithy, creamy, and piney.
Feel: Not as pillowy as more recent NEIPA recipes but still pretty squishy. Tiny alcohol burn after swallow.
Overall: A pure classic, nothing missing, nothing extra.

Canned 4/13/22 consumed 4/22/22

Apr 23, 2022
 
4.22 by sbradley41 from Pennsylvania on Apr 16, 2022
Photo of Kapaopango
4.98/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5
by Kapaopango from Spain

Amazing beer. Years keep going but everything in it keeps in its right place. A unique masterpiece that inspired a new generation of craft beer.

Apr 15, 2022
 
5 by petewheeler from Maryland on Apr 10, 2022
 
4.49 by Blogjackets from Ohio on Apr 07, 2022
 
Photo of mintzmeet
4.81/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
by mintzmeet from Washington

Nearly perfect beer. Smells refreshing and light and citrusy. Great lasting head (if you pour which the can says not too). Perfect IPA flavor. A little on the alcoholic side. It’s technically an American double IPA. Wave after wave of hoppy goodness. Drinkable. Young fresh hazy.

Apr 05, 2022
 
4.75 by tonystanhope from Florida on Apr 04, 2022
Photo of Pablo35
4.4/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by Pablo35 from Pennsylvania

Definitely a top 5 ipa. Well done!!

Mar 30, 2022
Photo of Kymikev
4.84/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
by Kymikev from Kentucky

Drank today 3/18. Canned on 3/3. Brother I served with shipped me a 4 pack from NH. First time I’ve got to taste this super high rated beer.
It did not disappoint. Color was surprisingly light when poured in the frosted mug (against the can’s instructions). That was the lowest mark I gave the beer (4). It looked like Crap Lite out of the can. As a comparison, I think The Arrogant Bastard is the sexiest pouring beer (......well after Guinness Draught of course).
Smell I can’t place. Hay field in high summer, next to a citrus farm with pine trees planted? I knew I was about to get punched in the face!
Taste? Best. Beer. I’ve. Ever. Tasted. Period. So complex. So drinkable. 8% only expressed itself about 2/3 the way through the glass, because my head was swimming.
Feel. Just the right amount of lacing. Not thin. Not thick. Absolutely baby bear for me.
Overall. I think I’ve already jumped ahead here. Do what you can to get this. You’ll not be disappointed. I suppose I’ll follow the directions and drink the next one from the can? Maybe? Going to see my Yankee Brotha this fall, so I’ll have to grab a case if I can. This beer is almost enough to make me move to New England.........not!

Mar 18, 2022
Photo of Jeandolla
5/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
by Jeandolla

one of the best beers ive ever had

Mar 15, 2022
 
4.51 by haqattaq from Massachusetts on Mar 14, 2022
 
4.17 by Thadtrick from Pennsylvania on Mar 13, 2022
 
4.24 by hperea from Colorado on Mar 06, 2022
Photo of Shanex
4.88/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75
by Shanex from France

Got that beer from a trade with Beergoot

Exceptional beer to say the least. Likewise its little sister Focal Banger, a very refreshing, tasteful, flavorful and awesome all around.

8% that are well hidden, I couldn’t even feel any warmth of alcohol.

Near perfection in a can regarding DIPA. Well done and done well The Alchemist.

Cheers!

Feb 18, 2022
Photo of Ricelikesbeer
4.71/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by Ricelikesbeer from Colorado

So... the first time I had a chance to try this beer I watched a friend's roommate chug one at about 10aM on a Saturday... and not share any with the group. (douchebag!!) :( Fast forward to 2022 and i've been lucky/ spoiled to taste this a few times now as CO gets a mini distribution a couple times a year. This 4 pack was canned just over a month ago so should still have some nice freshness.

L: Light orange/ gold color, hazy but not murky or cloudy, light, lingering white head with excellent head retention. Nice legs/ lacing on glass.

S: Admittedly i'm a bit plugged up (allergies yay...) but made sure to jot some notes when I was able to smell this beer without any allergies to screw up things: Big nose of citrus, peach, tangerine, a bit of herbal mint, and dank notes. Very citrus forward and the beer really comes alive in the nose. Yes, the can instructions you not to pour in a glass but I just couldn't drink from the can when I wanted to experience the full range of flavors/ hops/ aromas.

T: This is perhaps one of the most flavorful/ wonderful ipa's ive had. It is so balanced it is a bit mind-blowing. The caramel malts, hops/ yeast/ esters/ all come into play and contribute but nothing overpowers. The hops are the front runner and steal the show but the beer is not bitter/ astringent at all. A remarkable brewing feat and makes you want to pour the whole 4 pack in a big glass and chug it! I love the malt sweetness here its a bit like a white birthday cake flavor. then you get a nice range of citrus/ tropical hits like pineapple, mango and tangerine, peach. Then a clean, crip getaway. The beer is lively, bright and very, very balanced. Balanced is right! Did anyone mention this is balanced?

F: light/ medium carbonation and mouthfeel. Not overly slick or thick. Not watery. Clean on the palate and easy to enjoy with food or by itself.

O: ONe for the ages! At nearly 8% abv this one is a dangerous sneaker-upper- make you puke on your shoeser- after 9 of these... This is one that really lives up to the hype. Maybe one of the cleanest and most drinkable ipa's out there. I'll seek this out whenever I hear about it. Usually I think about replacements or similar beers I could buy that would be on par with some east coast hyped up haze bro beers... this one I dont' know that I can do that... Well done Alchemist! Now I can see why the alcoholic roommate chugged this after breakfast!... cant really blame the guy after all.

Feb 14, 2022
 
4.85 by seakret from Massachusetts on Feb 14, 2022
 
4.75 by ryand14 from Michigan on Feb 11, 2022
Photo of 40ontarget
4.39/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by 40ontarget from Colorado

Poured last 1/4 into a glass after drinking from can. Great foamy white head and slightly hazy deep gold color. The nose is pineapple juice and thick summer grass in an uncut field. A nice biscuity aroma comes in at the end. The taste is a huge jolt of piney and resinous bitterness that recedes into peach and tangerine sweetness. The finish is dry earthy hay and lavender that lingers for awhile. There is an almost silky feel. This is so very good. That initial taste is memorable. I'm not sure if I like this more than the Pliny's, but this is an outstanding beer.

Feb 10, 2022
Photo of Joshuajword
4.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by Joshuajword

It’s the best. Not your crushable beer, this is one to drink a single can of, or split with a friend and truly savor. A lot of flavor in that can, and as they suggested it does hold the aroma in the can.

Feb 05, 2022
Photo of jngls
4.66/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by jngls from Germany

One month old. Can to snifter.

Look: Pours an opaque golden brown with a beautifully thick white head. Minimal lacing. Plenty of floaters.

Smell: Hoppy and malty. Grassy, resinous and slightly sweet. Hints of pineapple.

Taste: First sweet, then bitter. Hoppy and malty. Grassy, resinous and herbal. Balanced and complex at the same time. Minimal notes of stone fruits, pineapple and tangerine.

Feel: Crisp and clean, but also full-bodied and aromatic. Very crushable. Perfect carbonation.

Overall: Somewhere between New England IPA, West Coast IPA and Lager, this iconic brew is a textbook example of a perfectly crafted and complex yet highly drinkable beer. Compared to other top rated brews and regarding its legendary reputation, Heady Topper might feel a bit unspectacular at the beginning, but make no mistake: even after almost 20 years this beer tastes as fresh and modern as ever.

Jan 29, 2022
Heady Topper from The Alchemist
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 15096 ratings