Heady Topper | The Alchemist Brewery and Visitors Center

BA SCORE
100
world-class
13,485 Ratings
Heady TopperHeady Topper
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
The Alchemist Brewery and Visitors Center
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
Ratings:
13,485
Reviews:
2,385
Avg:
4.65
pDev:
7.1%
 
 
Wants:
9,250
Gots:
5,699
For Trade:
70
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 13,485 |  Reviews: 2,385
Photo of Sammy
4.22/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very impressive DIPA. The hop aromas, very C-hop, are very satisfying and very fresh as if I am at the brewery now , as if hand bottled. Great lacing and head. Unfiltered look and taste, a full mouthfull. A little astringent. Grea carbonation. Bottle from Fred.

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Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -14%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.85/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Drank from the can as was suggested by the can.

S: Even without pouring into a glass I got a little aroma as I brought the can to my face! What I got was hoppy tropical fruity heaven.

T: Massive tropical fruits up front. Mango, Grapefruit and even a little unripe bitter Pineapple. Next come the hops that balance out the beer perfectly and leave a slight lingering bitterness on your palate. Alcohol is nonexistent even at 8%. Could drink this when I wake up until I go to bed

M: Light to medium carbonation and mouthfeel. Perfect for a double ipa

O: Perfect double IPA. Flavors are spot on and drinkability is perfect. Awesome!

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

Photo of jaydoc
4.44/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.81/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to DarthKostrizer for sharing this one at the post Bruery Reserve Society party bottle share!

Canned 2/2/12.

Pours a murky honey yellow with a white head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is fantastic with citrus zest, citrus fruit, and tropical fruit aromas. Taste is the same with citrus fruit, citrus zest, and tropical fruit up front with a malt finish. There is a mild bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an exceptional DIPA with some amazing aromas and flavors.

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Photo of GRG1313
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of spycow
5/5  rDev +7.5%

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

an affordable can at farmhouse tap in burlington. they say drink it from the can, but i poured it for more careful study. it looks lovely, hazy, definitely unfiltered. radiant hay color with thick white suds floating on top that leave some mean lacing as it drinks. smells like quite the hop bouquet. grapefruit and spruce are the most prominent hop esters im picking up, but there are many. it tastes like it smells, deep and complex, worthy of patient consumption. its fruity, in addition to citrus there is also nectarine and mandarin orange on my tongue. its got upbeat carbonation which keeps its oily medium taffy sticky body moving along. the aftertaste is long and bittersweet, as it should be. alcohol is well hidden in taste, but can certainly be felt. this is one hell of a big ipa, and i dont want to hear anymore debate about pliny/heady, because both are outstanding and distinct brews, and that should suffice for all of us.

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Photo of kjkinsey
5/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -14%

Photo of Knapp85
4.92/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This is incredible stuff, this beer was drank mostly from the can... only poured a sample of it out to enjoy the orange yellow color of it with a nice looking white head on top. Had a nice unfiltered cloudiness to it also. The smell of the beer is very hoppy, lots of pine aromas in it with the delicate floral and citrusy notes in there as well. The taste is probably worthy of a 5.5 honestly. There is no doubt that this has some of the best transitions of flavors I've had from any IPA. There is a huge rush of floral sweet citrus notes on the tongue in the very beginning, as the liquid settles there is a very subtle burst of malts on the tongue right before the aggressive pine resin starts to claw away at your taste buds. The mouthfeel is smoothly carbonated making this beer very easy to drink, it's medium bodied and has a nice dry finish to it. Overall this is something very special, The people up at Alchemist aren't screwing around here, they are setting out to make the best IPA in the world and I would say that they just might have it. This is a beer I would drive to Vermont to get cases of. I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. Looking forward to drinking the next 3 in the pack.

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Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev -8.6%

Photo of nmann08
5/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.35/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours from a 16 oz can, nice hazy orange color. Smell is of sweet hops. Taste is medium bodied, great balance to it. Not overly hoppy (as warned by the outside of the can) and has a great maltiness to it that most IPAs (specifically double IPAs) are missing. Delicious aftertaste.. I can see why this has such a high rating. Felt lucky to try this beer, definitely worth seeking out if you get a chance.. one of the better imperial IPAs I've gotten to try.

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Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.25/5  rDev -8.6%

Photo of metter98
4.66/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: The beer is hazy yellow in color and has some hints of amber hues. It poured with a finger high off white head that quickly died down, leaving a thin film of bubbles covering the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass. There is a slight amount of carbonation visible along with some fine particles floating in suspension.
S: There are strong aromas of citrusy hops in the nose along with some hints of pine resin. As the beer warms up, the piney hops become replaced by aromas of mangoes and other tropical fruits. I poured a little from the can into a snifter glass to give due justice to evaluating its appearance and aroma, but the smell is so strong that you can get most of it by simply sniffing the mouth of the can.
T: Like the smell, the overall taste is dominated by flavors from the hops—grapefruit really stands out in particular and contributes a moderate amount of bitterness that lingers into the finish. There are also some interesting hints of tropical fruits such as mangoes, which lend to the complexity and become a little stronger as the beer warms up. The hops also taste extremely fresh and seem a somewhat reminiscent of a wet hopped beer.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: Despite being an Imperial IPA, this beer is a citrus hop bomb that drinks more like a regular IPA and has no traces of alcohol whatsoever in the taste. If I could find a four pack of this, I would have no problem knocking back each one of the cans in a single sitting.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.67/5  rDev +0.4%
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 biboergosum
4.45/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

16oz can, thanks to Phyl21ca for getting this across the continent to me. If we are entreated to "Drink from the Can!", then why does the label illustration show the dude getting his mind literally blown ('heady topped?'), using a GLASS?

This beer pours a cloudy medium apricot amber hue, with three fat fingers of puffy, billowy, and chunky off-white head, which leaves some thickly rendered, sudsy webbed lace around the glass as it slowly ebbs away.

It smells of sharp, bitter grapefruit and orange pith, acrid pine resin, musty forest floor detritus, a crackery sourdough maltiness, and a hint of spicy yeast. The taste is still bitter, but in a more leavened sense, as the grapefruit, tangerine, and other muddled tropical fruit display a modicum of their sugary, fleshy nature, with the pine needles still pleasantly in neutral, the yeastiness going native and ethereal, a caramel essence attaching itself to the steady bready (and, why not - heady) honey-tinted malt sweetness.

The bubbles are fairly laid-back, manifesting mostly in a mild frothiness, the body a sturdy medium weight, and smooth like unfiltered orange juice. It finishes off-dry, the slightly yeasty, and now toasty bready malt faring surprisingly well amongst the hovering hipster hops. Still no alcohol notes readily perceptible.

A DIPA worthy of its stature, but for reasons I did not quite expect - this is a hop bomb, sure, but more of the neutron variety - the attack leaves the infrastructure (i.e. my tastebuds) intact. It's all about flavour here, rather than overt bitterness or astringency, and while my mind remains unequivocally unblown, I can surely admit that this is the best combination of tasty and easy-drinking that I have ever encountered in the style. Oh, and I took a sip out of the can before I poured it - seemed the same to me.

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Photo of kojevergas
4.25/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Boy oh boy oh boy. I've been waiting a long time for this one. Heard the hype for months and finally picked one up locally in SoCal. Yeah, imagine that. I bought a can of this in L.A. at retail. 1 pint aluminum can served into a New Belgium stem-goblet in me gaff in Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. 8.00% confirmed. Consumed in celebration of completing my grad school applications. I don't see canned-on date, but my local beer store guy informed me it was two weeks old when I bought it yesterday.

Served straight from the refrigerator and allowed to warm slightly over the course of consumption. I went back on forth on whether to pour this one into a glass because the label advises me not to. I'm compromising and taking my first sip from the can, but then pouring some of it into a glass and leaving some in the can for later consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

T (Early):On the first sip I get delightful grapefruit and citrus esters, with pale clean malts and lovely floral hopping. Oily hops abound, with hints of pine. Boy, this is going to be interesting.

A: Pours a one finger beige colour head of nice thickness and cream, and decent retention for the high ABV. Body colour is a fairly vibrant burnt orange-auburn. Nontransparent. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Not the best IPA appearance I've seen, but pleasant.

Sm: Grapefruit, pale malts, citrus esters, floral hops, and heavy oily hops - but surprisingly little pine. Quite light in strength, but appealing.

T: Perfectly balanced; never too bitter. Grapefruit zing but not in an overbearing way. Floral hops and heavy hop oils (a component I think is rather unique and special to this beer; I've never experienced it quite like this). Citrus, tropical fruit on the back end. I even get pinapple and mango. Maybe apricot too. Passion fruit? (I'm never sure; I've never had an actual passion fruit). Pale malts a are a perfect complement to the hop choices. No alcohol or yeast comes through. That's tasty stuff. I'm shocked at the lack of bitterness; I don't even remember Pliny The Younger (let alone Elder) mitigating the bitterness this well. There's some (very very little) on the climax, but just enough to add a welcome dimension. Well layered and quite subtle. It doesn't beat you over the head like most beers in the style. No metallic taste despite being from a can. Perfect sweetness to suit its hoppiness.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with perfect crispness and coarseness to coax out the subtler flavours. Fresh, refreshing, and perfectly carbonated. Oily. A bit buttery.

Dr: This is probably the most drinkable IPA (not just Double IPA, but IPA as well) I've ever had the delight to consume. It's refreshing as hell, the 8% is nowhere to be seen, and I imagine it would pair brilliantly with any food. A master class in balance and what an IPA should be. I hate to buy into the beer versus beer debates, but in my book this is clearly better than Pliny The Elder. I expected something different based on the hype, but this surprised me with its balance and sophistication. Wow. This is definitely one of the best beers in the style that I've had. I look forward to trying more beer from the Alchemist and to one day having this on-draught. If you see this, buy it. I'm not a big IPA fan and I'm loving this stuff. Brilliantly built. I could easily down this one all night. If there's a better IPA out there, I have yet to find it.

This beer is nearly perfect in its style. The main thing holding it back is its appearance.

A+ (4.6) [3 / 3.5 / 4.75 / 4.75 / 4.75]

Serve cold. Drink cold.

Would pair well with anything. Even chocolate.

***
10/01/15: I've had this at least 7 times since my initial review, and significant batch inconsistency has forced me to lower my rating from an A+ to an A-. Some batches have been as low as a High B, whilst some have remained an A or A+. Unfortunate, but true.

A-

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Photo of emerge077
4.57/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks Alex for sharing this one, you generous SOB.

Slightly hazed orange due to it's unfiltered nature, and the bottle was approaching it's end. In a tulip glass, there initially was a solid finger's width of white foam, fading to a wispy skim dotted with minor spotty lacing.

Huge tropical aroma, fresh hops galore, sweet citrus, bitter grapefruit, mango, resiny dank herbals. Rooty Tooty Fresh 'N Fruity.

Flavor is similarly fruity, with a big grapefruit presence, moderately bitter, lush and packed with resinous hop flavor and a slight undercurrent of pale malt sweetness. Sticky and dank. Body is fairly light, and with no trace of the abv, it's almost too easy to drink. "Carbonated to pub draft levels" as the label states. A bomber or two of this hop nectar would be awesome, on tap even better. Thanks again Alex!

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Photo of brentk56
4.42/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Presents a slightly hazy honey color capped by a couple of inches of foam; swathes a few strands of lace

Smell: Bursts with citrus, pine and pith; rather tropical, with orange, pineapple and mango

Taste: The intense bitterness jutts forward from the get-go, with the tropical citrus flavors featuring prominently in the middle, bringing orange, pineapple and mango flavors, along with ruby red grapefruit; the sweetness from the malts builds into the finish, balancing the bitterness

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: A great DIPA; while it is big on the hops, there is a lot of malty sweetness, too and that is necessary to balance the intense bitterness

Thanks, wildcats10, for the opportunity

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Photo of oline73
4.89/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a can into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber with a finger of fluffy white head that fades to a ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Just amazing. Herbal and citrus hops smack you in the face. Some pineapple and pine tree in there as well. Super fresh.

Taste: Just like the smell, thank God. Bitter hops throughout, but there is a decent amount of malt to back it up. Lots of grapefruit and apricot with more mild herbal and pine notes. Bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with carbonation on the mild side and an extremely dry finish.

Overall: I wouldn't change a thing. You're damn right I'm going to have it again.

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Photo of SocalKicks
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

Photo of dmorgan310
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%

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Heady Topper from The Alchemist Brewery and Visitors Center
4.65 out of 5 based on 13,485 ratings.
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