Heady Topper | The Alchemist Brewery and Visitors Center

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Heady TopperHeady Topper
14,175 Ratings
Heady TopperHeady Topper

Brewed by:
The Alchemist Brewery and Visitors Center
Vermont, United States

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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 14,175 |  Reviews: 2,470
Photo of slvrmon82
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of jz989
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of scottfrie
4.82/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This review is comprised from notes taken on multiple days from multiple cans consumed from either a snifter or the can itself as suggested. There really isn’t much difference between the can and glass version.

A: Pours a very cloudy iced-tea color with a finger of bright white oily head that slowly faded into a very greasy film that left soapy patches of bubbly lace down the glass.
S: Stupid powerful and bright scents of fresh citrus hops layered with sweet tropical fruits and a blast of pine. Much easier to smell out of the glass.
T: Follows the nose with very sweet and fresh flavors of tropical fruit nectars and slightly bitter citrus juice. The hops in this are just so fresh while being so flavorful and easy to drink. The finish is sweet, juicy and honey-like, and the aftertaste is very smooth with hardly any bitterness.
M: Very slick and greasy mouthfeel, oily thick body, soft and fluffy carbonation. This goes down so smooth.
O: One of the best DIPA’s in the world. Definitely top 5. Love the flavors in this. Every bit as good out of the can than the bottle. If I lived near where this beer is distributed, I would always keep my fridge stocked at all times.

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Photo of dvsbizzyb
4.75/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of jegross2
4.59/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing the Heady Topper from The Alchemist.
Score (Can): 96
Score (Duvel tulip): 92

2011 can, courtesy as an extra from FrankenBrew (BeerAdvocate trade)! Been wanting to try this forever. It's rumored to taste/smell different from a can, so I'm doing this brew half-and-half. The half I drank out a glass was from a Duvel tulip.

Appearance (Can): Silver colored can with black artwork etched on the front. The can has a thrice repeated warning around the upper edge that reads, in all caps, "DRINK FROM THE CAN!" I don't like it when beer tells me what to do. Whatever, I'll do what I want!

Appearance (Duvel tulip): Pours a super hazy orange-amber color with a finger of super foamy cream-colored head that sticks around for a couple of minutes until it settles into a ring around the glass and thin clump in the middle. Decent lacing. 4/5

Smell (Can): Huge citrus and floral aromas. LOTS of intense, fresh tropical fruits -- oranges, grapefruits, pineapple and mangoes. Fresh grass clippings and dank resin. The nose is absolutely packed with bright, floral hops. Let's be honest -- it's like a sunshine of citrus-hops. This is hands down the best IPA, potentially the best beer, I have ever smelled in my life. I wish I could buy an air-freshener that smelled just like this! 5/5

Smell (Duvel tulip): A lot of the intensity of the citrus-hops aromas is lost when you pour this out of the can -- even into the infamously aromatic tulip glass! The aroma is a lot earthier, mellower and maltier. Reminds me a lot of Zombie Dust. Still getting zesty oranges and some lemons with big whiffs. You need to smell with much more effort to get the deliciousness once its poured. This one is absolutely better from the can -- no joke! 4/5

Taste (Can): A lot more mellow and subdued than the aroma would have you believe. Very earthy, dank hop bitterness. Orange pulp and lemon hit up front too, almost like a mellowed out Zombie Dust. Malty, bittersweet citrus builds on the mid-palate as the beer layers. Alas, it's not the front or midpalate that defines this beer -- it's the finish. The finish is zesty, bitter oranges and hops, and BOY does it linger! 4.5/5

Taste (Duvel tulip): Like the aroma, a lot of the intensity of the flavors are lost when you pour this from the can. The lingering orange-citrus bitterness largely disappears, and turns into a very average IPA-like finish. Since aroma makes up a main component of taste, this is not too surprising. A lot of the bright citrus flavors are lost and replaced by dank, earthy tones. When poured from the can, Heady Topper turns into an earthier Daisy Cutter with mid-palate flavor. 4/5

Mouthfeel (Can): Medium bodied, medium carbonation. It feels a little under-carbonated at first, preventing the citrusy bitterness from popping on the tongue, but the trade-off of a heavy lingering flavor on the tongue for the finish is absolutely worth it. Finish is a little oily, a little stick, and bittersweet. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel (Duvel tulip): No difference, other than a slightly maltier finish.

Overall: This one should ABSOLUTELY be enjoyed from the can. From what I read, a lot of the volatiles that make this beer so special quickly escape from the glass, whereas the can maximizes their presence through lower exposure and retention. Who would have thought that drinking from the can could be so wonderful? Maybe those tailgaters have it right after all! If I could get consistent access to this beer, it would be my go to non-stout brew.

Recommendation: This is an absolutely must-seek out double IPA. Just make sure to drink it from the can. I wish I could pour it back in and undo the mistake I made, questioning the wisdom of the can.

Food Pairings: Kuma's Corner hamburgers. Spicy food would be pretty great with this too.

Cost: $12 for a four pack.

 3,816 characters

Photo of Jenray
4.5/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of deadmule
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of zaphodchak
3.78/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

It's in a can. It appears as a silver can. I got the last bit of the can at a tasting, and at the can's insistence, consumed it out of the can.

Powerful fresh grassy hops are immediately apparent despite the can.

Bitter, powerfully grassy west-coast US hops. Slight undertone of honey, but not nearly enough to balance. One dimensional, perhaps, but good at that dimension.

Decent but a bit fizzy, almost prickly.

Well, it's an IPA, and it's a good one.

 457 characters

Photo of LambicKing
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of caseyf
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of bkny27
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of Wisconsinality
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of Captstrapper
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of Alpar
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of WeisGuy
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of kdmcguire10
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of nh2032
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of projectflam86
4.64/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got this as an extra in a trade with Plenum. Cheers buddy!

16oz can. Poured about 4oz in a small snifter for color and aroma. The rest was had from the can.

A- Pours a hazy golden/orange color with a thin white foam that leaves a few rings of lace.

S- The nose on this is incredible. Tropical fruits, oranges, grapefruit, and resiny hop aromas dominate the nose. Insane citrus nose.

T- Very bitter initially with loads of hop flavor. Orange and grapefruit flavors lead the way with a touch of pine. A very small amount of malt sweetness and alcohol in the finish. Anything but balanced in terms of flavor, but as a hophead I don't mind in least.

M- Medium bodied with good carbonation. I've had a few big DIPAs that seemed a little syrupy but this beer is surprisingly dry and crisp. Helps to enhance the hop flavors and bitterness. Ridiculously drinkable.

O- Very happy I got the chance to try this. Certainly a must have for any true hophead.

 962 characters

Photo of Double06
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of sliverX
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of beckard13
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of mjn5036
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.78/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Can't really tell what it looks like until you pour it out, comes out a hazy witbier (now with bigger chunks!) looking beer, but the vibrancy of the golden color is still nice, ample head size.

Aroma was just green vegetal hop madness. Lush and rich. Simcoe, amarillo for sure. Not really picking up bitterness, thankfully. Taste was more of the same, super awesome hop mouthfeel. Carbonation was just right. Take your pick you can taste and smell all the usual good hop adjetives. . . piney, grapefruit, citrus, green etc. . . this is dank. So nice, bitterness is so soft, hop taste so big. Seems like every other east coast ipa out there (not literally every) just makes an ipa with a shit ton of bitterness and no dry hop aroma or hop mouthfeel. Heady Topper takes a back seat to no one. Its not unique, it might as well be an uglier looking Pliny clone, tastes so similar.

Why try and reinvent the wheel when you can just mimic it and do a damn fine job doing it?

 969 characters

Photo of larryi86
4.89/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Huge thank you for DrewShal9 for this!
16 oz can first sampled from can then poured into a tulip glass

A- A hazy brunt orange/light brown with a white one finger head.

S- Can: A explosion hops, citrus/grapefruit, pine, tropical/mango, resin.
Glass: Getting a little more of the malt backbone and the citrus and tropical hops are a little bigger smelling.

T- Can: Hoppy and complex, citrus and tropical hops stand out right away and are nice complemented with good bitter piney and resin hops, nice malt backbone.
Glass: Not noticing much of a difference if any, maybe a little sweeter from the malts, but still just tons of hops!

M- Smooth, medium body, a little creamy.

O- This is just amazing. When I first saw the can in my box, I was super excited to try this but was a little nervous after I did not see a canning date, but after smelling it I knew it had to be fresh. Right up there with Pliny The Elder, worth seeking out, and I will be search for this more and more.

 981 characters

Photo of Tom052
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Heady Topper from The Alchemist Brewery and Visitors Center
Beer rating: 4.71 out of 5 with 14,175 ratings