Chad9976 (1126) - Albany, New York, USA - JAN 1, 2012
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
For some reason unbeknownst to me, certain random beers manage to generate a huge buzz and become the hot beer of the moment. As of this writing, Heady Topper - a double IPA by the Alchemist Pub & Brewery out of Waterbury, Vermont - is the MUST HAVE beer. Those lucky enough to acquire it say itís the East Coast equivalent of Pliny The Elder, or the best IPA theyíve ever had, or the best beer theyíve ever had (or all three). A friend of mine actually made the 3-hour drive to pick up a case and gave me a can or two. Only a few sips in I understood why beer nerds are going crazy for it.
Despite the warning (or plea) "Drink From The Can!" I poured a 16oz can into a tulip glass.
Appearance: Orange to dark orange color; extremely cloudy but translucent. Forms a large, yellow, frothy head which retains and laces very well.
Smell: Massive tropical fruit juice aroma with distinct sweetness to the nose. Dank piney resin is also quite prominent.
Taste: The thing about India Pale Ales is that they donít tend to be very complex - just very hoppy and thatís about it. But Heady Topper proves you can have genuine complexity even while being a hop monster. As soon as the beer hits the tongue I get intense bitterness - itís slightly dry, but itís impossible to ignore. Itís a massive hop bite that wakes your mouth up. Itís immediately quenched by a delicious palate of tropical fruit juices. Grapefruit, passion fruit, guava, mango and orange are all individually detectable and make for a very refreshing taste, ironically enough.
The second half changes on a dime to something much more dank. Intense resin and pine sap emerge to give the palate a whole new type of bitterness. Supposedly the beer is over 120 IBUs and between the sharp tartness of the citrus flavors and the almost burnt rubber-like astringency of the resin I can definitely see that. The aftertaste is slightly sticky - an odd combination of bitter hops and fruit nectar. It never stops being delectable, though.
Mouthfeel: Slightly creamy texture, but otherwise soft and comfortable with noticeable carbonation and a full-bodied palate.
Drinkability: Alchemist Heady Topper is not a difficult beer to drink - it goes down very smooth with a noticeable, but tolerable dry hoppy aftertaste. The 8% ABV is the perfect mass for this beer: heftier than your average IPA, but nothing that only heavyweight drinkers can handle. A great beer to have with a meal or extra sharp cheese, although I think drinking it on its own is much more satisfying so that you can experience and appreciate all the flavor without any distraction.
wilnatp (556) - Minnesota, USA - DEC 31, 2011
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
UPDATED: FEB 6, 2012 CAN at Darkness Day 10/22/2011. Orange pour with notes of pine and citrus. Bitter.
mar (4766) - Dallas, Texas, USA - DEC 31, 2011
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
can thanks to bhollas. murky deep gold color with a light cream head. nose is tropical fruits, pineapple, resin, dank. excellent thickness, pine resin, fruits, wet, dank hops. wow
wnoble (1251) - Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA - DEC 30, 2011
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
Can big thanks to mcox90, thanks so much! Pours orange and hazy. Nose is big resinous pines, oranges, grapefruit sweet malts, grasses, and some sweet estery fruits. Flavor is oranges, oily dank hops and sticky malts. Palate is smooth and rich. Dry bitter finish. this is one of the best!
patrick767 (3524) - fort wayne, Indiana, USA - DEC 30, 2011
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
16 oz can - I got this brew in Burlington awhile after the sad news that the Alchemist had been wiped out by flooding. However their recently built cannery survived. The bar I visited was excited to have just gotten in this beer and the locals were quickly buying them out. Anyway, this brew has a big, piney hop aroma. It has good balance if we can say that about an IIPA. Sure itís very bitter but thereís plenty of malt body there too. Citrus and pine notes add to a very pleasing beer experience.
mansquito (3255) - Nueva York, New York, USA - DEC 29, 2011
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
From the Brewery from the tap and can: Pours a hazy orange color with a nice white head. Aroma is a veritable explosion of hops: you get the citrus, the pine, and the flowers all together. Taste is wonderful. Bitterness is present, but it pales in comparison to the aroma. Basically, you get a huge variety of hops and hop flavours. A little bit sweet, but the maltiness is really held in check as compared to other DIPAs. In fact, it would be hard to tell that this is DIPA were it not for the huge amount of flavor. Great aftertaste that lingers and invites additional sips (unlike some hoppy beers that do the very opposite). Body is excellent. Drinkable, sippable, and delicious. Yes. Amongst the best hoppy beers Iíve ever had.
BeerandBlues2 (9356) - Hanover, Maryland, USA - DEC 22, 2011
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Can received from Doodler. Pours hazy and particulate amber with a large, frothy off-white head, medium-long retention with good lacing. Aroma is biscuit and cereal malt, fragrant floral and citrus hops, and moderate fruity esters. Flavor is heavy hops, moderate bitterness, sweetened fruity esters, supporting malt backbone, and a dry finish. Medium body, warmth, and carbonation.
Indra (2591) - Overland Park, Kansas, USA - DEC 17, 2011
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
16oz. can, purchased from the new brewery/cannery. WARNING: Pour with caution! I did not, the first go-around, and my word, what a chunky beer experience it was. Downright unnerving, it was. I havenít seen that much sediment and suspended stuff since my last bottle of Abbaye des Rocs. My advice is to pour slowly and plan on leaving the last half-ounce or so in the can.
Aroma is fruity, lightly sweet, then HOPS HOPS HOPS, with massive amounts of citrus, resin, florals, pine, a lighter green vegetative note (scallion?), and some lightly toasted caramel malts in the background. The nose just has more hops than almost anything Iíve encountered before. Hazy light-medium amber color, head is off-white, foamy and lasting. Flavor profile is skewed towards the hoppy side to an insane degree, this is just rife with sweet citrus, tropical fruit, pine, spice and huge bitterness, fresh and not overly drying or astringent in any way; the sweet, toasty malty backbone is blended in rather nicely and smoothly, particularly about midpoint, since the finish is all about the hops once again, just lip-smackingly resinous. Palate is active, oily and gently effervescent, body is medium-full. Shockingly easy to drink and hugely flavorful, this is a hopheadís dream.
Side note, something I find amusing: The label attempts to convince you in various ways to drink from the can, but then on the label art, the guy is drinking from a glass. I did decant this, by the way, I just donít drink good beer out of a can. Not my style.
TheBeerGod (5165) - Newport News, Virginia, USA - DEC 17, 2011
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Can courtesy of GandGKevin. Murky amber with a pretty, layered white head. Aroma is big grapefruit and big pine atop chewy malt and a nice caramel backbone. Taste is a hop bomb. Big pine resins, floral hops, citrus oils and grapefruit pulp. More chewy malts and caramel in this as well. Body is medium-full with a creamy carbonation. Finishes with more big hop resins, grapefruit, pine, citrus oils, caramel and chewy malt.
vyvvy (3876) - Florissant, Missouri, USA - DEC 17, 2011
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Sampled at a recent RB St. Louis gathering - Pours lightly hazy amber / orange with an off-white head. The aroma is a thing of beauty. Tons of hoppiness with notes of orange, funk and green onion standing out. There is also some caramel malt there for a nice balance. Medium crisp body with semi-sharp carbonation. The flavor starts out with funky, piny and grapefruit hop notes and smooth semi-sweet caramel malt for a spot on balance for the assertive hops. The finish dries out a lot and the hops get more harsh showing earthiness, pine, grapefruit and it is all quite resiny. Really well made IIPA.