Review: Header Topper, The Alchemist

Heady Topper
The Alchemist — Waterbury, VT

  • Style:  Double IPA
  • Bitterness:  Not specified
  • ABV:  8.0%
  • Malts:  Not specified
  • Hops:  Not specified
  • Sampled:  16 oz. can

Description:  We love hops – that’s why our flagship Double IPA, Heady Topper, is packed full of them.  Heady Topper was designed to showcase the complex flavors and aromas these flowers produce.  The Alchemist has been brewing Heady Topper since 2003.  This Double IPA is not intended to be the strongest or most bitter DIPA.  It is brewed to give you wave after wave of hop flavor without any astringent bitterness.  We brew Heady Topper with a proprietary blend of six hops – each imparting its own unique flavor and aroma. Take a big sip of Heady and see what hop flavors you can pick out.  Orange?  Tropical Fruit? Pink Grapefruit? Pine? Spice? There is just enough malt to give this beer some backbone, but not enough to take the hops away from the center stage. — The Alchemist

Random thoughts:  Heady Topper is not available in Oregon. A fellow beer blogger gave it to me at the Beer Bloggers Conference. I decided to crack this open on IPA Day. I've heard that it rivals Russian River's Pliny the Elder as one of the best Double IPAs. We shall see... 

The tasting:  Golden orange in color, very hazy, with a white head that dissipates fairly slowly. It looks a bit like orange juice. Aroma of pine, grapefruit, lemon, and juicy mango. Taste starts with a rush of  grapefruit and piney hop flavors that are strong, but not overwhelming. There's a light bready and caramel malt backbone that provides a touch of sweetness and helps to balance the hop flavors. Alcohol is not noticeable in aroma, but some is present in the middle and finish. However, it's stealthy and doesn't taste like an 8% ABV beer. Heady Topper is medium bodied, has a resinous mouth feel, and finishes dry with lingering grapefruit and tropical fruit bitterness.

Rating:  4 star.  Really Good! I want this again!  I'm so glad I had the opportunity to taste this beer! There is a lot of hype about it, and it's well deserved. This is one fine double IPA! Is it better than Pliny the Elder? I'll leave that for you to decide. But first, you'll need to find one of each!

What do you think about Heady Topper? 

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1 comment:

  1. Truly a great beer. I've tasted it from a glass and from the can. Can was tastier. Have had Pliny at the source. Great beer too. Just different. Hate to compare the East coast to the West coast but the Conan yeast in this beer really distinguishes itself from its West coast counterparts.


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