Beer Review: The Alchemist Heady Topper

I debated posting this review because this blog is about to be what to drink around Cincinnati. Sadly the closest you can get this beer to Cincinnati is Vermont, which is not at all close. In the end I decided to go forward with this post because Cincinnatians may travel to Vermont or may be decided to try and trade for this beer, which is relatively easy to do. I scored this can by trading the recent Stone Enjoy By 11.9.12 for this. Another reason I posted this is because I am aware that many of our readers come from across the country and a few from around the world.

Worth the hype

Brewery: The Alchemist
Beer: Heady Topper
Style: Double IPA
Alcohol by volume: 8%
IBU: 120

It looks… well… unfiltered (see below). It’s got a great yellow gold color with lots of fluffy white head. Fluffy white head… and lots of chunks of hops. It’s actually kind of disgusting looking. Sure their can claims to drink it straight out of the can to preserve the hop flavor… my ass. They want you to drink it out of the can so you don’t see the hop chunk. I did drink some out of the can as well but seeing is believing, or something like that. No beer reviewer would ever give a review without seeing the beer. The chunks are a natural part of the brewing process though. The Alchemist adds a lot of late stage hops to this beer and then they don’t filter any of them back out. So if you get a Heady Topper don’t be freaked by the chunks.

Sloth Love Chunk

The smell is tremendous, out of the can & glass. It smells more like a fresh peeled orange than a beer. Throw that in with some herbal and spice hops characteristics and you’ve got a delightfully aromatic hop bomb.

Massive hop taste as well with only slight bitterness. This has got to be one of the most flavorful beers I’ve had. There is more orange, herb, and spice flavors as well as a dose of sweet malt action. The can taste is essentially the same as the glass taste if you add in a bit of metallic taste for the metal touching my lips. Back to the bitterness for a moment, while it is bitter it’s very low. I would say this is one of the least bitter DIPAs I’ve ever had.

Mouth feel is medium bodied and very smooth, with no chunk action. Mouth feel also brings with it a decent presence of warm alcohol flavor.

I traded for this beer to see if it lived up to the hype and it certainly does. It’s unfortunate that Pliny is still leading all the lists, in my opinion this smokes Pliny. Pliny packs in more bitterness but this brings much more flavor. And in case any beer nerds are curious this is about 2 weeks old and I’ve had Pliny that was 1 week old. So it’s not an issue of 2 month old Pliny vs. day old Heady, they were both essential the same. If you have an opportunity to trade for this do it without a doubt and if you’re traveling to Vermont be sure to pick this up.

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