Alchemist Heady Topper

Right now, on BeerAdvocate, this beer is the #6 best-rated beer in the world. Oddly, on RateBeer, it's not in the top 50, even though it has scores of 100 in terms of a review average and style ranking. Either way... ohhh baby. In the words of Jake, it's time to hit it.

The colour is a bit pale, and surprisingly peachy (especially in the pour). It's a bit cloudy, and due to a really careful pour and a glass that I just rubbed a bunch of spots from, the head didn't rise to the occasion. I know it has much more to offer, I just didn't coax it out (I didn't pour it all out, either - had to save some in the can!).

The can says DRINK FROM THE CAN! (X3), and you know what - do it. It smells better IN THE CAN. I don't get it. I thought pouring some out (I had to do it, right?) would release more aromas, but no - it deadened them significantly. I can only assume they have a proprietary method of infusing can coatings with hop aromas. So... what's it smell like? Great. It's all citrus and a bit of flowers. There is pine, too, but really... this is a citral (new word for the day) hop bomb. It's grapefruit, orange, light mango... ripe pineapple. After a moment, sitting still, the glass had more aroma build up in it, closer to can levels, but... really... it didn't sit too long. Let's move on.

Flavour-wise, the can doesn't make a huge difference. It just blocks the nostrils a bit (dammit), which ends up being the same result as drinking it from a glass when the aroma's muted. It's fairly light and fruity in flavour - nothing over-the-top, overly bold, or malty. The bitterness is there, and I think I can pick out a bit of heat. Grapefruit, pineapple, and pith are what come out most. Maybe some light  toffee?

Feel-wise, it's got a body on the light side of medium. It's a little sticky without being overly so. It has a bitterness that definitely builds up in feel with time.

Overall, does it deserve the hype? For me, it's probably up there in the best IPA / DIPA's I have had, especially for its very-fruit-forward slant. The aroma's fantastic, the flavour's good, the feel is fine, and the burps are stellar. In the glass, it's really good - in the can, it's awesome. I could drink this every freakin' day.

Dear Vermont - please send me a four-pack or more of these plus a tourism brochure. Also, dear can-manufacturing people - please make a can with a nose hole. Sincerely, PEI Beer Guy.

PS - thanks for bringing it up, "wortly"!


  1. This IS one awesome beer. I was lucky enough to have it on tap in March, 2011, when the brewpub was still open (before the flood that closed it down permanently). I'd love to try it canned as well!


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