Sunday, January 22, 2012

Re-Review: Heady Topper

Re-reviewing the Heady Topper from The Alchemist. I know I promised never to drink this one outside of the can again, but I thought a snifter glassed might do Heady Topper some justice. And I was right.
Score (snifter): 97

Canned 01/12/12 and enjoyed 01/21/12 in a snifter glass. This is about as fresh as you can get this in the Midwest. Thank you AdamJackson for hooking me up with this brew this time around!

Appearance: Like my previous pour in a Duvel tulip, Heady Topper is a hazy orange-amber color with a finger of super foamy cream-colored head that sticks around for a bit, settling into a ring around the glass. Slightly below average lacing -- leaves behind an oily layer with no sticky head. 4/5

Smell: Less than 10 days old, this one has even bigger notes of citrus than my first can did. LOTS of intense, fresh tropical fruits -- oranges, grapefruits, pineapple, papaya and mangoes. Fresh grass clippings and dank resin. The nose is absolutely packed with bright, floral hops. I stand by my original sentiment: that this is like sniffing "a sunshine of citrus." Even after having Pliny The Elder, Blind Pig, White Rajah, Anit-Hero IPA and Zombie Dust, Heady Topper is still the best smelling heavily hopped beer that I have ever had. Short of Surly Darkness, this is the best smelling beer that I have had to date. I still "wish I could buy an air-freshener that smelled just like this!" 5/5

Taste: Zesty lemon rind and tropical fruit with a sharp malty backbone throughout. Huge waves of citrus. In my original review, I felt the taste was mellower and more subdued than the aroma. Having a sampled a fresher can (my original can was just under a month old), I can say that my original sentiment no longer stands. Heady Topper is sharply bitter, loaded with tropical citrus and malty. Oranges, lemons, mangos, pineapple, papaya, and rainbow sherbert throughout. You name your citrus, it's here. The sharp bitterness is more earthy and dank than piney. Finish is a lingering orange citrus hoppiness. 5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, medium-high carbonation. The Citra hops really explode on the palate like a Citra hop bomb. Finish is dry and bitter with a little stickiness. 4.5/5

Overall: Though this beer is hard to find because it is only sold in a few places in Vermont, it is well worth the effort that it takes to get ahold of this brew. Heady Topper an absolute must try beer. While I have softened my original "you must drink this out of a can" stance, I still think it should be enjoyed in a vessel that minimizes the oxidation of volatiles present in the brew and maximizes the concentration of the aroma. In other words, serve this in a snifter and not a tulip glass. Even my friend who hates IPAs enjoyed this one.

Recommendation: This is an absolutely must-seek out imperial IPA. Drink it from the can or a snifter glass.

Food Pairings: Kuma's Corner hamburgers or spicy Mexican food.

Cost: $12 for a four pack.

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