Heady Topper is currently the most infamous Imperial IPA on the market (alongside Pliny the Elder). I’d like to thank fellow Tumblr beer blogger, Kirby Garrison for the acquisition of this can. Bright aromas deliver loads of citrus with a focus on fresh grapefruit. An abundance of fruity notes mimic over-ripened mango, pineapple, and peach. Faint hints of pine resin rest below.
The palate begins with a big blast of hops in flavors that resemble succulent tropical fruits, hinting at guava and mango over a gentle honey sweetness. Sour highlights of ruby red grapefruit rise to become the dominant factor, while sweeter citrus flavors suggest ripe orange. A big body of grassy hops slide into the middle as citrus notes continue to ascend toward a bitterness expressed like grapefruit rind and lemon zest. The climax is distinguished by a gentle rush of spicy hops that splash into a pool of light, supportive malts with buttery, bready sweetness. Hop extract settles on the back-end, closing in bitter, mouth coating oils that continue to resonate into the aftertaste without wrecking the palate. The mouthfeel is generally quite smooth, thick with alpha acids over a medium-full body that departs semi-dry and thirsty.
A modest ABV ranking of 8.0% is just high enough to qualify for imperial status, yet low enough to maintain impressive drinkability. Or is it just that it tastes so good I can’t put it down? Hops reach across a wide spectrum of flavor, imparting an impressive array of herbal, fruity, citric, and spicy qualities. It really doesn’t get much better than this, so I can honestly say this is actually well-deserving of the hype. I highly recommend it!