The Alchemist. Just a name of the brewery is enough for most craft beer lovers to get shivers- in the good way i mean! Especially their IPAs are on many beer drinker bucket list and for a good reason: just look at the reviews their beers have! No need to explain why these beers are among the Most wanted- list for many. One of our users, Johan Metsänpuro send us three beers from Alchemist: Heady Topper, Crusher and Focal banger. Thank you so much Johan!
Before we write our reviews on these magnificent IPAs lets briefly talk about the brewery and people behind it. In 1994 man named John Kimmich came to city of Vermont to learn beer industry from a beer expert Greg Noonan. John then worked as a brewer in Vermont pub and brewery. While working there he met his wife Jen. In 2003 John and Jen Kimmich opened a 60 seat brew pub in the village of Waterbury in Vermont. Their beers were loved and after eight years in 2011 they decided to built a cannery for their flagship IPA, Heady Topper. And the conquer of the beer world begin despite of the tropical storm Irene that damaged the brewery in the same year they had built the cannery. In 2016 they opened another brewery in Stowe, also located in Vermont.
But why are everyone talking about The Alchemist? what makes their beer so unique? Is it ingrediens? Maybe its just the love for beer? Atleast their flagship beer Heady Topper uses the yeast only The Alchemist has. So, sorry for all the homebrewers out there, we just can’t make the exact clone for this beer. Plus if I’m correct, John Kimmich is constantly tweaking his recipies.
And before we start drinking these beers we have to apologize to John Kimmich: there are several of us drinking these so we had to pour them into glasses. Pictures in this blog post have been send us by Johan so thanks for that also.
The beers have been rated based on appearance (A), nose (N), mouthfeel (M), taste (T) and overall impression (O).
Heady topper. The most famous beers from The Alchemist. An American Double IPA with over 120 IBUs and 8% ABV.
A: Golden yellow with slight haziness. Basically no head (as you can see in the picture there is large white head but when we drank the beer there was zero head): 3/5
N: Fruity, resiny and pine with some citrus. Surprisingly, this doesn’t have anything special like we all expected. “Just” an ordinary well hopped Yanky style IIPA: 4/5
M: Full with warming alcohol coming through . Low carbonation with nice imperial level bitterness: 4,5/5
T: Resiny pine continues going strong .Some maltiness has risen to the game. Citrus joins in late and leads to strong aftertaste with dry bitterness: 11/15
O: This is a decent beer but no way near for all the hype this gets. We were all little bit disappointed for this. Still I’m glad I get to taste this at last. One more beer to strike out from my bucket list. And don’t get me wrong, this is still a good beer despite it didn’t live for the hype: 15/20
Crusher. An American Double with 8% ABV
A: Amber yellow and again some haziness. White head stays on top of the beer for a while and eventually shrinks to a thin circle going around the glass: 4,25/5
N: Somewhat heavy with fruity sweetness. Dank aroma. Notes of citrus and tropical fruits (passion fruit, mango) in the background. Nice showcase of American hops: 4,5/5
M: Full with lots of hop oils present. Nice touch of alcohol. Crips bitterness. Awesome, just the way an Imperial IPA should feel in the mouth: 4,5/5
T: Citrus, maltiness and some tropical fruit sweetness. Round and dank taste and finally a dry aftertaste courtesy of the high bitterness: 13/15
O: Beautiful and strong Imperial IPA. Just the way I like it. Everything is fused together nicely. Brilliant stuff: 17,5/20
Focal banger. American IPA. ABV 7% with Citra and Mosaic hops.
A: Pale yellow, almost clear. White, small head with good retention: 4,25/5
N: Very strong citrus bomb hits you right in the face: lemon and lime. Maybe even a hint of orange. Then there’s floral vibe and light tropical touch. Fresh: 4,5/5
M: Medium-full. Lots of bitterness. Carbonation is medium-low. When I’m thinking of the perfect American IPA there’s some things that comes to mind: it needs to be crispy and refreshing. Carbonation can’t be too high or maltiness too heavy. AND THIS IS IT, the perfection: 5/5
T: Strong citrus continues to shine. Light and crispy maltiness goes well with it. Very nice. Aftertaste has a lingering grapefruit character with dry and refreshing bitterness: 13,5/15
O: Just an awesome beer. Every aspect of this is well build and strong. Lovely fresh hoppiness in the nose and in the flavor. Love this. One of the best IPAs in the long time: 18,5/20
Out of these three beers, Focal banger was the clear winner. That seemed to be what everyone was thinking. Most hyped beer of them all, Heady topper, was the least favorite but still very enjoyable and great stuff nevertheless. The Crusher was a good showcase of how well brewed Imperial IPA should taste like. But it did split the opinions little bit. Some said it was too heavy and dank. But still, no bad beers where drank this day and we all are very fortunate to get to taste this. Thanks again Johan for the beers and for the pictures!
Please do tell us what you think about these beers by The Alchemist.
-Text: Jari from Pint Please
-Pictures: Johan Metsänpuro