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Old 08-23-2012, 09:23 PM   #1
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Default Heady Topper vs. Pliny

Drinking a Heady Topper for the first time and holy smokes is it good. I've never had Pliny but, with all the talk about it, imagined it tasting something like this.

Has anyone had both? Similarities? Differences? Or are they not even close?

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Old 08-24-2012, 03:17 AM   #2
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I should also mention that I, against my better judgement, followed the instructions and drank from the can.

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Old 08-27-2012, 03:08 PM   #3
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I've never had Pliny, but I do have a case of Heady in my back fridge from a trip we took to Stowe last week. I dont think that too many people outside of New England, let alone Vermont have tried Heady seeing as that they self distribute, and only to the Stowe region.

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Old 09-14-2012, 03:59 PM   #4
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Craig311 - i'm in the same boat as you, i've had HT but not Pliny. HT is AMAZING. i'm not the biggest fan of IIPA hop-bombs, but gawddam if HT ain't one of the best beers i've ever tasted. my in-laws live in southern VT, i got a 6-pack about a month ago and it lasted 6 days. i was proud of myself for my restraint.

i drank them all from the can. brewery told me to do so, so i did. not going to argue with those guys. they obviously know what they're doing.

seems to me that, at best, Pliny is as good as HT. i just can't believe that it'll be better.

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Old 09-14-2012, 04:17 PM   #5
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Having had Pliny and having loved it, I went on a crusade to get myself some Heady Topper because I was also under the impression that it would be similar. Once I got myself a case of HT, my hopes for an East Coast Pliny were dashed.

While both are Double IPAs and while I like Heady Topper, I still consider Pliny to be a far better beer. Having said this, what type of hop head you are will determine which beer you like better.

I'm hop-interested rather than hop-obsessed, so I like Pliny's drink-ability better. On whole, I like the 'balance' (I know Pliny is technically unbalanced) between malt and hops better in the Pliny.

Do not get me wrong: Heady Topper is a great beer (the Alchemest works magic up in Waterbury) and I really enjoy one on occasion. I just found the over the top hop flavor a bit too much. If you are the type of hop-head who likes to likes your hops to linger on the tongue for 10 seconds after each sip - HT is the beer for you.

For me it comes down to the ultimate test: Having tried a beer, would I order another. In the case of Pliny, I would order pint after pint until they took my coaster away. With Heady: I would always order one if I saw it on tap, but I would seldom order a second in the same visit.

We're splitting hairs here. Both beers are very good and worth trying if you get the chance. While you're at it, see if you can get yourself some Three Floyds Zombie Dust. I would throw that one right in between HT and Pliny for drink-ability.

(BTW - I believe the reason the brewery tells you to drink right from the can is because of the amount of hop matter floating in the HT. Pour a Pliny and Heady Topper in pints side by side, and you can tell right away that they are two different types of DIPA. Vive la différence!)

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Old 10-11-2012, 01:14 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig311 View Post
I should also mention that I, against my better judgement, followed the instructions and drank from the can.
Good call. Don't pour it out in a glass. The beer isn't filtered and there are tons of unappealing looking things that come out that sort of make it hard to finish..I wasn't too impressed with how it looked in the glass.

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I live near the alchemist and Heady flows like water around here. It's a great beer. I've had Pliny on tap at Russian River and Heady is still better...I'm from Cali so this isn't east coast pride, it's just the truth.
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Old 10-18-2012, 07:42 PM   #7
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As others have said, they are both great beers. I think your personal preferences will determine which you think is better. I personally like Pliny a little more because it is more well balanced than Topper. I do have to say that Topper has the most amazing hop aroma of any beer I've ever had, and that the aroma dissipates greatly if you pour it out of the can. The initial smell from the newly opened can was like smelling a sack of hops!

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Old 04-16-2013, 07:14 PM   #8
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I agree with the previous speaker. I had both beers (at the same time) twice...and I drink Pliny as much as I can and I must say that it is significantly better to my taste. A lot more well balanced. Super hoppy and still extremely drinkable.

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Old 04-16-2013, 07:28 PM   #9
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Craig311 - i'm in the same boat as you, i've had HT but not Pliny. HT is AMAZING. i'm not the biggest fan of IIPA hop-bombs, but gawddam if HT ain't one of the best beers i've ever tasted. my in-laws live in southern VT, i got a 6-pack about a month ago and it lasted 6 days. i was proud of myself for my restraint.

i drank them all from the can. brewery told me to do so, so i did. not going to argue with those guys. they obviously know what they're doing.

seems to me that, at best, Pliny is as good as HT. i just can't believe that it'll be better.
finally had Pliny not to long ago, bottle was a week old.

my take: i prefer pliny's aroma, but HT has the better taste. these aren't huge preferences, it's like 99 vs. 100 for each category. both are outstanding beers and both should be sought out. count your blessings each time you get to enjoy one
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What hops should I grow? Hop grower's comparison table. Looking for cheap honey?

Drinking: a hop-bursted IPA w/ Conan, a farmhouse with ECY08 & brett blend
Fermenting: sour cherry mead
Aging: a bunch of belgian and soured stuff, and acerglyn.
Up next: either an imperial stout or something to use up my homegrown hops... TBD.
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Old 04-16-2013, 07:43 PM   #10
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Similarities:

*They are both inundated with hops, yet come off on the palate as fairly smooth.
*They are both rated among the best IIPA's in the world.
*They are similar starting and finishing gravities (1.070-1.010)... though Pliny has more perceived dryness.
*They both taste and smell like skunky marijuana, which is a good thing amongst a commercial backdrop of mainly citrusy and/or fruity IIPAs.
*They both rely on heavy use of Columbus hops, followed by Simcoe, then Centennial. Minimal support from Amarillo (+2 additional hops used for HT).

Differences:

*HT is more malty, but hops are still the star. HT's Pearl malt base is more complex than American 2-row pale.
*Pliny relies on a neutral yeast w/no fruity esters. HT uses Conan, which is reknowned for it's peachy notes.
*Both are still drinkable w/5 weeks or more of age, but HT holds up better than Pliny, which is best <3 weeks age.
*Pliny has more potent marijuana aroma. HT has more potent marijuana flavor.
*HT is cloudier in appearance whereas Pliny is crystal clear.

Give me either of these beers and I will enjoy them just the same. No complaints.
...However, give me only one of them and I will miss the other in time.
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