Which Imperial IPA is Better: Pliny the Elder or Heady Topper?

Pliny the Elder in the bottle, and Heady Topper in the can.

For an incredible eight years, Russian River's Pliny the Elder has topped Zymurgy magazine's list of the top beers in America. We're not completely surprised at the imperial IPA's continued reign. The dry, ridiculously hoppy brew is the epitome of the West Coast India Pale Ale — a substyle that's extra heavy on hops and light on body.


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Perhaps more impressive, however, is Heady Topper's rise to the third spot on the list. The Vermont-brewed imperial IPA from The Alchemist didn't even appear in the top 10 until 2014, and it moved up from last year's sixth place, now just behind the venerable Bell's Two Hearted.

While Pliny and Heady are both 8 percent ABV hop bombs, they couldn't be more different in approach. Instead of Pliny's all-hops approach, Heady Topper comes with a smooth barley backbone that its brewers believe gives them the foundation for more flavor. Both methods certainly produce world-class beers, but which one do you prefer? Let us know in the poll below.

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