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Heady Topper clone recipe

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by IPANinja, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. IPANinja

    IPANinja Disciple (55) Illinois Sep 24, 2010

    Can anyone point me to one?

    Thanks!
  2. NiceFly

    NiceFly Savant (375) Tajikistan Dec 22, 2011

    Ask telejunkie;).

    /hides as telejunkie's beermails crash BA:eek:
  3. telejunkie

    telejunkie Savant (305) Vermont Sep 14, 2007

    got the editors of BYO to run the story & recipe for the march/april issue...suckers :)
    It's close to the recipe i posted in that earlier thread though. Just had a quick email exchange with the venerable Mr. Kimmich, he didn't offer any feedback on the recipe so can't comment further how close it is to the actual recipe, but I'm not sure he was even able to open the document with the recipe...
    barfdiggs likes this.
  4. NiceFly

    NiceFly Savant (375) Tajikistan Dec 22, 2011

    There you have it folks. I guess now that you have put it out there, I can say I had telejunkie's clone side by side with HT and I was happy I did.

    On that note, one thing I took away from that clone exchange was how the hops were used to brew as opposed trying to actually clone per se, and the final outcome. If I am so inclined I have a really good idea about how to use my favorite hops to make a HT like beer.


  5. Haven't used it, but this description, "From the Pacific Northwest, this strain is fruitier than WLP001 with peach/apricot notes with a slightly lower attenuation." doesn't make me believe it'd be particularly suitable for something close to HT, based on HT's dryness. FWIW, culturing the Conan strain is pretty easy from the cans.
  6. Treb0R

    Treb0R Savant (290) Oregon Dec 12, 2012

    Conan began as an English Strain. I would say the fruity Wyeast ESB 1968 will get you close. And despite the average attenuation specs, I've gotten it up to 84% on more than one occassion.

    Here's another thread:

    http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f14/heady-topper-310445/

    Other notes:

    Fawcett Pearl Malt base
    Some White Wheat in there as well
    Perhaps some sugar, and maybe one other spec malt
    No crystal malt, perhaps golden naked oats?
    148 F mash temp
    6 hop varieties: Maybe Columbus, Chinook, Nugget, Simcoe, Amarillo, Centennial
    No Citra
    Huge focus on late boil additions and dryhop
    Multi-stage dryhop between 66-68F
    Unfiltered
    kneary13 likes this.
  7. According to the specs, it gets up to 80% attenuation, which is the same as WLP001 and we know it's capable of more. It could possibly reach the 86% required for Heady with a fermentable enough wort and plenty of cells.

    I'd also be glad to attempt to culture some yeast from a can of Heady if I could get a can of Heady. Wish I had thought of it over the summer when I had a case of the stuff.

    Some people here may call me crazy, but I get some Heady-like esters from US-04.
  8. I've heard Conan is the original Ballantine Ale strain, which is available from East Coast Yeast (ECY10 Old Newark Ale). Haven't used it though.
    sergeantstogie likes this.
  9. Totally unrelated, but I just realized your name is OldSock, not OldStock. For years, on here and on homebrewtalk.com, I've been reading it as OldStock. I just assumed you really liked that beer. I feel like everything I know is a lie.
    PortLargo, DAllspaw and barfdiggs like this.
  10. I did the same thing like two weeks ago!
  11. The true origin: http://www.themadfermentationist.com/2010/02/first-batch-of-homebrew.html
  12. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Advocate (515) Vermont Mar 10, 2006

    I've always believed that Chico yeast was the Ballantine strain. Any links about Conan?
  13. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Advocate (515) Vermont Mar 10, 2006

    edit: Wyeast purports a Ballantine origin for 1056 on their website (but they have been wrong before).
  14. Chico certainly could have started as Ballantine, but may have drifted to become cleaner, less flocculent, more attenuative etc. over the years. Something similar could have happened to Conan...

    Here is Al's description on the his culture:

    Sourced from a now defunct east coast brewery, this pure strain was identified as their “ale pitching yeast”. Good for all styles of American and English ales. Top fermenting, high flocculation with a solid sedimentation. Suggested fermentation temp: 60-68°F. Apparent Attenuation: 68-72% Resurrected from a freezed-dried deposit library, this pure strain of S. cerevisae is NOT the rumored Chico strain.
    johntangus and skivtjerry like this.
  15. I've heard people say the chico strain will throw peach if fermented at low temps.
  16. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Advocate (515) Vermont Mar 10, 2006

    I've heard this too, especially about the dry version. I once fermented 1056 at 50F and got a sort of artificial citrus note, kind of like orange Push-ups frozen treats. It decreased some with a diacetyl rest and some more with age but never totally went away. I guess that's pretty close to peach.

    Re: Chico vs Conan... they could both have Ballantine origins, with 50 years or so to diverge, though Noonan claimed Conan had an English origin (of course the original Ballantine ale yeast could have come from England).

    BTW, Conan is still the workhorse yeast at the VT Pub & Brewery in Burlington but the Alchemist has had 9+ years to make it their own.
  17. In Mitch Steele's IPA book, there are two black IPA recipes, one from VPB (Black Watch) and one from the Alchemist (El Jefe). Both use Conan, but El Jefe prescribes a pitching rate ~1/2 of the Black Watch. I would not be surprised if the pitching rate makes a significant difference, in particular, for the elusive peach ester.
  18. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Advocate (515) Vermont Mar 10, 2006

    That makes a lot of sense. There has been much talk about some brewers deliberately underpitching to get more esters in Belgian styles. It should apply to 'English' ale yeasts as well.

    edit: I think John ferments Conan cooler than Greg did too (~62F vs 68-70F).
  19. When I was at the cannery a few months ago, I took a pic of one of the vessels where the temp controller was set to 55. Do you think that was part of the fermentation schedule or another process altogether?
  20. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Advocate (515) Vermont Mar 10, 2006

    I'll make a wild guess that it might be the secondary/dry hop temperature. Of course, temperature controller settings don't always mesh with reality (speaking from hard experience in my employer's new lab building). Also, they pitch several generations of yeast before reverting to the source, and each generation behaves a little different. Generation 2 might be good at 62F while generation 15 gives the desired results at 55F.
    antlerwrestler19 likes this.
  21. As for the Chico yeast, Ken Grossman has stated that all he is certain of is that he got it from Siebel.

    Somewhere I have read that there may have been more than one yeast at Ballantine, and that there are a couple of strains banked.
  22. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Advocate (515) Vermont Mar 10, 2006

    Sounds likely. Jesskidden, are you out there?
  23. yinzer

    yinzer Savant (385) Pennsylvania Nov 24, 2006

    Holy Crap, I always thought it was too.
  24. In order to clone Heady Topper you must first locate, capture, and harvest the tears of the Unicorn which John Kimmich has been milking for years.
  25. To touch on the info you've provided I'll throw in some words from personal experience. While working for a local brewpub we always dropped the temp to 55F for the dry hopping step and held there for the duration of the step that was required of the particular brew. It produced admirable results and I continue to do so with my home-brews.

    EDIT: We didn't do a whole lot of fooling around with the yeast from generation to generation and, to be honest, I never truly even thought of that as a factor. It makes me wonder how much variation there truly is.....is there a study on this that anyone knows of??? I am intrigued and would like to know!
  26. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Advocate (515) Vermont Mar 10, 2006

    No study I know of but here's what John Kimmich said last fall:

    "I have enjoyed reading this thread, because overall, everyone seems to be pleasd with what is coming out of the cans. SLIGHT differences from batch to batch are inevitable. Unfiltered, unpasteurized beer is a living creature. Aside from the differences in ingredients that Jerry mentioned, we are dealing with different generations of yeast. I could probably tell you if we are at generation 2 or 14 just by smelling it. These are tiny differences that I can identify, because I have been brewing with this yeast for 20 years. (btw, we get a fresh culture every three months)"
  27. With your experience and skivtjerry's educated guess as well, I think it's a good chance that it was the dryhopping vessel I saw at the cannery. I normally dry hop in the mid 60's, but will give 55 a try next time. Mitch's IPA book also mentioned other breweries that start dry hopping at primary temps and then crash down to sit for a while.
  28. yeastoftheeast

    yeastoftheeast Disciple (55) Jan 29, 2013

    There were two strains used at the Ballantine Newark Brewery - one for their ales (ECY10) and the other for there lagers or "beer" as they called it (ECY12) - you might remember it in the Gold can of the show Frasier. The ale strain does not resemble Chico and is most likely English or Scottish in heritage. It is possible that the "beer" strain (has been identified as S. cerevisae) is Chico-related and dose ferment at low temperature well.

    I've only just started looking at Conan. It is an ale strain for certain. That's as far as I got .........
  29. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Advocate (595) Colorado Jan 20, 2012

    I brewed an american pale with 1056 that I slightly underpitched and fermented around 60 F. It threw some tropical notes.
  30. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Advocate (515) Vermont Mar 10, 2006

    Just an update... the FG of Heady has changed from last year. A little over a year ago, I measured it at 1.010, double and triple checked. This winter numerous people have found the FG to be 1.014. I believe they are correct, just as I think my measurement last year was accurate. Why the change? My guess would be variation in the barley or hop crops in 2012. John is very particular about his malt, as he notes on the Alchemist website. If the wort and final product have different gravities, that's secondary to the character he's looking for.
  31. FATC1TY

    FATC1TY Moderator (545) Georgia Feb 12, 2012 Staff Member


    I was always under the premise that the Chico strain was the Ballantine strain as well, and someone else who's done it for a long time( brewing that is ) said the same thing.
  32. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Advocate (515) Vermont Mar 10, 2006

    That's what Wyeast told us for years but it seems it might not be true.
  33. I have gotten that ester flavor from fermenting the dry yeast too warm.
  34. I was the guy who stumbled on the higher OG of 1.014. I had based my original recipes on your hydrometer readings from last year and didn't think you were wrong, so I decided to investigate. Turns out, we're both right. I've written up a long post on Conan, how Heady Topper changes, and why for those interested, here's the link:

    http://www.signpostbrewing.com/conan-yeast-attenuation/
    koopa, NiceFly and skivtjerry like this.
  35. NiceFly

    NiceFly Savant (375) Tajikistan Dec 22, 2011

    Damn nice observations and writeup.
  36. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Advocate (515) Vermont Mar 10, 2006


    Nice catch! John did talk about yeast generations on here last year but I didn't think attenuation would vary that much.
  37. kjyost, MarkF150 and OldSock like this.
  38. Anyone ever get this brewed?

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