Heady Topper Clone?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by geneseohawk, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. koopa

    koopa Apr 20, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    It's probably a combo of copious amounts of dry hopping, possibly dry hopping in multiple stages, having packaging that does a good job protecting the integrity of its contents, and having the luxury of canning a fresh batch every week so the consumer has a better chance at consuming it as early in its life as possible.


    BTW my first clone attempted is chugging right along. I hit a 1.072 OG (was aiming for 1.071) and so far my gravity is only down to 1.016 (hoping to reach 1.010). The smells and flavors are quite tropical and the color is somewhere between pineapple and orange juice! I can already tell that even if this clone attempt results in a far cry from HT, it still has the potential to be a great brew in its own right!
     
  2. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    There is probably some sugar added too; this can really drop your FG.
     
  3. brkstoutfiend

    brkstoutfiend Feb 5, 2010 Michigan

    I think he moderately FW hops it and then just pounds the hell out of it for the last 15 minutes to flame out and then dry hops for a week with an insane amount of hops. It says on the can that the floaties are from the hop resin.
     
  4. koopa

    koopa Apr 20, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I agree. I added 1# with 15 minutes left in the boil.
     
  5. VikeMan

    VikeMan Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I'm probably misreading what you mean. But simply adding sugar will not lower FG. Replacing some malt with sugar (to hit the same OG) will lower FG. Probably what you meant.
     
  6. kjyost

    kjyost May 4, 2008 Manitoba (Canada)

    Technically, won't adding sugar drop an FG as it produces more ethanol which has a density lesser than water, bringing down the density of the overall solution (even though there are still the same amounts of dextrine & other unfermentables in solution)? Real technical, and surely not what is meant by someone reading "bring down FG"...
     
  7. VikeMan

    VikeMan Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    True. But this effect is so small that we happily ignore it all the time.
     
  8. kjyost

    kjyost May 4, 2008 Manitoba (Canada)

    I just felt like being pedantic today :)
     
  9. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    What I meant was that the sugar replaces some of the malt. Since it attenuates 100% the FG will be lower than for an all malt beer of the same gravity. But to be correct, I should have said "lighten the body" instead.
     
  10. H0rnedFr0gs

    H0rnedFr0gs Mar 12, 2012 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Take my opinion on this as strictly a taste kind of deal since I do not brew (but I was completely attracted to this topic) but I had a great local firkin with zythos hops and it totally nailed the taste of topper and more brown than black, the only 2 alchemist brews I've tried.

    Anyway just my 2 cents. Would live for someone to hit on the head so my GF's pop, who does brew, can be put to work ;)
     
  11. brkstoutfiend

    brkstoutfiend Feb 5, 2010 Michigan

    I almost think there are Nelsons in there somewhere or maybe he's just magic??
     
  12. geocool

    geocool Jun 21, 2006 Massachusetts

    Does anyone think there might be a small amount of Rye in this beer? Maybe 5% or less? I just had one last night and I'm definitely getting an apricot like flavor that I associate with Rye.
     
  13. Kpowers

    Kpowers May 31, 2009 Rhode Island
    Beer Trader

    So what is the outcome here on your clone attempt?
     
  14. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    Rye, I don't think so. The apricot you're getting probably comes from the hops (Nugget?). Maybe a little wheat, but that is pure speculation.
     
  15. geocool

    geocool Jun 21, 2006 Massachusetts

    You know on second thought I think it's from Amarillo hops, though I've never brewed with Nugget.
     
  16. SkinnyPete

    SkinnyPete May 27, 2012

    I'm attempting an all late hop double IPA similar (hopefully) to Heady Topper in 2 days. Any word on the clone attempt, koopa? I put together my own recipe and bought ingredients yesterday, then discovered this thread but my attempt is pretty similar to yours. I did buy chinook because a friend supposedly "knows" someone at the brewery and thinks chinook is in there, but I'm really not feeling it. I'm probably going with Amarillo, Simcoe, Citra, Columbus, and Nugget.
     
  17. bobanahalf

    bobanahalf May 6, 2010 Vermont

    Oh, I am so going for it this weekend. And here's what I'm going with:

    Grain Bill:
    11# Maris Otter
    1# American Wheat
    2.5# DME, extra light

    Hops Bill:
    Four additions at 20, 10, 0, and dry hop. For each addition:
    • 1 oz Simcoe (11.9%)
    • 1/2 oz Magnum (20.5%. hell yea!)
    • 1 oz Columbus (14.5%)
    • 1 oz Centennial (8.7%)
    Safale 05, 1500ml starter

    Boil for 60
    Mash @ 148
    Fly sparge @ 168

    So 8.1% ABV.
    And the calculator is telling me around 90 IBUs.

    A couple of notes:
    • Heady Topper is less expensive than this homebrew, so cloning is obviously not the real motivation.
    • One thing I'm still not comfortable with. These are all pretty high alpha hops. I would've expected less emphasis on the alphas and more on the betas. But that's the beauty of homebrewing. I'll try it the next way next time.
     
  18. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    One thing I'm still not comfortable with. These are all pretty high alpha hops. I would've expected less emphasis on the alphas and more on the betas. But that's the beauty of homebrewing. I'll try it the next way next time.
    [/quote]
    Beta Acids really do not do much for a beer unless they are oxidized, then they add bitterness.

    Most of those are high in essential oils, which are what add flavor and aroma.
     
  19. Patrick

    Patrick Aug 13, 2007 Massachusetts

    Heady is about $72 a case. Your brew costs more than that?
     
  20. beerific

    beerific Nov 8, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    I have cultured yeast from the cans and used it in an IPA which someone from White Labs tried at NHC. I forgot what beer it was I had given them and told them it used White Labs yeast, to which they guessed 005.
     
  21. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    That would be Ringwood (as in Shipyard & Magic Hat). I really think they guessed wrong, as that's not a super attenuative yeast, even if you eliminate the diacetyl issues.
     
  22. drperry11

    drperry11 Jan 8, 2012 South Carolina

    I would love to hear results from everyones experiences here.
     
  23. telejunkie

    telejunkie Sep 14, 2007 Vermont

    alright so sounds like I will be trying a heady clone in two weeks. So based on comments, here is first stab:
    16lbs British Pale
    1lb sucrose
    4oz caravienne
    mashed at 155F. 6.5g into fermenter

    1.5oz Simcoe 30min
    1.5oz Cascade KO
    1.5oz Centennial KO
    1.5oz Simcoe KO
    (whirlpool for 45mins)
    1oz columbus 1st DH
    1oz simcoe 1st DH
    1oz centennial 1st DH
    1oz citra 1st DH
    2oz cascade KegHop
    2oz simcoe KegHop
    chico strain fermented around 65F with a honker of a starter
     
  24. telejunkie

    telejunkie Sep 14, 2007 Vermont

    hmm, only 4oz simcoe left in freezer, will probably sub in columbus for the 30-min addition. Also calculated ibus is 97 per Tinsmith, 82 per Rager...also meant to say 6g into fermenter, 6.5 at KO.
     
  25. koopa

    koopa Apr 20, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I took my first stab at cloning this one in late April (sorry I forgot to follow up in this thread) and went with....

    80% Pearl Malt
    6% Caramel 15
    6% Carapils
    6% Corn Sugar (last 15 minutes of boil)
    2% Acid Malt

    20 minute additions:
    - 1oz Simcoe
    - 1oz Centennial
    - 1oz Columbus
    - 0.75oz Amarillo
    - 0.75oz Nugget

    10 minute additions:
    - 1oz Simcoe
    - 1oz Centennial
    - 1oz Columbus
    - 1oz Amarillo
    - 1oz Nugget

    0 minute additions:
    - 1oz Simcoe
    - 1oz Centennial
    - 1oz Columbus

    Dry Hop additions:
    - 1oz Simcoe
    - 1oz Centennial
    - 1oz Columbus
    - 0.25oz Amarillo
    - 0.25oz Nugget

    - My recipe's IBU's = 125 (calculated)
    - Heady Topper is actually 119 IBU's (calculated)

    Target OG: 1.071
    Actual OG: 1.072
    Target FG: 1.010
    Actual FG: 1.013 (I would have left it on yeast longer but needed the fermenter for another batch)

    Target ABV: 8%
    Actual ABV: 7.8%

    Mashed at 150F
    Fermented at 67F (ambient) so roughly 71F in the fermenter
    US05 yeast used

    Results:
    - Color and body look spot on to me (calculated SRM 5.7)
    - While not a perfect clone, the taste is definitely in the ball park.
    - Plenty of pineapple, hints of peach, some grapefruit, and some pine resin
    - Definitely drinks a touch sweeter than Heady so hitting 1.010 FG is essential to recreating the real thing IMHO.
    - Didn't get as intense of a nose as Heady and slightly less hop flavor too (partially related to the sweeter finish, but mainly due to my present lack of a hopback I believe)

    - The freshest samples seemed to have a bit more fruit sweetness than Heady (mainly from the Amarillo) but after having it on tap for 7-10 days the hop profile seemed to balance out a bit and while the vibrance of the hops mellowed, the flavor seemed to taste more like the real Heady

    My goals for next time:
    - Hit 1.010 FG
    - Maybe back off on the amarillo a bit
    - Probably eliminate the caramel malt altogether.
    - Increase centennial presence (needs more grapefruit character)
    - Maybe dry hop in 2 short stages
    - Run the beer through a hopback (Blichmann Hop Rocket) for added hop aroma / pungency
    - NOTE: The hop floaties found in Heady Topper cans suggest to me that they are running it through a Hop Back on the way into the can, so I will probably use the hopback twice. The first time on the way to the fermenter in lieu of my "0 minute" hop additions. The second on the way out of the fermenter and into the keg
     
    isawpalmetto likes this.
  26. JimmyTango

    JimmyTango Aug 1, 2011 California

    These seem like good ideas. Befor I finished reading your post I was going to say:

    -I think 6% C15 is too much, I'd go 3%.
    -I dont think Heady has very much Amarillo as Amarillo to my tastes is quite sweet.
    -In a side-by-side with Pliny, Heady is much "earthier" IMO, and has a much heavier hop-flavor and hop-mouthfeel thing going on. I would go with an overall ratio of 2/1/1/.5/.5 Simcoe, Centennial, Columbus, Nuggett, Amarillo. I feel like putting the simcoe out front might give the "warm but not sweet" profile I get form Heady.

    My $.02.

    Sounds super tasty by the way.
     
  27. koopa

    koopa Apr 20, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Thanks! Yeah I too agree that Simcoe drives this beer. My plan was to try to load the hop back with simcoe hops or maybe a simcoe / centennial or simcoe / columbus combo.
     
  28. danedelman

    danedelman Apr 3, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I cannot seem to get Pearl Malt. You think I can use American 2 Row pale malt in place??
     
  29. danedelman

    danedelman Apr 3, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Have you had any more tries at this? I am going to take your notes and recipe and fiddle with small amounts like you said. Thanks for all that you have done!!
     
  30. koopa

    koopa Apr 20, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    No not yet..been very busy brewing other things :)
    Perhaps in September or when this years hop crop is released, and my pleasure thanks!
    Good luck with your stab at it and please post your results!
     
  31. quirkzoo

    quirkzoo Jul 7, 2011 Colorado

    **I know what a hop back is but have not actually used one so I don't know if my mechanics are feasible**

    What if you connected the hopback in between the keg and your bottling apparatus (beer gun...) to reproduce this "hop back on the way into the can" technique?

    p.s. I am following this thread closely and hope to brew a Heady Topper-esque brew soon, thanks for all the input so far from everyone that has contributed.
     
  32. koopa

    koopa Apr 20, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Depending on the design of the particular hop back being used:
    - In theory it should work fine.
    - You'd just have to be on the look out for the possibility that the beer gun may get blocked up with hop pieces.
    - Another option would be to hook the hop back up between the keg your beer is in and a second "serving keg" then push the beer from the original keg through the hop back and into the serving keg with co2.

    I've got a Blichmann Hop Rocket and it can easily be used between the boil kettle and the fermenter (as a hop back), between two kegs, or even between your serving keg and kegerator (as a randall).
     
  33. koopa

    koopa Apr 20, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I think you could still make quite a delicious beer with US 2 Row instead. Another option to consider might be Thomas Fawcett Optic Malt.
     
  34. VikeMan

    VikeMan Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I don't know about connecting the Blichmann this way, but I built a randall (from plans on the the Maltose Falcons site) that could be used this way. I have used it for infusing between the keg and the faucet. Link here.
     
  35. sergeantstogie

    sergeantstogie Nov 16, 2010 Washington

    What happens to the carbonation when you do this?
     
  36. VikeMan

    VikeMan Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    You lose a little bit (produces foam), but it's not as dramatic as you might expect.
     
  37. danedelman

    danedelman Apr 3, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Anybody think Chinook is in here too??
     
  38. telejunkie

    telejunkie Sep 14, 2007 Vermont

    actually that is in my 2nd attempt recipe, replacing most cascade for chinook. Just ordered up a # so will have a more prominent role in 2nd clone attempt. I'm looking forward to seeing how intense my hop character of my first attempt clone is vs. the real deal.
     
  39. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    I'm pretty sure Chinook is in there. John once let me have a taste from the brite tank at the pub and it was in your face (I'm speculating that this was before the 2nd dry hopping, that I think happens).
     
  40. koopa

    koopa Apr 20, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    That would make up for the lack of grapefruit intensity I had in my first stab. I was going to add more centennial to the recipe to compensate but chinook would serve that purpose nicely.
     
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