Heady Topper video - 750 total hardness??

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Braufessor

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THought I would post this here. There is an extensive thread about cloning Heady Topper. In that thread, a video was posted ( a video Put up by The Alchemist Brewery). In the video they have a brief shot of the brewsheet for Heady Topper and you can see a bit of the water info. This is at about 1:45 in the 2 minute video. If you pause it, you can see that they seem to list very low mineral starting water and a target of 750 total hardness. Also, at 1:51 you can see where it seems to indicate Chloride starts at 10 in source water and is only increased to 30 something. So, all gypsum??? At any rate..... thoughts? Is that reasonable? Possible? Likely? How would you go about doing that? Here is the video:

[ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVItX3hAcno&feature=youtu.be[/ame]

Here is the link to the HBT thread on cloning Heady and it should take you to page 226 where the water discussion starts.... it is over the next few pages, and is recent in the discussion.

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f12/heady-topper-can-you-clone-390082/index226.html

Just curious if any of the more knowledgeable folks have any thoughts or insights in this regard.

Thanks!
 

mtnagel

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Someone posted this screencap in that thread where you can clearly see a portion of the brewsheet.



Here's what I wrote in the HT thread where I'm trying figure out how to get my total hardness to 750:

Playing around with Bru'n Water, there is seemingly no good way to get that high without going over the limit on many ions.

With my source water, if I get to 300 ppm SO4 which is 12.9 g gypsum, but that gets only to 368 total hardness. Even if I go to 350 ppm SO4 (BW limit) with 15.6 g gypsum, which brings 153 ppm calcium (150 ppm BW limit), the TH is 420.
 

ajdelange

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What limit? Hardness of 750 is well above what any reasonable brewer would want and in itself exceeds the limits of common sense. Clearly this is a special beer. You can easily get that level of hardness by dissolving 1.3 g of gypsum in each litre of water which will result in sulfate at 720 mg/L. This too is well beyond what's reasonable, of course but for something experimental, why not?
 
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What limit? Hardness of 750 is well above what any reasonable brewer would want and in itself exceeds the limits of common sense. Clearly this is a special beer. You can easily get that level of hardness by dissolving 1.3 g of gypsum in each litre of water which will result in sulfate at 720 mg/L. This too is well beyond what's reasonable, of course but for something experimental, why not?
I guess that is my main question..... I know the hardness "can" be achieved - but do you think it "should" be achieved. Can you see it producing a wonderfully awesome double IPA like Heady Topper?? I think a couple people have already brewed some batches recently with these types of additions..... so, there should be some feedback coming.

Just curious, as that much gypsum seems so far above "normal" even for hoppy beers. Has anyone experimented with these levels and what were your thoughts in doing so?

Not to be conspiratorial I guess.... but do you think that they really treat their water like that?
 

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I bet he is doing what I used to do years ago. Use CaSO4 to hit mash pH. He probably does not add SO4 to sparge or boil and in the end the wort is in the 350ppm SO4 ballpark like most hop bombs...

I gave up doing this since there is some research that indicates that there is a limit to this reaction and the brewing spreadsheets don't make it easy to do. BUT, it worked and made good beer.
 
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Yeah - in playing with B'run Water and the recipe. Using 90% RO water to start, I need to add about 4.5 grams of gypsum per gallon to get to get to 750 hardness. This also gives about 670 Sulfate. This level of addition projects mash pH of 4.9 - obviously too low.

***EDIT**** I previously said I thought he was referencing High pH..... He was not. He was promoting low pH.. Following is corrected to reflect this:
https://braumeisters.net/viewtopic.php?t=124&p=967
I know in a longer video with John Kimmich (Alchemist Owner) he talks about not letting pH get too HIGH.... maybe even referencing numbers in the 5.1-5.3 range.

So, if these levels are attempted, would the likely process be to add moderate levels of gypsum to attain desired mash/sparge pH, and then later dump gypsum directly into the boil to achieve the 750 hardness level??
 

zwiller

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I guess that is my main question..... I know the hardness "can" be achieved - but do you think it "should" be achieved. Can you see it producing a wonderfully awesome double IPA like Heady Topper?? I think a couple people have already brewed some batches recently with these types of additions..... so, there should be some feedback coming.

Just curious, as that much gypsum seems so far above "normal" even for hoppy beers. Has anyone experimented with these levels and what were your thoughts in doing so?

Not to be conspiratorial I guess.... but do you think that they really treat their water like that?
I have considerable experience with gypsum and IPA's. I learned the technique from Terry Foster's Pale Ale. I have gone as high as 450ppm SO4 and it works. I think over 350ppm and it is diminishing returns.

Never had HT and have been unsuccessful trying to work a trade with someone to get my hands on some. I would be able to spot 600ppm SO4 in it if they we're are doing it, but I doubt they are. To me, the magic behind HT is the can... IPAs are better the fresher they are and the can does a better job than glass.
 

ajdelange

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I guess that is my main question..... I know the hardness "can" be achieved - but do you think it "should" be achieved.
I wouldn't go near a beer like that but I try to keep an open mind. If it tastes good it is good.

Can you see it producing a wonderfully awesome double IPA like Heady Topper??
If it does it does and I can't argue with that.


Not to be conspiratorial I guess.... but do you think that they really treat their water like that?
Being somewhat of a cynic it did occur to me that the video may have been disinformation (or that part of it anyway).
 

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The name of that brewsheet is "Brewslave© v3.1". I've never seen software with that name, if it exists, please correct me. It's possible he uses his own internal software.

As sweetcell pointed out in the other thread:
being super nit-picky: those Plato and SG numbers don't quite match up...
If it was software, this wouldn't happen, that calculation is easy.

If the name of the beer, brew date and batch number were printed on top, why would you then write them by hand at the bottom?

I smell a red herring.
 

TheCanisDirus

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750mg/L!?!... i just... i cant even... has to be some odd mash stabilization thing as others have mentioned.
 
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Being somewhat of a cynic it did occur to me that the video may have been disinformation (or that part of it anyway).
...... That is kind of how I tend to think (unfortunately/fortunately) as well...... and, I was thinking about the same possibility.
 
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I definitely don't want to ruin a 5 gallon batch playing with 700+ hardness levels. I have brewed this clone recipe and it is really a great beer. So, whether it "clones" HT or not, exactly, is not the only reason to make it.

But, being curious.....

Could I brew this with a more reasonable 200-300 Sulfate level, and then calculate out how much more gypsum to add to achieve the 700ppm levels and just mix "x" # of mg's of gypsum directly into a pint of finished beer to achieve the hardness level..... would that essentially give the same "effect" of brewing it that way to start with?
 

ajdelange

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.... maybe even referencing numbers in the 5.1-5.3 range.

So, if these levels are attempted, would the likely process be to add moderate levels of gypsum to attain desired mash/sparge pH, and then later dump gypsum directly into the boil to achieve the 750 hardness level??
That much calcium hardness would be expected to drop pH by about 0.36 so if DI mash pH was 5.6 with the calcium he might get 5.24.
 

zwiller

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I hit all the numbers if I use 4g per G gypsum with my tap water, which I would consider very typical. Mash pH 5.2, 600ppm SO4, 718ppm hardness...

If you never have used a nice sulfate boost in you IPAs, you really must try it. It's tried and true. Steele's IPA confirms this too. I would try 350ppm for a start.

I would love AJ's take on it, but I have never seen a scientific explanation of the sulfate impact on hops. I think it is during the boil in which the reaction occurs so I don't think dosing will replicate the technique. I have done back to back brews toying with sulfate and as I said I think 350ppm is the sweet spot.
 

ajdelange

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I would love AJ's take on it, but I have never seen a scientific explanation of the sulfate impact on hops.
I haven't either but since adding sulfate while tasting gives at least a rough indication of how things will taste if more sulfate is used in the mash I have to believe it is a synergism between sulfate ion and hops on the palate rather than a reaction between the sulfate ion and some hops component in the boil. Pure surmise here.
 

zwiller

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I haven't either but since adding sulfate while tasting gives at least a rough indication of how things will taste if more sulfate is used in the mash I have to believe it is a synergism between sulfate ion and hops on the palate rather than a reaction between the sulfate ion and some hops component in the boil. Pure surmise here.
Makes sense. In that case, dosing could be an option. Happy to conduct a dosing experiment tonight after work. IPA on tap...

I will say an ancillary reaction to gypsum loading is that the boil pH is driven farther lower with the extra calcium in the boil. This "brightens" things a bit. I regularly saw a drop .2 -.3 units from boil.
 

mtnagel

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Never had HT and have been unsuccessful trying to work a trade with someone to get my hands on some.
Make the drive down and I'll share a can with you :) Have 3 left from a local trade last week for some Cigar City.


Glad this was posted. I think I'll stick with 300-350 SO4 when I brew this in a few weeks.
 

mtnagel

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We used to make a regular trip to King's Island in late summer... :mug:
I guess someone should tell you about Cedar Point... :)

It's funny because we went up there last summer (driving right by King's Island).

Anyway, "used to"? Looks like you should resurrect the trip quickly.
 

thisisbeer

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To me, the magic behind HT is the can... IPAs are better the fresher they are and the can does a better job than glass.
It's hard to speak of a beer you have never had. But the magic is not just the can. I have had quite a few canned IPA's and the freshness is outstanding. But there is something different about heady. I have never been able to put my finger on it. But it's different than everything other IPA I have had. Heady isn't the jaw dropping or life changing beer some make it out to be, it is just a beer. But it's a pretty damn good one.
 

zwiller

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I guess someone should tell you about Cedar Point... :)

It's funny because we went up there last summer (driving right by King's Island).

Anyway, "used to"? Looks like you should resurrect the trip quickly.
Yep. The youngest is now 18 months so we might be able to pull it off. I quite like the area and Newport.
 

zwiller

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It's hard to speak of a beer you have never had. But the magic is not just the can. I have had quite a few canned IPA's and the freshness is outstanding. But there is something different about heady. I have never been able to put my finger on it. But it's different than everything other IPA I have had. Heady isn't the jaw dropping or life changing beer some make it out to be, it is just a beer. But it's a pretty damn good one.
Touche'

I am BJCP and been brewing IPA's before they were fashionable so it's gonna take a heck of beer to impress me. Once I get some Fat Head's Head Hunter in cans I am gonna work a trade hard. Easily the best IPA I've had.
 

zwiller

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Haven't had it yet, but have heard good things.

So, HopJuJu vs. Heady? (trying to bring it back on topic:cross:)
 

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My mistake in earlier post - Kimmich was promoting LOWER pH..... 5.1-5.3....
https://braumeisters.net/viewtopic.php?t=124&p=967

Extensive video here, but it is referenced in one of the Q/A below it.
Check the video at 43:44, seems he is claiming that he would use 750ppm hardness in a big IPA. I'm wondering if by hardness levels he is referring to sulphate level. He talks about hardness, chloride, alkalinity, but doesn't say nothing about sulphate. Also he says that those big levels of hardness can give minerally flavors as is supposed to happen with sulphates. Just a though.
 

mtnagel

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Haven't had it yet, but have heard good things.

So, HopJuJu vs. Heady? (trying to bring it back on topic:cross:)
Close. I think HopJuJu has the edge on that one. I'm not turning either down if offered. And I think I give the edge to Abrasive, Chillwave, and Permanent Funeral over Heady. IMHO :)
 

stpug

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Check the video at 43:44, seems he is claiming that he would use 750ppm hardness in a big IPA. I'm wondering if by hardness levels he is referring to sulphate level. He talks about hardness, chloride, alkalinity, but doesn't say nothing about sulphate. Also he says that those big levels of hardness can give minerally flavors as is supposed to happen with sulphates. Just a though.
Nice to find someone back on topic ;), and I tend to agree that by "hardness" they are referring to the sufate ppm content and not actual Total Hardness of the water.

In that long video of Kimmich in front of a class (maybe the one referenced), I felt as though he brews using the knowledge he grew up brewing with and that some of his methods/comments/knowledge seemed a bit "old school". It may be that they/he previously referred to sulfate content as hardness of water as opposed to actual sulfate.
 
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I worked it a few different ways in the spreadsheet and this is what I arrive at using 4 gallons of distilled water for the mash:

15.4 grams calcium sulfate
1 gram calcium chloride (only because I was shooting for the 35 ppm Chloride in the screen shot)
1.2 grams Pickling Lime

Which results in:

Ca: 297
SO4: 619
Cl: 35
TH: 743
Mash pH: 5.2

I've used up to 350 ppm Sulfate in an IPA before and it was fantastic-- my best one to date. I guess other people have used more and liked it. So why not?

But here's an alternative. This is probably a bad way of doing things. I suppose the acid would start to impart flavor at some point:

8.8 grams Calcium Sulfate
0.7 grams Calcium Chloride
4.0 grams Pickling Lime
6.8ml Lactic Acid to bring mash pH down to 5.2

Resulting in:

Ca: 290
SO4: 493
Cl: 35
TH: 727
Mash pH: 5.2

Either way, if I brew this beer I will not pay attention to the hardness of 750. I'm just going to raise sulfates up to about 350 and get the pH to settle in on the lower end of things (5.2 or 5.3)
 

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I started a thread some time ago after watching that Kimmich video (http://youtu.be/LdfySDN2mF0) where he discussed mash pH. Here it is: https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/mash-ph-465320/

I ended up doing two things - one easy thing and one hard thing. The hard thing I did was to brew to "identical" one gallon IPAs where the only thing that I adjusted was the mash pH. One batch had a mash pH of about 5.3 and the second had a mash pH of 5.4. My brew partner and I agreed that the 5.4 batch was the hands down favorite of the two - it wasn't even close.

The easier thing that I did was to email Kimmich about his pH recommendation - was he referencing pH at mash temperatures or at room temperatures (like most homebrewers do). He wrote back saying that his pH statements were referenced to mash temps. Therefore, is recommendations end up being in line with the homebrewers' standard of a pH of 5.4.

I'm curious though about the hardness/sulfate levels that folks are looking at here...
 

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I did about 4 batches with pH in the 5.2-5.35 range. Nope, 5.4 or higher easily lets the hops shine. Which is nice, since i won't need minute amounts of acidulated malt anymore.
 

PlinyTheMiddleAged

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Agreed, Cali. The 5.4 really highlighted the hops without becoming overbearing. The 5.3 batches were just a muddled mess. There was a "brightness" there, but it was not pleasant - hard to describe. Maybe I'd describe it as a harshness. The 5.4 was really nice though.
 

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Close. I think HopJuJu has the edge on that one. I'm not turning either down if offered. And I think I give the edge to Abrasive, Chillwave, and Permanent Funeral over Heady. IMHO :)

Heady over Chillwave (still like the alchemy hour name better) over hop juju (just a bit) and head hunter isn't even an honorable mention for me. Enjoy by also makes this list and white rajah IF it's FRESH. Looking for some surly and other IPAs I've yet to try.


Sent from my iPhone using Home Brew
 

The_Glue

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Agreed, Cali. The 5.4 really highlighted the hops without becoming overbearing. The 5.3 batches were just a muddled mess. There was a "brightness" there, but it was not pleasant - hard to describe. Maybe I'd describe it as a harshness. The 5.4 was really nice though.
This makes me sort of nervous about something. Is there an optimal ph range for like every recipe and we should brew every recipe at like five different wort phs to find the best?
Because i am pretty sure that not every excellent beer was brewed at ph 5.4 which means that different recipes have different ph sweetspots.
 
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This makes me sort of nervous about something. Is there an optimal ph range for like every recipe and we should brew every recipe at like five different wort phs to find the best?
Because i am pretty sure that not every excellent beer was brewed at ph 5.4 which means that different recipes have different ph sweetspots.
I don't think EVERY recipe has something totally different. But, for instance, beers with a high proportion of very acidic dark/roasted grains (stouts, porters, etc.) can benefit from a pH that is higher ..... I generally shoot for 5.5-5.7 range. Seems to round out the flavor and roastiness some.
 

ajdelange

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This makes me sort of nervous about something. Is there an optimal ph range for like every recipe and we should brew every recipe at like five different wort phs to find the best?
Because i am pretty sure that not every excellent beer was brewed at ph 5.4 which means that different recipes have different ph sweetspots.
There is little doubt in my mind that each beer has its optimum pH and that yes, you should try different pH's to find it. What I am not sure of is how sharp the peak is for any individual or class of beers. Why would pH be different from any other parameter. You can make good beer with half a gram of calcium chloride per liter of water and pH adjusted to 5.5. That doesn't mean you won't get better beer with 0.3 gram CaCl2 and pH 5.6 (an at the same time it doesn't mean you will).

Our senses and the rest of nature seem to respond on a log scale. A 3 db change (doubling or halving) of a stimulus seems to be approximately what it takes to generate a clearly discernible change in perception. For a salt it is obvious what doubling or halving means. pH is already on a log scale. A change of 0.3 pH means double or half the hydrogen ion activity.
 

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Dosed a pint with gypsum. What a foamy mess... It definitely didn't make it undrinkable. What it seemed to do to me was really mute the fresher hop character and by this it made some of the fruit stuff more prevalent. I personally didn't care for it but maybe that's the secret to HT. Which brings me to point, I do not care for danky hops. I am firmly in the simcoe is cat **** camp. So I think that biases me from certain IPA's.
 

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How much did you add to your pint? What was your target sulfate level?
 

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