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Liebz15

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Does anyone know what hop produces that amazing pineapple flavor in Heady Topper? I have read that it is Simcoe hops though I have never been able to make a Simcoe brew so fruity. I have never used Citra before and read that it does impart a pineapple flavor. I’d love to make a brew similar to this some day!
 
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Liebz15

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I have nothing else to contribute to this thread other than that Heady Topper is incredible, and I'm also curious about the hops.
Darn! I got so excited when I saw a reply...thinking that someone knew the answer I seeked. Still, it's good to see others (and there are many) share this liking and curiousity. Hopefully we will be enlightened soon!
 

IffyG

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I doubt its Simcoe as I use it heavily and have never picked up anything remotely related to pineapple. Maybe it's Citra, that screams tropical fruits to me.
 

I-Hop

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I'd love to see a Heady Topper clone recipe! That is some good stuff, but tough to get in the Boston area. I've got a friend that goes up to VT just to get some and he occasionally brings me back some. I hear it will be available around here soon and cant wait!
 
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Liebz15

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My guess is also Citra. The only clone recie I found was on Hopville but I found the hop additions strange- only 2 60 min additions and 2 dry hop additions. May be a starting point for the type of hops used though:

http://hopville.com/recipe/1125066/american-ipa-recipes/heady-topper-clone#
Thanks! Definitely a good starting point but I agree, I'm not sure about the hop bill. Hopville in general seems to be hit and miss with recipes. Personally, my faither lies in homebrewtalk. I plan to put together a 15 gallon batch recipe tomorrow (I'm thinking simco for bitter, citra and amarillo for flavor and aroma...possibly FWH with citra too...if anything, how could it be bad with those hops) and I will post accordingly. I will be sure to reply back with feedback (too bad a don't have any Heady to compare side-by-side). In the meantime, if anyone else has any suggestions they would be most appreciated.
 
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Liebz15

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I doubt its Simcoe as I use it heavily and have never picked up anything remotely related to pineapple. Maybe it's Citra, that screams tropical fruits to me.
I've never used it but I agree, most everyone remarks about citra's tropical flavor and aroma. Simco has always given me more pine and perhaps very subtle citrus. Heady makes you feel like you are drinking a pineapple (in a good way). I did a side by side with Hopslam and in a close race, Heady won out.
 
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Liebz15

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I'd love to see a Heady Topper clone recipe! That is some good stuff, but tough to get in the Boston area. I've got a friend that goes up to VT just to get some and he occasionally brings me back some. I hear it will be available around here soon and cant wait!
I will attempt a clone (which will be very tough since I've never worked with Citra...and that's what it will feature) and let everyone know how she turns out. I can get Heady's ABV and I don't pick up too much bitterness but it has got to be there...probably masked by its bold malt (and the malt will be a totally different thing to wrestle with).
 

gcdowd

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Subscribed, in case any more info comes out on this beer. Just had my first one last week (a buddy brought me back a 4 pack from Vermont) and I fell in love. With the beer of course. Although my buddy was pretty awesome for bringing me some.
 

biochemedic

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Heady Topper is the best IPA I've ever had, hands down. Beats any West Coast hop bomb on flavor any day. They wouldn't give up anything about it at the brewery when I was there a few weeks ago.
I'd not heard of this beer before, but I want it now!

Regarding the OP, perhaps they use some less well known NZ hops, perhaps Motueka? That strain is supposed to have a sort of tropical fruit flavor/aroma.

The note that the brewery was rather tight lipped about their recipe reminds me of my first tour at DFH years back...they used to say they used a variety of hops in their 60 min IPA, including "Mystery Hop X." During the tour, I asked what the "Mystery Hop X" was...the reply was that if I could provide them the recipe for Original Coke, they would share the recipe for 60 Min....
 
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Liebz15

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I'd not heard of this beer before, but I want it now!

Regarding the OP, perhaps they use some less well known NZ hops, perhaps Motueka? That strain is supposed to have a sort of tropical fruit flavor/aroma.

The note that the brewery was rather tight lipped about their recipe reminds me of my first tour at DFH years back...they used to say they used a variety of hops in their 60 min IPA, including "Mystery Hop X." During the tour, I asked what the "Mystery Hop X" was...the reply was that if I could provide them the recipe for Original Coke, they would share the recipe for 60 Min....
It's brewed by Alchemist in Vermont. I believe the unfortunately suffered sever flooding during the storms of 2011. In recovering, they decided to stick with just one brew; Heady Topper. At least that's what I heard...in addition to that they only do 15 gallon batches.

Anyway, if you ever have the chance, I highly recommend grabbing a can or two.
 

Airborneguy

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Most of the above is correct, but their new facility is a full-on brewery doing what looked to be 10bbl batches (I could be wrong, we didn't stay long as my daughter was hungry). They have their own canning line too. I got the impression that the brewery was in the works before Irene, and when the brewpub was wiped out, they decided to abandon it rather than rebuild.

They did say that they will be making some other specialty beers starting real soon, but that Heady Topper would remain their only full-time beer for the foreseeable future.
 

deepsouth

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i get simcoe as well. it almost tastes like the same hop profile as a dfh 60 minute ipa, but way more intense.
 

deepsouth

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Thanks! Definitely a good starting point but I agree, I'm not sure about the hop bill. Hopville in general seems to be hit and miss with recipes. Personally, my faither lies in homebrewtalk. I plan to put together a 15 gallon batch recipe tomorrow (I'm thinking simco for bitter, citra and amarillo for flavor and aroma...possibly FWH with citra too...if anything, how could it be bad with those hops) and I will post accordingly. I will be sure to reply back with feedback (too bad a don't have any Heady to compare side-by-side). In the meantime, if anyone else has any suggestions they would be most appreciated.

let us know how this worked out. i think you may be on it with the hops. i can't really rememeber citra as i haven't brewed with it since it was new on the scene and i don't really remember it being all that great and then i started reading about all the commercial breweries doing citra-centric beers that people raved over, so maybe i just had some not so good citra hops and they got better?

questions abound.
 

Peacehammer

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Does anyone know what hop produces that amazing pineapple flavor in Heady Topper? I have read that it is Simcoe hops though I have never been able to make a Simcoe brew so fruity. I have never used Citra before and read that it does impart a pineapple flavor. I’d love to make a brew similar to this some day!
Heady Topper is a fantastic beer. I believe it's citra hops, Three Floyd's Zombie dust has a ton of grapefruit and I think that one is single hopped with CItra.
 

954surfer

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Liebz I got some heady on the way. How did the brew come out? In particular how much finishing hops did you use and did you dryhop.
I'm brewing on sunday - my first 100% barley malt. Gonna spice up the 5-gal pale with about 10 oz of Amarillo and Simcoe. Think Ill boil up 2-3 oz, toss in another 2-3 around 15 minutes, and dump whatever's left at flameout.

Would like to get my paws on some of those NZ hops though - I thinks Heady's got some of that in there - that's my 0.02.
 

koopa

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Definitely some CTZ hops and Simcoe being used, probably along with others like Centennial (or cascade) and maybe even Nugget and/or Amarillo. I wouldn't even be surprised if a bit of Summit is in the mix, as it gives a citrusy note and sometimes offers hints of onion which I definitely smell in the Heady Topper nose. Although others claim the onion notes can also be produced by the CTZ hops.

Simcoe on its own can indeed sometimes produce pineapple notes. Amarillo usually gives peach, Centennial/Cascade grapefruit, and Nugget pear. A combination of some of those can definitely impart pineapple.

I would not say Citra hops for a few reasons...

1. I've had various single hop Citra beers as well as many beers with Citra featured and they don't taste anything like Heady Topper (hop flavor wise).

2. I've brewed several beers with Citra and they don't taste anything like Heady Topper (hop flavor wise)

3. Citra Hops were first presented at the "World Beer Congress" in 2008. The Alchemist has been making Heady Topper since at least early 2004.
 

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I also agree that it might not be Citra. To me, Citra is a very "dank" tropical fruit aroma and flavor which reminds me a lot of Founder's Double Trouble. I didn't get any "dank-ness" from Heady. From what I remember of Heady, the aroma was very similar to the aroma of opening up a vacuum pack of hop pellets. Pure delicious hop juice.
 

FRS

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Subscribed. I agree that citra is probably not the main flavor hop; it tastes nothing like FFF Zombie Dust.

The only IPA I like more than heady topper is Lawson's Finest Liquids Double Sunshine IPA. Those Vermonters know how to make a good IPA!
 

althea

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I recently tried Heady Topper for the first time as a friend brought me a 4 pack home from VT. The first can I followed the "directions" and drank from the can as they state it is designed to be drank this way. It was great. But I then decided to pour into a glass. There was an enormous difference in the experience and a better one from a flavor and aroma standpoint. I don't think you get all that aroma with it staying in the can. I'm convinced that they tell you to keep it in the can because of the fact that the ale is the cloudiest ale I have ever drank, in fact it had what appeared to be hop particles floating all in it. From this I came to the conclusion that they somehow filter (hopback) this beer through fresh hops on the way to the canning machine. The fresh hop flavor and oils seem to be so fresh that I'm convinced something funky is going on right before canning. Just my 2 cents. Delicious nonetheless. Peace.
 

BeerCrafter2011

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I was listening to a podcast about the collaboration beer they did with Stone. Greg Koch said that "the brewer" (he forgot his name which is John Kimmich) likes to use extract. This should be an important part of the equation
 

ScootersAle

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Heady Topper > Pliny the Elder. Sorry.

AND it comes in a can.

Alchemist is also starting to produce a gluten-free beer: Celia Saison

BTW, I have a 4 pack in the fridge next to Lawson's Finest Permagrin. Awwww yeah...
+1 Permagrin is a great beer. Lawson's Finest is putting out some amazing beers. Vermont is a good state for beer :mug:
 

Airborneguy

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I just did a tour of Vermont breweries a few months ago, and totally agree that the state is great for beer. Heady Topper is the first IIPA that I can say I've really enjoyed and would like to drink more of. I find Pliny to be okay, but really don't like any other IIPA's.
 

ao125

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Heady Topper > Pliny the Elder.
I'd agree to that.

Heady Topper is up there with Jai Alai, Double Trouble, Hoptimum, Mikkeller Single Hop Nelson Sauvin, Zombie Dust, Palate Wrecker, etc. I thought Pliny was pretty overrated, though not as much as "Hype"slam
 

TheDudeLebowski

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I recently tried Heady Topper for the first time as a friend brought me a 4 pack home from VT. The first can I followed the "directions" and drank from the can as they state it is designed to be drank this way. It was great. But I then decided to pour into a glass. There was an enormous difference in the experience and a better one from a flavor and aroma standpoint. I don't think you get all that aroma with it staying in the can. I'm convinced that they tell you to keep it in the can because of the fact that the ale is the cloudiest ale I have ever drank, in fact it had what appeared to be hop particles floating all in it. From this I came to the conclusion that they somehow filter (hopback) this beer through fresh hops on the way to the canning machine. The fresh hop flavor and oils seem to be so fresh that I'm convinced something funky is going on right before canning. Just my 2 cents. Delicious nonetheless. Peace.

The can I had didn't advise drinking it out of the can. It did warn that you may see "hop resin" suspended in your serving. I now know what "hop resin" looks like :) Great beer. Plus free. Thanks Jesper ;-)
 

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Could it be a late addition of magnum? I had a beer at a club meeting where someone dry hopped with magnum and it had crazy tropical fruit flavors. Anyone else try that with the same result?
 

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I had Pliny and Heady Topper side by side and I prefer Pliny. Heady #2. Hopslam wasn't even close to those two.

As for a clone, I would be interested, i haven't even been able to find ANY ingredients stated anywhere online
 

Anthony_Lopez

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I personally think Pliny is dry hopped with hype... Heady Topper is where its at. I'm definitely interested in others chiming in...
 

Airborneguy

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I've had Pliny shipped to me and drank if very fresh, less than a week, and it doesn't have near the hop aroma or flavor of Heady Topper. Pliny is a typical west cost IIPA to me: too bitter and too dry. Lagunitas makes IPAs that I find much more enjoyable, and I've never had one of them anywhere near as fresh as the Pliny I've had.
 

954surfer

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+1 amarillo
I just bottled an IPA that used amarillo pellets and whole cone simcoe for dry hops, so its one of them. I couldnt smell pineapple in the hops at all, but it sure comes through in the beer.

But whats up with the break material in Heady? I dont know for sure what that is, but I also noticed More Brown than Black (an alchemist callaboration with stone and ninkasi I think) has similar little bits of floaties that wasnt yeast. At first I thought it was hops but now I have noticed the same "snowflakes" in my (pre-hop) boils sometimes.

Are these just old beers? does anyone else know what Im talking about? whatever it is, its good though
 

koopa

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I took my first stab at cloning this one recently 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.
- 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
- Increase centennial presence (needs more grapefruit character)
- 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
 

FRS

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Nice! I will have to try something similar soon! I assume this is a 5 gal batch?

What made you go with Pearl malt over 2-row?
 

koopa

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Nice! I will have to try something similar soon! I assume this is a 5 gal batch?

What made you go with Pearl malt over 2-row?
Yes it was for a 5 gallon recipe and a few VT locals (who homebrew) have "confirmed" that Pearl is the "go to" base malt for John Kimmich when he brews this recipe so that put me in said direction. BTW Pearl is freaking awesome and just might become my "house" base malt. It is like a half way point btw pale malt and marris otter. Rounded and more flavorful (like marris) but still retaining a touch of nuttiness in the finish that doesn't overpower the hops up front!

BTW Some VT local homebrewers also degassed a can of Heady and took a gravity reading confirming that 1.010 is indeed the FG. Considering the ABV is 8% you can use those two pieces of information to confirm that the OG is right around 1.071
 
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