Homebrew Review – Heady Topper clone

Posting some belated tasting notes for the Heady Topper Clone which was brewed back in May. This beer was a bit of a challenge to brew, with the hop bill, and hopping regimen. I ran into some issues during the brew day, and after which resulted in the beer not being quite what I wanted. With that said, I’m eager to make another attempt at this beer.

When I brewed this there were three clear issues in the brewing process of this beer, I overshot my OG by a significant amount. I could have corrected this in the brew kettle, but in an oversight I did not. I allowed this to ferment too high. Despite my cool basement, and a water bath to chill this beer out, I was not able to keep it under control. When a beer with this much fermentables it’s easy for it to just run away, and ferment hot. I hope to be handle this by moving the sugar addition to the fermenter, and building a fermentation control chamber. Lastly, my final issue was that the yeast gave up the ghost. I hope to have a fresh built up pitch of conan for my next batch.

I’m happy with the resulting beer despite the issues. This is not a clone in any respect, the inclusion of crystal malt, my altered hop bill, and the beer is far too different from the original. It’s far too sweet, not pithy and grapefruity that I get with the real deal. It’s also has non of the peachy aroma that’s prominent from the can. The color is darker, and the body is also noticeably thicker.

On the plus side, the head retention is great. The aroma was really fruity, and hoppy. The beer was a really good DIPA, and I’m disappointed to say, I didn’t drink it nearly fast enough.

Overall for my first take on a double ipa, and such a overly hopped beer, I did ok.

Changes planned for the next time:

o2, I’ve now added this to my brewing setup.

2.5g or smaller batch. I don’t consume high abv beers fast, I’m ashamed to admit I’ve still got some on hand.

Reset my recipe, based on this thread: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f12/heady-topper-can-you-clone-390082/

Basically, Match the grain and hop bill more closely.

Water chemistry. This is something I’ve been putting off until I have a better grasp of my brewing process, but it’s important to all beer stlyes, but much more so for hoppy beers.

IMG 2380

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2013 hop crop – Working the bugs out.

Last year I put them in the ground in late april. This year by that time, they were starting their way up the climbing lines. Last year they did ok, but my lack of diligence watering them, and fertilizing them hindered their growth significantly. I managed to only get a few cones last year, but nothing note worthy. After last years watering struggles, I decided to get a watering setup so that I ensure they were getting regular amounts of water. It seems to have paid off. Since mid may I’ve watered 2x a day, for about 20 minutes. I made a simple drip irrigation system with a hose we were going to throw away, a hose cap, and $30 programable water timer. If you do any gardening, are forgetful, lazy, or just gone on a regular basis It’s well worth it. Continue reading

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Some tips for homebrewing on the cheap.

bulk hops

Home brewing is a hobby you can start with a small investment in equipment ($150 or less) and make beer. At that point the biggest investment is the per batch cost. When brewing extract patches the fixed costs cost to brew are low, but the per batch cost is much higher. Continue reading

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Home grown hop update.

I’m not going to lie my hop plants look terrible. While this has been a really good year for growing hops, I’ve only had so so success. This is my first year growing hops, so I didn’t expect much as the plants establish their roots. I also didn’t get them into the ground until late in the season, despite our warm spring. The old rhizomes I purchased last year didn’t sprout, so I purchased a new set of plants rather than rhizomes, Perle, Centennial, and Galena. Of the three purchased plants, the Perle completely died. The galena planting has done better, but the centennial is just now showing real signs of growth. I’m still hoping they will have enough growth established to withstand a New England winter. Continue reading

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Project update: Keggerator, Hops, Mashtun

By now the new page is up. It is still a work in progress. I want to re-theme the blog, and add some details like a logo and favicon. I also need to fix some posts for style, broken links, and insert the missing photos. However, the content should all be there. It’s just one of the projects I’ve been working on here at the bottle farm. Continue reading

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Beer Gardening: How to start growing hops at home.

Small hop plant

When I think of beer garden, this isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, as a farmer brewer this is the first thing I hope to be able to product myself to include in my own beer.

What you see below is the fruits of a few hrs of manual labor, some unused and reused items from around the farm, and a few gifted hop plants. A kind soul, Lyn from Brew Free or Die (more about this later) was very generous and shared some plants with me, a cascade and Hallertau. Along side those two, I planted 3 other pairs of rhizomes Cascade, Glacier, and Columbus. The other pairs were purchased last spring, and due to poor planning on my part, never made it to pots or the ground. I do not know if they will sprout after such a long dormancy, so I have also purchased some additional plants (Perle, Centennial, Galena) that just arrived. After they harden a bit, I’ll look for sprouting bines, and make the call on which to keep / or pot for next season. Continue reading

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