Heady Topper Double IPA Clone Recipe

Heady Topper Double IPAThe Alchemist’s Heady Topper is one of the most coveted beers in America. Beer fans drive from all over the country for the chance to get “Heady” straight from the brewery in Waterbury, VT, and it’s not uncommon for people to line up for hours outside their favorite beer retailer in anticipation of a delivery of this ridiculously hoppy American Double IPA.
With any beer this popular, homebrewers naturally want to clone it. On the homebrewing website HomebrewTalk, there’s one thread with nearly 3000 comments from people trying to develop their own Heady Topper recipe!
Luckily, I have a friend who has brewed several batches to dial in his own Heady Topper double IPA clone recipe. When I visited him last winter, we did a side-by-side blind tasting and the two beers were nearly indistinguishable. With his permission, I’ve shared the recipe below. But first, some considerations.

Many homebrewers believe that the single most important part of cloning this beer is to use the same yeast as the Alchemist uses in Heady Topper, but since it’s a proprietary strain, this is easier said than done. One option is to harvest yeast from a can of Heady (see How to Harvest Yeast from a Commercial Beer), but even obtaining a can of Heady can be a challenge. There are a few boutique yeast shops that offer cultured strains of the famous “Conan” yeast. The easiest option is to use a similar strain. I’ve included Wyeast’s London Ale 1028 as a substitute. Just be sure to build a yeast starter!

This beer uses a lot of hops! Most of them are added at the end of the boil during the whirlpool. If you read our recent post about hop oils, you know that many of the aromatic oils are driven off at higher temperatures. To preserve those oils, allow the wort to cool slightly before adding the whirlpool hops. If your brew kettle has a ball valve, you may want to invest in a torpedo screen to prevent all those hops from clogging it.
Ready to brew this Heady Topper Clone? Try this all-grain recipe, or use the partial mash option below. Happy brewing!

Sam’s Heady Topper Double IPA Clone Recipe
(5-gallon batch, all-grain)
OG: 1.078
FG: 1.017
ABV: 8%
IBUs: 120+
SRM: 6-7

HOPS – This beer uses a lot of hops! You’ll need a total of:

2.5 oz. Summit at :60
.25 oz. Amarillo at :5
.25 oz. Cascade at :5
.25 oz. Centennial at :5
.25 oz. Summit at :5
1.5 oz. Centennial at :0
1 oz. Summit at :0
.5 oz. Citra at :0Shop Hops
.25 oz. Cascade at :0
.25 oz. Amarillo at :0
.75 oz. Centennial, dry-hopped for 8 days
.5 oz. Citra, dry-hopped for 8 days
.5 oz. Summit, dry-hopped for 8 days
.5 oz. Amarillo, dry-hopped for 8 days
.5 oz. Centennial, dry-hopped for 4 days
.5 oz. Cascade, dry-hopped for 4 days
.5 oz. Summit, dry-hopped for 4 days
“Conan” yeast harvested from a can of Heady Topper or Wyeast 1028: London Ale – prepare a 2L starter
Mash crushed grains in about 6 gallons of clean, chlorine-free water at 150˚F for 60 minutes. Sparge to collect about 7 gallons of wort in the kettle, then bring wort to a boil. Add hops according to schedule above. For the 0 minute additions, add the hops gradually after cutting off the heat, allowing the hops to steep in the wort as you chill it down, at least 30 minutes, or for as long as an hour. When the wort temperature reaches 68˚F, transfer to a fermenter and pitch the yeast starter. Ferment for 7 days at 68˚F, then pitch first round of dry hops. After 4 days, transfer to secondary fermenter and pitch second round of dry hops. After four days, bottle or keg. Beer will be ready to drink in 1-2 weeks.
Partial Mash Option: Replace the two-row and pilsner malts with 9 lbs. light DME. If boiling in a five-gallon kettle, add half the DME at the end of the boil.
Do you have a Heady Topper double IPA clone recipe you’d like to share? Just leave it in the comments below.
Looking for more super hoppy beer recipes? Try the Uinta Dubhe Clone and the Ithaca Flower Power Clone!

David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder and editor of the Local Beer Blog.

36 thoughts on “Heady Topper Double IPA Clone Recipe

  1. For partial mash, you say replace two-row with DME. Does the DME also replace the 5 lbs of German pilsner malt?

    • Tsosso — good catch! Yes, the DME replaces both the two-row and the pilsner malt. I’ll update the instructions.

  2. Hi, thanks for the recipe.
    will try this one.
    a quick question though: do i add any suger when bottling?
    if yes, How much ?

    • Marcus, if you do not plan to keg your beer then you will need to add sugar to prime the beer at bottling. While most people use corn sugar, you can experiment with different priming agents. The article posted below will discuss the different types of primers that you can use. The article also has a link to a calculator that will help you to determine how much to add.
      Priming Your Beer

  3. How would you adjust the hops for a 3 gal BIAB version? Thinking I’ll go with 2/3 of everything. Still trying to find a good demo of a whirlpool in a 5 gallon kettle with an immersion chiller.

    • E Beirne, turning a 5-gallon recipe into a 3-gallon recipe is very simple. All you need to do is divide all of the ingredients by 5 and then multiply those numbers by the number of gallons you wish to make. The only exception is the yeast, you will still use the entire packet.

  4. You do not give a boil time. The first hops go in for 60 min. Is that your boil time or is it 90 minutes as most Heady clones do??

    • Jim, the total boil time for the recipe is 60 minutes. The first hops are added when the wort first begins to boil.

      • A 60-minute boil for a recipe with 5 lbs of Pilsner malt? Conventional wisdom would prescribe a 90-minute boil to drive off the additional DMS precursors present in Pilsner malts.

        • Its also a heavier beer with a lot of flavours to cover DMS and not just a simple pilsner where The DMS would come through. 90 mins would be unnecessary for this beer but for a lager or pislner definitely would be a good idea.

  5. Ed Still concerned about water chemistry as water is most of beer. Do you have any idea what your chemistry was. I have very soft water and typically will add gypsum to the mash water for an IPA. The Heady Topper videos and talks imply they bring the hardness up to an unbelievable 750ppm!!
    Their local water is soft also.

    • Jim, for this recipe I did not achieve 750ppm. However, I did add 2 teaspoons of Gypsum.

  6. David Last question
    In the ingredient list your first dry hops are listed for 8 days but in the instructions you you rack off at 4 days after first dry hops. These conflict!!!

    • Jim, I agree, that is a little confusing. What it means is that when you transfer the wort after 4 days of dry hopping, you will transfer the first round of hops to the secondary and continue for the remaining 4 days along with the newly added hops.

      • Ed Made the beer today. I think I will ferment out without dry hops and then transfer to a secondary .Then put the first dry hop addition in, wait 4 days, put the second addition in, wait 4 days and then rack out and bottle.
        Dry hopping in the primary leaves the beer and hops with sludge when you want to move the hops to the secondary
        Thanks for the recipe and the helpful info

  7. I am interested in making this. One question: how do you cool your wort after the boil? You mention adding the hops when you cool the wort (over 1/2 to 1 hour). Do you actively chill during this time, or do you just turn off the flame and let the wort cool passively over this time,, then chill to yeast pitching temperature?

  8. Hey David:
    Made this a few times now. It is a great recipe. Never had the original, but I like it anyway.

  9. While this looks to a very nice IPA it is definitely not a Heady Topper. It is known that HT uses Pearl malt and certainly does not use German pils. Pearl has a very distinctive, bready flavor that you’re just not getting with the grain bill in this recipe. Good recipe, just not HT.

  10. Hi,
    I am reducing this recipe to a one gallon batch (dividing all ingredients by 5)
    Would I have to sparge, or can I just steep the grains in a cheese cloth for an hour adding the hops at directed times?

  11. Trying this with WLP’s Burlington Ale Yeast, which is allegedly Conan. Might save readers some time/delicious Heady Topper from the can.

    • You will still need to crack the grains if it hasn’t been done so already. But after that, all you need to do is steep them. A good steeping temperature would be 160°F. It is recommended that you do not go over 170°F.

  12. For the partial mash, you said add half the DME at the end of the boil… do you mean add it after cutting the heat similar to the 0 minute hops?
    How long should we steep the grains for at 160 degrees? how much water?

    • John, sorry for the confusion. If using the DME in a partial mash, add half at the beginning of the boil and the rest at 0 minutes. You should steep the grains for 20-30 minutes at 150 degrees.

  13. Hello, if doing the partial mash and using 9lbs of DME is it still 6 gallons of water to start and 7 gallons to the kettle?

    • Ben, five gallons is all you need. You can start the boil with 2-3 gallons and add the additional water later.

  14. Ed, I brewed this recipe. I really like the flavors. While I’ve never had a HT (seemingly hard to find in Oregon) and have no quick way of knowing how the taste matches, the color looks more like an SPM value of 13 versus 6-7. I followed the grain bill carefully, stayed close to the temps, and used Imperial’s Barbarian yeast strain (which reportedly is the Conan strain). Any guesses as to why I’d see such an SPM deviation?

    • Doug, we have no explanation as to why this batch turned out as it did. However, if we were to guess it is probably due to over-cracking the grains.

  15. No disrespect Ed, but this recipe isn’t close at all to Heady Topper, even if it tastes similar. I would do more research. For example, there is no Citra in Heady Topper. The grist is also completely wrong. Kimmich does not boil hops in his kettle, zero. Go on YouTube and listen to John Kimmich discuss Heady Topper. Here is an accurate recipe, scaled for 5 gallons:
    S04: 500 ppm (gypsum, gypsum, and more gypsum)
    Cl: 30 ppm
    Mash (145F, 60′):
    Thomas Fawcett Pearl Malt 15lbs
    Boil (212F, 60′):
    CO2 hop extract 60′ to 40-80 IBU
    8 oz dextrose 10′
    Whirlfloc 10′
    Yeast nutrient 10′
    Hops (This part of the recipe is not known. There are 6 varieties in Heady. You will have to experiment. Here is one suggestion.):
    1 oz Simcoe, whirlpool
    0.75 oz Amarillo, whirlpool
    0.5 oz Columbus, whirlpool
    0.5 oz Cascade, whirlpool
    0.5 oz Centennial, whirlpool
    0.25 oz Chinook, whirlpool
    2 oz Simcoe, dry hop final 4 days of fermentation
    1 oz Amarillo, dry hop final 4 days of fermentation
    0.75 oz Columbus, dry hop final 4 days of fermentation
    Conan, e.g. A04 Barbarian, GY054, White Labs Burlington Ale, OYL-052
    <0.5 million cells per ml per degree Plato
    68F for a few days then up to 72F
    Soft crash to 60F and harvest yeast before adding dry hops
    Heady is canned on day 24-25.

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