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- Product Details
In a true work of sorcery, the Off the Topper IIPA beer kit creates synergy between Vermont yeast and an unprecedented flood of lupulin. Overcoming its intense origins, it is a rare, harmonious pint that is extreme only in its drinkability. Beneath the frothing, massive head lies a beacon of freshness and light in each pint. At the eye of the storm is a dry and crisp body. A complex and delicious Imperial IPA, Off the Topper balances bitterness with well-attenuated yeast that work together to weather the hurricane of hops.
Preparing a yeast starter is highly recommended when using the Vermont Ale Liquid Yeast. This will help reduce the lag time before fermentation begins.
- Additional Information
Beer Kit Yield 5 Gallons Recipe and Instructions Click Here for Off the Topper IIPA Brewing Instructions Regional Style USA Original Gravity 1070 Total Time to Make 6 weeks
4.5 / 5.050 ReviewsSecond time brewing - came out incredibleWow! I just started brewing my own beers and this was my second brew. It came out FANTASTIC! I am absolutely amazed at how good this is. It's easily as good as the stuff (us craft beer nuts) wait hours in line for at 'special releases'. I did a yeast starter (Fast Pitch) with the liquid VT yeast. Two weeks in primary (you MUST use a blow-off - thing thing ferments like you can't believe), then two weeks in secondary. Bottled 1/3 and kegged the rest. Force carbonated the keg and I'm enjoying this exactly 4 weeks to the day that I brewed it. I followed the instructions to a tee, dry-hopped when I should, and used hoo bags to keep the extra 'debris' out of the carboy (big mouth bunker). Enjoyed side-by-side with a real Headdy Topper, and while they are slightly different, this one is a fantastic kit. A+++March 14, 2016A little patience will reward you!I was really looking forward to this kit. I've never had the real deal from Vermont, but the hop bill and ingredients looked very promising - especially the White Labs yeast selection which promises to leave lots of favorable esters.Temperature control, as mentioned in the instructions, is key. I let the primary go for 3 weeks (18 days at a rock steady 68F, then up to 71F for the last 3 days) to get good flavors and full attenuation. Note that there will be leftover hops if you follow the recipe exactly. I added an extra .3 gal of water before primary for a total of 5.3 gal to compensate for losses due to the crazy amount of hops. This may have lowered the OG slightly. I also held the secondary fermentation very steady at 66F and bottle ferment at 69F for 10 days. I did not use a starter at pitched at ~76F while the primary temperature was allowed to slowly drop to 68F over a day.OG = 1.062FG = 1.009ABV = 7.25%Real attenuation 70.6%The result is spectacular. As good as a Pliny the Elder I had the other day - equally engaging but more fruit forward on initial taste and less bitter overall. The aromas hit you as soon as you crack the bottle cap (lemon, orange, grapefruit, hint of wildflower). Pours with a thin creamy head that leaves a nice lace on the glass as you drink it. Tangerine-gold in color with slight haze (despite using some Polyclar to fine). Taste starts with bold citrus notes (lemon, orange, then grapefruit) then transitions to a balanced hoppy bitterness with a long finish. So very drinkable - have received comments that you can't tell it's over 7% ABV. Lots of layers of flavor. Can't wait to try the all-grain version when I upgrade my equipment!January 2, 2015Pretty good.Just opened my first bottles of this last weekend. It is good, but not the legend. The hops seemed to fade . I smelled more during fermentation than I taste in the bottles. It reminds me of Stone's Enjoy By. It was fun to brew.February 17, 2016Awesome Smooth DIPAExtract kit with Vermont Ale YeastO.G. = 1.073F.G. = 1.011ABV = 8.1First time making this kit, heard all kinda good things about the original Heady Topper. And a friend of mine has some he is saving to compare, so when I'm ready I will be able to compare. Just chilled one today, pop one after a week in bottles, just to try, WOW! what great Creamy Carbonation, great head retention the whole way down even though it didn't last long, lots of flavor. I'll let it sit another week for bottle condition, then chill. I will make this again, but in the mean time I have a Pliny the Elder kit. Reclaimed some Vermont yeast will use that for this kit. Excited:) And will buy Off the Topper kit again.March 29, 2015Solid despite not having all ingredientsJust finished bottling a week and half ago. I didn't get the correct hops for the recipe.( No Apollo hops were included). Popped open one this weekend and it was the best home brew I've made to date. So dank and refreshing. This guy won't last long as I only ended up with 4 gallons after all the dry hopping.May 30, 2017Nothing but goodness!I brewed this with a skeptical mind, after it has been bottled this brew was the fire! I actually sampled a Heady Topper and then tried my homebrew. I did switch the Vermont Ale Yeast with East Coast, it did wonders! Amazing brew recipe, will repeat shortly!August 31, 2015Excellent Clone of One of the Top DIPAs Out ThereI used the actual yeast strain from Vermont for this beer. It was phenomenal! Definitely a crowd pleaser for the hop-heads in the room. The yeast mellows and blends with the hop flavor extremely well. Some people who tasted this one and Headytopper couldn't decide which they liked better. I ordered this a second time recently (Sep 2015) and the ingredient list looked a little different from what I remember of the original kit purchased in 2014, hopefully I will get the same stellar results. Good luck and enjoy. Cheers!September 30, 2015Fantastic KitBrewed this about 3 months ago and just finished the keg about 2 weeks ago. Excellent beer. I didn't make a starter, so I didn't quite hit the FG I was hoping for, and it was a little too sweet. On top of that, I somehow hit 1.081 OG, so it was a little heavier than it should have been. I'll be brewing this kit again with a starter this time to see the difference. I didn't think it was super close to an actual Heady, but close enough to keep making. My experience was Brewed/fermented/kegged and ready to drink in about 6 weeks, and you could probably do it in 4 if you're in a real hurry.November 19, 2015Never had Heady Topper But This is GOODI have been brewing for some time and I have brewed Dead Ringer twice, Raspberry Wheat three times, and getting ready for the third go round of Plinian Legacy, and getting ready for the first go round of speckled heifer. This has aroma all over the place opening the bottle and getting a wonderful nose full what has a very mangoes/peachy(in my opinion) easy aroma. You can tell this is an IPA for sure....I have had a few bottles and I am enjoying this immensely, and will be brewing this one again. When I picked the kit up Northern Brewer in Milwaukee was out of Vermont yeast so I went with two packages of S-05...Also used Clarity Ferm as well, and have been using that in all of my non-wheat beers. This is not a beginners recipe for sure, its not impossible but it does take time....April 30, 2015Almost!Aroma is almost spot on with the real deal. Darn delicious brew, but a little more hop forward. I think an additional .5-1lbs malt may balance it out getting it closer to the 'cloned.' Definitely going to purchase again and add one more lb of malt to see if it balances it better.November 14, 2014
Browse 31 questions Browse 31 questions and 64 answersIn the instruction it says to use a 6.5 gal carboy can I use a 6.5 bucket instead or will that have too small of a head space for the krausen? I am concerned that the krausen will all come through the blow off tube with only 1/2 gal of space left in the bucket.BEST ANSWER: I've brewed this Topper twice and only have used a standard 6.5 gal. bucket to ferment and also for secondary. No issues. The blow off tube never clogged despite a vigorous fermentation. You'll love this brew....Hi there. I ordered this kit with the dry Vermont yeast. Do i need to do a yeast starter? How do I do that? Does this kit come with everything I will need to do the starter?I am brewing this batch now. It is incredible the amount of hops. I am still new to brewing this is my 5th batch and haven't invested the checking gravity. But I am very curious to the ballpark of ABV?BEST ANSWER: It is a ton of hops and I added most of the recommended sugar so my ABV came out at 9%. You can expect an 8%-9% ABV if you use all the hops.Is there a big difference between using the dry yeast vs. the liquid yeast? I'm afraid to ship the liquid yeast with warm temps outside.BEST ANSWER: I have brewed this twice, both times using the dry yeast, and turned out great both times. I have never tasted it with the liquid yeast, but it has been one of the favorites of friends & family each time I made it with the dry yeast.Just want to be sure I'm understanding the first step. I start with 2.5 gallons of cold water, add the grain, heat to 170F then remove the grain bag?BEST ANSWER: Hello Ari,
That is correct! Don't let the grains sit in there if it is over 170F as this can make the beer astringent and bitter tasting from the extraction of tannins from the husk of the grains.Not seeing airlock activity brewed on Friday used the Vermont ale yeast no yeast starter. What needs to be done?BEST ANSWER: Vermont ale yeast is a notoriously slow starter. It should start within 2-3 days and usually starts slowly then ramps up into a very vigorous ferment and usually takes the same amount of time just has a slightly slow start to the ferment phase usually. You should not start to worry until 72 hours has gone by, as long as your temps are in the right range and you use fresh ingredients.I got the Vermont Ale Liquid Yeast as recommended. The Vial says to take out f the refrigerator 3-6 hours before use. The instructions for the "Off the Topper" recommended a yeast starter a few days before brewing. Do I need to do this with the liquid yeast? Mike D.BEST ANSWER: I would recommend a starter because of the high OG. Liquid yeast is of high quality, but does not contain as many cells as dry yeast. Using only one packet of liquid yeast in a beer of that strength would stress the yeast resulting in off flavors. Taking the vial out of the refrigerator 3 to 6 hours in advance allows the yeast to slowly warm to room temperature. To learn more about yeast starters, and to calculate how large of a starter you will need try follow this link http://www.brewersfriend.com/yeast-pitch-rate-and-starter-calculator/Do I need to buy a larger fermenter for this beer? I currently use a 6.5 gallon big mouth.BEST ANSWER: I brewed Off the Topper IPA about 3 months ago and used my standard 6 gallon bucket for the first fermentation and a 5 gallon carboy for the secondary. I would suggest that you use a blow off tube instead of the standard airlock since the fermentation tends to be vigorous and may clog the air lock.I don't have what I need to make a starter. Should I pitch both bags of the DIPA ALE from omega yeast that I have?BEST ANSWER: Unclear. When in doubt I tend to over pitch instead of under. Omega says between 150 and 500billion cells. Typical tube is 100. There's a good online calculator. Look up Brewersfriend yeast pitch rate. Need to look for the og here. My thumbnail for this one is about 350/400 cells. Look at your pack. If it says 500 then you're good with one. If not I'd use two and try to reculture your yeast after ferment. Aka make a five gallon starter for next time. As yeast ages it dies off so a newly made pack vs older makes a difference. Bottom line, given the og here, I'd pitch both. But that should help you look up next timeOk to use bottled water or should I use distilled with added minerals?BEST ANSWER: Use spring water don't use distilled. My tap water is horrible and I strictly use Spring water.I have another question, I am brewing now and in the directions it calls for only one (1)- ten(10) ml hotshot. I received two (2). Is there an extra one?BEST ANSWER: My kit had two 5ml hot shots. for a total of 10 ml.Checked my gravity after cooling the wort and adding water to bring up the volume. It came out high at 1.10. Anyone else have this issue? Or know what could cause such high gravity reading?
I did have some hoop particles floating in my sample.BEST ANSWER: I brewed this kit yesterday and did not add the 2 gallons of water to the fermenter prior to the wort. Only reason is because I had to relocate the fermenter down a flight of stairs into the basement and its much easier to carry when only half full. I topped it off, measured temp, pitched yeast, and then pulled an OG sample. Something looked funny and the OG was off the charts. I tasted it and it was way too sweet. The material had stratified in the fermenter, with mostly wort sitting near the bottom. So, I quickly sanitized my brew spoon and gave the fermenter a good stir. Measured OG again at 70F and got 1.068. Lesson learned, make sure it's all homogenous!Looking forward to making this brew and it's going to be the first brew I keg. What is the recommended PSI levels to distilling and carbonating after a few days?BEST ANSWER: It is temperature dependent. Look up force carbonation charts. If you set your PSI to about 10-12 and your keg is about 40 degrees, you will get a nice carbonation level for the beer. Most beers shoot for about 2-2.5 volumes of CO2I am 10 days after brew day and just did the first round of dry hopping in the primary fermenter according to the instructions. I took a final gravity reading and it seems to be perfect at 1.019. It also tastes and smells fantastic so far like citrus and peaches. Curiously, however, it came out considerably lighter in color than any other picture I've seen of this beer. It looks like a much lighter colored gold than the red amber I've seen in pictures. Has the recipe changed at all?BEST ANSWER: Although I used a different yeast than the Vermont Ale strain over a year ago, I don't recall it being a red amber color ever. Now I'm gonna have to brew a batch to refresh my memory and thirst.Hi everyone- I have a question about fermentation and bottle conditioning. I just ordered this kit today and I will be starting the brew process next weekend. I have brewed 4 kit beers up to this point, and my experience is that the recommended time in the instructions for fermentation, secondary fermentation, and bottle conditioning never seem to be enough. I always end up with a beer that is barely carbonated and tastes very yeast-y. For those that brewed this beer ad loved it, how long did you ferment, secondary ferment, and bottle condition? Thanks for your help!!BEST ANSWER: Hi Don,
Thanks for contacting us! I have always found that my beers needed more than the "standard" two weeks.
Primary: It is best to let it go until the beer reaches its final gravity. You can test this by taking hydrometer readings. When the gravity holds steady for at least 3 days, it is good to rack. Letting it sit longer is not a problem, as long as you get it off the yeast cake within 4 weeks.
Secondary: There's no set rule here. The longer it goes, the more clear it will be. Two weeks is fine for most beers, but some lagers or big beers may require more. If you take care of your yeast (rehyrdarate it if dry or start it if liquid), you may not need to do a secondary at all.
Conditioning: Time and temperature are the two most important factors, but there other factors to consider. You want to make sure you are getting a good seal on the caps. Test this by placing one bottle under water (be sure it is standing up, with air near the headspace), and see if you get bubbles. If so, the caps may be bad, or your capper may need to be replaced. Use the recommended dose of priming sugar for your beers style and batch size. If you did a long secondary, there may not be enough yeast left to carbonate quickly, so it may take more time. I've found that conditioning temps make a big difference too; the difference between 73f and 68f is surprising. But it is not actually that unusual for a beer to require 4 weeks to carbonate.
I hope this helps!
CharlesAre u suppost to take the Og reading at 5 or the full 6 gallonsBEST ANSWER: I measured the OG at 5 gallons (1.090) in order to figure out how much water I needed to add to get to my target OG. Then I measured again at 6 gallons before pitching my yeast. My OG came in at 1.082, a bit higher than the kit literature indicated.Getting ready to brew this up this morning for my second time. First time I used WLP008 East Coast Ale Since it was to warm to ship yeast. It turned out great! Hazy straw color, flavor was great well balanced between hops and malt. Keg went quick.
Wanted to do this again 2 pints in with the Vermont Ale Yeast. Picked up some new equipment for whirl pooling them hops and will be using today. Looking forward to see the difference in taste form the yeast. Both used 1.5L starters. Will be interesting with this new batch as it is cold enough that i will not be using my fermentation chamber and will have it in the house. House is staying at 65 on the consistent and will let the yeast free to do its thing, hopefully I contain any blow off.BEST ANSWER: I fermented mine at 67-68 degrees, and it turned out great. I cut back on the hops and used a pound less grain to lower the alcohol and reduce hop bitterness a little. deliciousWhats the Vermont Ale Yeast? Who makes it?BEST ANSWER: Vermont ale yeast is the same strain the is used in the commercial beer Heady Topper. It is produced by The Yeast Bay at White Labs.I didn't notice until too late that this was a 6 gallon recipe -- I made it in a 5 gallon carboy (see my 5 or 6 gallons question/review below). I did swap out the airlock for a blow-off assembly, and it's working great (just hope I didn't contaminate the wort). My question is about adding more water. Can or should I add more water in secondary? My plan is to purchase a 6.5 gallon carboy for secondary, then add some boiled (then cooled) water or distilled water. I'm thinking of adding about 3/4 gallon of water. Should I proceed with this plan?BEST ANSWER: I wouldn't buy a larger carboy so you could add additional water to secondary. Rake off to a 5 gal. carboy and dry hop per the recipe. That way you can avoid adding unwanted oxygen to the wort. Your beer will have a little higher ABV and the additional hop bitterness won't be that big of a issue for New England style IPA. You should still end up with a great beer. Enjoy!!!Two part question please! I have carboys, not a temperature control other than a heater in a small dark room. I'm concerned about the ability to control fermentation exactly at 68 then ramp up to 72 to get the right attenuation. My room seems to hover constantly around 66 degrees in the basement. That is concern number 1. The second part is what I am not seeing addressed anywhere and that is WATER. I saw an interview with John Kimmich who said people pay far less attention to water than they should and I'm wondering if some of the variability in results is from that. I have well water, but it's pretty alkaline. Am I best served with the extract kit using distilled or RO water? Any help appreciated before purchasing this!BEST ANSWER: Thanks for the inquiries! Holding exact temps is not required, just make sure you are within the temp range stated for the yeast. One easy way to interpret these prompts is to start a little cooler and then once fermentation starts, feel free to try and raise temp slightly - whether that is moving to a warmer spot or or turning a portable heater on for a brief period....fermentation will cause the temp to free rise anyway. Water is the difference between good and great beer so can be worthwhile looking into it - the better the water the better the beer. Unless you want to test your water, and have concerns about it, I would try spring water to see if it makes a difference. Add a little sulfate to hoppy beers, and a little chloride to malty beers.Is each hop packet used for one step? They are labeled in ounces, but the recipe gives the weight in grams. This is very confusing.Off the Topper IIPA Extract KitBEST ANSWER: Hi there, we only package our hops in ounces. You will have to weigh out the grams needed for the recipe. Cheers!I brewed this beer using the kit and the directions and it went very well. My OG was 1.072. I used a starter that I prepared the day before and it was active and the primary fermentation took off well. The final gravity settled at 1.021 which scared me a bit and it stayed there right to bottling day. Some of my home brew friends thought that was a bit too high and wondered if the yeast petered out too soon and it should have gone down to 1.014 or so. Should I be afraid of the final product? By the way, it smells great.
WayneBEST ANSWER: Hi Wanye,
Thanks for the question. 1.021 is about 71% attenuation on that beer and under normal circumstances I'd say that's pretty good. However, with the plain sugar in that beer I would expect it to go a bit lower. I think 1.014 is on the very low end though at 81% attenuation. If the beer is already bottled I would suggest monitoring it closely. After 2-3 weeks taste one. If the carbonation level is good keeping the bottles as cold as possible from then on will help prevent over carbonation.
Todd HHi All,
I've been reading through some of the Q and A's of this brew and just wanted some insight on my results; My OG at 6.5 gallons was 1.08 (temperature accounted for) and my FG rang in at 1.024. I made a 2L starter and fermented/adjusted the temperature according to both NB and The Yeast Bay's suggestions of raising the temperature as fermentation progressed. So, does 1.024 after 2 weeks primary and 3 weeks in secondary seem ok or does something sound off? Thanks.BEST ANSWER: It does seem a little high of a finish gravity for this brew. Did you use a hydrometer or a refractometer for the gravity readings?Hi all. I received the Off The Topper kit in the mail yesterday. The instructions only have a starting gravity. There is no final gravity listed anywhere, unless I'm blind. What should the final gravity reading be so I know when fermentation is finished? Thanks!!BEST ANSWER: Final gravity can vary and the number is less important than the flavor of the beer and that is why we do not pubish them. However 1.020 or a bit lower if a good final gravity for this kit.After flam out hops and wort has cooled. Do you pour the whole wort or do you leave some of the leftover hops at the bottom? Had a OG of 1.080 Did i pour to much?BEST ANSWER: It's fine to pour in all the hops and sediment, or you can pour carefully and leave it behind. It does not make a lot of difference. The OG does sound a bit high, is that after the add-in water was added to the fermenter, or before? If it was before, it would make sense. -Mike W, Northern BrewerI guess this is a process question. My OG was 1.06, measuring the 6 gallon batch. My hydrometer is properly calibrated. Looking at the questions and comments, it looks like some are coming up with similar OGs as mine (and some much higher). To clarify, is your 1.07 OG measured at a 5.125 gallon batch or 6 gallons? Further, could you specify that in the recipe going forward. I am sure it will taste great, just looking to lessen the beer anxiety!BEST ANSWER: This kit is designed around getting 6 gallons in the primary fermentor and yielding about 5 gallons after the volume losses. The recipe indicates to get 6 gallons in the primary. Running the math for extract and all grain the target OG for exactly 6 gallons comes out to 1.070, based on 72% efficiency for all grain. If you made an extract batch and topped up with cold water, you may have gotten stratification of sugars and so an inaccurate sample. But to clarify, 6 gallons in the primary and 1.070 gravity are the targets based on good efficiency.Can anyone tell me if this beer is anything like hop slam. I like IPA's but anything like HOP SLAM I do not like. would like to get an opinion before I purchase this kit.BEST ANSWER: This kit shares some key characteristics with Hop Slam; both are high ABV double IPA's, both have similar grain bills, and both are highly hopped. The key point of difference would be the hop blend. Simcoe is the most prominent hop in Hop Slam, but Off The Topper has quite a bit of Simcoe as well.I typically strain my wort into the fermenter. Given the amount of late addition hops, will straining hurt my flavor/aroma? What would you recommend?BEST ANSWER: Strainer the particulate from the kettle into the fermentor should not hurt your flavor or aroma. Just be sure that your strainer is sanitized.My FG after 2 weeks in primary and 2 weeks in secondary is only 1.018. OG was 1.07, as expected... just finished bottling... should I expect this to be OK?
Only thing I ended up doing differently is... I did not realize a blow-off tube was required so I used the stadard small air lock that comes with the beginners brewing kit. After 1 day, the fermentation was so vigorous, the lid was pushing up and looked like it was going to blow off so I called Northern Brewer and you told me to use a blow off tube instead. I took the lid off for about 30 seconds to add the blow off tube and then sealed it. Could this adversely affect the brew?BEST ANSWER: That's right about what we'd expect this to finish at, so you should be fine. Switching from an airlock to a blow-off tube should not cause any issues, as there's so much CO2 coming off of the fermenting beer, it is well protected from oxygen exposure. This will not cause any problems for your brew. -Mike W, Northern BrewerWhat kind of final gravity should we be looking for? I'm at 1.020 after two weeks from the extract kit. OG was 1.070. I used the Vermont yeast and made a starter. I have a fermenting chamber that held firm around 69. Just transferred to a secondary and put the temperature up to 71.BEST ANSWER: That would be considered a complete fermentation. If the gravity has stopped changing, especially after a quick increase in temperature, than consider it fully fermented and proceed as normal. Feel free to contact us for ways to ensure you get a low FG number. Cheers!
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