JOHN KIMMICH

MASTER BREWER

Over the past decade, if anyone uttered the words “The Alchemist,” they were most likely followed by the words “Heady Topper.” Sure, a couple people could’ve probably named Focal Banger, the brewery’s second canned offering, which The Alchemist debuted in January 2013. But after that, beyond beer nerds, knowledge of the catalogue dropped precipitously. Never the less, John Kimmich is credited with introducing the Hazy IPA style to the world (known as New England IPA) using the yeast (WLP013, Conan, Burlington etc.) favoured by his mentor Greg Noonan, owner and brewmaster of the Vermont Pub & Brewery where John started his brewing career & author of several important brewing books (New Brewing Lager Beer: The Most Comprehensive Book for Home - And Microbrewers [1996], Scotch Ale [1993], Seven Barrel Brewery Brewers Handbook [1997])

“John had eight years of brewing every style of beer you can imagine,” says his wife, The Alchemist Brewery co-founder Jen Kimmich. “Each time John brews a beer, he tweaks it. He’s really an artist, a genius with that… We probably had eighty to ninety different beers.” That is, right up until a flood caused by Tropical Storm Irene put the Alchemist Pub and Brewery in Waterbury, VT, under several feet of water, and subsequently out of business, in August 2011.

Now that production is humming in their larger production facility in Stowe, the man behind Heady Topper is reaching back into the archives, once again brewing those pub favorites lost to the flood. The storm water didn’t sink The Alchemist, it set its puppet master free.

“One of the things we got away from, that gave us a clean break after losing the pub, is that all expectations were gone,” says John. “It gave me the total creative freedom again to go in any direction we wanted. We weren’t tied into anything, we could start doing some new thinking.”

What Is Heady Topper? No single American beer has been doted upon with as much unrelenting, unabashed praise as Heady Topper. Depending on who you ask, it’s the IPA that launched a movement, that singularly converted the Big Beer masses to craft, or, perhaps, created the taste for an entirely new style all its own. Regardless — and John refutes all of this — it’s one of the best beers ever made in America. 

Although John and Jen founded their brewery on the wings of a pub with an extensive and celebrated beer list, The Alchemist quickly became a one-beer wonder. (“The one beer people always went crazy for was Heady Topper,” says Jen.) That is, until 2013 — two years after Heady’s first canned release — when Focal Banger hit the market.

Focal Banger was an absolute success. “It still has the structure of Heady Topper,” says Jen. “But Focal is more modern. It’s hop-forward. It’s not as malty. There’s more tropical flavor.”

Of course, Focal has John’s artistry, but it’s decidedly not Heady Topper. And that’s what makes it great. In addition to 9,000 annual barrels of Heady Topper and “another 3,000 to 4,000 of specialties,” The Alchemist Brewery now produces 6,000 barrels of Focal Banger. It’s proof positive that those early years of experimenting made John Kimmich the legendary brewer he is today.

RECIPES

US DOUBLE NEIPA - ALL GRAIN

THE ALCHEMIST HEADY TOPPER

20 LITERS | ABV 8.0% | IBU 100+ | SRM 6.0 | MASH EFFICIENCY 75% | PRE BOIL 24L | OG 1.080 | FG 1.020
MASH 90 MIN @ 66°C | SPARGE 3 LITERS | BOIL 90 MIN 

NOTES:
THIS RECIPE IS BASICALLY THE BYO MAG CLONE
READ MORE ABOUT HEADY TOPPER ON HOMEBREWTALK.COM
MORE INFO ON DOUBLE DRY HOPPING


01.

MALT

• 5400g PALE ALE MALT 3.0 SRM (93.1%)
• 170g CARAVIENNE 20 SRM (3.0%)

02.

HOPS

BOIL:
450g RAW SUGAR 10 SRM (3.9%) 
• 15g MAGNUM 14% AA @ 60 MINUTES
• 28g SIMCOE 13% AA @ 30 MINUTES
STEEP/WHIRLPOOL 30 MINUTES @ 98°C:
• 42g CASCADE NZ 7% AA 
• 42g SIMCOE 13% AA
• 28g APOLLO 17% AA
• 28g COLUMBUS 14% AA
DRY HOP (1) FOR 4 DAYS AFTER 1 WEEK OF FERMENTATION:
• 28g SIMCOE
• 28g APOLLO
• 28g CHINOOK
REMOVE HOPS THEN:
(RACK TO SECONDARY OR)
DRY HOP (2) FOR 4 DAYS BEFORE PACKAGING:
• 28g SIMCOE
• 28g CENTENNIAL

03.

ADDITIONS 

NO CLARIFIERS

04.

YEAST 

• 1ST CHOICE: WLP 095 BURLINGTON ALE
• 2ND CHOICE: WLP O66 LONDON FOG

US DIPA - ALL GRAIN

ALCHEMIST FOCAL BANGER

20 LITERS | ABV 7.0 | IBU 80 | SRM 3.9 | MASH EFFICIENCY 75% | PRE BOIL 24L | OG 1.066 | FG 1.013
MASH 90 MIN @ 67°C 
SPARGE 3 LITERS
BOIL 60 MIN

NOTES:
• CO2 EXTRACT (HOP SHOT) CAN BE PURCHASED AT BREWSHOP.CO.NZ 

Hop extract is packaged in 10ml syringes, and vacuum sealed. 1ml of hop extract equates to around 10 IBUs in 23 litres of wort with a gravity of 1.050 and boiled for 60 mins. 

The Alchemist Brewery uses Thomas Fawcett Malted Pearl Barley if you can get it.

01.

MALT

• 4750g GLADFIELD AMERICAN ALE MALT 2.5 SRM

02.

HOPS

BOIL:
• 3ml HOP SHOT 10% AA @ 60 MINUTES
• 54Og CORN SUGAR (DEXTROSE) @ 15 MINUTES
WHIRLPOOL/STEEP FOR 30 MINUTES - WAIT UNTIL TEMP HITS 90°C:
• 71g MOSAIC 12.25% AA
• 47g CITRA 12% AA
DRY HOP FOR 3 DAYS AFTER FERMENTATION HAS FINISHED:
• 45g MOSAIC 12.25% AA
• 71g CITRA 12% AA

03.

ADDITIONS 

04.

YEAST 

• 1ST CHOICE: WLP O95 BURLINGTON YEAST
• 2ND CHOICE: WYEAST 1318 LONDON ALE III

US HAZY DIPA - ALL GRAIN

ALCHEMIST CRUSHER

20 LITERS | ABV 9.0 | IBU ~100 | SRM 7.3 | MASH EFFICIENCY 75% | PRE BOIL 24L | OG 1.087 | FG 1.020
MASH 90 MIN @ 67°C
SPARGE 3 LITERS
BOIL 60 MIN 

NOTES:
• CO2 EXTRACT (HOP SHOT) CAN BE PURCHASED AT BREWSHOP.CO.NZ

Hop extract is packaged in 10ml syringes, and vacuum sealed. 1ml of hop extract equates to around 10 IBUs in 23 litres of wort with a gravity of 1.050 and boiled for 60 mins. 

The Alchemist Brewery uses Thomas Fawcett Malted Pearl Barley and Caramalt if you can get it.

01.

MALT

• 6050g GLADFIELD AMERICAN ALE MALT 2.5 SRM
• 336g GLADFIELD LIGHT CRYSTAL MALT 32 SRM

02.

HOPS

BOIL:
• 8ml HOP SHOT 10% AA @ 60 MINUTES
• 448g CORN SUGAR (DEXTROSE) @ 15 MINUTES
WHIRLPOOL/STEEP FOR 30 MINUTES - WAIT UNTIL TEMP HITS 90°C:
• 28g AMARILLO 9.2% AA
• 28g MOSAIC 12.25% AA
• 14g CENTENNIAL 10% AA
• 14g COLUMBUS 14% AA 
DRY HOP FOR 3 DAYS AFTER FERMENTATION HAS FINISHED :
• 28g AMARILLO 9.2% AA
• 28g MOSAIC 12.25% AA
• 14g CENTENNIAL 10% AA
• 14g COLUMBUS 14% AA 

03.

ADDITIONS 

04.

YEAST 

• 1ST CHOICE: WLP O95 BURLINGTON YEAST
• 2ND CHOICE: WYEAST 1318 LONDON ALE III

USA IPA - ALL GRAIN

ALCHEMIST, STONE & NINKASI MORE BROWN THAN BLACK IPA

20 LITERS | ABV 7.5 | IBU ~100 | SRM 18.9 | MASH EFFICIENCY 75% | PRE BOIL 24L | OG 1.069 | FG 1.014
MASH 90 MIN @ 67⁰C
SPARGE 3 LITERS
BOIL 60 MIN 

NOTES:
• CASCADE HOPS CAN BE SUBSTITUTED FOR DELTA
• CO2 EXTRACT CAN BE PURCHASED AT BREWSHOP.CO.NZ IN 10ml SYRINGES

Hop extract is packaged in 10ml syringes, and vacuum sealed. 1ml of hop extract equates to around 10 IBUs in 23 litres of wort with a gravity of 1.050 and boiled for 60 mins.

01.

MALT

• 5200g GLADFIELD ALE MALT 3 SRM 
• 480g GLADFIELD MUNICH MALT 7.9 SRM
• 150g GLADFIELD DARK CHOCOLATE MALT 660 SRM
• 140g GLADFIELD TOFFEE MALT 5.3 SRM 

02.

HOPS

BOIL:
• 10ml CO2 EXTRACT (~85 IBU's) 60 MINUTES
WHIRLPOOL/STEEP START AT 90⁰C FOR 30 MINUTES :
• 46g CITRA 12% AA
• 46g DELTA (CASCADE) 6% AA
• 46g GALAXY 14% AA
• 46g NELSON SAUVIN 12% AA

03.

ADDITIONS 

ADD 15 MINS BEFORE FLAME OUT:
• 1/4 TSP IRISH MOSS (or clarifier of choice)

04.

YEAST 

• 1ST CHOICE: WLP O90 SAN DIEGO SUPER YEAST
• 2ND CHOICE: WLP 001 CALIFORNIA ALE

BLACK IPA - ALL GRAIN

ALCHEMIST EL JEFE BLACK IPA

20 LITERS | ABV 7.0 | IBU ~90 | SRM 21.1 | MASH EFFICIENCY 75% | PRE BOIL 24L | OG 1.072 | FG 1.020
MASH 90 MIN @ 67°C 
SPARGE 3 LITERS
BOIL 60 MIN

NOTES:
• CO2 EXTRACT (HOP SHOT) CAN BE PURCHASED AT BREWSHOP.CO.NZ 

Hop extract is packaged in 10ml syringes, and vacuum sealed. 1ml of hop extract equates to around 10 IBUs in 23 litres of wort with a gravity of 1.050 and boiled for 60 mins. 

The Alchemist Brewery uses Thomas Fawcett Malted Pearl Barley if you can get it.

01.

MALT

• 6000g GLADFIELD AMERICAN ALE MALT 2.5 SRM
• 486g GLADFIELD TOFFEE MALT 5.3 SRM
• 190g GLADFIELD DARK CHOCOLATE MALT 660 SRM

02.

HOPS

BOIL:
• 60g SIMCOE 13% AA @ 60 MINUTES
• 70g SIMCOE 13% AA @ 5 MINUTES
DRY HOP FOR 3 DAYS AFTER FERMENTATION HAS FINISHED:
• 120g MOSAIC 12.25% AA

03.

ADDITIONS 

04.

YEAST 

• 1ST CHOICE: WLP O95 BURLINGTON YEAST
• 2ND CHOICE: WYEAST 1318 LONDON ALE III

MORE MASTER BREWERS

GET THE HEADS UP ON WHAT'S HAPPENING

SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSLETTER

PRIVACY POLICY | TERMS OF USE

 © 2021 WILD ABOUT HOPS® PLANT NURSERY & BREWING SUPPLIES NZ
NZ's LEADING SUPPLIER OF HOP PLANTS FOR BREWERS
HELPING YOU BREW BETTER BEER
PHONE: 0210 2407203 | CONTACT | CD