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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: oscarvan on December 06, 2010, 01:57:23 AM

Title: Not getting a lot of head....
Post by: oscarvan on December 06, 2010, 01:57:23 AM
STOP IT RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!  ;D ;D ;D

But now that I have your attention...... First brew in the keg, taste is great. Keg "balanced" at 10 psi...... 5 feet of 3/16" id hose.... pouring nicely, every thing hunky dory.... just not a lot of head.......

Not THAT important, taste and drinkability first and I'm not unhappy, but a little more foam wouldn't hurt,,,,

Not sure what to try.... up the pressure? Cut another foot of the hose?

Anyone?
Title: Re: Not getting a lot of head....
Post by: oscarvan on December 06, 2010, 04:50:57 AM
No one's touching this one eh?
Title: Re: Not getting a lot of head....
Post by: euge on December 06, 2010, 06:16:21 AM
Up the pressure.
Title: Re: Not getting a lot of head....
Post by: tschmidlin on December 06, 2010, 07:26:05 AM
I think the problem is we have no idea why you're not getting any head. ;D

If the beer isn't flat, you should have head. 

Try a hard pour and see if that helps.
Try opening the tap only half way, that should cause foaming.
Are you sure your glasses are clean and without soap residue?
It could just be a recipe problem and you're not going to get a good head with this batch.  Do what ever it takes to get some foam in the glass and see if it hangs around or falls apart.  That will give you some idea.
Title: Re: Not getting a lot of head....
Post by: majorvices on December 06, 2010, 12:33:04 PM
one of the keys to having good head retention is fermentation control. You must pitch enough yeast, which if using WY or WL packages that means either making a starter or at least using multiple packages.

Second, fermentation and pitching temps are crucial. Warm pitching and/or fermentation temps will generate excess fusels which will destroy head retention. Be sure you are not pitching your yeast over 68 degrees and never let fermentation peak much higher than this either.

Other contributors: dirty glasses or soap that has not been fully rinsed, dead yeast (pitching to much yeast or old slurries), or even grease on your lips (say, from that Five Guys burger and sack of fried.)
Title: Re: Not getting a lot of head....
Post by: oscarvan on December 06, 2010, 12:37:24 PM
Glasses are clean. Will play with the pressure. Right now at 10psi/40ºF, if the regulator gauge is accurate, that's about 2.2 volume. Will bring it up to 2.4 and see what happens.

Also, I just realized it's only been on gas (no sugar) for 4-5 days. May still not be completely carbonated. Will give it a few days and report back.
Title: Re: Not getting a lot of head....
Post by: tygo on December 06, 2010, 01:06:54 PM
Second, fermentation and pitching temps are crucial. Warm pitching and/or fermentation temps will generate excess fusels which will destroy head retention. Be sure you are not pitching your yeast over 68 degrees and never let fermentation peak much higher than this either.

How do you account for something like Duvel then where the fermentation temps ramp up into the 80's and there's obviously no problem with the head.  Something to do with that specific yeast and the fusels it produces?
Title: Re: Not getting a lot of head....
Post by: bluesman on December 06, 2010, 01:14:13 PM
Here's an interesting article from BYO.

http://www.byo.com/stories/article/indices/35-head-retention/697-getting-good-beer-foam-techniques

I agree with Keith in that a bad fermentation will kill your head.  Adding wheat malt or using clean glasses won't help if the fermentation wasn't healthy as fusel alcohols will kill the foam.
Title: Re: Not getting a lot of head....
Post by: oscarvan on December 06, 2010, 01:26:14 PM
Interesting....... (guilty)

Quote
Lastly, homebrewers who keg their beer should be aware that foam positive molecules can get “used up” when foam is created. Thus, if you shake your keg to carbonate it, you may be dipping into your pool of foam makers for your beer.
Title: Re: Not getting a lot of head....
Post by: majorvices on December 06, 2010, 02:32:00 PM
Belgian strains may be the exception to the rule on some level, but even most Belgians are pitched fairly cool. And in me personal experience I have hac better results even with Belgian ales at coolerthat advertised temps.

Most new brewers (and unfortunately many experienced brewers) complety underestimate the importance of fermentation. Too many think that once you add the yeast the job I'd bsasically finished. But fermentation is the most crucial part of the brewing process. You can ruin the best made wort by not following strict fermentation procedures.

The link bluesman posted is a good one for understanding foam stability.
Title: Re: Not getting a lot of head....
Post by: James Lorden on December 06, 2010, 02:42:49 PM
Also, I just realized it's only been on gas (no sugar) for 4-5 days. May still not be completely carbonated. Will give it a few days and report back.

Usually takes about 7 days for my beer to reach the carbonation point.

Other things to consider:

All grain?
  -mashing regime
Recipe?
  -add more dextrins
Title: Re: Not getting a lot of head....
Post by: beersk on December 06, 2010, 03:14:58 PM
Also, I just realized it's only been on gas (no sugar) for 4-5 days. May still not be completely carbonated. Will give it a few days and report back.

Usually takes about 7 days for my beer to reach the carbonation point.



This was my first thought...well other than..you know, haha.  It takes at least 7 days if not 10 days to hit that full carbonation.  I have my regulator set at 12psi at about 40F.
Title: Re: Not getting a lot of head....
Post by: majorvices on December 06, 2010, 03:25:49 PM
Interesting....... (guilty)

Quote
Lastly, homebrewers who keg their beer should be aware that foam positive molecules can get “used up” when foam is created. Thus, if you shake your keg to carbonate it, you may be dipping into your pool of foam makers for your beer.


have shaken kegs for years with no problems. If you shake a keg under pressure you will have veryinal foaming. Anyone who has ever carbonated i'm a two liter bottle with a carbonated cap will see that you can shake the he'll out of the bottle and you will see no foam.
Title: Re: Not getting a lot of head....
Post by: denny on December 06, 2010, 04:27:40 PM
Ron beat me to posting the BYO link.  Some excellent info a long with a couple tests you can do to help diagnose the source of the problem.

Keith, I too shake kegs to force carb and haven't noticed that having a negative effect on foam.  But that doesn't mean I don't believe there are foam positive proteins that can get used up.  I take it to mean that I have enough of them that I can Use some up and still have plenty.
Title: Re: Not getting a lot of head....
Post by: oscarvan on December 06, 2010, 04:32:40 PM
Seems to be getting a little better........I guess it's that patience thing again..... ;D
Title: Re: Not getting a lot of head....
Post by: denny on December 06, 2010, 04:38:10 PM
Seems to be getting a little better........I guess it's that patience thing again..... ;D

How long has it been kegged?  The longer you give the CO2 to go into solution in the beer, the better the foam will be.
Title: Re: Not getting a lot of head....
Post by: Mikey on December 06, 2010, 06:26:17 PM
I think the rock and roll procedure gets a bad rap because people think that their beer will be perfect in just 5 or 10 minutes and that's just not the case. Yes, it helps speed up the process, but you still need some time to allow things to settle and stabilize, if that word can be used for beer.
Title: Re: Not getting a lot of head....
Post by: majorvices on December 06, 2010, 06:36:26 PM

Keith, I too shake kegs to force carb and haven't noticed that having a negative effect on foam.  But that doesn't mean I don't believe there are foam positive proteins that can get used up.  I take it to mean that I have enough of them that I can Use some up and still have plenty.

This is something I think is in need of discussion of itself I think. Like I mentioned before above: have you ever shaken a beer with a carbonater cap on under pressure? You get no foam. I assume that the foaming under pressure i very minimal under pressure in a corny keg as well. If the foam is not being formed under pressure, are the "foam positive proteins" still getting used up?

In addition to what else has been said, letting the beer cold condition can help improve foam stability. Also, as was mentioned, the "quick carbing" process works better after a couple days of sitting to allow the co2 to absorb into solution.
Title: Re: Not getting a lot of head....
Post by: denny on December 06, 2010, 06:43:03 PM
This is something I think is in need of discussion of itself I think. Like I mentioned before above: have you ever shaken a beer with a carbonater cap on under pressure? You get no foam. I assume that the foaming under pressure i very minimal under pressure in a corny keg as well. If the foam is not being formed under pressure, are the "foam positive proteins" still getting used up?

That's a very interesting thought that hadn't occurred to me.  You may be on to something!
Title: Re: Not getting a lot of head....
Post by: James Lorden on December 06, 2010, 06:50:19 PM
Also, per the weyerman presentation in the pH forum that Ron just posted, high pH in finished beer seems to have a negative effect on foam (per that document, I have not tested that but think I might in the future).
Title: Re: Not getting a lot of head....
Post by: oscarvan on December 06, 2010, 09:21:30 PM
Seems to be getting a little better........I guess it's that patience thing again..... ;D

How long has it been kegged?  The longer you give the CO2 to go into solution in the beer, the better the foam will be.

Yup. Kegged on Friday......perfect now. Nice head, retention and lacing. I'm a happy brewer. Now for the REALLY bad news...
I added a regulator and bottle pressure gauge for kegs 3 and 4 and when I moved the keg it was very light........... ::) :o

OH NO...... my beer has gone light.......

Thursday I'm brewing another APA and a Belgian IPA.

Seriously thinking about 50lb bags and 10g batches here......