« on: November 28, 2009, 08:35:58 PM »
Throughout the years I've had something that really irks me, which is inconsistent head retention. Some batches would have what I would call a "prize winning head" and others just little to no head upon pour. I've brewed two Cream Ale extract kits in the last two months.
First kit - The first I used a cheap hotplate which I rewired to bypass the thermostat so it stays on as long as it's plugged in. This thing takes an hour to bring 1.5 gallons of water to a boil. I steeped specialty grains for about 30 minutes until the temp hit 168. When boiling commenced, I added the hops and boiled for 30 minutes then added the 6# LME. After 45 minutes when the boil finally returned, I boiled for 15 minutes then added to fermenter which already contained most of my top off water. This beer had immaculate head, great lacing, tasted awesome. (This kit fermented at an ambient of 76)
Second kit - This time I tried out my new turkey fryer. 2 gallons of water in kettle this time (I don't have a chiller yet). Steeped grains for 30 minutes at 150, raised heat and removed them at 168. Brought to boil. Added 6# LME. Returned to boil, added hops, boiled for an hour, added to fermenter per my norm. The head on this was pretty much non-existent. (This batch fermented at an ambient of 60)
Both batches primed with 4oz corn sugar. Has anyone else had any experiences like this? My thoughts comparing the two is that boiling the extract longer is what may have caused the lack of head retention. Opinions most welcomed!