Author Topic: D2 candi syrup and head retention  (Read 833 times)

Offline majorvices

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D2 candi syrup and head retention
« on: February 26, 2014, 08:15:27 PM »
Any one else notice the beer they brew with D2 candi have terrible head retention? This is n't a problem with regular cane sugar for me. But the ones with the dark candi (and especially the D2) all lose their heads quickly. You can sit there and watch a big head billow up and then just fizz away.

These are the only beers I have head retention troubles with. And it really pisses me off because the flavor is spot on.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: D2 candi syrup and head retention
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2014, 09:17:56 PM »
Now that you mention it, I think most of my dark Belgians don't seem to get much of a head to them. But, is there anything else common to those beers that could also be a factor? Last week's Session on the Brewing Network had an interview with Charlie Bamforth. He stated that some recent experiments show that many types of crystal malt actually decrease head retention, as opposed to increase it (as had been previously reported in the literature). Apparently, there are oxidized fatty acids that are formed during the stewing process when the crystal malt is made and these have a negative impact on head retention. In the case of dark Belgians, are you using Special B or something of that nature in addition to the dark syrup?

And this can be overcome by increasing other foam-positive ingredients in the beer. I know I brewed a small, hoppy dubbel a while back that formed a giant rocky head that would last forever. It had a considerable amount of dark syrup, but also a crapload of hops to offset it. Obviously, hops may not be appropriate in most Belgian beers, but maybe a bit of flaked or torrified wheat could help.
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Offline james

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Re: D2 candi syrup and head retention
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2014, 09:37:53 PM »
I use D2 in an "imperial amber" that has no problem with head retention.  Though all the extra hops in there might help

Online Steve in TX

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Re: D2 candi syrup and head retention
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2014, 10:00:25 PM »
Special B limits head retention?

Offline erockrph

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Re: D2 candi syrup and head retention
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2014, 10:09:19 PM »
Special B limits head retention?

Charlie didn't go so far as to say which specific crystal malts limit head retention, but according to his experiments it seems like most do. I was left with the impression that it varied both by color and maltster, but he didn't want to single out any specific products. I couldn't say for sure whether Special B specifically is one of them.
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Online Steve in TX

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Re: D2 candi syrup and head retention
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2014, 10:27:31 PM »
Hmm, I use special b in my imperial stout. The small beer made with the same grain has zero head even though I capped the mash with flaked barley. Wonder if that is the cause. Maybe I'll sub the special b out.

Offline majorvices

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Re: D2 candi syrup and head retention
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2014, 05:00:38 AM »
It's not a crystal malt problem (and since I currently don't use special B in any of my recipes it is certainly not that). It's specific to those belgians that use the dark candi. I even have one dark Belgian that does not use dark candi but uses table sugar and head retention is great.

My other concern is that maybe I'm using too much total sugar (approaching 15%) but my tripel uses that much table sugar and no head retention concerns there - though, that said, not as fluffy and long lasting as I'd like.

Shouldn't be fermentation problems since I am having healthy fermentations which all start out around 64 and only raise to 68 after 72 hours.

The only common factor seems to be the D2 candi sugar.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: D2 candi syrup and head retention
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2014, 05:09:24 AM »
I was chalking it up to high ABV but the one that I just brewed (dubbel) is only about 7.5% and have the same problem last year when I used it. The beer that doesn't use the D2 is about 9.5% and no problems with head retention. The Quad is about 10.2% and has some diminishing head retention but not too bad. But the Dubbel uses more of the candi syrup and it certainly has the worst. Nothing else in there but some Best Pils, some vienna and some color malts.
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Offline Jeff M

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Re: D2 candi syrup and head retention
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2014, 05:23:04 AM »
Do you have any "Foam Positive" Malts in your recipe?  You should email the manufacturer of D2 and ask them if they use a release agent on the kettle so the candi sugar doesnt stick during caramelization.  I would assume any food grade release agent in this scenario would be based around silicone which is definitely a head killer.

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Re: D2 candi syrup and head retention
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2014, 06:13:56 AM »
Haven't been using foam positive malts because for the most part I haven't needed to. Since I only brew this recipe once or twice a year it hasn't been something I have been able to track carefully. Last year when the head faded quickly I thought "that's weird, wonder why?" This year when it does the same thing again I start putting some commonalities together.

the "release agent" thing is very interesting and makes sense. Thanks for that insight. I'll look into it.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: D2 candi syrup and head retention
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2014, 06:27:33 AM »
I like at least some Special B and often use maybe 1 or 2% torrefied or wheat malt in Dubbel and Quad along with dark candi syrup, and never have the issue. But I've never tried the D2 without the others.
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Re: D2 candi syrup and head retention
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2014, 06:31:15 AM »
Special B limits head retention?

Charlie didn't go so far as to say which specific crystal malts limit head retention, but according to his experiments it seems like most do. I was left with the impression that it varied both by color and maltster, but he didn't want to single out any specific products. I couldn't say for sure whether Special B specifically is one of them.

Wow, hadn't heard that. Definitely goes counter to the conventional wisdom. But some of the old accepted info has proven to be not so legit - secondary, using sugar, etc.
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Offline narvin

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Re: D2 candi syrup and head retention
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2014, 07:59:44 AM »
I just did a tasting of 8 or 10 different Belgian strong darks as part of the "education" that goes along with brew day, and I don't remember any of them having great head retention.  I also notice this in my homebrew versions, but I use the syrups (both D2 and D180) so I don't have a non-syrup beer to compare it to.  It just seems like only the super light high-alcohol beers like Trippels have much head retention at all.  Not sure of the science behind it.

The latest one I made uses the soft brown sugar (Brun Fonce), so we'll see if that affects head retention.
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Offline kramerog

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Re: D2 candi syrup and head retention
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2014, 08:15:36 AM »
I noticed that the last dubbel I made had low head retention.  I think I used blackstrap molasses in it instead of candi syrup.  I remember chalking it up to the higher alcohol level and thinking next time I'm going to use some wheat.
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Re: D2 candi syrup and head retention
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2014, 09:32:57 AM »
Haven't been using foam positive malts because for the most part I haven't needed to. Since I only brew this recipe once or twice a year it hasn't been something I have been able to track carefully. Last year when the head faded quickly I thought "that's weird, wonder why?" This year when it does the same thing again I start putting some commonalities together.

the "release agent" thing is very interesting and makes sense. Thanks for that insight. I'll look into it.

Haven't noticed that problem, Keith.

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