Author Topic: Head Retention on A Wheat beer  (Read 2996 times)

Offline stevenb

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Head Retention on A Wheat beer
« on: April 01, 2014, 02:22:17 PM »
I recently brewed a jalapeno wheat beer and am having trouble with head retention.  I am guessing it may be due to the fact that I used store bought fresh jalapeno peppers, which I am guessing may have had a light wax coating, but not sure.  I washed and scrubbed them very well before placing them in a Ziploc bag and freezing them.  Recipe as follows for 5.25 gallon batch:

3.25 lbs Weyermann Pale Wheat
3.25 lbs Weyermann Dark Wheat
3.25 lbs Weyermann Pilsner

Single infusion mash at 156F for 40 minutes

1 oz Cluster pellets 7.8 AA for 60 minutes

Fermentis Safbrew T-58 Yeast

Racked to secondary onto 14 oz sanitized (StarSan) sliced jalapenos

The beer is great but lacks head retention.  Aroma of fresh green jalapeno, flavor of sweet malt, then alittle kick of heat in the back of the throat. 

Any ideas?

Thanks!
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Head Retention on A Wheat beer
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2014, 02:28:48 PM »
It could be the oils from the peppers.  Otherwise, I'm at a loss.  Looks like your recipe and process were good, from what I can tell.
Dave

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Offline stevenb

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Re: Head Retention on A Wheat beer
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2014, 02:36:03 PM »
Thanks dmtaylor!  Everything is good about the beer less the head.  Carbonated fine as well.  I had no activity in the airlock, but when I racked to secondary, there must have some nice sugar in those jalapenos as I had some mini krausen start up. 
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Offline denny

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Re: Head Retention on A Wheat beer
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2014, 04:01:02 PM »
Here's a little something about wheat from pour book...

"Traditionally, both British and British-inspired American Pale Ales and IPAs saw charges of wheat of nearly 20% in the belief that the extra protein from wheat contributed to positive foam characteristics and head retention.

Yet we should question our traditional wisdom. It turns out that wheat doesn’t have significantly higher protein levels compared to barley, but due to solubility factors it leeches more protein into the wort. According to a recent study from Leuven, Belgium, wheat can provide some improved foam stability, but only for brews with highly modified malts, only at a relatively high gravity, and only when gassed with Nitrogen instead of CO2. Even better, wheat is supposed to create cloudy beers, right? Well it turns out that the effect of wheat protein haze is more pronounced at lower overall levels of wheat in the mash. In other words, a beer brewed with 20% wheat will be hazier than a beer brewed with 40% wheat. According to the researchers this is believed to be due to the more aggressive breakdown of the large protein strands in the 20% wheat beer. This leads to smaller particles that are less likely to settle out.

What’s the verdict then on wheat malt with regards to foam and haze? It seems like for all of our best wishes, these perceived effects are tricky and intertwined with a number of factors. One thing not to discount however, is the increased viscosity of the wort having an impact on mouthfeel. "
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Head Retention on A Wheat beer
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2014, 04:51:45 PM »
Good info, Denny.  I didn't know that part about the cloudiness decreasing with increased wheat.  I wonder how it will effect the Wit I made Saturday with 47% raw wheat.

I have always treated the peppers by scorching and peeling them before adding to the beer because I feel that the skin and/or oil kills the head.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Head Retention on A Wheat beer
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2014, 05:12:02 PM »
Good info, Denny.  I didn't know that part about the cloudiness decreasing with increased wheat.  I wonder how it will effect the Wit I made Saturday with 47% raw wheat.

I have always treated the peppers by scorching and peeling them before adding to the beer because I feel that the skin and/or oil kills the head.
Do you roast them to the point where the flavor is altered, or just enough to peel them?  I haven't tried a roasted jalapeno beer yet.  I had no problems with head retention in a habanero beer I made, I just halved them and tossed them in, but then I didn't use any where near 14 oz for 5 gallons.

Good stuff Denny, thanks.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline denny

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Re: Head Retention on A Wheat beer
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2014, 05:32:54 PM »
Good stuff Denny, thanks.

There's lots of good stuff in that book.  Looking forward to getting it out there!
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Offline stevenb

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Re: Head Retention on A Wheat beer
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2014, 06:39:04 PM »
Thanks Denny!  I have had some wheat beers be way more clear than expected as I saw in the note there as well.  In fact, this beer sitting on the shelf in the basement is almost totally cleared.

I like the flavor and aroma of fresh jalapenos versus roasted.  I didn't want the charred flavor in the beer.  Now if I was doing a smoke beer, I would welcome the roasted jalapenos, but think dried chipotles would be a better match as they are smoked.  IMO     
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Head Retention on A Wheat beer
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2014, 09:23:11 PM »
My pepper beers have about 3 poblanos and a half a habanero in 5 gallons.  The very first time I made this beer in the mid 90's with "raw" it had "the amazing disappearing head" syndrome.   It poured fine, then poof!  Gone!
Since then I have treated the peppers as above.
It adds a touch of smokiness, but very little.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Head Retention on A Wheat beer
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2014, 10:16:38 PM »
I have to say, my experience with wheat has never confirmed that it gives great foam retention either. Our Wit that we brew at the brewery uses 50% wheat and flaked rye and the head retention was underwealming - probably because we use lime leaves which have oils present in the leaves. I started putting a small amount of flaked barley to the beer and the head retention increased drastically.

StevemB: I didn't see on your techniques what temp you fermented the beer at? Warm temps can cause head retention problems. Some folks mistakenly ferment hefeweizens at warmer temps.

Offline stevenb

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Re: Head Retention on A Wheat beer
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2014, 02:14:15 PM »
My basement is around 68F.  Fermentation temp gets to 70-72 at most.
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Offline denny

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Re: Head Retention on A Wheat beer
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2014, 03:10:46 PM »
My basement is around 68F.  Fermentation temp gets to 70-72 at most.

Take a look at this....http://byo.com/stories/item/693-getting-good-beer-foam-techniques

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Offline stevenb

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Re: Head Retention on A Wheat beer
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2014, 03:28:32 PM »
Thanks Denny for the great info.  The beer foams with a head when poured, but dissipates quickly, so I'm guessing that it has to do with oils in the peppers.  I will have to work on the recipe as it is one of my favorite Spring beers to make and drink.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Head Retention on A Wheat beer
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2014, 01:48:28 AM »
Thanks Denny for the great info.  The beer foams with a head when poured, but dissipates quickly, so I'm guessing that it has to do with oils in the peppers.  I will have to work on the recipe as it is one of my favorite Spring beers to make and drink.

I highly doubt peppers are the problem. 68 ambient is far too warm temperature for just about any beer ( did you take the time to read Denny's link?) most wheat beer yeasts I have used work best 10-15 degrees cooler than what you are currently fermenting. For an example I start my hefeweizen fermentation off at 58 degree. And thats fermentation temp - not ambient. Fusel oils from uncontrolled fermentation temp most likely your problem here.

Offline stevenb

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Re: Head Retention on A Wheat beer
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2014, 03:14:12 AM »
Thanks majorvices.  Next item for my brewing will be a fermentation chamber.
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