Author Topic: Head retention advice  (Read 1246 times)

Offline trapae

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Head retention advice
« on: June 26, 2014, 01:29:16 PM »
So my head retention sucks. Been brewing a couple years now and doing all grain for the last year. Now that most of what I think are the more important things are falling into place, I'm looking towards getting better head retention. Most of my IPAs and pale ales have poor head retention even though I use a lot of hops. I realize I am mostly mashing low at 150 to 152.  (I keg my beers).  I don't want to get into the carapils debate because I have read that a lot of people passionately hate using carapils for head retention alone.  Anyway, I was wondering if using some flaked barley in beers like a pale ale or IPA is an option. I love the head I get on my stout due to flaked barley (and Nitro).  Or does this give a mouth feel or other taste that would be completely out of place in the style? Any opinions?
I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Head retention advice
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2014, 01:34:16 PM »
Flaked barley will help, as will wheat.

With a load of hops you should have decent head retention. When I started pitching the recommended amount of healthy yeast, aerating, and controlling fermentation temperatures the head retention got to very respectable levels. This is true for all malt lagers with minuscule amounts of hops compared to an AIPA hop rate.
Jeff Rankert
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Online Jimmy K

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Re: Head retention advice
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2014, 01:41:48 PM »
Healthy yeast and temperature control do wonders for head retention. Are you doing that?
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Head retention advice
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2014, 02:06:42 PM »
Healthy yeast and temperature control do wonders for head retention. Are you doing that?

+1
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Offline duboman

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Re: Head retention advice
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2014, 02:12:58 PM »
+2
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Head retention advice
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2014, 02:20:04 PM »
I agree with all of the above.  Flaked barley, or flaked rye or rye malt are even better yet.
Dave

"This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our Maker, and glory to His bounty, by learning about... BEER!" - Friar Tuck (Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves)

Offline niels

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Re: Head retention advice
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2014, 02:28:52 PM »
Multi step mashing does also improve head retention. And so does decent carbonation.

Also, if you clean your beer glasses in a dishwasher it could negatively effect the head retention. Some dishwasher soaps leave a film on the glass.

- Niels

Offline Kinetic

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Re: Head retention advice
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2014, 02:48:12 PM »
Add zinc to the boil.  What is wrong with carapils or carafoam? 

Offline trapae

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Re: Head retention advice
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2014, 02:54:41 PM »
I always make starters, and have a morebeer conical with temp controller.  I oxygenate with pure O2 for about 50sec for an ale.  I keg, so my carbonation is right.  Maybe residual detergent on my glasses has something to do with it, I will start hand washing them separately.  I also use one full tab of whirlfloc at 15 min (for 5gal batch) and get tons of cold break (don't know if that has anything to do with it).  Maybe I will try using 1/2 tab.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2014, 02:56:26 PM by trapae »
I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Head retention advice
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2014, 03:03:47 PM »
I always make starters, and have a morebeer conical with temp controller.  I oxygenate with pure O2 for about 50sec for an ale.  I keg, so my carbonation is right.  Maybe residual detergent on my glasses has something to do with it, I will start hand washing them separately.  I also use one full tab of whirlfloc at 15 min (for 5gal batch) and get tons of cold break (don't know if that has anything to do with it).  Maybe I will try using 1/2 tab.

What temp do you typically ferment at ?
Jon H.

Offline trapae

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Re: Head retention advice
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2014, 03:19:56 PM »
Depends on the yeast but typically 65 (for 1056, or 001).  Conical had a dip tube for temp probe so that's actual wort temperature.
I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Head retention advice
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2014, 04:01:02 PM »
Personally, I ferment most ale strains between 62 -64F, with lagers (obviously), Scottish, and Kolsch done cooler yet.  Most Belgian strains a bit warmer. But if you have your 1056 beers fermenting at a measured 65F then I don't see a head-related issue there. Let's say it's a dishwasher/detergent related issue for your glasses - I'll tell you what I do. My beer glasses get reserved seats in the dishwasher - on the bottom rack near the center, to get the maximum water pressure for rinsing. When I take them out of the dishwasher I give them another long rinse in the hottest tap water and dry them with a paper towel. I don't have any issues when I do this.
   
Jon H.

Offline Kinetic

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Re: Head retention advice
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2014, 04:40:52 PM »
Copied and pasted from a reputable source

HEAD RETENTION

CHARACTERISTICS: Good head on the beer when
poured, not excessively large or small, Belgian lace on
glass, head remains for a several minutes. Very much
desired.

CAUSES: Small bubbles, dextrins, medium molecular
weight proteins, isohumulones from hops, nitrogen in
wort.

GOOD HEAD FROM PROCESS: Use of cara-pils; use
of crystal malt; use of malto-dextrin; all-malt beer; good
one hour rolling boil to extract the isohumulones from the
hops; use of wheat malt; adequate protein rest in the
mash to allow the proteolytic enzymes to break down the
large proteins into albumin and smaller fractions and
increase the nitrogen content; high-temperature
saccharification rest; racking to secondary to get beer off
sediment; lower temperature fermentation; bottle
conditioning.

POOR HEAD FROM PROCESS: Use of fully modified
malts; use of underkilned malts; not using a one-hour boil;
inadequate protein rest, low-temperature saccharification
rest; oversparging; yeast autolysis from long sediment
contact; excessive fusel oils; higher temperature
fermentation; excessive fatty acids; overboiling of wort;
insufficient or deteriorated hops; some types of finings.

POOR HEAD WHEN SERVING: Soap, detergent or oils
on glasses; lip balm, Chapstick or lipstick on lips

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Head retention advice
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2014, 07:55:39 PM »
I had too many low temp mashes that gave me thin beers and smaller head/head retention issues on my beers.  All of the above helped, but higher mash temps - 150f minimum with 75-90 minutes for pilsners.
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Offline trapae

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Re: Head retention advice
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2014, 08:20:14 PM »
All good info, thanks, love this forum
I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.