Author Topic: Head Retention on a Dunkel with 95% Munich I malt  (Read 1290 times)

Offline beer_crafter

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 162
  • Hoppin' the hell out of the place since 1995
    • View Profile
Head Retention on a Dunkel with 95% Munich I malt
« on: May 19, 2010, 07:26:23 AM »
I have a Munich Dunkel on tap right now which I think is exactly what I was targeting in every way except one-- the head retention on the beer is poor.

The beer is well carbonated and pours with a perfect head.  But the head dissipates quite quickly, so quickly in fact that you can hear the bubbles popping (kind of like when you pour a soda, although not *that* quickly).
 
I do not have this problem with other beers BUT most of my other beers are highly hopped.

Obviously adding more hops is not an option for a malty style such as a Dunkel.

My malt bill was 
95% Wyermann Munich I malt.
2% Aromatic
2% Caramunich
1% Carafa Special II

I mashed at 152-154F for 90 minutes.  I added some chalk to the water to bring up the RA, and batch sparged.

Adding more Cara malts is not something I want to do as a solution.  Is there something I can do with my mash schedule to improve head retention?

 


Offline blatz

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2450
  • Paul Blatz - Jupiter, FL
    • View Profile
Re: Head Retention on a Dunkel with 95% Munich I malt
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2010, 07:36:37 AM »
I know exactly what you are talking about - this happened on a bock I made a few years ago.

Are you certain you had a proper pitch rate and temps (I know you likely did, just covering the bases)? 

One thing you may want to consider is swapping out some of the munich for pils malt. 

I know you said no more cara malts, but some carafoam/dextrine malt may help a touch.

As far as your mash schedule, you could try a decoction or 2.
The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

BJCP National: F0281

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 11643
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: Head Retention on a Dunkel with 95% Munich I malt
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2010, 08:38:13 AM »
This is a great article explaining foam formation and retention, and it includes some tests you can do that help to determine where your problem might be.

http://byo.com/stories/article/indices/35-head-retention/697-getting-good-beer-foam-techniques
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline beer_crafter

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 162
  • Hoppin' the hell out of the place since 1995
    • View Profile
Re: Head Retention on a Dunkel with 95% Munich I malt
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2010, 08:50:50 AM »
The head forms but quickly dissipates so that leads me to believe that  I "have all the protein you need, but other factors are interfering with them. My suggestion in this case would be to make a yeast starter each time you brew, aerate well and control the fermentation temperature of your wort as it ferments. "

It's possible that I underpitched, being a lager.  I fermented it a little on the warm side, 54 or so, so I am wondering if that contributes to this.


Offline Kaiser

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 1797
  • Imperial Brewing Geek
    • View Profile
    • braukaiser.com
Re: Head Retention on a Dunkel with 95% Munich I malt
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2010, 10:55:51 AM »
I don't think the grist is a problem. I have made beers with a similar grist and hopping and the head retention was fine.

fermentation is a likely culprit and I doubt that you ruined the head retention with mashing.

I measure the head retention on all my beers by pouring them down the center into a Koelsch glass until the foam reaches the top. Then I take the time it takes until I can see the beer surface through and opening in the foam. In general this takes more than 7 min for my beers.

Kai

Offline blatz

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2450
  • Paul Blatz - Jupiter, FL
    • View Profile
Re: Head Retention on a Dunkel with 95% Munich I malt
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2010, 11:11:13 AM »
It's possible that I underpitched, being a lager.  I fermented it a little on the warm side, 54 or so, so I am wondering if that contributes to this.

FWIW, the bock I mentioned above having the same issue was way back when, before I discovered mrmalty.com and thought that a 1/2gal starter in a jug was sufficient for everything  :-[
The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

BJCP National: F0281

Offline babalu87

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 831
  • Grand Brewbah
    • View Profile
Re: Head Retention on a Dunkel with 95% Munich I malt
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2010, 05:26:25 AM »
I don't think the grist is a problem. I have made beers with a similar grist and hopping and the head retention was fine.

fermentation is a likely culprit and I doubt that you ruined the head retention with mashing.

I measure the head retention on all my beers by pouring them down the center into a Koelsch glass until the foam reaches the top. Then I take the time it takes until I can see the beer surface through and opening in the foam. In general this takes more than 7 min for my beers.

Kai

Also vote for not the grist.

I have a Dunkel on draft at the house now and the head is a bit meringue-ish  ;D
Jeff

On draught:
IIPA, Stout, Hefeweizen, Hallertau Pale Ale, Bitter

Primary:
Hefeweizen,Berliner Weisse, Mead

Offline beer_crafter

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 162
  • Hoppin' the hell out of the place since 1995
    • View Profile
Re: Head Retention on a Dunkel with 95% Munich I malt
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2010, 07:30:51 AM »
I checked my records and I fermented at 56 which is on the high side for the Munich Lager yeast, so I am guessing that it in fact is fermentation temp that caused this.  I found that the other beer in my log where I had noted poor head retention was a bitter that I made, fermented at 72, also quite warm.    I'm going to call this mystery "solved."

Offline Malticulous

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 361
    • View Profile
Re: Head Retention on a Dunkel with 95% Munich I malt
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2010, 07:33:30 AM »
I've noticed some of my bottle conditioned beers have less head retention than the same batch out of the keg even though they had higher carbonation. I think bottle conditioned beer may need more help from the gist.

Offline Kaiser

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 1797
  • Imperial Brewing Geek
    • View Profile
    • braukaiser.com
Re: Head Retention on a Dunkel with 95% Munich I malt
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2010, 08:33:16 AM »
I've noticed some of my bottle conditioned beers have less head retention than the same batch out of the keg even though they had higher carbonation. I think bottle conditioned beer may need more help from the gist.

Though other factors can play a role, but aging yeast releases an enzyme (Proteinase A in case you want to search on the web for it) which degrades proteins and can therefore affect head retention negatively. This is one reason why pasteurization is actually beneficial for head retention since it disables this enzyme.

But that doesn't mean that you can't get good head retention with bottle conditioned beer.

Kai

Offline tom-r2

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Re: Head Retention on a Dunkel with 95% Munich I malt
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2010, 08:23:42 PM »
How do you clean your glasses? Some dishwashing soaps and especially anti-spotting solutions can break down a head pretty fast.
--
Life begins at 50 . . . . Actually, 1.050.