stout head retention

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stout head retention

Postby Fraoch » Thu Sep 13, 2001 3:01 am

OK, I'm mashing a stout and my recipe im happy with. I'm using around 2lbs of flaked barley for 6 gals to promote head retention, except I'm not achieving it. Even prolonged maturation to induce a fine bead fails to promote a good head like that achieved with any other beer. ( I'm talking bottled). I use english 2 row and therefore obviously a single temp infusion. I'm wondering if my stout would benefit from a protein rest and maybe a step mash. Seeing as most of you who use this web page may be largely american based im guessing that you would be well versed with a step mash. Anybody else experience a similar problem? Or is head retention not an issue? I've got a cracking recipe that I've been refining for ages, but one look in a competition by a judge and my brew would never even reach the palate. I'm only using Pale malt, flaked barley, roast and patent. Any help??
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Not getting head ?... Sorry to hear that !

Postby Mesa Maltworks » Thu Sep 13, 2001 3:32 pm

Heading always benefits from a protein rest and via step mashing as well, but should not be required with fully modified malts combined with the fact you are using flakd barley. I'm going to take this in another direction that has caused this problem with others. What are you cleaning your bottles and equipment with ? If using liquid dish soap or automatic dishwasher detergent, they may contain rinse aids ! Rinse aids work by breaking the surface tension so that minerals and soils can be rinsed away easily. This has a detrimental effect on beer foam as there will be a residual film left on anything you wash with these detergents. Another possible cause is residual oils being left on equipment/bottles that have not receieved a proper cleaning or/and rinse. Some sanitizers if overused or not adequately rinsed (if required) can also kill heading.

If any of these seem implausible, re-post with your mash temperatures and durations and I will look into that.

Cheers !

Eric

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What Do You Use to Prime With?

Postby BillyBock » Thu Sep 13, 2001 10:14 pm

I agree with Mesa--check that first. However, if your brew isn't carbonated sufficiently, there may not be enough bubbles rising to the surface to create a good head even if you have plenty of proteins in solution to promote head retention. Personally, I've found that using DME for priming is inconsistent at best--it takes too long to prime. I've settled on corn sugar for priming since I get predictable results. My latest Imperial Stout also uses 2 lbs of flaked barley with corn sugar for priming--the result is a monstrous, creamy, fluffy head that lasts and lasts and lasts...The recipe uses English 2 row and a single temp infusion mash just as yours. The first version of this recipe had 1 lb of flaked barley and used DME for priming. This brew was made in March and had always suffered from a pathetic head. Just this evening, it finally had a respectable head (6 months later!). So if you use DME, let it sit and carbonate a little while longer.
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Unique to stout

Postby Fraoch » Fri Sep 14, 2001 3:40 am

I use corn sugar to prime and never use dish washing liquids. As i said this is a problem i experience only with stouts. It doesn't make sense i know which is why i posted the question. I mash at 66c (approx 152f) for 2hrs to ph 5.0 - 5.2 with 2:1 liquor to grain ratio, then boil for further 2hrs. I will add that i always crush the roasted grain to extract every bit of flavour and add this to my mash tun as it is more convenient for me.Maybe I'm being sold inferior flake, who knows. From what i can gather you guys get a hell of a lot more choice from your local brew store than i could hope for. As I said it is only with stouts that i achieve this problem, so I guess I may have answered my own question, any one fancy sending some flaked barley to Australia???
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Grasping @ straws now...

Postby Mesa Maltworks » Fri Sep 14, 2001 12:46 pm

OK, since it's only occuring in your stouts, it's obviously something with the flaked barley. Do you use the FB in other beers ? It is commonly used in English Pale Ales, particularly in Ordinary & Special Bitters. If you don't, you might try to see if the problem occurs in another beer. One technical aspect to using flaked barley is it should NEVER be milled into the grist. This is because you could possibly end up setting starches in the brew that may never convert. The possibility of this happening with fresh FB is remote, but as it ages it can occur. My supplier of FB recommends that FB used withing 3 months or disgarded. Excessive starch content can definitly effect head stability.

I'm not going to get too far into this next one as it is very technical, but if the FB (or any barley malt for that matter) begins to be populated by the spores or/and growth of fusrium mold, the compounds released through the mash process can be carried through to the finished beer. These compounds can then manifest problems in either direction... excessive heading and even gushing (calcium oxalate) or cause a breakdown of protein bonds that support heading. But... this is rare. I have only encountered it once in professional brewing but have seen it a number of times occur with home brews at judgings. The way to see if oxilate is present is by looking for clear crystaline structures at the neckline or nearby. This evaluation will only work if there is a bunch of it that has amassed together. Most of the examples I saw I had to verify oxilate as the cause with a microscope, including the beer I produced with this problem at the brewery.

I'd replace the FB and try again.

Eric
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some good points

Postby Fraoch » Sun Sep 16, 2001 12:37 am

MMMM, it would seem that several of your points may be valid,I have milled the flake before and I cant guarantee the freshness so i'll seek a new source. I dont use flake in anything like the same amounts in any other beer. I thought maybe I was missing some necessary detail in using flake but obviously this is not the case and the most likely cause is that my brew shop doesn't sell enough of the stuff!Thanks for that i'll try to source some fresher stuff.
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