Head retention

Brewing processes and methods. How to brew using extract, partial or all-grain. Tips and tricks.

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Head retention

Postby jayhawk » Fri Jul 26, 2002 10:23 am

I have been having a problem acheiving a good head on my brew. The carbonation is fine, but little foam develops when I pour it from bottle to glass. I brew with malt extract, and augment my batches with steeped grains. Any suggestions on how to achieve better head retention?
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Few tips

Postby KBrau » Fri Jul 26, 2002 11:00 am

There are a couple simple things you can do to improve head retention of your beer. Do not use chlorine to sanitize and if you do, make sure that you rinse appropriatly. Secondly try using some wheat malt in your next batch. Make sure that all of your glassware is clean. One other thing that heard might help, although I have never tried since I move to kegging, is to prime with DME instead of corn sugar. Without going to an all grain technique those are the only things I can think of. Hope it is helpful.
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Condition vs. head retention

Postby stumpwater » Fri Jul 26, 2002 12:39 pm

If a strong head is important to you, then perhaps making the move to a keg system will be your solution. Force carbonation was the answer to my dreams of foamy beer!
As KBrau pointed out, wheat malt will help with the head retention. I have added it to all my all-grain batches even when the recipe does not call for it. I believe that wheat malt can convert itself so you can steep it, but you may want to ask an expert about that.
The DME did not help me when I was brewing extract as far as head, but it did seem to give me better beer as far as smoothness.
Head retention is a matter of surface tension or lack thereof. There are some detergents that will effect this, perhaps you need to change the dish soap you use, or be more thorough with your rinse.
A question you should really ask though is does it matter? If you are not getting any foam when you first pour the beer, then you need to adjust your priming method or look to your yeast as the problem. If the foam just isn't sticking around, does your beer still remain bubbly after time? That means good condition. I would take good condition over head any day as I hate flat beer. My favourite beer is Hobgoblin by Wytchwood Brewery, England. No head at all, but you can come back to a glass an hour later and it is still bubbly. My other favourite brew, Guiness, has great head out of the keg, but it goes flat rather quickly, thus encouraging me to drink up quickly. (smiles)
Cheers!
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Head problems

Postby Monkey Man » Sat Jul 27, 2002 9:43 pm

Flaked barley aids on head retention and creaminess. Any residual soap on the drinking vessel will eliminate head as well. I have heard that hops also aid in head retention. My experience with DME vs. corn sugar has been that the DME primed beers have tighter bubble on the head, nut not neccessarily more of it.
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Flaked barley

Postby KBrau » Sun Jul 28, 2002 6:35 am

Just a note on flaked barley. Jayhawk said he was an extract brewer who used specialty grains. Flaked barley on the other hand will have to be used in a mash because it does not contain any enzymes and will need the enzymes from the mash to accomplish the conversion.
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Dextrine

Postby mattg » Mon Jul 29, 2002 10:15 am

Using 5% dextrine (Carapils) grain steeped in 150-155 degree water will add body and therefore head retention. I'm not sure how this will work in extract brewing (should work) but works great in all-grain method.
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