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Old 10-01-2008, 04:46 PM   #1
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Default head retention?

started brewing again and a couple of my beers have had great taste, fine carbonation, but are lacking a great head to them. pretty sure i remember reading once upon a time that there is something that can be added during the boil to increase head retention in the beer. i know grain composition depending on beer variety is a factor, but what is that i would add if i wanted to directly boost the head retention of a brew? shot in the dark from my memory, but is it lactose?

thanks for the help.

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Old 10-01-2008, 05:14 PM   #2
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Are you thinking of Maltodextrin? It adds body and mouthfeel to the beer, but I don't know if it will help with head retention.

I find that a bit of flaked barley works wonders for some fluffy head retention.

Here's my Rye IPA.



Here's my IPA



Both have 8 ounces of Flaked Barley in the mash. The head lasts a good long time.

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Old 10-01-2008, 05:45 PM   #3
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I like using white wheat malt. Does great things for retention too.

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Old 10-01-2008, 05:46 PM   #4
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Oh, and carapils will help too.

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Old 10-01-2008, 06:03 PM   #5
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I think a lot of people kill head in step mashing. They rest too long and break down to much proteins in the rest and then that transfers into the beer. I personally have only used white wheat for head retention, but my rye beer looked just like Ed's. That has been the only beer with that type of a head on it for me. The others have all been nice and lasted, but that RyePA I did was spot on to Ed's by looking.

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Old 10-01-2008, 06:17 PM   #6
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Actually, Wortmonger, a lot of brewers don't do enough steps in their mash. I've had good success with protein rests when I want better head retention.

I used to think like you do, but I dug a little more and found that proteins really do not do a whole lot for head retention, as most of them come out of solution in the break and then settle. Protein rests break the larger proteins down into smaller ones and to peptides that do not break out of solution. Rather, they stay in and promote head retention.


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Old 10-01-2008, 06:31 PM   #7
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After reading Noonan, you are right TexLaw about it being "albumin (proteoses, peptones, and polypeptides, not protein that gives beer its body and enables it to raise and support a frothy foam head." He does go on to say that, "The protein digestion can be overdone, however. Devoid of proteoses and peptides, the beer would lack body and a froth head. It would be very stable, but very empty tasting." I assume this is done with too long a protein/albumin rest. By too long I mean over 30 minutes.

From New Brewing Lager Beer by Gregory J. Noonan pages 137 and 139.

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Old 10-01-2008, 06:39 PM   #8
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That's the word I couldn't put my finger on: albumin - the same stuff that holds up meringue.


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Old 10-01-2008, 06:44 PM   #9
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Default Another reason to homebrew...it makes you smarter!!!

OMG, your kidding right? I had no idea that was the same stuff that caused that, lol. I learn so much from you bastards, lol. I find myself on an almost daily basis saying something I heard on here that relates to something in the real world, lol. People think I am smart because of you guys . The meringue thing is definitely getting said at Thanksgiving now, and when my uncle doesn't believe me I am going to tell him another lawyer told me so, lol. TexLaw, on a serious note I would like to know about your steps. I ask because I have only done steps at 122 and then mainly 130 for 30 minutes, beer depending of course. Are these lagers or ales mostly and what do you do? Oh, and hope all you guys caught the joke in calling you bastards.

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Old 10-01-2008, 07:00 PM   #10
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I have to agree with Ed barley works great

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