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Old 04-08-2009, 05:11 AM   #1
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Default How to get better head on brews

i recently brewed a red ale and a pale ale and both came out great and taste great so not many complaints, only thing i noticed was the head on them doesn't last very long. i have them kegged on CO2 and everything comes out all frothy and beautiful on top at first but shortly there is no head left. i used whirlfloc in both and cold crashed them for clarity. i guess my questions are

1.) what could be the causes of the head dimminishing so quickly (knowing its not the cleanliness of my glasses, those things are spotless)

2.) does it have anything to do with carb levels? (i have adjusted these up a couple PSI still have the same problem).

3.) what are the most likely places i removed the necesary proteins for good headed brew?

4.) next time whats a good way to get good head on my brews naturally without agents?

5.) are heading agents bad, or do they mask a problem?

thats enough question for now :-P

thanks!

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Old 04-08-2009, 06:06 AM   #2
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One thing that I have noticed is that the longer I age my beers the better and longer lasting head they have.

Some use some carapils/carafoam or some wheat malt in their recipes to help with head formation and retention.

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Old 04-08-2009, 06:40 AM   #3
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Some things that improve head retention (note retention is the key - not initial foaming)

More proteins - so no protein rest, high protein grains like 6 row or wheat
Less oils - some grains like oatmeal have head killing oils
Use an antifoeam - yes and ANTI foam like fermcap actually improves eventual head retention.

Initial foamyness only indicates how much CO2 is coming out of solutions (eg overcarbed beer).

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Old 04-08-2009, 02:58 PM   #4
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More proteins - so no protein rest, high protein grains like 6 row or wheat.
It's not quite as simple as this. Simply having more protein can lead to haze problems. The proteins have to be the right size. I personally believe a short protein rest helps to improve head retention by breaking down the larger haze causing proteins into smaller head improving (and body improving too) proteins. Especially with grains like wheat.
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Old 04-08-2009, 03:49 PM   #5
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Some adjuncts can help
Make sure your glasses are not washed with a rinse agent
I've heard that hops can add head retention

I've had some beers that had beautiful head, and others that didn't. Sometimes a style doesn't include the stuff that aids in head retention.

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Old 04-08-2009, 04:09 PM   #6
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ive read that a quarter to half pound of wheat will help head retention.

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Old 04-08-2009, 04:11 PM   #7
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total noob question then what is a protein rest, and when do you do it?

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Old 04-08-2009, 04:17 PM   #8
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total noob question then what is a protein rest, and when do you do it?
The Protein Rest and Modification
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Old 04-08-2009, 06:01 PM   #9
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thanks for the info!, I have this book but alas I haven't gotten to all grain brewing yet, still brewing specialty grains with extracts. someday i will do all grain and get to the protein rests, mashing, etc. but for now best tips using extracts for good headed brews? would adding heading agents be worht it or is there a better way to achieve "naturally"?
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Old 04-08-2009, 06:03 PM   #10
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Evan! has recommended heading powder in the past. It is available at LHBS's and online. From what he has said, it works well.

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