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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Does head space affect the head of the beer?
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Old 11-01-2011, 04:55 PM   #1
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Default Does head space affect the head of the beer?

I've noticed lately that some of my beers from the same batch will have a fantastic head while others will have little to none. They all however seem to be carbed just fine. So I started paying closer attention and is seems that the bottles with a smaller head space, approx. 1/2" or less, seem to give a better head than ones with closer to 1". Is this just a coincidence or is there infact a correlation? I have been paying very close attention that the glassware is very clean to take that out of the equation also.

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Old 11-01-2011, 05:02 PM   #2
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That makes sense to me. Going by p1v1/t1=p2v2/t2, it follows that as the volume of air increases for the same amount of CO2, the pressure drops. With less pressure, less CO2 will dissolve into your beer. I would suggest putting the bottles with more head space into your fridge for a week or two and seeing if the head improves. (EDIT: Yes, lowered temperature will decrease pressure, but it also increases the solubility of CO2, hence the apparent paradox.)

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Old 11-01-2011, 05:11 PM   #3
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Why do you have smaller head space? How are you filling your bottles? If you use your bottling wand and fill til the bill is just about to spill out, then remove the wand, you should have the same headspace in every bottle.....

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Old 11-01-2011, 05:33 PM   #4
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+1 revs. Head is more related to dissolved proteins & the like. But the carbonation does seem to help it along.
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Old 11-01-2011, 05:54 PM   #5
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Yeah, my bottling wand was giving me grief. I would fill to the top like you said and stop but then it would give and extra half ounce or so as I removed it, thus spilling beer every time. So I was trying to stop a little before to account for the extra and I ended up with a little variation. I think I've got it down now. I just bottled an oatmeal stout with more consistant results so we will see if that helped the problem.

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Old 11-01-2011, 06:42 PM   #6
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I also soak the pieces of the bottling wand in PBW,rinse,dry,& store. Then run star-san through the tube/wand assembly just prior to using. Seems to keep that little pin valve in the end freed up nicely. Sounds like yours might be a bit sticky.
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Old 11-01-2011, 06:48 PM   #7
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I had a bottling wand get clogged with a little piece of cacao nib... couldn't figure out why the hell it wasn't working properly. Bought a wand that comes apart for cleaning (the kind with the spring but I don't use the spring) and now I can clear out any crap that gets in the way and sanitize it properly.

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Old 11-01-2011, 08:02 PM   #8
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Thanks, I don't think mine comes apart but I'll see if a good cleaning helps. So if I understand correctly, the beer itself will be responsible for the head it produces as long as the CO2 gets dissolved in solution? That makes me think that a small variation in headspace shouldn't make a noticible difference.

Thanks for the tips!

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Old 11-01-2011, 09:43 PM   #9
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A small variation no,but taking what should be 1 1/4" or so down to 1/2",yes. I use the volume displacement created when the bottle is filled to the top,& quickly raised an inch or two to stop flow & remove.
The volume of liquid displaced by the mass of the wand fills the void left by removing said wand & creates the ideal head space in any bottle.
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Old 11-01-2011, 11:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barnstormer View Post
seem to give a better head
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