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Old 06-24-2012, 12:21 AM   #1
AlkiBrewing
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Default Head Retension

The last couple of batches have not had a nice creamy head which would like. I've never used flaked oats and am wondering if adding some to the recipe would do the trick?

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Old 06-24-2012, 02:19 AM   #2
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It might help if you post the recipe that gave you problems so people can see if anything needs adjusting

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Old 06-24-2012, 02:50 AM   #3
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I know flaked oats add body and mouthfeel but I'm not positive on head retention. Crystal or wheat add head retention. Mash temp is also an important factor.

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Old 06-24-2012, 02:57 AM   #4
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Some say carapils helps with head retention. But, seeing your recipe might help as suggested.

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Old 06-24-2012, 02:59 AM   #5
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Adding maltodextrin would do it too.

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Old 06-24-2012, 03:04 AM   #6
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I have seen improved head with two different approaches.
1.) flaked oats (oatmeal the Quaker kind) or wheat (malted or unmalted)
2.) protein rest below 130, and/or decoctions (spelling)
Then again I'm brewing partial mash BIAB and I can't say what works beyond that.

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Old 06-24-2012, 11:21 AM   #7
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Since brewing with all-grain I find my head retention is incredible. Of course all of my recipes include ~20% of a specialty grain including crystal malt.

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Old 06-24-2012, 12:16 PM   #8
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Wheat, Carapils/dextrin, and/or Crystal Malts each make up 5-10% of my grain bills, and I get a nice, lasting head with every pour. My recipes with 5-10% Crystal and 5-10% Carapils get very good lacing as well. I do a single infusion mash at 152 degrees for 60 minutes and a 60 minute boil.

Dish washing detergents and some sanitizers kill head retention, so that's something to check. Wash and rinse your glasses well, preferably by hand. Also rinse your bottles, fermenters, hoses, and anything else that contacts the wort/beer. I rinse everything with tap water and try not to get any sanitizer to ever touch my beer. I get a great head with every pour and I've never had an infection.

My last suggestion is to give it a good pour. Pour straight into the bottom of the glass, don't tilt the glass. Let the foam get to the top, even if you only pour half the bottle or less. Let the foam go down on its own and pour some more. Besides making a great head this will let your beer warm up to a more proper drinking temperature, if you had the bottle in a food fridge in the first place.

This is assuming you're bottling of course. Perhaps there are some tips from keggers.

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Old 06-24-2012, 04:37 PM   #9
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Agreed with Julioardz about the glass and pour technique

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Old 06-24-2012, 08:17 PM   #10
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While I like an aggressive pour, I don't think you should have to do it to get a nice head beer.

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