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Old 11-14-2009, 04:31 AM   #1
Casey27
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Default How to get good lacing?

I have had a real problem getting good lacing from my homebrews, regardless of style or recipe. Head retention has also been mediocre. I know it's not my glassware/dishwasher messing with the lacing because many beers that I purchase don't have any problem leaving lacing on the same glassware.

I brew all grain, often adding a pound of wheat to get some extra proteins to help with head retention. I have also tried aging the beers for many months. The only culprit that I can think of is soap. However, I am very careful about rinsing my equipment. I don't use anything soapy on my bottles either (and they don't go into the dishwasher) except star san. I rinse the bottles well with water after they are empty, store upside down, and then sanitize with star san at proper concentration. After that I drain them upside down for an hour or two before they are filled.

What I would like to see is that really fine, clingy foam that lends itself to good head retention and lacing. Instead I get this crappy stuff composed of large bubbles that all burst within a minute or so. Any ideas?

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Old 11-14-2009, 04:38 AM   #2
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Try adding some cara-pils to your grain bill, or even adding maltodextrin to the boil. My head formation and retention, as well as lacing, have skyrocketed since I started using dextrin malts.

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Old 11-14-2009, 05:29 AM   #3
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Head retention is a complicated subject. There is no single "fix" for poor head retention since a good head will result from any modern malt. For example, 100% two row will produce a long lasting head with lacing.

Instead of trying to add a bunch of dextrin malt, wheat, etc. to your beer, look at your brewing process first. Poor head retention can result from:

1.) unbalanced mash chemistry and/or temperature (e.g., a 160F rest increases foam positive polyphenols)

2.) poor yeast health (e.g., increased fatty acid production)

3.) poor separation of hot break from the wort (cold break is not an issue)

4.) excessive splashing during transfer

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Old 11-14-2009, 05:59 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lamarguy View Post
Head retention is a complicated subject. There is no single "fix" for poor head retention since a good head will result from any modern malt. For example, 100% two row will produce a long lasting head with lacing.
Do you mean can produce a long lasting head, depending on the maltster? This is surprising to me either way.

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Originally Posted by lamarguy View Post
Instead of trying to add a bunch of dextrin malt, wheat, etc. to your beer, look at your brewing process first. Poor head retention can result from:

1.) unbalanced mash chemistry and/or temperature (e.g., a 160F rest increases foam positive polyphenols)

2.) poor yeast health (e.g., increased fatty acid production)

3.) poor separation of hot break from the wort (cold break is not an issue)

4.) excessive splashing during transfer
I wouldn't have even considered any of these reasons you've listed off the top of my head. What are your resources for this?
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Old 11-14-2009, 06:14 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by jmo88 View Post
Do you mean can produce a long lasting head, depending on the maltster? This is surprising to me either way.
The ingredients for the beer below are Munich, Northern Brewer hops, S-04 and water. Great head, great lacing.
smash-016.jpg  
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Old 11-14-2009, 06:38 AM   #6
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The ingredients for the beer below are Munich, Northern Brewer hops, S-04 and water. Great head, great lacing.
Now that's a purty beer! Although, I could see a Munich SMaSH producing good lace, but it's the 2-row that'd surprise me since it will attenuate higher. I understand what produces head. But like the OP was saying, producing lacing –beyond having clean glasses– has always been an enigma to me.
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Old 11-14-2009, 02:03 PM   #7
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I am a firm believer in dextrine for head retention. I brew all grain and typically mash in the 151-154* range. Always producet great tasting balanced beers with good carbonation, always had head issues. Tried wheat and got cloudy beer and weird clumpy head. Now every beer I make has 1/2 lb dextrine or cara-foam in the mash or gets 6oz of maltodextrine in thr boil. they all have great head.

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Old 11-14-2009, 03:45 PM   #8
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I wouldn't have even considered any of these reasons you've listed off the top of my head. What are your resources for this?
There are academic papers on the properties of head retention. All modern malts have adequate protein to form a good head with lacing. It's what the brewer does to the malt that determines how well the head develops in the glass.

Getting Good Beer Foam: Techniques

Good read on head retention
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Old 11-14-2009, 03:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lamarguy View Post
Head retention is a complicated subject. There is no single "fix" for poor head retention since a good head will result from any modern malt. For example, 100% two row will produce a long lasting head with lacing.

Instead of trying to add a bunch of dextrin malt, wheat, etc. to your beer, look at your brewing process first. Poor head retention can result from:

1.) unbalanced mash chemistry and/or temperature (e.g., a 160F rest increases foam positive polyphenols)

2.) poor yeast health (e.g., increased fatty acid production)

3.) poor separation of hot break from the wort (cold break is not an issue)

4.) excessive splashing during transfer
I agree that great head retention can be achieved with just base malts. Look at Duvel... that is 100% pilsener malt (and sugar) and it has one of the rockiest heads I've seen. I believe their secret lies in obtaining pilsener malts from several different sources (French, Belgian, etc.), specifying to the maltster the modification they want for each malt, and utilizing specific mash pH, rest times and temperatures (step-mashing), and of course, the high level of carbonation.

For number 1, I don't understand how a 160°F rest will help. You probably mean polypeptides, not polyphenols. A 160°F rest will target alpha amylase, which will break down starches to dextrins. How will this help with forming foam-positive albumins/polypeptides? Also, I don't necessarily agree with number 4. This has been discussed in this thread... the whole "lost foam" idea. I haven't seen anything to convince me this is true.
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Old 11-14-2009, 05:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lamarguy View Post
There are academic papers on the properties of head retention. All modern malts have adequate protein to form a good head with lacing. It's what the brewer does to the malt that determines how well the head develops in the glass.

Getting Good Beer Foam: Techniques

Good read on head retention
Perfect. Thanks. I'll check it out.
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