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Old 08-25-2009, 07:46 PM   #1
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Default "Creamy" Carbonation

The carbonation in all of my batches to date has been rather odd. What I mean by that is when the beer is poured, the head is made up of extremely fine bubbles which take a long time to subside. It's not the "crisp" bubbly kind of carbonation I would expect, rather it's more like a creamy foam. I thought that this may be due to the amount of corn sugar I'm using when bottling (usually about 4.5 oz / 5 gallon batch), but I've used as little as 3.5 oz. with no noticible effects. Has anyone else run into this, or have any suggestions for making a "crisper" carbonation?

Thanks,
Andrew

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Old 08-25-2009, 08:23 PM   #2
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4.5 oz. seems like a normal amount of priming sugar for a 5g batch. I think many people are actually targeting a creamy thin bubbled head on their beers. So I'm not sure if there's an issue there.

Out of curiosity, how long between priming & opening of the beer when you noticed this?

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Old 08-25-2009, 08:28 PM   #3
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The beer's head isn't really a product of the level of carbonation, it more has to do with the grains in your recipe.

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Beer head (also known as the head) is produced by bubbles of carbon dioxide rising to the surface.

The density and longevity of the head will be determined by the type of malt and adjunct from which the beer was fermented. Different mash schedules and cereal sources influence head retention.

In general, wheat tends to produce larger and longer lasting heads than barley.

Formation through carbon dioxide

The carbon dioxide may be produced naturally through the activity of brewers yeast, or artificially by dissolving carbon dioxide under pressure into the liquid. The beer head is created by the carbon dioxide produced as a byproduct of the metabolism of brewer's yeast acting upon starches and sugars found in the wort.

Chemical composition

While the actual foam activity of beer depends on the presence of carbon dioxide, it is the surface-active materials like amphipathic polypeptides from malt that determine size, shape and length of the foam.

Beer foam consists of polypeptides of five different classifications, divided by their relative hydrophobicity. As the hydrophobicity of the polypeptide groups increases, so does the stability of the foam[1].

Carbonation occurs when carbon dioxide is dissolved in water or an aqueous solution. This process is generally represented by the following reaction, where water and gaseous carbon dioxide react to form a dilute solution of carbonic acid.
If your head is "creamier" than others, what is different in this grainbill than in others?

You could put the same amount of priming sugar in two different recipes, and the beer head will be completely different.
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Old 08-25-2009, 08:29 PM   #4
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The time between priming and first tasting is around 3 - 4 weeks.

Let me clarify by original post by saying that I'm not looking for more of a "soda" type of carbonation by any means! I just have noticed that the carbonation in my beer is different than let's say a bottle conditioned Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Maybe it's not a function of carbonation, but the amount of residual protein perhaps?

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Old 08-25-2009, 08:31 PM   #5
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Thanks, Revvy...you got to my second thought first! I'll have to see if there's a common thread in all of my batches...

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Old 08-26-2009, 04:12 AM   #6
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When you figure it out, let us know what it is ... so I can copy it.

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Old 08-26-2009, 04:21 PM   #7
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Looking through me previous recipes, it seems that a few of them did have wheat as an ingredient. The batch I have fermenting right now has no wheat so I'll need to compare when it's ready. But for now, I may be leaning towards the wheat as the culprit.

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Old 08-26-2009, 04:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
...when the beer is poured, the head is made up of extremely fine bubbles which take a long time to subside.
I LOVE that...the meringue-ier the better imo.
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Old 08-26-2009, 05:06 PM   #9
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Have you examined the same beers earlier in the bottle-life? Does the characteristic of carbondation change over time? From what i understand, "early" carbonation is bigger, broader bubbles, and given enough time they can become the more desired, smaller bubbles - possibly manifesting themselves in your creamier appearance.

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Old 08-26-2009, 05:07 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by SpanishCastleAle View Post
I LOVE that...the meringue-ier the better imo.
I've been drinking and brewing a lot of belgians lately, higher cab levels and lots of wheat = frothy meringue heads and really pretty lacing.

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