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Old 03-23-2013, 10:37 PM   #1
QuercusMax
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Default Poor head and thin body with US05 and Maris Otter

I've done two AG brews with MO and US05, and both of them turned out watery and with little to no head. The one MO/US05 beer I didn't have this issue with had Carapils (actually Cara 8) in it.

I mashed them at 154 and fermented in the mid 60s. There are no particular differences in my technique between these and my other AG batches, which don't have this issue - I made a low gravity saison (1.032 OG) which has a fantastic pillowy head, with nothing but 2-row and Munich.

Here are the recipes for these problem batches:

Irish Red:
6lbs Maris Otter
6oz C40
6oz C120
6oz Roasted Barley
OG 1.044 (4.5 gallons)

Mild:
2.5 lb Maris Otter
.33 c60
.25 c120
.25 chocolate rye 200L
OG ~1.034 (didn't measure very well)

The grain bills are pretty similar, you'll notice. Any thoughts? Should I mash higher, or just suck it up and add carapils?

I'm not sure what maltster the Mild's MO is (bulk bin at my LHBS), but the Red was Munton's.

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Old 03-23-2013, 10:38 PM   #2
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One more thing I forgot to add - I have a Cascade/MO SMaSH I'm bottling this weekend. I used S04 for that one, and its OG is 1.066. I'll have to see if its any better.

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Old 03-24-2013, 02:02 AM   #3
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First I want to preface and say that I've never used cara-pils in any of my recipes, though my buddy I brew with regularly dumps cara-pils into nearly all his recipes. I produce beers with nice heads every time. He gets huge, out of control head on his beers. I'm a new brewer, but cara-pils seems gimmicky to me. I can see a few instances where it would be helpful, but then again, it's all about how much head YOU want on YOUR beer.

Your red looks good, especially with the crystal in there (nearly a pound) I don't see why you're not getting a head on the beer.

Full disclosure, I've never bottled anything, I keg all my beers, so if there's an issue on the bottling side of the equation, then I'm of no help.

We have used US05 plenty of times (our house strain, if you will), and have never had any issues with head. I've used the Munton's MO plenty of times, and we mash anywhere from 151-155 typically.

My immediate inclination is to say that maybe something is impeding the head of these beers. Maybe some extra sanitizer in the bottles, or it got mixed when going into the bottling bucket.

My only real recommendation is to brew another batch! I'd keep it simple, base malt, and some crystal variety. Mash a little lower, around 152. That's it. Be diligent about your sanitation and go from there. All the variables in your situation, I've encountered and had no issues.

Good luck, and keep us posted.

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Old 03-24-2013, 02:17 AM   #4
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I am definitely going to keep using MO - I have 30 pounds of it. I love the flavor, I just am not sure what's up with these two beers. It may be a total coincidence with these two, I will grant you.

I just poured a glass of the red, and it did form a head when I poured aggressively, but it dissipated quickly.

I do agree with you about the carapils. I have an extract IPA which I steeped some carapils in, and it is insane. I thought it was infected at first, but no, it's just that wacky carapils. Foam will start pouring out of the bottle on its own. I believe Briess uses carapils in their extracts, so I think I basically doubled up on it. On the other hand, the MO-based Amber with 2oz carapils for a 3gal batch is perfect. I used US05 in that as well.

I would be surprised if the yeast had much to do with it, but it was a common factor I figured I should mention.

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Old 03-24-2013, 03:45 AM   #5
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Two pretty low gravity beers. I tend to much bigger beers myself but when I do anything below 1.050 I use carapils or adjuncts to thicken the body - unmalted wheat, barley, rye,or (rarely) oats all work well for me. I also mash much higher and carbonatet lower.

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Old 03-25-2013, 03:19 AM   #6
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Have all these beers been 4.5 gal batches? Just 6 lbs and 2.5 lbs seem to be a little shy on grain bill to me, but I may be misunderstanding your recipe and questions too.

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Old 03-25-2013, 03:25 AM   #7
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The Mild was a 2.5 gallon batch. The Red was going to be a 5-gallon partial mash but I got high enough efficiency (was shooting for 1050) I decided to make a slightly lower volume session beer instead, since measuring extract is a pain in the rear (I have a 33lb growler I mostly use for starters).

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Old 03-25-2013, 12:20 PM   #8
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Two things come to mind offhand: first off, that the efficiency is rather low overall, and second, that you may be mashing too low. So, the questions become, what sort of crush are you getting, and have you calibrated your thermometer(s) recently?

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Old 03-25-2013, 12:37 PM   #9
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Low efficiency? I think you must be mistaken. Both of them were at least 80% efficiency by my calculations. Low gravity, sure, but that was deliberate. My crush is great - I always get at least 80% efficiency. The mild was with the mill at my LHBS, the red was using my corona, and was almost reduced to flour.

I have two thermometers and they agree with each other (one an instant-read digital, one analog dial thermometer).

I think mashing at 158 is my best option at this point. Also maybe doing a no-sparge?

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Old 03-25-2013, 12:43 PM   #10
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Not trying to over simplify it but have you checked ur glassware as well? Do you have issues with other beers in the same glasses, such as craft beers or any other home brews?

Also, what sugar did you use to bottle carbonate, at what time and how long have they been sitting?

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