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Old 10-26-2010, 08:16 PM   #1
PassionBeer
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Default How to get better lacing & head retention

I'm an extract & specialty grains homebrewer (for now) and have noticed my first two beers have rather a bleak head and virtually no lacing. Is there something I can do in my brewing process to change this? Even bottles that condition for 4 weeks + show no signs of improvement. They taste great and look great in the body, but I want to improve the head and lacing.

Any help or advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks

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Old 10-26-2010, 08:29 PM   #2
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...and look great in the body, but I want to improve the head....
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Old 10-26-2010, 08:43 PM   #3
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I use Carapils or wheat for head retention. Also, good clean glassware with no soap or fats is a good starting point.

This chart from the wiki shows other grains that help head retention too:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/Malts_Chart

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Old 10-26-2010, 08:52 PM   #4
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Is there something I can do in my brewing process to change this?
With modern malts and quality extract, the most common cause of poor head retention is probably poor yeast health. Yeast cells leak numerous head killing compounds when stressed.

Most folks will recommend you add a lot of dextrins (carapils, etc.). The rub is, 100% 2-row will produce an outstanding head and lacing from a proper fermentation.

If you're not making 2+ liter starters for a 5 gallon batch, do so. If you're unable to, pitch more dry/liquid yeast. Temperature control is equally important.
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Old 10-26-2010, 09:03 PM   #5
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torrified wheat or flaked barley should help head retention & body

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Old 10-26-2010, 09:10 PM   #6
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there's much truth in lamarguy's post however I prefer to add 4-6 oz. of flaked wheat to most of my brews, per 5.5 gal

Schlante,
Phillip

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Old 10-27-2010, 02:16 PM   #7
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there's much truth in lamarguy's post however I prefer to add 4-6 oz. of flaked wheat to most of my brews, per 5.5 gal

Schlante,
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I use Carapils or wheat for head retention. Also, good clean glassware with no soap or fats is a good starting point.

This chart from the wiki shows other grains that help head retention too:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/Malts_Chart
Thanks, all.

If I add Carapils to my next batch, how much for a 2.5 or 3 gallon boil for a 5 gallon batch? And also, can I directly add these to the muslin bag during my specialty grain steeping or when I add my extracts?
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Old 10-27-2010, 02:27 PM   #8
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To echo what lamarguy said, my experience totally agrees with this but I felt I didn't really have enough results to share. But, I always get great head retention when I pitch on a yeast cake from a previous batch. I had always attributed this to proteins or something, but it's good to know this is from good strong yeast!



I can't say for sure about extracts since I only used CP when going to AG, but most info I've read recommends using Carapils at no greater than 5% of total grain bill. I would do some research here and see what other guys are doing for partial boils/partial mashes. I've added as much as a pound which would be about 12-15% in some cases, but I don't think I got better results with 1 lb versus .5 lb. It contributes very little in terms of color of flavor.

I like it better than wheat where you want some body but may not want wheat in the profile.

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Old 10-27-2010, 03:09 PM   #9
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Steep it in the bag with your other specialty grains. 4-6 oz sounds good to me, but How To says 8 oz Carapils is common for 5 gal batch, since it doesn't yield much from steeping. Ah well.

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Old 10-27-2010, 03:57 PM   #10
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I just started drinking my "first real ingredient" beer kit, (after 3 Mr. Beer kits...). It is the tongue splitter from NB in extract. I carbed in bottles with Muntons Kreamy X...This beer has a beautiful head and laces all the way down the bottle. I'm sold on this product.

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