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Old 08-08-2011, 05:44 PM   #1
bbentley40
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Default Head retention issue..

Ok guys.. I guess its time I actually post something on here.. been snooping for about a year and learned a ton but still have a long way to go.

I have made over a dozen or so batches, mostly with decent success. I recently made Cheesefood's vanilla ale. Used the extract version of it, and this was my second time making it (first time turned out great). I kegged it about a month ago and it has been sitting at 12psi ever since. Problem is when I pour a glass it basically has no head after the first 15 seconds. Seems like it has carbed, but not enough to form head. I have tried to do my research.. glasses are washed in the dishwasher, but no added drying agents. I can take the same glass, rinse the vanilla beer out, give it a shake or two, poor in a store bought Octoberfest and it have ample head. Can anything think of something that I might have done wrong in the brewing that would cause this? Should I just crank up the CO2 for a few days? Other suggestions?



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Old 08-08-2011, 05:49 PM   #2
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Off the top of my head, I would say to try this: Hand wash a glass and make sure to rinse it really well and dry it immediately with a towel.

Dishwasher or liquid dish soap can leave an oily residue that causes the head to have trouble forming or staying put. So by hand washing and whiping them clean, you cut down on those head killing oils that can be left behind otherwise!



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Old 08-08-2011, 06:44 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Germelli1 View Post
Off the top of my head, I would say to try this: Hand wash a glass and make sure to rinse it really well and dry it immediately with a towel.

Dishwasher or liquid dish soap can leave an oily residue that causes the head to have trouble forming or staying put. So by hand washing and whiping them clean, you cut down on those head killing oils that can be left behind otherwise!
I dont think that is the issue since I wash all my pint glasses the same and this is the only beer that have the problem with. My other kegged beer does fine and all my store bought beers do fine. But just to make sure I will give it a shot this evening when I get home to verify.
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Old 08-08-2011, 06:48 PM   #4
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That is what I figured, but it is an easy thing to test to be sure! I am out of ideas other than maybe some of the vanilla bean/extract brought in oils that could contribute to killing the head.

My other thought is it is something to go with the kegging system and I don't have any experience with that so I can't comment!

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Old 08-08-2011, 08:14 PM   #5
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It could b the recipe itself. If you use all 2row it may not be able to keep a head depending on your mash schedule (if you mashed lower ~150).

Mashing higher (around 158.) will help to improve your head retention (but that affects the fermentability of the wort).

I would try adding crystal malts or carapils malt instead


Edit: sorry I just saw you said extract. Try steeping .5lb carapils.

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Old 08-08-2011, 09:02 PM   #6
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I doubt it is the glass if other beers are successfully retaining heads in the same pint glasses washed in similar conditions.

In addition to the malt (extract or all grain) profile, the amount of hops will also play a role in head retention. More hops usually result in more head retention.

But since it is a Vanilla Ale, i'm guessing it is light on the hops for good reason. I hope more experienced people will chime in, but I'd imagine adding some specialty grain (carapils or crystal) will aid in the head retention as well.

This will be a good starter place for info: http://brewwiki.com/index.php/Head_Retention

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Old 08-08-2011, 10:34 PM   #7
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Ok.. came home and hand washed a glass really well. The beer had more head than it has previously. So at this point I am going to have to assume that it might be a mix of a number of issues. Washing my glasses in the dishwasher probably has some of it (and as a result is probably effect my other brews too, but not enough to notice I guess) and perhaps the recipe.

Thanks everyone for your inputs!

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Old 08-09-2011, 12:07 AM   #8
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I would wash a glass with salt, and scrub it good inside and out, or you can use a plastic dixie cup. If you get head...it's the glassware. Easy fix buy some glasses and ONLY use them for beer.....drink....rinse.....back into freezer.

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Old 08-09-2011, 12:27 AM   #9
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I am having problems too. It seems ironic that I had retention and lacing with my extract brews and with AG no lacing at all. The glass looks clean when I am done. It's a small sample size tho. My first AG I had eff problems so it has a light body and the second had good body but only one bittering addition. The next one to get bottled will be big late hopped american wheat. If that doesn't stick to the glass then I need to go scientifical.



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