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Old 07-28-2012, 03:37 PM   #1
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Default Healthy Head on Beer - What is the target?

I've made a few batches of beer and all have came out quite nice. As I progress along and learn more and more and get more comfortable to the basic brewing process and adding a little experimental flavors to the recipe, I also look at how the beer turns out, color, aroma, carbonation and head when pouring. I have had most of my beers here lately give a limited head (unless put into a cold glass). I know also that I use the tilt and pour method (much like what we did in college to no foam the beer too much) but to also leave much of the yeast sediment at the bottom on the bottle. I had a few beers at one of my beer supply stores and a few of the ale I drank came out much like mind. So the question is for you folks, what is the appropriate type of head that you should get - for reference my last few beers have been pale ales and brown ales all bottled.

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Old 07-28-2012, 03:43 PM   #2
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Well,you want a thick,fine bubbled head that hangs around for a while. I can get 2-3" head pretty easy on mine. It also depends on how clean the glass is & how agressively you pour. Besides brewing process. It also helps if fridge time is at least 1-2 weeks,since carbonation drives the head once poured. Co2 absorbtion during fridge time isn't that fast.
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Old 07-28-2012, 04:15 PM   #3
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this does make sense - I have seen that the longer it has aged or even been in the fridge that the head has got thicker - I also do not normally aggressively pour either.

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Old 07-28-2012, 04:51 PM   #4
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You can also add a little cara-pils / dextrine grain to the mash. It has complex non-fermentable sugars in it that help head retention.

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Old 07-28-2012, 04:59 PM   #5
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Old 07-28-2012, 05:03 PM   #6
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Some flaked barley/flaked wheat in smaller amounts (could cause haze though) some crystal malts also. Sometimes just waiting for full carbonation and giving it a few more weeks. But i would have to say i try alot of commercial craft beer and most of them have short or limited head. More hops can add to head retention as well. Make shure your glasses are rinsed well,no grease or soap residue.
I used a good amount of flaked grains in my mulit-grain stout and had monster head from that.

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Old 07-28-2012, 05:05 PM   #7
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Cara malt and flaked grains help by increasing proteins, too much can cloudy beer. Also are these partial grain, all grain, etc. Your mashing temp can influence head also. I had a friend that would do partial or biab brews and leave his rains int the water as it heated. Around 120 you get a proton break that was destroying his head. He started waiting until 160 to add his grains and problem solved.

Also certain styles are supposed to have their own carbonation levels, not everything is supposed to have 2 in of foam, some should have more.

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Old 07-28-2012, 05:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slainte-brew View Post
Cara malt and flaked grains help by increasing proteins, too much can cloudy beer. Also are these partial grain, all grain, etc. Your mashing temp can influence head also. I had a friend that would do partial or biab brews and leave his rains int the water as it heated. Around 120 you get a proton break that was destroying his head. He started waiting until 160 to add his grains and problem solved.

Also certain styles are supposed to have their own carbonation levels, not everything is supposed to have 2 in of foam, some should have more.
no, dextrins are sugars. flaked grains probably add unconverted starches.

but i agree that you should check the style guidelines.

Though these can be confusing. for example BJCP for Kolsch says "Has a delicate white head that may not persist." while GABF for Kolsch says "Good, dense head retention is desirable." and they should know because they are germans.
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:03 PM   #9
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It should be remembered here that while carbonation drives the head to last longer,it dosen't make it in & of itself. Head comes from protiens in the beer. I've had great head & almost no carbonation (low carb English ales). So head can be "engineered" to an extent. But not through cartbonation. That's just an extender. But it is true that various styles typically have an amount of head usually seen in a given style. It's just not the carbonation.
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:26 PM   #10
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Default sugar and head size

I have been experimenting and find the ultra fine bakers sugar is fantastic for a great carbonation and head on the beer. BUT make sure you chill before opening because a warm one will flow endlessly when opened.

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