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Old 04-02-2009, 06:58 PM   #1
Endovelico
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Default What exactly makes foam a certain color?

Yes, i know grain has alot to do with it but that still doesn't explain why there are Stouts (assuming they use Black patent or roasted barley) who have white head and some who have darker shades of creme/pastel/tan.

At first i thought it had something to do with nitrogen since the only Stouts i could remember having white head were Murphy and Guinness. However i have now seen some traditionally carbonated Stouts with white head as well.

Any guesses?

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Old 04-02-2009, 08:00 PM   #2
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Hmmm I thought it had to do with the type of gas as well.

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Old 04-02-2009, 08:40 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Endovelico View Post
Yes, i know grain has alot to do with it but that still doesn't explain why there are Stouts (assuming they use Black patent or roasted barley) who have white head and some who have darker shades of creme/pastel/tan.
Why wouldn't grain bill explain the difference in head color? Stouts and porters still have a wide variety of specialty grains that influence color and taste: I've found just the presence of patent doesn't add to head color so much as types of caramunich and such. I haven't gotten into beer gas for my home kegs. With just CO2, I have found that dry stouts can have a white head, while oatmeal and imperial stouts can have a tan or gray. I'm thinking it's mainly specialty grains, but perhaps hops add some too. I think the main thing nitrogen does is make the head creamier with smaller bubbles. I get some pretty gosh darn bleach white head with my lighter ales under normal CO2 at any rate.
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Old 04-02-2009, 08:45 PM   #4
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I would think it would depend on the grain bill also and the type of proteins that are in each grain. The proteins themselves that bind together may have a color of their own but more likely they probably bind to different pigments from the grain and carry that pigment with them in the head.

Put another way, I have seen only white and slightly off white heads on lighter beer, but dark beers can go from white to a darker brown. Must mean it is coming from the grain bill and some dark grains add dark color to the head.

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Old 04-02-2009, 08:49 PM   #5
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I suppose I just never paid it much attention, still tasty

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Old 04-03-2009, 08:38 AM   #6
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I'm not saying Grain bill has nothing do to with it, that would be silly.

I am however intrigued how certain stouts have pure white heads while especially since most of them use black patent and/or roasted barley. But that caramunich bit was interesting, didn't know it played that big of a role.

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Old 04-03-2009, 01:06 PM   #7
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Funny, I read up on this in Charlies book a couple of weeks ago, but can't remember exactly what the different grains were. He tells which ones do which and why. Have to look that up again.

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Old 04-03-2009, 01:34 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Endovelico View Post
I am however intrigued how certain stouts have pure white heads while especially since most of them use black patent and/or roasted barley. But that caramunich bit was interesting, didn't know it played that big of a role.
Yeah, I'm not sure how big of a role various Caramunichs play....but I do seem to get darker/tanner heads if I have grains such as that in. It's mainly that I don't think gas adds any color, and that it's not the black patent that adds color per say. I haven't done any controlled experiments to see just what grains do what to add to the color of the head, though when I just brew a straight forward black patent/roasted barley stout it usually turns out with a white head. I would think it also has to do with ratios of specialty grains to your malt: ie if there's more specialty grains, then maybe there's more fermentables from them winding up as protein that forms the head. Almost makes me want to learn chemistry just for more beer study.....ALMOST! If someone finds the info on grains and head color, that would be interesting.

Oh, and speaking of Guinness stouts....don't the ones that are brewed with sorghum (in areas that ban barley) have a dark tan head? Think I've seen that in photos at least: haven't tried a sorghum beer though.
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Old 04-03-2009, 02:00 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Homercidal View Post
Funny, I read up on this in Charlies book a couple of weeks ago, but can't remember exactly what the different grains were. He tells which ones do which and why. Have to look that up again.
I remember this from Complete Joy as well. I believe Charlie says that roasted barley adds significantly to head color and that black patent does to a lesser degree.
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Old 04-03-2009, 02:59 PM   #10
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So if one wanted a black and white beer, one should stick to chocolate and black malts for speciality grains? Or just black? Or maybe something else?

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