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Old 11-28-2009, 11:45 PM   #1
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Default Crashing lager yeast and head retention

I have a head retention question, and not finding an obvious thread with the search:

Made a Helles with ~15% Carapils (I know.. way too much).. everything was okay.. it dried 1.054->1.010.. but I would have thought the head formation would have been huge and sustained. Primary for 3.5 weeks (49F), diacetyl (59F), kegged and slow carbed to 2.7 volumes over two weeks @ 35F; its only been lagering for a couple of weeks at 35F, so there is that. Oh, clean glass and all that; lacing is there but the head dissipates much faster than I was expecting with that much Carapils. FWIW, I used WLP810 San Fran Lager.

Somewhere (cant find it) I think Ive read that rapid crashing (60F->34F overnight; dont know the rate) of lager yeast after diacetyl rest causes protease enzymes to be released, continuing the consumption of proteins necessary for head retention.

Any confirmation, or sources, on this one? Should I slowly drop to lagering temps (like max XXF per day or hour)?
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Old 11-29-2009, 11:56 AM   #2
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So how long are we talking here? 4 to 5 minutes and other than foam clinging to the sides of my glass, my head is gone.
Seems normal to me.
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Old 11-29-2009, 12:30 PM   #3
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Head retetion can be affected by the boil, yeast pitch rate, fermentation temp., wort aeration etc...

There are so many factors involved it is REALLY hard to tell.
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Old 11-29-2009, 12:57 PM   #4
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Yes, Briggs mentions this in Brewing, Science and Practice... that crash-cooling lager yeast can cause the yeast to release proteolytic enzymes, thereby affecting foam stability.
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Old 11-29-2009, 01:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menschmaschine View Post
Yes, Briggs mentions this in Brewing, Science and Practice... that crash-cooling lager yeast can cause the yeast to release proteolytic enzymes, thereby affecting foam stability.
So the recommendation is to slowly step down to lagering temp. to avoid the release?
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Old 11-29-2009, 01:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soperbrew View Post
So the recommendation is to slowly step down to lagering temp. to avoid the release?
Yes, 3-5F per day seems to be a good range.

However, some homebrewers cold crash lagers and report no noticeable effects in foam stability. I prefer to slowly cool them... not only for the potential of proteolytic enzymes, but lager yeast slowly eat away at various sugars during lagering and shocking them out of suspension seems counterintuitive.
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Old 11-29-2009, 01:36 PM   #7
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I try to gradually lower mine, too, but sometimes can't. I haven't had any foam stability issues though.
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Old 11-29-2009, 02:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menschmaschine View Post
Yes, 3-5F per day seems to be a good range.

However, some homebrewers cold crash lagers and report no noticeable effects in foam stability. I prefer to slowly cool them... not only for the potential of proteolytic enzymes, but lager yeast slowly eat away at various sugars during lagering and shocking them out of suspension seems counterintuitive.
Thanks for the info. It was probably some post of yours that I read
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Old 11-29-2009, 02:18 PM   #9
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Some extra reading here http://forum.northernbrewer.com/view...ashing#p762866
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Old 11-29-2009, 03:11 PM   #10
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I think a few more weeks age at cool temperatures will help with the head retention. All of my beers have poor head retention until they're aged a bit. Even some PVPP can help.

FWIW I don't think i've ever had a commercial lager that has held a full head of foam for more than a minute, even the finest German ones.
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