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Old 05-28-2010, 06:25 AM   #1
larrybrewer
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Default What the heck, fizzy and no head

I need some help getting a foamy, creamy head on my beer - out of the bottle. A recent batch and probably half of my past batches were fizzy with a quickly diminishing head. FYI - I brew all grain, and keg/bottle 50/50. My kegged beer is way smoother and has better head retention.

My latest batch fermented from 1.048 to 1.008 in 3 weeks. It has been in the bottle for 6 weeks. I cracked a bottle tonight, decanted, and poof, the head died and it had the mouth feel of soda pop. WTF?? I have noticed with similar batches, after several months in the bottle, this effect is reduced, and there is more head retention, but it is still not great.

I would like my bottled brew to come out like Deschutes does. When I up end a 12oz bottle of Deschutes Mirror Pond, it produces about an inch of creamy head, and its not fizzy.


My procedure:
Soak bottles in star san solution, drain, and let dry.
Rack to bottling bucket, straight from primary, no secondary fermentor
Add 3 oz of dextrose dissolved in a pint of water that had been nearly boiled then cooled, stir thoroughly, but not to cause splashing.
Cap w/ Oxy caps
Let sit for 6-8 weeks.

It should not be the cleanliness of the glass. When I pour a Deschutes into a glass washed in the same dishwasher, the result is dramatically different.


Since I'm doing all grain, I am pretty sure it has nothing to do with proteins in the wort. This recent batch had 1/2 pound of flaked wheat in the mash.
My water chemistry is dialed in, tap water is practically distilled and I add 2/3 tsp of CaCl, and 2/3 tsp of Gypsum to my 5 gallon batch.
Fermentation is healthy, though temp may vary in the house from 62-68F.

What else am I missing here? Its the fizzy part that is really pissing me off more than anything. 3oz of dextrose for 5 gallon batch should not be too much though, right?


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Old 05-28-2010, 01:59 PM   #2
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Hmm, well I know that I only get a great head in some of the beers I brew, but I get lacing in all IF I HAVE A CLEAN GLASS. I think there are a lot of factors effecting head retention, but I don't really see anything in your procedure that would effect that. I would suggest torrified wheat, but you've already tried adding wheat. Like I said before I only get good head on some of my beers like IPA's, Stouts, Browns, and Porters. I don't typically get great head retention on beers like APA's or cream ales and I've thought that this could be because those beers are lower gravity than the beers I do get head retention on.


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Old 05-28-2010, 02:57 PM   #3
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This last batch was an American Pale Ale.

Then how does Deschutes do it with their pale ale??
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Old 05-28-2010, 05:20 PM   #4
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I've had good luck using carapils in my pales I think it adds a bit of head retention. Possibly crystal malt as well, but I'm not sure. I normally add a bit of crystal in all my pales so far, so it's hard to tell.
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Old 05-30-2010, 04:39 AM   #5
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I seem to have the same issue.
I think i am going to break down and by the Blichmann Beer Gun.And bottle off my keg.
I haven't heard realy any negatives on the gun.
The beer can taste great but with no head and soda like carb, ah well it ticks me off to.
Now to save the $108 and buy off of www.northernbrewer.com
Plus there is less of a waiting game till its carbonated.

Deschutes Rocks - I am out of home brew tonight so I got some Bachelor e.s.b and Obsidian Stout for the weekend. Gota love it
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Old 05-30-2010, 05:10 AM   #6
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I talked to an expert at my LHBS today who had some good insight on this issue. He said I should try carapils in my mash, maybe 1 pound for a 5 gallon batch.

I mentioned I used 1/2 lb of flaked wheat. He pointed out that using flaked wheat with a low mash temp is like shooting yourself in the foot. With the batch I described above, my mash temp was 150F, and probably drifted as low as 145F. According to him, that meant, all the dextrine sugars that promote head retention were broken down into simpler sugars which the yeast consume.

So, next time, I'll try carapils, raise the mash temp a few degrees, and pay careful attention to the temp over the entire mash.

As for bottles/detergent, he also said NOT to wash the bottles in the dishwasher (just hot water, no soap), since likely there is still residual soap scum / detergent in the system.


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