Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > Why do homebrewers seem to use carapils more than breweries?
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Old 03-05-2012, 11:45 PM   #1
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Default Why do homebrewers seem to use carapils more than breweries?

Is this just a perception on my part? I see a lot of carapils in IPA and Pale Ale recipes (among others) here on the site, but rarely if ever see it when a brewery lists the grains they use. Do breweries use it more than they admit to, or are they using a different technique to add body? Is there some hidden secret, or are there perhaps benefits to larger scale (such as the feasibility of higher fermentation temps due to volume and pressure)?

I'd really like to understand the secret to having good body with only 2-row, munich and c120 (as an example....using Avery IPA's reported grains). No mention of flaked barley, carapils, wheat or mashing at 160F for an FG of 1.022. How are they doing it? Inquiring minds want to know


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Old 03-05-2012, 11:58 PM   #2
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Im not sure why it seems to be in every recipe on here but I belive it also adds a slight sweetness as well as head to the brew, I never use it and I get really good head retention in all my pale ales and ipa's. I always mash at 154.


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Old 03-06-2012, 12:00 AM   #3
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What can I say. We like head

I don't know. Maybe just because we can, or we feel we need to and really don't. I didn't use it for a long time and now I do. Jury's still out on how much it really contributes though.
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Old 03-06-2012, 12:07 AM   #4
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Like so much of homebrewing, to learn everything we want to know about making the best beer possible, we'd have to brew a lifetime of beer (and I'm working on it). So we end up relying on what we have read or heard, and it's fairly common to see that head retention is improved by using CaraPils.

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Originally Posted by kevin476 View Post
I never use it and I get really good head retention in all my pale ales and ipa's. I always mash at 154.
A 154* mash will give you a decent amount of unfermentable sugars, which in turn leads to more head retention. If you are trying for a drier beer by using a more fermentable mash, head retention may suffer - hence using CaraPils.

As to the OPs original question, I'm not sure what tricks the pro's use to increase head retention, but I have noticed that several craft brews don't have great head formation or retention.
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Old 03-06-2012, 12:13 AM   #5
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Actually, before we stray too far off course, I didn't mention head retention at all. That's pretty easy...I have no problems getting good head What I mentioned was using carapils for body, and why breweries seem to get exceptional body seemingly without adding half a pound or more of carapils (on a 5gal scale).
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Old 03-06-2012, 12:16 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beowulf View Post
Actually, before we stray too far off course, I didn't mention head retention at all. That's pretty easy...I have no problems getting good head What I mentioned was using carapils for body, and why breweries seem to get exceptional body seemingly without adding half a pound or more of carapils (on a 5gal scale).
Maybe a different mash schedule? Most of us are limited to single infusion or at the best a step mash with water additions, unless you do a decoction. Maybe someone who has done the same beer several different ways can chime in on the body of the beer with their different rest zones?
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Old 03-06-2012, 12:29 AM   #7
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I know at least when I went through the tours, both Avery and Great Divide both said they only did single-infusion mashes. I was thinking of decoction as well, but I'm not so sure now after going through the tours. I need to hit the Lucky Bucket tour here in town...I'll ask them if I can remember.
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Old 03-06-2012, 01:00 AM   #8
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I've never used carapils, and only used carafoam once because I was following a recipe. I tend to agree that it is overused, and that many people may find it unnecessary if they tried the same recipe without using it. Proper mashing and boiling techniques make carapils unecessary in my opinion.
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Old 03-06-2012, 01:48 AM   #9
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I think it's because homebrewers believe that since it's available that it should be used. I stopped using it and get fine stable foam. I use very little crystal malts and instead use a blend of base malts for my color, maltiness, and use mash temp for sweetness.

Look at any dark belgian beer recipes damn near every single person uses Special B. I've never used it in a single beer I've made. I make some pretty killer dark belgian beers and I just use a hybrid mash schedule along with dark candy syrup.

I think many homebrewers use ingredients as bandaids instead of figuring out what the ingredient is supposed to fix. For instance proper mash pH will net you good beer foam. Temperature control will give you the proper flavors associated with the yeast utilized. Some beers require high temps like Belgian yeasts, and some need lower temps.
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Old 03-06-2012, 01:52 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airborneguy View Post
I've never used carapils, and only used carafoam once because I was following a recipe. I tend to agree that it is overused, and that many people may find it unnecessary if they tried the same recipe without using it. Proper mashing and boiling techniques make carapils unecessary in my opinion.
Yup.

This, and, as with many things in homebrewing, it was written in books a long time ago, so it is canon. Kinda like bot squeezing the grain bag, moving beer off the yeast quickly to avoid autolysis, hot side aeration, etc...

That said, I still use it in certain styles on ocassion.


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