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Old 10-27-2013, 03:29 PM   #1
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Default head retention

I have seen some suggestions for head retentions in recipes and I am guessing there are some ingredients or processes that could inhibit head retention as well.
Such as dishwashing the beer glasses. Any advice somebody wants to share please do? Most beers I buy from stores put my beers to shame with their foaming.

Thanks



Also, I have never used Irish moss for clarification and do not care if my beers are cloudy. Is there any other reasons to use it? Some of my beer drinking buddies complain about cloudiness but then they forget about it after a few.


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Old 10-27-2013, 04:01 PM   #2
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Using malts that promote head retention is useful. Caramel and carafaom (sp) are two that I know are said to be used for things such as head retention. There are additives I think you can get that help with it as well but I haven't seen them myself. Proper carbonation and chilling of beer will also be useful. Using the right glass for the beer is good as well. You're probably bottling and making sure you give enough time to carb and you're using the right amount of priming sugar will be key. I aspire to good beer and good carbonation. If there is little to no head retention, I worry less if the beer is delicious. I don't often pour my beers so that there is much head anyway. I get that is probably against the grain among brewers, but that is just how I like things.


Irish moss isn't necessary but overall, I would use it just so I can achieve a clearer beer. If the lack of clearing agents does't affect the taste and you don't care if your friends complain, then skip it. It is a very inexpensive addition that won't really kill anyone if the step is skipped.


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Old 10-27-2013, 09:00 PM   #3
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I've been getting good results lately with 8 - 12oz of torrified wheat for a 5 gallon batch.
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Old 10-27-2013, 09:13 PM   #4
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I am going to start experimenting with Naked Oats for foam stability.
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Old 10-28-2013, 12:53 PM   #5
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If you have access to podcasts, there is an episode of Brew Strong from 28 Aug 2008 dedicated entirely to beer foam. This includes lots of detail in its formation and stabilization, and is very much worth a listen.

For quick improvement to head retention, a couple of suggestions:

Doing full-wort boils helps, as the proteins necessary for head formation have limited solubility, and excess will precipitate out of solution. If you need 1x for "good" foam, and 1x is soluble in the boil, you're fine if you're not diluting after boiling. However, if you can only boil 1/2 total volume, you'll dilute those proteins to 1/2x in your final beer.

Also, hop compounds help head retention. Make beers with more hops.

You can also look at stuff like propylene glycol alginate, a modified seaweed extract which some breweries have used to improve head retention.
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Old 10-28-2013, 01:02 PM   #6
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1/2 lb of wheat in a 5 gallon batch works beautifully.
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Old 10-29-2013, 03:19 AM   #7
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Thank you for your comment,
about the irish moss, do you add it during the mash and filter it out in the grain during sparge or is it added during the boil with hops?
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Old 10-29-2013, 03:39 AM   #8
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Irish moss goes in the boil, the last 15 minutes.
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Old 10-30-2013, 03:43 PM   #9
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Thanks to each of you who commented to my head retention thread. I will drink a beer for each of you when it is ready and if you come to Belgium. I just made 22.5 L (6 gal) of a Pilsner Czech spin off, hole malt grain in a 27 L (7.1 gal) pot using gas heat. I used the Beer Smith program scaled to make 25 L of beer. I used 40 L (10.5 gal) of bottled water, 7 kg (15.4 lb) of malted grains and ended up with a density of 1.055. I almost added the irish moss but chickened out after taking a whiff of it. Dead fish is the first thing that came to mind. i used over 100 L of city water to cool off the wort. It has been almost 2 hours since pitching and the first bubble is trying to push itself through the airlock.

I wanted to decoct but my pot was not big enough to support a big enough water to grain ratio. So I just ordered a 100 L (26 gal) pot. That should follow up with the suggestion of wort boil helping with head retention. I will also check out some Carafoam next time I go shopping. I just looked and there is no Carafoam at my dealer.

I have heard that brewers added something to help head retention but never heard of the actual ingredient name. i wonder if propylene glycol alginate has any off smells associated with it.

The wheat and the naked oats sound interesting to experiment for head retention as well. I guess wheat flakes and oat flakes would suffice for that experiment. Maybe 1 - 2 lbs of each in a 5 gal batch?

I shall continue on my quest to make the perfect beer. Thanks again and cheers
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Old 10-31-2013, 02:49 PM   #10
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Barley flakes work as well if not better.


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