Beer does not have head

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newbrewr4fun

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It's been about 18 days since I bottle my first beer and I drank a few over the weekend. They don't have any head! They are carbonated but not quite enough, and they don't produce any head when poured. The beer was an extract stout and it tasted ok, just wondering what I can do to make sure my next beer turns out better.
 

BrianP

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You could use brewing software or online calculators to determine the correct amount of priming sugar based on the beer style. It's also helpful to weigh your priming sugar rather than relying on dry measuring.

I usually shoot for the middle of the carbonation range for the style I'm brewing, sometimes the higher end for some styles.

You could also ensure that you're mixing the priming solution uniformly into your finished beer before bottling. Some people try to dose their sugar solution into bottles individually or they don't get a thorough mix which causes some weakly carbonated bottles and some potential bottle bombs.

Another thing that could be affecting head could be your glasses. If you wash them in a dishwasher with a rinse aid, it will prevent head formation.

It sounds like carbonation isn't your problem, so it could be something as easy as your glassware.

Good luck.
 

Blender

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Good advice above but also I bet in a week or two they will be better. The bottles need a good 3 weeks at about 70 degrees for adequate carbonation.
 

devaspawn

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I have heard that some people wash their bottles in the dishwasher. Like BrianP said above, the rinse aid would effect them, too. If you use plastic mugs that can also effect head retention and lacing.

:tank:
 

toastermm

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I've also heard that some special recipes will have less head due to the ingredients used. I think that ingredients that have oil associated with them hurt the head- like my pirate ale I'm brewing with coconut, I think it will taste great, so I'm willing to sacrifice some head. Or those peanut butter porter/stouts.

But hey, as long as the beer tastes good, I think it's ok!
 

devaspawn

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I made a PB stout and I can tell you that it has 3/8 inch head and it doesn't stay around for long. tastes great though so appearances in this case mean sh*t to me.:cross:

:tank:
 
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newbrewr4fun

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I run the bottles through a normal cycle with no soap and a sanitary rinse option. The glasses I used were hand washed so no rinse aid was used. I did not use a dishwasher for the glasses this time because I was camping, but at home I usually run them through a normal cycle with cascade detergent and no rinse aid.

It will be 3 weeks on the button Thursday night, I am going to try a couple more and see how they turn out. By the way, some of the beer had a very small amount of head that stuck around through the first few swigs, but after that nada. Also, I think I tasted a hint of sanitizer in some of them, I am wondering if I should dry my bottle caps next time after the sanitizer. It really does not taste as bad as you might think, like some extra water has got into the beer or something. Just trying to work out all the kinks for this next batch which I am transferring to a secondary any day now, I am taking a hydrometer reading tomorrow. It's been sitting in primary for 8 days. SO one reading Tuesday and another on Wednesday and if all is well then racking.

Beer brewing is alot of fun.:rockin:
 

BrianP

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I wouldn't advise about drying the caps, as this would introduce the chance for infection. And you shouldn't be able to taste your sanitizer (I assume you're using a no-rinse sanitizer like Star-San).

Another thing to consider in your recipe next time is a little Carapils. I add 1/2 lb to some recipes and it results in some really good head retention.
 

cuinrearview

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My three simple steps to more head:

1. Pour harder
2. Add more priming sugar. I've been doing this recently, about 5.5-6 oz. to a five gallon batch.
3. More hops:) If you're a hophead like me this pleases the senses visually and through the taste buds.

But, the other advice given above will work as well. Maybe it's coincedence, maybe it's a better system, but my first few beers seemed pretty flat, and I wasn't even topping off the primary to 5+ gallons at that time and still using a full dose of priming sugar. Try the things above, I guarantee at least one will work for you. I can't kill the two to three finger head on my Double Dollop IPA using only the second two. Next time I'll definately cut down on the priming sugar!
 

Thor the Mighty

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yeah carapils is the way to go. just added a 1/4 pound to my last batch and it worked wonders. before that i was getting terrible head retention with different styles AND different sugar amounts. even over carbonated a batch (belgian trip) and its freakin scarry to open them, sounds like a gun going off.
 

Revvy

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If they don't have head yet they simply have a ways still to go...some beers take longer than the 21 days @ 70 we repeat over and over on here....

It may take another week or so for it to be heady...
 

mew

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I brewed Jamil's mild it had virtually no head, so next time I think I'll add some oatmeal to the mash.
 

devaspawn

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I found that even a 1/4 lb of carapils in a regular brew gives way too much head for my liking. Solved that problem though. Went to AG and perfect head in each pint!

:tank:
 

Boodlemania

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So what temp and how long for 1/4 lb of carapils in an otherwise DME batch? 155F for 30min?

Sorry for the dumb question, but I'm still learning.
 

devaspawn

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That's what I aimed for. i wasn't too concerned if I was off by a degree or two I wasn't worried.

:tank:
 
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