Beer has little to no head

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babelfish

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I brewed a Honey Brown Beer extract kit from my local HBS and have been force carbing it for close to a week. I poured myself a small glass and thought that the beer was not carbonated at all until I took a sip and it seemed bubbly and felt fine. The beer just has little to no head on it at all. Could this be due to something that I did or just the way this beer is? Something about pouring a beer without head seems wrong. The beer is OK, not great and seems a bit off (new to home brewing and i dont know what it is that is off), any idea what i could have done to cause this?
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Queequeg

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Wel it might be you havn't waited long enough for carbonation, 1 week dosn't seem long enough or you have a detergent residue in your kit which has prevented head formation.

What did you use to clean your kit?
 

stonebrewer

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What pressure are you carbonating at? I don't do extract kits, but when doing all grain there are grains that add to head retention that you can use...must be something similar in the extract world; worst case you could steep some carapils, wheat, flaked barley or other grain with a lot of protein and add it to your boil kettle. I generally carbonate at 20 PSI or greater and have great head after 4-5 days. Yeah, I said great head! :D
 
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babelfish

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thanks to all for the replys... I cold crashed the beer, racked it into the keg and rolled the keg around at 35 psi for 2.5 minutes. I left it unhooked without bleeding the pressure for 24 hours. I blew off a little bit of the pressure from the keg then hooked up the CO2 for another 24 hours at 20 psi. since then it has been sitting at serving pressure of 8 psi. The reason that I am trying to carb the beer on an aggressive schedule is that I am hosting a fantasy football paryt on Sunday and wanted the brew to be ready for that...but if not rushing it is the best way to handle it, ill go buy beer :) :tank
I used oxyfree to clean the keg and then star san to sanitize it so i don't think that I used anything that could have interacted with the brew. Is it certain proteins that help developthe head on the beer or is it solely based on carbonation?
 

stpug

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Regardless of carbing method (bottle condition, keg condition, force carb, burst carb), I have personally noticed that head develops better as the weeks pass. In fact, when kegging, I've noticed a difference in carbonation bubbles/feel as the weeks pass. I would say the difference from day 7 to day 21 in the keg is significant in terms of head, bubble "structure", and overall mouthfeel. To me, it seems pretty linear from day 1 to day 21 (i.e. there's no magic moment when things change). HOWEVER, at least with force/burst carbing you can experience the change as time passes all while drinking your beer :D

By 'bubble structure', I mean the size and willingness to escape the beer. Earlier on the bubbles are slightly bigger and readily leave the brew while at day 21 the bubbles have become very small and don't readily escape the solution. IMHO

I'd say "Serve it up!!". Who cares that it's not perfect yet?? It may take another couple/few batches before you decide that you've hit a great recipe. May as well get a head start on drinking this keg so you're closer to your next brewday :rockin:
 

steveoc

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I don't think it is a matter of carbonation or pour so much as the composition of your beer. There are many malts that increase head retention—chiefly those with dextrin. You may be able to adjust this after fermentation with maltodextrin. I would consider boiling 4-6 ounces of maltodextrin in a solution of water, cooling, then adding to the beers if the head retention is important. I have not tried this myself but I believe this will likely help.
 
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