Foam and time, what is the connection?

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum:

OP
OP
Miraculix

Miraculix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
6,315
Reaction score
4,985
Location
Bremen
I have a theory. Can you guys please tell me if you normally use Irish moss or whirlfloc during your boil and if you experienced the delayed foam creation or not within your brews?

My guess is that positively and negatively charged molecules drop out of solution over time. Whirlflocc and Irish moss speed up this process so people that are using these shouldn't experience this foam delay at the same degree than people who are not using it.

I'm using Irish moss for the first time ever in my current batch so we will see what's going on in this one batch soon.
 
OP
OP
Miraculix

Miraculix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
6,315
Reaction score
4,985
Location
Bremen
I use Irish Moss regularly. For ~4G post-boil, 1/2tsp hydrated in wort, added at 5min. Delayed foam retention +.
That doesn't sound so much. How much is this by weight? I used 3g on 18 litres. I boiled it for 15 minutes but it did not fully dissolve.

Thanks for the reply!
 

DBhomebrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2020
Messages
2,261
Reaction score
4,319
Location
St Louis, MO
I can weigh it this evening. It's not something I concern myself with particularly. My 1/2tsp spoon is the largest that fits in the small jar of moss. Does it work? Is it enough? IDK.

Salts, hops, now AA. Those are are weighed with a gram scale.
 
OP
OP
Miraculix

Miraculix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
6,315
Reaction score
4,985
Location
Bremen
1/2tsp = 1.3g

So, roughly 1/2 your dosage. Seems to work well enough. Or maybe that's just time in the bottle. ???
Thank you for checking. I am honestly not sure how much is the best ammount. I found different claims ranging from 1g to 5 g per 20l of beer...

I've seen some interesting claims about increased foam stability compared to non-moss batches.
 

balrog

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2013
Messages
5,355
Reaction score
7,023
I use 1/2 or 1 Whirlfloc with just about every batch.
I see the "finer bubble" syndrome near keg's end with just about every batch.
Can't say I see foam stability better or worse during the 4-10wk keg life.
 

scrap iron

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2021
Messages
85
Reaction score
60
Location
Kansas City area
The instructions on the label of Irish Moss I get at my LHBS say 1 teaspoon per 5 gals. This is in American measurements, 1 tsp = about 5 grams. This is what I use but I hydrate in a small amount of water the night before brewing.
The next day it looks gel like. I'm not sure about a foam delay but I use a Alpha rest @ 162 F and I prime with corn sugar. There might be a week or two before I get good foam. The Irish Moss seems to do a good job with protein coagulation.
 
OP
OP
Miraculix

Miraculix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
6,315
Reaction score
4,985
Location
Bremen
The instructions on the label of Irish Moss I get at my LHBS say 1 teaspoon per 5 gals. This is in American measurements, 1 tsp = about 5 grams. This is what I use but I hydrate in a small amount of water the night before brewing.
The next day it looks gel like. I'm not sure about a foam delay but I use a Alpha rest @ 162 F and I prime with corn sugar. There might be a week or two before I get good foam. The Irish Moss seems to do a good job with protein coagulation.
I also saw this 1 tsp recommendation, in my case, this would result in less then a gram in my case as my irish moss is made of bigger pieces of the seaweed. I do not like volumetric meassurements of solids for obvious reasons.

Ok, but the main takeaway here seems to be that people are still experiencing this foam delay thing regardless of the usage of irish moss or not.
 

Taket_al_Tauro

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Apr 3, 2018
Messages
329
Reaction score
331
Ok, but the main takeaway here seems to be that people are still experiencing this foam delay thing regardless of the usage of irish moss or not.

FWIW and maybe slightly off topic, but here some recent anectodal observations of mine:

First thing, I also experience this delay in good head formation/retention, and I would also be very much interested to find out the reasons for this phenomenon.
I bottle condition all my beers.
Usually, the head starts to be quite good at 3 weeks post bottling. At 4 weeks it is good. At 6 weeks it is perfect.

A while back I started using Irish moss and I added it to 3 brews in a row. Then I went back to not using it for my last two brews.

If anything, it may have had the opposite effect (i.e., less head retention compared to my "standard"). But then again, it's difficult to say...for instance, I started experimenting with malted oats nearly at the same time, and I employed about 20% malted oats in 2 out of these 3 brews. It certainly could have had more to do with the malted oats than the Irish moss... .
In a recent brew I did not use Irish moss but did throw in some 15% malted oats. It also has somehow less head retention than what I'm used to.
I read that malted oats can be detrimental to head retention at large percentages, but it shouldn't be a problem at 15 - 20%...
Anyway, for the time being I decided on skipping both the malted oats and the Irish moss, and go back to my older ways. I have been chasing mouthfeel (hence the malted oats), but I also and absolutely want to keep the best head retention I can, as this aspect of beer is very important for me.

Anyway, long story to say that I don't think Irish moss has a perceptible impact on head retention, but I could be wrong.
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
Miraculix

Miraculix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
6,315
Reaction score
4,985
Location
Bremen
FWIW and maybe slightly off topic, but here some recent anectodal observations of mine:

First thing, I also experience this delay in good head formation/retention, and I would also be very much interested to find out the reasons for this phenomenon.
I bottle condition all my beers.
Usually, the head starts to be quite good at 3 weeks post bottling. At 4 weeks it is good. At 6 weeks it is perfect.

A while back I started using Irish moss and I added it to 3 brews in a row. Then I went back to not using it for my last two brews.

If anything, it may have had the opposite effect (i.e., less head retention compared to my "standard"). But then again, it's difficult to say...for instance, I started experimenting with malted oats nearly at the same time, and I employed about 20% malted oats in 2 out of these 3 brews. It certainly could have had more to do with the malted oats than the Irish moss... .
In a recent brew I did not use Irish moss but did throw in some 15% malted oats. It also has somehow less head retention than what I'm used to.
I read that malted oats can be detrimental to head retention at large percentages, but it shouldn't be a problem at 15 - 20%...
Anyway, for the time being I decided on skipping both the malted oats and the Irish moss, and go back to my older ways. I have been chasing mouthfeel (hence the malted oats), but I also and absolutely want to keep the best head retention I can, as this aspect of beer is very important for me.

Anyway, long story to say that I don't think Irish moss has a perceptible impact on head retention, but I could be wrong.
Thank you for your input. Looks like we are suffering the same fate, experimenting with multiple things at the same time and ending up with an outcome that cannot really be traced back to the definite reason :D

I'm sure that oats decrease head retention, but have no experience at which point it actually happens. I can say that my last batch that included oats didn't have any head at all, but I think this might have been caused by bad yeast, an underpitch can cause this to happen, at least that's what I've read.
 

Taket_al_Tauro

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Apr 3, 2018
Messages
329
Reaction score
331
Thank your input. Looks like we are suffering the same fate, experimenting with multiple things at the same time and ending up with an outcome that cannot really be traced back to the definite reason :D

I'm willing to bet we are not alone with this problem

I'm sure that oats decrease head retention,

Yeah, I also think it is the more likely culprit. I started using malted oats in a NEIPA...no Irish moss and that beer had excellent head retention. That is why at first I did not turn my attention on the malted oats. But probably the huge hop loads including dry hopping of such a beer are helping with head retention as well.
The two beers where I experienced less than ideal head retention had malted oats and were not dry hopped.
 
OP
OP
Miraculix

Miraculix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
6,315
Reaction score
4,985
Location
Bremen
I'm willing to bet we are not alone with this problem



Yeah, I also think it is the more likely culprit. I started using malted oats in a NEIPA...no Irish moss and that beer had excellent head retention. That is why at first I did not turn my attention on the malted oats. But probably the huge hop loads including dry hopping of such a beer are helping with head retention as well.
The two beers where I experienced less than ideal head retention had malted oats and were not dry hopped.

That would have been my exact thoughts as well.

.....Well.....

My first batch with Irish Moss has been dry hopped with 100g on 18 litres, double my previous dh amount and it has 5% rye malt in it to increase head retention, which I never used before.

But I am sure that a good head will only be caused by the Irish Moss!!!! :ban:
 

Taket_al_Tauro

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Apr 3, 2018
Messages
329
Reaction score
331
That would have been my exact thoughts as well.

.....Well.....

My first batch with Irish Moss has been dry hopped with 100g on 18 litres, double my previous dh amount and it has 5% rye malt in it to increase head retention, which I never used before.

But I am sure that a good head will only be caused from the Irish Moss!!!!


Ah and by the way, even on those two beers the head retention did improve massively with time... it just took more time than normal. Instead of 3-4 weeks, two months to develop a head I deemed acceptable. I still have a few bottles of a saison, it's from one of these two batches: 7 months from bottling right now. It now has a huge, fluffy white head worthy of a saison...Granted, it is a highly carbonated style...this one not nearly as carbonated as a real saison should be, but that obviously helps as well (what were we saying about dealing with multiple variables simoultaneously? :-D). But the point is, during the first two months this beer really did show a fairly poor head retention, despite an already consistent carbonation level.
So yeah, I too believe that something is happening with time and that this something isn't related to carbonation per se.
Keep on the quest! :)
 
OP
OP
Miraculix

Miraculix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
6,315
Reaction score
4,985
Location
Bremen
Ah and by the way, even on those two beers the head retention did improve massively with time... it just took more time than normal. Instead of 3-4 weeks, two months to develop a head I deemed acceptable. I still have a few bottles of a saison, it's from one of these two batches: 7 months from bottling right now. It now has a huge, fluffy white head worthy of a saison...Granted, it is a highly carbonated style...this one not nearly as carbonated as a real saison should be, but that obviously helps as well (what were we saying about dealing with multiple variables simoultaneously? :-D). But the point is, during the first two months this beer really did show a fairly poor head retention, despite an already consistent carbonation level.
So yeah, I too believe that something is happening with time and that this something isn't related to carbonation per se.
Keep on the quest! :)
For science reasons I shall drink tonight one of my recent English bitters which had disappointing zero head to start with but was now a few weeks undistracted in the bottle, followed by one of my recent batches which is also a saison and had already great head after one week. This beer has 40% spelt flour in it, so no wonder it already expressed good head from the beginning. I'm afraid I'm going to have to use tools to get through the rock hard head after further weeks have passed, but let's see.
 

Taket_al_Tauro

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Apr 3, 2018
Messages
329
Reaction score
331
This beer has 40% spelt flour in it, so no wonder it already expressed good head from the beginning. I'm afraid I'm going to have to use tools to get through the rock hard head after further weeks have passed, but let's see.

How convenient, I was already planning on employing malted spelt instead of malted oats in both my hoppy beers and saisons coming up next!
I was hooked on trying spelt after reading some posts on the main NEIPA thread here on HBT. It apparently contributes to mouthfeel just like oats, with the added advantage of contibuting to head retention as well.
 

ncbrewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2011
Messages
4,821
Reaction score
1,511
Location
New Bern
In an effort to get rid of chill haze a couple of years ago, I tried an extra large amount of Irish Moss - 2 1/2 tsp in a 5 gallon batch. I did this for 2 or 3 batches. It totally killed the head retention. Apparently, when removing proteins that cause chill haze, some foam positive proteins are also removed. A balance is required.
 
OP
OP
Miraculix

Miraculix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
6,315
Reaction score
4,985
Location
Bremen
How convenient, I was already planning on employing malted spelt instead of malted oats in both my hoppy beers and saisons coming up next!
I was hooked on trying spelt after reading some posts on the main NEIPA thread here on HBT. It apparently contributes to mouthfeel just like oats, with the added advantage of contibuting to head retention as well.
I can confirm that. I just use Spelt flour, same effect, cheaper and I got it around for baking anyway. Malted spelt should do the same thing, same applies to wheat.
 
OP
OP
Miraculix

Miraculix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
6,315
Reaction score
4,985
Location
Bremen
In an effort to get rid of chill haze a couple of years ago, I tried an extra large amount of Irish Moss - 2 1/2 tsp in a 5 gallon batch. I did this for 2 or 3 batches. It totally killed the head retention. Apparently, when removing proteins that cause chill haze, some foam positive proteins are also removed. A balance is required.
Thanks for letting us know. That is very good to hear, as I was tempted to do exacty the same experiment :D

Now I won't!
 

MicroMickey

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2021
Messages
101
Reaction score
101
It seems like everyone has gone off on this tangent of blaming Irish Moss or other kettle coagulants for lack of head retention. To me it's like the old story of losing your keys here but looking for them under the street lamp because the light is better there.
 
OP
OP
Miraculix

Miraculix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
6,315
Reaction score
4,985
Location
Bremen
It seems like everyone has gone off on this tangent of blaming Irish Moss or other kettle coagulants for lack of head retention. To me it's like the old story of losing your keys here but looking for them under the street lamp because the light is better there.
What?
 

Taket_al_Tauro

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Apr 3, 2018
Messages
329
Reaction score
331
It seems like everyone has gone off on this tangent of blaming Irish Moss or other kettle coagulants for lack of head retention. To me it's like the old story of losing your keys here but looking for them under the street lamp because the light is better there.

?... if I didn't miss anything from previous posts, only one person has "blamed" Irish moss for this and he underlined the fact he was using quite a massive dosage.
And I just said that I suspected it initially but finally identified malted oats (or other factors for what I know) as being the more likely culprit. Frankly I can't see how that can be interpreted as "everyone blaming Irish moss "? 😉
 
OP
OP
Miraculix

Miraculix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
6,315
Reaction score
4,985
Location
Bremen
Just to confuse us a bit more:

I am just having the first beer of my latest batch. I speed-carbonated the bottle on the heater, fully carbed after 5 days.

This beer has already incredible foam and very good lacing. Multiple things have been incorporated, each of them might have contributed to the early stable foaming.

1. 5g dry hops per litre
2. step mash in minutes/Degrees Celsius: Proteinrest 15/56 beta rest 30/62 alpha rest 30/71 mash out 20/77
3. 5% rye malt
4. usage of 3g irish moss on 18 litres in the boil

THIS BEER IS GREAT!!!!!!!!!! SO FREAKIN GOOD! And already almost clear... big love for Nottingham.

Tastes like Campden Pale Ale to me. How I missed that!
 
Last edited:
Top