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Head and Aeration

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Doug

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These are probably topics that are mentioned elsewhere, but my search on the forum didn't bring anything up.

I'm starting up my 4th batch this weekend (Midwest Supplies Honey Porter I'm thinking), and that means it's time to answer a few unanswered questions.

My first question is on head. I've cracked open two batches now, and both have been VERY sensitive to the pour. If I did it too fast at all, and even sometimes when I was very patient, the head would end up being way too much. I think this took away from the carbonation too, so it's probably something I want to address. I've read that glasses with a soap residue can produce this, but I can't believe that is my only problem. What causes excess head, and how is it prevented?

Question two: I've read here and elsewhere online that aerating the beer when racking or bottling is a very bad thing. I've also not done a good job of avoiding it. What does the introduction of oxygen actually do? Also, I'm wondering if I shouldn't be bottling straight from the spicket of my bottling bucket?

That's all for now. Thanks again in advance.

- doug
 

uglygoat

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how do you bottle now?

are your beers cold when you are popping them open? warm beer tends to give more foam, at least in my experience....

are you pouring too fast? too fast can produce alot of head... are you pouring into a clean glass? or a glass that still has some left over from the last beer you drank? sometimes having some old beer in the bottom of a glass fizzes it up right quick for me, especially if i pour too fast...

how much priming sugar are you using? i did a kit from midwest, and thought the priming sugar might have been a bit much, and my beers poured with a lot of head...

they say the rule is generally 3/4 cup for five gallons, but i find i like 2/3 a cup of priming sugar per five...
 
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Doug

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I bottle by mixing in the priming solution (it has been 5 oz. sugar w/1 cup water) into the bottling bucket, then straight to the bottle from the spigot. 5 oz. is a little more than 2/3, so that's probably ok, right?

The beers have been at varying temps. I'll keep an eye on that. Thinking back to a few situations, I can remember my beer was on the warmer side and tended to have more head...

I thought I was pouring slow enough, but I'll watch that too.

Thanks much for the advice.

- doug
 

awillis

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If you feel your glasses are clean and free of residues you may have your bottles carbonating at a high temp, 80ish or higher. Also, excessive head could be created by to much priming sugar. Another thing, maybe, fermentation was still very active with a lot of yeast still in solution, not settled, thus the yeast are just "eating" a lot and giving of to much co2(not sure on the logics of this one just a theory).

Aerating your wort as it enters the primary is acceptable to some extent. This provides energy, 02, to those little guys you just pitched. Aerating your brew when racking or bottling will introduce oxygen to the brew. This provides those little guys with extra energy, intense carbonation, and an oxidated flavor(not sure what that taste like). Finally, your best bet is to invest in a racking cane and tubing. Its cheap and the easiest thing to use. In the end I bet your problems can be traced back to maybe the warm temp while carbonating and not having a cane to siphon queitly. Good luck!
 
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Doug

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That's interesting. Maybe my two questions are related after all. I know I'm supposed to aerate into the primary, but keep it splash-free from then on. I haven't succeeded on the second part. Maybe the extra oxygen is giving extra carbonation, and therefore extra head. I wonder what an oxidated flavor is like...

You know, I haven't used that racking cane since the first batch. I've been using the autosiphon, but am I supposed to put something on the empty carboy side? My setup has been autosiphon to tube to carboy. And splashing aplenty until the carboy fills up enough to get the tube submerged...
 
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Doug

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Oh, and I believe my conditioning temp was about 65, so hopefully I am ok there.

- doug
 

bikebryan

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Doug said:
That's interesting. Maybe my two questions are related after all. I know I'm supposed to aerate into the primary, but keep it splash-free from then on. I haven't succeeded on the second part. Maybe the extra oxygen is giving extra carbonation, and therefore extra head. I wonder what an oxidated flavor is like...

You know, I haven't used that racking cane since the first batch. I've been using the autosiphon, but am I supposed to put something on the empty carboy side? My setup has been autosiphon to tube to carboy. And splashing aplenty until the carboy fills up enough to get the tube submerged...
Aeration in racking (or any time after you transfer primary) gives an off flavor that is something like sucking on a wet piece of cardboard.

As for your racking from primary to carboy and having splashing until the tube is submerged? The answer is so simple. Get a longer piece of plastic tubing. Then it will be submerged almost from the start.
 

andre the giant

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One of the things I've noticed, if you pour a overcarbonated warm beer into a cold glass, it foams. If you pour a overcarbonated cold beer into a warm glass it foams. If you get the glass and the beer close to the same temperature, there isn't as much foaming.

Chill a glass, and make sure the beer is nice and cold. Pour slowly and make sure that glass is tilted when you pour.
 
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