Head Retention Issues (I've Tried Everything!)

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Mar 19, 2012
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So I've been brewing all-grain BIAB, 4-4.5 gallon batches, for about 4 years now. I brewed extract for a couple of years beforehand.

I've consistently had head retention issues with my beer. When I brewed extract, this was never an issue.

After searching the internet and these forums countless times, I've tried tons of remedies. I've ruled out issues with glassware. I've also heard fusel oils could cause retention issues, but I always pitch a healthy starter and ferment at mid-to-low temperatures (beer temp) for any strain. My beer is generally pretty clean tasting with few off flavours, if any. I do find that my hoppy beers get good lacing and head retention, but that's no surprise.

I've tried cara-pils (up to 10%) with little help, but have found using some flaked or torrified wheat in each batch helps a little, but not enough.

My dark beers are the worst -- anything I brew with roasted malts has little to no head at all (even after adding wheat or oats). It's like a glass of Coca-cola. Could it be a PH issue? I adjust my water's mineral content, but I don't have a PH meter, I just adjust according to what the Brewer's Friend online calculator says.

Any suggestions/help is greatly appreciated.

What is your carbonation level? Do you force carb with a keg or do you use priming sugar?

I prime with corn sugar and bottle. After conditioning, I put a few bottles in the fridge for at least 5-7 days before drinking.

EDIT: Forgot to say, I carbonate to anywhere from 2.0-2.7 volumes of CO2 depending on the style.