Help with head retention?

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Larso

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Guys, I've brewed this before and I know another brewer who has done a few of them. It's Randy Moshers 'Dicks Elixir wheat porter'. I love it but the head disappears completely immediately after the pour. Can anyone tell me why and if it can be fixed, how? This would be perfect if it could hold its head!!
Here's the recipe:
2.3kg wheat malt
1.8kg Munich
1.4kg lager malt
0.7kg medium crystal
0.227kg porridge oats toasted in oven at 150c for 40mins until brown and smelling of cookies
0.17kg black patent malt
14g northern brewer 7% 90mins
14g northern brewer 7% 10mins
10g santiam 6.5% 10mins
One hour mash at 66.5C

Thanks
 

kingwood-kid

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Oats are pretty oily, as far as grain goes. You could try subbing flaked wheat or barley and seeing if that helps. Carapils is often used to boost foaminess, but with that much wheat malt, it shouldn't be required. Not that you can't add half a pound anyway.
 
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Larso

Larso

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kingwood-kid said:
Oats are pretty oily, as far as grain goes. You could try subbing flaked wheat or barley and seeing if that helps. Carapils is often used to boost foaminess, but with that much wheat malt, it shouldn't be required. Not that you can't add half a pound anyway.
Thanks KK, I don't want to sub out the oats but I might try adding the carapils. Is that the best I can do without removing the oats ? How do micros using oats deal with this. I'd assume they would need good head retention?
 

adamc

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Decoction mashing tends to help beer maintain head. Of course it changes your beer quite a bit. Darkens it, for one.

I have heard inadequate cleaning and sanitation can destroy head.

Are you bottle conditioning?
 
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Hi Adam, I am bottle conditioning but the other brewer who brews this both bottles and kegs but gets same issue. I'm pretty sure it's ingredient related
 

bja

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Thanks KK, I don't want to sub out the oats but I might try adding the carapils. Is that the best I can do without removing the oats ? How do micros using oats deal with this. I'd assume they would need good head retention?
Carapils won't help. You have 1-1/2 lbs of crystal which does the same thing as carapils.

I'm not sure what porridge oats are, but if you must use oats, find some flaked oats. You could also use quick oats which are the same as flaked.

 
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Larso

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Flaked oats is what I'm using. Has anyone ever brewed an oatmeal stout with good head retention??
 

kingwood-kid

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Someone did an experiment to compare flaked wheat, barley, oats and rye in taste and head retention: https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f14/st...flaked-rye-vs-flaked-wheat-201483/index3.html

They used about twice the amount of flakes you did, and the differences were pretty small, but the wheat had the best head retention, the oats the best body, the rye the most distinctive taste. Tell your friend to sub toasted flaked wheat for oats the next time he makes the beer and see how you like it. You could save your oven some trouble and use torrified wheat if you can find it.
 
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Larso

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thanks KK, they seem to report good head retention with the oats! I can't understand how?
 

Herky21

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Guys, I've brewed this before and I know another brewer who has done a few of them. It's Randy Moshers 'Dicks Elixir wheat porter'. I love it but the head disappears completely immediately after the pour. Can anyone tell me why and if it can be fixed, how? This would be perfect if it could hold its head!!
Here's the recipe:
2.3kg wheat malt
1.8kg Munich
1.4kg lager malt
0.7kg medium crystal
0.227kg porridge oats toasted in oven at 150c for 40mins until brown and smelling of cookies
0.17kg black patent malt
14g northern brewer 7% 90mins
14g northern brewer 7% 10mins
10g santiam 6.5% 10mins
One hour mash at 66.5C

Thanks
Here's a good article on the subject: http://beersmith.com/blog/2008/06/25/enhancing-beer-head-retention-for-home-brewers/

My first thoughts would be to raise you mash temp a couple degrees F. You come in at 151.7F and the article recommends up to 158F for better head retention. The article also talks about the isohumulones in hops and the effect on head retention those can have, which might help you out if you can adjust the quantities without jacking up the IBUs.
 
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Larso

Larso

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Thanks Herky, that's some advice I can work with. I'll probably try mash at 68 then, would 69 be pushing it? Would it affect flavour?
Would it make sense to use much lower alpha hops for earlier additions so I can push up quantities without affecting ibu?

Thanks!
 

bja

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Thanks Herky, that's some advice I can work with. I'll probably try mash at 68 then, would 69 be pushing it? Would it affect flavour?
Would it make sense to use much lower alpha hops for earlier additions so I can push up quantities without affecting ibu?

Thanks!
When I make my oatmeal stout I mash at 158f, which is 70c. Mine has plenty of head.
 
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Larso

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Thanks bja, will definitely try 69 then.
How about his then? Here's my inventory, what would you recommend? And still stay close to original as I love it?

Thanks
 

Herky21

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My only concerns when mashing at a higher temp would be an over extraction of tannins. I think 158 should be fine as long as you're only mashing for 60 minutes. If you do 90 minutes or more I'd worry that the flavor might be affected. And as far as the hops that would make sense to me, but you might need to look up the isohumulone content of each variety that you are using to actually know if there will be much of an effect. You could just try doing that though to see if it changes the retention much. I think the new mash temp, and possibly the addition of some carapils might help you. The other thing the article points out and which I always notice at restaurants is detergent. Dish soap on your glasses will ruin any head retention. Make sure you don't go through all of this work and extra effort only to pour your beer into a glass that came out of the dishwasher.
 

duboman

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how are you cleaning your glassware? The best way is plain old soap and water with a good rinse. Dirty or filmy glass will break down head instantly. If you use a dishwasher there may be soap or rinse agent film left on the glasses. Try to clean a fresh glass with soap and water or vinegar even , rinse well and pour and see if there is a difference.
 

Ølbart

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Unless soap or oil is part of your recipe, the recipe won't be the cause of your foam problem. 1) Clean properly. Any oil will ruin your foam. 2) Rinse properly. Any soap residue will ruin your foam. 3) Pitch enough healthy yeast. Underpitching may lead to fusel alcohols, which will ruin your foam. 4) Ferment at the right temperature. Fermenting too warm will lead to fusel alcohols, which will ruin your foam.

You can get decent head with 100% pale or pils malt.
 
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Larso

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I've actually been doing overnight mashes recently to save time. I might mash slightly below 70c at about 69. I BIAB and my mash loses about 8degC overnight.
W.r.t isohumulone content of hops my own experience had been that dry hopping has a very positive effect on head retention. Does this suggest that later additions should be manipulated to improve head retention? Or should I just mess with buttering additions and is isohumulone content directly related to buttering or can I increase one without the other?
Thanks for all the help!
 

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As others have stated. Poor head retention can be drinking glass dependent.

It can also be from over aeration. I read where Palmer once stated that there are only so many foam creating agents in the beer. Once those are used up your head retention goes.
 
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Larso

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Ølbart said:
Unless soap or oil is part of your recipe, the recipe won't be the cause of your foam problem. 1) Clean properly. Any oil will ruin your foam.
I thought the oats were a source of oil that were ruining head retention?
 

kingwood-kid

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Just to clarify, I believe that you and your friend
1) have both brewed a number of other recipes that have had acceptable head retention,
2) own separate brewing systems and separate dishware
3) have both had repeated problems with head retention on this specific recipe

If that's all correct, than the problem is somewhere in the recipe, and the only thing I see in it that could cause problems are the oats. They sure are delicious though.
 

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No one has suggested it yet, but you could add a heading agent. Propylene glycol aginate does wonders for head retention. If you are priming for carbonation look up creamyX, it is priming sugar along with the heading agent.
 
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Larso

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kingwood-kid said:
Just to clarify, I believe that you and your friend
1) have both brewed a number of other recipes that have had acceptable head retention,
2) own separate brewing systems and separate dishware
3) have both had repeated problems with head retention on this specific recipe

If that's all correct, than the problem is somewhere in the recipe, and the only thing I see in it that could cause problems are the oats. They sure are delicious though.
Actually KK, as for 1) I'm having head retention issues with more than this brew and am starting to suspect my bottling bucket or fermentor although I never even use detergents on them, just hot water and elbow grease????
The answers to 2) and 3) are yes . The reason I suspect the recipe is the other brewer has the same issue and he brews this regularly although I don't know about his other brews.
I recently brewed a Timothy Taylor landlord clone
http://www.aussiehomebrewer.com/forum/index.php?autocom=recipedb&code=show&recipe=680
Which is just mo and cara crystal. I did notice something on top of it that looked like a tiny oil slick when it was in the bottling bucket. Could I somehow have an oily substance in my kit?? Where could it have come from and how do I eliminate it?
 
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Larso

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Guys I'm starting to think me brewery needs a good clean with something that will remove oil. I have some vwp but would I be better off using caustic soda? I've a SS buffalo boiler, plastic fermentors and bottling bucket. Can that stuff withstand caustic soda(NaOH/lye)? I have a square copper hop strainer/manifold in the bottom of my boiler that I soldered together so I can't get a brush in to clean it, so I need something aggressive thatll clean it inside it but not screw up the copper???

Thanks

L
 

kingwood-kid

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Regular dish soap will work fine. It has a polar end that will bond to water and a non-polar end that will bond to oils. Just be sure to rinse thoroughly. Rubbing alcohol would work well too, with the same precaution about rinsing. Using caustic cleaners on oil will produce something akin to Italian dressing.
 
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Larso

Larso

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Thanks KK, I'll give the brewery a good clean and brew this again

L
 
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